We often hear people say, “On the one hand … “ and then continue, “And on the other hand …” There is always a flip side! And that’s certainly true when it comes to our relationship with food and ourselves. It is not a one-lane highway. Detours happen. 

On the one hand, we know how great we feel when our food is lined up and we are cruising along and sticking to our plan.  On the other hand, we want what we want when we want it, and we may suddenly veer off the road and end up at a drive-through restaurant ordering an unhappy meal. 

At Beacon we think in terms of dialectics. “Dialectic” refers to the notion that two opposing ideas can be true at the same time.  For instance, we see a balance between acceptance and change, both of which are present in our lives. We use the term dialectical abstinence when we talk about harm-reduction and coping strategies for inevitable food slips, while at the same time discouraging those slip-ups. We advocate full adherence to a food plan, but at the same time, we know that slips may happen. We start our day with the intention of full adherence and set ourselves up for success.  But if we make an unwise choice, we immediately get back on track and aim, as always, for full adherence. 

Molly likens it to driving along in a car and suddenly getting a flat tire. We don’t trash the entire car.  The flat is unfortunate, but it is just one flat tire. So we call AAA right away, or we open the trunk, get our tools, and fix the flat ourselves. 

To take the car metaphor further, we need to pay attention to routine maintenance and keep the car tuned up. We need to make sure we always have what we need in case we get a flat or get lost or run out of gas—our phone, a map, a flashlight, and a trunkful of tools. 

How does this relate to food? We make sure we are well-nourished before we set off on our day, we pack a snack, and we know where we’re going. We call ahead and make sure our destination has everything we need. We take a list of phone numbers and know whom to call in our power circle if we need help finding our way. 

We always, always, plan for a safe trip—and for a possible accident.  On the one hand, it is so simple. On the other hand, if we aren’t prepared, it can get complicated. Let’s not let it get complicated. That’s where we have a choice.

Shine bright! 

Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash