The Hourglass Shape of Recovery

On a recent daily Accountability Call, I had the pleasure of hearing from a longtime Bright Lifer about how this way of eating has opened up her world. It got me thinking about opposing forces of constraint and freedom throughout the Bright Line Eating journey. Most people experience a distinct path to freedom, which is important to keep in mind, especially if you’re new and feeling restricted. Watch the vlog to hear more.


  1. Helen

    The top of the hourglass is by far so much better and than the bottom. It’s so worth squeezing through the middle to achieve

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  2. Gigi

    I love you ! Your messages are so good! But to funny! I think you meant to say “ Niagara on The lake and not Hamilton. I’m from Canada and have lived in Toronto area. Hamilton is a steel town city, not so pretty, so that’s why I am thinking Niagara Falls you must have been talking about? Maybe not? But just saying? Lol!
    Thank you for your vlogs, I enjoy them so much!
    Your truly a angel sent from heaven to help us all with our eating habits.
    Thank you.

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  3. Carole Marcille

    I have experienced this and am grateful–life is so not about the food. It is about the people. Before I used to look forward to eating what I wanted. It was NOT about people then. And that brought shame as I over indulged. It is now about people and that has made the difference. The first time in a situation where I have not built new memories is a little nerve-wracking, but now I have some memories about funerals, retreats, parties, and more. And now I have memories about successfully navigating these times, so I have more confidence. I am stacking up the time in a right-sized body and it feels better and better.

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  4. Kim Romska

    I so relate to the hourglass experience. It was feeling restrictive in the beginning and now I do feel free. I just crossed the finish line 8 days ago !!! Thank You Everett for the finish line anxiety class. When I got ahold of what I was afraid of I could deal with it and the last little bit of weight melted away…
    I love to go out to celebratory meals. When people ask where we should go I offer my 4 plant based suggestions for my city of Reno NV.
    Greatful Gardens, lots of good options
    Laughing Planet, seasonal bowl minus the grain, sub veg and order a veg side
    PHO ordered without rice noodles
    My favorite…CHIPOTLE Veg bowl
    I’m also loving how much more of me is available to expand spiritually, personally, and professionally in ways that are so fulfilling. Especially with my Eden Energy Medicine.
    Lots of Love

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  5. Mary Clemmons

    Just want to let you know that l really enjoy listening to your talks. I don’t practice BLE as l have never been out of my right size body in all of my 63 years, however, l do avoid grains, sugar and processed foods,as they are so toxic for optimal health. But so much of the world needs your message, so thank you for what you are doing. To me , you are encouraging and inspirational on a healthy mindset for life in general. Thanks again, and keep up the good work!

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    1. Bright Line Eating

      So glad to have you here and to hear from you, Mary. We love knowing who’s out there and why they’re here! 😉 Happy to have you!! 🧡🧡

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  6. Sarah Katzin

    Exactly my experience! I started BLE in October 2017 and yes it was challenging for a short time, but now my life has transformed completely. I went out to eat yesterday and had a really good meal. Perhaps my quantities were not perfect, but that did not disturb my peace. My son’s girlfriend looked at what I was eating and said, “How come your salad always looks so enormous that I can’t imagine how you can eat it, but you do!” I just laughed and we continued having a good time!
    Later I was thinking, well, I didn’t eat garbage between the meal before that and this one. I didn’t eat the bread that went with the salad and I didn’t eat the dessert. But did I feel deprived? No! I got to eat my delicious salmon, roast vegetables and salad with a little tahini and enjoyed every bite. I went to bed with no guilt, feeling grateful and happy AND, got up the next morning with no sugar hangover, being able to pull in my stomach and move comfortably in the world.
    I call that Freedom with a capital F!

