The Weekly Vlog

The Sine Wave of Super Bright Living

Feb 21, 2024

I want to share a bit about my own story and recent events that illustrate what Bright Living looks like.

I’m really Bright right now but that hasn’t always been the case. I’ve been in food recovery for 28 years. That was about a year after I got clean and sober from drugs and alcohol, and I’d gained a ton of weight.

I went to my first 12-step food meeting, and it didn’t turn everything around the way the drug and alcohol recovery did. That was the beginning of about 7 1/2 years of on-again, off-again attempts at abstinence. I had some success, but overall, I struggled.

When I was 28, I started doing things differently: No sugar. No flour. Weighing and measuring my food. Three meals a day. I got down to the size I am now. And then I had a major relapse and gained back all that weight. Within 3 months, I was my heaviest ever.

I lost the weight again and was good for almost 10 years. But then I tried intuitive eating, because intellectually it seemed a better fit. That didn’t work. Within a month, my freedom was gone and my weight was increasing.

I knew that the no-sugar, no-flour thing worked, so I went back to it, and I was abstinent for about 3 years. But when my life exploded with the Bright Line Eating movement, my food went off track. For about 4 years I binged on and off—mostly Bright, but definitely lots of food struggles. But in September 2019, I stopped binging, put down sugar and flour, and haven’t picked it up since.

That began 3 years of immaculate adherence to the first 3 Bright Lines: no sugar, no flour, and eating only at meals. But my quantities were off in restaurants. I surrendered more deeply and got squeaky clean with the 4th and hardest Bright Line: quantities. Since then, I’ve had immaculate quantities. And now I’m grateful for the peace that I have.

I wanted to share what the sine wave of living Bright can look like.

I go stretches where I don’t think about food at all; I feel free and grateful. My well-being is high, and I’m steady.

Just recently, though, I got a little stressed and stopped writing down my food at night. I’ve done that on and off. Recently, though, I went a week without writing it down and I found myself before a meal addictively picking a fattier protein choice.

Here’s what happened: beans don’t light me up, but Beyond Burgers do. They’re ultra-processed, fattier, and richer. And they’re allowed, but maybe they shouldn’t be, as an ultra-processed food. I made a Beyond Burger, even though I had beans prepared in the fridge. I made that choice, and it was an addictive choice, even though I weighed out exactly 4 oz.

The next day, I took my kids out because I wanted a restaurant meal. And I did have a Bright meal, eating only what was on my food plan. But I know this restaurant has grilled eggplant that is pretty oily, and I had that on my salad. I went out to eat deliberately to get that hit from that food.

That night, I went to the grocery store and contemplated buying some huge apples. The rationale in my mind was that I was about to travel 3 time zones west and knew there would be times I would need to go 8 hours between lunch and dinner, so the addictive voice in my mind told me a huge apple would be good to tide me over. I laughed at myself and didn’t buy the apples. But I could feel the soul-sickness in me.

I made a gameplan. I called a couple of Bright friends for support. Then I came home and wrote down my food for the next day.

When we talk about the sine wave, the downslope is the precursor (potentially) for a relapse. And maybe that means going off the Bright Lines—but maybe it doesn’t. Maybe you just have a little wobble. But you can correct the wobble. For me, that meant making a couple of phone calls and writing down my food again.

Someone on an accountability call recently asked me about eating out. She was using the one-plate rule. For me, a 10++ on the Susceptibility Scale, I don’t use the one-plate rule. I told her that I either use a digital food scale or I measure with my eyes. I stay vigilant about only eating the categories of food that are on my plan for that meal. And I’m eyeballing each category of food to make sure it’s my best estimate of the right amount. If a nagging feeling in my gut tells me maybe it’s actually too much, I cut some away.

This is what a diamond vase looks like. If you’re not familiar with this metaphor, it goes like this: for people who come into Boot Camp, it starts to feel easy. And I say to them, it’s easy because the system works. It’s like you’ve been given a priceless gift: a crystal vase. So don’t juggle with it.

Crystal vasers are those who have never broken their Bright Lines. But if you do break those lines, there is a way back. And you don’t get a crystal vase, you get a diamond vase—one that can’t be shattered.

So that’s the little bobble I had and how I resolved it, just so you can hear the language and feel the bodily experiences of what super Bright Living can be like when you surf the sine wave of Maintenance.

Click here to listen to this episode on Bright Line Living™ - The Official Bright Line Eating Podcast.

Susan Peirce Thompson, Ph.D. is a New York Times bestselling author and an expert in the psychology and neuroscience of eating.  Susan is the Founder and CEO of Bright Line Eating®, a scientifically grounded program that teaches you a simple process for getting your brain on board so you can finally find freedom from food.

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