10/16/2014

An Understanding of Ourselves

By Laura Moncur @ 8:00 am — Filed under:

This quote came up on the Random Quotes Page yesterday and I REALLY needed to see it.

Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves. Carl Jung from The Quotations Page

It reads:

Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.

  • Carl Jung

This is the concept of The Mirror. The idea is that the people in our lives are here to TEACH us something. There is something in everyone that is there to teach us. Some people are open, humble and teachable. Those people just see the beautiful in people, learn from it and emulate it.

Then there are the jerks like me…

I don’t see the the beautiful in people. I just see the ugly. I just see the hypocrisy. I just see the controlling nature. I just see the beautiful and feel envious instead of grasping onto it and making it my own. For me, the people are still there to teach me. Whenever I see the hypocrisy in someone, I need to look for the hypocrisy in myself. When was the last time I was a hypocrite? When I see someone who is controlling, I do the same. When was the last time I tried to control something I should just keep out of? Umm… Two minutes ago? Yeah…

If you spot it, you've got it. If it makes you mad, you've got it bad. from Starling Fitness

If you spot it, you’ve got it.

If it makes you mad, you got it bad.

That’s what my sponsor said to me and though I had learned of the concept of The Mirror, it had never been said to me so clearly and succinctly. Plus, it must be true, because it rhymes.

So, the next time someone really bugs you, get excited! This is one of those rare opportunities to find a problem with yourself and FIX it. You can’t fix that other person, but you can sure as heck fix yourself. The next time you see an ugly face in the mirror, don’t turn away from it. FIX IT within yourself and the face that reflects back to you will be more beautiful.

10/15/2014

I Am No One Else’s Higher Power

By Laura Moncur @ 8:00 am — Filed under:

This quote brought up a truth to my mind that I continually have to remind myself.

Ultimately, the only power to which man should aspire is that which he exercises over himself. Elie Wiesel from The Quotations Page

It reads:

Ultimately, the only power to which man should aspire is that which he exercises over himself.

  • Elie Wiesel

One of my biggest character defects is a Controlling nature. I want to fix everything. I want to help everyone. If they would all just listen to me and do what I say, they would have an easier life.

The problem with this defect is that it pisses everyone off. No one wants to be lectured to. No one wants to be told what they are doing wrong. It just drives a wedge between me and anyone who I want to “help.” I don’t end up helping anyone, just making them hate me.

I am no one else’s Higher Power.

I think I repeat that phrase to myself several times every day. For example, when I see someone smoking too close to the door, I feel tempted to tell them that they should move. Smoking that close to the door is against the rules. It could mean that the building owner is fined. It’s kind of irritating to have to walk through a cloud of smoke on the way into the building. All of these thoughts go through my head and then I need to remind myself.

I am no one else’s Higher Power.

I’m not the smoker’s Higher Power. It’s not my job to tell her the rules. I’m not the building owners’ Higher Power. It’s not my job to rescue them from fines. I am not the Higher Power of any of the people walking through the cloud of smoke on the way into the building. It’s not my job to protect them. I’m not even my OWN Higher Power.

Suddenly, the urge to castigate the smoker is alleviated. I don’t need to tell her to stop smoking so close to the door and have that weird conversation. I don’t need to stew about her if she doesn’t stop smoking so close to the door. I don’t need to complain to the building owner about the smokers. I don’t need to waste any of that energy on them because I’m not in charge. I don’t have to “fix” it. I don’t need to “help” those poor people who are entering and exiting through air pollution.

The MOST important part of all of this is that my urge to “help” or “fix” that problem could have sent me into a binge. After an antagonistic conversation with the smoker, I might have been so upset that I all I could think about when I walked into the building was finding some food to binge on. Instead of that unpleasantness, I can walk through the cloud of smoke and be happy. I can be content. I can be joyful in the knowledge that I dodged a bullet called “Controlling Nature.”

I run into tiny incidents like that SEVERAL times a day. Before I learned that Controlling Nature was a problem for me, I had SEVERAL incidents a day that sent me wanting to eat more than I should. It’s no wonder that the compulsion to overeat has been lifted. It’s because I’m not trying to rule the world anymore.

Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.

  • William Shakespeare, “King Henry IV Part II”, Act 2 scene 1

I had to take off that stupid crown. It wasn’t mine anyway…

10/14/2014

It’s All Salt Water Like Us

By Laura Moncur @ 8:00 am — Filed under:

At La Jolla Beach, back in 2007, I found this bit of graffiti attached to a sign.

