The statistics are grim. Billions of people, including more than 2/3 of Americans, are overweight or obese. More than 108 million people in the United States, alone, are on a diet. The average dieter makes three or four attempts each year. But fewer than 1% of these attempts lead to sustained and successful weight loss.

Is there any other domain in which so many people are trying so hard, with such miserable results?

Imagine sending your kid off to college – and then learning that the graduation rate at the college is less than 1%. Would you blame your kid? Or would you blame the college?

The weight loss industry is raking in tens of billions of dollars, feeding off of people’s misery. But, despite all the slick sales pages and fancy marketing, when you look at the actual results it’s generating, the scientific fact is that so far, it’s been an abject failure.

So what’s going on? Why is it so hard for most people to lose weight and keep it off?

Many people believe that a lack of willpower is why people can’t achieve the weight loss they want. But that is simply a total misunderstanding of what willpower is and how it functions in the brain.

New York Times bestselling author Susan Peirce Thompson, Ph.D, a brain and cognitive scientist, and Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Rochester, spent two decades studying the root causes of the obesity epidemic. She came to the conclusion that the diet industry, and the dominant obesity prevention programs of our times, are fundamentally flawed because they tell people what do in the short term, but put nothing in place for people to maintain their loss long-term, other than relying on willpower. That will always fail because none of us have more than about fifteen minutes of willpower at a time to draw from. The average person makes over 200 food-related choices a day. If you’re relying on willpower to navigate all of them successfully, you are being set up for failure.   

Perhaps you can relate. Have you ever picked a diet, committed to it with every fiber of your being, celebrated as you achieved some initial weight loss, only to cave in the face of some reasonable-seeming temptation to eat off your plan, and then watch all the weight come back on, ten times faster than you lost it? If so, you’re not alone.

Dr. Thompson explains that, while many of life’s problems can be solved by ambition, motivation, and perseverance, sustainable weight loss is a different story.

Why? Because the brain blocks weight loss  

Think about this. Every year in the U.S., eighty thousand diabetic people have limbs amputated because they’re literally unable to change their diets. Obviously this is a lot bigger than willpower.

Dr. Thompson spent 17 years applying her neuroscience background to understanding how the brain interacts with food. She discovered that the modern global diet rapidly rewires the brain to block weight loss, leaving people working so hard for solutions, only to feel stymied over and over again. This happens because their weight loss strategy is working against their brains, not with them—and the brain always finds a way to win.

But Dr. Susan Peirce Thompson didn’t just stop with diagnosing the problem. She synthesized food recommendations from addiction groups and combined them with cognitive and behavioral science to create a program that works sustainably. Once she discovered a solution that had kept her thin for over ten years she started offering it to people within her community. When they started to implement what they were learning, they saw stunning results.

So in 2014, Susan started Bright Line Eating (with the modest goal of changing the face of weight loss forever). Ever the scientist, Susan set up a research department from the get-go, so that results could be tracked in the short, middle, and long-term.

Long-term results will take decades to come in, but so far Susan’s program is generating results that have never been seen before in any documented weight-loss related program.

In the last 3 years, Susan’s 8-week “Boot Camps” have helped 20,000 people to lose more than 300,000 pounds. But, most remarkable of all, 87% of Susan’s program participants are experiencing sustained and continued weight loss after they complete the 8-week Boot-Camp. Within one year 28% have made it to goal weight and many more are still losing.  

Thousands also report, not only losing weight, but also getting off diabetes and blood pressure medication, lowering their LDL cholesterol levels and their triglyceride levels, and feeling more energetic than they have in years.

What’s different about Professor Thompson’s approach and why does it work?

Her concept is based on teaching people a simple process — grounded in psychology and neuroscience — that allows people to get their brains back on board for weight loss.

Its principles go against almost every commonly accepted weight loss strategy. And as the numbers show, it’s working.

It’s not a quick fix or a gimmick. There’s no exercise regime. There are no special pills or powders. In fact, it doesn’t incorporate any supplements or manufactured diet foods at all. And while people are precise about their eating, they eat a lot of whole, real food. But there are some foods that aren’t eaten at all.

It all starts with a quiz to find out how susceptible you are to the pull of refined foods. What Susan’s research has found is that people who have brains that are high on the Susceptibility Scale can’t have “some” sugar, or “some” flour.  Popular diets with cheat days and points will always backfire in those brains. These people are advised to draw a “bright line” and eliminate all sugar and flour from their diet.  Once they do, the brain heals and gets back on board with a whole new way of operating.  

The program also incorporates community support, personalized action plans, and a host of other resources to maintain the Bright Lines and achieve weight-loss long-term. If you want to find out how you place on the Susceptibility Scale, and partake in Dr. Thompson’s free online “Food Freedom” video training, click here to take the quiz and find out how you score, now.

And if you know someone who’s been struggling and searching for answers, consider sharing this article with them, too.

What do you think? Is the weight loss industry working? Have you ever gone on a diet that succeeded? Post and comment below! 

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