A review of Bright Line Eating

In my first post, I compared my experience of other diets with Bright Line Eating. In the next, I talked about the surprises I encountered with BLE.

Now, I want to review what it’s like in more detail. Probably people searching for info on a new “diet” will be looking for meal plans, or the “Bright Line Eating Food List.” You can follow any eating style with Bright Line Eating: dairy free, gluten free, vegan, omnivore. In fact, the founder doesn’t even claim that the basic food plan is intrinsically healthy. You can choose to eat Italian sausages, or you can choose to eat Tempeh.

The basis of the program is not just the food, and if you focus on that you’ll be missing the point of Bright Line Eating.

In this post, I’ll talk about the Bright Lines and meal planning so you can know what it’s like if you’re thinking about it.

  • The Four Bright Lines.
  • BLE is more than a diet – it is rewiring your brain.
  • Why there are no exceptions.
  • Breaking Bright Lines and Rezooming.
  • Meal Planning: What to do.
  • Meal Planning: What not to do.
  • Find your Automatic Breakfast.

The Four Bright Lines

There are four Bright Lines you do not cross in Bright Line Eating.

  • No Sugar includes no sweeteners and no dried fruit or smoothies.
  • No Flour includes wheat flour, rice flour, or whatever pulverised into such a fine powder that it spikes your insulin.
  • Meals means strict meal times. Usually three meal times for most people.
  • Quantities mean measured amounts in specific categories. Buy the book for the specifics! I liked the audiobook.

No sugar: I didn’t have a sugar sweet tooth as much as an addiction to flour. I didn’t take sugar in my coffee or tea. Though I did notice, I was used to having a biscuit with my tea in the afternoon. I had to cut out the tea and boom the craving was gone because the cue was gone. Probably most of my sugar intake was in alcohol before. And dark chocolate. The hardest thing for me is to give up beer. I love beer. Alcohol is sugar. And unfortunately, it gives rise to cravings for snacks also. Even “just one beer” would give me cravings. Sadly, it has to go.

No flour: This has been my main attraction. Bread, cereal, crackers, etc. This is where I experienced cravings. Funny enough, I don’t think I ever found cereal as a breakfast at ALL satisfying. I always had two bowls of cereal. Never one. One was just like, what is that? Toast was just something I ate WHENEVER. Same with crackers. All of my “snacks” were flour-based. I didn’t know how addictive they were until I started to eliminate them. The cravings I get for flour based snacks are so strong they hurt.

Meals: This was the first thing I was able to tackle. Having my husband’s support has been super helpful. We cut out the evening snack time, and we eat at regular times, AT THE TABLE. No more forgetting to eat lunch and wandering down to the kitchen like a ZOMBIE at 3 pm and eating crackers and cheese standing up at the counter. No more TV dinners!! And it instantly helped my sleep, as I mentioned in my previous post.

Quantities: I was amazed at the size of the portions. I could see others relate to this. They would find the dinners positively enormous. If they were like me, they used to have smaller dinners to justify some TV snacking. Measuring is so easy at home. Being able to calculate the quantities needed for our meals ahead of time means less chance of wasting produce. You know exactly what you need and don’t need anymore. Saving money is one of the first surprises I experienced with Bright Line Eating.

BLE is more than a diet – it’s how to get the controls away from auto-pilot

None of this would make sense to someone who didn’t have an addiction to sugar or flour. My husband didn’t understand why I have to not taste my food as I cook. My sister doesn’t understand why I have to weigh out everything I eat.

I was a sceptic too, that “food addiction” was even a thing. My friend Sharon, who got me into BLE, told me that certain drinks would signal strong cravings. It’s not that I didn’t believe her, but I didn’t understand it at all. Now, after tuning in more to my body, I know exactly what she means. For example, I recognised when I had a cup of tea, I would crave just… a little SOMETHING. Because I always had a biscuit with tea. I can have plain black coffee, no bother! So I cut out the tea. No more afternoon cravings, voila!

My husband is totally different from me. He never gets cravings for food. I would constantly get weird cravings for food, and I wouldn’t shut up about them until I got them. It would usually be something very very specific. Not just an ice-cream, but a special type of named brand. He could go to the shop, and stick to the list with no trouble. If I went grocery shopping, we’d easily spend more money because I’d be chucking all sorts of things “off-list” into the cart.

If you’re curious how susceptible you are you can take this quiz here. That also gets you on a mailing list with lots of good articles!

Most people know what is right or wrong to eat. The problem lies in bridging the knowledge-action gap. I love how Mel Robbins described it. Motivation is garbage, it’s never there when you need it. You have to grab the controls away from the auto-pilot to change your behaviour. 

Bright Line Eating is more than just these bright lines and the meal planning. You cannot grab the meal plan and go. There are also other tools such as tracking behaviours in the Nightly Checklist. (Side note: I use a bullet journal, and I’m tracking my 4 bright lines and 5 additional habits. Once I “automatise” some, I will add new ones.)

Based on studies related to habit formation and reducing stress, Bright Line Eating also incorporates:

  • Planning and committing to what you’re going to eat. No guesswork.
  • Meditation practices, inspirational readings.
  • Gratitude journal.
  • Tracking behaviours listed above and also things like sleep, checking in with your support network.

If you’re not doing those other practices, then I don’t see how you could be successful with Bright Line Eating. I suppose people have all kinds of ways they adopt BLE, but to me, this is what makes it special.

On the other hand, my husband isn’t following BLE at all, and he’s losing weight just eating what I’m eating for dinners, and cutting out sweeties and snacking. So, who knows!

Why are there no exceptions?? Not even just this once?

In other reviews of Bright Line Eating, people wondered ““Is a life of no sugar, no flour, and no snacks worth living?” (via Your Brilliance). And “The biggest issue with Dr. Thompson’s diet is that it is extremely rigid.” (via WeWeight). And nearly every Bright Line Eating review on Quora uses the word “strict.” When I think of “strict” my inner rebel revolts! When I first read about it, I think I also got pangs of fear, because I felt like I wasn’t going to be able to do it at all. It turns out being “strict” is very liberating!

I love Gretchen Rubin’s writing on building habits. In a post on the differences between moderation and abstention, she said it’s easier to give up altogether than try to negotiate moderation.

If I try to be moderate, I exhaust myself debating, “Today, tomorrow?” “Does this time ‘count’?” etc. If I never do something, it requires no self-control for me; if I do something sometimes, it requires enormous self-control. Gretchen Rubin: “Are you an Abstainer or a Moderator?”

