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The Tootsie Roll Lady


I’m going to get all philosophical on you for a moment. Why do you eat healthfully?

Until recently, my passion for health and fitness was driven by looking and feeling better. And I’ll be honest (and slightly vain)…it was more the former than the latter. But then this PCOS business surfaced and I had this sudden shift in priorities. My health is now of concern.

As someone who until recently had a clean bill of health, I’ve started thinking about my “mission” to live to be happy and healthy to 100 years of age (and beyond), if it’s in God’s plans. Just like the marathon experience “moves me” (no pun intended), so does longevity and age. Growing up, every Sunday morning as families piled out of the sanctuary after service, there was always a little old lady handing out Tootsie Rolls. Of course I loved this as a little kid, and then I got to be a brat and was “too cool” to take the little old lady’s candy and avoided her by taking the back stairs (I mean, it’s so not good for street cred to be kind to elders, you know), and then as I matured into my teenage years, I thought she was just the cutest thing and graciously accepted her weekly Tootsie Roll and cheek squeeze. This woman lived to be over 100 years old, 102 I do believe. And she was handing out Tootsie Rolls to the church-goers til the end of her days. In her later years, I had developed so much admiration and respect for her. I mean, 102, and a Tootsie Roll fairy? Rock on! And it wasn’t until she passed and was no longer seen outside the sanctuary doors that I realized what an impact she had on my life. Her impact was so subtle, but over the course of 20 years she taught me the importance of health, happiness, and longevity…through Tootsie Rolls.

My mom will probably laugh when she reads how much this little old lady meant to me, but it’s true. She inspired me to want to live to be 100. And beyond.

When I was diagnosed with PCOS, one of my first thoughts was, “I hope I can still live to be 100…while being happy and healthy all the while.” I know that eating to control my condition is what will get me there. And I am discussing this today because my blood sugars are STILL not where I want them to be. But I won’t give up hope — I want to live to be 100, happy, and healthy.

Question: How old do you want to live to be? Why do you do what you do diet-wise? If you follow a healthy lifestyle, what is your motivation?

P.S. Win some FREE flax samples from Flax Matters! Go here to enter!


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  1. May 14, 2010 / 6:19 am

    You are so inspirational sweetie and I KNOW you will overcome this! If anyone can do it, it is you.

    You know, I read recently that taking Metformin can reduce the symptoms of PCOS. Might be worth a shot…

    • Nicole
      May 14, 2010 / 7:41 am

      Thanks, Joanne ๐Ÿ™‚ I am on 500 mg. of Metformin BID. Thanks for the heads up!

  2. May 14, 2010 / 6:40 am

    Yeahhh I definitely want to live to 100. My dad can’t understand why, but I basically want to be able to say that I lived to triple digits. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Plus, It’ll probably be quite interesting in 2093… o.O

    And I live the way I live because I have some health issues which I don’t want to get worse, and I think that the better I treat myself now, the happier I’ll be when I’m older. I don’t want to be bankrupting myself because I treated myself badly and now I need extra medical care and stuff like that. To me, healthy = happy.

    Thanks for the flax sample, I signed up right away. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. May 14, 2010 / 6:58 am

    This post was perfectly timed for me, so thanks!!!

    When I started my lifestyle-overhaul… it was all about weight. I wanted to lose it. And I did. A lot of it! Now that I am 50 lbs lighter… I still have some more weight I would like to lose, but I’m not as strict and I take it easier. Honestly though – I miss the motivation I used to have by watching the scale go down and my body change.

    I am currently trying to find the motivation to STAY healthy when it comes to food… but it’s a lot harder than I thought!

  4. May 14, 2010 / 8:03 am

    Awww! The Tootsie Roll lady sounds so sweet. I truly adore “old” people and love watching them interact with others. They really do have a heart of gold…..well most of them ha!
    I would love to live to at least 100 to know that my legacy lasted into the triple digits, but only if I was healthy. I would hate to live that long if I was not healthy and possible suffering! That would stink.

  5. May 14, 2010 / 8:15 am

    I want to live healthfully. I don’t care how long that happens to be. I’d rather live for a short period of time and be healthy than to live long and in poor health.

  6. May 14, 2010 / 8:16 am

    I have to go with my health and how I feel. If I eat crap, I feel like crap. I’d love to live to be 100, too! And beyond. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. May 14, 2010 / 8:21 am

    I eat to be healthy and so I can live a LONG LONG life. This is the reason I wanted to recover from my ED. Not because of the suffering it put me threw but because of the health effects.. I want to be healthy dammit! ๐Ÿ™‚


  8. May 14, 2010 / 8:24 am

    This post made my morning! I am picturing a cute, little old lady handing out Tootsie Rolls – so adorable. I definitely plan to live to be over 100. I just don’t plan to kick the bucket any sooner ๐Ÿ™‚ My main motivation for eating well and exercising is how it makes me feel. I have noticed that I am happier when I do good things to my body.

  9. May 14, 2010 / 8:43 am

    That was a great story! I don’t care if I live to 100, but I’d like to stick around till at least 90. I think my desire to live long would wane a bit if my husband and everyone else I knew was dead. That sounds so morbid, but it’s not really when you’re 90.

    My motivation for being healthy is getting rid of my chronic pain and hopefully avoiding it in the future. More than living long I want to live well. So I guess I’d rather live to 80 without pain than to 100 and feeling miserable all the time.

