My wife and I recently enjoyed a week in Spain. We turned our dietary consciences off and ate everything we wanted to, taking full advantage of the exchange rate between American and European calories. We ate more bread, rice, and chocolate in one week than we had in the previous year combined.
On our return, I stepped onto the scale and was pleased to find that I hadn’t gained any weight on my vacation from healthy eating. How did I do it?
Before I tell you, you may want to find a pen. You’re going to want to take note of this next bit of secret wisdom.
Here’s the secret: I didn’t weigh myself before I left.
When I stepped on the scale a number appeared. It was just a number. It had no context because I didn’t have a “before my vacation” number to which I could compare it. Had I weighed beforehand, I probably wouldn’t have such a happy story to tell, but I see no need to let the facts get in the way of good story.
There are seasons when I have a hard time eating healthy foods. It may last a week or sometimes a month. Most of the time I eat lean meats, lots of vegetables, a little bit of fruit, and a trace of processed carbs in the form of tortilla chips and gummy peaches.
Every few months, my switch gets flipped and I get caught in a cycle of eating too many tortilla chips which makes me crave too many gummy peaches which leads to too many pancakes which makes me crave too many bowls of Blue Bell ice cream. I’ll stop there before I put myself into insulin shock.
During these seasons of destructive eating, I avoid stepping on the scale to weigh myself. Why? Because I know that if I do, I’ll be be jolted out of my carb coma and I’ll end up eating nothing but grilled chicken and spinach salad for a week. The only way I can maintain my bad behavior is to avoid the scale.
During these seasons of gastrointestinal debauchery, I tell myself not too worry. I’m not getting fat. I can eat junk food without consequence. As long I remember to put on my stretchy pants, I can carry on this pleasant fiction for a few weeks.
Eventually, I have to put on a pair of jeans for a formal occasion and there is no place to hide. Avoiding the scale hasn’t kept me from getting fat; it’s kept me from facing reality. When I finally do step on the scale I’m confronted with two kinds of news.
The bad news is that I’ve gained more weight in two weeks than should be mathematically possible. The good news is that having faced reality, I know what I have to do to get back down to my ideal weight.
From there I can go to work and start making progress toward my goal. Along the way I remember the old adage that no food tastes as good as being lean feels and I promise myself that I’ll never hop off the wagon again.
But I keep my stretchy pants in my closet just in case.
Question: What does this have to do with spiritual fitness?