A dear blogging/Instagram friend of mine, Sandy (find her blog here), recently suggested that I read Bright Line Eating, by Susan Peirce Thompson (find the book here, but please consider your local library first). After a short rant on Instagram of how I was frustrated with having food cravings, and giving into binges, and having a hard time eating the way I know is healthy, Sandy kindly wrote me a message and told me about how BLE had helped her with her food behaviors and habits. I requested the book from my library and started reading the afternoon I got it.
The author, Susan, happens to be plant-based, but this book really is more about the inner-workings of the brain and how it responds to food in the context of one's susceptibility to food addiction. "Bright lines" is the idea that you create HARD-SET rules for yourself around food that are brights lines you never cross. The rules it sets for you are roughly: 1.) no sugar, 2.) no flour, 3.) mealtimes, and 4.) quantities. Obviously, the book goes into great detail of the why and how, so I would definitely recommend checking it out for yourself.
When I first started a Nutritarian diet (January 2011), I was PERFECT for a full 5 weeks. Around this time, I was in college and had just met my now husband. For the first time in a long time, I felt wonderful, both physically and emotionally. I felt like I could be myself around Kevin not only because we meshed so well, but because I felt confident in myself and the healthful things I was doing for my body.
Then the 6th week happened. I slipped up "just this once" with a bit of cheese, then with a small slice of pizza, then a few beers, then Chinese takeout. I felt like I had failed myself by not finishing out the Eat to Live 6-weeks that Dr. Fuhrman details in his Eat to Live book. At the time, I rationalized that I knew the ins-and-outs of the Nutritarian diet by then and I could just make that 90% of my diet and little slips here and there. I was in college, after all, I shouldn't be so hard on myself, right?
Well, ever since then I have had excuse after excuse of why I could never commit fully to a Nutritarian lifestyle. All the while, deep down regretting that I never finished out those first six weeks. Don't worry, I'm not about to declare to you that after reading BLE I have changed all of my ways and vow that I will be a perfect Nutritarian from here on out. BLE is not necessarily my new religion, but it has definitely taught me some lessons. It has changed how I think about my food habits and I'm working on practicing some better routines that will make me more successful. Here are the changes I've made:
1.) I meditate every morning and write down exactly what I will eat/drink that day, and I DO NOT deviate. If it's not on my meal plan for the day, it doesn't go in my mouth. This also inevitably means no snacks, no binges or going for seconds, and no saying "just this once". I prep my food the night before so I can container-out the appropriate portions ahead of time and don't convince myself in the moment that I need more.
2.) I spend 30 minutes every day by myself doing something I enjoy that is not food related. Lately, this has been yoga, reading, or knitting. This new behavior is getting past the feelings of "if I don't eat/drink this thing, how can I enjoy life?" The brain can tell you crazy things to get you to feed the food addiction.
3.) I've been sharing with my husband more. I've been telling him my food and workout plans, so he helps to hold me to them. I've been telling him my feelings, good or bad, about weight loss, cravings, energy levels, etc. I think for too long I've let my weight and eating struggles be an internal issue, and not reaching out and asking for help.
4.) I am taking it one day at a time. For the longest time, I thought those perfect 6-weeks were the holy grail, but now I realize that each day is what really matters to me. Will I have the resolve to stick with being a Nutritarian for 6 weeks or the rest of my life? Maybe, maybe not. But I KNOW I can TODAY, so that is what I'm going to do.
Health and Happiness,