Can't Stop Eating

Theresa wrote in with a very powerful and relatable challenge: “It seems I can’t stop eating once I start. This is especially true for dinner. I’m okay as long as I don’t start eating. Once I start, I want to continue. Even if I’m eating compliant food, I can’t make it through one single day completely Bright. Help!”

This is one of the twin defining features of addiction: once we start, we can’t stop. And once we stop, we can’t stay stopped. 

You’re not alone, Theresa. So what do we do about it?

The first thing is to realize you’re dealing with an advanced case of food addiction. The solution lies in a comprehensive, multi-faceted, and rigorous approach to treating it. 

If you’re trying to do Bright Line Eating after reading the book, that’s not a potent enough solution. If BLE is going to work for you, you will need to do the Boot Camp and use every resource available. You might need a BLE guide—someone to talk with you every day until you get some successful weeks under your belt. 

But what if you’ve already done Boot Camp? Then you may need to take it to the next level. That could mean going inpatient. I know one really good treatment program for people who have food addiction. That’s SHIFT Recovery by Acorn. Look them up for their inpatient treatment program, which you can do either onsite or virtually.

You might also try a 12 Step Program. The most potent one is probably FA—Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous. That would give you a sponsor you can talk to every day who would be directive and authoritative with you.

Within the Bright Line Eating program, there are several strategies I would recommend.

One is preparing, weighing, and measuring your food the day before so that everything is all set and ready to go. You’re separating the experience of preparing food from the experience of eating. That creates a buffer between you and the food—once the meal is over, it will be far more challenging to keep eating. 

Another habit to build in: brush your teeth and tongue right after you eat with a strong, minty toothpaste and mouthwash. This signals your brain that you’re done. 

Dinner is predictable. It shows up at the end of the day. Use that to your advantage. Get a Bright Line Eating buddy to talk to you right when you know you’ll be finishing dinner. And once that call is over, find something else to do, far away from the kitchen, and make it habitual.

People tend to have problems with dinner that they don’t have with lunch or breakfast. Here’s why: first, your brain is more depleted by the end of the day. Second, people tend to pair dinner with more variety and more highly rewarding foods. Breakfast and lunch can be more easily automatic, but not dinner. Notice that difference, and try to make your dinner more like breakfast.

How? Develop a dinner that does not include rewarding foods. Try steamed green beans rather than butternut squash. Don’t use a lot of spices on your chicken. (Salt and pepper are fine.) It’s okay to enjoy your food, but make it simple enough that it’s not something you look forward to.

Using some or all of those strategies can get you on the right track. You need to take this seriously and make dinner hours absolutely protected. 

Remember: you’re not alone. This is what addiction is. Bring a lot more intentionality to your meals. 

You’ve got this, Theresa. I love you and am here for you. Let us know how my team and I can help you.

Can't Stop Eating | Bright Line Living | The Official Bright Line Eating Podcast