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The Marshmallow Experiment

Monday, November 21, 2011

Most people know or have heard about the famous "Stanford Marshmallow Experiment" right? The one where they offered children one marshmallow now or a number of marshmallows later to study variations in delayed gratification? If you haven't heard about it, here's the Wiki link about it - it's worth a read:

Every so often, one of my Sparkfriends writes a blog that doesn't just hit home with me, but keys off a sequence of connect-the-dots behaviour in my head that leads me to some profound realization about myself and some of my most current struggles. And isn't that what we love about this community? Today's AHA Moment comes courtesy of WYND10's blog about coming back to Spark after getting "happy" - I'm so happy she's back and I'm SO happy she's happy. Here's the link to her blog:

But here's where the two above paragraphs overlap. How much of our life happiness is based on delayed gratification and how much is based on instant gratification? Because if I'm like anyone else here, my gratification scale is way out of balance.

I don't know how I would have performed in that marshmallow experiment as a kid, but based on my mother's story of me eating all of the chocolate almonds I was sent home with to sell when I was in kindergarten, I'm going to assume that I would have eaten the damn marshmallow. I'm an instant gratification addict. I have learned delayed gratification over the years, but I'll be the first to tell you that it is absolutely NO FUN. Thankfully, unlike some of the participants in the study who were also instant-gratifiers, I got good grades in school, have managed to pay off my student loans, and have never become addicted to smoking or drugs. But food? - that's another issue all-together.

And like WYND10 asks - why is it so much harder to delay gratification when you're already happy? I think this is due to the method of thinking that more of a good thing can't possibly be bad - right? So when we're happy, it's easier to replace our system of delayed gratification with shorts bursts of instant appeal. Maybe I'm taking the analogy too far. But what happens when that "happy" is because we've accepted another person into our lives like she and I both recently have? Here's my response to her blog, which gets to another matter I've been meaning to talk about for a while now:

"OK - so I'm in exactly the same place you are right now. Except, I wouldn't blame this on being happy anymore like I might have in the past. Here's the therapy talk that I'm still trying to work through myself but that I know holds SO much weight (both literally and figuratively):

When we add another person (or thing, like a new job) into our lives we slowly start to lose sight of ourselves because loving and living and being for that other person/thing becomes who we are. It's second nature for us - negating ourselves and our goals and aspirations in order to better serve everyone else in our lives. We call it happy because it feels good - for the time being. But eventually it won't feel good anymore. And then we start to get angry and resent the other people/things in our lives because they prevent us from being and caring for ourselves and we start to remember and long for the days before the "happy" came along when we had control over things.

So the ONLY way to prevent the unhappy from creeping back in is to maintain YOU. And that is NOT at all easy. Because it means standing up for yourself 100% of the time. It means turning down food when hubby wants to order in, it means insisting on exercise when all you want to do is cuddle on the couch, it means speaking up when something doesn't feel right or you don't like something about your partner, or your boss, or your job situation. And keeping in mind that all of these things are NOT to deprive you of the "happy" but to keep you in it long term. This is not eating the marshmallow because you get a whole bag of marshmallows later if you wait."

I want my cake and I want to eat it too. And I can have it. Really, seriously. But it means adhering to the slow bake approach. It's not a matter of denying yourself the cake, but about eating small pieces of cake over a LONG period of time (or about saying no to small pieces of cake over a short period of time). And I think we all need an injection of this attitude right before we hit the holidays. It's not about denying yourself Christmas (or Thanksgiving or Hanukkah or birthdays or cake or cookies or pie or anything else that you might be feeling deprived of my taking a pass on it or saying no). It's about having 10, 15, 20 more years of your life to celebrate these amazing events. Because eating that marshmallow this year seriously could deny me eating 20 more marshmallows spread over the next 20 years of my life.

For me this works for food binging, money binging (stressed out shopping spree anyone?), saving for my retirement, and many, many other areas of my life in which the need for instant gratification is currently hurting my long-term life goals. I refuse to sink into the "happy" right now and risk not having it 20 years from now. And my partner needs to be the type of person that understands that about me. Or ultimately, we're not going to work. However, just saying that is me being afraid that he won't understand, when really, being myself is all he really wants from me anyway. Setting up future happiness isn't about not being happy right now, it's about balancing both.

Good things are right in front of you, but good things also come to those who wait (and due to inflation, they sometimes come in larger quantities later). So think about all the short term changes you could make right now to ensure long term happiness. It's about YOU, not about the marshmallow sitting in front of you on the table. Instant happiness (the thing that you feel right now, the sensation you get when you gobble down the marshmallow) is not the goal. It is fleeting and will eventually go away unless you commit to continuing to do the work to hang on to it. The goal is sustained happiness: a perfect balance of short bursts of joy, long-term planning, and believing that you can and will have everything that you deserve and desire in time.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUZYWM 12/12/2011 11:26AM

    May I add to the dialogue? I think you're dead on about behavior when we focus on a new partner. Self care can be completely set aside and then, yes, we can feel resentful. Letting the exercise go when it actually makes us feel so good is common and defeating.

But I'd like to hold on to the idea that happy is a state of being we can have now, in our daily lives. It means a shift in perception - what makes us happy? Is it the marshmallow, or can we really, truly become invested in other forms of happiness?

I'm not there, just speculating, but I know when I'm feeling joy from music, dance, healthy relationships, personal goals pursued and met, the hunger for sugar/salty/fatty snacks decreases.

Thanks so much for posting - it's important to address this.

BTW - I always admire your insight and honesty in your posts.Thanks for being so open!

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TEENY_BIKINI 12/6/2011 10:47PM

    You rock!!


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7WORSHIPS 12/4/2011 4:01AM

  emoticon blog that gives us all something to think about. Thanks for sharing.

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RNRBUNNY 12/1/2011 8:17AM

    great thoughts!

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IMSMILEY88 12/1/2011 7:00AM

    Great post & insight! I want to keep the Marshmallow Experiment in mind & become a person of delayed gratification.

