10 Lessons from Bright Line Eating

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I began doing Bright Line Eating in October of 2016, and as I’ve shared, I’m not really doing it anymore. At least not right now. And while I’ve been exploring a mindful eating approach to deepening my relationship with food, I have no regrets about my time spent in Susan’s amazing programs. I am endlessly grateful for the role that BLE and Susan’s programs have had in my journey.

In this post thought I would share the biggest lessons and tools that I took away from the Bright Line Eating programs and community. Here they are in no particular order.

Lesson #1: Hunger doesn’t have to be an emergency. 

Before Bright Line Eating, I used to experience overwhelming cravings, and urgent, all consuming hunger. I didn’t know that hunger was a sensation that could feel normal or okay. I didn’t know that I could reduce and eliminate most of my cravings and learn to experience them as fleeting thoughts that don’t require action.

I suspect that removing the sugar and flour from my diet stabilized my blood sugars to the point where I could experience normal, non-stressful hunger sensations in my body. Meditation also helped me with this by teaching me to create pause and spaciousness around my decisions, and to be able to choose rather than react. This lesson is where most of my freedom resides these days.

Lesson #2: I can get SO much more pleasure and satisfaction from deliciously prepared fruits, vegetables, fats, legumes, and whole grains than from processed foods, including sugar and flour. 

Seriously, scrambled eggs, fresh pesto, sautéd greens and mushrooms, and roasted potatoes… pure bliss. Way better than anything I used to overeat or binge on. A lovingly prepared and healthy meal tastes incredible, and I enjoy it so much more than when I used to mindlessly shovel a bowl of pasta into my mouth until I felt sick. There’s no joy in that.

Lesson #3: Daily, face-to-face connection with supportive people makes an immeasurable difference in literally everything in my life. 

The biggest lesson I learned in Susan’s recent Reboot Rezoom course was that connection and support are key. In my inner circle (shout out to my Marco Polo besties) we talk about everything, all day, every day. We support each other in deepening our relationships with food, furthering our career paths, making life decisions, handling relationships, facing fears, celebrating wins, folding laundry, all of it. I am so grateful to them every day for their guidance, love, and support.

Lesson #4: Foods with lots of sugar and flour don’t make me feel very good.

So, at this point you maybe wondering: am I eating sugar and flour? Not really. I find that I don’t want it. I don’t like how it makes me feel both mentally and physically. Will I eat a little bit in foods that call to me on occasion? Sure. Do I put a little bit of honey in my tea once in a while? Do I eat a few squares of dark chocolate every once in a while? Do I eat quinoa pancakes for dinner once in a blue moon? Yes, and I love it. Does it send me into a cycle of cravings, food thoughts, and binging? So far, no. If I do eat a little bit of flour or sweetener, I seem to do fine with small amounts in combination with lots of veggies, fruits, proteins, and fats.

I’ve become too attuned to and aware of how my body feels to put large amounts of junk into it. I don’t have any tolerance for how highly processed foods make me feel, physically or emotionally. My standard for feeling healthy and well is too high to want anything less than an abundance of whole, real foods. I have also come to associate the food that I put into my body as a symbol of self respect, and Bright Line Eating taught me that I was capable of treating myself with care and respect with the food that I put in my mouth.

Lesson #5: Healthy portion sizes.

I now believe that the reason I had been struggling with my food and weight with before I found Bright Line Eating wasn’t entirely food addiction, but also the fact that I gotten to adulthood and never learned what healthy eating looks and feels like. 

The messages I got about food from my family and culture growing up were messages about how the purpose of food was pleasure, comfort, and connection with other people, and nothing about how food can be used to nourish the body and promote health and well being. That relationship and history with food, plus the ridiculous amount of indulgent “food” in our environment that is literally designed for people to become addicted to and crave it, was the perfect recipe for arriving into adulthood overweight, frustrated, and confused about why.

Putting my food on a digital food scale for a couple of the years was extremely instructive, not to make sure my portions were small enough, but to make sure that the quantities of healthful foods such as fruits, veggies, legumes, and whole grains were big enough. I don’t weigh my food anymore, but if I notice my portions have been gradually growing, I will weigh my food a couple of days to recalibrate my eyeballs and intuition. This for me is such a helpful tool.

Lesson #6: Tight pants and weight creeping up is not an emergency.

We’ve all had those days where our pants feel tight. For me, my thoughts on those days have always included lots of self-criticism, guilt, and shame. I used to assume that on that day, even though my pants still fit, that I was now on an irreversible backslide and might as well give up on everything and just gain all my weight back.

