The marshmallow test

Isaiah 26:3-4 ESV – You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.

Decades ago, a Stanford University professor conducted a series of tests on delayed gratification. The tests involved children who were offered a choice, one small treat now or two small treats about 15 minutes later. Often the treat was a marshmallow.

Later, he followed up with the children, as adults. He discovered those who waited for their reward as children had higher college test scores and lower body mass index scores as adults.

Unfortunately, a later study on a larger scale was unable to replicate the same results, meaning the connection between delayed gratification and success may be shaky or is more likely dependent on other factors such as trust or economic background.

Like the marshmallow test, dieting can have inconsistent results. That is why I focus so much on measuring foods, documenting water intake and activity. We have to carefully measure the variables we can control because there are other factors involved we cannot control.

Also like the marshmallow test, dieting has a lot to do with trust, trust that the next meal will come soon, trust that the hard work will pay off, trust in our physician and dietitian, trust in God and others.


I remember many failed dieting attempts in the past. I also remember many times I never started a diet because I could not afford to buy the foods for the fad diet.

One of the things I was forced to consider on this journey is my budget. I had to keep costs low. My diet is one of the least expensive I have ever been on. That’s another factor you can control on this journey.

The rest is up to us. We must trust in Him; trust He will provide. Trust He will stay the hunger. Trust He will fill us when bread does not.

And once we have that trust, we have peace.


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