Are you ready to find out if your brain is blocking you from losing weight?
Ellen Weinman’s Story
I think my food journey started at birth. I was born six weeks prematurely, weighing two pounds and eleven ounces. There are no pictures of me until I was about three months old because I looked like a “plucked chicken,” as my mother would tell me. The early pictures show a plump and happy baby, so I filled in quite nicely.
Fast forward to my pre-teens: I remember cleaning the dishes from the table by eating the leftover food on everyone’s plates. There was always dessert at dinner and sometimes treats later, like trips for ice cream and late meals out for Italian food. Being Jewish, food was the center of our lives. Birth, death, religious celebrations—they all revolved around food. I was a late baby. My brother and sister were six and eight years older than me, respectively, so we didn’t play together. I didn’t have many friends growing up and I spent a lot of time alone. Food was my friend, my comfort, my entertainment.
By the age of fourteen I weighed 150 pounds. I was not my full height yet (I am 5’5″), and I often wrote in my journal about how fat and unhappy I was. I remember my aunt offering to send me to a doctor, but I’m not sure if I refused or my parents declined. Either way, nothing changed and by the time I graduated high school I was up to 185 pounds.
Then my yo-yo dieting began—Weight Watchers, Lean Line, Medifast, Hollywood, cabbage soup diet, liquid diets, Atkins, Diamond—if I wasn’t dieting, I was overeating and binging in between. I also developed clinical depression and began using antidepressants on and off over the years. I was never able to get below 165 pounds before I gained it all back. I would think to myself, “Boy, that 150 pounds I weighed as a teen—I wish I could see that again!” The only time I kept the weight off for more than a couple months was after my divorce—revenge improvement! But of course that did not last either.
I remarried in 1988, weighing 189 pounds at the time. The yo-yo dieting continued, my cholesterol was not pretty, and I was noticing my A1c was creeping up. I was back on antidepressants and I was miserable. I tried Weight Watchers again in September 2015 and somehow (thank heavens!) came across the Susceptibility Quiz that Susan had released online. I watched the videos and knew I was a food addict (I am a 7 on the scale), but could not fathom giving up sugar and flour. As my Weight Watchers program progressed, I realized I was heading down the same old path, eating more and more “points” in the sugar and flour categories. So I took the plunge with the January 2016 Boot Camp.
I started Bright Line Eating at 171 pounds and hit my goal weight of 143 pounds on May 14, 2016. I was the most thrilled when I passed the 150-pound mark—a lifelong, fifty-year trek! I started at a size 16/18 and ended at 8/10. I lost a total of 16.25 inches and I look forward to celebrating my 63rd birthday in August as a Happy, Thin, and Free woman!
Have I been perfect? No. I’ve had many blips and did some “research” (eating off the food plan on purpose to see how I could handle it), but I’ve resumed every time. I love that the program is based on positivity, not punishment; you can start over and not wallow in sadness or hate—just “rezoom” with love. I think my connections on Facebook have been crucial to my success. My Mastermind group has really helped with getting past some “trips down the rabbit hole.” But what I love the most (besides my body!) is my brain freedom—peaceful, no cravings, no obsession over food. I only wish I found this ten years ago!
The coaching during the Boot Camp (and now in the Bright Lifers program) always provided me with some nuggets of useful information. It’s always interesting to hear about other people’s struggles and identify with them; it cements the unity I feel with them and also reinforces that I’m truly not alone in my journey.
From a medical standpoint, my bloodwork has improved (cholesterol, HDL, and LDL), my thyroid medication for hypothyroidism has been reduced, and I’m no longer taking antidepressants. I also haven’t needed to use the medication for my rosacea for almost a month.
I love the clarity, calmness, and peace in my brain. I love that I’m not thinking about food all day…that the voices which used to argue with me about what, when, and how much to eat, or negotiate with me, saying, “Eat this now and you can have that later,” are gone. I’m calmer in my life and some of the people around me have noticed how it has improved my work. Most importantly, I truly have begun to love myself, smile at my reflection, and express that self-love to others.
If you have any thoughts at all that you might have an addictive relationship with food—if you find yourself binging on food, if you hide your eating habits from others because you’re ashamed, if you find you think about food all day—you will most likely benefit from this program. As scary as it may seem to give up sugar and flour, I cannot emphasize enough how absolutely wonderful the feeling of freedom is when you lose the brain fog, the cravings, and the craziness around food. Simply put, it is the best decision I have ever made. After trying and failing diets for fifty years, I now know—absolutely know—I will never gain the weight back and I’ll be living my life Happy, Thin, and Free!