Comment edited on: 12/3/2011 9:23:15 AM

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CLOVER2 11/30/2011 11:58PM

    What an incredible blog! Where on earth did you ever get the idea that you aren't able to put into the written word wisdom that is absolutely appropriate for each and every one of us who are lucky enough to take the time to read it?!?

You are emoticon

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JAGRIF 11/30/2011 10:56AM

    Great blog!

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MRSDRAEGER 11/29/2011 4:49PM

    Great blog!! Sadly, I am one of those that jumps for instant gratification.... what was that about marshmellows? Yum.........

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JDB50177 11/29/2011 1:27PM

    Wow.."food" for thought. I def. want it now!! I want the weight off now and when it doesn't happen immediately, I give up. Thanks for your insights. Hopefully, they will help change my perceptions emoticon

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WOMANCHEF 11/29/2011 7:38AM

    What a great blog - thank you for sharing. Alot of great insights.

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THEIS58 11/29/2011 6:02AM

    Just great! Wonderful insight.

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KIN59VARA 11/28/2011 5:25PM

    What a great blog . I would eat the marshmallow, which is what has put me in this shape.

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WSHAYES1 11/27/2011 5:55PM

    Wow! Great Blog emoticon

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-STRINGBEAN- 11/27/2011 9:53AM

    Great blog!

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SPARKLINGDAWN 11/27/2011 6:58AM

    WOW - Thanks! You just rearranged part of my world ... and my priorities. emoticon

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BECKYB73 11/26/2011 11:55PM

    You just blew up my mind!! Awesome blog!

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BRAVEHEART4ME 11/26/2011 11:14PM

  Very thought provoking blog!

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CTUPTON 11/26/2011 8:08PM

    Lots to think about! Chris emoticon

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MAMA_CD 11/26/2011 7:57PM

    Instant gratification is surely the trap for many people, including myself sometimes emoticon

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MARYHENNIG 11/26/2011 7:01PM

  Nice blog. Thanks for sharing.

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BERGIE8771 11/26/2011 3:27PM

    Thank you for verbalizing something that has been rattling around in my head. You've totally brought it into blk-white so I can chew on it more.

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ADVENTURESEEKER 11/26/2011 10:59AM

    This resonates with me!

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NCSUE0514 11/26/2011 6:59AM

    Lots to think about in your post. So for breakfast today, I'm going to start off with "food for thought".

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CHELLEG10FIT2DA 11/26/2011 2:59AM

    WOW!!! This was meant for me to read today!!! Unbelievable! Thanks for this blog.....very well put!

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MOLLI15 11/23/2011 2:29PM

    YES! I LOVE this blog! Way to be self aware and also help the rest of us who are struggling with the same sorts of issues. Thank you!

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ALOFA0509 11/22/2011 4:26PM

This is Awsum!!! GR8 Blog emoticon

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LOTUSFLOWER 11/22/2011 10:43AM

    I love the insights in this's given me a lot to think about. emoticon

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-POOKIE- 11/22/2011 9:40AM

    I love this blog, its very much my problem as well, I want big things in my future, like being fit to have a baby... so how does eating a tray of biscuits factor into that? it doesnt!

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ROXELLS_WARRIOR 11/21/2011 11:08PM

    I think this may be exactly what I needed to hear to help me over my slump. Thank you!!!

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ON2VICTORY 11/21/2011 10:00PM

    EXCELLENT! Hitting the LIKE button as we speak! bravo!

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BABY_GIRL69 11/21/2011 8:50PM

    You know in reading your blog, its going to be MY approach to every holiday & family gathering. That I am gratified by the experience & the food will be my bonus not my blankie. I desire to be healthier for a lifetime not just for the upcoming event in my life. I want my old clothes to fit & I want to add to my collection.

God bless & thank you for sharing!


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KAYATLANTA2010 11/21/2011 6:48PM

    Great blog!

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LAURIETAIT 11/21/2011 5:39PM

    Well said. You are so smart.

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KARVY09 11/21/2011 5:28PM

    Love this!

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Race Report: Hot Chocolate 15K - November 5, 2011

Friday, November 11, 2011

After not posting a race report for the 10K I ran back in August, I figured that I both owed you guys a blog, and owed myself an accurate representation of my year in running. I know I'm going to regret not posting my 10K report. This blog is like a scrapbook for me of my journey here and I've been away for far too long!

My prep for this race was much like my prep for all my other races - except this time I started "carb loading" a couple of days in advance. I stayed within my calorie range, but ate more whole grains, pasta and bread than I usually do to beef up my stores a bit. I knew that I didn't want to fade out at mile 7 or 8, so I was going to need the extra energy. And I am also a runner that still runs without any assistance from gels or even water on the course. So I stock up early and often to make sure I am ready to hit the GO button when it's time to race.

The Friday night before the race I had planned to stay with Nikhil at his place since he lives right beside Grant park - an easy 5 minute walk to the start line - glorious! I had a very busy Friday, waking early in the morning for Day 2 of a conference I was attending downtown, then over to meet my boy for lunch, a walk to Union Station to pick up my race packet, back to my house to pack for the weekend, a visit at work quickly to cut some checks for staff, then back on the train downtown for the night. Whew! My bus card got a serious workout that day. By the time I made it back to his apartment, I was tired. I had a nice, big chicken ranch salad and a cheese twist from Dunkin Donuts (definitely a pre-race treat) and awaited him to get home from his Friday night class.

When he arrived home he was a bit irritated with me that I had eaten dinner already (we had never really decided if we were eating together that night or not, so I decided to go ahead and eat early). I brushed it off as he made himself dinner and plowed through about 6 Rice Krispie Treats. Odd behaviour I thought, but I was too much in my own head to really worry about him at that moment. After all - he wasn't even running in the morning - so I had to think about me and what I needed that night.

