8/26/2014

How To Start And End Your Day With Love

By Laura Moncur @ 2:35 pm — Filed under:

I read the headline to this old Sara Lee advertisement and I thought to myself, “THAT! That was my problem for so long!”

How To Start and End Your Day With Love from Starling Fitness

It reads:

How to start and end your day with love.

Pecan Morning Love

Strawberry French Cheesecake Evening Love

That’s what we all want, right? We want to start our day with love and we want to end our day with love. The only problem with this ad is the idea that it comes in a pie tin.

I’m not villianizing pie and coffee cake, mind you. You can work a slice of pie into your diet as well as any other high calorie food. I’m just pointing out that sweets and desserts are NOT love.

Love is a hug. Love is a kind smile when we make a mistake. Love is a calm and loving response when we have a bad day. Love is NOT food.

Oh, but it can FEEL like it sometimes. That’s why it fools us. Sometimes love MAKES a pie, but it’s the person who made the treat, NOT the treat that is the expression of love. Don’t get fooled.

Or maybe love isn’t around, but there’s pie and when I eat it, it ALMOST feels like love. Yeah, that dopamine response is good, but honestly it’s not THAT good. It’s close, but a hug is much, much better.

So marketing is doing what marketing does best and fools me into thinking that a Sara Lee coffee cake IS love, but they are wrong. So how can I do it? How do I start and end my day with love?

GIVE IT AWAY.

If you want more love in your life, you MUST be the first one to give it away.

Love Isnt Love Till You Give It Away from Starling Fitness

I know it sucks that you have to put your heart out there on the line. I know that as much love as you give out to strangers, lovers and acquaintances will never come back to you in the same form or quantity. But it WILL come back. All you need to do is honestly love others and SHOW them it every morning and every night and you can start and end your day with love. No pie required…

Images via

8/25/2014

Two Facets of my Disease

By Laura Moncur @ 7:04 am — Filed under:

I saw this image on Breathe Happiness and it shocked me into a realization.

Two Types of People - Two Facets of my Disease from Starling Fitness

It reads:

Fasting day 1 in full effect

Going to eat the rest of my graduation cake for every meal today because I don’t even CARE.

Built to Bulk posted this first and commented:

There are two types of people…

The thing is, the longer I am in recovery, the more I realize that THESE are the two facets to my disease. My disease wasn’t just all bingeing. It was also starvation. It was also exercising so much that I my toenails fell off.

Every time I feel like bingeing, that is an indicator that something is wrong in my life. Paradoxically, every time I feel like upping my exercise drastically, that is ALSO an indicator that something is wrong in my life. Every time I feel like changing my calorie goal to a far lower number so I can lose more than one pound a week, that is an ADDITIONAL indicator that something is wrong in my life. It’s never about the food, whether I want to eat ALL of it or NONE of it. It’s never about the running, whether I want to do nothing or ten miles in a day. It’s about WHY I want eat, restrict or exercise too much.

I am so grateful that I have finally learned this. When I am tempted to overeat, over-restrict or over-exercise, there is something ELSE going on. Maybe I’m anxious about something. Maybe I’m angry at someone. Maybe I’m resenting something from my past. Maybe I am getting too proud and have forgotten my humility. Whatever it is, it’s not about the fasting. It’s not about the graduation cake. These are the two facets of my disease and they are warnings every time they surface in my mind.

8/24/2014

How To Use A Rosary for OA Meditations

By Laura Moncur @ 8:39 am — Filed under:

I like to meditate for fifteen minutes each day. It gives me a hit of those brain chemicals that feel even better than the dopamine response I get from food. I’ve found that using a rosary for my meditations is an easy way to get a fifteen-minute meditation without a timer. It gives me a good tactile sensation from the beads while I do each meditation and helps me keep track of what I’m meditating about.

As a disclaimer, I am not Catholic and appropriating a religion’s tools may be considered blasphemy and I apologize if I have offended you. The truth of the matter is: religions and their tools evolved for a reason. Praying with a rosary has worked for many people for centuries. There is some validity to the practice, so I am modifying it to my needs.

Here’s how you do it:

OA Meditations with a Rosary from Starling Fitness

At the cross, I do the OA Promise Meditation:

I put my hand in yours, and together we can do what we could never do alone. No longer is there a sense of hopelessness, no longer must we each depend upon our own unsteady willpower. We are all together now, reaching out our hands for power and strength greater than ours, and as we join hands, we find love and understanding beyond our wildest dreams.

Then, each time there is a single bead, I do the Serenity Prayer:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and the Wisdom to know the difference.

For the three beads, I do the Third Step Prayer:

God, I offer myself to thee-to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always.

For each of the ten bead groupings, I do the Seventh Step Prayer, but I change it slightly. I do one for each character defect I have, replacing “every single defect of character” with the particular defect (i.e. guilt, resentment, anger, etc.) and replacing the word “strength” for the corresponding positive aspect of each defect (i.e. self-acceptance, forgiveness, calm, etc.). I will write more about this technique in the future.

My Creator, I am now willing that You should have all of Me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to You and my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do Your bidding.