And that is a great explanation. Susan, the founder of Bright Line Eating, said “exceptions” are where the Saboteur comes in. She doesn’t claim to have made this concept up, it turns out it’s consistent across recovering from other addictions.

The conscious part of your brain hears messages and arguments that sound rational! Researchers have uncovered that “consciousness” is distributed throughout the brain. (See more about Network Theory.) Unconsciously we’re getting signals from our addicted brains trying everything to get that freeking sugar into our mouths. It will do what it can to get its fix.

As she says, it sounds like our own voice. Yet the voice sounds similar across all addicted people and across addictions. It’s not that original!! These all sound very familiar to me:

  • This is a special time. To celebrate.
  • I’m under a lot of pressure, I just need this / I deserve this.
  • I just feel like it.
  • It won’t hurt, it’s just one ___ or just a little ____.
  • It’s OK no one’s watching.

These same excuses are used for any addiction.

The good news is, the more you practice abstention, the better you’ll get at it. The best thing I ever heard when I was quitting smoking is that: It gets easier to quit every time you try. You learn more about it, you can recognise the triggers, and you can learn to avoid them.

Watch these videos, where Susan explains it all in more depth!

Breaking Bad – Breaking Bright Lines and Rezooming

Susan Pierce Thompson says that the weight-loss period should be a brief period in your life. The weight loss is swift! I think the calories are surprisingly low, and I’ve seen people report very rapid weight-loss. I set some goals for myself, and I’m glad I’m meeting them, but it hasn’t been a straight road. Rezooming is one of the central practices you learn in Bright Line Eating. BLE is a system for life.

With BLE, I think of it like learning to ride a bike. You’re going to be wobbly, and you’ll need to course-correct. You will wobble off, brace yourself and start up again. To me, this feels different than on other weight-loss plans where you “cheat” and feel guilty. Instead, you learn that you’re re-training your brain. You’ll learn from your mistakes with the tools in the program.

I love this mantra from Bright Line Eating: You don’t have to be perfect, you just have to be unstoppable. 

For my first 6 weeks, I lost at a rate of about 2lbs per week. My progress seems pretty slow compared to others on BLE. Why was my loss slow? Well if I check back to my notes, I can see for the first five weeks I had one, just one, 100% Bright Line Day per week. On week 6, I had a whopping three 100% BLE days, but I failed at the weekend when we had a special guest. We ate lots of NMFs and drank NMDs. It’s no wonder my weight loss was slow.

However, I’ve found BLE is very forgiving. Even when I do mess up now, I didn’t fall prey to the “What the hell” effect. In fact, I’m getting better at realigning myself and getting back on track quicker. There’s a brilliant Weekly Vlog about overcoming the What the Hell effect.

In that video, Susan mentions the 4 S’s to apply when you rezoom.

  • Speed. Act fast. “When you become aware you become responsible.” How quickly can you resume? You slipped up, but don’t let it derail your day.
  • Self-talk. Be self-loving with self-talk. “You had some sugar? That sugar/flour is going to be wrecking your head. Make sure you get rest.”
  • Social support. Rally the support. If there’s shame or judgement around breaking lines, then people won’t share. We all need to listen to each other. We can learn from each other when we share.
  • Seeking the lesson. How do you feel now? What would you do differently? Take the opportunity to learn from it.

Around day 17, my sister came to visit, and we drank copious amounts of NMDs (not my drinks) and “celebrated.” (See a Bright Line Eating glossary here.) The idea of giving up the food-related rituals made me sad. We celebrate so much through eating and drinking. We have to mourn the loss of these rituals, and I suppose I have yet to figure out how to replace them.

I see now that the whole week threw me off. I gained weight, back up to 210 and then slowly lost it again. And to top it off, I experienced cravings all over again. The cravings were just as strong as ever. But experiencing them again after have some tantalising days without cravings was stunning.

The next time I broke my lines, I broke them brazenly. I wrote it down ahead of time and had the NMF item. As I was eating it, I didn’t feel guilty. I just felt disappointed. It was not nearly as nice as I had expected. It was cloyingly sweet, and kind of fake tasting. I had some roasted squash a few days later, and I thought it tasted nicer. I was oohing and ahhing. It had so much flavour; it was sweet without being overly so.

Later that same day as we walked back to the train, I saw places I would have eaten in before, with greasy takeaways of brown food. And I said, “So glad, that’s not my food.” So glad I don’t have to eat that stuff anymore.

And for the rest of the evening, I didn’t chuck out all the plans. I was able to eat my Bright Line dinner after, and resist snacking when everyone else was.

We have to be able to continue to course-correct for the rest of our lives. I don’t expect I will be able to be 100% every day. I have to make sure to use these opportunities as a chance to get stronger. Rather than feeling defeated.

There are lots of useful tools in Bright Line Eating to help you rezoom (resume in BLE speak!) The emphasis is on changing your self-perception, so you begin to understand what led up to it, and how you felt as you crossed the Bright Lines. It’s a learning opportunity, rather than something to make you feel guilty.

This is another good video too, where she talks about the 4 s’s: Do we have to be perfect?

Bright Line Eating Meal Planning: What to do

Each Bright Line Day starts the night before. I found I was able to do my Nightly Checklist if I did it right after dinner. This is a more reliable cue than trying to do it before bed. Then I commit what I’m going to eat the next day. When I wake up, it’s just a matter of following the plan. And once a week, we plan out what we need in the house for the menu that week.

My husband and I were already into meal planning before I started Bright Line Eating. It was our Sunday morning ritual. We’d have a nice brunch and open up the cook books and plan the week’s meals. We’d factor in which nights we were busy, and who could cook which meal best.

The big difference now is that we can plan for max two meals, instead of having 3-4 meals. Meaning, we’re getting more of the same thing. But it’s so much easier. We’re cooking less over the week by putting a little more effort in all at once.

  • Breakfast: I have the same breakfast every morning, with variations. And I would be happy if it was my breakfast forever.
  • Lunch: A bed of lettuce, and veggie side dishes. Vegetarian protein such as cheese, beans, tofu, etc. And fruit.
  • Dinner: We have two-three planned dinners a week. Just because the food we can prep on Sunday won’t last that long. Similar to lunch: Bed of lettuce, and whatever the meal is.

