Willpower & Restraint


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Not only did I find new dishes over the weekend at Marshall’s, but in other errand-running matters, I had to go to The MallThe prices at the mall are a little different than Marshall’s. So I had to exercise some willpower and restraint.

Neiman-Marcus sign

Nordstrom SignTiffany & Co. Sign

I went to the mall to return the facial cleansers I bought at MAC.  I just wasn’t loving them and I felt like they were irritating my skin and making me break out a bit, so I returned them.

Storefront of MAC

I exercised restraint and didn’t buy a single new item of MAC!

Shelves of MAC beauty products

Super Hero themed beauty products

I probably don’t “need” any, though.

Makeup container full of cosmetics

And I exercised some willpower by walking right past the multi-story Pottery Barn

Outside storefront of Pottery Barn

And Nike

Outside storefront of Nike

I didn’t want to be a total “tourist” and keep on snapping pictures of storefronts.  I still didn’t bring my DSLR out in public.  I took all these storefront and mall pictures with my point and shoot. But suffice to say, Anthropologie, True Religion, Betsey Johnson, Godiva, James Perse, Barney’s, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, just to name a few, were calling my name.  It took some willpower and restraint to not even walk into them.

I did walk into Bath & Body Works

Bath & Body Works StorefrontInside Bath & Body Works

I picked up this B&BW body spray called Secret Wonderland as an exchange/swap-out for a scent I had previously accidentally bought two of.

Secret Wonderland Body Mist

As a footnote, I love the new Carried Away scent I mentioned here.

After all that retail restraint, I came home and ate chocolate.

Raw Vegan Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding

Close up of Raw Vegan Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding

From my last post on Dressing for Winter Workouts, it was great to hear what you wear and some of your favorite gear picks.  I love hearing what everyone else wears and your go-to items.

Dessert: Special K Bars

Special K Bars stacked on top of one another

Chocolate, nut butter, sweet, gooey and chewy, dense, thick.  They have all the elements of a perfect food for me.

I could easily eat these until I get sick.  I cut myself off at two per day.  I try to use some restraint with these.

Bottom of one Special K Bar
Close up of one Special K Bar


1. Anything special or exciting going on for you this week?

Nothing special for me.  Work, parenting, running a household, and a few appointments throw in to create extra driving around for me to keep my on my toes, but nothing special or too exciting.

2. Do you consider yourself to have willpower and restraint?

As it pertains to food choices, I really don’t like to talk about food in terms of willpower and restraint.  I believe it implies that a choice is “bad” when in reality, it’s just a choice.  Life, including food, is a big series of choices.  And that’s the beauty of eating, you get to make new choices every three hours or so with your next meal/snack.  See Item 3 in this post for more info.  So I do sort of cringe when I hear people say, “Oh it takes willpower to avoid Xyz Food.”   Yes, but really it’s just food.  Unless it’s a pan of Special K Bars.  Then maybe a little “willpower” isn’t such a bad thing.

As it pertains to spending money at the mall, shopping, or online ordering, I do love to spend money but I can exercise restraint and willpower like nobody’s business.  Sure, I would like to buy things, but I really want to pay off my credit card debt more than I want a new sweater.  And since I am so close to paying it off, it’s easy for me to walk in, walk out, and not buy a thing.  I can flip a switch and not think twice.  But look out, when I flip that switch ‘on’, I single handedly am an economic stimulus package all unto myself.

How are you with willpower and restraint?  Any thing you wish you had more willpower or restraint with?  Or less?

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  1. When it comes to chocolate, Lululemon, Starbucks and my KIDS, I have zero willpower/restraint. Anything else I’m OK. ;)

  2. Hi,
    Enjoyed reading your article. Wow! that chocolte bar would have been hard to resist. If I buy something I like much, like raisins and almonds I do not have willpower to just eat a little each day. When I buy it I tell myself that I will have only a little each day and it should last one week but it never lasts more than two days. But I have willpower not to buy it and as I know I will eat almost all at once I most often don’t buy it.


  3. i looooooove special k bars! i can’t make them anymore because my husband has willpower to only eat one per day, but i have none when it comes to these! i’m a gumaholic. i know it’s terrible but i’m a one pack per day gum chewer. i wish there was a quit gum patch or something…i can only chew a piece for a couple minutes though and have to spit it out. total wierdness i know. my last lack of willpower confession…j.crew (swoon). love all their clothes!

  4. oh gosh.. i have great willpower but when it comes to shopping.. ZERO restraint!! I always think to myself ‘well its now or never.. this is your chance to get it!” and then i usually do ahah…I AM VERY impressed with you!

  5. Nothing exciting or special over here..but surprisingly still alot on the agenda. I think I have pretty good will power and restraint actually. It took practice though ;)

  6. I definitely splurge on all of my healthified foods!! Sometimes protein powder, flax seed, wheat germ, and of course wine can add up when you are a college student! Hehe! But I think it is totally worth it! :) I loved this post!