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  7. Christine Edwards

    I have just returned from my first trip (Mexico – 7 days) since I started my BLE journey July of 2017 (I have lost 130 pounds) and although I have not weighed myself yet I believe I did very well. Here are my tips. TELL THE HOTEL where you are going that you allergic to sugar and that you are gluten free. That is what I did and they were AMAZING. The chef at the hotel was able to guide me to the restaurants that I could go to and they also were very accommodating. It is in the hotel’s absolute best interest to give you a positive experience and in today’s world there are soooo many options that we as BLEs can eat (vegetables, protein, fruit) . I have been eating in restaurants again for about a year and a half now and again just tell the server that you are allergic to sugar (all forms) and it changes the landscape entirely. I don’t bring a scale with me, I do gauging by eye, but someone else said with how we eat if you periodically eat a bit more lettuce, fruit or protein it can work. I did not eat out for the first year that I was on BLE but that was an option for me as I live very remotely and I was single at the time with no children. I do drink alcohol (red wine periodically) but that is my choice. Here is the thing! Someone else said that each experience on BLE is INDIVIDUAL (even for SPT) so all we are doing is sharing what works for each of us. It may not work for you but I hope some of these suggestions/comments help.

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    1. Steenie

      I love this! Your comments are appreciated and I am making BLE work for me. I am not stressing if I go over or under .1 oz. I am making living with BLE easy peasy and second nature. I am only in my 6th week, but I find it is so easy to follow. We have gone out to dinner twice each month and over to friends. They have pizza. I do not. I bring along a salad if I feel I need it. We share a burrito bowl at Chipotle. The best thing is my family supports me. Sometimes I joke and say, “I’m going to have some French toast!” just to see what they say and they say “Nope! You can’t have that!!” I was just checking. We have fun with it and they see how much I have lost already. If we make food prep a drudgery, we take the joy out of life. Make your salads tasty and colorful and you will be satisfied, healthy, and happy. And lest I forget thin and free! I’m enjoying exploring the many tastes of herbal teas and use those as my afternoon “snack” before dinnertime. Tonight, we are going out for sushi. I have no idea how the portions will add up, but I will eat less if necessary and have edamame, salad, soup and who knows? But I do know I will enjoy spending time with my family and that is better than those yucky carbo comas I used to have. Enjoy life!

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    2. Bright Line Eating

      Congratulations Christine! You’ve got to feel terrific. Thanks for sharing your travel tips. Sounds like a wonderful vacation! 🧡

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  8. Karen

    I do well at restaurants and even on cruises because someone else is cooking, and there are lots of salads, vegetables and proteins like fish that I don’t take the time to make for myself. It seems decadent to have a healthy meal prepared for me.

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  9. Randy

    Very timely and appreciated the perspective. I am about to embark on BLE for the first time, and I’m looking ahead at my calendar, my commitments, the weekends away, the gala charity dinner, Passover dinner with family, a 10 day vacation overseas, weekend guests coming to visit, and all I’m thinking is “How in God’s name is this going to work?? How the hell can I possibly succeed given my social schedule?” I am terrified this is going to be an epic fail. I know I’ve got this in my home, my kitchen, my dining room. All these other scenarios, I have zero faith I can pull this off. Truly frightened.

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    1. Kristin

      You’ll do fine, Randy! Just remember – protein, produce, & some fresh fruit. If you can’t weigh your food, just stick to sensibe portions & you’ll be fine. In my experience, even if you eat a little more of those things than you should, you won’t gain weight. As long as you avoid sugar & flour, you won’t be craving it. Have faith, my friend! You’re stronger than you know. 🙂

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    2. Diane

      It’s hard Randy and it still is after 3 years, but not as hard as it was at the start. Life opened up after the boot camp because there were social commitments that I wanted to participate in. It wasn’t the same vibe at these functions as before BLE, there was a sense of loss initially.It’s probably like any loss, you learn to live with it as time passes. For me it boiled down to what I wanted most… did I want a right sized body and better health or did I want to eat whatever, whenever, which lead me to being out of control in my eating? Health and the right sized body always win, so I do BLE. Good luck on your journey.

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    3. Bright Line Eating

      Randy, welcome to BLE. We are honored to support you in your journey and your concerns are totally valid and understandable. What you’ve expressed here are feelings that many (most?) of us in BLE have felt at some point. We would encourage you to dissect all your worries down to just one day and just one meal. That’s all you’ve got to focus on is the one meal before you.

