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Before I share my 3 Bright Line Eating® Aha moments, I need to start this by stating that on the susceptibility scale of food addiction I am a 10 and my wife is a 2.  So our approach to food is very different.  We both follow and adhere to Bright Line Eating® and we have both been amazingly successful in losing the weight and keeping it off.

But because of our extremes on the scale, food has always played different roles in our lives.  For example, when planning for a family reunion a few years ago, Jenn’s thoughts and energies went first to accommodations and activities while mine went straight to the food. I wanted to make sure that there would be “good” food and plenty of it.

So as I have been navigating the new terrain of engaging in the holidays while following Bright Line Eating®, I’ve had three Aha moments that you may find helpful as well.

#1: Changing the Routine Can Avoid Food Triggers

We usually host Thanksgiving, but were invited to spend the day at a relative’s house this year instead.  When my wife called to tell me about the invitation she was very concerned that it would be a difficult experience for me if we didn’t plan, provide, and prepare the food.  I surprised her by saying that I thought it would be OK and that NOT planning, providing, and preparing the food might actually reduce my anxieties about that day.

So that’s what we did.  And it was a very enjoyable experience.

Why?

I believe it’s because none of the traditional food triggers were part of our day.  Food did not begin filling the refrigerator days before. Food wasn’t being visibly prepped for hours. The house was not filling with the aromas of food cooking and baking.  And there weren’t containers of leftovers just waiting to be eaten.

So changing the old patterns around cooking for this big meal made a difference in my personal enjoyment of the day.  You may find the same is true for you.

Are there some food traditions that you can adjust so that you can minimize the usual holiday food triggers?

#2: It’s Not a Choice Between Hard or Easy

I had a work Holiday function recently and I was a bit nervous about it.  I knew sticking to my bright lines was going to take some effort.  When I got there, I spoke to the waitstaff and was able to determine a plan of action for what I would and what I wouldn’t eat.

What made the meal challenging was that it was served family style.  So during the entire meal there was a variety of NMF placed all around me at the table.  And, of course, my internal saboteur kept thinking about how much easier this meal would be in my pre-Bright Line Eating® days.

But as I sat there surrounded by NMF and feeling the stress of having to resist temptation, I had another Aha moment.  As I thought honestly about it I realized that my old ways of eating were not entirely easy either.

In other words, this type of food situation would have still caused some anxiety and stress for me in the past.  I remembered the feeling of wanting more and more but being anxious about what people would think about me as an obese man stuffing his face.  I remembered worrying about how much I should eat during the meal versus how much room I should leave for dessert.  I remembered the post meal feelings of embarrassment and shame about the quality and quantity of the food I ate.

This was such a helpful aha moment for me because my internal saboteur wanted me to think that following Bright Line Eating® meant choosing hard over easy.  But that was not true.  In reality I was choosing one kind of hard over another kind of hard.  I was choosing the kind of hard that brought me long-term health, joy and a right-sized body.

By recognizing that I was not choosing hard over easy, but simply choosing a different kind of hard made things much easier.  Maintaining my bright lines shifted from nearly impossible to very much achievable.

What can you do to remind yourself that this isn’t about hard versus easy?

#3: Your Perspective Can Dramatically Change

Our church has an annual Christmas Dinner.  It’s a lot of fun and there is some great good-natured ribbing that goes on there.

My wife and I attended again this year and I very much enjoyed the meal.  I even felt satisfied enough that I might have been full.  That was a rare experience!

I leaned over to whisper this to my wife and she reminded me of something.  The meal we just had, which was vegetable heavy, was almost identical to the meal the year before.

But, the year prior I complained about the veggies and how insufficient the meat portion had been.  This year, those same veggies, were not only enjoyable but also filling.

This led to another Aha moment.  Because I had removed so much junk and fluff from my diet things I had mis-valued as good food – I now had the ability to appreciate the value of truly good, healthy food.  I was no longer looking at these things as the filler foods or, depending on the vegetable, disgusting. Instead, these were now the foods I looked forward to.  Without Bright Line Eating® I would not be eating healthier foods and actually enjoying the experience.

How would your life be different if you started enjoying healthier food?  What would that do to your weight? 

Aha!

Normally we think of Aha moments as specific moments where we discover something life changing.  My true Aha moment of life changing discovery came the previous holiday season when I discovered Bright Line Eating®.  By following Bright Line Eating® and the simple bright lines laid out for me, these fundamental shifts were already happening below the surface and taking root in my life.  So when these Aha moments popped up over the holidays, it was like discovering that a seed sown and watered had finally broken through the dirt as a plant.  The best is yet to come!

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