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How Bright Line Eating Can Help Rewire Your Brain’s Addiction to Food

How many diets have you tried only to either barely shed a few pounds or bounce right back to your original weight after restricting yourself for an allotted amount of time? For most of us, the answer is far too often than we’d like to admit. That’s something Susan Peirce Thompson, PhD, wants to help more people overcome with Bright Line Eating. 

After recovering from substance abuse and addiction in her teens, Dr. Thompson recognized similar issues when it came to her eating habits as an adult. “For many long years, my life was an endless series of groundhog days: Oversleeping. Bingeing. Weight Gain. Depression. Therapy. Grad School. Wash-rinse-repeat,” she writes on her website. That led her to enrolling in a 12-week food addiction program. Thompson was able to lose 60 pounds in just a few months, going from a size 16 to size 4 — plus, it helped to finally lift her out of depression for good. 

She then began studying the psychology and neuroscience behind eating habits and came up with the strategy behind Bright Line Eating. Thompson elaborates on her website, “The core principles of BLE are Bright Lines — clear, unambiguous boundaries we don’t cross just like a non-smoker doesn’t smoke, no matter what.” She defines those boundaries that shouldn’t be crossed as: sugar, flour, meals, and quantities. 

Sugar and flour are both what she describes in her free report, “The Three Huge Mistakes That Almost Everyone Makes When They Try To Lose Weight,” as refined, “foodlike substances” that flood our brain with dopamine and cause cravings. This includes favorite indulgences like candy, cake, soda, pizza, pasta, and chips that often disrupt attempts at losing weight. Just like a former smoker would avoid an offer of a cigarette or an alcoholic declining a beer, you would need to reprogram your mind by avoiding all of those refined foods and any added sugar (even added natural sugars) entirely. When we attempt diets that allow for those types of “cheat meals,” our brain is triggered to continue craving them. Thompson also acknowledges that some people are more susceptible to becoming addicted to food than others, just as we are with smoking and alcohol. 

As for meals and their quantities, that requires you to plan ahead and measure out what you will be eating in a day. It might sound a little strict, but the idea is to focus on three wholesome, filling meals that satiate you and make it so that food is the last thing on your mind — even when temptations arise. You can find out more on the Bright Line Eating website and even take a quiz to find out just how much your eating habits have to do with addiction rather than nourishing your body. Thompson offers boot camps and a 14-day challenge to get you started, but you should talk with your doctor before making any drastic changes to your diet. Once you know if it’s safe for you or not, you might finally find yourself on the path to completely changing the way you think and feel about food.

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