Sometimes life gets really lifey. We say that a lot in Bright Line Eating. It’s true, isn’t it? Life just gets lifey.
There are levels of “lifeyness”. There’s intense work stress. There’s long-term caretaking for someone who is ailing. There’s having kids who are struggling. And then there are more extreme examples, that are just next-level stressors. Traumatic things. People I know and love have experienced these things. Coming home to find your life partner dead from suicide. Experiencing your child being killed. Being raped and beaten in your home. Escaping from your burning house with just your life and the clothes on your back.
Many years ago, after years of fertility treatments, I finally got pregnant with my twins. It was my first pregnancy, and I was in my mid-30s. But I went into labor four months early, and was told that there was a 4% chance they would both survive and be healthy.
Life dishes out major things.
This week I’m walking with two friends. One I just met, the other a lifelong friend, and they are dealing with things at this level. Heavy duty stuff. I’ve been amazed and impressed with how they’re dealing.
One of them is brand new to putting her food on the scale and not eating sugar and flour. Earlier this week she didn’t even want to be alive. She was overtaken by a destroyer part—a form of the inner critic that tries to help us by wiping us off the earth. Because it’s concluded that we’d be safer if we were dead.
I’ve been so impressed by watching this new person adopt the orientation that if she just weighs and measures her food and doesn’t eat sugar or flour, she can grow and change and survive and thrive. She is starting to believe that she can recover from trauma and build a new life. She doesn’t fully believe it all the time, but she takes it one meal at a time.
Why is it that for some of us, if we keep our recovery central, it becomes the foundation for a whole new life? It does make sense that giving yourself good nutrition, weighing and measuring the right portions, and not eating after dinner, you’re going to regain good sleeping habits. And nurturing deeply supportive human connection is a lifeblood and keeps you from feeling isolated. And slowly but surely all things are possible. This makes sense.
For some of us, for whom food addiction has been a beast, it’s true that if we weigh and measure our food, abstain from sugar and flour, eat only what we’ve committed, work our tools, stay connected, and do the next right thing—we find ourselves taking bold, brave, sane actions. Meal by meal, day by day, we are transformed. We get to blossom into people we never thought we could be, people we love and respect.
For some of us, earning respect starts with the food. It’s the keystone habit. The root structure. It becomes the foundation of everything. Every branch, every leaf, comes from that root.
So when life gets lifey, we have two options. We can double down on our recovery. Weigh and measure everything. Get extra support. Lean into our Bright Lines. OR we can get dominated by the manager parts of us, the caretaker parts. They say, oh we have other stuff to do, life is lifey, work is stressful, this is too hard, I’m in pain—and we let go of our recovery a bit and numb ourselves with food, or stay busy with other things and lose our Bright Lines. And it all gets slippery. And then of course we’re not getting good nutrition or good sleep, and life just gets lifier.
We have two options when life gets lifey. We can drop our roots deeper into the ground and lean into our Bright Lines. Or we can get carried away with the parts that say, I can’t prioritize my recovery now because there’s too much else in my life, and we can get caught up in that swirl.
And whether it’s a small or an immense swirl, we can use it as a reason to take us right out. I see people equally likely to get carried away from their Bright Lines when it’s a minor experience of lifeyness or a major life catastrophe.
I’ve seen people, including myself in 2008, who weigh and measure and don’t break their Bright Lines during major, major life traumas. For me, when my twins were born weighing one pound each, the food felt like the only thing I could control. It was all I could do. I think that’s why for some folks who are experiencing unimaginable tragedy, they are grateful, often, for the roots and the firm tree trunk of just knowing that no matter what they can weigh and measure and stay true to themselves and nourish themselves with healthy Bright food, and stay connected to their network.
It’s beautiful and inspiring to watch people pick that path.
There are two paths. Life gets lifey for everyone at some point. So what are you going to do? Are you going to double down on your life, your health, your vitality, and your Bright Lines, and handle what’s in your control? Or are you going to get spun out by the lifeyness of it all, and let your health go by the wayside, and spin like a top until you rezoom?
It’s your call.