Have you struggled with weight, dieting, or body image in the past? If so…

Your Brain May Be Blocking You From Losing Weight.

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Doing Bright Line Eating with ADHD

Our Social Media Team regularly receives requests for advice on how to be successful in Bright Line Eating when you have ADD or ADHD. Now, I don’t have any personal experience with either condition and thus was hesitant to offer guidance, so I decided to poll our community for their wisdom. Watch to hear the responses I received, as well as my take on the subject.

Podcast Audio

Susan Peirce Thompson, Ph.D. is a New York Times bestselling author and an expert in the psychology and neuroscience of eating. Susan is the Founder and CEO of Bright Line Eating®, a scientifically grounded program that teaches you a simple process for getting your brain on board so you can finally find freedom from food.  Read Susan’s Full Story

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Comments

  1. Lynn

    I started on Bright Line Eating on July 1, 2020. Having wrestled with weight all my life I decided to “Challenge Myself” on your 14 days challenge. I felt so good I decided to stay on the program and stayed! I reached my goal weight and have maintained that weight – with a give or take 5 ibs even when I visit my old Italian homestead – since reaching my goal. This vlog made me cry. YAY Paige. I hear and live your story daily. BUT the best thing I say is that YES, WE ARE UNSTOPPABLE! and given our VERY similar stories maybe without that drive we could not have survived. At 67, I am still working 2 jobs, maintain my own landscaping, including tree/limb removal with a chainsaw, building decks and still can help the younger ones at my office job to establish better working habits for themselves. Structure DOES work for us but our ADD/ADHD also gives us the incredible talent to multitask! Thanks you for this vlog. AND yes – I do take medication but I found a Dr. that has shown me how to work best with it and has given me the freedom of changing my dosage in accordance with how many “jobs” I am doing each day. At this age I finally found a doctor that has worked with me, my slow metabolism and my ADD/ADHD. And I really have to laugh because as I have watched this vlog and responded, I also did 2 loads of wash, watered and moved the sprinklers before everything dies,, prepared my BLE breakfast and answered/deleted emails. My best to all of you on here and Susan – THANK YOU!

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    1. Bright Line Eating

      Wow, Lynn! Look at you go! You know how to get stuff done!!

      Reply ·
  2. Diane O'Brien

    I am 66, retired and diagnosed with ADD (@ age 65) – 2 types: regular ADD and Limbic ADD plus depression. BLE has been good for me but I could do better with it.
    Susan,
    Do you know of Dr. Amen and the amazing work his clinics perform? That is how I was confirmed of the diagnosis above. Everyone’s brain is not considered equal. You mentioned the Pre-frontal Cortex – it doesn’t always work the same for everyone, as you had referenced things that do not work with mine. Mine is not as active as it should be, probably due to head trauma. Also, the left side of the brain is particularly vulnerable to injury.
    You and Dr. Amen together could do even more amazing and life-changing work together! All the best, thank you!

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  3. Denise

    Inattentive here. I cannot achieve consistency , that is a waste of my time. However, tools provide and create a dopamine hit, does this recipe work, can I get the right amount on the scale? BLE is more like a game to me. I don’t see instant weight change and in the past I would quit. Goals for me are inches, disappearing cellulite, sleeping better. I tweak the program for my brain, stimulant in am and a little potato before bed ( my brain doesn’t stop for sleep but this slows it down). I persistently persist, and am successful at curbing my sugar addiction with BLE. Thanks!

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  4. Brigitte

    Thank you for this vlog; it was freeing. I am a high functioning ADHD who needs 2 cups of black coffee to “help me focus ” or settle my brain to sleep. Reached goal weight and have maintained weight of 112 lbs. since Nov 6. 2020. Never actually had a Bright Day, I call having a Bright Day “chasing the unicorn”. I have envied those “crystal vasers” but proudly call myself a “crystal striver” and I am unstoppable … rezooming daily.. My strong and proud rebel’s name is Joan of Arc and “we” must break rules, but BLE had given us undeniable and science based rules that we greatly respect in theory, and they work… so we keep trying to be better at following them every day. I recently celebrated one year of BLE (Aug 11) which is extraordinary (for me). Thank you for explaining the ADHD journey and allowing me to accept my special BLE path.

