We have Thanksgiving at my mother-in-law’s house and the Thanksgiving meal is elaborate. There’s is the obligatory turkey and then seven side dishes, four appetizers, and four desserts. She and I do all the cooking and needless to say, we start cooking the morning before.

I was experiencing anticipatory worry about this meal because this is my first week on the consolidation phase and I’m not yet 100% sure how it’s going to go. I have a “celebration meal” that I am required to eat each week and I didn’t eat it last week because I was too intimidated by the switch to go through with it. But, I had decided ahead of time that that Thanksgiving meal is going to be that celebration meal for week two of consolidation.

(Incidentally, the rules of the celebration meal are: one meal only, eat what you want without binging, no second helpings on previously restricted foods, no rules about what you are allowed to eat, and no guilt about what you eat.)

But, I’m pretty determined not to regain the weight I’ve lost and I’m away from home for a week, eating in restaurants, and generally having things not exactly the way I would at home. I figure that alone might be enough to cause a little bit of a rebound.

In response I decided to phase in the consolidation phase even slower than he suggests in the book. For now, I’ve just stopped the alternating days of vegetables and protein and I’m eating vegetables every day. Easy peasy. I haven’t added in the 1 serving of  fruit each day, or the 1 serving of starch each week, or the celebration meal last week. For now, just eating vegetables each day has been enough of a change for me to master.

Now, I’ve been a big driver of the Thanksgiving meal for the past few years and my husband’s step-father and I have both pushed for the meal to be expanded. This year, I’ve been dieting, my son has a gluten allergy, my husband has been dieting, his step-father has been having trouble with his diabetes, and my mother-in-law barely eats anything other than vegetables in general. So we’ve paired back this year. We’re down to two appetizers, two desserts, and we’ve knocked out two bread base side dishes.

So, what can I expect tomorrow from Thanksgiving dinner…

One of the appetizers is 100% allowed because it’s shrimp.

The second appetizer is 100% allowed because it’s cheese and consolidation requires 1.5 oz of full fat cheese each day.

The turkey is 100% allowed (and I’ve never liked gravy).

The cold green bean salad we have would be 100% Dukan Diet allowed on any vegetable day.

I made a small batch of cranberry sauce for myself that has Splenda in it so I can have it as my one serving of fruit.

I made a batch of pumpkin custard for me to have as dessert while everyone else eats pie (and in addition to being 100% allowed on Dukan on any vegetable day I frankly prefer it to the pie, crazy, I know!).

That is most of the meal, right there that is 100% allowed for me to eat and not even qualify as straying from the core of the weight loss phase of the diet.

The things that will have to count towards the “celebration meal” and the “1 serving of starch” per week will be the stuffing and the mashed potatoes. So my plan is this: only one serving each of the potatoes and the stuffing. As much of the rest of it as I want.

Suddenly I am feeling so much better about this meal! It’s not scaring me anymore with the potential to derail me, throw me for a loop, or overwhelm me.

I am so grateful for the fact that I’ve had the clarity to see this and haven’t just been caught up in the anxiety and fear. Not only do I have a plan to prevent failure I also have a sense of calm and peace of mind. I know that six months ago I wouldn’t have had this clarity and peace. I would have either been panicking and allowing my anxiety to ruin my experience (and probably other people’s as well) or I would have said, “the heck with it, it’s a holiday just do whatever you want”. Neither of those are healthy options for me and I am grateful for the peace this food plan has brought me.

Now, it’s not all rainbows and sunshine. There is going to be one dish on the table tomorrow I’m not sure how to deal with and that’s the acorn squash. Acorn squash is a Dukan friendly vegetable, it actually quite low in carbs so it’s allowed on the weight loss phase of the diet. But the way my mother-in-law makes it she puts brown sugar in it. Years ago I got her to switch to a minimally refined muscovado sugar and in the past I’ve eaten it. But this year, I’m thinking that sugar of any kind (other than a no calorie sweetener) is not something that I should have at all, even in a “celebration meal”. It just might be a line in the sand I am no longer willing to cross.

But, it is the “celebration meal”. If Dukan means what he says (and he reinforces multiple times that he does mean what he says here) that the celebration meal is prescribed and essential to the overall program’s success, then shouldn’t I just go with it and have the one serving and not feel bad about it?

But, I’ve passed on the 2 slices of whole grain bread per day that he requires for consolidation because I’m not comfortable with the idea of eating wheat again so isn’t it reasonable to treat sugar the same way? I’ve had the clarity to say “no sugar, flour, or wheat” for my food plan. Compromising on that for the sake of one dish seems foolish and asking for trouble.

My default position seems to have evolved on this because now I feel as though the thing to do when I have uncertainty is simple: when in doubt, leave it out. Maybe next time the clarity will be there for me but in the meanwhile I don’t need the worry so out it goes.

It feels good to have a plan.

It feels good to have peace of mind.

It is one of the many things I am thankful for this Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!