  7. Since I’m still in “save for a car” mode I’m SERIOUSLY frugal. But I “splurged” and bought myself some protein powder last night :) 17 dollars, it almost killed me ;)

  8. OMG, I want your mall!! Your mall has EVERYTHING! Ours, 20 miles away, has… Macy’s and Target. :shock: Big whoop lol :roll:

    I’m disciplined when I want to be, but I hardly ever want to be!! LOL :P

  9. I have willpower, but little restraint. Especially with spending. If I see it, want it, and can “afford” it – i.e, the money is in my account, I can very easily rationalize buying it. I think this comes from my mother – not to cop out and blame her…she admits it herself. I got the good traits and the, well, more colorful traits as well! I am impressed with your willpower and restraint. It is evident from your physique that you exercise both on a daily basis!

  10. I don’t use the terms “willpower” and “restraint” very often, if ever either.

    If I want something I eat it … but then again I have never had the urge to binge, or anything like that, so I suppose I am lucky.

  11. I used to have little self restraint but since 2 years (when we began our paying-debt-off-journey) we have gotten tons better. Having a goal (of being debt free) definitely provided lots of motivation.

    I like your comments on not having certain foods “bad” — that it is just a choice.

  12. I have almost ZERO willpower or restraint, which is why when asked to go shopping, I usually say no. If I don’t want to spend money it’s best to stay away. Same with desserts… if it’s not a good day to be eating desserts – it’s best to not be around them. I’m getting better at this, but nothing to brag about.

  13. hahaha i’m pretty disciplined but when it’s TTOTM i have zero with chocolate+almond butter. nom. shopping wise, i’m pretty good, i thrift a lot and every now and then hit up anthro :)

  14. That mall looks amazingggg – where is it?! It kind of looks like a mall I go to when I visit San Diego – such great shopping :) Neiman Marcus is my favvvv

    1. It’s the only mall in San Diego with a Neimans. It’s the one and only Fashion Valley Mall. Look me up next time you’re in San Diego!!!!!!

  15. Nothing exciting going on over here… now that the wedding is done and Mexico is over, I am back to normal life of school and exams… must plan something fun soon!! :)

    I’m glad I don’t live near any of those stores, they look DANGEROUS!! haha :) Oh the joys of living in a small town!!

    Hope you are great Averie!!
    Take care,

  16. I think I have a lot of willpower when it comes to going to the gym every morning and buying clothes, but it takes a lot around chocolate and impulse purchases at the grocery store (grape leaves and chocolate almond butter, I’m looking at you!).

  17. u go girl with the willpower! I think I drooled over each store you mentioned ; p

    I love secret wonderland, its my latest fave from there!!!

    This week Im going home to PA tomorrow to do wedding stuff and then off to florida for a dance workshop for the wknd ; ) busy busy!

    Love ya! Hope you had a great day! xoxo

  18. Awesome job on will power, I usually have to remind myself my house is full enough as is and I only have to much time to enjoy all my loot. You can never go wrong with chia seed pudding, I’ve been enjoying chocolate vanilla lately.

    1. Not really, surviving and running lots with my half coming up quick.
    2. Yes, especially at the stores you snapped because of the prices – I can’t logically buy a purse that’s worth more than my car! Sometimes I lack will power when it comes to new tech toys though.

  19. Chocolate and nut butters are the absolute deadliest combo for my willpower! Love it. Peanut Butter & Co. makes a delicious concoction called Dark Chocolate Dreams…and White Chocolate Wonderful is the best thing ever created. Mm. Good thing I already ate or I’d be on a rampage.

  20. Oh man…you were definitely exercising great restraint at the mall!!! We have a really sucky mall, so it isn’t hard for me to restrain myself, but if I had a mall like that…woo! It’d be quite the struggle!

  21. i used to be the worst shopping restrainer ever! BUT since being poor and a student and paying for school and my car and making barely any money i have no option but restraint haha. but i do know when to say yes to a great deal :)

    i’ve always hated bath & body works but lately they’ve been coming out with some pretttty good scents! i like the new dark kiss one!

  22. I’m way too good with willpower and restraint. I will go somewhere with every intention of buying one thing and talk myself out of it unless it is an absolute NEED by the time I get to the checkout counter.

    You should see the mall here. No need for restraint. The lack of any good stores accomplishes that.

    1. amen to that. when i lived in NC/SC and Jc Penney was the anchor store at the mall, I didnt need to use much restraint either :)

      and i too talk myself out of TONS of purchases. To a fault sometimes!

  23. My mom and I take shopping trips all the time. If we didn’t practice restraint, we’d be in deep doo-doo.

    By the way, your special K bars made my tongue hang out.

  24. It’s weird..but I think I should have more willpower when it comes to certain areas and others I need to just let go a little bit. (like my fashion…I could spend some money on making mama not look like a hobo…but not when there’s dishes to buy and kids to keep clothed…lol)

    1. I know, some things i need to relax with my own willpower and just be a little more…reckless. I totally know what you mean!

