Before I started writing this, I kept thinking that I have to come up with all kinds of great, inspiring things to write. That I must explain and demonstrate the successful journey I claim to be on.
The thing is, the journey isn't always as successful as I'd like it to be.
I need to allow myself to be honest, to show my struggles, my set-backs, my back-tracking. In a sense, I should write about how badly I want the doughnut (or pancake, or bagel...) and how awful I feel after eating it. I should also write, though, about how I pick myself up again and don't let my occasional and inevitable weakness keep me where I don't want to be anymore. If I were to make it sound like I've got it all figured out, I wouldn't just be deceiving any of you out there actually paying attention to me. I would be deceiving myself, which may actually be slightly worse. (No offense -you are all extremely important and significant. Just not necessarily as it relates to my personal, inward self-deception.) I do not have anything figured out. The sooner I realize that, the sooner I may actually figure something out.
So, here is the real me. I start out optimistic. I think that I can succeed. I am, however, pretty easily shaken by some day-to-day experiences. I get discouraged. I discourage myself. Thinking I can succeed isn't usually as helpful as believing it would probably be.
When I did eat those pancakes, I started to try to convince myself that I did it because I am not actually strong enough not to. And then I ate the bagels because I started to believe myself and thought, "I may as well give in because I'm bound to fail anyway." This is how I do self-discouragement. I have this kind of inexplicable tendency to fall down one or two steps, pick myself up, and throw myself down the rest of the flight. I want to feel inspired and be inspiring, but I can't when I am lying on the floor, looking up and wondering why I keep doing this to myself. I can't help but think that looking up from only one or two steps down would feel pretty good at this point.
The true truth is this: I may have tried to throw myself down the stairs, but I wasn't all that successful. This is the kind of failure I should be proud of. I make it sound (and feel) like I've done the worst, like I've forgotten everything I've learned. This is simply not true. This time around, there is something different. At my "worst," I am still so far from what was "normal" just a few months ago. Today, I successfully satisfied my cravings with a handful of organic, low-sodium tortilla chips and a spoonful of all-natural peanut butter. This is almost comically far from the entire bag of potato chips and pint of Ben&Jerry's that would have marked my "worst" before.
Yes, I ate some pancakes and bagels. But then I felt sick and uncomfortable, unhappy and disappointed, and today, I didn't want to give in. Without even realizing it, or having to try much at all, I have climbed back up several steps. I have bounced back up. The thing that is different is my newly-developing, rubber-like resistance to my own self-destruction. This time around, my appetite is changing. I'm more hungry for health and life and happiness than for all the pancakes and bagels in the world.