You’ll have a hard time finding a bigger fan of Bright Line Eating than me. It has succeeded for me where every other weight loss plan has failed. Because of this program, I have gone from morbid obesity to living in a right size body. It is no exaggeration to say that it has changed my life. But I know that it’s not for everyone and so it’s possible that Bright Line Eating is not for you.
In fact, statistically speaking, odds are that you’re not who this plan is designed for. However, if you are in that unique minority, it may be the most effective weight loss strategy you’ll ever find.
So how do you know if it might be a great fit or not? Well, let’s look at the
11 Signs Bright Line Eating is NOT for You
#1: You Can Handle Moderation
You’re the type of person for whom food moderation is rarely a challenge. You have little trouble going long stretches without a sweet treat or high calorie comfort food. And/or it only takes a small portion to hit the spot and alleviate your cravings.
If this describes you, then this is the first sign that Bright Line Eating is not for you. However, there are probably a lot of diet and weight loss approaches that will work for you. Most of these are what I call the “Trade-off Diets.” You make healthier choices most of the time and then enjoy a special treat less often or in small daily portions.
And for you, that occasional treat is like adding fuel to your gas tank. A quick top off is all it takes to keep you going for miles down the road. So counting calories or points may be all you need to help keep your food choices in check, satisfy cravings and shed those extra pounds.
But if you’re more like me, a small, occasional treat is never enough to hit the spot. (In fact, I’m pretty sure that I was born without a spot.) Instead, that occasional tiny treat is more like adding fuel to the fire. Rather than relieve pressure, it usually builds pressure. One small serving and my craving increases rather than goes away. If this describes you, then the moderation or trade-off diets may be unlikely to provided long-term success.
#2: You Don’t Have a Lot of Weight to Lose
It may be that Bright Line Eating is not for you if you only have a small or moderate amount of weight to lose. For example, you’ve given minimal effort to watching what you eat and have added an extra couple pounds each year. If that is your situation, then a more temporary trade-off diet may just do the trick.
But if you have a significant amount of weight to lose, you made need something more robust and long-term. In my case I had put a lot of effort and resources into weight loss over the years and I was still morbidly obese. Making a few diet tweaks here and there was clearly not going to work for me. I needed a system and process for changing my entire eating lifestyle.
However, just being obese does not mean that a trade-off diet won’t work for you. That is because another sign that Bright Line Eating is not for you is that…
#3: You Don’t Obsess About Food
This describes my wife. In her mind, a meal is just one of the many daily tasks you have to accomplish. Yes, she enjoys some meals more than others, but for her the priority most days is simply to accomplish the task of eating. If a pill could meet all of your nutritional needs, most days she’d happily pop the pill.
I, on the other hand, would spend a great deal of mental energy obsessing over food. Would I get enough to eat? When can I eat next? What is the one food that would satisfy me the most right now? What steps do I need to take to get my hands on that food right now?
And if I was trying to lose weight, I’d obsess even more about food.
What can I eat during the day so I can have a big dessert tonight? How do I not eat the food they just put in the breakroom when that is all I can think about? If I do x, y and z can I allow myself a treat tomorrow?
So if you are much more like my wife than me, you may not need the full strength of a program like Bright Line Eating. Because it doesn’t occupy much of your mental energy, you may have great success just cutting back on the higher calorie food options.
The next sign that Bright Line Eating is not for you is that
#4: You’re Reasonably Satisfied
You have what I call proper functioning stomach logic. You’re hungry when you sit down to dinner, but after a reasonable size portion you start to feel fuller with every bite. You easily recognize when you’ve had enough food and if you keep going you know you are going to feel stuffed and uncomfortable.
And, as you just read that description you thought, “Well, of course, that’s how eating works.” And if that was your thought (and I hope it was), then you may be a good candidate for a variety of traditional weight loss programs.
But I’m here to tell you that for some of us, it doesn’t work that way. We can eat a reasonably sized portion and actually feel even hungrier than when we started. I would sometimes eat a very large meal and honestly not be sure if I was full or still quite hungry. Often I would feel both sensations at the same time.
If you find that freakish and can’t relate, then I congratulate you. That is likely another sign that Bright Line Eating is not for you.
Another indication is that…
#5: You Have Food Rules that Work Well for You
Some people intentionally or just intuitively follow a set of food rules that help keep their eating behaviors in check. In one observational study at Chinese buffets, researchers discovered that thinner customers tended to follow a different set of rules than the more portly patrons. For example, they might use smaller plates or survey all of the options before choosing what to eat.