Two tips:

  • For meals, break down the proteins, fat and veg. If you have a veg curry and serve it with some curried sesame tofu (fat and protein). This makes it easier to measure. Check out this article on Katie’s Bright Kitchen “Adapting Recipes for Bright Line Eating” for helpful advice.
  • Since I’m mainly eating “Salad meals” it’s nice to have a variety of cooked veg side dishes. They are relatively easy to prepare. I’ve also done meals based on a theme, so things sort of go together. Mezze week, for example, has a base of salad or dipping veg, with different dips like babaganoush and hummus.

This site “Measured Mom” has BLE recipes which look good. I tend to choose the options which start with a “salad base” and then you flavour with various roasted veg, protein, and fat (nuts or oils for dressing).

You can follow any kind of eating style on BLE. Gluten free, vegan, vegetarian, omnivore, whatever. BLE specifies whole foods. As long as it’s real, natural food, you’re OK. You have to find what works for you. Apparently the caseins in cheese can be addictive, so if that sets you off on cravings, just ditch it. It’s best to reflect on how the food affects you and then you can adjust.

Bright Line Meal Planning: What NOT to do

Don’t over complicate meal planning. Right from the start, simplify.

I didn’t simplify! And I think that made BLE harder for me in the first weeks.

First, to say, my husband and I love love, love cooking. I looked at example meals people shared on #brightlinebites and thought: oh that’s boring. For example: some pale steamed lean chicken, with cut raw carrots and a little pile of undressed tomatoes. I wanted the sauces, the spices, the flavours of our usual meals. We did lots of math-ing, and figured out ways to make tasty sauces, slaws, stir fries, mezze, fajitas, etc, etc.! But it’s hard, and it’s complicated.

By day 22, I shocked myself by making a packed lunch that was a container of cut peppers, some fresh cherry tomatoes, and some cheese and an apple and I was oohing and ahh-ing over the taste of the veg, and enjoying eating “finger food.” Don’t laugh!

If you’re new, what you don’t know yet is that by cutting out sugar and flour, your taste does change.

When you simplify the meals it makes them easier to plan, shop for, buy, prepare and enjoy. And it also gets you in gear for the next phase of Bright Line Eating, when food moves from being a focus of your time. All this stops: “What will I eat? When will I eat? I’m hungry; it’s just 11, will I just have a snack? Hmm, it’s 3, I can’t wait til dinner. Oh TV time, let’s get the snacks out. Going out for the day? I must take some snacks with me, what if I’m hungry!” Etc, etc., ad Infinitum.

It just stops.

I saw this meal plan “5-Day Meal Plan with Grocery List and Recipes” (not recommended!) by Dr Becky and I would NOT recommend you try and follow that. She has a different breakfast each morning, different lunches, different dinners. It’s overly complicated. I’m not sure of the purpose behind the menu plan.

First, whoah, the list of ingredients is crazy. You’d spend so much money to buy all the groceries. I guess with an enormous American fridge you can fit them all, but they would go bad before you could finish them.

Secondly, start working on automaticity early. Automaticity will be the difference between you sitting in front of tempting options wondering “will I or won’t I?” versus you automatically making the right choices without needing to think about it.

Find your Automatic Breakfast

When I saw more experienced Bright Line Eaters showing their breakfasts, I was like: bo-ring! Someone wrote cheerily, “I have the same breakfast every day, and I look forward to it!” I thought, oh no, I’ll never have the same breakfast every day.

Ha ha!! I was so wrong. Now I have the same breakfast each morning, and I’m delighted. Why?

  • I don’t have to think about it.
  • I’ve been able to fine-tune the order in which I prep, so I can get it done more quickly.
  • It comes out perfectly measured and prepared. And integrity that makes me feel good.
  • It’s all my favourite things and has enough variety to keep me happy.
  • It’s got hot and cold, soft and crunch, savoury and sweet.

When nothing else was perfect, at least I was nailing breakfast. It was through breakfast that I got to feel the first tastes of freedom as promised in the Happy, Thin and Free catchphrase. Before I started BLE, I would have been reaching for a second bowl of cereal, and then feeling hungry at 11am. Cue “snack time” and a few crackers, or some cheese, or whatever. Then the rest of the day was just a back and forth of unsatisfying meals and then snacking. Starting with this breakfast sets the day up right.

What is this amazing breakfast?

This amazing breakfast might not be for everyone. I tried eating overnight oats, but it was like eating wallpaper paste (I must be doing it wrong!) I imagine that the menu plan for BLE is so flexible that everyone can find a breakfast that works for them.

I’ve tried other breakfasts, but I just love this. I wake up looking forward to it, and it makes me happy.

  • Served together: 1 oz oatmeal. Cooked in water. 2 oz nut milk. And either 1 egg scrambled, plopped on top. Or 1 oz nuts. In my food journal, I mark down the variations as Breakfast A (egg) or Breakfast B (nuts)
  • In another bowl: 2 oz yoghurt on 6 oz fruit.

As I mentioned, sticking to this breakfast, I had my first experience of automaticity. It was so funny! On Day 39, I had planned to have my “breakfast B” variation of this meal. That means swapping out the egg with a half portion of nuts. I measured out the nuts, chopped them and set them aside to put on later. By the time I was assembling breakfast, I realized I had the egg already cooked. I saved the nuts for later and chuckled to myself.

This is what it’s like to have a habit drive for you. It’s just automatic. Now instead of my auto-pilot making my breakfast and throwing off my day, my Bright Line Eating habits take care of it.

And that’s where I want to be with all of my eating habits. Over time, by surrendering to Bright Line Eating, I trust I will get there.

Surprises in store with Bright Line Eating

In my previous post, I compared Bright Line Eating with all my experience with other diets, (Update: in the follow-up to this I posted a review of BLE.) If all of the other systems are failing, keep in mind that the one that might work for you will look radically different. As I gained more experience with this way of eating and living, I had some surprises along the way.

Also: I want to mention, I hit one-derland today! This means I’m 199.8 or 14st 3lbs. Down from 213.9 (or something) 15st 3lbs.

If any so-called diet had made these claims I would have been suspicious. But this is what I have discovered through seven weeks.

  • Changing the way you speak, changes how you think, which changes how you act.
  • Improved sleep instantly.
  • You don’t need to exercise to lose weight.
  • The portions are huge, like really huge.
  • Save money – it will be £2500 in a year if I stick with it!
  • Discover self confidence through integrity.

 

Some BLE (Bright Line Eating) terminology I found surprising

I like that BLE has a special vocabulary. It helps you think differently. I also noticed how it changed my behaviour too. I feel like there should be a Bright Line Eating glossary to collect all the new terms. I like these five terms the most.