You may notice that there is an awful lot of god-talk in these meditations. As an atheist, I have rewritten the prayers to help myself with these meditations without rejecting them wholesale. I’ll share them with you later.

I find that when I’m repeating the OA meditations, my mind doesn’t wander like it does with other meditation techniques. It’s a far more powerful meditation for me than trying to “think of nothing.” If you have been having trouble incorporating prayer or meditation into your daily practice, try this and see if it works for you.

For more meditations, try this website:

8/23/2014

Beware The Pumpkin Spice Latte

By Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am — Filed under:

Beware the Pumpkin Spice LatteStarbucks is bringing back the Pumpkin Spice Latte early this year, which brings joy to many people, apparently. I’ve seen excited ramblings on Tumblr and FaceBook, which is all well and good, but only if you know what you’re getting into.

You see, the Pumpkin Spice Latte is not just a cup of coffee. It’s basically a milkshake that a little coffee looked at once. Look at these nutrition facts from Starbucks’ website. If you get the smallest cup (8 oz.) and ask them to use non-fat milk and no whipped cream, you can get away with it for only 130, which seems like a LOT to me considering I can have three ounces of chicken for the same amount of calories.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Nutrition Facts 8 oz

If you’re feeling like a tiny 8 oz. cup is not enough, however, you might order a Venti. Since you’re going big, you might as well splurge with whole milk and whipped cream. If you do, you’re drinking 510 in one cup.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Nutrition Facts 20 oz

Torani® Pumpkin Pie Syrup Sugar Free at Amazon.comSkip Starbucks altogether and you’ll be $3.50 richer and thinner. Here’s how to do it. Use the Torani Pumpkin Pie Sugar Free Syrup in your coffee and you’ll spend zero calories on your coffee unless you choose to put milk or creamer in it. The reason Starbucks coffee tastes so good isn’t about the coffee. It’s about the SUGAR and MILK that they put in. The pumpkin spice is just a flavoring added. Save yourself the calories and make your own.

8/22/2014

Food Porn

By Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am — Filed under:

I had to adjust my Pinterest boards recently. I realized that so many of the things that my friends were pinning were food porn. They weren’t necessarily unhealthy foods being posted, but I was seeing page after page of pictures of food. Sure, they were healthy food pictures like this one.

Food Porn from Starling Fitness

Still so many images of food just aren’t that good for me. They make me feel hungry even when I’m not hungry. So, I unsubscribed to the boards that my friends had set up that pertained to food. ALL of them, even the healthy food recipes. I decided that when I’m feeling like I need new food recipes, I’ll go find them myself.

The funny thing is, BEFORE OA, I used to love looking at pictures of food. I would fantasize about making the recipe or ordering it at a restaurant. I spent A LOT of time thinking about food I was never going to eat. Now that the compulsion to eat is being handled by other means, I can see those images for what they are: FOOD PORN.

Image via: Breathe Happiness

8/21/2014

Anorexia Knows No Age

By Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am — Filed under:

This postcard from PostSecret reminded me how hard eating disorders can be.

Anorexia knows no age

It reads:

Anorexia does not discriminate and it knows no age.

People assume that anorexia is a young person’s disease because that’s all we see in the media, but it can hit people at any age. The same is true with bulimia, binge-eating and exercise bulimia. You’re not “safe” once you hit a milestone in your age. You’re not even “safe” if you used to suffer from an eating disorder and have been in recovery for many years.

In fact, when you have a relapse, it usually hits you HARDER and STRONGER the second time. If you have been recovered and you fall back into your eating disorder, it will be that much harder to get back out. Your brain is pre-disposed to being addicted to these behaviors, so if you give it that crazy hit of dopamine again, then you are playing with fire.

I HATE the fact that I will never be free from binge-eating. I haven’t had a binge for over seven months, but I am not safe. I will never be safe and every day, I need to meditate and get my “hit” of those brain chemicals that are released when I have a spiritual experience in order to hold off the eating.


PostSecret‘s beneficiary is the National Hopeline Network. It is a 24-hour hotline (1 (800) SUICIDE) for anyone who is thinking about suicide or knows someone who is considering it.

8/20/2014

Shake It Off

By Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am — Filed under:

I love this new song by Taylor Swift called Shake It Off!

There were many times when I overate because of something mean someone did to me. Ironically, overeating may have made me feel better at the moment, but it hurt me in the long run, so I let that person hurt me TWICE. Learning how to Shake It Off has been so helpful to me and I learned it through the OA program. Years of therapy never taught me how to Shake It Off. I needed a different process and OA brought it to me. I am so grateful for their help.


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

8/19/2014

The Tools of Recovery: Service

By Laura Moncur @ 7:41 am — Filed under:

The Tools of Recovery - ServicePart of the reason I have enjoyed so much success with Overeaters Anonymous is because of their tools of recovery. You can read more about them here:

Service is the final tool of recovery. I have found a lot of solace in it. The Big Book says that when we are feeling bad, we are supposed to talk to someone about it immediately, make amends or meditate about which defect of character has surfaced and then find someone to help. They don’t specify that it needs to be someone in a Twelve Step program, you can help ANYONE. The lady next door who needs her sidewalk shoveled or lawn mowed, the friend who is moving, or even the stranger on the street who dropped his stuff all over the sidewalk.

