Excellent question. You want to wait until two things have happened:
- Your insulin levels have come down dramatically, allowing your brain to “see” the leptin circulating in your blood. Leptin is the hormone that tells your brain, “You’re not hungry, you feel great, and you want to be active!” Exercising regularly is MUCH easier with leptin on board. You can get your insulin levels tested by your doctor, but a more intuitive approach is just to sense when your energy starts to come back full force. I often see this happen for people around the 90-day mark, but it varies a lot. For some people it only takes a couple of weeks.
- Your daily habits of Bright Line Eating have become mostly automatic and are no longer zapping your willpower every day. This happens at different rates for different people. If you are absolutely faithful about using your Nightly Checklist Sheet every day, and find you’re ticking off nearly every box every night, your new behaviors will become automatic much more quickly. If you are sporadic about key behaviors, like planning your food and using your Nightly Checklist Sheet, habits won’t form and you probably will find it difficult to be successful long-term. Research on habit formation shows it takes between 17 and 286 days for people to report a new behavior “feels automatic.” The average is 66 days.
A good test for readiness would be to keep a journal by your bed (the 5-Year Journal would be great for this, but any journal will do) and at the end of each day simply make note of whether it was “HARD,” “SO-SO,” or “EASY” to stick to your Bright Lines that day, and whether your energy levels were “LOW,” “MEDIUM,” or “HIGH.” When you have marked “EASY” and “HIGH” nearly every day for about two weeks, then I’d say you’re ready to add in exercise.