We watched a bit of TV and chatted for a bit. I asked him where he was planning to be on the race route so I could look for him. I told him that I'd love to see him at mile 8.5 - the intersection of Jackson & State where we rounded the corner into the final stretch. He said he wasn't sure where he'd be yet, but that sounded ok. I asked him if he'd hold my stuff for me instead of me putting it in gear check. He said no. Umm, ok - I'll check my gear. No big. But I was really starting to wonder what the heck his problem was. Probably just upset with me because I had been teasing him for a couple of months about being a wuss for not running the race with me. He's a multi-race Half Marathoner after all - what's a 15K to him? But whatever. My race, not his. I readied myself for bed.

When he turned in with me at 10:15pm I thought there might actually be a chance that he was coming down with something. Great. Just what I needed. He's usually up until all hours even if I sleep early.

I didn't sleep very well. It wasn't MY bed and I heard his roommate get up to leave for work at 4:30am (she's a nurse). Plus - I was nervous. 15K (9.3 miles) is a LONG race. And even though I had done the distance before, a number of times, I still doubt myself on race morning. What on earth am I going to be like the morning I run the marathon? Ha! The alarm went off at 6:15am and I was up. I had brought my own breakfast because I know his place isn't stocked all that well for a.m. eating. I made overnight oatmeal with flax seed and sunflower seeds and coconut and chocolate chips. Aw yeah. Washed that down with a cup of chocolate almond milk and a cup of coconut water and a big mug of tea. Perfect race breakfast.

No sooner had the microwave beeped and I see Nikhil out of bed and trotting to the bathroom. What the heck? I thought he was sleeping until 10am?? I sit on the couch to eat my breakfast and out he comes with the biggest smirk on his face.

HIM: "So you know how I've been talking about a surprise that I had for you?"
ME: "Uh, yeah"
HIM: *running into the office to get his race packet* "Guess who's running the race with you today?"
ME: "You SH*T - This explains everything!"

So all the weird behaviour - the eating, the going to bed early, the not being able to hold my stuff - all because he knew he was running! And apparently so did everyone else. HAHA! I was completely oblivious to it. Can you blame me though? I had to have my own race-face on.

By now it was time to get dressed and get to the start line. I was really, really nervous, but somehow walking there with him, checking my gear and then having him hold my hand in the start corral made it all better. By the time the crowd surged forward to start the race, I felt great. One big breath, a kiss and a "Have a great race, Babe" and we were off running.

Already I was enjoying the 15K distance much better than any race I have run before. The pace of everyone starting out is much slower, so I didn't feel like I was tripping over anyone or they were tripping over me. It's such an exhilarating feeling running up Columbus Ave and hitting the first underpass. Everyone whoops and hollers and cheers and the echo of excited runners bounces off all the walls of the tunnel. Here we go - and this is gonna be FUN!

I was feeling really great rounding on to Grand and then onto LaSalle. I was disappointed not to run down State because I love running by the Chicago Theater, but running down LaSalle was equally as cool because you can see the Stock Exchange in the distance before looping around to Madison. My first 5K came in at 35 minutes. Perfect pace. I gave myself permission to run the second 5K a little slower. In fact, my mantra for the run was "Slow Down" since my goal for this one wasn't time, but just to finish and to finish feeling strong.

Once we got to Madison it was time to settle in. I knew this was the long stretch and we were going to be here for a few miles. All the way out to Damen past the United Center where the Hawks play! I just enjoyed the scenery, the people out on their doorsteps cheering us on, and watching the funny race gimmicks that happen along the way. One guy turned around and started running backwards...just cause. A lot of other people started shedding articles of clothing at this point, which I always find funny. One couple were taking turns exchanging an iPhone and taking pics of each other running without stopping!

My mind was on my music and where Nikhil was on the course. I had left him in my dust early on, so I knew he was behind me, but still waiting for him to maybe come up behind me at some point kept me going. To his credit, he isn't in his same Half Marathon shape right now and the longest distance he'd run to train for this race was 6.5 miles. So I was really proud of him for getting out there with me and risking sore knees for a week just to be with me.

We finally reached the United Center and I grinned. The turnaround point was coming soon and I still felt really good. We were almost to 10K. Another round of the bend and BAM! there was the Sears Tower calling to us - "Common back home kids!" I almost cried. The day was so utterly beautiful and the sun in the sky behind that gorgeous building is just a breathtaking and powerful sight. And I knew once I reached it I was 2 miles to the end. I ran towards it like I wanted it - and I did want it. I trained my eye on it and just lost myself for a bit in the feeling and all of a sudden I couldn't feel my legs, or my lungs or anything else. The runner's high kicked in and I felt like I was flying. So awesome. The 10K marker came and went and I remember saying to myself that I was officially in new territory. As 10K was the last race distance I had run, from here on out was my chance to make THIS race really wonderful.

As the mile markers ticked by I knew I was within my goal. I was running about 11-12 minute miles consistently even though I kept telling myself to slow down. By mile 7 I was starting to feel the race in my legs, but my lungs were still happy and strong and my breathing wasn't at all laboured or painful, so I just kept the pace that was working for me. Mile Marker 8 felt like it would never come. After we passed the Sears Tower I started looking for it - and when you look for it, it's never where you want it to be. I finally found and passed it under the EL Tracks running back towards the city on Jackson. Michigan Ave was coming closer and closer, I could finally see it and as we made the turn onto the Magnificent Mile the crowds started cheering fiercely. At this point I was thankful for RAM Racing's decision to start the 5K race first since by this time, they were all finished and there were tons of people lining the streets to cheer us on as we finished.

As my legs ran themselves down Michigan at this point (I think I clocked a 9.5 minute mile for the last 1.3 miles) I was scanning the crowd for my friends who had run the 5K and saw a couple of hilarious signs that I loved: "GO TOTAL STRANGER! GO!" "You Have Stamina, I Like That, Call Me! (and a phone number)" and my personal favorite "You're Almost Done - DON'T POOP!" Hahahaha! Love that group of people who were all positioned right before the dreaded hill. Gave me a nice laugh and a good frame of mind for that final challenge.