If you have set and generally follow eating guidelines that work well, a few minor adjustments may be all you need to shed those extra pounds. But if you don’t have any guidelines you regularly follow or if you frequently change the ones you try and follow, then don’t rule Bright Line Eating out. It’s well designed set of food rules (bright lines) may be just the thing you need to lose weight and keep it off.
In addition to these reasons, there are also some issues of mindset that may indicate that Bright Line Eating is not for you. For example, if…
#6: You’re Not Ready to Give it a Fair Shake
It has been my experience (and thousands of others as well) that Bright Line Eating can be an amazingly powerful weight loss method. But don’t confuse powerful with fast and easy. Because it is designed to help rewire your brain, it does require some time and practice to reap the rewards.
If you want to see if it really works for you, I think you need to be ready to give it a fair shot for 60 to 90 days. In my experience, it took that much time for the new behaviors to really kick in and become more automatic and easier. Taste buds can also dramatically change over that same time frame and your enjoyment of food goes way up as well.
Another sign that Bright Line Eating is not for you is that…
#7: You’re Unwilling to Weigh Your Food
One of the biggest mistakes I see new people make is that they are quite loosey goosey when it comes to weighing their food. They just eyeball their portions or they weigh their portions but are not very precise.
But people who succeed on Bright Line Eating, tend to pass what I call “The Blueberry Test.” These are the folks who will add or remove one little blueberry from their bowl so that they can get to the exact right portion size to which they committed eating. It may seem “extreme” at first, but this precision is what helps to rewire your brain for weight loss success.
(For more info on why this is important see The Secret to Permanent Weight Loss is Just Three Inches.)
Another sign that Bright Line Eating is not for you is that…
#8: You’re Unwilling to Learn
You have to be willing to take on a growth mindset and put some time and effort into learning a new way of living. Too many people just look up the four bright lines and then try and follow them without ever reading the book or joining the Boot Camp.
The four bright lines are important, but almost every weight loss program has rules to adhere to. In Bright Line Eating, the secret sauce (sugar and flour-free, of course) is in the strategies taught to help you keep your four bright lines. It is by understanding and learning the whole approach that you are most likely to succeed.
A more traditional weight loss program may also be a better fit for you if…
#9: You’re Convinced Exercise is the Answer
We’re taught from a young age that diet and exercise are the keys to weight loss. But unlike other programs, Bright Line Eating actually discourages exercise during the weight loss phase for most people. Not because exercise is bad, but because it can actually make it more difficult to keep your bright lines.
There are two main reasons. First, exercise tends to increase appetite. And second, trying to establish a new exercise routine takes a lot of energy and willpower. Being extra hungry with little willpower remaining is not a good foundation for starting a weight loss program.
But if you insist on starting a new exercise routine as part of your weight loss efforts, you may be more comfortable with a different approach. (For more info on exercise and weight loss see Stop Exercising to Lose Weight.)
There may also be a very practical reason Bright Line Eating is not for you.
#10: You Prefer Prepackaged Foods
If you’re looking for a program that prepares your food for you, you won’t find that here. Bright Line Eating does not sell prepackaged food or meal replacement products. And at this point, I’m unaware of any national meal service company that offers food plans that adhere to the four bright lines.
I would also add that prepackaged food may make sense as a short-term solution or as an occasional supplement to home cooking. However, in addition to being expensive, relying on prepackaged meals can prevent you from establishing the healthy habits you’ll need for a lifetime of weight loss success. And, of course, they usually fall short of the nutritional quality of most self-prepared meal options.
And the final sign that Bright Line Eating is not for you is that…
#11: You’re Afraid to Fail
I get it. I have failed at a lot of weight loss plans and diets in the past. It can be embarrassing to lose just enough weight for people to notice only to add it all back a few months later.
Been there. Done that.
But unfortunately, great achievements are rarely accomplished without some risk. And the truth is, odds are that you’ll experience some failure. I certainly have at times. Even Dr. Susan Peirce Thompson, the founder of Bright Line Eating herself, has experienced failure and setbacks.
The good news is that that is OK. As Susan frequently reminds us, you don’t have to be perfect to succeed at Bright Line Eating, you just have to be unstoppable.
So what do you think? Do these eleven signs move you more towards a “no” on Bright Line Eating or towards a “yes?” If as the Magic-8 Ball says, “Signs point toward yes,” what are your next steps?
My suggestion, if you have not already done so, is to take the Food Freedom Quiz. This completely free quiz from Bright Line Eating takes just a few minutes to complete and it will give you even deeper insight into your food personality. This will help you further evaluate which weight loss programs may be a good long-term fit for you.
So what are you waiting for? Take the quiz now at: Food Freedom Quiz