The 3 Huge Mistakes That Almost Everyone Makes When They Try To Lose Weight
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I’m a 60’s rebel who questions authority and I’ve never been able to just “follow the rules” without using my own internal “wisdom” to change a few things here and there. I spent most of my life as Executive Director of several non-profit public benefit groups, but for last fifteen years I’ve been a Life/Relationship Coach.
Although I wasn’t overweight until I hit my teen years, I remember being super focused on the acquisition of candy as a child. I’d even play with children I didn’t enjoy all that much because their moms had bowls of candy out in their homes. My mother didn’t have sugar products in our home except on holidays. I’ve been asked whether I think that may have driven me to my obsession, but I don’t think so. I think if she’d had sugar in the house I would have been obese.
In my teen years, my friends and I consumed copious amounts of food: candy bars, sodas, and all the fried foods and burgers we could get our hands on. I gained a lot of weight, and thus began my experiences with dieting.
I tried Weight Watchers back in the 1970’s. I couldn’t follow it long enough to lose any weight. I tried Slim Fast, fasting, Jenny Craig, the grapefruit diet, and kept going back to Weight Watchers after I’d fail at everything else. I believed that WW was the best diet, based on what doctors told me. Sometimes I’d get as far as losing 10 or even 20 pounds on WW, until my willpower stretched so thin it finally broke and I’d gain back every pound, plus another 5 or 10.
In the 1980’s I found Thin Within in the Bay Area, which Geneen Roth also bases her programs on. The theory that we needed to listen to our bodies, eat when hungry, and take the forbidden out of any particular food sounded good to me. To be honest, I did release more weight on that program than I’d ever done before and it led me to believe that moderation and listening to my body was the answer.
I don’t think I was insulin resistant yet or had pre-diabetes or metabolic syndrome, so eating a chocolate chip cookie with coffee for breakfast seemed to satisfy me. I found myself eating more vegetables and less junk when I listened to my body.
But gradually I gained my weight back and couldn’t seem to “stop when no longer hungry,” which that plan calls for. I thought I was always hungry, or at least my mouth and brain were always hungry. When I was under stress at work or in relationships, I’d abandon my organic produce and mung beans and head for Jack in the Box to hide in my car and eat their tacos, onion rings, and a shake or Dr. Pepper. I’d hide in my car to eat it all, feeling very happily rebellious.
I can’t count how many dozens of times I’d join Weight Watchers and a gym and vow that THIS time I was going to get to goal. But over the years, even though my diet got healthier, I eliminated fast foods and most processed foods, ate more vegetables, improved the quality of my sugar and flour products (premium organic ice cream, expensive fair trade chocolate, and bakery breads and pastries)—I still got fatter and fatter and fatter.
When I was 52 I was diagnosed as pre-diabetic; I already had tingling in my feet and stiffness in all my joints, hypertension (160/132), extremely high cholesterol (332 with the wrong HDL/LDL balance), high triglycerides, sleep apnea, insomnia, insulin resistance, and metabolic syndrome.
I felt such shame. I’d been able to change everything in my own life; I was instrumental in changing smoking policy at the federal, state and local level; I’d helped clients change their lives and relationships…and yet I was a failure at helping my own body.
I used to say that during the day I was a healthy, normal eater, but at night, some monster would take control of my brain and I had NO choice but to start stuffing my face with whatever comfort food was in the house. Thanks to Thin Within and Geneen Roth, I didn’t eat until my stomach hurt, but I ate much more than I wanted to…more than my body needed…more than I had control over.
Once, I gave up all sugar. I didn’t know enough to also give up Stevia or juice or dried fruit, and it had not occurred to me to give up flour as well. I lasted about six months just white knuckling it, but never lost my addiction.
My two best friends joined FA (Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous) and got to their goal weights, but I thought they were nuts. I envied them their lovely new bodies and all their great clothes, but I’m not a morning person and was not about to call some “sponsor” at 5:00 a.m. to report my food to them. I didn’t like the way the program sounded punishing. They talked about food no longer needing to taste good. I just didn’t think I’d ever follow that plan and ruled it out.
