Just Tell Me What to Eat

My mom grew up on a farm. Her mom made farm-fresh food while my mom helped her dad with the outdoor manual labor.


My mom can milk a cow or sling a hay bale, but she’s less equipped to churn the butter or sling some dough.


I grew up in suburbia. My mom made microwave meals and used Velveeta and Ro-tel.

I can follow directions on the side of a frozen food package the way a pioneer woman could cook from scratch.


It’s in my blood.


When I moved away from home to go to college and subsequently got married and moved to New York City, I realized I had no idea how to eat.


I made Pasta Roni on my honeymoon.


Through the years of struggling with my weight, I would often say, “If someone would just tell me what to eat, I’d eat it.”


I thought I'd found my solution with Weight Watchers. I got a certain number of “points” to use each day. It appealed to my sense of budgeting. Seemed straightforward enough.


The problem was, I could spend all of my daily points on M&Ms. All food was fair game.


And I did spend all my points on M&Ms at least once. AND I lost weight that week.


Boom! New fad diet! Results may vary.


I read about eating for my blood type, met with a nutritionist, found out about my food allergies, contemplated moderation versus abstinence.


I had tons of conversations with other people going through the same thing. I was far from alone in my confusion and confoundedness.


Another friend would unearth another program filled with another set of promises. Did I want to try it with them?

Sometimes, having options was awesome and exactly what I needed. Sometimes, options overwhelmed me.


I remained overweight.


Every book, every program, every new angle felt like starting over.

Just. Tell. Me. What. To. Eat.


But we’re all so different. How could there ever be one book that worked for me AND everyone else?

Then, in 2017, my friend, Shana, started yet another new program.


Bright Line Eating.


I’d never heard of it and wasn’t super interested to know more. I listened with the supportive heart of a friend, not a hopeful convert.

Based on brain science.


Food plan.


Sustainable weight loss.

No sugar or flour.

I know that one is a hard stop for many people, but I was already gluten-free and didn’t eat much with “fake flour” anyway. And I had given up sugar a handful of times and knew sugar makes me angry. I knew I could do it.


Nothing specifically bothered me. It all “generally” bothered me. I was exhausted. I had recently gained twenty pounds “out of nowhere”. I hadn’t changed my eating habits in any notable way, and no matter what I tried, it was as if those twenty pounds had romanticized Titanic and didn’t want to ever let me go.


Time marched on, and Shana lost weight.

A lot of weight.


And it seemed fairly “simple”.


Had she said “food plan”?


With the curious heart of a potential convert, I reached out for more information.


Yep, it turns out that this Bright Line Eating thing is based on a food plan.


Categories.


Still choice within each group. Protein could be meat, tofu, beans, hummus, cheese, or nuts.


Sure, there would be a learning curve.


How much of each food option would constitute a protein?


There’s always a learning curve.

I started slow. I did my own breakfast and made my lunch and dinner based on this food plan.


And I started losing weight.

And I had an easier time putting my meals together overall. Instead of having to figure out every element of each meal, I simply had to choose which protein, veggie, fruit, or fat, and the plan told me how much.


I could create a meal and rest assured it was balanced … and enough.


Now, almost three years later, I always know what to eat.

And I was right, someone did have to — just tell me what to eat.

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