Four Steps for an Effective Emergency Action Plan
Written by: Guest Blogger Katherine Blackford
I made an Emergency Action Plan my first week of Bright Line Eating Bootcamp. It was a list of 6 things I would do any time I was tempted to eat off my food plan. I wrote it out on an index card and stuck it in my food journal, never to be seen again.
Fast forward 6 months of breaking my lines and rezooming, and I decided to try again. I made a new list of emergency actions. These were people I would reach out too, things I would do, and thoughts I would focus on when I felt the urge to break my lines. This time I taped my list to the fridge. It would right there when needed it most.
Except it still didn’t work. When the urge to break my lines was upon me, my list was the last thing on my mind.
Maybe you’ve had a similar experience of good intentions with no follow through, or maybe the idea of having an emergency action plan is completely new to you.
Either way, I’ve gathered a few tips that I hope will help you craft a plan that will actually keep your boundaries around food.
- Throw out the list. Focus on one or two actions you will actually do. These are not things you think you should do, but actions you know you can and will implement when stress is high.
We all need a variety of ways to replenish willpower on a daily basis, but when you are dealing with tempting food situations, it’s best to have one action you do first before anything else. This reduces the decisions you need to make in the moment when your willpower is low.
2. Don’t Wait. The biggest mistake people make is waiting too long before trying to implement their emergency action. You don’t wait until the house is fully enflamed before calling the fire department! We act quickly at the first sign of smoke. The same goes for your Bright Line Eating journey. Preventing breaks in our lines really starts with noticing and dealing with food thoughts when they first appear. They often don’t feel quite like an emergency at that point but dealing with them early prevents downward spiraling later. This is especially important if you are in a break and rezoom cycle. Act early and often!!
- Focus on Movement. The best emergency actions are one that move your body, move your mind, and move your heart.
You want to physically move your body away from the tempting situation, even if it’s just a quick trip to the bathroom. Putting distance between you and the temptation reduces the risk of impulsive action. It’s okay if a part of you still desires to eat off plan. By moving away, you are giving yourself the space you need to make a wise decision.
Next, move your mind. Take a minute to breathe mindfully. Ask yourself, “What am I feeling right now? What do I really need?” Those questions are powerful and effective! Food thoughts indicate we are in need of something more, and it’s rarely food. Perhaps you need rest, a good cry, to stop worrying, to vent your anger to a friend, or just something new and fun to look forward too!
Identifying your true need is the first step to defusing the emergency. Once you realize that food won’t solve problem, it’s much easier to move your mind away from the food and back to real self-care.
Finally, move your heart. Pray and give thanks. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 tell us to “Give thanks in all circumstances.” Gratitude is an excellent way to shift your mood and refocus your heart on what you want most, not what you want right now.
Sometimes our gratitude list is long and full. Other days we are simply grateful that we have another delicious BLE meal coming soon! Big or small, pray and let your request be made known to God. Ask him to help you stay in integrity with yourself and keep your commitments to Him.
- Make a phone call. Yes, an actual phone call. Talking live to a Bright Line Eating support person is one of the best ways to deal with a food emergency. Why? Because when we talk to someone else we are forced to get out of our addictive thinking and remember the truth about who we are, what we want, and how we can live free from food addiction.
I’ll admit, it takes a lot of humility to reach out when we are struggling. Our inner addict tells us to hide our struggle. The voice in our head comes up with all kinds of lies to tell us.
“It’s not that big of a deal.”
“I don’t want to bother them.”
“I should be able to handle this on my own.”
“I don’t know what to say.”
However, scripture tells us we were never meant to walk alone. “Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2) When you make a phone call on a tough day, you are giving the gift of grace to someone else. You are allowing them to “do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Gal 6:10).
In honestly sharing your struggles in the moment, you are paving the way for others to open their hearts and share as well. What a beautiful gift!
However, this type of open, honest relationship doesn’t happen overnight, which brings me to my last point.
Practice, practice, practice! Think about all those fire drills in elementary school. Children dutifully filing out of the building while their teachers quickly count heads and rush them across the parking lot. Everyone knows it’s just a drill, but the adults take it seriously because they know that one day that knowledge of where to go and what to do in an emergency might save lives.
The same goes for your emergency action. If you save it only for an emergency, it’s going to feel clumsy, awkward and ineffective when you need it most. Practicing your emergency actions daily or weekly, allows them to feel natural and normal when your willpower is depleted.
- Perhaps you take a few minutes several times a day to move your body and check in with your emotions and pray. Set a reminder on your phone so you don’t forget!
- Find two or three BLE buddies and set up regular 15-minute phone calls to check in. Building relationships takes time, so don’t be discouraged if the first few times feel awkward or strange. Find people who love God and who are willing to support your Bright Line Eating journey.
- When you find your thoughts innocently drifting to “not my food,” take the time to implement your emergency action, even if you really don’t think there is any danger at all.
Finally, I’ll let you in on a little secret.
The more your practice your emergency action, the less likely you are to actually need it.
Most emergency actions are really just forms of self-care, and the more we check in with our emotions and connect with others on the same journey, the stronger and more focused on recovery we’ll be.
Of course, at some point we all struggle and that’s normal. However, hopefully with enough support and the right action plan in place, we can have beautiful bright days of food freedom!
Written by: My Dear Friend and Guest Blogger Katherine Blackford
Katherine is a preacher’s wife and homeschooling mom of five children. She’s been doing Bright Line Eating for 2 years and is now maintaining an 85-pound weight loss keeping the four bright lines through pregnancy and motherhood. She enjoys good books, simple plant based meals, and helping others find freedom through food addiction recovery.