Some signs of weight loss are obvious.
Gaining a long-lost notch in a belt loop, shirts that are no longer worn with the threat of a button popping at any moment, reclaiming a favorite pair of jeans from a dark corner of the closet.
Entering week four of Duluze, I've been fortunate enough to shed 10 pounds and edge ever-closer to dropping below 200 pounds. And I've experienced all of the obvious signs of weight loss.
But I've noticed some subtle signs, too, my favorite being the dwindling of my fast-food napkin collection (handy in case something spills in the car or any of another 1,000 uses). Once numbering in the hundreds and taking up much storage space in my car, it wasn't unheard of for them to explode out of my glove compartment if I hit a pothole just the right way.
They come from the usual suspects. You know them by their acronyms: BK, DQ, KFC, McD. There are probably some Wendy's and Taco John's napkins in the collection, too, each still carrying a faint whiff of its specific fast-food aroma.
When I changed my diet, I pretty much swore off fast food (although I admit I did break down in the past few weeks to enjoy some DQ) and the restaurants' penchant for giving out more than enough napkins every lap I took around a drive-thru. I thought about ditching the collection as a way to help me avoid temptation.
However, on second thought, I liked the idea of watching those napkins "disappear" over time along with my extra pounds. Call it extra incentive. Another weekly sign of progress.
Now each week, I eagerly await revisiting the scale to see how much weight I've lost, but I also enjoy reaching for a napkin in my car and seeing the pile erode bit by bit. And they both feel pretty darn good.
Contact News Tribune editor Rick Lubbers at firstname.lastname@example.org or (218) 723-5301. Follow him @ricklubbersdnt on Twitter.