      Here are some additional resources for you as well:

      Have Food Will Travel:

      Bright Line Eating on Vacation:

      Bright Line Eating on the Road:

      Lessons from a Cruise:

      We hope these resources help you in your preparations (both mentally and physically) and wish you a wonderful time and safe travels.


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  10. Beverly Fox

    I know the “hourglass being opened” feeling. I’d argue that restaurants have become friendlier places. I can remember a time when it was impossible to find a good sized salad on a menu.

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  11. Barbara

    I started BLE with the 14 day challenge on 1/31/20.. I had been seeking a program that would lower my A1C. Weight loss would be a bonus. I LOVE this way of eating!! My blood sugar is a lot lower when I check it. It seems like an answer to my prayer. Never felt better!! I know I may wake up one morning and feel like “I NEED SUGAR!” So far I feel like I can eat this way the rest of my life! Thank you Susan for this program.

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  12. Pam

    I wouldn’t say that my hourglass has opened all the way back out the way yours has, Susan, but I definitely know what you’re talking about. There’s something else that happens as well. When you’re in the throes of food addiction, and you’re in social situations with food around, the food has an almost magnetic attraction and occupies way too large a percentage of your mental bandwidth. You’re thinking, “Oh, that looks good… That, too… Can I get some of that? What if I take another one? Will anyone notice? What if I have thirds? When can I go back for more without standing out? What if they run out of the good stuff before I get there?” and on and on. You can’t be fully present in interacting with people when your mind is so distracted. When you’ve been doing Bright Line Eating for a while, those items begin to look like neutral, though potentially dangerous, inanimate objects. The last thing you’d want to do is have some momentary nibble that could bring the obsession back. You can enjoy your healthy meal, knowing that it’s within limits that won’t get you into trouble, and when it’s done, completely let go of food until your next mealtime. You’re free.

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  13. Bernice

    So I far I been doing well on my bright line eating. Eating out has been a challenge for me. So I stick to just eating salads and I have fruit on hand to complete my meal. Question: I been sick and my appetite wants me to eat more then normal. Is that normal? But I been good about weighing my food.

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    1. Bright Line Eating

      Hi Bernice! Thanks for your comment. So sorry you haven’t been feeling well. Illness definitely affects us all differently, some want more food (you know that term “comfort food”) and others want little to no food. When you’re under the weather, you could consider doing 3 breakfasts since those foods tend to be more palatable and easy on the stomach. You can also do some broth (8 ounces per serving) when you aren’t feeling well. 🧡🧡🧡

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  14. Denise

    No, I didn’t get there. I realize that you, Susan, have been doing this for 20+yrs, and I only did it for 3yrs, but never did I get to the place where I didn’t feel deprived. I did get to the place where I was resigned to feeling deprived, but the angst always remained with eating, whether in or out. I chose not to stay in the narrow part. Have I taken some of the Bright Lines with me? Yes. Am I more comfortable with my current adjustments? Yes. Am I losng weight? Yes. I will have to admit that the years spent living with BLE have made me more aware of what and how I am eating. I still weigh my food, but I do give myself a little more so I am not constantly feeling–not only deprived–but underfed. If I want something that would “break a bright line”, I do mentally weigh the consequences and move forward based on conscious decision. So I thank Susan and BLE for that.

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    1. Naomi

      Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! For saying this, Denise! I feel the same way! I have concluded that everything SPT describes is simply just HER experience. It doesn’t work this way for everyone. I also NEVER reached the freedom from food obsession I so desperately wanted to happen. I too also always felt deprived. It just didn’t work for me to keep all the BLs at once. I think this works IN THEORY. And maybe for certain ppl. But not all. It worked for weight loss no doubt, IF YOU CAN KEEP IT UP! it was not sustainable for me due to the deprivation feelings. And irresistible urges to binge that came sporadically. (Which never existed before)

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      1. Bright Line Eating

        Dearest Denise and Naomi, it sounds that you have both found what works for you and that is a wonderful thing and we are happy for you to have that. 🧡

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  15. Shawna

    I’ve experienced this exact situation! The feeling of eating with pure abandonment before bright line eating, and then the mourning of not eating constantly and hating life , and now the feeling of pure bliss and freedom! Hang in there if you are in the “pinch” of the hour glass . It will be worth it!

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