Tag Archives: Food

Brighter Lines on the Horizon

In the past 3 years, I can’t say there has been a time when running wasn’t the focus of my health journey. I’ve lived it and breathed it and been consumed by it. And when I wasn’t consumed by it, I felt guilty for not being consumed by it.

The past couple weeks, though, it is not my focus. And I don’t feel guilty. (Okay, I guess I might have an iota or two of guilt, but I feel guilt and anxiety over 90% of things in my life.)

A few months ago, I read the book Bright Line Eating by Susan Peirce Thompson, Ph.D. And it made so much sense to me. I looked up studies she had referenced. I read and re-read passages. I nodded and yearned for the freedom from food that she presented.

“Bright Line Eating is grounded in cutting edge psychology and neuroscience, and its tenets fly in the face of almost every commonly accepted weight loss strategy. It gives you a plan to follow that is effective and proven to work. It’s not a quick fix or a gimmick. There are no pills and no powders. We are precise with our eating, but we don’t restrict portions to tiny amounts and we eat a lot of whole, real food.

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. The four Bright Lines are: Sugar, Flour, Meals, and Quantities.” –Susan Peirce Thompson

More specifically, here are the bright lines:

  1. No added sugars
  2. No flours
  3. Eat 3 meals per day. No snacks.
  4. Fixed quantities: measure out each bit of food that goes in your mouth.

And after I read all this stuff that totally made sense to me, what did I do? I put it all away, because how could I ever follow that life? It seemed too extreme, too overwhelming, too much.

A few weeks ago, the book popped into my radar again. It came up on Audible as a heavily discounted Black Friday special. So I bought it. And I started listening. Again, I thought, “Too extreme!” But a passage resonated with me in a way it hadn’t before.

Either way, you’re probably asking me right now, “Isn’t that extreme?”
To which I reply, “I’ll tell you what’s extreme.” Each year in the United States alone, over 70,000 people have to get a limb amputated because of their Type 2 diabetes. Seventy thousand people. Their doctors have warned them it’s coming, but it doesn’t matter. They can’t stop. They eat until they lose a limb. That is extreme. That is how powerful this addiction is. Giving up processed drug-foods isn’t extreme. What’s extreme is the way our society eats – and the consequences we’ve decided we’re willing to tolerate as a result.

And of course the answer is to quit. When someone is losing critical lung function because they smoke two packs of cigarettes a day, we don’t tell them to moderate their smoking. We tell them to quit.
“But how?” you’re asking. “Cigarettes are easy to avoid. Food is everywhere! And I have to eat to survive and there are special things I love to eat that have sugar and flour in them and I don’t know if I could give them up forever and you’ve just pointed out how hard it is to stick with anything…”
I hear you. And it’s okay to feel panicked – that’s actually coming from the dopamine receptors in your nucleus accumbens. They are about to get their supply cut off and they don’t like it. Not one little bit.
Which is why I’m happy to tell you that this program is stronger than they are. Your brain will heal, and there’s a very, very bright future ahead of you. Relax. It won’t be nearly as bad as you think.

And I felt it pulling me again. But I also fell the pull of a bunch of destructive thoughts.

It’s too close to Christmas. How can you do this around the holidays? You might as well wait until after cookie baking, after Christmas parties, after Christmas day, after New Year’s, after, after, after…

And then I realized I was sabotaging my own motivation to feel healthier and better. It’s no secret that I’ve yearned to lose weight most of my adult life and much of my adolescent life as well. I’m not going to hide that. It used to be for purely vain reasons. It’s not like that now, though. Now, I have a million other reasons. I want to feel better. I want my waist-line to stop expanding, even when I’m eating well and exercising. I want to know what else I can do with my life when I’m feeling like a better physical version of myself. I want to be the best possible “me” I can for the people in my life.

IMG_1647[1]

One of my reasons.

And yeah, that’s going to be hard. But maybe there is a way to get there. From the BLE support groups I’ve joined, I’ve heard from dozens of people who have been doing this for a long time, and the results are phenomenal. It works. It isn’t easy, but like Susan said above, it wasn’t nearly as bad as they thought.

So, the tl;dr version of it all is this: I’m making my food choices a priority right now. I had a fabulous first week where I didn’t blur a single darn line for 6/7 days. One of those days was our annual cookie baking day. I kept my lines for the morning and most of the afternoon, and then I made a conscious decision to let them go. (This is totally not recommended on BLE, but I decided that it was necessary to make it work for me.) The next day, I could feel cookies and sugar and flour and other things pulling me in, but I rejected them. I felt like junk, and so my body kept asking for more junk. But I said no. Those foods are not for me, and I kept my lines bright for the whole day.

