Losing Your Marbles

I have an out-of-state friend who sent me an email telling me she’s losing her marbles! She attached the following photo and explained that she’s working hard to lose excess weight by observing portion control, eating nutritionally dense food, and burning more calories than she consumes through consistent exercise.

After calculating the number of pounds she wants to lose, she put that number of marbles in a Mason jar and labeled it POUNDS TO GO—the ones that have to leave her body; the pounds she’s evicting.

She has another Mason jar labeled POUNDS LOST. 

Every time she loses a pound, she takes a marble from the POUNDS TO GO jar and puts it in the POUNDS LOST jar. For her, it serves as fun motivation and a visual way to track her weight loss.

I told her I think she’s brilliant! She said she’d love to take credit for the idea, but apparently, it’s been around forever. She knows teachers who use erasers instead of marbles; surfers who use seashells, and so on.

When was the last time you lost your marbles?

© lauriebuchanan.com

72 thoughts on “Losing Your Marbles

  1. I’ve never seen this before, either…what a cute idea! Unfortunately, based on my frustrating efforts at losing a few pounds, I’d just be watching the same few marbles move back and forth between jars!

      • That’s ok Laurie it just made me smile as it also reminded me of the time my cheeky younger son wrapped a bag of marbles as an extra present for my mum with the label to replace the ones you have lost…It did cause much laughter ….I love it when a word, picture or post brings a memory to the forefront..so thankyou 🙂 xxx

  2. I love that! A bit like crossing days out on a calendar waiting for a special event. Your friend is doing very well if she has lost all those marbles already: that’s willpower for you.
    I lost 10 kg (about 20 lb) in my early 20s and kept them off for many years, exercising regularly and a low calorie diet, but as I get older, it becomes more difficult to keep the weight off, even with a healthy diet and exercise. A cheer for your friend! 👍👍👍

    • Craig — And I LOVED my marble pouch. I bought it with my allowance on a cross-country trip with my family as a youngster. We got it in Arizona at a wayside shop. It was Native American in theme, leather, with colorful beading and the leather was fringed at the bottom. I think I liked the bag as much as my marbles! 🙂

      • Craig — I remember the blue plastic Chlorox bottles.

        Clearly, I wasn’t as good of a marble player as you. I didn’t need to keep my marbles (and my meager winnings) in such a large a container 🙂

  3. I must have lost a marble and didn’t know it. My hubby found a white one as he swept the kitchen floor looking for a missing screw. Yes, we are LOSING IT!

    Marbles are pretty and evoke childhood memories. As Darlene suggests, it might work for writing progress. But first, I must collect my marbles.

  4. At this time in my life, I give myself a mental marble whenever I remember something that I thought I’d forgotten — like a name from years and years ago.

  5. I like the visual power of her two jar marble reflection of her weight loss status. We all need support when taking on challenging change or other goals. My version of marble jars for writing is a two foot high 13-week goal chart for posting progress. I’ve taped it on a side wall in my kitchen. In each calendar day square I write word goals for every day and then sum the weekly goal for each week. On the other half of each day square I post my actual words progress. I do have a planner for charting plans and accomplishments. I just enjoy the chart as well for my writing goal. I like seeing the 13-weeks as a whole while charting the particulars. It’s fun; nothing wrong with fun.

  6. I feel I’m losing my marbles as I pack for a move to a smaller home. Laurie, I’ve thought of you often these last two months knowing you are a minimalist. I ask myself, “What would Laurie do?” It does help some but I know I hang on to too many things.
    I love the marble idea–another goal is losing weight, but after the move on August 3.

    • Rose — I wish you the very best move possible. My recommendation? If there’s something sentimental that you can’t seem to part with (and we can get bogged down with those), take a photo of it and then donate it. That might sound cold-hearted and/or clinical, but trust me, you’ll be sooooooo glad you did 🙂

      • Thanks for the suggestion. One thing I have done is write a short story titled, You Can Buy My House But Not My Memories. It has helped ease the pain of leaving our log home and the woodland serenity I have had these past 22 years.