    Reply ·
    1. Bright Line Eating

      Well done, Brigitte! Your story is so interesting and we are so glad you shared it. It helps us learn the many ways BLE works in the lives of Community Members!! 🧡

      Reply ·
    2. Paige

      I love this! I love the images. I love that you embrace your rebel. You won’t be chasing a unicorn forever

      Reply ·
  5. Cherry

    Diagnosed with ADD at age 50, it was an eye opener for me. Using habits or BLE rules allows me to plan healthy meals when I have the mental bandwidth to make good choices. Because the ADD/ADHD brain craves dopamine, food will provide that tiny jolt of brain chemicals you are looking for. That is one reason people with ADD/ADHD will eat when not hungry, graze or have “just one more bite”. Their brain wants those feel good neuro-chemicals. Executive function of the brain, can be compared to will power – can I take the actions that will get me to my goal? Can I resist the urge to eat or resist being distracted? When you plan your meals with BLE, you do it with intention and when you can focus. Then the brain draining decision of “should I eat – should I not eat” is done. The ADD brain says – “OK decision made, eat what you planned with BLE and move on.”. What if the ADD brain says “but I want grapes today!!!” – you can say to yourself “sure – you have grapes tomorrow and I’ll include it in my meal plan. My BLE meals are planned for today. I’m not making another decision on food today other than to follow the plan. BLE works well with ADD/ADHD it just may take more practice and rezooming again and again until it is a habit.

    Reply ·
  6. Anonymous

    I loved this vlog. My counter to this idea, as a person with Adhd, is that because it is hard for me to discern what is the “most important.” I can find myself overwhelmed by the amount of tools/habits in BLE, because I view them all as equally important.

    Reply ·
  7. Joanne Hinsperger-Scott

    This gave me insight into a friend I used to have. I had started going to her church with her. She would take a pad of paper and draw the whole time. She said she needed to draw to pay attention but I didn’t get it until I listened to this vlog. Thank you.

    Reply ·
  8. Chrissie

    I was personally a bit disappointed with this vlog, which told me about AD/HD (which I already know- I live with it, and have spent years researching it), and anecdotes from a conversation with one person living with it.
    I love BLE- it’s been the _only_ way of being that has helped over the years, and I’m _really Struggling with it_ right now. And yes, I’m doing Bright Line Freedom
    ‘AD/HD works well with rules’ may be some people’s experience; I have to say I find it rather simplistic and invalidating.
    I know there are many of us who find it extremely challenging following BLE, and I’d love to hear how others navigate this.
    SOme of us find we resist the planning part, and the tendency to get distracted and seek stimulation can make keeping lines bright really messy.
    How about a special facebook page/group for people with this flavor of neurodiversity? And some tangible support?
    Thanks

    Reply ·
    1. Shari

      Sending you a DM

      Reply ·
      1. Chrissie

        thanks a bunch- not sure where to find the dm?

        Reply ·
    2. Bright Line Eating

      Hi, Chrissie! We would love to invite you to submit a request for a new Special Interest Group in Bright Lifers. You can do that through your account in the Hub. 🧡

      Reply ·
      1. Chrissie

        Ah- great idea- Thanks team- appreciate your attentiveness to the comments here…

        Reply ·
        1. Chrissie

          Have spent half an hour trying to work out how to do this- can’t find where to make this request- can you help plz? thanks!

          Reply ·
  9. Shari

    I see there is a Facebook support group for BLE mothers with ADHD children, called Bright not Broken. The difference between ADD and ADHD are significant. I would love to join a Facebook group of [Bright retired ADD folks] if you know of one. I also was diagnosed late in life. Maybe 55?? I do not take stimulants. They caused anxiety for me, and then I had to take something for the anxiety. Decided to ditch the pills and stay with my overdose of coffee. It works!

    Reply ·
    1. Lisa Riccobono

      Shari, I fit the criteria of ADD , with ADD/ADHD kids, AND retired! My diagnosis came a little earlier, after my 1st son was diagnosed, I was diagnosed with depression, and a year later, ADD.

      I have been in & out of BLE for a few years, and wrote in requesting a vlog about the connection long ago!

      Reply ·
  10. Anne

    Thanks for the vlog! What is the name of the book Susan mentioned about the prefrontal cortex?

    Reply ·
      1. Anne M. Regan

        Thank you!

        Reply ·
  11. Jann Kredit (KAC)

    Thank you for recognizing that not all of us are addicts (when you are a hammer everything looks like a nail) and we all come here for many other reasons!