"The Hill" - that horrid stretch between the 8.8 miles that you've just run and the Finish Line. Oh Lord, it sucks. But I powered through and did it anyway. I had run ALL this way, I wasn't slowing down now. Not ever. And so that's where THIS face comes from:

They HAD to go putting the race photographers at the top of the dang hill. Of course they did. So when I saw them, that prompted THIS picture:

Oh - I'm a funny girl. But in all seriousness, this photo sums up the race for me:

Calm. Even keeled. And with a smile on my face. I AM DOING THIS. 3 Perfect 35 minute 5Ks back to back.

The thing about going UP hill is that at some point, you have to come back down. And thankfully, this route ends on a downhill grade for the last .2 miles to the Finish. So you can BURN IT. Seriously. Which I did. This is me right before letting out my Finish Line "WOO-HOO!"

I booked it to the water station as soon as I crossed, grabbed two bottles and backtracked to wait for Nikhil to cross the line. 7 minutes later he finished as well - tired, but happy that his time came in under 2 hours. We stretched for a bit, then headed to the Finisher Photo area to snap a couple official shots:

Haha - this was so the photographer could get his race number which was on his back

By now it was time for CHOCOLATE. I mean, this is what this race is all about - right? I snapped a quick photo of my Garmin and another of me and the skyline to match this one taken a year ago with my girls Kathy & Jen:

Quite the difference huh?

In under 1:45! (Which was the "soft" goal of the race, even though the real goal was just to finish)

A couple of photographers caught us on the way to the Hot Chocolate and even though Nikhil looks funny, I like this pic of me :)

Me with the Chocolate Truck:

After some sweet treats with my sweet man, we headed back to his place, jumped into our swim suits and headed up to the roof to the hot tub for a nice long soak. Yeah. I'm spoiled. And let me tell you - after a leg massage from my honey (I gave him one too - hehe) and an afternoon nap, I felt better than I have ever felt after running. Especially that distance.

It is without a doubt that I will run 13.1 miles before the "close" of this race season. Whether that is at the Schaumburg Turkey Trot Half Marathon on the 26th of November or whether it's just on my own one of these days, that's the next goal. I know I can do it. And I will.

And then I will officially be half way to the big goal: Chicago 2012 Marathon. And with only a little less than a year to train.

A moment to reflect on how far I have come in one year. One year ago I posted my very first Race Report ever:

I had lost 60 pounds at that point and running a 5K was the biggest challenge that I had ever thought to undertake. I did it. It was hard. But I made a promise to myself then to keep going and keep trying and that next year, I would run the 15K distance.

Well - guess what? I fulfilled my promise to myself. I have now lost 125 pounds, and I just ran my best race yet. My future in running is bright - and if this race has anything to do with it - full of a little sweetness!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SCHENPOSSIBLE 11/20/2011 10:08PM

    Glad you and your boo were able to cross the finish line and take those sweet pictures. He sounds like such a wonderful guy! This was a great blog. It really inspires me to get out there and start running. But I don't think anyone is ready to see all this jelly! Awesome work!

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CHATTIEGIRL 11/20/2011 9:44PM

    Hi Jenn;

Way to go and you are doing great. Wish I could run because you all seem to have such fun doing it. It is hard work but fun. Stay healthy and alive. God bless you. Learn something new each day.

Smile Joyce

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LOVESTHEBEACH83 11/18/2011 11:12PM

    Holy cow girl! That is an amazing story of your run! Makes me want to go out and run and I am SO not a runner. Way to go! It was super cute how your honey surprised you by running with you. That is so cute emoticon

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TRAVELGRRL 11/17/2011 7:22PM

    YOU ROCK! Thanks for the photos and progress report.

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EMSJOURNEY 11/17/2011 4:10PM

    amazing! you're are a SERIOUS inspiration to me! =)

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SPARKYCARLEY 11/15/2011 6:43PM

    You're so awesome!

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PAPER_WINGS18 11/15/2011 3:27PM

    Huge congrats on this accomplishment!

You and your man are super duper cute!

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PJH2028 11/14/2011 2:50PM

    What a great story, and a great blog. You really put me in the race, and that's amazing. What an accomplishment!! What gusto and attitude! You totally rock, Jenn!!!

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LUEYGIRL 11/14/2011 12:17PM

    Awesome! As someone who just signed up for her first 5K, you inspire me.


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STFRENCH 11/14/2011 8:00AM

    What a fabulous blog! Thanks for sharing with us and congratulations on your achievement emoticon

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JENNIFER_67 11/13/2011 2:29PM


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SHELLYBABE2 11/13/2011 12:50PM

    emoticon Loved the blog & great pics to see how fabulous you look too. Congrats to you both on a great race! I love reading your blogs they are always an inspiration & wish you every success for the rest of your journey! Love the idea that your blogs create the scrapbook of your journey!


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ALOFA0509 11/13/2011 11:50AM

Wow, Wow, Wow!!!!! You are frickin awsum emoticon

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BRIGHTPENNY 11/13/2011 12:02AM

    Wow! I'm not a runner but I felt like I was right there racing with you, plus the hot chocolate earned and the tub and massage!!! you are an inspiration!!Thank you for this blog, it was a real treat!
and you are so cute!! Jan emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 11/13/2011 12:04:16 AM

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KELLYBEANER77 11/12/2011 10:21PM

    This is soooo inspirational...I am on week 2 of the 5k your way training....and have no set goals but just want to keep challenging myself...this shows me that I CAN DO
IT...thank you...and keep pushing one foot in front of the other :)

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TEXASCATFOOD 11/12/2011 3:49PM

    What a great blog! I feel like I was inside your mind. Congratulations on EVERYTHING ! ! ! emoticon

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IMJUSTFLUFFY 11/12/2011 12:11PM

    I love your story. It makes me wish I liked running!
I'm wishing you all the best in reaching your goals!
Rhonda emoticon emoticon

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PRINCESS1309 11/12/2011 10:48AM

    What a fantastic story!! I'm so happy for you achieving your goals. emoticon

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LUVMYCRAZYKIDS 11/12/2011 10:41AM

    WOW!! You are amazing...fantastic & inspiring! I am a walker right now...I find it unreal, the love people have for running. BUT, you made it seem sooooo amazing! Congratulations on all of your success! (cool background too)


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CBAILEYC 11/12/2011 10:03AM

    Great blog, fabulous pictures! Congrats on a great race!
emoticon emoticon

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HOPE2011 11/12/2011 9:52AM

    Great job! emoticon

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DSNYCHICK 11/12/2011 8:55AM

    That is soooo awesome! Thanks for sharing with us!

