The 5 Ring Diet

Oct 31

Epilogue

It’s been 11 weeks since the #5ringdiet came to a close. And a lot has happened in that 11 weeks. Camp Promise-West was a rousing success, thanks to your donations and an incredible group of volunteers and campers.

In my personal life, I sold nearly everything, packed 3 suitcases and a backpack and moved to NYC. And while I haven’t kept the Charmin bed or even the majority of my #5ringdiet acquisitions, some things have stuck.

But first, a brief tribute to the items that didn’t make the move.


Polo Flip Flops.

You were good to me. But you also have zero arch support. Farewell.

Charmin Bed.

If it weren’t so impractical to move 84 rolls of toilet paper across the country, I would’ve taken you with me. (For your intended use, not for sleeping on.) Instead, I sold you on Craigslist for $25. I know I bought high and sold low on that one, but I’ll take the hit since I’m sure you’ll serve that family well. And I’m happy they didn’t ask why I had so much TP and why it was so squished.

When it comes to a lot of products, I’m pretty brand-agnostic. The best price win most of the time. And while that’s still mostly true, the intimacy I felt with some of the #5RingDiet brands during that very vulnerable 24 days has had an affect on me that’s stretched into my post-diet life.

Chobani.

Chobani and I became very close. Not only because I ate the yogurt nearly every day (sometimes twice/day) during the diet, but also because @Chobani and I had a virtual dialogue that transitioned into a very real one. Remember that incredible care package they sent me? In fact, I’m wearing my Chobani yoga pants as I type this. I wasn’t a big yogurt-eater pre-diet and I have to admit I haven’t touched the stuff since the diet ended.

And had I written this post 3 weeks ago, I’m not sure I would’ve said Chobani was still part of my life. But I’ve since realized that’s mostly due to burn-out: I went from zero to nonstop yogurt in a VERY short amount of time.

Two weeks ago, I turned a corner in SoHo and ran into this.

It’s the Chobani yogurt bar. And although the friend I was with urged me to try it, I just couldn’t bring myself to eat another spoonful of yogurt just yet. (It took me 7 years to regain my ability to eat oatmeal after having my wisdom teeth removed.) 

But even though I didn’t want to consume, I felt comfort in seeing physical space of a brand I’d only seen in grocery store shelves and at the Team USA House in London. Like running into an old friend in a city with very few old friends.

I’ve realized that even though I’m not in the mood for yogurt just yet, when my spoon and I are ready to take the plunge, Chobani will be waiting.

Charmin and Bounty

Toilet paper and paper towels were completely a decision based on price for me. With one-time use, isn’t 2-ply all that matters? But now I find myself automatically reaching for the Charmin and Bounty (as long as the price is reasonably close to other brands).

Logic tells me Charmin and Bounty aren’t going to succeed or fail based on my purchase, but the same part of me that got excited when @Charmin retweeted me wants them to know that they had my back and now I’ve got theirs.

Venus

I used to buy whatever Gillette blades were cheapest for my Gillette handle. Men’s were often cheaper so that’s what I’d go with. (Along with a confirmation of my conspiracy theory that they sell women’s razors for more because they’re trying to make more off of women on an identical product.) And occasionally I’d lose my Gillette handle and get a Schick one and do the same thing over again. 

Guess what? Men and women’s blades are actually totally different. Maybe they don’t seem that way in the typical shower with unlimited running water and body wash, but start taking showers to the extreme and there’s a big difference.

During the #5RingDiet, I purchased a Venus razor with an Olay moisture strip because it came with a loofah and body wash. And the more I cut down the number of bottles of Dasani per shower and the amount of time I wanted to spend in the shower, the more I appreciated that Olay moisture bar. Lathering my legs wasted multiple bottles of water and lots of time, so I eventually got to the point where I skipped that step. And for the first time since I was 13, I actually noticed that moisture strip on a razor doing its job. With no lather and barely any water, I got zero cuts. For 24 days. 

And even though my showers no longer involve bottled water and 15 minutes of strategizing before I get into the tub, my Venus razor has a new home in NYC.

Moving forced me to look at all of my #5RingDiet acquisitions and sort them into my “Move”, “Donate”, and “Dump” piles, accelerating a process that probably would’ve taken me years otherwise.

Sure, Charmin got dumped in Chicago, but somewhat to my surprise, it was in my cart two days later when it was time to restock my new bathroom. When their care package arrived at Camp Promise-West, warm and fuzzy feelings arrived with it. But I was surprised to see those feelings and memories resurface as I looked through a catalog of options on Soap.com.

I don’t know if these #5RingDiet brand allegiances will stick with me forever. (I don’t even know if they’ll stick with me through Sochi 2014.) But I do know my feelings toward all the #5RingDiet brands changed significantly during the 24 days of my diet, and for this handful of brands, the change was so significant it outlasted the diet.

Going into the #5RingDiet, I was expecting a challenge and hoping for a successful fundraiser. And I certainly got both. But I also got a totally new perspective on the power of brands. And a good fun fact for any ice breaker games I might be playing in the future.

Oct 29

A Special Delivery for Camp Promise-West

Anyone who’s been to camp knows the excitement that comes along with a care package. And this one was especially exciting because it was sent to us by three #5RingDiet brands—Charmin, Bounty, and Puffs!

That’s right, our Twitter friends sent us enough toilet paper, paper towels, and tissues for all 37 campers and 41 volunteers…

…for this year AND years to come!

Thank you, Charmin, Bounty, and Puffs! You made some campers and volunteers very happy—top to bottoms!

Put A Rings on It

One of the rules I set for myself during the #5RingDiet was no online shopping. It just seemed too easy. Took some of the challenge and fun out of it (not to mention the money out of my wallet). But if I would have been willing to spend a few pounds and stocked up on luxuries in London, here are some items I could’ve added to the diet.