It's All Salt Water Like Us from Starling Fitness

It reads:

It’s all salt water like us

It reminds me of the quote from Seven Gothic Tales, written by Isak Dinesen in 1934:

The cure for anything is salt water... tears, sweat or the sea. Isak Dinesen from The Quotations Page

The cure for anything is the sea… tears, sweat or the sea.

When she wrote that phrase, I’m sure she had some connection with the sea that we, desert dwellers, just don’t understand. Sure, we are awed by the sea, but it has never healed us. We just don’t spend enough time around it.

The coral sands of the desert are more like a sand blaster, wearing us down until we desiccate.

As far as tears and sweat they have healed me more than I can say.

10/13/2014

Weight Loss Progress Sheet: Give Yourself A Star

By Laura Moncur @ 8:00 am — Filed under:

Yesterday, I showed the graph of my weight loss progress, but that isn’t really how I keep track of how much weight I’ve lost. Sure, I put my weight into the Lose It! app every day and that’s how the graph was made, but that’s not the motivating progress that I use.

I use gold stars…

Weight Loss Progress - Give Yourself A Star from Starling Fitness

When I went back to Weight Watchers for the last time, I recorded with shame, my highest weight ever: 231.8 pounds. Weight Watchers gives you stars for each five pound loss and Bravo stickers for sharing in the class. So, I created this weight loss progress sheet to mark off each pound I lost. It works with WW stars, but it also works with the foil stars you can buy at any office supply store.

Click to download: Weight Loss Progress Sheet from Starling Fitness

You can see that I lost my 5% and 10% while I still went to Weight Watchers, but at pound 24, that was my last pound I lost with them. Honestly, MOST of the weight I lost at Weight Watchers this last time was because of Overeater’s Anonymous. I wasn’t willing to give up WW until I was SURE that OA would work, so I went to both meetings for months until I felt safe leaving what wasn’t working behind.

As of today, I’ve lost over 55 pounds, more than half of it after I quit WW for the last time.

There is something incredibly pleasing about putting a shiny sticker in the right spot when I have lost a pound. It makes each pound feel like a huge accomplishment, and honestly, it IS.

No matter how many stars I put on my sheet, however, I know that I am just one binge away from complete and utter failure. All it would take is for me to allow myself ONE binge and I would be right back where I was before. There would be no stopping it.

And the strangest of all is that this time around I’m not starving. This time around, I’m not exercising so much that my toenails fall off. It’s amazing how much weight my body will release when I’m not bingeing. I don’t have to exercise until my toenails fall off because I’m not eating too much. I’m not starving because I have worked through the steps and have had my hunger taken from me.

All I know is that I feel a surge of joy every time I put a little star on my progress sheet…


Overeaters Anonymous does not endorse anything on this entry or blog.

10/12/2014

Slow Progress Is Progress

By Laura Moncur @ 12:00 pm — Filed under:

I saw this motivational poster on MotiveWeight today and I wanted to share it.

Slow Progress Is Still Progress from Starling Fitness

It reads:

Some quit due to slow progress, never grasping the fact that slow progress is progress.

Sometimes it’s hard to notice progress because you’re looking at it too closely. I know the scale isn’t the best way to look at your physical progress, but it’s the one we use most regularly. When you look at the Lose It! graph of my weight over the last month, it doesn’t look that good.

Weight Progress One Month from Starling Fitness

In fact, the weight frustratingly goes up and down. I was down to 179.0 and then it popped up to 181.4. Then it went even higher up to 181.9. Up and down. Up and down. When I look at my weight from the distance of just one month, I can see hardly any progress.

When I look at the graph of every weight I’ve logged since October 2011, however, it tells a different story.

Weight Progress for for Three Years from Starling Fitness

Sure, there are ups and downs, but that graph is pretty dramatically headed in the DOWN direction and has been since January of this year, when I joined Overeater’s Anonymous. You can pretty much tell the DATE I joined OA based on this graph alone. You can also see every time I tried and failed. Tried and failed.

It’s hard to see progress when you’re so close to it. Let yourself step away, get some perspective, and then you will see it. Slow progress might be slow, but it’s the kind that sticks around a lot longer than fast progress. Most importantly, slow progress is still progress.

