The 3 Huge Mistakes That Almost Everyone Makes When They Try To Lose Weight
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I participated in the October 2015 Bright Line Eating™ Boot Camp. I lost 15 pounds, reaching my goal weight in six weeks while losing over three inches in my chest and waist, and over two inches in my hips. I am a stay-at-home parent, homeschooling my two kids in Seattle, Washington.
Growing up, and throughout college, I was fit and trim, but I had hypoglycemic symptoms and years of an irritated stomach, and discovered these unpleasant symptoms were greatly improved by eating foods with flour in them and keeping food in my stomach. This led to the habit of eating too often, too much, and making food choices based on how foods affected my stomach and energy.
For ten years after college I commuted and worked a desk job as a mechanical engineer and software developer. Over this time I slowly gained weight until I reached my highest weight of 184 pounds. I repeatedly tried to start exercise programs and learn more about healthy diets to become fit and trim again. My diet did improve over time, but I had little success with weight loss or regular exercise. I didn’t feel like myself, and was very unhappy with my weight.
In 2001 I decided to try the Body-for-LIFE program, which prescribes exercise and six small meals six days per week, with one free day. On the free food day I was unable to keep myself from overeating everything I’d been craving all week to the point of feeling ill each time. Still, in spite of my free day binging, I lost 30 pounds, dropped down to 154, and tripled my strength at the gym. But I didn’t continue with the diet after the program, and the exercise fell away before long. A year and half later I quit my desk job to stay home with my kids.
Gradually my weight started to yo-yo, going up 5 to 10 pounds in the fall and winter, which is Seasonal Affective Disorder season in Seattle, and managing to drop down in the spring using a three-week cleanse. I became more and more aware of how little choice I sometimes felt in what or how much I ate. I developed a strong interest in eating a Whole Foods Plant-Based/Vegan diet, but found it very difficult to implement, probably because I lacked the structure for food planning and prep, and the time required to prepare all of the food. I also didn’t particularly enjoy the recipes I found through Dr. Fuhrman, and neither did my family. Preparing two separate meals was a no-go. I tried going completely vegan for six months and it ended in adrenal fatigue and a leaky gut crash. I had been running on too little sleep and too much coffee for a while before that—it seemed clear to me my vegan diet was the difference that caused the crash.
During the winter of 2014-2015 I gained more weight than usual. Spring and summer passed with my energy and mood lower than usual and completely failing to improve my diet, accomplish a three-week cleanse, or otherwise lose the weight as I had before. I knew I needed to make a change, I just couldn’t manage to do it.
When I first heard of Bright Line Eating™ and watched the Food Freedom video series, I found Susan Peirce Thompson’s story, knowledge, and the information she presented highly compelling. The fact that BLE is based on the latest psychology and neuroscience of sustainable weight loss was grounding. Of all this, I was most strongly affected by Susan’s description of the negative psychological effects of observing ourselves failing with food day after day, bite after bite—the resulting self-attacks, lack of personal integrity, hopelessness, and despair. I cried my way through the video series.
In the fall of 2015 I joined the Bright Line Eating™ Boot Camp and now I have the success with my food, my weight, and my health that I had so long been trying for.
At first making a food plan and writing it in my food journal each night was hard. Figuring out how foods matched up with the food plan and figuring out what to eat was also hard. But I experienced a deep inner commitment to staying perfectly within the Bright Lines, perhaps from resonating so strongly with Susan’s information about personal integrity and the negative psychological effects of failing with food. This got funny a few times in the beginning, for example when I wrote in my food journal how many ounces of spring mix salad I would eat the next day for dinner and then discovered what an enormous mountain of spring mix this was. It must have taken me the better part of an hour to munch down that salad. But I kept my promise to myself, comically massive salad or not.
By halfway through the Boot Camp, organizing food and keeping my food journal was much easier—I understood the food plan and have a variety of meals and foods I can eat. I found the simpler preparation and arrangement of whole foods in Bright Line Eating™ much easier and much less time consuming than anything I had tried before and I can easily integrate it with feeding my family.
Week after week I steadily lost weight. I started at 163, thinking that my goal weight was 155. But at 155 I still felt chubby and kept going. As I passed 150 in the fifth week I started adding food until I finally stabilized my weight at 148 by eating quite a sizeable maintenance food plan. I lost 15 pounds, losing over three inches in my chest and waist, and over two inches in my hips.
My long-term brain fog cleared up very early and has never returned. I felt weak but not tired during the weight loss phase. In fact, I easily switched to all decaf coffee, whereas I’d previously used caffeine and eating to prop up my energy throughout the day. A few weeks into the Boot Camp my blood sugar stabilized and I started experiencing the new and odd feeling of steady energy all day long.
I love to weigh my food. I feel such great ease in knowing I am, every meal and every day, eating exactly the right amount of healthy food. Without my scale I would live back in the land of crazy, always wondering if I’m getting the right amount of food. Should I have more? Is this too much? Am I losing weight? Gaining weight? Occasionally I will scoop too much cooked oatmeal into my breakfast bowl and it will occur to me to leave it there and have a little extra this morning because I know it won’t affect my weight at all. And then my mind starts to wind up—should I? Shouldn’t I? Will it matter? Will it lead to more? Instantly it’s obvious how quiet my mind usually is and how messing with the formula is a quick trip to crazy land. No way do I want anything to do with that. It doesn’t affect my weight—it affects my mind. Out comes the bit of extra oatmeal, and I go back to the quiet land of freedom.
So thin, clearly. Free, certainly. But happy? I’ve long fallen in and out of episodes of depression, for a day, a week, a month, or longer. I’ve always remained functional, thankfully, but certainly I have known that heavy hopelessness and despair that moves in uninvited and stays as long as it wants. In recent years I’d been more and more affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder symptoms in the fall and winter. This winter, since Bright Line Eating™? Nothing. I’m not happy all the time, and I certainly feel a wide range of emotions, but since I started Bright Line Eating™ they all just seem like regular emotions, not a whiff of depression or SAD. And for that I am very, very happy.
Sometimes I feel a little pull now and then from non-BLE foods—especially from foods the other experts recommend as healthy, like smoothies, juice, kombucha, or recipes packed with super nutrients, but I quickly remind myself they’re tickets for a quick trip back to a life I don’t want to live anymore.
Food used to feel heavy and take up lot of room in my life. Now it feels right-sized, light, and happy. I used to experience too much self-attack, a sense of failure, and a feeling that I was living someone else’s life in someone else’s body. Now I feel a sense of integrity. I feel successful. I feel like I’m living life as the best version of myself.
I have spent all of my adult life trying to implement a lifestyle that gives me the body and health that I desire long-term. I was never successful until Bright Line Eating™. This program delivers a diversity of information and support to provide all of us unique individuals with the keys we need to be successful. BLE is comprehensive, potent, and effective. It was hard for me in the beginning and required time, effort, and the commitment to being unstoppable—to just stay in the game and keep going. Now it is easier than I ever imagined food and eating could be. I have finally, after much searching, found my way home.
Thank you, Susan Peirce Thompson! I am so deeply grateful to you, your team, and everyone in the community who supports BLE. I hope that by participating in the Goal Weight Gallery, I can contribute to others trying and being successful with Bright Line Eating™. Thank you so, so much!