Weighing my options

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

This morning, I attended the second meeting of the Carroll County Health Committee. I expected to encounter articulate discussion about the health needs of the county, and I did. I did not, however, expect a long-lost friend to show up.

It stared at me in the corner of the room, surrounded by dopplegangers wedged tightly in a square box. Iced with chocolate, it gazed at me with an especially enthusiastic, glazed expression.

It was a doughnut.

Since January, I've been working toward eating healthier and exercising more. I know, I know -- I've fallen into the New Year's resolution trap. Most people commit to a goal at the beginning of the year and give up two months in, but I am trying really hard not to be one of these people.

This means that I've been eating roughly 1,200 calories a day for four months now, focusing primarily on fish and veggies. In the meantime, I've had to politely show my fatty food friends to the door while hideously crying and looking out the window as the fried chicken van drives away.

Goodbye, double chocolate chip cake ice cream sundae. I'll see you in another life, macaroni and cheese casserole. Oh, don't hang around, steak -- we'll only hurt each other in the long run.

I thought I'd bidden donuts farewell four months ago, so you can imagine how shocked I was to see one of those delicious, fat morsels this morning. I lingered by the refreshment table for a while, mentally adding up how many calories I'd have to sacrifice to enjoy some time with a beloved friend.

Through cost-benefit analysis, I realized that I'd have to skip dinner and lunch if I wanted five minutes with a doughnut. Sadly, I walked away with a cup of hot, black coffee, mourning my loss despite remaining professional and alert during the meeting.

It's really difficult to make healthy decisions, but I'm happy I can turn down a doughnut when all I want is to indulge in the fried, glazed goodness. I hope this shows some kind of progress; five months ago, I would've dug in without question and I definitely wouldn't have logged how many calories I'd have to burn to make up for eating that doughnut.

Still, self-improvement is a long, difficult process and lapses in judgment -- like choosing to eat that doughnut -- can easily hinder positive results. It all depends on consistency, a concept I grasp at work but have never been able to fully control when watching TV on the couch.

If you're working on improving your health, too, you should know you aren't the only person who had to banish your great food loves in favor of leaner, lighter options. Keep going, even if doughnuts proposition you when you least expect it and you still fantasize about eating one long after the encounter.

That kind of temptation is ordinary. Rejecting it, though, is extraordinary.

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Samantha Jones is a reporter for the Carroll County News. Her email address is CCNNews@cox-internet.com.