  • NMDs – Not my drinks – you say this instead of the name of the drink, so you don’t spark a craving in your self or someone else.
  • NMFs – Not my foods – same as NMD. If you say the flour/sugar food, you might spark a craving.
  • Rezoom – “Resume” meaning to just “get back on track”. Don’t be derailed.
  • Released X lbs – You don’t “lose” weight, you release it. Nice imagery!
  • BLTs – Bites, Licks, Tastes.

How do these terms change how you think? Here’s two examples.

Not my Food: Changes your self-perception

Part of the goal of applying Bright Lines is to change your self perception. Just like someone quitting smoking needs to think “I’m not a smoker”, you need to be able to say “I’m not a person who eats sugar and flour, that’s not my food.” It turns out that for a long time, psychologists thought behaviour leads from self-perception. I was surprised to learn from research cited in Susan’s book that we judge our own actions the same way we judge others. Our self-perceptions lead from our behaviour.

The practice of referring to “NMD” and “NMF” extends to not ever naming or mentioning the food at all. I learned you can’t even link to sites with food photos or recipes at all in official groups. In our unofficial group, we have a separate group just for sharing recipes.

Calling it NMD and NMF you start to see it as not food at all. Susan said eventually you’d start seeing that food as “plastic” and sure enough, it does start to look a little ridiculous, and that simply isn’t something you eat.

BLTs – Bites, Licks, Tastes

You have to get out of the habit of sneaking in food. Having a clear line around “bites licks and tastes” helps.

From week 1, I started tracking each day if I was resisting BLTs. Then I switched it to tracking with each meal prep. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner. Did I sneak a bite? Did I lick a spoon? And I’d mark it in my BLE bullet journal.

I would catch myself usually AFTER the fact, and curse. UGH! It would happen so mindlessly. Sometimes I could catch myself and spit out the strawberry or piece of pepper.  Eventually, I was able to stop myself. Now, if I get stuff on my fingers, they’re just dirty! I clean them off. I noticed in Week 6, even if I’m sitting down to eat, I think twice about licking my fingers now. They look dirty to me, and not something I would “eat.”

My biggest challenge is in cooking new recipes. Most times, I can get my husband to taste the food! (Don’t worry about him, he’s losing weight and he’s not even on BLE.) I’d like to work a way that I can taste as I cook new recipes, but for now, I am keeping a strong line there until I can make this automatic.

Delicious Sleep. The BLE fasting period helps you sleep.

Improved sleep was one of the biggest changes I had at first. If someone told me that Bright Line Eating was a way to make sure you got 7-8 hours of sleep, and feel SLEEPY when you go to bed, I would have signed right up. Apparently, the fasting period from dinner (for example, 6 pm til 7 am) helps your body regulate and generate the melatonin you need.

Susan has a great vlog about How Bright line Eating improves sleep. Who knew that late night snacking was the culprit? One of the Bright Lines is eat regular meals at meal time and no snacking. Hunger isn’t a crisis, the next meal is coming soon. Cravings come in waves. Actually learning the difference between cravings and hunger was a huge help.

Now – I get deliciously sleepy now which is something I would rarely feel before. I used to take anti-histamines to get deliciously sleepy, and my sleep was often disturbed and thrown off. I wouldn’t be able to wake in the morning, and then I couldn’t get to sleep at night.

I wake up in the morning now, and I’m awake! I still get cuddles in the morning, but I don’t feel like I need to linger long in bed.

Bunny Slippers! You don’t need exercise to lose weight.

You don’t have to boil the ocean with Bright Line Eating. I really would like to be fit and strong, and I know that will come in time. In Bright Line Eating, you tackle the weight first. Weight-loss is physically exhausting, adding exercise can actually make weight loss harder.

Susan explains why Exercise won’t make you thin. And as she said, most plans incorporate exercise, so we come to expect it.

It turns out, there’s also a limit to how many new life-changing habits you can tackle. Usually, around my birthday, I’d kick off a series of lifestyle changes. September, my birthday month, reminds me of freshly sharpened pencils, clean copy books, and a fresh start. So I’d heap on all the effort and just GO.

Each new diet meant a new eating plan, more exercise, tracking, new recipes, etc etc. Each diet I tried seemed to incorporate both calorie restriction and exercise.  Slimming World and Weight Watchers encourage you to take up exercise, which you trade on a points system — so that you can eat more food.

With Bright Line Eating alone, I had to change these habits. I still have to course-correct because they are so ingrained.

  • Get 7-8 hours sleep.
  • Stop drinking booze.
  • Stop night time snacking.
  • Stop having a biscuit with my tea. Or just stop having tea!
  • Stop sampling what food I was preparing. BLTs are so hard to break! (bites-licks-tastes)
  • Plan my meals the day before.
  • Eat three relatively MASSIVE meals, regularly, at regular times.
  • Stop zombie-grazing in the kitchen.
  • Plan ahead when eating out.
  • Tracking goals and behaviours in a notebook/nightly checklist.
  • Weigh regularly. (I weigh daily, but most seem to weigh weekly.)
  • No sneaky snacks when I’m out at cafés, shops, etc.
  • No rewarding myself with booze or food.
  • No stress release with booze or food.

If I had to include adopting an exercise regime, and all of the habits I’d need to adopt to get there, it would be much much harder. Susan’s argument is that exercise depletes your will power reserves as well.

The portions are HUGE

Like, really huge. Most of my lunch/dinner meals look like this example from Katie’s Bright Kitchen: A big dinner salad with a tasty dressing.

Every week or so a new person joins our group and asks what to do if they can’t finish the whole meal. Do they have to eat the whole thing? Yes.

I asked the same. I found the feeling of being full uncomfortable. I was so used to eating smaller dinner portions and then being slightly hungry for the rest of the night. Then we’d snack in front of the telly. I was lying to myself. You have to make sure to get all the food you need at your meal times.

These are the ways I improved it:

  • Divide your veg servings so you’re having more at lunch. You can’t change your meals on the fly, but you can plan ahead to try it.
  • You can eat higher density vegetables. Steamed broccoli instead of bulky romaine lettuce.

 

I Saved Money on Bright Line Eating!

More money in our pockets is one of the first things we noticed in our house. We’re saving money. Significantly! I see old reviews of Bright Line Eating complaining about the cost of the Boot Camp. Now you can do Bright Line Eating for the cost of the book (I recommend the audio book!) However, I’m saving enough that I can justify signing up to the Boot Camp.

How are we saving? We’re not buying snacks, crackers, crisps, biscuits, cinema candy, popcorn, etc. Less packaged food, fewer purchases in cafés. The grocery bill was easily £50-60 cheaper right off the start.

