Many of you know that I’ve been trying Bright Line Eating for a number of months now, actually the better part of a year. I have to say, there is a lot that Bright Line offers that I have never seen/experienced in a program before.
Specifically, it has felt great to not focus on food for my emotional nurturance and coping. I have found and, it seems rediscovered, a child-like wonder in the world seen through eyes not clouded with the products of overeating. I have rediscovered how much I love to sing, and my voice sounds clear as a bell without a gunked-up system.
I’ve also discovered many other hobbies that thrill me in a way that food never can, and I have been beyond grateful to have the space in my mind and in my life for other forms of pleasure and enjoyment, other than eating.
I have seen for myself that, for some reason, eating easily becomes a catch-all way to lift ourselves up, and in repeatedly choosing that default, we (I) miss so many opportunities to enjoy life in different ways.
Among the ways I have found to enjoy life are:
- Walking outside
- Engaging with others
- Reading poetry
- Reading other kids of books
- Watering my plants
- Researching a topic of interest
- Dancing and listening to music
- Playing our drum
- Being present with my children, watching them pour their hearts into everything they do
- Being present with my partner
- Learning something new
- Cleaning up
So, I am so very thankful to Bright Line Eating for this new perspective in my life. I’ve also found more clarity and focus in my mind. In a sense, this really did feel like the best cleanse I have ever done! And I am grateful.
However, there are some things that I feel Bright Line Eating does not cover in its scope, and I’d like to talk about them here. They all fall under the discovery that, for myself, my body is not a computer, not just a mechanism – rather it is an organism.
There’s a lot that my body does that I don’t consciously control, and thank God for that. Seriously, if I had to remember to breathe or digest my food, I wouldn’t have lasted. I do last because my body takes the reigns, and I live in a constant state of high trust in my body to intelligently do the right thing for my survival.
In the Bright Line Eating system, there’s a fair amount of thinking that is based on the idea that my body is just a computer that somehow hasn’t updated for the times. That was once wired to respond a certain way to dopamine, and now that there is an over-abundance of dopamine available through addictive foods, my un-updated brain is acting the way it would back in the stone age, when any available sugar and any available reproductive activity would mean survival.
The theory is that, because we were wired that way and haven’t yet been updated for the modern world, my brain doesn’t know yet how to say “no” to addictive foods.
On the surface this makes sense and there’s a lot of scientific research to back it up.
But here’s the thing that, not just me, but many, many people have found in various food plans: when we restrict a certain thing, we eventually boomerang.
To be completely candid with you, I have had streaks a perfect bright lines (no sugar, flour, no eating outside of meal times, and perfectly weighed and measured food) for 3-4 weeks at a time, and then I’d find myself eating almost a whole bag of marshmallows.
Um… what just happened?
I thought I was retraining my brain here.
Here is what I noticed: I was fine on Bright Line Eating all month long, until about 5 days before my period. Then I would get an intense urge to eat, and if I didn’t listen to it, my period would not come. I don’t know about you, but I hate that feeling.
My period is my ally, she is an amazing friend who comes and whooshes away the toxic emotions, traumatic events, unresolved feelings, and, yes, (if only in my mind) the not-so-healthy food I may have eaten at various points throughout the month.
Every month, I get that catharsis simply by virtue of my biology and I. love. it.
It’s not fun, but it’s darn functional.
I also felt disturbed that my natural function as a woman was seemingly interrupted by my restrictive regimen. For me, this was not worth the price.
It’s not just the function of having a period that I felt compelled to ensure was intact – it was the energetic meaning of bleeding. My period reminds me that I am not separate from the cycles of our planet. Nobody has to tell the moon to wax and wane, and before I put all my eggs in the basket of “science,” (I do enjoy science) I remind myself that there is so much science still doesn’t know.
Since my body is the one that knows how to make babies – not my conscious mind – I think I’ll let it take the reigns on this one.
When I am in touch with that reality of myself as a cyclical being, a living organism abounding with intelligence, I really begin to experience a new level of magic and joy in my life.
So, the past few months, when it’s time for my period, I let myself binge. I let my hips get a little rounder and my body fill out. I enjoy my more voluptuous body and the femininity it manifests and signifies. I enjoy eating while I work at my computer (I know – so taboo), letting the food nourish me and letting the tastes that I have missed caress my tongue as I open to and embrace the feeling of satisfaction.
I can’t say why, but my body seems to understand balance. It has its own checks and balances system and, thankfully, I am not gifted with a mind strong enough to override that. I am pretty bad at deflecting my impulses and, as much talk as there is about willpower and self-control being the keys to happiness these days, the opposite of a profound truth is also true, and if we lived a life run totally by willpower, I believe we’d swing in the other direction and deflect happiness in a different way.
For me, happiness is in the middle.