Somehow, helping other people gets me out of my mind and into a mode that makes food less important. I don’t know if there has been any research on brain chemistry when people are performing service to others, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a release of monoamine neurotransmitters in the brain when people are making themselves useful to other humans. It makes sense that we would receive a “hit” of positive chemicals when we help others because that enables the species to progress as a whole. Especially, when you help someone of the “tribe” because then your own genetic material has a better chance of surviving. It makes sense evolutionarily.

The chemical “hit” from helping others feels better to me than the dopamine “hit” that I get from food. My only problem is finding people to help. Eating disorders are very isolating and it’s easy to find myself alone, without anyone to give service to. I have been working on increasing my sphere of friends, which helps me in other ways as well. For now, I give myself to service whenever the occasion arrives.


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

Image via: Service to Others | Student Affairs Home

8/18/2014

The Tools of Recovery: Anonymity

By Laura Moncur @ 11:11 am — Filed under:

Anonymity Is Impossible from Starling FitnessPart of the reason I have enjoyed so much success with Overeaters Anonymous is because of their tools of recovery. You can read more about them here:

Anonymity is one of the tools that I struggle with. I mean STRUGGLE. It’s because I don’t believe that anonymity is possible when you’re fat. Sure, bulimics might be able to hide their disease by clinging to a healthy weight by their fingernails using purging methods, but for us binge eaters and anorexics, it’s impossible to hide the fact that we have a problem. People can LITERALLY SEE that we have a problem. No amount of empire waists and black leggings can hide it. No amount of baggy sweatshirts can hide it. EVERYONE knows that we are struggling with food, either by eating too much or restricting too much.

The truth is, even alcoholics can’t hide it. They might think that they can hide the fact that they have a problem, but they can’t. WE ALL KNOW YOU’RE AN ALCOHOLIC! You’re not hiding it, no matter how much you think you are.

The “Anonymous” in Overeaters Anonymous seems to be the only thing that goes against the program. We have to accept that we have a problem and that our lives are unmanageable. Pretending that we are anonymous seems to go against every bit of that. It seems to hide the fact that we have the problem, when the program tells us that we need to OWN it. We need to FULLY accept the fact that we have a DISEASE of the mind that makes us eat too much, purge, or restrict. Whatever form the disease takes, it is a problem with food and it is impossible to hide it, so why are we pretending we can?

Even when we are in recovery, we can’t hide it. There are scars all over our bodies from it. If you look at that photo above, you can SEE the scars from being overweight, even though my face is blurred. I was at 150 lbs. when that photo was taken and I had lost approximately 80 pounds at that point. If you look at my arms, you can see the extra skin, hanging flaccid over my elbows. Even at an almost healthy weight, I couldn’t hide the fact that I have a problem with food.

I DO understand confidence. When someone shares in a OA meeting, they might say things that are sensitive. It’s no one’s business what is said in our meetings and we expect you to keep our confidence. But being closed-mouth about our shares is a FAR cry from anonymity. Holding each other’s confidence is possible, but true anonymity is NOT.

We live in a computer age, where cameras are everywhere and corporations have access to our Facebook account information for their own perusal. There is no such thing as anonymity in this world and clinging to that idea not only is impossible, but I don’t believe it is helpful for recovery. Maybe I will change my mind in the future, but for now, it’s the tool of recovery I believe should be scraped and replaced with a spiritual practice.


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

8/17/2014

The Tools of Recovery: Action Plan

By Laura Moncur @ 10:14 am — Filed under:

Give Yourself A Dopamine Boost With A To-Do List from Starling FitnessPart of the reason I have enjoyed so much success with Overeaters Anonymous is because of their tools of recovery. You can read more about them here:

I have literally only heard ONE person talk about using an Action Plan as part of her recovery, yet I feel it’s one of the most important tools we have in OA. I talked about it before in my entry: Keeping My Dopamine Levels High

Set Tiny, Obtainable Goals and Achieve Them Every Day: Benjamin Franklin worked on this technique and it’s the whole idea behind the Franklin Covey planners. This year, I bought myself a planner and just listing the tiny and seemingly inconsequential things I do every day has brought great joy. I can write more than one entry a day, but setting my goal low gives me the feel-good chemicals I need. I actually read for fun, but putting it on the list forces me to take time for myself. Set a goal, no matter how easy it seems and achieve it. You’ll get a chemical reward from your own physiology.

Additionally, the Action Plan is the ONLY tool which mentions spirituality. Considering how important I believe accessing that part of my brain is to my recovery, I am surprised that prayer and meditation aren’t items on the list of tools all by themselves. Taking time every day to access the spiritual centers of my brain has helped me and gives me a dopamine hit that is WAY better than bingeing ever gave me.

Take the time every day to set TINY and easily obtainable goals every day concerning your eating, exercise, spirituality and emotional well-being (things that will make you happy like reading or playing video games). Checking those goals off your list will not only make you happy, they will give you a tiny dopamine hit that will help you resist food more easily.


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

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