Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Bright Line Eating

Learning of Bright Line Eating
I've promised to write this post for some time over on my personal Facebook page, and while I'm not quite to my goal yet, I want to share this journey with you. You might even want to start your own Bright Line journey.

My good friend, Hailie Wolfe, started this crazy "diet" called Bright Line Eating around the holidays last year, and all I really knew about it is that she "couldn't" eat flour or sugar. Well, I'm out. It sounded gimmicky and not something anyone could actually do long term. Surely no one is expected to give up those things forever and actually be happy!

Fast forward a few months, and Hailie and I were rooming together for a work event. She explained more of the details, which included no artificial sweetener (um, I've consumed Diet Mnt Dew for YEARS, all day every day). Again, I was not really interested, but more than that, I was FULL of excuses.

I was driving back to South Dakota at the end of that trip, and while sitting in a Whataburger drive-thru decided to download the Bright Line Eating book by Susan Pierce Thompson, Ph.D. on Audible. See the irony there? It was interesting from the very beginning, and while I continued listening, I'm pretty sure I polished off a bag of Ketchup Chips from my Canadian friend, Laurie McGowan, and a bag of DOTS pretzels on the 16-hour drive home.

Getting Started with BLE
I finished the book by the time I rolled into Rapid City and was sold. Scared? Heck yeah! I shared it with my husband, David, who finished it by the middle of the week. I had already ordered the few things we needed (mainly a food scale and the book in hard copy for reference), and while we waited for our packages from Amazon, we decided, why wait?

We've been on the plan for 20 weeks now, and David has "released" ("lost" implies that he's looking for it to keep it, which is definitely not the case!) over 53 pounds and I'm down 29.5 pounds. We are incredibly grateful that Hailie shared this with us, even though I must have acted like a fool with all my excuses. It truly has changed our lives.

David and I celebrating 20 weeks on Bright Line Eating

So what is Bright Line Eating?
This is where you'll think I'm insane, but trust me on this. There are 4 lines that we just don't cross. Ever.

1. No sugar, not even artificial sweeteners. No, not even Stevia.
2. No flour of any kind, including almond flour and the like.
3. We weigh all of our food.
4. We eat 3 meals a day, 4-6 hours apart, and no BLTs (Bites, Licks, or Tastes) in between.

Simple. Now, we are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and as such, have made covenants to not cross certain lines, including partaking of harmful substances, just as alcohol or cigarettes. The concept of bright lines has been a simple one for us. And I've never been good with the concept of moderation anyway. I'm either all in or all out. You know I've seen Tim McGraw 18 times in concert, right?

We started BLE by discovering where we are on the Food Susceptibility Scale, from 1-10. In other words, how severe is your food addiction? David and I were both 9s. We weren't surprised.

The Great Weight Gain
Mind if I back up about 3 years? In a very brief nutshell, someone who has never met me wrote a very damaging blog post about me, and it was widely shared. The individual who wrote it was discovered to be a liar in every way, but I have no idea if people realized it was the same person who wrote awful things about me. It was the most hurtful thing I've ever gone through. All of this took place at the exact time we learned we were moving to the Black Hills in SOUTH DAKOTA! David and I had a deal we'd never live north of I-20, and for those of you that don't know, Rapid City is on I-90! We packed up our beloved home in Texas and headed north. The first year was pretty rough. I ate my way through a lot of emotions and anxiety, putting on a lot of weight. I also dealt with some toxic work relationships over the next year or so. But by this Spring 2018, I was pretty sick of feeling this way and letting food have this much control over my life. I was ready to make real, positive changes.

Taken just days before I downloaded the book in April, I hated this picture of myself. This actually wasn't my heaviest though. I had gotten up to 12 pounds more than I was here. It was time for change. This screenshot kept me motivated in the early days on BLE.
What do we eat during the day?
Basically, here's the plan. The book really details things, so I suggest, if you really want to change your life, get the book.

This is how David and I do it. The actual breakdown of veggies is a little different in the book. This is much easier for us to figure on a day-to-day basis.

4 oz protein (6 oz for men or nursing mamas)
1 oz uncooked grain or 4 oz cooked grain
6 oz fruit

4 oz protein (6 oz for men or nursing mamas)
10 oz veggies (cooked or raw)
6 oz fruit
1/2 oz fat

4 oz protein (6 oz for men or nursing mamas)
10 oz veggies (cooked or raw)
1/2 oz fat

You can't believe how much food we eat at meal time. Honestly, we really aren't hungry between meals. SPT (Susan Pierce Thompson) has a saying that has stuck with me when I do feel hungry:"Hunger is not an emergency." How often have I wolfed a meal down, thinking I was starving? Only to overeat and feel sick afterwards? All.the.time. I've found that if I just hang tight for 15 or 20 min, that feeling totally goes away. Life.changing.

Put on your bunny slippers and be kind to yourself. Twist my arm.
After the previous 3 years, I was digging this advice. The first few days were hard, but not as hard as you might think. SPT encourages you to be gentle on yourself, wearing figurative bunny slippers. No exercise (you'll have to read the book for all the explanations) until you can safely work it on, which may not be until you reach your "right sized body." David has walked about 10-20K steps this summer, but I have not. It's just been a normal summer for me, doing normal things. But I am super excited to hit the slopes again in my "old" ski pants!

What about traveling and special occasions?
Speaking of summer, we traveled a lot, spending a lot of time in the car. We love road trips! And we kept up with our BLE. We actually lost weight on our trips instead of gaining the usual 5-7 pounds! It's about preparation and dedication, plain and simple. You can get Bright Line foods in a gas station! We ate out (usually big salads or burgers without a bun and a salad). We have not sacrificed good food.