  7. This IS a brilliant idea. I think we writers could use a jar for pages to write (say 350 marbles for a novel) and a jar to move a marble into for each page. I’m on it! 💙

  8. I enjoyed the chorus of ideas. Thank you, Laurie. Sometimes I feel like I am losing my marbles when I see people driving and looking at or using their mobile phones instead of concentrating on road and people around them. Scary! 😦

  9. I agree, Laurie, this a very clever idea.

    And on that note…
    I enjoy a clean house but I don’t like housework. What to do?
    I buy a flourless bar from a local grocery store. For every chore successfully completed, I reward myself with a bite. If I get too into cleaning, I may have to follow your friend’s lead.

  10. Great reinvention.
    The idea is at least as old as Buddhism – and is one of the techniques used in the Zen notion of “non judgmental awareness” – whatever it is you wish to change, simply use the technique of pebbles or marbles in a container to record it – and notice what happens. Doing so without judgment is the key.

    And yes – very powerful tool.

  11. In March my body stopped losing weight once again – I am not burning fat at all. Exercising 2.5 hours a day, and fasting 3 days a week. Dr. and I are working a list of what I can eat to keep brain working and not gain weight. The marbles are a cute idea, but I have tried them all and it just feels more discouraging. Fasting is good for taking weight off the internal organs and exercise good for movement and heart – joints.
    I have to say that now I know that I am genetically programed this way, I think I would have learned to eat differently as a child – the 18 years as a vegetarian was great for me…Avocados are my saving grace in life. Ah me! At least I know it now…..just was praying I could get 50 pounds off before my daughter’s wedding in August. 2 years at it and now have some solid answers.
    ( Just a side note – did not find a dress which was a worry for me. I did take a very old dress and have the arms remade and added cap sleeves. It will do and I found deep purple tenny shoes which will pick up on the color splashes in the dress – will not have to go bare! thank goodness)

  12. Great idea with the marbles…I really have lost marbles all over my house. My grandchildren sometimes play with a few I have and they turn up in the oddest places. Since I live near the ocean and bays I was once lucky enough to find a marble someone lost. It must have been in the water for years because it has that beautiful hazy gloss the sea and sand create on the surface of glass as the waves tumble it. Now, where did I put that sea-glass marble? And Laurie, the sad thing is I really don’t know where it is at the moment…somewhere in the midst of all the other sea glass, shells and driftwood in this house.

    • TimelessLady — I adore sea glass. After visiting my sister in Cardiff by the Sea, CA this past week, she returned to Boise, ID with me so she could attend the baby shower for my first grandchild (due in Sept). I took her to a shop in historic Hyde Park and she found a gorgeous pair of sea glass earrings (a delicious color of blue). And I recently read that today’s earth conscious brides are opting to forego diamonds and go for sea glass engagement/wedding rings instead. How COOL is that?!

      • It would be me if I wasn’t forty years removed from being a new bride. I love sea glass and look for it everywhere. Blue is rare…the earrings must be stunning.

      • Neither of us remember much about the wedding…would it have been better to elope…maybe for us…but other people remember the wedding. I think by the time the day comes a lot of couples are burnt out by all the planning and festivities.

  13. Laurie, I just went looking for the sea glass marble and it was right where it should be…in a dish with some of my favorite pieces. I think your post has inspired me to post on some of my latest finds. (I will also include the marble in the photo and if you don’t mind a link back to this post because it was my inspiration.) This past weekend I found two very unique pieces of sea glass…now where did I put that mesh bag I collected them in. 🙂

  14. I might have put on a couple of kilos since I hit my fifties, but I am not complaining. No sugar in coffee is one rule I have kept, but I eat more bread now: can’t avoid it in France! 😉

  15. What a good idea ! I adore marbles they are so collectable . I had many as a child but I’m sure I never played with them I just admired their beauty . When was the last time I lost my marbles ? … every day love 😊 every day .

  16. Well, I have not sat down and counted my marble stash lately, I hope they are all there… There are some days though I feel Like that old Ozzy Osborn song, “I’m going off the rails on the Crazy Train”. Then I pull up and get a grip and trust the marbles to stay where they should be.

  17. Reblogged this on Ideas.Become.Words and commented:
    I love this simple visual method of keeping track of … absolutely anything you are trying to achieve 👌🏼
    I may borrow the idea and have a jar of marbles for each chapter I plan to write and move one to the ‘written’ jar each time I finish one 🥂
    Thank you Laurie 🌸

  18. I always ask myself the same question: Am I losing my marbles? A recent purchase of a basement pinball machine (the class Medieval Madness) again set the question off even if the item does hold its value and actually increases over time. But heck the kids do love it.

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