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KAYATLANTA2010 11/12/2011 8:47AM

    WOW! Congratulations are certainly in order. Great job, lady!

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BOOKWORM27S 11/12/2011 7:55AM

    emoticon emoticon

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CHICAT63 11/12/2011 7:22AM

    Woohoo, congratulations on your time. That is just AWESOME, great race report it was we were right there with you ! Loved your honey's surprise, you are lucky indeed. Keep going, the pictures say it all - you love running ! All the best, Josée

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FTHOODBABY 11/12/2011 6:51AM


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MINANCY 11/12/2011 5:18AM

    Good Job! emoticon

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GOURMETLOSER 11/12/2011 3:48AM

    Awesome Blog.
I did my first 5K a couple or weeks back and hated every minute of it. I haven't run since but your blog makes me think maybe I ought to give it another go.

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FREETHEGODDESS 11/12/2011 2:56AM

    FANTASTIC! I enjoyed reading this. I felt like I was there running it with you. Great photos too! You should feel sooo proud! What an amazing accomplishment. You are a true inspiration!

I can't wait to read your next race report. You are unstoppable! WooHoo!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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-POOKIE- 11/12/2011 1:58AM

    awww this is so lovely! He is a STAR!

I loved this blog xx

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LAURIETAIT 11/12/2011 1:14AM

    Well run! Love the blog. I felt like I was right there with you. I can't wait to read your Chicago 2012 blog.

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SUNFLOWERSAVAGE 11/11/2011 11:12PM

    I love the report of your race...I felt like I was watching you run it.
You Rock!
You looked so beautiful and radiant after the race.

BTW...your man is a cutie!!!

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ON2VICTORY 11/11/2011 9:41PM

    i love how your significant other pulled a fast one on you and ran it with you! You are doing so well, i have no doubt that you are going to go far in your running. No pun intended. As far as pre-race nerves goes, you will always have them but it does get better. The more experience you get racing, the more it becomes second nature. Learn to trust your training. You are doing awesome :)

-someday i hope to look that good during my races.... I always seem to give the photographer my icky look :)

Comment edited on: 11/11/2011 9:43:23 PM

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EMMANYC 11/11/2011 8:39PM

    Congratulations! That was a great blog, too.

If you like chocolate and are looking for a half marathon in the spring of 2012, check out the Toronto women's half marathon in late May. Not only is there chocolate, there are shirtless fireman at one of the water stations. That might make you change your mind about drinking liquids during a race :)

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MOTIVATED@LAST 11/11/2011 8:39PM

    15K? Well done!!

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

You want to know what happens when you eat EIGHT fun-sized Halloween candy bars after coming home from work and cooking a delicious veggie-filled dinner with crazy amounts of good-for-you nutrients?

You can't get out of bed the next morning, and when you do, all you want is another chocolate bar.


After my big loss last week, two days later the stupid scale was back up to 191 where it's been hanging out for 2 months now. Today it's at 192. Wrong direction. Sure I have a long run tonight and tomorrow it will likely be back down from water loss, but in order to get it to actually stick, I need a serious attitude (and nutrient) overhaul.

When I was actually losing weight there were a few small habits that I was focusing on that I now believe are a large part of my pound-loss success:
- No Coffee. Tea til the cows come home, but ditch the daily cuppa Joe. This is going to be rough because though I was a sworn tea-granny and never really indulged in that sweet caffeinated nectar of the gods, I have recently picked up a terrible daily habit of a $4 trip to Starbucks for my "Venti Half-Caf Sugar-Free Vanilla Americano with room for Skim." Just think of the cash I'm going to save. And my body just does better without it. Period.
- No Soft Drinks. Same as the above. Just as hard a habit to break. But I just stocked up on Crystal Light. And tea. Tea, tea, tea.
- Get up in the morning. This is certainly easier when you...
- Go to bed early. Get back on a sleep schedule. Stop binging on chocolate and having sugar crashes making it impossible to separate oneself from one's sheets in the morning.
- Add back strength training. I was never doing this specifically before, but had good enough success with bootcamp. Maybe THIS will be the thing that helps. So here's to trying a month-long (and then longer) streak at daily exercise. Even 10 minutes of resistance bands are better than nothing.
- BE PREPARED. It's the Girl Guide motto. It means something. The better I prep, the better success I have. Invest the time, now, in me and reap the rewards of it later.

I have to get back to looking out for me. I am important - more important than eating EIGHT fun-sized Halloween chocolate bars. And it's time to start acting like it.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LMLOPEZ 11/7/2011 12:08PM

    I feel ya-with twins that totally hit every house in the tri coutny area, there is more chocolate and candy than I even want to think about. Must...stop...grabbing out of bowl....
Let's make some smart choices and step awaaaay from the bowl.
Glad to see you did the Hot Chocolate 15K. Next time I will have to join you. Gonna make the Shuffle feel like an afterthought this April!

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PAPER_WINGS18 10/27/2011 11:39PM

    I feel ya... Last weekend, I'm pretty sure I ate about 15 fun sized candies total. Ugh. I told myself ABSOLUTELY NO CHOCOLATE this week, and so far I've done great. We got this!