Of course, the trade off with getting more fresh vegetables is that we have to stop to the shop mid-week. We’re moving soon, so that means I will be a short walk from a few shops.

We also cut down on booze, though I have to admit for my first six weeks, I wasn’t able to let go of it. Especially when we had guests visit there was always a reason to “celebrate,” which usually involves booze. By Week 7, I feel I’m completely fed up with it. I dumped out a bottle of (really nice!) cider and just said no. I also asked my husband to not have booze at home. This means he may be enjoying the pub more, but at least I’m not near the temptations.

Try it yourself! Check out David Bach’s Latte Factor calculator. Estimate the amount of money you spend on drinks, snacks, etc. and see how much you’d save giving those habits up.

Even if you just saved £20 or $20 weekly, you’ll save over a grand in a year.

latte-factor.png

Discipline leads to Confidence

I’ve been craving discipline, and the tracking with Bright Line Eating has found its way into other parts of my life.

I had an epiphany on about day 7 or so. It was very emotional at the start. The cravings were powerful. I was hungry. I was tired. Crankypants! And I was also feeling self-loathing. How many times had I said “I’m going to do something about this” and then NOT stuck to it? How was I going to do this? I didn’t even want to tell anyone I was trying because in my head I was judging myself for past failures. I felt “I wasn’t a person who could do something like this.”

This is what I wrote at the start of my first Bright Line Eating journal. Discipline leads to integrity, which leads to trust, which leads to confidence.

“I don’t just need the weigh tloss from the program, I need the discipline to establish my integrity to trust myself so that I can build my self-confidence. I don’t just want to be in a right-sized body; I want to be happy and free too.”

I didn’t expect this from a “diet” and that’s why I think Bright Line Eating isn’t a diet at all. I don’t want to make gigantic claims since I’m only 7 weeks in. But I can tell you that my anxiety is more tolerable than it was after 7 weeks on antidepressants.

SSRIs had really bad side effects for me. I had this constant feeling of needing to “sneeze” but it wasn’t a sneeze, it was me trying to THINK. The brain fog was deep. They also did nothing for my anxiety, and actually made it worse. I was having a panic attack sitting on the edge of my bed one morning. Nothing was on fire, why was I feeling this way? I decided then this wasn’t working at all, and my doctor advised me how to wean off.

With Bright Line Eating, I’m getting better results. It relates back to the fact that I am sleeping and eating more regularly. I think it’s also down to improving my self-perception through changing my behaviour. Now I can see “I’m a person who can do something like this.”

I do feel more resilient now.  I see with the re-zooming practices, you just have to course-correct. And by surrendering to the plan, I have confidence I will get there.

I want to write more about the specifics of Bright Line Eating and what it’s like to do it, and how this all works. I’ll save that for my next post!

Bright Line Eating compared to other diets

Bright Line Eating is relatively new. Like most new ventures, the early adopters tend to be experienced in the domain. In this case, many Bright Line Eaters are experienced dieters. Yoyo dieting is what we know. Swinging between faithfully applying dieting practices and then gaining it all back and then some. I’ve tried Weight Watchers, Slimming World, Dr Furhman, and plain old calorie counting with My Fitness Pal.

I got the idea to write this review for sceptics and to give people an idea of what BLE is. Especially if you’re familiar with other “diets”, you might be wondering what to expect. Because Bright Line Eating isn’t a diet at all, it’s a complete change for good.

I’ll compare:

My “dieting credentials”

I should first explain my previous diet experience. I don’t really talk about health much on my site. But this is a learning journal, and this is what I’m learning about now.

I’m good at dieting. With each new effort, I found that I was able to apply the concepts and lose weight, but there was no way to develop consistency. As time wore on, I struggled immensely.

It turns out, it doesn’t really matter which diet you choose! Researchers have known that all diets work (if you stick to them), and the differences between them are small. The best diet is one that you stick to. The problem is that people lose most of their weight in the first six months. They plateau and then regain over the next six months. I could see this played out over and over again in my own “dieting” experience.

I seem to be perfectly capable of disciplining myself enough to stick to a food plan to lose weight, but I never got to my right sized body, and at some point, I’d konk out and gain it all back – and then some. 

I’m at the point now, (one stone released!) that I have reached with all the weight loss plans before. My next phase will show me if BLE is different.

What is Bright Line Eating?

In case you haven’t heard of it before, here’s the founder’s official explanation. Four bright lines: No flour, no sugar, regular mealtimes, measured meals.

Susan Pierce Thompson, who founded the program, says that for real transformation a diet would have to look radically different than other diets. Indeed, Bright Line Eating seemed quite extreme when I first heard about it. No sugar, no flour, three meals a day, perfectly measured quantities?? It sounded like it verged on disordered eating. But surely our culture of constant snacking and hyper processed food is disordered eating.

My friend Sharon was applying the practices, and I was asking for clarification, NO COOKIES EVER AGAIN? The thought of giving up buns, bagels, biscuits and bars for ever, for life filled me with dread. As Katie says on her Bright Kitchen blog: You will mourn food-centred rituals. Though now, on day 45, I can say that I’m coming over to realising those things are not treats, they are not nice.

Here’s a full explanation:

Bright Line Eating versus Slimming World or Weight Watchers

I’m going to lump Weight Watchers and Slimming World into the one thing: low-fat nightmares and horrible in my experience. My sister, on the other hand, lost four stone on Slimming World and loved it! She loved the community, the meals, the diet plans. And she was able to stick with it. Two years since her loss, and she has maintained her weight loss. Another friend lost loads of weight on Weight Watchers and has had no trouble keeping it off for years.

Their experiences were very different from mine. I was always, always painfully hungry on these diets. I lost 2 stone (30 lbs) on Slimming World but it was a waking nightmare. I not only gained back that and then some, I got some horrible habits in the process.

I never ate so much crap until I started Slimming World in particular. They push packaged food, including their own-brand and affiliate brands as well as sweeteners, and low-fat meals. They come in with packaged branded food, little packets of quick noodles- just add water! And these cardboard-like high fibre crackers. I also started eating “good for you” snack food, and started a crisp habit I never had before Slimming World. Started with “healthy crisps” but I just wanted the real thing.

I ate more fake sweetener in the time I lost on Slimming World than in my life combined. It’s so gross. Bright Line Eating doesn’t allow sweetener because the effect on the brain/insulin is the same as if you’d eaten sugar. Yay for science! See this short video on the Effects of Sugar on the BLE blog.

