Bright Line Eating Diet Review
Bright Line Eating is a diet plan developed by Psychologist and neuroscience expert Dr. Susan Peirce Thompson to help people struggling with weight issues to have a permanent solution. To put it in her own words, the goal of this eating plan is helping thousands of people to live “Happy, Thin, and Free.” According to Susan, obesity is not just a physical problem arising from consuming too many calories, but a complex one involving psychological and hormonal issues. Not surprisingly, she employs psychology and neuroscience principles, as well as foods that help regulate hormones, to bring about a radical change in the person. As the name implies, a number of well defined ‘bright lines’ help the dieters stay on the right course until they reach their weight goals. They also act as guidelines for maintaining the desired weight for life.
How the Bright Line Eating Works
Dr. Susan insists that Bright Line Eating is not merely a diet or an eating plan for weight loss, but a completely new way of healthy living. She slams the conventional wisdom–eating in moderation and exercising–to lose weight. On the other hand, Bright Line Eating makes use of the hormone leptin and the technique of brain rewiring to achieve control over our eating and weight gain.
Leptin is called ‘satiety hormone’ because it is produced by the fat tissue when the body feels that it has sufficient energy store. It prompts us to stop eating and become more active. In other words, the hormone leptin is actually body’s own natural defense against excessive fat storage and weight gain. Since this hormone is produced by the adipose tissue (fat cells) leptin levels in the body would naturally be higher in those having more fat tissue. However, that doesn’t seem to help them avoid gaining weight. As a matter of fact, people who are overweight or obese do produce more leptin, but it often gets blocked by the hormone insulin, so it cannot prevent weight gain. Therefore, the key to increasing leptin levels is to reduce insulin production in the body.
The Bright Line Eating program involves moderate calorie-restriction for weight reduction, but more importantly, it almost completely eliminates all foods that trigger excessive insulin production. As everyone probably knows, insulin is produced in response to carbohydrate intake, especially sugar and refined carbs. That means one should cut sugar and refined flours from the diet to reduce insulin levels and reap the benefits of leptin; and they form two of the ‘bright lines’ of the Bright Line Eating. Foods that elevate blood sugar levels are also addictive because they excite the pleasure centers of the brain like cocaine does. In fact, sugar has been found to be even more addictive that cocaine or heroin. So, that is one more good reason to stay clear of sugars. This eventually leads to rewiring of the brain to overcome sugar addiction and cravings.
Another important feature of the program is developing automatic habits to take the strain off the willpower. According to Dr. Susan, moderating food intake merely through exercising the dieter’s discretion, whether it is the type of food or amount, is bound to fail. That is because having to make the right choices continuously taxes the willpower. Many scientific experiments have shown time and again that willpower is a mental muscle that is prone to fatigue and susceptible to failure. Dependence on willpower is, in fact, one of the main reasons why so many people fail to follow through the best of weight loss diets. Consequently, the clear, non-negotiable ‘bright lines’ of this program take the choice out of your hands regarding the following:
- Sugar (all kinds of sugar to be avoided, including honey and maple syrup)
- Flour (all kinds of processed flours from both grains and pulses to be eliminated
- 3 meals per day (no snacking in between)
- Fixed quantity of food (either by weight or by plate)
The Bright Line Eating Boot Camp
The Bright Line Eating program starts with a Boot Camp that is 8 weeks in duration. It is designed to help people overcome eating disorders and food addictions, and put them on a path of liberation from the vicious cycle of weight gain and dieting. It has much in common with de-addiction programs like Alcohol Anonymous and FA, and, like them, peer group support is continued through private social media groups. As with AA, the main prerequisite for joining the Boot Camp is that the dieter should wholeheartedly want to undertake the program. He/she should not be forced or coerced into it by parents, spouses, friends or even healthcare workers.
The Bright Line Eating Boot Camp is a completely online program that anyone anywhere in the world can join if one has access to a computer and a reliable Internet connection. It is conducted in batches with limited admission. That’s one little drawback because one has to look out for the announcement of a new session. But for those who are impatient until registration for the next boot camp opens, or just want to test the waters, Dr. Susan now offers a 14-day trial or The Bright Line Eating 14-Day Challenge here: http://foodfreedom.brightlineeating.com/14-day-challenge-nc/
It comes with the Bright Line Eating Weight Loss Food Plan and daily videos from Dr. Susan for 2 weeks. You will also get access to the mobile platform Bright Line Eating Daily Companion that would support your efforts as you develop the right habits to drive your weight loss journey. While this 2-weeks challenge costs $29, you could also order her new book, Bright Line Eating: The Science of Living Happy, Thin, and Free https://brightlineeating.com/book/ for under $20.
