So, I’m going to go ahead and continue with the marriage analogy that came up a couple days ago (Day 56: Identity). With Susan’s vlog mirroring this recent marriage theme, it seems appropriate. And the more I think about my journey with Bright Line Eating, the eerier the parallels get.
Love at First Sight
It really is like a relationship. We met in the fall of 2018, when the Food Freedom Quiz caught my eye. I clicked on the link, not knowing what would come of it – but still, with a strange, unwarranted sense of expectation. As I answered those questions, it was like he already knew me – a deep, intimate part of me that I normally kept hidden. In no time at all, I was being chatted up in the Food Freedom Videos. I think that was all it took to get me hooked.
He was passionate and impetuous. He wanted me to run away with him into the sunset (the BLE Bootcamp), without regard for things like costs and responsibilities. And in spite of every practical consideration, I considered it. I was falling for him. BLE was the one I had been looking for, without even knowing it; the unexpected answer to all my questions. Like he had been made for me.
But I am not impetuous. My practical, cautious side won out, and I tiptoed into a friendship – which, thankfully, he was open to. I bought the book – a minimal investment in our relationship – and we started spending time together. I tried to take it slowly, but I couldn’t get enough of him. I found myself hanging on every word, and before I knew it, I was in love. A head-over-heels kind of thing.
I decided to give this thing a try.
We had a few false starts – I wasn’t used to this, after all. I’m independent and skittish, and this was an entirely new way of life. But BLE was there for me every time I fell. Patient and understanding. Wooing me back. And eventually, I was able to commit. We were officially in a relationship.
Those 2 months were some of the happiest, most hopeful days of my life. I was finally with someone who understood me. Who completed me. And I was my best self when I was with him. I was a better person, and I could see myself continuing to grow with him by my side.
I don’t know when it started. But at some point, the glow of the new romance began to fade. I still believed he was the one, but I began thinking more and more about all I’d given up, to be with him. All the forbidden tastes I would never experience again.
And then, I ate some cheese.
It was a small thing. I wasn’t cheating on BLE, exactly. I was just relaxing the extra rules that I’d made for myself, to keep me safely inside the bounds of this new life. But it led me further and further astray. I started to long for the freedom of singleness – not forever, just temporarily. We weren’t breaking up, we were taking a break. Just over Christmas. Just to give me a chance to say goodbye to all my old favourites, before I gave them up forever. Or maybe to test myself – to see if I could handle an annual get-together with these past loves, and stay away from them for the rest of the year.
Before I knew it, I’d left BLE far behind. Deceived and led astray by those old flames. I was wandering, directionless. This little side trip had been exciting, at first, but now I knew I was out of control, and it scared me. I could hear BLE calling for me, but I couldn’t find my way back.
Those were some dark days.
Eventually, we found each other again. BLE hadn’t gone anywhere – he was still there, waiting for me: in the book on my bedside table; in my food journal; in the weekly vlog; and my Facebook group. I just had to reach out for them. And I devoted even more time for him: the monthly challenges; my Mastermind group; and this blog. I wanted to prove, to him and myself, that I was serious. That I really, really wanted to make this work. I wasn’t going to be distracted again. I did better.
But in spite of these safeguards, I kept faltering. Led astray by various NMF – foods I would swear off of, that I was happier without, but that kept drawing me in, tempting me in moments of weakness.
I tried to figure out what was wrong with me. To take control of the treacherous parts of me that kept sabotaging my efforts. To rally my strength and banish these unwanted, illicit desires. I wanted to be with BLE.
I just couldn’t stay true.
I Finally Said Yes
I figured out what my problem was. Or at least, one large, glaringly obvious problem.
I wasn’t really committed. I was dating, not married. I told myself I was in this for life, but I wasn’t willing to put anything on the line to back that up. I wasn’t making any promises, because I didn’t really believe I could follow through. I left myself an exit strategy. A way to maintain my dignity if I ever had to leave.
I was never fully in. I kept back a part of myself – my independence. My right to walk away.
This week, I realized what I had to do. And I knew I was ready.
No one’s ever really ready, I suppose. Every marriage requires jumping in. It changes your relationship in ways you can’t possibly know, beforehand. But some things are predictable. An increase in stability. A sense of belonging. You become more comfortable with each other – there’s less second-guessing each others’ intentions. You’re able to look into the future with more certainty. Anything can happen, but the odds are significantly more in your favour. That’s why we do it. That stability, that guarantee of companionship, makes the loss of independence worth it. Makes us willing to bet on that one person. And so we choose the shackles, voluntarily. We’re ready enough.
I was ready enough. I knew there was never going to be anyone else I wanted to be with as much as him. It was time to stop fooling around.
The Honeymoon Phase
Saying yes was scary. I’m not going to lie: I feel the loss of my independence. I know who I am, and giving up food will have consequences, for me. But right now, it’s easy to remember that my so-called ‘independence’ was really nothing of the sort. It was slavery. And it was slavery to the worst kind of master: my own uncontrollable, raging, destructive addiction. The freedom I’m looking for was never going to be found there. That wasn’t independence. This is. BLE may seem like a taskmaster, but every rule and guideline is for my own good. It’s saved me from myself. And within those boundaries, I really can be free. I can be the person I was meant to be.
I am relishing it. I am calm. I am at peace. It feels like the beginning of a great adventure. Instead of a feeling of urgency, a need to get the fastest results possible, I’m settling in. I’m in this for the long haul, and there’s no reason to fear a future deviance. I may not commit easily, but when I do, I do. I’m no cheater. Or at least, I’m not an adulterer.
I’ve got this.