When I actually think about that thought, it’s illogical and crazy. The reality is that nobody can tell that my pants feel tight that day, and nobody cares. And I didn’t gain all my weight back that day. It’s just my body’s feedback that there’s been some excess in my caloric intake. And it IS reversible! So easily reversible! I’ve found that it takes just 1 or 2 days of weighing my food to drop right back into my desired weight range. Just like that. Easy. The BLE tools are powerful. And because I’ve come to trust that food plan, and the action of putting my food on the scale if I need to, I have lost all of my fears about gaining weight. Now THAT is a beautiful lesson learned.

Lesson #7: My food choices directly affect my physical, emotional, and mental well being. 

Through BLE I’ve learned how the food that I put in my body is connected to my physical and emotional state. I have become finely tuned, and know what foods give me vitality and boundless energy, and which ones make me feel foggy, sluggish, and even emotionally unstable.

Lesson #8: I am the highest authority on what I need and want to do with my food. I am self responsible. 

In the Reboot Rezoom course, Susan was handing out permission left and right for everyone to do whatever serves them. There are no Bright Line Eating police, and everyone is self responsible. There is no good, bad, right, or wrong when it comes to food. There’s just self-knowledge, and what we choose to do to take care of ourselves knowing what we know about our own tendencies and histories with food.

Lesson #9: I am capable of maintaining a healthy adult weight, and living in a body that makes me feel self-expressed and joyful.

Because I have been. And it’s great.

Lesson #10: I’m not a food addict, and I can learn to trust myself.

Fully taking on the identity of a food addict did serve me for a while. It allowed me to fully surrender to the tools and behaviors in the BLE program, and that surrender allowed me to see what a different lifestyle and way of relating to food could look like. It provided me a hard reset that I really needed in order to make real, long-term changes to my behavior.

But I eventually outgrew that identity, and I stopped believing that something about my brain was broken. I chose to adopt the belief instead that healing was available, and that addressing and fixing the fundamental problems in my relationship with food was possible.

Today, I have learned to trust myself around food again. I’m currently exploring some of the principles and ideas of movements such as Intuitive Eating and Mindful Eating. (Which are very different by the way, I used to think that they were the same thing). I am endlessly fascinated by this journey, and remain joyful and curious about where it will lead me next.

What have been your biggest lessons?

35 Comments

  1. Donna Maher-Mielzynski

    Loved this 100%. See! You are taking us along for the “middle path” journey just fine! You’ve articulated what many of us have and are experiencing having learned from our own journeys with Bright Line Eating – knowledge, discipline, focus, healthy eating, etc. We’ve learned a lot! And it will serve us for the rest of our lives as we find our personal version of happy, thin and FREE. We can still be a tribe together! Thanks, Katie. 🌷 Donna

     
  2. Terry Nunez

    Thank you for sharing your list Katie, I particularly agree with #5🌹

     
  3. yes, agree! I was exploring both mindful eating and intuitive eating before starting with this and that is my goal. I am not doing BLE 100% since I cannot eat that much at a meal and all that effort to be mindful does not allow me to simply stuff myself to sickness. I want to stick with the no sugar and flour (mostly) but also want to monitor my hunger and fullness and not force feed. Have any ideas on mindful vs. intuitive?

     
  4. Sara Kaufman

    Great stuff. Ty for sharing so honestly and openly. You provide strength to us all. Thank you

    Sent from my iPhone

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  5. SUSAN DEAN

    I’ve read your posts for years. This one makes so much sense. You go girl… and thanks for your insights and motivational words. Susan Dean

    Sent from my iPhone

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  6. Rose Henderson

    Love your post Katie, and would like to join your tribe. Perhaps I already have! My only negative about BLE is the perfectionist thinking that caused my overeating in the first place: “not one baby carrot more than I have planned and weighed”. I love No 6. As someone who lost 30 lbs, regained it and lost it again since starting BLE in 2016, I am finding compassion in the gains rather than panic that my brain will not help me. Grateful to Susan and BLE. Grateful for the friendships that have emerged. Grateful for learning to love this body and this practised way of thinking new thoughts around food.

     
    • Sherry Seher

      Rose Henderson,
      Yes , the rigid perfectionism also did not resonate with me ! I rebel at that ! For a lifelong plan to succeed for me, I need some flexibility, or I tend to drop the whole program, which is also not wise of me ! And yet, within Susan’s structure, she did a vlog about just consuming an apple without any measurement, knowing that apples can vary greatly in size and shape ! I found that to be contradictory within other her other paradigms and rather confusing, though also freeing !

