Happiness, Anxiety, and Control

I’m excited for this week’s vlog because I’ve wanted to cover the topic for a while. If you’re a fan of when I talk science, you’ll definitely want to tune in for this one.


  1. Susan Edwards

    Oh Charity, I understand. You have expressed my dilemma also in words that resonate perfectly. I have no answers, but I know we both need a big DOSE of HOPE, . I will hold you in my thoughts. I once read a greeting card that said: I know it’s raining in your heart, I don’t have an umbrella, but I’ll walk in the rain with you. Thank you for your insights and wisdom. Blessings, Susan

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  2. Charity

    So my question is: how do I exercise control over something I feel completely powerless about? I know my food, my habits, my life, should be under my control. I know I’m the only one who CAN effect change in my life. Logically, rationally, I understand this truth. At the same time, this knowledge feels me with despair instead of hope because I can’t do it. And it’s not like I haven’t tried. I’ve tried going all out, I’ve tried starting small and building from there. I’ve tried to find a middle ground. I’ve tried self talk and setting daily goals and celebrating small accomplishments. I’ve tried planning. I’ve tried everything I can think of, everything I can research. My intelligent brain tells me the best way to change my life is to follow BLE. I KNOW this is what I need to do. I’ve tried. I fail because even though I know what I want and I know what I should be doing to get it, I have no control over the in between moments. No control over the emotions that dictate (and I do mean dictate–I feel like a slave) my actions in any given moment. Everything I know I want gets swallowed up or pushed aside in the emotion of right now. This is my track record. I feel powerless to change it. I’m anxious and depressed, and everything Susan talks about in this vlog because I have no control–but I don’t stress out over the news, I stress out over things that I know I should be able to control and I CAN’T. Someone please give me some insight? I feel broken. How do I fix this?

    Reply ·
    1. Bright Line Eating

      Oh, dear Charity, our love and compassion is fully extended you to you. We understand how challenging, overwhelming, and frustrating it can be to overhaul your lifestyle, especially when it comes to food. Please be gentle and kind with yourself and know you aren’t alone. You may need a lot more social support than you’re currently receiving. Are you trying to go at it alone? In Boot Camp, you get a tremendous amount of social support, so that may be something you want to consider. Or, perhaps you can create a mastermind group. Sometimes a day is too much to tackle and it must be taken moment-by-moment. We believe in you and want YOU to believe that you are powerful and capable as well and hope those moments will silence the powerlessness you feel. We’re here for you, friend! <3

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  3. Donald Glenn Theiss

    I like the direction you are taking this to a deeper understanding of our relationship with eating, including using food as an escape from our own fear, anxiety, uncertainty and consequent control mechanisms that take over to try to give us some sense of control.
    We are fundamentally trained to disconnect from our true self, our inner guidance system and to fit ourselves into the socially fabricated reality into which we are born.

    This creates a real disconnection from our self and stimulates all of our feelings of insecurity, where am I? Who am I? What am I doing? What should I be doing? What do I want to do? How do I fit in? What’s wrong with me? and all of this creates the uncertainty that stimulates the fear and anxiety.

    Keep going, you’re on to it.

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  4. K

    Do you have references for this research so I can read them myself?

    Thank you!

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  5. BBS

    Please publish text transcripts.

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  6. Deb M.

    Interesting topic! My son suffers from social anxiety. Going to share this blog with him and see if he would like to pursue cognitive behavioral therapy for it. I do feel anxious if I don’t plan my meals the day before and feel much more in control and less anxious when I don’t have to make food choices in the moment.

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  7. Anne

    Funny you talk of this as I have been thinking bout this a lot over the recent past.

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  8. Clyde Mitchell Dorsey

    Susan you do a good job of answering people’s questions and motivating people as well.

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  9. Catriona, somewhere in Australia

    Great and timely VLOG thankyou Susan. It brings up for me the distinction between “being in control” and “being obsessed”.
    For a “normal eater” (not me!) what we are doing in BL E (planning, measuring, committing, abstaining) can look like “obsession” whereas actually we are just getting into the state of mind that “normal”
    eaters feel when they eat. I have to keep remembering this… because I know that feeling out of control is pretty much the essence of the part of me that need healing. I think gratitude is one of the keystones that brings control because we are consciously choosing the direction of our thoughts and feelings towards “more of that please” instead of “I can’t cope with that”. I’ve been off the rails that last few weeks and came back on line about a week ago. When I fall, my buddy and mastermind group bring me back, along with your amazing VLOGS. ThanKyou !!!!

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    1. Bright Line Eating

      Hi Catriona! You make a very interesting comparison and distinction between obsession and feeling a level of control. Thanks for chiming in! We’re cheering for you as you navigate your journey! <3

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  10. susie k

    Your observation reminds me of the St. Francis’ Serenity prayer: God, grant me the SERENITY to accept the things I cannot change, the COURAGE to change the things I can, and the WISDOM to know the difference.

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  11. Mary Lou Eckmeier

    I like that you do these live and real. This was great info. The happiness\control issue nailed it for me.

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  12. Stefany

    Loved the vlog – reenforces the need to grab the bull by the horns of ALL that we CAN control 😊 Thank you

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  13. Evelyn

    Great topic! It does make me re-think about how am I doing with my bright lines and how it does make me feel out/in control and my anxiety levels. I am motivated to re-focus and spend more time doing things that are upbuilding and productive.

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    1. Bright Line Eating

      Happy to hear this was beneficial to you Evelyn! All the best!

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  14. Riadh Asaad Ghanma

    that was informative

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  15. Nina

    I’d really like to know more about this topic. I find that now that I’m in a right-sized body, I am more anxious than ever and have come to understand why I overate to begin with – to calm my feelings of anxiety and overthinking all the things out of my control. Where can I learn more about this scientific study?

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  16. Carol

    Thanks so much for the re-focus!

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  17. Sarah Katzin

    Great topic! Questions: How does this relate to the 12 Step concept of powerlessness, the idea of surrender that we also have in BLE? Also, I have often heard you tell people, for example, that the actual rate of our weight loss or the date we will reach goal is not in our control, but keeping our lines bright and establishing and maintaining habits are. I would have liked this to have been clearer when addressing the topic of this vlog. Would you consider a part 2?

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  18. joseph

    This vlog speaks to me. Thank you Dr. Thompson.
    I spend a lot of time every day reading world news and news out of Washington. Mostly about politics, law and economics. I also spend a considerable amount of time writing about the same.
    The time I spend reading often leaves me in a bi-polar state. I can get distraught over heavy disappointing news or euphorically blissful when it favors my socio-economic-political preferences.
    But I’ve noticed over the years that I become more moderated, even tempered when I write. Your vlog clarified why.
    Joseph in Missoula

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    1. ahnna beruk

      Yeah I can relate. this is why I stopped watching the news. It’s Too emotional. Adds to my stress and anxiety, and life was already way stressful enough for me at the time that I stopped tuning in. It was just overwhelming. All that hate and stupidity going on in the world is too much for me to visit On any regular basis. I went from reading several news articles daily, to reading maybe 1, to reading none. I may check in once a month now. I’m sorry you have to write about it. It can really affect your mental health .

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