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ADVENTURESEEKER 10/26/2011 10:25PM

    Today it's at 192. Wrong direction.

ha! Oh oh we like to point that out as if the scale cares. d@mn scale. lol

- Get up in the morning. This is certainly easier when you...
- Go to bed early.

I have yet to learn this lesson, but it is a very worthwhile lesson to learn.
Keep up the hard work- you can do it! emoticon

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MAMADWARF 10/26/2011 10:08PM

    sooooo easy to do, my dear, falling into the halloween/cofeee/set back things. Good for you on stopping it and moving forward with the life YOU want.

No Halloween candy is coming into my house until THAT day and it will not be anything I like, thats for sure.

You can do this, I promise.

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TEENY_BIKINI 10/26/2011 10:01PM

    "Get up in the morning. This is certainly easier when you...
- Go to bed early."

Ohhh... so that's how that works :)

You've got this!

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NANASAMM 10/26/2011 6:55PM

    My plan used to be buy Halloween candy just in case the stores run low. Never happened. What did happen was that I would open a bag for "just one". Ha! By the end of the day the bag was empty. No surprise there. So now my plan Halloween candy ON Halloween and buy stuff you don't like. And the last kid to the door gets to take as much as they want. It's been working pretty good for the past couple of years so I'm sticking with it.

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BABY_GIRL69 10/26/2011 2:53PM

    Why do they ever call them fun size? Together they pack as much a punch as 2 chocolate bars! Some times I just have to have chocolate twix bar but red vines are my poison. lol

God bless & lets make it happen!


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MSMARZI 10/26/2011 10:50AM

    At least they were fun-sized, right? I had to indulge last night, there was a treat I've been thinking about NON-STOP for a week... so finally I made sure it was in my calorie range and just ATE IT and enjoyed every last bite. Craving's gone and I'm ready to move forward. Let's do this!

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JENJESS48 10/26/2011 9:46AM

    Oh boy, do I know where you're coming from. Work your plan and the weight will fall off, babe. Just keep plugging away. You can do it!

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LAKEGIRL76 10/25/2011 11:30PM

    Halloween candy started a downward spiral for me a couple of year ago that lead to a 20 pound weight gain. :-( I have been avoided buying it and now plan to buy stuff I don't really like. I know I can't have chocolate in the house or it will all be gone before Halloween even gets here.

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IMSMILEY88 10/25/2011 10:19PM

    I am in the same place!!! It's tough, but we CAN start making those right choices...again! I got on track today by tracking my food. It's a step in the right direction!

Best wishes!

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PJH2028 10/25/2011 8:08PM

    Totally with you on The Girl Guide Motto. Preparation is a huge portion of success. I'm in a similar arc with trimming some sails over here too. We can do it!

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LAURIETAIT 10/25/2011 8:04PM

    I think regular strength training is an excellent idea. I had a lot of success when it was a regular part of my routine. Plus introducing something new into the mix may be the little shock your body needs to kick start the weight loss. May we all resist the trials of the season. Halloween is one of those killer times in school when candy and treats are everywhere! Trying to avoid them is really hard. ( Would you like a bar/ piece of cake/ candy/ big fat cookie Ms. Tait?) But, like Yoda says,"There is no try, just DO!" May the force be with you.

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FTHOODBABY 10/25/2011 6:23PM

    I found the same thing last weekend. I broke over and had half a funnel cake. It was good and I was just thrilled that I didn't eat the entire thing becuase I could have -- EASILY! But what I found was that for the next two days I craved sweets like a mad woman. Better to no eat them and do w/out the craving!

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ON2VICTORY 10/25/2011 5:20PM

    'nods head in agreement' yup, I understand completely. sounds like you have a grip on it.

make it happen my friend... we can do this...

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KKINNEA 10/25/2011 4:35PM


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KRISKECK 10/25/2011 4:34PM

    Tis the season, isn't it? I'm with you, once I start with the chocolate, I can't better not to start at all! You know you can do this thing, now!

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LOTUSFLOWER 10/25/2011 3:48PM

    I've been my desk at work I'm looking at a jar of those buggers. You are worth so much more, and I know that you can do this. I'm proud of you!

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35ANGELS 10/25/2011 3:45PM

    I have a hard time with the Halloween candy too.

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    Yes you are worth more than that and I am glad you see that! I wish you the best of luck!



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TREASURINGLIFE 10/25/2011 3:24PM

    AMEN! :)

- Michelle

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-POOKIE- 10/25/2011 3:01PM

    *nods* something I have been trying to remind myself of, surely Im better than binging on crap "because its the weekend"

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A Week's Worth of Excuses

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

So much for my daily confessionals. I swear I have an excuse for that too! But honestly, the more I think about these "excuses," the more I realize that they're not so much excuses as numerous reasons that my life is TOTALLY NORMAL every single day.

So Friday I was on track until hour 9 of my insanely long 15 hour work day when I went to get dinner, ordered a healthy turkey wrap and forgot to ask them to hold the fries. When it came out of the kitchen with those sexy greased potato strips of love, I devoured each and every single one of them along with the 2 glasses of wine that I believe I was OWED at that point in the day. Then enter skeezy bar manager who, though we work next door to each other, only recently noticed my weight loss for the first time and now believes that he has the right to 1. ogle my new body every time I walk down the street, and 2. make comments about my dinner choices. Which he did while I was trying to enjoy it. Him, as I am scarfing down my fries: "So is this part of the new diet?" Me: "There is no diet and I ran 9 miles on Tuesday, so I think that entitles me to eat what I want on a Friday night." What I Wanted To Say: "OMG, it's none of your $^%#*($#^$# business - get out of my life and let me enjoy my dinner in peace you #%$^&@&*#^" But I'm nicer than that. So I just ate too many fries and drank too much wine to wash his nasty comments and dirty, greasy looks out of my system.