Slimming World gets you into daft concepts like “SYNS” (sounds like sin for a reason), where your most pleasurable foods feel like cheating. The guilt feelings were horrible. You weigh in public, which is supposed to be supportive, but isn’t. And no one talked about binging. I never binged before Slimming World.

The main differences of Bright Line Eating compared to Slimming World or Weight Watchers:
  • In BLE, there’s an emphasis on whole foods. So that rules out those silly packaged foods “Tesco Takeaway sticky jasmine rice” being a Free Food!
  • There’s NO flour or sugar or sweeteners of any kind. So that rules out all those silly Muller Corners they push on SW.
  • There are no exceptions like “Enjoy a Milky Way (5 Syns for a 21.5g bar)” or “A 300ml bottle of Carling is 5 Syns.” (as they say on their site, sample menu Day 4!)
  • There’s no snacking, no “Free Food Snack – Nibble on a punnet of grapes.” With Bright Line Eating, you don’t nibble on a punnet of anything!

The big overall difference is the BLE emphasises no guilt and no bad feelings around food. Just rezoom (resume in BLE speak). Examine why and how, and give yourself permission to be human. There are no “sins” and “cheat days” and “being good” and all that crap. There are also no exceptions. No freebies.

There is no snacking on BLE. “Hunger is not a crisis” is one of my favourite mantras. BLE emphasises improving digestion with fasting between means and from your dinner time to breakfast time. My sleep was *instantly* improved. And over a few weeks, I wasn’t having horrible hunger pangs from sugar withdrawal. Oh! And when I did later break my bright lines, I could instantly see the ravenous cravings come right back. It was a horrible reminder of what my life was like before.

Bright Line Eating versus My Fitness Pal (calorie counting)

After Slimming World, MFP (My Fitness Pal) was a revelation. Someone trotted out the old “guy who lost weight eating McDonald’s” example, and I thought, hey cool! I can eat whatever I want as long as it’s within the calories allotted to me. Is a calorie just a calorie?

I adopted MFP to track my meals, and through that, I learned about “macros.” I also learned that fat wasn’t bad for you, in fact, a slightly higher fat proportion left me feeling more satisfied than on Slimming World. I was having cream in my coffee and losing weight. *sigh* so good.

You can follow absolutely any kind of diet on My Fitness Pal. Low carb, low fat, etc. It’s just a tracker. It doesn’t prescribe any method, except for calorie counting. it does have some funny features.

My Fitness Pal has an optional setting which tracks your activity and represents it as estimated calories burned. The calculation encourages people to eat back their exercise. For example the other day I walked 20k steps, and the app said I was up 421 calories. That adds X number of calories to your allotted calories for the day. You can turn this option off in MFP, but it does suggest that you can top up your regular diet with some extra calories and it would be “ok.”

BLE doesn’t allow for that. You don’t change your diet daily to adjust to activity levels. There’s no snacking and no exceptions.  Susan gives some examples, such as the time she hiked Half Dome in Yosemite Park. In that case, she ate six meals that day.

It took an enormous amount of willpower to implement. My Fitness Pal NEVER became automatic or easy. It felt like it was getting more difficult. I was measuring AFTER prep, and struggling to calculate the proportions. I also started using things like “protein powder” to balance my macros. I was mixing it up in smoothies. More weird processed food habits!

I started to hate weighing my food. And eventually, I just stopped. I gained it all back and then some. My Fitness Pal didn’t work for me, but I still like to use it to track my weight.

 

The main differences with Bright Line Eating and straight-up calorie counting with My Fitness Pal is:

  • Yes, you’re still weighing, but it’s so much easier to calculate and plan.
  • The proportions of your macros are just worked out by design. Much easier! Protein, Veg/Fruit, Fat. Voila.
  • Again, BLE emphasises whole foods, so you won’t see anyone talking about protein smoothies or supplements to balance macros.
  • You build in automaticity with BLE. You plan your meals; everything is sorted out ahead of time. So, instead of feeling under more and more pressure, your mind becomes less obsessed with food thoughts.
  • There’s no “eating back your exercise” option on Bright Line Eating.

Food wise, the big overall difference is you’re planning forward, instead of monitoring as you go. You build in habits for food planning so you are relieved of thoughts of food. So there’s no more -“Will I, won’t I?” dialogue happening.

And that is the main difference with plain old calorie counting and BLE. Susan knows the problems that people run into when they fall off the waggon. What helps when you have low willpower? Meditation/prayer, social contact, a change in your self-perception and most importantly automaticity.

With Bright Line Eating, there’s an emphasis on building in habits with a nightly checklist which tracks behaviours. Bright Line Eating is not just calories in, calories out.

Yes, you can use MFP to plan your meals in a Bright Line Eating way, but there’s nothing in MFP that will guide and support you in the way BLE can.

Bright Line Eating versus Precision Nutrition

The before and after photos for Precision Nutrition are amazing. I got the sense it would be great for someone who wanted to be fitter, but maybe not so much for people who are going from obese to slim. I should say I am not a Precision Nutrition expert. I signed up for the emails, I bought the starter pack ($60 USD I think?) and tried to follow it on my own. It was a complete failure for me.

The biggest difference which affects all aspects of the program is that Precision Nutrition includes weight loss and exercise in the same program. You’re shaping your body at the same time you’re losing weight. You’re building in fitness habits at the same time you may be completely changing your diet. You adjust your meals with Precision Nutrition based on your activity levels (post-workout carb-heavy meals.)

In comparison, Bright Line Eating explicitly advocates to NOT exercise during the weight loss period. Unless you have depression/anxiety, or you were already doing it automatically. In the Weekly Vlog, Susan talks about how Exercise won’t make you thin. It sounds like when your body is ready, nearing your “right size”, you will get urges to be more active. Your body hormones will change. I’m looking forward to that, but for right now, especially in my first few weeks I felt wiped out as I was adjusting to Bright Line Eating.

Bright Line Eating advocates for wearing figurative “bunny slippers” during the weight loss period. Be gentle on yourself. Recognise you’re changing many many habits. Precision Nutrition seemed sort of badass, with all the HIIT (high-intensity interval training) and weight lifting, and whoah.

Next big difference is that portion control is very different when you compare the two. Precision Nutrition emphasises eye balling portion sizes. They have a guide which seems really easy to follow. A portion of protein is the size of your palm. Women get x1 and men get x2. Bigger palms? Bigger portion.

