Are you ready to find out if your brain is blocking you from losing weight?
Patricia Smith’s Story
When I was growing up, my family ate plain food with very little spices—usually proteins like chicken, hamburgers, and roasts on Sundays. Vegetables were peas, corn, carrots, and salads made with iceberg lettuce. We had Campbell’s soups and lots of grilled cheese sandwiches (1950s food!), and breakfast usually consisted of toast with peanut butter and jam, or Cheese Whiz, packaged cereals, or eggs once in a while. Dessert was typically Jell-O, puddings, upside-down cakes, or crumbles with some fresh fruit. My favorite after-school snacks were white bread with brown sugar and margarine or Cheez Whiz and crackers.
I don’t think there was as much known about nutrition in the 1950s. Packaged foods were introduced and became really popular. I remember the thrill of having fish sticks for the first time! Money was an issue when I was growing up, but there was enough to eat. We grazed throughout the day, and sitting and snacking while watching television was a daily practice.
I was aware as a young person that I had a problem with my weight. (Unfortunately, my peers were very good at reminding me.) My mother and grandmother would come up with plans to help me lose weight. I loved school, but I hated gym. I know all too well the experience of being the last one picked for the ball team, and I can acutely recall the embarrassment of changing in the girls’ locker room. As you might expect, my physical activity was limited.
I had a successful career as a Superintendent of Schools. In January of 2012, I retired to Mexico. At that time, I weighed at least 280 pounds. I don’t know my exact weight because I was afraid to get on a scale. I was worn out, discouraged, and felt hopeless about my weight and the associated health risks. I had tried so many times to lose the weight, but I would always gain it back and often gain even more.
Along my journey, I tried nearly every kind of weight loss program. Many of them tried to “motivate” participants using techniques that I now recognize as shaming. There were others that were severely restrictive, like eating only grapefruit or detox soup, or limiting calories to five hundred or less a day. I even took a weight loss drug with severe, brutal side effects.
I decided I had one primary goal in retirement: to reverse my medical conditions to the point where I could get off all the medications I was taking. At that point, I was taking medications for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and Type 2 diabetes.
I began to work with a nutritionist/naturopath and a personal trainer in addition to my medical doctor. I participated in water aerobics classes three times a week and set weekly walking targets for myself. I also started to eat healthier. These positive actions did help me lose weight. I ended up plateauing around 225 pounds and stayed there for a year and a half. I was discouraged because I had really believed that the combination of exercise and healthy eating would take off the excess weight.
Then came one fateful day in May of 2015. I woke up with resolve in my heart and even said out loud, “That’s it. I’m done! This excess weight has got to go!” Later that morning, when I checked my Facebook feed, there was a post from a friend with a link to Susan Peirce Thompson’s first Food Freedom video. I watched the video, and it spoke to my heart. I sensed the boundaries and structure that Bright Line Eating provided, along with the Online Support Community, were what I needed. I also liked that Bright Line Eating is based on psychology and neuroscience. That morning changed my life. To this day, every time I see that friend, I thank her for posting that video. My heart was willing and open that day, and my prayers were answered.
During the first few weeks of the program, I felt like the world was lifted from my shoulders. At that point, I was already eating cleanly—no sugar or flour and very few processed foods. What I realized quickly was that my snacking was my undoing. I told myself my snacks were healthy, so I didn’t limit my portions. I was eating way too much food. I was really excited to take on the routines and practices of the program. I was able to relax into them, and I found a sense of relief and calm around food and my choices.
I think because I had already eliminated sugar and flour, I did not experience any detox symptoms. At first, the prepping and cooking was daunting, but I quickly figured out how to make it work for my lifestyle. My commitment was solid and remained so throughout the program. I did find myself facing old fears as I neared closer to my goal weight, and my Bright Lines wavered, but thankfully, I was able to use the support network to get back on track.
I am proud to say that I am now entirely medication-free. My last victory was testing out of the diabetic category. That was a big day of celebration! I was finally able to apply for private health insurance, which had previously not been an option due to my medical conditions and my obesity.
I broke through one goal weight after another. The first milestone was getting under 200 pounds. When I moved past that, I set my next goal for 180 pounds. Then it was 150 pounds. There was a big difference with that goal, because it was the first time I knew for sure I would get there and I did. I have now reached what I believe to be my final goal weight of 132 pounds.
I use all of the tools that the program offers to ensure my success. It’s important to me to write down and commit my food the night before for the following day. I have to weigh and measure my food. It keeps me honest with myself and has become systematic. The Online Support Community is a powerful tool. Those people understand me and I understand them. We may come from many different backgrounds and have many different stories, but we share a common language and understanding when it comes to food, feelings, failure, pain, and shame. They are my tribe.
Becoming a member of a Mastermind Group deepened my understanding and connection in a profound way. I have established and maintained a daily meditation practice that keeps me centered and grounded. A daily gratitude journal reminds me of my blessings. I feel even more connected now as a Bright Lifer and a VIP poster for Boot Camps.
I now shop in regular stores, not plus-sized stores. I can pick clothes off the rack is sizes like small and medium. I will always remember the day a friend of mine gave me her sundress—a dress that I loved. I considered her tiny and the dress was a petite size, and it fit me! I am literally less than half of what I used to weigh. Think about that: I lost more weight than I currently weigh!
Most importantly, I am more calm, centered, and joyous. I’m a naturally happy person, but now there are continual moments of joy and gratitude for the wonder and delight of being alive. Instead of overeating to comfort myself, I’ve learned to make friends with my emotions. I use the tools I have to walk through what I’m feeling instead of stuffing it away.
I flourish with the knowledge that I’m in the best physical, mental, and emotional state of my life. I am healthy. I am strong and I feel fabulous. Who doesn’t want that for themselves?
I am more me, if that makes any sense. What goes on inside is more congruent with what I show on the outside. For so many years, it felt like there were two different personas operating simultaneously. Most times, I did not like who the inside person was or what they were saying about others and about me. Today I have integrity. I’m more present for others because I’m more present for myself.
I would encourage anyone giving Bright Line Eating a try to surrender to the program. Especially in the beginning, when it can be daunting to establish new routines and practices. Surrender, surrender, surrender…and with that comes trust, trust, trust. Bright Line Eating works. I have done it myself and seen it in so many others. What may at first seem restricting is in fact the key to your liberation and freedom. Susan Peirce Thompson and her Bright Line Eating team have my eternal gratitude for turning my life around.