Guess what? It wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be. It took effort and it took planning, but it took a lot less willpower than I expected. And by Friday, I actually felt pretty great.

So I’m getting things under control. And once I feel a little steadier on my feet, you can bet those feet will be running again. I bet you anything, they’ll be moving a little faster, because they’ll be running on clean fuel that is meant to energize my body and keep me going for the long haul.

Have you read Bright Line Eating or heard of this lifestyle before? What changes are you trying to make for your own health? Would love to hear from you in the comments!

47a1eed0-a9b7-4e13-945e-cddd6077c425-597-00000079c640bb65

P.S. Whenever I get a little too “deep and thoughtful” in a post, I feel the need to make it a little lighter. Has anyone’s elf shown up at their house yet? Beatrice was there this morning to ask LJ, “Do you wanna build a snowman?”

IMG_1652[1]

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wildcard Wednesday: 3 Basic Grocery Planning Tips + FREE Printable

I’ve touched a bit in the past about my love for organization, planning, and all things being-ahead-of-the-game. Mostly because I’m usually far, far from ahead. And you know what? Being behind is a really crummy feeling. I’m not good at flying by the seat of my yoga pants. I realized a while ago that I need to set myself up for success. That’s where my grocery list has become a life-saver.

Today, I want to give you my favorite three tips for staying on top of my grocery list. And if you make it to the end, I’ll even have a little printable gifty.

  1. Schedule time to meal plan and make your grocery list.
    To save a lot of time, you have to spend a little time dedicated to your meals for the week. For me, this works best on Sunday afternoons. I have an arsenal of quick, easy family recipes through Pinterest, my Google Drive, and my old-fashioned recipe box at home. I sit down, browse for a few minutes, and pick a few meals for the week. Not more than a few, though. One night is for leftovers, and the weekend is usually hubby’s realm.
  2. Plan all week. All the time.
    This might be counterintuitive to what I wrote above, but hear me out. Have a “list in progress” all the time. And set yourself up for success by pre-dividing the list into specific food/product categories.

    The way I accomplish this is through a couple of inexpensive items. I bought a frame at the dollar store. It’s not super high-quality, but it gets the job done. If you invest a little in a frame, it’ll likely last just about forever.

    File_000

    I also bought a few fine-tipped dry-erase markers. Inside the frame, I have a template list I typed up quite some time ago. (Can you see “diapers” is still on that? We haven’t purchased diapers for quite a while.) It is divided by categories, and then I have lists of common pantry/fridge staples. These are foods that I purchase often for recipes or otherwise. With a checkbox next to each item, I can easily mark an item when we need it. I also have blank lines at the end of the list, so I can fill in any random items I may need. Then, when I get to my Sunday planning time, it makes it super easy to…

  3. Get into the grocery store. Grab only what you need. Get out.
    When I have an easy-to-follow list of the items I need, it makes it simple to avoid impulse purchases, stay within budget, and buy mostly healthy foods. I personally feel less tempted to browse and think, “Oh, that Brownie Brittle looks so good…one package can’t hurt. Oooh, wait, look at those Bunny Grahams. Those look good, too.”

    giphy

    After checkmarking all my items, a la tip number 2, I simply add them to my condensed list for the store. This list is also…can you guess?…DIVIDED into categories! I bet you’re shocked.

    Again, this makes it easy to head to a certain section of the store, grab each item, cross ’em off, and BAM. No running back and forth across the store to grab those things you forget, and you’re in the checkout line just in time for your kiddo to ask “Can I get a cookie?” for the eight millionth time.

These all may sound like simple things, but sometimes simple things are the most efficient. And I’m a sucker for efficiency.

On a related note, I’ve been playing around with creating my own printables lately, and I decided to share one for the very first time. Go here to download a simple grocery list that will *hopefully* save you a little bit of time! If nothing else, it’s kinda fun colors and patterns and fonts. So there’s that. I’m still working on my skillz. (Let me know if the link isn’t working. Like I said, I’m new at this!)

All righty then. That’s just a brief wrap-up of how I make my grocery list. Do you have any special tips from your own meal-planning or list-making? Let me know in the comments!

Please also let me know if you’re interested in learning more about my other “lists.” I’m always down to share tips from an organizational maniac. After all, the more time I save at home, the more time I can spend playing Candy Crush running.

SHOP

Tagged , , , , , , , ,