Bright Line Eating says this is where you can introduce uncertainty about your meals, and your “Saboteur” can argue that “Hmm, that wasn’t a full palm size, I’ll just have another wee slice.” With Bright Line Eating, you simply bust out the scales and measure. Men and women have different portion sizes. And as you come in for landing at your goal weight, you start to alter your portions. Everyone is on the same meal plan, same measures.

Bright Line Eating focuses on “automatizing” as Susan calls it. You want to take any guesswork and planning out completely. It’s amazing. I had the experience one morning (day 39) of automaticity. I’d written down I was going to have a different breakfast than normal. I started preparing it (involved chopping nuts) and then without thinking I had measured out and made my “standard breakfast” without even thinking about it. I saved the nuts for another meal, but it was so funny to see that I was on autopilot. You want to get to that point, so that you shut down the “will i/won’t i” conversation in your head. It’s pure magic.

There are some other differences regarding the meal plans. Bright Line Eating only includes grains for breakfast. Higher carbs gives you a boost of energy you need for the day. Out of curiosity, I’ve calculated calories, and breakfast is my highest calorie meal of the day. On the other hand, with the exercise included on Precision Nutrition, they have accounted for that in the meal planning. You eat your carbs in proportion to your activity levels.

Another difference is that Bright Line Eating emphasises whole foods, whereas Precision Nutrition includes recipes for things like protein smoothies. You do not drink smoothies on Bright Line Eating at all. This would give you too much of sugar hit, which is what you’re trying to avoid. When I was trying PN, one of the first habits you adopt is taking daily supplements. I spent lots of money on supposedly high-quality fish oil supplements, multivitamins, etc. This adds to the cost of PN considerably.

In comparison, you don’t augment your diet with supplements, franken-foods and processed foods on Bright Line Eating. The macros are calculated with each meal. Susan recommends supplements only in cases of deficiency or body imbalance. We get the nutrition we need from what we eat.

To recap, these are the main differences with Bright Line Eating and Precision Nutrition:

  • Most importantly: With PN, exercise is built-in. Whereas, there’s no exercise on Bright Line Eating. You aren’t adjusting for after-exercise workouts. Think “Bunny Slippers.”
  • Portion control: With Precision Nutrition, it’s quite variable. With Bright Line Eating, you measure everything and eliminate any guesswork.
  • Bright Line Eating emphasises whole foods. No smoothies, no protein powders, no supplements.

Conclusion

I don’t think being a yo-yo dieter makes me an expert. This comparison is from my experience. And I’m relatively new to BLE (Day 45 today!) Of the diets I tried before, I probably liked My Fitness Pal the most, but I got the best results from Slimming World. However, I experienced the pure daily torture of constant cravings on both.

I’m following Bright Line Eating after listening to the book in June. In July, I did the 14 day challenge. I joined an unofficial Facebook group which has also been super helpful. Bright Line Eating has so far overall been lower cost than any diet plan I have done before. It’s more effective and it’s much more satisfying. 

Bright Line Eating has also had a knock-on effect on other parts of my life. No other system had these fantastic knock on benefits:

  • Improved sleep. Delicious, delicious sleep!!
  • Released from cravings, when I stick to my bright lines.
  • Saved money (about £50 a week not buying snacks, booze, etc.)
  • Improved self-discipline, a sense of integrity, and more confidence.

I’ll write some more about the Bright Line Eating surprises in my next post.

Anyway, I’m so grateful to my friend Sharon for introducing it to me. I’d recommend if you’re unsure about investing the time into Bright Line Eating, try listening to the audiobook to start, or check out the blog on their site.

Tap when you knit? Use this cute finger protector.

I think Bernie (Bear in Sheep’s Clothing Yarn) isn’t the only knitter who taps when she knits. Once she showed me a welt in her index finger from where she taps on the needle as she knits. Like, a HOLE in the skin. She said she winces each time she taps, but can’t really knit any other way. I’ve heard other knitters get calluses, sores, and cuts.

When I was in Japan, I saw these rubber finger covers and thought they’d be perfect! And here’s Bernie delighted with her new finger protector.

How you can get one of these magical knitting finger protectors

I’m sure someone more clever could fashion a finger protector out of all sorts of things, or cut the top off of rubber finger thimbles. But if you want one of these from Japan, they are easy to get and might save you lots of pain, while still being stylish.

They are called メクリッコ, which sounds like mekurikko. (me-ku-riko). You can search for them on Amazon. I’ve looked around, and I think if you’re shopping from outside Japan, Amazon is handy because they handle the customs declaration for you.

If the Amazon site comes up in Japanese, make sure to switch out for English in the footer at the bottom.

amazon-language-swap

Why so many kinds of finger covers in Japan?

I first found some kind of smelly rubber ones that covered the finger entirely. They were sold in the stationary section. The later, I found MUCH cuter ones which just wrapped around the finger pads, came in pastel colours, and had little bows on them! For example, メクリッコsweet.

As you can see on this ad, mostly they seem to be for managing flipping through A LOT of paper. And people love paper in Japan. They haven’t gone digital and they read many many more magazines and books than we do out here in the UK/Ireland. At least from what I can tell! My mind was boggled with all the beautiful magazines they have, and that seem to take up a much larger floor space in comparison.

The cutest finger protectors I found were advertised for ID protection. Very clever marketing! See, they proved in Jan 2017 that someone could theoretically nick your fingerprint from a photo taken nine foot away. And in Japan, it’s common to take a selfie with your friends posing making a peace sign! This puts anyone taking an innocuous selfie at risk. (Side note: I noticed Japanese folks I follow on Instagram generally much more protective of their online identity, and savvy in general. For example, they tend to blur or block faces in photos to protect them from facial recognition.)

So I think in this case, I saw some finger covers that were rebranded as “ID protectors” – which were basically the same exact product, for a new potential security-conscious market.

And next, I think they should rebrand them as KNITTING FINGER PROTECTORS! 😀

 

If all synesthesia is idiosyncratic, then why doesn’t anyone like 9?

Since I was very little, each letter has had such a distinct personality and relationship between its nearest letters. As soon as I knew letters, I knew who they were, just as if I’d met someone.

There’s handsome G, stuck between sweet, gentle F who he pines for, and on the other side: H who he’s committed to. Will they break off the engagement?? H treats G horribly! And always snickers behind his back in her bitchy clique with I and J. KL are such snobs anyway, they don’t even seem to notice. They’re older and really can’t be bothered with all that nonsense…. etc!

I don’t think I understood the complexities when I was that little. But the story became embellished as I learned more and got older. My understanding deepened but the situation was the same.