  25. People always tell me I have an insane amount of willpower. But I make it easier on myself by not buying/making things I don’t have enough willpower against!

    I do have something exciting going on this weekend — some family I haven’t seen for 6 years is visiting and they’re taking me to Disneyland!

  26. I also have a few appointments and regular work this week – but I also have my book club and yoga classes this week, both of which make me super happy :)

    I’ve been feeling extra “shoppy” lately, I think because I’ve been noticing my winter gear is so old and torn/ripped/f-ugly. I want to go shopping but I keep exercising my willpower and putting everything back on the rack!

  27. I’ve been catching up on your posts. I was “up north” visiting my in-laws for the weekend. Wi-Fi isn’t easy to come by, so I was off-line as of Friday at noon.

    Have to keep my ears warm too. Big fan of head bans so that I don’t overheat from having my whole head covered – unless it is colder than -20C then I’ll cover the whole head, face, etc ;)

    This week: Visiting with my siter-in-law tonight. Catching up on laundry and house cleaning. Baking & un-baking. Getting the paperwork for my taxes sorted. Oh, and work ;)

    1. i talk myself out of TONS too…despite what it may appear here, i seriously have maybe too much restraint on some things!

  28. Great recipes and blog posts!
    Like you,I think food,and everything else is a choice made,some things require more will power.But once you train your mind ,your body automatically gets adapted to the new routine.I have been a raw foodist for 4 years; initial 2 months was a roller coaster-but now my body automatically rejects what’s not raw :D
    Have a fabulous day!!!

  29. What am I like? I could look at those shopping mall photos over and over again, wow you have such a selection of wonderful shops that we don’t have here- Bath and Body Works, A Mac shop (their make up is the best along with Bobbi Brown) along with your department stores. I try and limit my spending because I have lots of bills to pay (boring but they have to be paid). I haven’t cut back on my food expenses but I don’t buy fiction books anymore, I get them from the library. I’ve cut back on spending money in bars too, I’m going to a friends house now for dinner and some wine. We do a lot of our socialising at home and in friends houses now but I do like going out too to look at the eye candy.

  30. I can’t wait to shop at that mall again! Did Fashion Valley get an Anthropologie? If so, that just made my day!!

  31. Now that’s a mall! I moved from PHX to smallish town OH and today miss having a mall to have to restrain myself from! :-) It’s probably good, though, as I don’t have all that much restraint/willpower when it comes to shopping.

    1. Yes, that IS a mall. You have no idea. Well, you probably do :) But yes, I lived in NC and SC for a few years after living in Chicago and went thru retail withdrawal. lol.

  32. My sister always drags me through that Neiman-Marcus whenever I come for a visit. It’s such a thrill (NOT) to go through their “bargain” racks where sweaters and pants are “practically a steal” for only half of their outrageously ridiculous prices.

    Blech! I’m much happier when we get to Pottery Barn.

  33. I would have to have SUCH self control around those stores! Good thing the lack of money takes care of that for me. ;)

  34. I am excited this week because tomorrow my very best friend is coming to visit for the day — we have a lot of catching up to do – I haven’t seen her since September!

    I definitely have to use willpower, but it’s got me to realize the difference between what I “want” a nd what I “need” — before I don’t think that I understood that. But yes, credit card bills are BIG motivation to just walk away.

    Yum, the chocolateyness here looks delicious. 75% of the time, I “NEED” chocolate!

    You don’t need makeup, anyways — you’re so gorgeous!

  35. sometimes i have willpower..sometimes i dont, no matter what the status is of my bank account ;) if i had a pottery barn anywhere near me, i’m pretty sure my bank account would be nonexistent.. williams-sonoma is bad enough!!

  36. owww- a two story pottery barn? Not sure I could stay out of there :). I must say- I’m very good with my money. I only buy things when I really believe I need them or think a special treat is in order. The food store is really the place I hold back the least- I think good quality, healthy food is worth the $$! I hope you’re having a wonderful day :) I actually have lots of good stuff planned this week- Thursday, I am walking the bridge into Charleston with a friend, Saturday- going to a beerfest (as DD ;)), Sunday morning- blogger brunch!

  37. I have willpower to a fault or maybe it is a guilt complex…either way, it’s probably not good.

    1. i am the same way!! at times, i seriously can talk myself out of just about any purchase! willpower and then some. maybe too much :)

  38. I am excited that I do not have anything special this week. No work conferences, no birthday parties, etc. Thank goodness.
    It is funny that you talk about willpower today, because just this weekend we had some family over for my boyfriend’s daughters birthday party. Needless to say we had a lot of food in the house that I normally would not buy. I told my boyfriend we need to give it away and he told me I need to have willpower. hahaha I absolutely do have willpower but sometimes it is weaker and I don’t need doritos, spinach and artichoke dip, taco dip, etc etc staring at my everytime I open the fridge or pantry…. hahaha

    1. i would agree with that b/c those are all really good “I don’t need doritos, spinach and artichoke dip, taco dip, etc etc staring at my everytime I open the fridge or pantry….” :)