Pillows. Uses: Pillows or heck, a whole bed.

Oven mitts. Didn’t matter anyway, I couldn’t cook anything.

A tea cosy. Probably could’ve doubled as a hat.

#5RingDiet memory cards. I’m sure #5RingDiet cameras exist, I just didn’t see any.

They even make #5RingDiet book lights. 

And salad tongs. Fortunately, McDonalds salads come pre-mixed.

And if there’s ever a traffic jam, there’s always the #5RingDiet traffic lane.

Or avoid the jam completely by looking ahead with this Nikon Fieldscope, yours for just 500 GBP.

This charming bracelet was just 185 GBP.

Yes, there’s even IOC-approved internet.

For those of you playing along at home, you can host your own #5RingDiet game night with this special edition version of Bananagrams.

But the one thing I probably could’ve used the most was the #5RingDiet deck chair. I probably could’ve MacGuyvered it a bit and made a tiny cot. 

But considering all of the #5RingDiet paraphernalia I’ve gotten rid of over the past few months, I guess in the long run I’m glad I saved my money, roughed it, and didn’t add any of these to the collection.

Oct 26

A few days after the #5RingDiet ended, I received this note in the mail from McDonalds, accompanied by 10 vouchers for free food and drinks:

Terin,
Congratulations on making your goal! I’m happy to hear the #5ringdiet allowed you to discover some of our menu items that work for your lifestyle. Hopefully you will continue to take advantage of the salads and meatless Big Macs in the future. I enclosed some treats on us! Enjoy and thank you for your Olympic Spirit. Congrats again!
- Katie

A few days after the #5RingDiet ended, I received this note in the mail from McDonalds, accompanied by 10 vouchers for free food and drinks:

Terin,

Congratulations on making your goal! I’m happy to hear the #5ringdiet allowed you to discover some of our menu items that work for your lifestyle. Hopefully you will continue to take advantage of the salads and meatless Big Macs in the future. I enclosed some treats on us! Enjoy and thank you for your Olympic Spirit. Congrats again!

- Katie

Aug 21

Look what arrived at @CampPromiseWest from a #5RingDiet sponsor…can anyone guess what it is? (Taken with Instagram)

Look what arrived at @CampPromiseWest from a #5RingDiet sponsor…can anyone guess what it is? (Taken with Instagram)

Aug 15

My view at @wgnradio. #5ringdiet  (Taken with Instagram)

My view at @wgnradio. #5ringdiet (Taken with Instagram)

Just arrived at @WGNNews. Thanks to @Shmi_So_Far for being here as my handler. :) (Taken with Instagram)

Just arrived at @WGNNews. Thanks to @Shmi_So_Far for being here as my handler. :) (Taken with Instagram)

Aug 14

Ringing In The End of the 5RingDiet

The 5RingDiet Closing Ceremony party was the perfect way to say goodbye to my 24-day lifestyle. There was such an outpouring of support and generosity by followers, donors, party attendees, and local businesses, it was a great culmination of the last 24 days.

Cuna Sports Lounge on Belmont hosted us. And they were PHENOMENAL. Paolo welcomed me and all my eccentricities with open arms. He reserved a big space for us in the middle of the bar, surrounded by giant TVs tuned to NBC’s coverage of the Closing Ceremony. He donated 20% of drink sales back to Camp Promise and even rounded up to the nearest hundred. He even let me bring my own #5RingDiet Budweiser. That’s right, I convinced a bar to let me BYOB.

Our tables were full of some of my closest Chicago friends, friends of friends, and even total strangers showing up to support Camp Promise. Remember Rick, the stranger I met on the El just two days before who later donated to camp? He showed up with four of his friends. (Or maybe they were people he just picked up on the El on the way to the bar…who knows?) But by the end of the night, we were all old friends. (And not because he bought everyone a round of drinks.)

My neighborhood Chipotle was equally awesome. When I talked to Justin, one of their managers, about what I was doing, he donated burritos for the party-goers to enjoy as soon as the flame was extinguished (more on that in a minute.) And Phoebe’s Bakery even donated cupcakes to help ring in the end of the 5RingDiet.

When the Closing Ceremonies began, Camp Promise was still $2,655 from our $25,000 fundraising goal. Since the start of the 5RingDiet, approximately $12,500 had been donated to camp. So while $2,655 wasn’t something you could find under a couch cushion, it also didn’t seem totally out of the realm of possibilities that we might raise that much over the next two hours. 

Steadily, the donations came flowing in. $5 here. $50 there. $400. And slowly but steadily it kept adding up. Every time a donation came in, I announced it to the bar and periodically, someone shouted out “How are we doin?” and I’d give an update.

And then things got tense. With less than $800 to go and the Olympic flame nearing being extinguished forever, the clock struck 9:45pm—15 minutes before Chipotle closed.

I made a snap decision to end the 5RingDiet early if we got enough donations, and we got some, but not enough. That’s when three of my friends decided to take matters out of my hands (and the coupons for free burritos out of my backpack) and go get Chipotle before they closed.

More donations came in. When the flame went out, we were still a couple of hundred shy of the mark, but by the time my burrito was finished, so was our fundraising. We’d made it.

But before the best Chipotle burrito of my life, I excitedly pulled out my backpack of post-5RingDiet items, ready to get back to normalcy. Or as close to normalcy as I get.

Stay tuned for more on what I did with my first 24-hours off the 5RingDiet and some exciting news about one of the Olympic Sponsors. As for now, I’m taking my jeans-wearing self down to the WGN Radio studio for an interview about the last 25 days. Hope you’ll tune in!