I hadn’t seen her in some six months and when she walked into the restaurant I couldn’t help but stare at her incredulously.
We had decided to meet for coffee in that slow week between Christmas and New Year and while I was waiting for her to arrive I replayed the conversation from the last time we had met for coffee in this same restaurant.
She had been extremely upset as she described the frustration of trying, over and over again, to lose the 60+ pounds she had been carrying around since the birth of her youngest child.
Not an uncommon story except her youngest had recently celebrated his twenty-first birthday by jetting off to South Africa to take in the World Cup.
As long as I have known her this has been a source of ongoing pain and self disappointment that had plagued her very being.
She had often confided in me how much of each day was consumed with thoughts of this seemingly insurmountable challenge and that she just couldn’t seem to find the means within herself, once and for all, to make the lifestyle changes that would free her from the shackles of despondency.
The first thing I noticed was her smile. It was bigger than I had ever seen and highlighted the pride that was obvious in her stride as she glided towards my table.
I don’t think I have ever seen a happier looking human.
Before I could say a word she threw her arms around me and announced “I did it” in a stage whisper to the entire restaurant.
Once we were seated I asked the obvious question, “How did you do it?”
“We only ever do one thing. We do what’s important to us in the moment,” she said in response. .
“A good friend of mine taught me that lesson by saying it over and over and over again until I couldn’t stand to hear it anymore.
“Every time I talked to him about my weight issues he would say that sentence and, I have to tell you, it really ticked me off.”
She continued, “you always used to say that we only do what’s important to us and that I would continue to wrestle with my weight until such time as I came up with a reason for wanting the weight loss to be part of my future that was bigger, much, much bigger and more important to me than my reason for wanting that piece of chocolate cake now.
“You kept telling me that I was continually stuffing myself with immediate gratification at the expense of future pain and that I was repeating that process every day because it was simply more important for me to do that.
“And I used to listen to you say that and I hated you for it.
“And then one morning about six months ago I caught a glimpse of myself as I got out of the shower.
“I was disgusted by what I saw and the pain and sadness I felt was overpowering.
“And I remember closing my eyes and feeling what it would be like to lose the weight and regain my life. What it would be like to like myself again. What it would be like to feel good about myself.
“And then I heard your damn voice whispering in my ear that we only do what’s important in the moment and that was the day I finally got it.
“And every day since then every decision I have made regarding what I eat or whether I should work out has been based on either that feeling of sadness and disgust or the feeling of confidence and victory.
“Every single time I have been tempted to eat something that would give me immediate gratification but would move me away from where I wanted to be, I remembered the awful feeling from that image in the mirror and I concentrated on the picture in my head of how I want to look and how I will feel when I get there.
“And I would ask myself which was more important to me RIGHT NOW IN THIS MOMENT and how would I feel a little later about the choice I make now?
“I hate to say it, but you were so right. It’s absolutely true. We only ever do what is important to us in the moment and if we can find our true reason for wanting something, it creates a force within us that is so powerful that we can move mountains, and any barriers that stand in the way of our reaching those goals will crumble into insignificance.
“You won’t believe this but this morning I registered at a running club to run a marathon in the spring. Me! A marathon!”
“That is absolutely fantastic,” I said, “I have never seen you so happy, so excited, so vibrant. I’m thrilled for you.”
She looked up at me. “Thank you for being such a good friend, for all the time you spent with me and for constantly reminding me that we only do what’s important in the moment. I think we need to spread that message to the whole world. Thank you, thank you, and thank you. I owe you so much. I don’t know how I can ever repay you”
“A thousand dollars will do it,” I said hopefully.
“I don’t think so,” she replied, shaking her head.
“It’s just not important to me.”
Till we read again.
P.S. Please read “Blog 74. No more judging? Now what am I supposed to do?” and take the pledge. Challenge your friends to do the same. We are over 1,200 and growing and that goal of 10,000 doesn’t seem that unattainable anymore.
P.P.S. I need your help. A huge truck backed up to my office on Tuesday and dropped off 3,000 copies of my book “Life Sinks or Soars – the choice is yours.” If you would like to buy a copy (or 2) please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will ship one to you.