“People are very open-minded about new things — as long as they’re exactly like the old ones.” Charles Kettering
I was a big proponent of reinventing myself long before it became a fashionable aim in all the women’s magazines. Come the first of the year, or the second half of the year, or the fall or… whenever, I longed to be a wholly new and successful human being, and it always started with a new diet. Or an old one, although new ones usually worked better than old ones, a fact well known to yo-yo dieters. I was generally successful at the weight loss part of these “Me” projects. The problem was that I always turned around and gained it right back.
I went on my first diet at 13, and pretty much embarked on a new one each year thereafter. I never had much weight to shed; usually 10 – 20 lbs. I’d go on the diet, lose the weight quickly, and then begin madly eating (i.e. bingeing on) all the foods I’d craved while depriving myself. Of course, it took much less time to gain it back than to lose it. And I did this over, and over, and over again.
Part of the reason I stuck with this endless yo-yo’ing of my weight was I would never really acknowledge the problem, because everyone told me I didn’t have one. Apparently “Fat Jen” didn’t look all that different than “Thin Jen.” To the outside world I appeared “Normal Jen” or “More Slender Jen.” No big deal one way or the other. Except to me; to me the difference was ginormous! Fat/Normal Jen had no confidence, ate uncontrollably, was chronically depressed, and had nothing to wear (because I would never buy anything new in a larger size, and was therefore relegated to about three stretchy outfits in my closet.) Thin/More Slender Jen, on the other hand, was confident, in control, disciplined, had a closet full of enviably fashionable clothing options, and was ebullient every day. Which Jen would you choose? If you were like me, you vacillated because even though Thin Jen was preferable, Fat Jen could eat sugar and drink alcohol with abandon and blot out all her feelings in the process.
However, if growing older brings its share of sags and wrinkles, it also brings a certain amount of wisdom and the ability to face that what you’ve been doing for so long is just not working, and never did. Plus, all that dieting starts to take its toll and you just can’t stand feeling miserable and desperate another year, or month, or day, or even minute. I was so ready for Bright Line Eating when it showed up in my world in March of 2017. It was the solution I’d been seeking for years.
It took me almost four months to lose 23 lbs, which was slower than I had lost in the past. When I was young, I could knock off 10 lbs or more in a month. This time I was lucky to lose five lbs. in a month. But so many people think if you’re over 60 it is impossible to lose weight, especially when you don’t have a lot to lose. Is that what you think? If so, I am living proof you are wrong.
Aside from some initial fatigue, which is normal whenever you cut food from your diet, I felt wonderful on this program. I believe one of the reasons it worked so well for me, and why I am convinced I will be able to stick with it and maintain my weight loss, is that it excludes flour and sugar. I am now convinced, after doing BLE (as it is affectionately known among us followers), that I have been a sugar addict all along. It is really the only food I craved and once I got it out of my system, my eating became, dare I say it, normal. BLE also calls for measuring quantities and no between meal eating. This may sound extreme to some, but it so works if you have food issues like me. I am now at peace with my food, which is worth far more than being thin. Although being thin is pretty darned awesome.
I love that I can do BLE as a whole foods, plant-based eater (WFPB) (carnivores can do it equally well). And that it has a solid maintenance program. I was tired of being a human yo-yo. I was ready to get to the weight I wanted to be and stay there. And that is exactly what I did, and I am now doing in the maintenance program I follow.
Do you hate to exercise? I know some people love it, but I really don’t. BLE appeals to us lazy types since no exercise is required during the weight loss phase. In fact, unless you are already a committed exerciser, it is recommended that you don’t start until you’ve lost your weight. This is because BLE is based on brain science that shows will power can only be spread so thin; if you’re using it to get yourself to the gym, there won’t be enough left over for you to stick with a new food plan. Now that I am on maintenance, the time has come to choose an exercise program. I’ll be writing about that in future posts. If you’re a former exercise hater who’s found a program you like and can stick with, please share in the comments below.
Susan Peirce Thompson, the former college professor and charismatic founder of Bright Line Eating, has written a best-selling book on the program, which is available on Amazon. She is very active in BLE and accessible and connected to those of us who follow the food plan. In one of her online vlogs, she says that BLE is not a program for those who need it, but rather one for those who want it. Perhaps that’s why it attracts so many of us Boomers. After a lifetime of chasing after the dream of being thin by starving ourselves and stubbornly trying to shape our bodies at will, we are ready to admit that our way hasn’t worked and to surrender to a different way of doing things.
BLE offers a ton of education via online learning modules and support through Facebook groups led by friendly counselors and frequented by committed, encouraging followers. There is so much to it, including a lot of inner work. It has really inspired me to want to make changes that go well beyond weight loss. I will be writing more about those changes in this blog, but will mainly be posting about losing and maintaining weight through August. Next week I’ll be writing about weight loss strategies, such as meal planning and prepping, as well as more on my maintenance “dance.”
To learn more about Bright Line Eating, you can go to their site, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.