Is exercise involved?
As mentioned before, Dr. Susan’s view on exercise for weight loss goes against conventions. She argues, with the support of scientific evidence, that exercise has no significant role in weight reduction, and that it can actually derail your weight loss efforts.
It is quite understandable that vigorous exercise can cause physical harm when a person is carrying quite a lot of extra pounds; it can put the joints under tremendous stress, and can even lead to permanent damage. But even moderate or light exercise is discouraged in this program. It is on the premise that it causes unnecessary physical and mental stress at a time when the dieter is already under a lot of strain to adjust to the food restrictions and other lifestyle changes required by the program.
However, later in the program, after the insulin levels have come under control, and leptin levels increase sufficiently, the body may naturally respond to these changes by increasing physical activity. One has the choice of indulging in exercise at that time, for the many benefits it offers.
Bright Line Eating allows all kinds of healthy and nutritious natural foods, although in limited quantities and fixed number of times per day. The portions are generous enough to satiate real hunger and meet the energy requirements of the body. One can choose from meat, fish, vegetables, and fruits. While flours of all kinds have to be avoided, whole grains in unprocessed form are allowed. Similarly, natural sweetness in fruits and vegetables can be enjoyed; it is the concentrated and refined versions that have to be eliminated.
Since animal sources of protein can be replaced by beans and other legumes, the Bright Line Eating plan is adaptable to vegan and vegetarian diets too. There have been no reports of nutritional deficiencies or need for vitamin or mineral supplements.
The Cost Factor
The main cost of the Bright Line Eating is for the 8-weeks Boot Camp, which doesn’t come cheap considering the fact that it’s an online program. The price of each camp may vary, but it is a relief that it has now come down to under $500, from the original cost of nearly $1,000. It supposedly covers the expenses of maintaining a support team for the benefit of dieters. Since the diet does not involve any weight loss products or dietary supplements, there’s no recurrent costs involved, although a small monthly fee may be payable for continued access to Facebook support groups. The recently published work by Dr. Susan Bright Line Eating: The Science of Living Happy, Thin, and Free may be an additional cost, but it’s optional.
The option of joining the 2-weeks challenge to get a taste of the program is an advantage for those who are wary of making a big investment. At the price of $29, it is affordable for almost anyone interested in this program.
Do Dieters Lose Weight on the Bright Line Eating Diet?
Dr. Susan developed Bright Line Eating based on the diet and lifestyle changes that helped her lose weight after a long struggle with obesity in her 20s. She structured it into a comprehensive plan with ample scientific explanations and presents it as a foolproof weight loss method for the benefit of others in the same struggle. Dieters who follow the eating plan and strictly stay within the ‘bright lines’ reportedly enjoy significant weight loss over the 8 weeks they spend in the Boot Camp. They apparently continue to shed pounds even afterwards and manage to keep them off long-term. Average weight loss reported is about 10 pounds per month, but it is dependent on many other factors, and may vary from person to person.
Not everyone has the same success with the diet, though. As is the case with any other weight loss diet, along with success stories, there are bound to be failures also, particularly when people cheat on the program. Metabolic makeup of individuals may also play a part in determining their response to the program. You can actually find a quiz at their website to help determine if your brain circuitry tends to undermine your weight loss efforts. http://foodfreedomquiz.com/
Level of Effort
Bright Line Eating takes moderate to high level of effort. The restrictions are not many, but they really pinch, especially when it comes to sugar and refined flours. Since they have been such an integral part of our diet for so long, many dieters would find the ‘bright lines’ to be quite restrictive. Snacking between meals is so common at homes and in work places that it would take tremendous willpower to say ‘NO’ to them.
One important fact that Dr. Susan highlights in her lecture series is that there’s no middle way, or scope for compromise, when it comes to the bright lines, especially the first two. Because of their highly addictive nature, one has no option but to avoid them completely if one wants to break the cycle. They should be treated just like alcohol or nicotine addiction where a clean break is the only way to go.
Since the program focuses on overcoming food addictions, cravings, and eating disorders, people may find it getting easier as they go forward. That is one reason why those who tasted success with this diet choose to stick with it long term.
Bright Line Eating is backed by sound science and rational explanations. No food group is eliminated in its entirety, so it can be considered a healthy, wholesome eating plan. Apart from the weight loss benefits, it promises freedom from many metabolic diseases and medication and also an energy boost from the high leptin levels. Although avoiding all processed food presents many practical problems in day-to-day life, the extra effort required may reap rich dividends. Those who have successfully followed the program vouch for its efficacy, so it is definitely worth a try, especially at the price the 2-week challenge is offered.
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