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Perfectionism vs. Optimalism

A few days ago, I was on the Bright Lifers’ Accountability Call, and I coached a woman I hadn’t heard from in years whom I’d helped many times in the past. The last time I’d talked with her, she was really struggling, so I was delighted to hear that she was in her Bright Body now and maintaining her weight pretty effortlessly. But then she shared that she is still profoundly confused about her food and about what to eat. Watch the Vlog to hear how I walked her through her challenge.

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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  1. Lily Caldwell

    What an amazing vlog this is! I have to constantly remind myself that I am a food addict. I cannot eat one bite off my plan without dire consequences (binge eating). Thank you, Susan!

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  2. Jo Lynn

    Amazing vlog!!! Thank you, Susan! I really needed this. Just this week when I write my food, I’ve started writing at the top of the page “100% BRIGHT (The Main Thing!)” I feel like this is a BIG shift in my thinking – a shift toward optimalism. It has been a HUGE relief!

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  3. James

    Interesting points. However, I am neither a perfectionist nor an optimalist and generally do not think in those terms – I am a responsibility avoiding, procrastinating lump. What I find most useful in your work is the explanation and exploration of dopamine circuits and dopamine down regulation and automaticity. Those are what will solve the world’s obesity epidemic. I would do anything to help in that advocacy. I think I joked once there should be a cabinet position called BLE Czar. My weight gaining behavior is beyond the reach of “willpower”, of rational decision making, of shaming, of threats, of perfectionism. My cardiologist who I imagine has never had a weight problem, looks at me in confused skepticism when I try to explain my own powerlessness against compulsive eating. I am 60 by the way. I am a passenger in a vehicle with no control, no influence over the direction or the journey at all. From Mar – Aug 2018, I had great success with BLE – it was a miracle (80lbs down)- cholesterol: normal, diabetes: gone, high blood pressure: managed – no drugs needed. And like miracles, it was inexplicable – which did and does make me very nervous – People would ask “how have you lost so much weight?” – I would respond with information about Bright Line Eating and also – I have no idea why it’s so easy and works so well. For some reason which I still can’t explain, I went off the rails in Sep 2018 – increased stress maybe, boredom, fear of success, not recognizing myself – and gained 70 of the 80 back by Christmas and the other 10lbs over the next 2 years – I try to explain it in terms of psychology and things I perceive to be under my control. I have come to the conclusion that as long as I keep the dopamine circuits deactivated, I’m good. It took me 34 months to get back on the BLE horse – In those intervening nearly 3 years, I kept a food journal, weighed my food, laid out the next day’s food on the night before and nearly every day, I would lose control after 7pm or 8pm and load up on all the usual things – ice cream, chips, candy, cookies, cake, or healthy food in far too large quantities. i.e. complete disregard for all 4 bright lines. As I say I have been back on BLE since early July 2021 and I’m down 31lbs so far and feeling very strong and confident – why though? I know the dopamine circuits that are responsible for compulsive eating are turned off – I have no cravings, no cravings at all – it’s not a struggle – it’s effortless. as mysterious as 3 years ago. I don’t know if I’ve learned anything – or if what I want to know about my situation is known by neurologists with enough detail and specificity to help me. Words of encouragement are not helpful – it feels right to encourage and support people who are struggling BUT it is the on/off switch in the dopamine circuits with leptin and ghrelin playing their supporting roles, I imagine, that make BLE work. I look forward to your new book in December.

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  4. Ameesha

    This was a much needed blog. The whole food scenario can be overwhelming specially for me as I am not good at meal planning or eating with discipline.

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  5. Sherri Healey

    Susan you are amazing. You always give me so much to think about. I have struggled with perfectionism my whole life and it can be so debilitating at times. I like the idea of being optimal instead of perfect. I’m going to sit with this and get curious about it. Thank you for all you do!

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  6. Chris

    You just made sense of all the confusion in my head. I have been struggling with this exact problem. However, I still need to get into my bright line body. Do you suggest working with someone who has this issue or someone without it?

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  7. Ann

    I have another solution…. hire a private chef to prepare all the meals 🙂 wouldn’t that be nice.

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  8. Rebecca Moss

    Particularly relevant and insightful topic. Thank you.

    Reply ·
  9. Nancy

    Susan You knocked this one out of the park! I have been following you closely for years, but this for me was your best weekly vlog yet. Thank you so very much… You have given me a lot to think about, and a lot to acknowledge within myself. Thank you thank you! You are such a blessing to the world! Love, Nancy

    Reply ·
    1. Bright Line Eating

      Thank YOU so much, Nancy! Appreciate you watching each week and for the kind words. 🧡🧡🧡🧡🧡

      Reply ·
  10. Dawn Johnson

    Thank you for this Pod sure needed it. Been struggling with the yoyo weight can’t get it under control.

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  11. Wendy

    So much knowledge and wisdom in this vlog. Thank you.

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  12. Don B

    Great presentation. You offer so much good advice and guidance that I look forward to your next one.

    Reply ·
  13. Carol

    Great vlog! Thank you!

    Reply ·
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You are viewing this website in English and our Membership materials are currently only available in English. We have a goal to translate the Membership into many other languages as soon as possible, but for now, if you join the Bright Lifers Membership, please note that our programs will be delivered in English.

Important note!

You are viewing this website in English and our Membership materials are currently only available in English. We have a goal to translate the Membership into many other languages as soon as possible, but for now, if you join the Bright Lifers Membership, please note that our programs will be delivered in English.

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