Saturday was pretty good. I went to my Zumba class and loved every minute of it, per usual. And was totally on track with my food choices up until a late dinner with Nikhil (he made dosas - deep fried Indian pancakes that are made from ground lentils and meal flour and served with oily peanut spice paste - very dense, very delicious and only better when washed down with alcoholic beverages!) I was actually very proud of myself for opting to swing by Panera and pick up a bowl of chili and a bagel for lunch before meeting him for a study date at the library as opposed to waiting for him to make any food choices for us, because I know that he ALWAYS waits too long to eat and then makes poor decisions which I can't let be my habit as well. And as I suspected, our study date was followed by a mad dash to 7-Eleven to buy a churro to scarf down on the way home. I definitely felt like I won that one!

So as much as Saturday was a small triumph, Sunday was a total bust. My goals for the day? Stay in my calorie range and go for a 5 mile run. I didn't do either. We slept in and had a lazy morning over coffee and, yes, a caramel apple and leftover cheesecake from Thanksgiving. Ouch. Then came a late lunch at an Indian buffet - his treat. The food wasn't good at all (the authentic food he makes is so much better than anything at that restaurant and he usually makes it light and low fat for me!) and because he felt bad about lunch being a disappointment, after a leisurely walk by the waterfront (taking the place of my run, but at least it was SOME exercise) he took me to a chocolate shop to pick out handmade TRUFFLES for Sweetest Day. Oh lord in heaven. At least I didn't eat dinner.

Getting tired of my excuses, yesterday and today have been real, true, honest efforts at getting my act together. I made some really great choices yesterday - was on schedule with everything and even managed to fare pretty well at a work function last night. It's always really difficult to count finger foods, so I estimated the best I could and I actually don't believe I went over my calorie limits as badly as my tracker says I did. I promised myself I wasn't going to drink and held to that promise. I had a couple of finger sandwiches, a couple of pieces of bruschetta, some veggies and dip and ONE dessert bar. And then I got the heck out of there. Not only was I tired of networking for the evening, I knew that if I stayed, I would cave to having a drink and then I would surely eat more, so I did what I needed to do and extricated myself from the free food. Free food is deadly. Then, since I was in the neighbourhood, I swung by Caribou Coffee and picked up a hot chocolate for my beau and a tea for myself and surprised Nikhil at his place since I know he's been studying hard for his mid-terms this week. He was super cute, very surprised and very happy to see me (and the hot chocolate). I stole kisses for 30 minutes and then left him to keep working. A perfect little Monday night break.

Today has been good. I am on track again. And it's running day. I'm nervous because I haven't run in a week having skipped my run on Sunday, and tonight is my first 10-miler. But I've had my brownie! And even though it's raining and cold and miserable outside, I'm gonna do this! (Cause I have to. Cause I fueled with a brownie and running 10 miles is my only reason for being able to eat brownies.)

So excuses or just life? Take it as you will, but I'm feeling better about things. I can't be perfect every day, but I can be better than average. And I can deal with changes in the schedule as they come up. I'm learning how to be adaptable and I'm still improving myself. Gotta love that.

No more excuses this week. It's going to be great! Now - for that 10-miler...

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SCHENPOSSIBLE 10/23/2011 3:52PM

    Yes indeed, free food is a killer. You ain't lying about that one! It's a real struggle for me because there is always some good deliciousness at my job to be consumed that isn't really diet friendly. *sigh* oh the struggles of a girl on a diet!

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KELLYBEANER77 10/21/2011 12:43AM

    This IS what this change is all about...learning how to live life(excuses and all)...and get it out of our system...then get back on track...instead of feeling doomed and have learnt some good lessons...keep up the great are doing awesome!!

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FREETHEGODDESS 10/21/2011 12:00AM

    Good for you! You have found some balance. You shouldn't have to sacrifice eating what you like once in a while. You enjoyed yourself but, also limited yourself so you wouldn't regret it later and you are back to exercising even after missing a few days. That is what this journey is all about...not giving up and finding ways to make this work for life!
Hope you enjoyed your run...10 miles is awesome!!!

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CREATING_SARAH 10/19/2011 2:24PM

    See, if I was talking to the guy I would have served him some sugar coated acid i.e. "You know what? You're right! I forgot that just by eating this plate of fries I will gain back that 100 lbs I have already lost. I am so glad I have someone like you to keep me on track." hehe

I'm glad to hear that you're trying to regulate and don't get down by the set backs, you're doing amazing and as long as you recognize what works and what doesn't then you'll be just fine.

emoticon emoticon

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LAURIETAIT 10/19/2011 1:42PM

    You are conscious of the choices you make and their impact on your goals. You're living your life and trying to make the best choices you can in an given circumstance. I think that's pretty important. I hope your 10 mile run was great. Just thinking about running 10 miles makes me want to lie down.

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MICHSTATE 10/19/2011 12:21PM

    How did the run go?!?!? I hope well!!!!:-)

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-POOKIE- 10/19/2011 11:46AM

    wow, I bet the foods he cooks are wonderful, I love indian foods.

But yes, this is a list of why your life is perfectly normal and how everyday there will be something in the way of the choices we hoped to make.
What matters is how we carry on with them!

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MOMONTHERUN1 10/19/2011 10:31AM

    Life is like gets in the way, but you have to keep going and make that time for you! You have obviously made some great decisions in your life because look at how far you have come!

You need to treat yourself every once-and-a-while. Moderation is great because it allows you to indulge!

I hope that your 10 miler went well.


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RED_WRITINGHOOD 10/19/2011 10:09AM

    You have to allow yourself a treat once in awhile. It's not a diet it's balance! And you are nicer than me I would have told him to shut up and just pass me those "sexy greased potato strips of love"......

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SLFRISBEY 10/19/2011 10:00AM

    Balance is a good thing to have. I hate that I feel like I am an "all or nothing" kind of person. If I have a bad food choice at breakfast, you can be sure that it will carry on the rest of the day because, well, I already blew it. Food for thought: I might even start running if it means eating brownies! :) Plus, runners are sexy and I want that too!

