Bright Line Eating

The Book

The inspiration for the process I have developed to help myself abstain from excessive shopping came from Dr. Susan Peirce Thompson’s program called Bright Line Eating (BLE). As mentioned in my first post, Dr. Peirce Thompson helped herself and countless others effectively control binge eating behaviors, lose weight and lead healthier lives through BLE.

Dr. Peirce Thompson had an “aha!” moment when she read the book Willpower by research psychologist Roy F. Baumeister. In his book, Baumeister describes a term borrowed from lawyers, called bright lines. “These are clear, simple, unambiguous rules. You can’t help but notice when you cross a bright line.”*

“Yes!” Dr. Peirce Thompson thought to herself. She then wrote a book applying this principle of Bright Lines to food. “Yes, you have to eat to live. But you don’t have to eat doughnuts to live.”** From this understanding, and with plenty of science to back her up, she devised four Bright Lines (rules) for food addicts to live by.


It was time for me to have my own eureka moment and humbly bow down with gratitude to Peirce Thompson and Baumeister, the predecessors of whom I ride the coattails of. Yes, I need to shop for some things to function, but I don’t need to shop all the time.

There it is. It’s as simple as that. Well, simple…but not easy. I need very clear rules for myself, based on scientific understanding of addiction, that will create the structure I need to live a life of financial sobriety. The next post will outline the process I created specifically to fight shopping addiction.

* This quote is found on page 185 of Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength by Roy F. Baumeister. 
** This quote is found on page 100 of Bright Line Eating: The Science of Living Happy, Thin, and Free by Susan Peirce Thompson.

2 thoughts on “Bright Line Eating”

  1. What an excellent connection. I remember reading Willpower when it first came out. If I remember correctly, the book discusses how it’s almost like we have a fixed amount of willpower each day. So when you start new habits or routines that take some willpower it’s better to start slow.

    1. Yes! This is exactly it. This is why it is important to do things for yourself at the start of the day (including setting intentions). The idea is if you wait until later to decide, such as what you will eat or what you will spend, you are more likely to make choices that are inconsistent with your ultimate goals because your willpower is already starting to become tapped out.

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