This doesn't look like suffering, does it?!

What keeps me dedicated to BLE? I've tried so many different diets but none of them were sustainable. They were focused on the goal but didn't offer much help afterwards. And the goal was to be achieved quickly. In BLE, there is focus on the journey, regardless of how long it takes. This is important. BLE is a lifestyle, not a diet.

Many of you know that I was a smoker many years ago. I quit in 1994, and it was the hardest thing I've ever done. I would quit and start up again, over and over. I thought I'd never be able to actually quit. At one point, I had quit for about 6 weeks and thought I had it licked. My best friend and I found a stale, yucky cigarette in the back of a drawer and smoked it. Later that night, we were buying more, and I was a full blown smoker for another 6 mos, doing the stop and start routine again. It was awful.

And so it is with food. I know myself. I am always one white cupcake away from being a full blown food addict again. So I don't eat one. The cravings really are gone anyway. When you are in the trenches of food addiction, it's hard to believe you'll ever be OK without sugar and flour, but you will.

I still have 21 pounds to release, but the best thing about BLE is that I know I'll get there. And I know I can maintain this lifestyle because it's completely sustainable. I am free of addiction and it is the best feeling ever!

I take pictures of lots of my food and thought I'd share some of my favorites here.

Buffalo tenderloin (we do live in SD!) with steamed veggies and 1/2 T of butter

Zucchini Pizzas

Sweet potato pancakes with ricotta cheese and mixed berries 

Eggs cups with veggies

I always have a veggie soup in the fridge. I add kidney or pinto beans and David prefers black beans. We eat this for a lot of lunches. Turkey burgers are amazing to throw into the soup instead of beans to mix it up.

Breakfast is our favorite meal because of things like this! This is 4 oz cooked steel cut oats, protein split between nut butter and walnuts or pecans, half a banana, and 3 oz mixed berries. Yum!

Zucchini Pasta with Shrimp

"Stir-fry" - Cauliflower rice (made each week and used for a number of dishes), stir-fry veggies, 4 oz shredded chicken, 6 oz mandarin oranges, pepitas (fat), and soy sauce (free)

We add this to lots of our fruit and veggies. 

3 rice cakes, nut butter, 1 banana

BLE lunch - sausage, fruit, veggies, hummus, cashews

Omelettes and fruit salad. For company, we've been doing omelette bars which has been so fun. We discovered NM red chile and pesto (not shown here) on top is about the best combination ever!

Egg over medium with green chile and cheese, grits, and 6 oz strawberries

We eat a lot of scrambled eggs and Triscuits for breakfast

As you can see, we eat all kinds of delicious foods and have gotten creative with it. I'm happy to answer any questions you have about Bright Line Eating. There is a 14-day Challenge as well as a Boot Camp, but David and I didn't do either. But I am immensely grateful that we've done this together and been each other's support. We are members of a Facebook group, We Eat Bright With Lines, which has been immensely helpful and motivating. You must read the book before joining the group.

Here's to the next 21 pounds ... and a lifetime of Bright Line Eating!


Polly Sue said...

Yay you! I have been on BLE since March 14 and have lost 14 lbs. I haven't been so bright lately so. I am rezooming. PS..I have a family baby shower to attend this weekend. Am already on the crap list for not going in on the group $500 baby swing. :D

Unknown said...

I am just learning about Brightline and have not read the book yet. This would be a huge breakaway from Keto which I've been on for over a year. But BLE has gotten such huge reviews, I was curious. I looked at your sheet with the Protein, etc., but I don't see anything about drinks. Can you drink coffee? Obviously you can't have any diet drinks, but what about juicing fruit? I appreciate all the information you can give me. Sam

Four J Party said...

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MEP said...

Good morning, Donna Ryan,
Even though your post was a little over a year ago, I found it this morning and love the content. Well done. Also, it's the perfect reminder of how effective BLE is. I was in a good spot one year ago, but I've gone off the plan too far and am just this morning recommitting to this glorious food (love that you posted pictures). Thank you for posting. Also, I would love to hear how you're doing. Bunny slippers for me again starting right now. Mary Parker in Cheney, WA

Unknown said...

My food journey started early. As a child I was addicted to sugar. I was a latch key kid and remember making sugary snacks every day after school, then eating a full dinner followed by dessert. I started dieting when I was 12. But looking at pictures of myself then, I wasn't fat. My mom was always on a diet, so I thought that was just what us girls did.

Throughout high school, I was a normal weight, but always wanted to drop 5-10 lbs...which never happened. In college I started to gain weight and for the next 20 years slowly inched up and out. I have tried every diet under the sun....seriously.

I have spent thousands of dollars on diets, diet food/meals, diet books, online courses, gym memberships, personal training, injections, nutritionists, brain training and therapy. It was exhausting and I didn't understand why I was successful in every aspect of my life except my weight.

Bright Line Eating Boot Camp

Sara said...

I just found this page while researching BLE. It's been eye-opening to me to realize that I am an addict, and that my absolute horror at thinking about drawing these lines is an addict's behavior. I really liked reading this post about your journey. I did four days last week with no flour or sugar (that's all—because I'm an addict, my mind is refusing to say that I'm drawing lines right now, I'm just trying it out), and it was so surprisingly doable! I can feel that I'm getting closer to committing to it, but I'm taking my time to get there so that I'm fully prepared. Thank you for sharing this part of your journey. It was so helpful to me.