    Reply ·
  12. Diana McInelly

    Awesome blog!!! I have people in my life with these issues, and it helped my understanding and compassion for them so much!!! Thank you!

    Reply ·
  13. Vanessa

    THANK YOU! sniff sniff THANK YOU!! I have a kiddo with ADHD and he is always looking for food! He also stirs up trouble when the house/or room is quiet! NOW I understand a little more about what is happening in his brain!!! sniff wiping tears away

    Reply ·
  14. Beth Wade

    Susan (& Paige) – Thanks so much for all the wisdom and insight shared through this vlog. I’m one of those women who was diagnosed with ADD as an adult. EVERYTHING you shared is EXACTLY my experience, and I’ll add that I’m the “daydreamer” type (no physical hyperactivity – just cognitive hyperactivity). It’s truly wonderful to have you validate my own experience with BLE over the past 14 months.

    Much love,
    Beth (aka Tony’s wife)

    Reply ·
  15. Susan Fowlkes

    Thanks for this Vlog. I was diagnosed ADHD sometime in middle age. I have been a BLE member since fall of 2018, but have been unsuccessfully “experimenting” since last Halloween. Snacking has been the problem. The Vlog made me realize that I am seeking stimulation! I never thought of that. I will start some projects to distract myself from eating.
    Thank you!
    Susan

    Reply ·
  16. Michelle

    Thank you. Stopping to think; to factor in this not insignificant variable, will likely prove valuable. Appreciative of the consideration

    Reply ·
  17. Laura

    Thank you Susan for this opportunity to address BLE with ADHD. I’m 71 and have the inattentive type of ADHD which was only diagnosed in the last 15 years. BLE is an ideal program for someone like me. I have been doing it for 70 days and have lost 25 pounds. For someone with ADHD, structure is support. The structure in this program is elegant because it is uncluttered (as opposed to all the surfaces in my home!) The rules are simple, the scale is simple, the eating only what has been written down the night before is simple! Simple doesn’t mean easy, but in my case, so far, it has been easy because for truly, the first time ever, I am not at odds with myself in following a structured program. I love this program, and love that my brain gets to experience success, which enhances my motivation. I think in many ways I have been ready to lose weight for awhile, and it was only when I discovered BLE and this systematic way to operationalize how to lose weight while eating healthy delicious food, that I found the key I have needed. I am so grateful!

    Reply ·
    1. Bright Line Eating

      Hi, Laura! Thank you so much for sharing your experience of BLE with ADHD. We are thrilled that the systematic way of BLE works well for you! 🧡

      Reply ·
      1. Laura

        Thank you for your response! I am thrilled as well!

        Reply ·
  18. Sherry

    Hi Susan. Thank you for your obvious care for all of us. I was ADD back when it was called BRAT. 😉 At 62 years old, I still struggle when things are too loosey-goosey. I prefer black and white lines, although I know life is often not that way. It’s such a relief that eating CAN be that way (at least for me)! Once I was convinced BLE was the right thing to do, everything fell into place and became relatively easy. The clarity of the BLE system is a God-send to me!

    Reply ·
  19. Carol

    Thanks Susan and the BLE team for getting the ADD, ADHD thing as a topic. Personally, ADD and BLE go together well for me , as basic eating structure is available in the BLE program. I personally do better when I have structure and rules to follow. Of course my ” rebel part” has to go along with it. My belief is that the nutrients I ingest due to the structured eating(in BLE) help my Executive function part work better. And The mastermind group I’m in and the 1 person in the group I text my menu to are a big help. Also 5th Bright Line group , Dr. Joy and that whole “thing”
    Thank you good People
    Carol on Maintenance since 1/21.

    Reply ·
  20. Sarah

    Does she take stimulant medication? I’m 33 and was diagnosed at 18 with ADD. I’ve been on stiumlant medication since then with the exception of 2 pregnancies and a year and half of breastfeeding each. I’m thinking of going off of it since I don’t eat much during the day while taking it then at night I become hungry. It makes it difficult to have three structured meals.

    Reply ·
    1. Paige

      Sarah, I do currently take a microdosing of an old stimulant. And, I drink coffee every day. Used properly, stimulants can be a valuable tool in managing ADHD.
      For me, I don’t believe they add to the struggle because without them, I can’t usually get meals together. – but that is a valid concern and really good side effect to bring up. The stimulant, by its very nature shuts down some of your hunger drive – and the effects would definitely complicate someone’s program.

      Reply ·
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