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LOTUSFLOWER 10/19/2011 9:30AM

    TOTALLY NORMAL, just life kind of stuff! I don't think these are excuses at all, just life, like you said! It's all a balancing game, you've made great choices and then the "sexy greased potato strips of love" kind of choices, but who doesn't? What is life without these sorts of things, a life of deprivation is not a life worth living, in my humble opinion. I love how you surprised Nikhil, you are so sweet!! He's one lucky man. emoticon Can't wait to hear how the 10-miler went!!!

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ON2VICTORY 10/18/2011 9:31PM

    isnt it amazing that some schmuck always has an opinion on what you should be eating when they notice you are losing weight? dont worry, those jerks are even up here!

hey life gets in the way. one thing i love about running is that it keeps me from suffering from the mistakes that my humanity makes.

eventually ill get my act together.

keep at it and dont let da hosers get ya down 'eh?

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REDHEADMOM2U 10/18/2011 7:40PM

    Better than average is awesome! Little victories add up!

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MAMADWARF 10/18/2011 7:39PM

    Yep life gets in the way sometimes doesn't it? Alcohol is such a killer for me...always helps me make super bad choices! On to bigger and better things!

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Excuse of the Day

Thursday, October 13, 2011

OK - so everyone has those days when things just don't go according to plan, but when you're already in a vulnerable position sometimes it's easier to make excuses for partaking in bad behaviour when the going gets tough instead of making the best of the situation and choosing the healthy road.

In an effort to be more accountable for my (off-track) actions of late, I'm going to start writing daily confessional blogs every time something goes awry in my plan. Feel free to pitch in your own excuses for why you didn't do your absolute best today. Once they're out in the open, they're less likely to eat away at you (or rather, cause you to eat) - and maybe you'll think twice before doing the same thing again!

Today's Objectives:

1. Stay in my calorie range
2. Do some form of exercise to make up for skipping the pool yesterday

The Dog Ate My Homework:

Started the day off on track. I'm trying a new "Whole Foods" mantra. No - I'm not the new spokesperson for the grocery store (although I do LOVE Whole Foods), but I know that my body responds well to eating wholesome, nutritious and unprocessed foods - meat, dairy, whole grains, fruits and veggies. I had prepped lunches for the week last night and had my turkey pot pie packed and ready to go with a yogurt and an apple and a Skinny Cow treat. Not a "whole food" I know, but after the incredible amounts of sugar I have been ingesting over the last few days, I knew I was going to need SOMETHING to prevent the afternoon cravings. I had a healthy breakfast of an egg, a slice of bacon and some cheese on an organic flaxseed waffle with a cup of diced watermelon. Yum! On track and loving it, until...

I had to detour from my normal work route this morning to pick up 5 cases of candy for our concessions stand at the theatre. I usually never have to pick it up, but my poor custodian got his car stolen, so I offered to go over to get the candy myself and cab it back to the theatre. On the way out from doing the pick-up, my contact at the store asked if I'd like to take a sample bag of something back with me. DOH! I could have anything in the store. I chose a bag of "Mardi Gras Mix" (for my staff) and went on my way. Mardi Gras Mix is a blend of spicy sesame sticks, honey roasted mixed nuts, toffee covered peanuts and crispy rice sticks. OH MY GOD the stuff is ridiculous. How do I know? Because of course upon returning to the office with my sample bag "for my staff" I had to bust it out and try some. It didn't help that my delicious breakfast had left me earlier than expected and I was now starving. I ate about a cup of it. Down the hatch.

And about that exercise? I woke up today to pouring rain which makes me want to pull my covers over my head and never get out. After the ordeal of picking up the candy without a car and toting my umbrella and lunch bag along for the ride as well, I was quite happy to sit on my duff in the office today and do little more than visit the washroom twice and the water cooler once. Another post-work errand came up that I had to run with another big box to carry, so out I went in the rain again to hail another cab. Once the delivery was made and I was free of the heavy boxes for the day, I attempted to wait for a bus to take me home. Whatever it is with rain in the city of Chicago and the city bus system, I will never know. But the CTA was TERRIBLE tonight and it took me over 1.5 hours to get home. I ended up running a quick errand for myself at CVS while I waited for the first bus and then another errand to Dominick's to pick up carrots and celery for my healthy turkey soup while I waited for the second bus. By the time I got home it was almost 9pm, I still hadn't eaten dinner and my head was about to split open from a combo tension/barometer headache. Exercise is not happening tonight. Unless you count lugging boxes and fighting public transportation as exercise. Unfortunately, I don't.

So - those are the excuses. What am I gonna do about it? Set new goals for tomorrow and try to reach them.

1. Get out of bed 30 minutes earlier than usual
2. Do some exercise to make up for pool skipping on Wednesday
3. Stay within my calorie range

Simple enough right? We shall see :) I suppose the biggest objective right now is not to have to write an "Excuse of the Day" blog "Part 2" tomorrow!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AMC09US 10/24/2011 11:14PM

    At least you kind of measured the extra Mardi gras snack. There was likely a time you would blindly keep munching. I know it's true for me at least!

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LAURIETAIT 10/14/2011 4:57PM

    I have no doubt you will turn things around. I'm expecting tomorrow's "confessional" to morph into a self-congratulatory epistle.

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LOTUSFLOWER 10/14/2011 1:50PM


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MSMARZI 10/14/2011 12:32PM

    You got this! BTW, I'm loving the 90-calorie Fiber One Chocolate Fudge Brownies. They're sooo good warmed up in the microwave and topped with a tablespoon of light Cool Whip :D

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MICHSTATE 10/14/2011 12:23PM

    You can do it!!!!!:-)

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ROXELLS_WARRIOR 10/14/2011 1:54AM

    I'll come back tomorrow and check on you - and I don't expect to see a part two excuse blog! You can do anything that you truly set your mind to. I totally believe in you!

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ON2VICTORY 10/14/2011 12:02AM

    i cant tell you how much that mirrors a day that most of us have. myself included. great job in just taking a step back and asking the tough questions and not accepting anything less of yourself. keep at it..
emoticon emoticon

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