But I was feeling ashamed, hopeless, demoralized, frightened, old, stuck, and depressed about my health and my body. I had decided to just try to love it the way it was, and if I died soon of a stroke or heart attack, so be it. I did love my body—and I wanted to at least stop being ashamed of it, so I bought lovely clothes in a size 1X or 16/18 and hid myself behind beautiful jewelry, scarves, and flowing jackets.
I was resigned…until I saw Susan Peirce Thompson’s Food Freedom videos that someone had posted on Facebook.
The information about leptin receptors and our dopamine levels really got me. And finding out that I’m an 8 on The Susceptibility Scale™ answered so many things for me. From the moment I started I was determined to follow Bright Line Eating™ faithfully. A voice in my head told me to just obey the rules this time. My way hadn’t worked. This young woman knew of which she spoke. Shut up and do it her way.
And I did.
When my husband came home from work, I shared with him my decision and to my surprise he got on board as an active and enthusiastic cheerleader! He’d always stayed pretty neutral when I joined Weight Watchers or announced some other plan. This time, he helped me clean out our kitchen of all flour and sugar products; several weeks into the program he helped me get rid of all of my cookbooks and baking equipment, too. He’s been my #1 supporter and I’m so grateful!
The first few weeks on the program I was like a deer caught in headlights. I walked into our local co-op and, though I thought I was a healthy shopper before, I wasn’t sure what to buy or where to go. I was pretty nervous and terrified. I did have some cravings in the beginning, especially at night, but I just kept myself busy watching the videos in the Boot Camp modules and listening to what Susan said to do. I wrote my food plan down faithfully every night before bed; I participated in the Facebook group; I got a buddy and a mastermind group fairly soon; I was on every coaching call. In short, I surrendered to Bright Line Eating™ in a way I’d never surrendered to anything before.
I began to release weight and after about six weeks I also saw significant other changes. My blood pressure dropped dramatically, my fasting glucose rate came down to normal, I had energy, and I slept through the night.
Here are my lab test results six months before starting BLE:
Total cholesterol 323
Fasting Glucose 103
Blood pressure: 160/132
After achieving goal weight:
Total cholesterol 155
Fasting Glucose 84
Blood pressure 96/64
It’s been just over a year. I have never once broken the Bright Lines for sugar or flour. Not one little calorie’s worth. I was tempted many times, especially the first four months and a little during the holidays, but it’s gotten easier and easier and easier to say goodbye to my old drugs of choice.
I’ve struggled with meals and quantities, and I’m still working on those. I will say though that I am my happiest and feel the freest when I’m right on target with meals and quantities. Measuring my food now feels comforting. It quiets all of my mind-chatter. Eating three meals a day has also given me freedom. I had thought I needed six small meals because I’d been hypoglycemic or something, but that turned out to be a myth.
The food plan works. It really does. I’ve now been through three Boot Camps, the last two as part of the team that helps the Boot Campers. I’ve seen all the fear and all the doubts in hundreds of new Bright Line Eaters, and I’ve watched the program work for a vast majority of them. Eventually all of their “yeah, but”s get put to rest and they find success in surrendering to the program.
I remember the joy I felt when I got back to the weight I’d been when I got married, when I finally weighed less than what it said on my driver’s license, when I finally weighed less than my husband, when I weighed less than I ever had on any other diet…now I’m at goal and have never been here as an adult. Ever.
I’m no longer a person to lives to eat; I’m a person who eats to live.
I love feeling my rib bones and hipbones when I lie in bed. I adore finding new clothes and head right to the Small Petite’s in the store. Sometimes, I need to go into the Junior department because I’m so small. I fit nicely into airplane seats, don’t snore, and feel about thirty years younger. I’ve said many times that Susan and Bright Line Eating™ helped me save my life. That’s not an exaggeration. I am humble enough to know that while I look thin, I am still in recovery. I know who I am and I know what I am. I avoid unnecessary food cues and I stay close to the Mothership. And I feel truly Happy, Thin and FREE.
I love Bright Line Eating™ and am so thrilled to help share it with others in any way I can. I love all of you, too. This is a FABULOUS community and the support received from the staff and volunteers in BLE is unparalleled anywhere.
My deepest wish is for others to find this program and to achieve the success I know can be theirs. I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would be a thin person helping others find success. I am forever grateful.