10/11/2014

Donut Nite: When Social And Food Are Synonymous

By Laura Moncur @ 8:00 am — Filed under:

My neighbor is hosting Donut Nite. She’s really excited about it and handed out little flyers to everyone on the street. She has always been really nice to me and I’d really like to get to know her better.

But I do NOT want to go…

Donut Nite - When Social and Food are Synonymous from Starling FitnessThe flyer is stuck on my fridge with a ladybug magnet and I know that going to the party is good for me, but I just DON’T want to go.

Part of the reason I don’t want to go is because of the food: donuts and ice cream. Two foods that are guaranteed to give me gastrointestinal distress. I don’t want to eat them. I don’t want to go to a party devoted to them. I don’t want to explain why I don’t want to eat them. I want nothing to do with this.

But I really like her. I want to get to know her better. She seems REALLY nice and she lives just down the street. I have the time to go to the party. It doesn’t conflict with any familial or work obligations. I just don’t want to go to the party because it’s a party DEDICATED to food that HURTS me.

This is one of those striking intersections of our lives when social and food mean the same thing. It’s not Game Nite. It’s not Movie Nite. It’s Donut Nite. I don’t want to go to Donut Nite, no matter how enticing the people are. If I go, I will be forcing myself because I REALLY want to get to know the people in our new neighborhood. The social will win out and I’ll have to have those awkward conversations about how gluten and lactose affect my intestinal health. Or, I’ll have to play all those anorexic tricks and pretend to eat the food I’m not going to eat, hoping no one notices that I’m not actually putting the food in my mouth. I’m just breaking it up into little pieces or stirring it with my spoon until it melts into oblivion.

And ALL of this forgets about the fact that I used to REALLY LOVE donuts and ice cream. Before I realized they were causing me pain, and even AFTER I realized they were causing me pain, I used to love donuts and ice cream. Sometimes they are still a temptation to me. This week, that’s not the case, but if it was, then the decision about whether to go to the party would be even MORE loaded.

Why?!

Why does it have to be this way? Am I making this too hard? Am I thinking too much about myself when I should be thinking about my nice neighbor, who goes to all this trouble every year? She didn’t even ask me for an RSVP. As a hostess of a very popular yearly event, I know that she won’t even care if I show up or not, but I CARE! I want to get to know her. I want to get to know everyone else in the neighborhood. When Social and Food intersect like this, I feel very pressured by my own desires and social norms.

All I know is that I don’t want no donuts…

Here’s the rub. I am scared of being judged because I don’t want to eat the donuts. The REASON I’m scared is because I’m the kind of person who HATES people who won’t eat things because of allergies or dietary restrictions. So many of them seem like they are almost BRAGGING about their inability to eat whatever it is that the rest of us are eating. I don’t want to be that person. That person is a dick.

Wil Wheaton Says - Don't Be A DickOnly a dick shows up to a Donut Party and complains about donuts.

I don’t want to be a dick. I don’t want to eat the donuts. I don’t want to play anorexia games with the food, hoping no one notices.

I DO want to meet the people.

So, here’s the plan. I’m going to the party. I’m not going to eat the donuts. I’m not going to play anorexic games with the donuts. If anyone asks why I’m not eating, I’m going to say that I’m here for the people, not the food. And if anyone is rude or pushes food on me more than two or three times, I’m politely leaving.

10/10/2014

Manifest Plainness

By Laura Moncur @ 8:00 am — Filed under:

I found this quote the other day and it seemed like the opposite of what I was told my whole life:

Manifest plainness, Embrace simplicity, Reduce selfishness, Have few desires. by Lao-tzu from The Quotations Page

It reads:

Manifest plainness,

Embrace simplicity,

Reduce selfishness,

Have few desires.

- Lao-tzu

“Manifest plainness,” in particular, was something that was NEVER taught me, either by my family or society in general. Instead of suggesting that I manifest plainness, I was told that I should stand out. Buy this and you will stand out. Excel in school and you will stand out. Get a prestigious job and you will stand out.

I never once in my life thought that “standing out” might be bad for me.

But that desire to stand out has HARMED me. I have sacrificed money, emotion and time to it with no change in my feelings about myself. I thought that if I went to a prestigious school that I would feel better about myself. I didn’t. I thought that if I bought these cool clothes that I would feel better about myself. I didn’t. I thought that if I got that cool job I would would feel better about myself. I didn’t.

