I worked out today. I weighed in before hand and didn’t lose any weight. After 3 weeks of dropping dropping dropping, its hard not to feel bummed about “the numbers” but, that is all it is, a number, right? Sometimes to measure progress, one has to go beyond numbers and traditional measurements.
I keep a food journal. Every day, every meal and morsel I look at numbers; how many calories, fat, carbs and proteins I’m taking in. Most days I can’t fit all the meals in. The numbers are rarely above where they are supposed to be, a strange challenge indeed.
When I started this whole life change I weighed 238. I looked in the mirror every morning, and saw every ounce of it. I rubbed it, sucked it in, I wondered how I could ever look on the outside the way I feel on the inside. Today I weigh 224, and I still see the same. I don’t love numbers. I am caught in them, what with their measuring exactness.
I used to be the bookkeeper for the Bryant Lake Bowl. I used to love numbers. They’re so definite, either right on, or off. They don’t lie, they don’t judge, they just ARE. Oh sure, you can manipulate numbers, but really, when you add one and five together, no matter how much you want it to say ten, it will always say six. Always.
When I left working for the Bryant Lake Bowl I went to work for the Lord. Specifically I worked at the congregation I grew up in, which was an aspiring Lutheran mega-church. I was in charge of membership. We measured success by numbers. How many new members, how many new pledges, how many families were on the books? How many kids showed up at youth group and how big was our Sunday School program?
Something funny happened while I was there, measuring all that progress. People happened. A silly group of 5th graders made me laugh. A few friends somehow got me out of bed at 5 am every Friday morning to pray for hours, extemporaneously, and liked it. The progress of the program I was leading was still measured in numbers, but now the numbers had faces and stories and lives, broken and beautiful.
Now I work for a successful restaurant. And yes, we measure our success by the numbers. BUT—we also measure it in moments. Just the other day a couple got engaged in our photobooth. We have a family who has documented their growth in photobooth strips—from pregnancy to an almost 2 years old. We get comment cards and Facebook notes and guests falling over themselves to tell me how great their service was. The numbers are there, but truly, there is no higher praise than to be appreciated and seen, recognized and acclaimed.
Today I planked for a minute and a half. No knees dropping, no cheats. Today I successfully completed 3o seconds of Russian twists; much better than I attempted on Saturday. I did a minute of jump squats and spun on the bike and Nick our trainer told us we finished well. He reminded us that we couldn’t have done what we did tonight 2 weeks ago. We are making progress; today we are stronger. And for today, that is enough measurement to keep me going.