  10. May 14, 2010 / 9:09 am

    I would of course like to live a long life, but only if I am healthy. I would rather have less healthy years than to live to be 105 and be sick or in a nursing hospital for 30 of those years. I think a healthy lifestyle is important because we can have some influence on our health, but I suppose we have no control over how long we live or if we develop certain chronic diseases or not. That’s why living in the “now” is so important–you never know, life can be toooo short.

  11. May 14, 2010 / 9:41 am

    I definitely want to experience longevity and one of the reasons that I’m trying to take care of myself is because I want to be mobile and strong for as long as possible.

  12. May 14, 2010 / 9:46 am

    Like you, I want to live a long, healthy life – as long and healthy as possible, 100 years would be nice! This is why I try to be as healthy as I can now, and hope to always maintain this lifestyle – I figure, there are things I have control over and others I do not, so why not do the best I can with what I can control!

  13. May 14, 2010 / 9:55 am

    This is a great question! There are so many motivators, but I think my number one is to be able to be healthy and happy for my children. I don’t have them, yet, but know I need to be healthy to start a family and to be a good active mom that will be around for a long time, I need to maintain that health. I do admit to the vanity and wanting to look good, too, but I don’t see anything wrong with that. ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. May 14, 2010 / 10:23 am

    What a great story! When I was a kid, I hated Tootsie Rolls, and I probably would have dodged the lady too. Now I love them ๐Ÿ™‚ She sounds so sweet. I wouldn’t mind living until age 100, as long as I feel good and alive. I don’t want to live in a nursing home, surrounded by nurses and people I barely know. I want to live until I can’t “live” anymore. I don’t have a number in mind, as long as I get to see my grandchildren grow ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. May 14, 2010 / 10:24 am

    I think that as being a dietitian and hearing about how much diet affects our lives, that is motivation itself.
    I know that I need to take care of my body inside and out in order to live a long healthy life.

  16. May 14, 2010 / 10:27 am

    My family is my biggest motivator for taking good care of myself and my health. I want to be able to take care of my family as long as I can, and I hope God blesses me with a long life.

  17. May 14, 2010 / 10:56 am

    I love this post! I want to grow as old as I can. Life is to short as it is and I want to do and experience everything I can. My eating disorder has taken away many years of my life already and I want to make up for them by living extra long. Plus I want to see my children and someday grandchildren grow old.
    My motivation to eating healthy is one to grow old but also to conquer the eating disorder. This also means everything in moderation. I am sure Tootsie Roll lady ate a few Tootsie Rolls in her day and she lived to an age many don’t see. (maybe it is a tootsie roll a day and not an apple a day to be healthy ๐Ÿ™‚ just kidding). My other motivation is simply the way I feel when I am eating a well balanced healthy diet.
    Thank you for this post. Picturing the Tootsie Roll lady outside of church put a smile on my face this morning.
    Have a Great Friday Nicole!

  18. May 14, 2010 / 11:05 am

    I am shooting for an age like those folks from the Old Testament: 700+ years. Ok, maybe not…

  19. May 14, 2010 / 11:29 am

    Okay this might be kind of morbid but my husband is 11 years older than me and by all kinds of logic that would mean he would die first and honestly…I want to be that person who dies shortly thereafter! I know that sounds like I am overly dependent on him and blah blah blah but assuming no tragedies and we both live to be the cute little old man and little old lady…then when he goes I think I would be ready too.

  20. May 14, 2010 / 11:36 am

    That is so sweet. It is nice that she touched your life in this way. I hope to live beyond 100 as well. I know it is silly, but I am terrified by death and I feel like I have so much to do before then. My great grandfathers brother was like 104-106 when he died. I can’t remember the exact age because I was only 6 myself. My greatgrandmother was 94 and my great grandfather was 99. I have always thought people live to be this old, and I was actually in my teens when I realized this was darn old and not the norm. That was when I think I started to really fear death, since I realized it might be sooner than 100. Oh well, I understand life much better now, so as long as I live a good and happy life, I think I will be OK.

  21. May 14, 2010 / 12:01 pm

    I’ve been trying to make healthier choices in the last few months because of fear of developing the health problems that run rampant in my family, but also because I saw pictures of myself when I was skinny and I looked so much happier.

    When my husband and I start a family, I want us to have already established healthy habits so that our kids have good examples to learn from. My terrible relationship with food was definitely due in large part to how I saw those around me act. I want to do everything I can to break that cycle and give my future kids every good example I can.

  22. May 14, 2010 / 12:41 pm

    I have always wanted to live a healthy life. I see my grandparents (all 4 of them!) in their 90s and I want that too. But more than that, I want to have a good quality of life when I am that age as well.

    Right mow, my biggest motivation for a healthy lifestyle is knowing I have a little person growing inside me ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. May 14, 2010 / 3:06 pm

    I want to live a healthy and happy life for as long as I can! I got diagnosed with MS at 19, and ever since I have tried to be as healthy as possible. I exercise as much as I can and certainly try to eat clean and healthy.

  24. May 15, 2010 / 11:51 pm

    I have no desire to live to any age.
    I do what I do diet wise because it’s what I was taught 3 years ago and it worked then so should and does work now.
    Motivation is simply to lose the weight and get around better and lastly if I happen to live to 100 then I’d rather live with as few problems as possible.

    Garden is coming along nicely!

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