In my previous post, I compared Bright Line Eating with all my experience with other diets, 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 213.4 (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.
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!