I am a genius

Cathy ZielskeCZ Life23 Comments


As you are well aware, Halloween is coming.

I think I made that point perfectly clear with the 2015 Bee Dance.

But there’s one problem I have with Halloween—the only problem I have, in fact—and that is this: the candy.

What I have done every year on Halloween, regardless of whether I’m taking good care of myself or not, is to gorge myself on fun-sized snacks throughout the day to the point that Reeses Minis and tiny Snickers become my sole sustenance for the day.

In other words, I go on a sugar bender like no other.

You know how if you eat too much of a food heavy with garlic you can smell it coming out of your pores? That’s me on Halloween. But the smell is distinctly Butterfinger.

Why? Because I’ve EARNED it, baby. I DESERVE it. Life is too short to not eat candy on Halloween. To hell with health on Halloween. It’s just one day, right?

But about three weeks ago I felt like I needed to, wait for it… move more and eat well. Again.

And that is exactly what I’ve been doing for three weeks and I feel like a different person.

Apples actually taste good! Yogurt is a delicious and somewhat decadent treat! Water is refreshing! (Imagine that.) And overall, things that hurt when I was ingesting far too much sugar feel much better than before.

And the craziest part, the part I forget every single time? Eating real food in sensible amounts won’t bring about the End of Days.

So this Halloween I just made a deal with myself: you don’t need that shit in your body right now.

Remember when I posted about being an abstainer? The more I embrace this and accept that when I work within my particular framework I’m going to be more successful, the better I can do with making healthy choices.

So here’s the genius part: rather than turn off all our lights and pretend like we’re not home on Halloween (because, hello? Not gonna miss a chance to show off that bee costume), I bought two bags of candy I don’t like: Sour Patch Kids and Twix Bars.

I realize that I could pass out fruit or erasers but I’m not going to be that house. Just because the sugar isn’t on my plate doesn’t mean it has to be off everyone else’s.

I even checked with Dan to make sure he was cool with me buying different candy. (Note: this is important for me as I continue to work on understanding that I am not the only person in this relationship and his thoughts about things matter too, but that’s a story for another day.) He’s not a big candy buff, but he likes to dip into the Halloween bowl for a treat or two. He assured me that if he really wanted a candy bar, he’d buy one at Super America.

Sometimes I wonder what it’s like to be like that? A moderator.

But here’s the deal: I made a decision and I’m going to stick to it.

Don’t get me wrong. Three weeks ago when I said buh-bye to the Reeses Pumpkins, I felt edgy as hell for three days. Then it got easier.

Crazy how that happens.

Now as long as I don’t develop some unheard of craving for Sour Patch Kids or fun-size Twix between now and Saturday, I’m golden.

November starts on Sunday and I’d love to have you join 30 Days of Thankful, an annual project wherein we take the simple idea of documenting gratitude to a mini-album-level proportion. You can save 15% off the class price now through November 2nd. Even though I did my class project in July, I just received a new mini album in the mail yesterday (this one has a turquoise spine) and I can’t help myself: I am making this project again. Take advantage of the savings today and remember: this is a self-paced class. You can work through the project at any time during the year. November just makes a great fit.


Cathy ZielskeI am a genius

23 Comments on “I am a genius”

  1. #1


    You are awesome! I love the humor and real life that you put in your blog.

    You always make my day.

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Kay Gregory-Clark

    Congratulations, Cathy—you’ve learned the Big Secret of Halloween: buy candy you don’t like! I did that for years. But now….(and I’ll bet you think I’m going to say I fell off the wagon and starting buying the good stuff) I don’t have any problem at all. Why? We moved into a very rural area where we have NO trick-or-treaters. In fact, I miss the little goblins. However, I usually buy a bag of something for my husband—but I even decided this year not to do that because he’s added too many inches around the middle. When I came home from the grocery the other day he wanted to know where the Trick-or-Treat candy was. Sorry, Charlie (and that’s really his name, too).

    Have a fun Halloween!

  3. #3

    Hey Cathy! I love this blog post probably because I could have written every word of it! I’m an abstainer and in the past I have had the same exact thoughts on the candy, “I deserve it!” The problem is once I start I cannot stop…for months. It’s awful and I feel like crap. On the other hand my husband is a moderator and can eat a fun size snicker bar and be good for a week. True story, I make rice Krispy treats, he eats one, I eat the rest of the pan and four days later he says, “Where are the rice Krispy treats?” I think I have a problem. Haha! Anyway, thanks for your words and I love the new Bee Dance!

  4. #5

    I LOVE Sour Patch Kids and Twix. Here’s what happens at my house on Oct 31st – NOTHING! We live on a busy street, no sidewalks, no ghosts or goblins and nary a candy bar in the house. It’s ok but I really miss seeing the kids on Halloween (and dressing up in my pumpkin costume).

  5. #6

    Go girl go!

    I feel the same way, it’s hard to be an abstainer but it’s so worth it.

    There really is nothing at all, in sugar, that is good for you. NOthing.

  6. #7
    Kimberly O.

