The Weekly Vlog

Why I Don't Change My Food Plan on a Holiday

Nov 22, 2023
 

As someone who supports thousands of people in staying Bright throughout the year, I’m sensitive to this time of year. I’ve talked about Thanksgiving before in these vlogs. Go to Brightlineeating.com or YouTube and type in “Thanksgiving” and you can find all my past vlogs on how to navigate Thanksgiving shiny Bright.

This year, though, I want to talk about a particular facet of eating Bright: whether or not to change your food plan for a holiday or special occasion. For example, let’s say you are on the Bright Line Eating weight loss plan, and you don’t get fruit at dinner, but you do at breakfast and lunch. So maybe on Thanksgiving you want to wait and not eat your fruit earlier in the day, so that you can enjoy it at dinner when everyone else is eating dessert.

I don’t do this. I keep my food plan the same on holidays, and for two main reasons.

First, I am a food addict, through and through. And because I’m a food addict, it’s really crucial that I not buy into the notion that my being okay, at the most fundamental level, is contingent on the deliciousness of my food. That’s the addictive part of the brain talking. Now, I love my food, and I enjoy eating it. But I don’t want to think about it beforehand, or obsess about it afterwards.

I remember eating a meal on a cruise that was so extraordinary that when I had the possibility of going on a cruise like that again with my husband, I spent a whole meditation session months in advance thinking about how and whether I might get to eat a similar meal again. That’s not how I want to live.

When I’m considering swapping categories of food around, I find myself in my meditation well in advance thinking about whether I’m going to do it and how I could make it work—but that feels unmanageable to me. Food cannot be the deepest source of my okay-ness and my happiness.

So in order to live without mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving, I just need to live without them, and see that there are other ways to get the nurturing and sustenance I crave. I need to die to the food, and awaken to the laughter and sharing of gratitude—and everything else that makes Thanksgiving memorable.

It’s not a shame or judgment thing. It’s not wrong to swap around your food categories. I just don’t want to feed the part of me that believes that food is the way I’m going to be okay.

The second reason is this: I’ve learned that swapping out my food builds a future wobble into my lines. And here’s why. Let’s say I move my fruit from lunch to dinner one time. And then, at the next holiday, I do it again. And it works. No problem, right? But what happens a few months later when I have friends visiting from out of town unexpectedly, and I invite them over for dinner, and since I’ve done it before, I have fruit while they’re having dessert, even though I ate fruit at lunch alreadty. Then it’s not a swap, it’s extra food.

The part of me that’s logging whether I’m Bright or not Bright will have a tough time with that, because now there’s a wobble in my line.

This is very similar to why I don’t put milk or cream in my coffee, even if it’s weighed and measured. I’ve found that it sets up my program to be wobbly later on. For example: I’m at a conference after a late flight and I’m exhausted so I’m having more coffee than usual, and because I’ve done it before I put creamer or milk in every cup. That’s been the start of a binge for me. That’s why I don’t put milk in coffee. And that’s why I don’t move my food categories around, because it will cause a wobble.

I want to work my program so that my years and decades are Bright—not weeks, not months. Years and decades. I’m a Bright Lifer. I’m in my Bright Body, and I eat better than most. I don’t miss or lack anything—even on Thanksgiving.

Remember: it’s not the food that makes the holiday. It’s the gratitude, and the people, and the warmth, and the eye contact, and the opportunities to connect and serve. So I move the food onto the back burner and put my focus where it needs to be.

Click here to listen to this episode on Bright Line Living™ - The Official Bright Line Eating Podcast.

Susan Peirce Thompson, Ph.D. is a New York Times bestselling author and an expert in the psychology and neuroscience of eating.  Susan is the Founder and CEO of Bright Line Eating®, a scientifically grounded program that teaches you a simple process for getting your brain on board so you can finally find freedom from food.

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