I turned 40 a little over two years ago, and since then, I have packed on about 25 pounds. Call it stress, hormones, or just eating more than I should, but it happened. I finally got to the point where I wanted to do something about it, so when my BFF lost 50 pounds with a program called Bright Line Eating, a program created by Dr. Susan Peirce Thompson, a psychology professor in with a PhD in brain and cognitive science, I decided that it might be worth a try.
I’m not a spokesperson, I’m nothing but a regular mom who gave it a shot and wanted to share my story and help you make a decision to see if this is right for you.
If you’re looking for a weight loss program that really works, here’s what’s you need to know about Bright Line Eating based on my own experience.
Who is Bright Line Eating for?
First things first, you should start by taking the Susceptibility Scale Quiz to learn how addicted you are to food. Yes, it sounds severe, but what’s interesting is I took it thinking I’m in no way addicted to food — and I scored an 8 out of 10.
The science behind Bright Line Eating, which is based on an addictive model, works very well for folks like me who are high on the Susceptibility Scale. For those in the mid-range, it definitely can work as well, but you’re probably much better at moderation than someone who scored an 8, 9, or 10.
That doesn’t mean you can’t use this program if you’re not addicted to food, but you might find it more restrictive and challenging, versus helpful and successful.
What are the Bright Lines?
The core principles of Bright Line Eating are “Bright Lines” (surprise), which are clear boundaries that we don’t cross. Sort of like how a non-smoker doesn’t smoke just one cigarette every now and then.
The four Bright Lines are: sugar, flour, meals and quantities. Which means no sugar; no flour; only 3 meals a day all planned and set the day before; and everything is carefully weighed out based on a chart.
For weight loss, you follow a specific program, including the foods you need to eat at every meal (a grain, protein, fruit for breakfast for example), with the amount of specific foods laid out for you so you can plan.
Bright Line Eating sounds really hard.
At first this regimen definitely takes getting used to. If you’re someone who does a lot of eating out, or who enjoys social events that revolve around food, it can be extremely difficult. It’s definitely a lifestyle shift, and requires a fair amount of careful planning and preparedness.
Let’s just say you’re eating a lot of vegetables each day.
Mainly though, Bright Line Eating is a matter of staying on top of the planning, grocery shopping, and the cooking so that I always have food to prepare. You also need to be ready for travel or longer work days — basically those times you might ordinarily eat out or grab fast food. But hey, that’s why there are travel scales. (I like this one for about 25 bucks from our affiliate Amazon.)
This way, if you have to order food when you’re out, you’re able to weight it to ensure you’re not breaking your lines.
Turns out the food I end up making is pretty tasty, and wow, it forces you to get creative. Plus, I have never felt deprived!
I’m eating oat banana loaf, eggplant pizza, garbanzo bean pasta, and lots of other dishes that are really delicious. For inspiration, there’s a huge community on Instagram, and you can find tons of great ideas from seeing other people’s meals.
Can you exercise on Bright Line Eating?
Exercise is not recommended as part of this, and while it may sound counterintuitive, founder Dr. Susan Peirce Thompson has lots of reasons you should to it.
In essence, the idea is that you’re eating for weight loss, and your body cannot sustain itself on what you’re eating if you add exercise into the mix. Once you start adding food back in, you can think about what sort of exercise you might want to do. But because the focus is on losing pounds and inches, you’ll want to skip exercise for awhile.
Does Bright Line Eating work?
In my experience, 100% yes! I did her 8-week boot camp program, which provides video and Facebook group support, as well as a variety of resources beyond what you get in her Bright Line Eating book (available from our affiliate Amazon or your local library). During that time I lost 20 pounds.
I’ve continued with the program since then, and have lost another 5 pounds, and am now in “maintenance” mode, which means I’m adding food back in. That’s 25 pounds in 3 months!
I should mention that lots of folks see huge health benefits beyond just weight loss. Other people in my group have mentioned going off their diabetic meds or anxiety meds, plus there are countless stories about better sleep, better skin — the list goes on.
Certainly, the results vary greatly (and I’m not a doctor or researcher!), but most Bright Line Eating people I’ve interacted with have experienced fairly similar results.
Do you plan on sticking with Bright Line Eating?
While I didn’t officially sign up to be a Bright Lifer (well, yet), I plan on sticking with this program for as long as possible. I love the way I feel — and look. Hey, I’m honest. And eating this way has now become second nature to me, so much so that I don’t even miss some of the stuff that I’d previously crave and binge on.
It’s also forced me to find other ways to socialize and interact with people beyond going out to eat together, or hanging at a bar, and I appreciate that. Or if I do end up at an event that revolves around drinks, I just order a club soda.
I will say that the “Happy, Thin and Free” mantra can be off-putting to folks, particularly those in the body-positive movement, and I totally understand. However there are lots of people out there who identify as overweight and feel unhappy and uncomfortable in their own skin, and probably the biggest point: they know they’re unhealthy.
If you’re healthy and happy with your size, this is not the program for you. But if you’re looking to make a big change, and do feel as though you’re addicted to food, Bright Line Eating could be exactly the program you’ve been looking for.
Any questions? Leave them in comments. I’m happy to answer them! Also…I’m not a doctor and I’m not giving you medical advice, so be sure to check with your own doctor to see if this is something you can do.