Who Are We and Why Are We Headed for Shamrock?

We met online in 2005 trying to--what else--lose weight. We've had our ups and downs along the way, but we're not where we want to be. This is our journey to get fit and healthy. We invite you to follow us as we "exercise" our way across the country--track our progress on the map to Shamrock below-- in an effort to each lose 50 pounds by the end of 2009 and adopt a healthier lifestyle along the road.

Where will we go once we reach our goals? The sky's the limit... but we're thinking Greece would be nice.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Interesting Research Article about Chocolate and Solving Problems

Found this article online and thought it was interesting.

Chocolate Spiral Research Debunks Myths
Greenville, NC
Think reaching for chocolate can help you solve your problems? You may want to think twice, as researchers have recently shown through an extensive study proving that chocolate does not solve problems as some have previously thought.

Just ask Peggy Sue, mother of 5 children and regular consumer of chocolate. Peggy Sue took her 5 month old baby, Elvis, to the pediatrician on Monday for a weight check. It seems that, even though Peggy Sue herself is significantly overweight, the milk her body produces for baby Elvis is skim milk! The infant is not gaining weight well, and pressure from the pediatrician staff about supplementing catapulted Peggy Sue into what researchers call "the chocolate spiral".

"Women, and especially mothers, find respite in chocolate...often running to it as a problem-solver when really the opposite is true. It's a myth propogated by the media, movies, other women. Chocolate just makes their stress worse because of the guilt they feel afterward," said Dr. Downwith Sweets, Ph. D. and head researcher at the Chocolate Crisis Clinic (CCC) at Sugar University. "Peggy Sue was the perfect guinea pig for the study as she was suffering from stress AND lack of sleep, not to mention regular doses of guilt stemming from both her inability to lose weight and her lack of control in many aspects of her life. We followed her for nearly a whole day and recorded what she ate in response to stress."

Peggy Sue left her pediatrician's office on Monday, February 23, in a harried state. Having been told by both the nurse practitioner and the pediatrician that her baby's weight gain was unacceptable and that she would need to supplement, Peggy Sue's emotions were in full swing. All of her children, with the exception of her firstborn, began having issues breastfeeding between 3 and 5 months of age and all refused the breast once formula supplementation was begun.

"I didn't want to stop nursing them. But at the time, I didn't know any better than to just quit," Peggy Sue lamented.

Wanting what was best for her baby, but also knowing that a mother's intuition is rarely wrong, she left the pediatrician's office upset, confused, and feeling defeated. "I went through hell the first three months of Elvis' life, just trying to survive breastfeeding. I don't want to give up now because it will feel to me like I did all that in vain. And if this is my last child, I want to savor every moment of 'babyness' with him."

Peggy Sue went first to the craft store to buy cake decorating supplies, and bought a truffle for her and each of her kids at the checkout. "It was just a little truffle," she explained. But that wasn't the end. Far from it. Next, after leaving Target, she was accosted by Girl Scouts selling cookies. Limiting herself to one box, she led her crew down the sidewalk to Barnes and Noble. "I figured I'd be safe there," she recalled

If only that had been true. Strategically placed in the checkout line in most Barnes and Noble stores is a display of Godiva chocolates. Peggy Sue picked up a box of leftover chocolate hearts. "They were 50% off. 50% OFF!! How can you not buy that?" But as soon as Peggy Sue got back to the car and tried them, she knew she had been deceived. The chocolates failed dismally to improve her mood.

Next was the grocery store, where she bought a pack of Reese's peanut butter cups. "It is not uncommon for women to couple their chocolate needs with another medium, such as peanut butter, because that also provides a saltiness that they often crave in combination with the chocolate," explained Dr. Sweets. "This often signals a more serious condition, as is the case with Peggy Sue."

Having once again succombed to the checkout demons, Peggy Sue ate the cups in her car on the way home, while simultaneously opening the Caramel Delites to "share" with her children. "I can't resist that particular Girl Scout Cookie," she confessed. "They just melt in my mouth. But today they just felt, well, wrong somehow. I still felt upset."

Dr. Sweets has dealt with hundreds of women caught in the chocolate spiral. "They all have different stresses, different triggers if you will, but they all have one thing in common. They all run to chocolate in some form or another to deal with those stresses. In Peggy Sue's case, this spiral lasted many hours, well into the evening, culminating in a family dessert that masqueraded as an experiment in healthier eating."

Peggy Sue made a brownie mix for her family's "family night" treat. Lulling herself into a false sense of security, she substituted chickpea puree for the oil in the recipe. "It's a tragedy really. I mean, look at this otherwise sane woman. In her desperation to sort out her stress and emotions she turns to a fickle and unfaithful lover--chocolate--and continually justifies her repeated rendezvous with it. She's gone so far as to call her addiction 'healthy' just because she added some beans in," Dr. Sweets said. "This is why I do this research. This is why we started the CCC. To help women like Peggy Sue. But in the end, no one can do this for her. She has to be the one to make the changes."

Peggy Sue was later able to reach a friend by phone who talked her through the problem and encouraged her to trust her intuition regarding the breastfeeding problem. Together they were able to come up with a plan to tackle the issue. Unfortunately, the damage had already been done. "Too often, women like Peggy Sue find a viable option for dealing with their stress too late. Looking back on their actions, they feel an overwhelming sense of guilt and remorse that often makes them feel worse than before. In Peggy Sue's case, the situation is most dire because she has the added burden of knowing that she may have to stay at her current weight for quite a while to insure that her baby's milk intake doesn't suffer," Dr. Sweets commented. "It's not a situation that will be easy for her. She has two choices, essentially...she can either give in to the stress and make the situation worse or she can accept the limitations that have been placed on her and 'make lemonade out of lemons' as it were. Well, diet lemonade."

Peggy Sue could not be reached for further comment at the time of this writing.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting and informative article! Kudos to this brave woman for participating in such important scientific research for the benefit of others. I hope that this experience, one that I think all of us can relate to, has helped her to see that she's not alone in all of this and that she has the power to take control of her life... and her cookies.