Today, I weighed 17 pounds less than I did a month ago.
I haven’t been checking my weight obsessively – I’ll weigh myself about once a week; maybe more, maybe less, because I know that weight is not an accurate measurement of fitness or health – it’s only a limited indicator.
I’m more concerned about how I feel than I am about my actual weight, but still, feelings aren’t quantifiable.
Pounds and ounces are.
So I weighed myself this morning.
I found that I’d lost another pound since the last time I checked, which puts me only three pounds short of the halfway mark of my total goal.
Twenty pounds lost is where I get to shave my beard; twenty pounds is where I get to start working out again; twenty pounds is halfway done – so I felt pretty good when I looked at the scale and saw measurable progress.
I left for work with an upbeat attitude, thinking I can do this – I’m actually going to get there.
Then I got to work, and somebody brought doughnuts.
Not just any doughnuts. These were not the overly-hyped, bland vanilla Krispy Kremes that just lie there like unappealing little pieces of glazed roadkill. These were specialty jobs – huge cinnamon rolls dripping with frosting and paved with toasted pecans; massive apple and honey muffins with whole chunks of raw sugar on top; bear claws so big they’d give a grizzly a case of paw envy; and fritters the size of my head, inundated with fruit, frosting and golden goodness – and every one of them crying out to me to make them my own.
To add insult to injury, it was one of those busy days where I couldn’t break away from the room long enough to eat the real food I brought from home, so I was especially hungry.
It would have been so easy to just take one.
I REALLY wanted to take one.
A big one.
Every time I walked past them, I could almost feel my hand quivering, wanting to just snag one and shove it in my mouth. Everybody else was eating them.
Why not me, too?
Finally, I couldn’t take it any more. I reached out, grabbed the whole box…
…and carried it out to the break room.
I could have had just one; people were even encouraging me to do it, telling me how fantastic they were. At one point, somebody handed me a plastic knife and asked me to split one with them.
But the truth was, as much as I thought I wanted one, what I really wanted was to not let myself down.
I wanted the taste of success more than I wanted the taste of pastry.
The 17 pounds I’ve lost so far has given me a small taste of what improved health, self-esteem and accomplishment taste like, and I can tell you, it’s a lot better than a 1500 calorie blob of carbohydrates swimming in frosting and sprinkles.
I’ve made it this far, and I don’t want to blow it on a snack.
The good habit I’ve been working to establish actually won out over the bad habits I’ve had for too long – and that felt pretty amazing.
Good habits are established one step at a time. They’re almost never established without setbacks, but pushing through the setbacks builds character and strengthens the habit.
After almost a month, my eating plan is getting much easier.
My writing challenge is getting easier, too. Every time I sit down and write one post, I get closer to the goal – which is not finishing a hundred or a thousand consecutive posts – it’s simply establishing the habit of writing in my life, permanently.
Not writing is a like a fat, sugary doughnut.
Writing regularly is like maintaining a lean diet, a healthy body, abundant energy and the promise of great things.
Without establishing the habit, it seems a difficult choice.
Once the habit forms, it’s no contest.
What’s the sugary doughnut keeping you from your dream?