I’ve asked others if they had dramatic stories behind the arrangement of letters in the alphabet. When I kept on getting weird reactions, I stopped asking. I assumed I’d taught myself this little tale to remember the order of the letters.  26 letters. And a tale I’ve never forgotten.

Now I see that I wasn’t alone in assuming I’d “learned” it.

“I figured that numbers must have been taught that way to me at a time when I was so young that I could no longer remember the teaching of it.” – Do you have Synesthesia?

I didn’t recall meeting anyone who had a similar experience. Until today, my friend MizzAdamz said that letters and numbers had personalities, complex back stories.

She’s a synesthete, and she said one of the rarest with Ordinal Linguistic Personification Synesthesia.

Apparently, the reason I have no trouble remembering this convoluted 26 character story because I can perceive the relationships.

I am also a synesthete.

Synesthesia comes in various forms

It turns out if you’ve got one kind of synesthesia, you may have another kind.

I was sitting here researching and I’ve just yelped out loud. “NO WAY. WHAT?! Doesn’t EVERYONE feel a touch on their body when they see someone else being touched?”

Turns out not everyone does feel it. This is Mirror-Touch Synesthesia! “I can feel other people’s pain.” I can feel if someone across a room touches their cheek gently. I feel if someone gets punched in a movie.

Turns out I also have other types of synesthesia, and I may have others.

  • Colour to sound synesthesia 
    • I hear pure tones from colours. Moving and flashing images are very “loud.” Sounds are apparent when they “switch” – it’s like hitting a tuning fork. It fades.
    • For example, I use an app that darkens my screen as the night goes on. And the screen changes “tone.” If I ALT+tab to another app where f.lux is disabled, the screen goes brighter and bluer. And the pitch goes higher.
  • Spatial sequence synesthesia
    • I “see” time and numbers. This is also how I see temperatures and conversions.
    • Times and dates advance to my right, and recede to my left. Past is left. “Now” is centre, where I am. Years, months, days, hours, all ticking along bands around this drum. The furthest right and left are darkened, in shadow, because I can’t see around the disk. The calendar and numbers work this way. And temperature works this way. EVERYTHING lines up at new years!! It’s so cool.

I wonder if other people with spatial sequence synesthesia also get this sensation of everything “clicking” when it lines up together. It sounds unlikely.

Turns out these idiosyncratic traits mean no two synesthetes see the same colours.

That question intrigues me. For me, F is a shy and kind girl. She’d never stick up for herself. And then I came across an article on synesthesia which said “F is shy, hesitant, some would say spineless.”

Are there patterns?

Why is 9 such a jerk?

MizzAdams told me about the number characters which go into the hundreds and even thousands. As soon as you say a number, she intuitively knows it. She said “9” for example was a total bitch.

I came home and started reading about it. I saw a video which said “For Gayle, 9 is an elitist girl.” (TedEd video below) There seems to be a pattern of negative associations with 9. Emily, a 13 year old, wrote Me and My Synesthesia. 9 is an annoying boy.  Another blogger write “Nine looks down on everyone. He thinks they’re a pack of idiots, and treats them all with barely disguised contempt.” in Do you have synesthesia?

They must just be coincidences?

As described in the video below, the first shock for synesthetes is to discover no one else who perceives your sensations. Then there’s a shock when you find someone else that does. The final shock is when you learn that they do not have the same exact associations.

So I’m curious: Do you have it? You can take this quiz to find out. 

The Dominos Effect: Own your shortcomings and they’re yours.

If you know anything about me, it’s that I love pizza. Pizza was such a priority when we lived in Japan, we bought an oven specifically so we could make pizza. The pizza there was expensive, and not awesome.

I love pizza. Yet, until recently I wouldn’t have eaten a Dominos pizza. Ever. I would make my own before I would get one of those. They were horrible. I was a pizza snob. Until recently. I tried it again and it seems they’ve made improvements. The crust is better, the sauce is better.

What they changed: They listened to customers. I learned about this listening to Tom Shapiro’s talk on “Using Neuroscience to Optimize Customer Acquisition,” and I had to read more about it.

In 2009, they ran a commercial showing the negative feedback they got in their ad. Their stand-out feature– delivery in 30 mins– wasn’t remarkable anymore.

In “Dominos Pizza Turnaround” the CEO says, “There comes a time when you know you’ve got to make a change.” The feedback they show from customers is cringeworthy stuff. In grainy video, you can see customers complaining about the bad quality.

And then you see the staff respond.

They used the negative comments to get excited about making improvements. “We want people to love our pizza.” After they made improvements, they got to come back and say: Yeah! People said our crust tastes like cardboard! Now we’re fixing it! It’s a great story.

And now I want pizza. (Actually after drafting this we ordered Dominos. I got a Dominos pizza with a little bottle of chili oil, and rocket to put on top from their Italiano range.)

Own your shortcomings and they’re yours

My friend and I discovered this saying by mishearing or misinterpreting another common adage. 80’s feel good author Richard Bach said “Argue for your limitations, and they’re yours.”

What I heard was “Own your shortcomings” as in know your shortcomings, and be master of them. And “They’re yours” meant to me, no one can use them against you.

I think that can be applied here. Products or services can always make improvements.

Listen to customers, be upfront about the shortcomings, and show where you’re making improvements. After you make improvements you can show the new positive feedback.

It takes some bravery though to own your shortcomings. But if you don’t, your competition will.

 

A few of my favourite things

I’ve tried a few times to do photo 365. I can’t commit to a daily anything.

I decided to pick a photo theme not dependent on frequency. My theme is “My Favourite Things” and I will count up to 100. I mean to capture things as I come across them.

To start, my first few are absolutely intentional, starting with my absolute favourite things. These are things that if you really know me, you know these are my favourite things.

I want to use them for reflection. I love Thurzday Adamz’s Gratitude posts she puts on Instagram and FB. She writes

Today is a good day; I can greet the sunrise with a smile, I have a fireplace to keep my house warm, candles to light the dark evenings, oils to scent my space, and inspirational books to read. These are things to be grateful for. These things make life worth living.

Today is a good day… These are things to be grateful for. These things make life worth living.

I’ll start writing a little longer in the posts too. It’s only a little thing, but feels like a big deal to me.

One of my #favouritethings 1/100 #tinyhouse

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2/100

3/100

4/100

Dotted fossil rocks. One of my favourite things. And I have quite a collection. #favouritethings 4/100

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5/100

6/100

This guy. 6/100 #favouritethings #tinyhorse. Actually #flocked things could just be an entry on its own.

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7/100