       
  7. Thanks, Katie, for sharing your thoughts about the process and how it all relates to YOU. I’ve been in BLE for almost 2.5 years and have bigger challenges–my body really wants to hang onto the weight, so my “maintenance” is at a heavier place than I would like, and I have to be very careful about my choices even within BLE because I struggle with hunger in this weight range. But I used to weigh more than 100 pounds more than I do now, and in my journey, which has included a 12-step component for more than a decade, I am discovering my own “sweet spot” of freedom and balance. For me that means discovering that the food itself was my biggest problem, and I’m not in such desperate need of the 12-step work. And that’s a good realization, too. I’ve been living in this weight range for more than a year now and am living a miracle!

     
  8. Beautifully said! I would like to explore the intuitive—mindful eating. I will continue to stay with the no sugar/no flour Bright Lines. And like you, I don’t weigh everything always as I use the same plate and eat a whole food rotation so I know what my portion size should be and like you, I weigh everything for a couple of days to get back on track as needed. I am grateful for the BLE as it taught me meditation skills and gave me simple 4 ways to make the changes I needed — lifestyle changes I could embrace. Honestly, YOU led me to BLE as I followed you for 6 or more months before signing up for Boot Camp. Your enthusiasm and easy guidelines into BLE meals encouraged me to do the BC. And I am so looking forward to following your lead on the intuitive-mindful path! Hugs!

     
  9. I love this list Katie!! Thanks for sharing. You and I started boot camp the same time and I lost 70 pounds. I found the program easy to follow til I hit my goal weight and started maintenance. Then I started questioning whether this could be a lifestyle I could maintain and decided I needed some freedom around food. I’m looking forward to your post on mindful and intuitive eating.
    Love,
    Christy

     
  10. Rose Riedel

    Thank you Katie for your open communication and encouragment.

     
  11. Sherry Seher

    Hi Katie!
    From the beginning, I have felt that Susan’s approach had a basic “ fear of food “ core , and that may be very valid in her individual case, though her promotion of vegetables as a key part of a meal consumption , as well as portion control, has made all of the difference in my food orientation ! After many diets over the years, I knew that veggies played a vital role in weight loss, due to their low calorie content with high nutritional value, but no other plan suggested consumption of sooo many of them daily ! While I no longer include 20 ounces, I am still mindful of choosing a generous veggie serving as my foundation first before making my prior meal plan thinking of all protein ( I am a carnivore ) and starch, with a small side of a veggie and only because “ it is good for me” mentality !
    I am forever grateful to Susan and still follow her plan somewhat loosely, and always shall, as she has opened my eyes as to what food group is necessary to me as a volume eater ( which even my hubby has observed ) and how to get rid of the incessant cravings and feelings of needing to keep stuffing my face with food, which has a real physical basis, and not necessarily an emotional one ! So many other plans assume that people overeat for emotional reasons only, and I used to find that to be so annoying ! Yes, I admit to a certain element of that at times, but not on a day to day basis ! Susan has freed me from that !
    Is my brain broken ? Perhaps, but I agree with your newer identity, a healing one, which is a far more positive slant. I am also grateful to Susan for the whole identity concept, something that I had not consciously considered. It does make avoiding harmful foods that do not serve me that much easier to turn down, both within my own thinking, and as other people get to know that “ Sherry doesn’t eat that “ ! Thank you for your honesty and courage to express your true feelings! You are not alone in what you are self observing and in where you are finding growth !
    I also eat 4x a day. Going from noon to a 7 PM dinner is a plan for making me miserable, ravenous and grumpy ! I refuse to to live that way ! Again, finding and doing what works for me within Susan’s general outline. I do not wish to impose my ideas on anyone else, but rather just express what is necessary for what works for me .
    Sorry for the rant, it is something that I have felt the need to express since I started with Susan’s approach last Autumn .

     
  12. Melissa Blackwell

    I am so happy for you and the lessons you learned. As someone just starting out- I have learned that whole real food can be pleasurable and satisfying. I am starting to not obsess about food which frees my mind and my awareness to work on other areas of my life. I love that and for the first time in the last 30 years I feel free. I appreciate your menus they have inspired me to try new foods which I know love. Thank you!

     
  13. Anonymous

    Thank you Katie. I have been struggling with some of these questions lately. Its good to have your perspective. 🙂

     
  14. At this point, my biggest take-away from BLE/ReZoom is the self-compassion I have about the various Parts of me, in their attempts to help me be happy (e. g., the Indulger saying “you so deserve a cookie”).

     
  15. Myra Ronan

    I am just starting my BLE journey so sticking closely to the plan. I am, however, enjoying reading your insightful and thoughtful comments. No telling what I may face in the future. Grateful right now for the freedom I am starting to feel about food decisions.