    Mmmm… I love Twix. 🙂 But, yeah.. when I did give out Halloween candy, I’d just buy stuff I didn’t like. No temptation there.

    The house I live in now does not have an entry room, which is kind of necessary when you have two little dogs and a cat that you are trying to keep INSIDE the house. (Well, the cat is normally an indoor/backyard cat.. but we want her in on Halloween.)

    So.. we disconnect our doorbell, turn off our motion sensor lights on the garage, and shut the blinds.

  7. #8
    Kimberly O.

    PS. In the small Iowa town my husband is from, they actually have a scheduled “Beggars’ Night” for the kids to trick-or-treat on. It’s basically the October Saturday closest to Halloween. Personally, I kind of like this…

  8. #9

    this takes great strength!! I go overboard on the candy that I *like* and make sure I stash some before handing it out on Halloween because … you know … I DESERVE IT!!
    but you’re totally right about feeling better when eating better … I may try to follow in your footsteps with the abstinence thing and just hand out all the damn candy … it is after all a great idea … thanks for always keepin it real 🙂

  9. #11

    I’d be screwed. I love both of those candies. But more props to ya lady! And I agree, if you WANT to go on a sugar bender for the day – more power to you, and if you don’t???! Hell, even more power to you!

    Get yo happy bee dance on and spread that candy!

  10. #12

    We live on a street that gets very little Halloween traffic and for the first time in quite a few years decided not to buy any candy at all. We end up eating it all ourselves and we just don’t need it. (Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Kit-Kat bars, I still love you!)

  11. #13

    I actually love Sour Patch kids and if there is a bag of them around, then I just eat them until they’re gone. For lots of things I am a moderator, but for sour candies I have to be an abstainer. I usually buy assorted candies so the ones I like I eat first and leave the Smarties and Aero bars for my husband to hand out on the 31st. Or I take them to work and give them to my students. Best thing is not to buy any or if I do buy some, DON”T open the box
    Happy Candy night, Cathy

  12. #14

    Welcome to the abstainer club. It is possible. I have not eaten sugar for almost 4 years. The first month was the toughest. At work for pot lucks it is sweets, sweets, sweets, carbs, carbs, carb, especially with the holidays coming up. I don’t miss it and I don’t feel deprived because here are so many healthier alternatives. There were are a few programs out there in the inter-webs that help with the sugar detox. I love Dianne SanFilippo’s 21 Sugar Detox. She has a book and a companion cook book. She runs a detox the first monday of the month if you need more support. She also Periscopes a lot with cooking ideas. Last month there was a ‘Sugar Free September’ program put on by a nutritionist from Ireland, Emily Maguire and South African Karen Thomson. There is a detox program going on right now on their site. I am sure they will have another one later. Karen is a recovering alcohol and drug addict. Sugar ended up being her replacement to drugs and alcohol. Yesterday on Periscope she was talking about abstinence. For her personality a cheat meal, becomes a cheat day, cheat week, cheat month. She says to stay away from people, places, and things that trigger your addiction. She now runs a sugar addiction clinic in South Africa.

  13. #15

    Cathy, you had me all pumped and ready to indulge in a day of candy tomorrow. But, like you, I’ve been trying to eat better whole foods lately. And you’re right, feeling better is a good motivator to do that! Love your blog and your work and your sense of humor and….all of it, just all of it!

  14. #16

    Every single year I buy candy I don’t like, and every, single, year, I eat it anyways:( How sad is that?!!!!!!

  15. #19
    Stacey Wakelin

    Greetings, from a fellow Sugar Addict. After being obese for the past 12 years (damn kids) I have decided my 39th year is going to be devoted to getting my shit together. I am de cluttering my life, my relationships and getting healthy. In a sense, this year is all about me. I have rejoined WW, bought and am rocking a Fitbit and I am cutting out sugar. Ok, I have eaten three handfuls of Halloween candy the past couple days. If you are addicted to sugar there is no moderation. I can’t eat just one mini butterfinger or have just a sliver of cake–it’s all or nothing baby. Plus, I have discovered sugar is my bad eating gateway drug. Love your honesty. We can do this.

  16. #20

    Hey Cathy,
    I have a ridiculously stupid question… thank goodness I know you won’t roll your eyes at me. (because you’re cool, nice and kind)

    On the guest appearance post on Ali’s blog you mentioned using ‘guides’. If you have a second can you do show how to access them, when to use them do alittle tutorial or mention on your next photoshop post.

    thanks and loved you’re pages.

    1. #20.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Hey Julie!

      It’s an easy thing to use! Grab your move tool, when in PSE or PS, and click on the Rulers, hold down your mouse and drag down. You will drag a guide and drop it where you want it. If you don’t see your rulers, you’ll find them under the View menu. Give it a try!

  17. #21

    Yeah! We’ve licked the sugared candy thing here but sadly it’s because both of us are lactose intolerant now but boy were those candies ever calling to both of us – guess it’s the thing that if you can’t have it you want it. 🙂 Now to get rid of sugar elsewhere.

  18. #22
    drug intervention

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