No matter what I sacrificed on the altar of “Standing Out,” it didn’t help me. No Coach purse. No fancy degree. No prestigious job. NOTHING helped make me feel worthy. It was never enough. No matter how many degrees, fashionable clothes or jobs I had, there was always someone with MORE.

And then someone told me I had to be humble and everything changed.

HUMILITY has made it all better. The realization that we are all the same. We all are born. We all die. We all are mere humans on this big, blue, marble. No one is higher than me. No one is below me. We are all on the same level.

That concept made all of the “Standing Out” seem unnecessary. Suddenly, I could see what “Standing Out” meant. Anyone who was trying to show how much better they were was someone who was trying to prove something that just wasn’t true. It was like holding up a huge sign that said, “I don’t think I’m good enough.” THAT is what the tags on designer clothes say. They scream, “I don’t think I’m good enough,” so loudly that I can’t hear a word the person is saying. THAT is what bragging about your alma mater or your job is: chanting, “I don’t think I’m good enough,” over and over.

“Manifest plainness,” isn’t about making yourself purposefully less than others. It’s about NOT screaming your inadequacies out to the world. It’s about not desperately trying to prove that you are better. It’s humility and true humility is far more attractive than anything in a fashion magazine.

10/9/2014

Halloween Temptations

By Laura Moncur @ 10:55 am — Filed under:

I did a Google image search for the phrase, “Halloween Temptations,” and this a snapshot of what I got:

Halloween Temptations from Starling Fitness

I really don’t know how I feel about this. The sexy girl costumes outnumber the candy images about three to one.

What does that mean?

Honestly, I think they are both related. We are tempted by Halloween candy, but we are also tempted by that idea that we could be the sexiest girl in the room. BOTH of those ideas are a problem. The first is misusing food as a recreational device and the second is feeding pride instead of humility.

There is nothing wrong with sexy Halloween costumes. It’s the feeling of wanting to be the cutest girl in the room that sets up a judgment that is unfair both to us and everyone else in the room.

For me, the Halloween candy and black spider cupcakes are a far less temptation than that desire to be the girl that everyone notices. Wanting to be the best has hurt me so many times that I have learned that it’s an indication that there is a problem in my life. Wanting to be the girl in the black cat costume is DANGEROUS. Ironically, it will MAKE me eat.

The next time you have the temptation to be better than the people around you, take a moment and remember that we are all the SAME. No one is higher or lower than you. We are all on equal footing and every time we try to prove that isn’t true, we are treading on dangerous ground.

10/8/2014

Want To Eat? Help Others.

By Laura Moncur @ 8:32 am — Filed under:

I found this quote today on The Quotations Page and it really spoke to me.

I came to realize that life lived to help others is the only one that matters and that it is my duty...This is my highest and best use as a human. by Ben Stein from The Quotations Page

It reads:

“I came to realize that life lived to help others is the only one that matters and that it is my duty…This is my highest and best use as a human.”

  • Ben Stein, E! Online, 12-20-03

The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous says that when you want to take your first drink, you should admit your problem to another person and then immediately try to find someone else to help. It doesn’t specify that you need to find another alcoholic. It doesn’t matter WHO you help, just that you help someone else.

This is GREAT advice when I’m thinking of eating when I shouldn’t. If I just pick up the telephone and call someone else asking if they need help, I find relief. I don’t even need to help them, I feel better just calling. Ironically, I don’t even need to TALK to them. I feel better if I just leave a message. All I need to do is try to THINK about someone else and their problems and the desire to eat evaporates.


Overeaters Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous do not endorse anything on this entry or blog.

10/7/2014

Hoping for a Taco Truck

By Laura Moncur @ 1:52 pm — Filed under:

I saw this screenshot from the video game, Animal Crossing on redribbonpresents and it made me laugh out loud.

Hoping for a Taco Truck from Starling Fitness

It reads:

I think I’ll just sit down and hope that a taco truck drives up and serves me delicious tacos.

That’s not a really good food plan, Ankha.

Then again, how many times have I done the EXACT same thing. I refuse to plan my meals because I want the “freedom” to eat what I feel like. That’s EXACTLY like sitting down and hoping for a taco truck to come along. If I want to eat what I feel like eating, I have to PLAN it! Why did it take a screenshot from a child’s video game to remind me of that?!

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