     
  16. Thank you Katie. That was very focused and helps me to articulate for myself where I am. I do know that my health, self care which includes exercise and rest along with good choices profoundly affects my eating and my energy.
    I am learning to take care of myself better and I still rely on much of the BLE program and at the same time find myself leaving behind the “addict” label. I too am in transition and still am enjoying the journey….For me it really is so much more than food.

     
  17. Hi Katie,

    I have loved both of your posts-I so appreciate your honesty and your journey with BLE. I am still on weight loss but already know that after I have been through weight loss, and likely maintenance for a period of time I will add foods that are not allowed on the BLE food plan, they are traditional foods in our indigenous ways (such as acorn flour and mesquite flour)here in California. I am a strong advocate of incorporating traditional foods back into our diets. I find the support and food plan are incredibly beneficial in showing me what sustains my body and I’ve lost nearly 50 lbs in less than 5 months. I have more to go. I am forever thankful to have found BLE. Ultimately, the path is our own personal path.

     
  18. Sharon Kopenski

    Perfect. You’re speaking the truth for so many of us. Thanks for putting it in words and validating what I feel

     
  19. Thank you! I think your post is timely, in line with a group that’s starting up in BL’ers…for those who are lower on the SS. I hope you will still keep making meals that are measured BLE style though? I I #love your recipes!!!

     
  20. MarSea Burton

    Katie I’m struggling big and have never got on for whatever reasons. I did lose
    Weight on the FA plan but could never get back going again. I am struggling in a lot
    Of areas in my life and just broken. I am not sure what I’m supposed to learn
    About all of this time maybe it’s just to let go.
    I do want to say I value your help and input it does give me hope and for this and
    You I’m grateful.
    Please keep sending your emails and more importantly your thoughts it is
    Sleeping in.
    Hugs
    MarSea

    Sent from my iPad

     
  21. I studied intuitive eating before BLE too, but it didn’t acknowledge food addiction or the addictive effects of processed foods, and it wasn’t helping me reach my health goals, not in an actionable concrete and helpful way, but I can see it helping others in a different situation than me. I like to think of a BLE as training wheels for a healthy lifestyle, as well as a safety net. I am sticking to it 100% until I get down to goal weight, because I know that’s the fastest and easiest way to get there, but I also hope to be more intuitive at some point in the future since I believe that is the ideal way to live. Who knows, I may never graduate to a big-girl bike and that’s okay. I know if IE doesn’t work BLE is a safe place to land. I have learned so much and feel so empowered. My biggest thing I’ve realized after being free from the effects of processed foods is that I can either give up my power and live for food letting it jerk me around, or I can use my power to choose life by choosing life-sustaining foods in the right amounts. It makes the small decisions pretty easy when I’m in charge and remembering what I’m living for. Thank you for your contributions to the BLE world, your inspiring example, and for your honesty and transparency and thoughtful insights. (btw, I am @just.a.nibble on Instagram)

     
  22. thiswellseasonedlife

    Katie, Thank you so much for writing this post. It comes across as so very heart felt and sincere. I really appreciated it and look forward to seeing the direction you take your stuff! I wrote a review of my time in BLE but I took a different approach. I’d love to know if it resonates with you (or anyone else who happens to read this comment.) Here’s the link: https://thiswellseasonedlife.com/bright-line-eating-reviews/ Thanks for inspiring us to keep growing. – Andrea

     
  23. Suzanne Mcconnaughey

    I relate to your comments. I made millet cakes this morning with 4 oz cooked millet, 1 egg, 1 oz almond flour and 1/4 teas baking powder. Cooked in 1 tbs ghee. Ate it with frozen cherries and a tbs of maple syrup. It didn’t trigger cravings.

     
  24. Helen Glitsos

    Thank you so much for this intuitive post Katie, I loved reading it! I discovered you 2 years ago when I started my BLE journey (forever grateful to Susan for opening my eyes), I love your recipes (even though I’m a carnivore) and your insightful blogs, which are so relatable to me. Lessons #7, #9 and #10 (food addict is something I’ve never been able to accept) are my favourites and I can relate to all your lessons. Now that I’m close to goal I am keen to learn more about about how to live my life with a more mindful and intuitive relationship with food. Thank you, I can’t wait to read and learn more about the next steps in your journey, Helen xx

     
  25. Mary McHargue

    Support, support, support. I can not begin to describe how important that is for me. I did not know how much I needed it until I had it. My Mastermind group is still meeting weekly and connecting in-between calls with texts of encouragement almost daily.

     
  26. Gabriella Cassano

    I am a fairly newcomer to Bright Line Eating. I wonder what are the daily amounts for the program for a man? Are they different portion sizes?

     
    • Hi! Yes, the food plan has slightly larger portions for men. You’ll have to consult the book or BLE programs for the exact food plan, I’m not allowed to share it.

       

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