Self-Sabotage can be Healthy

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

Braidwood has written a great piece about Self-Sabotage and how it can show you the reasons why you make plans and don’t follow them:

Yes, please! – Self-Sabotage Can Be Healthy – by Braidwood

Each time you find yourself in the middle of a binge or guiltily driving past the gym, don’t berate yourself. Don’t beat yourself up. This is an opportunity to find out why you are doing these things and how to get what you really want out of your life.


Target Heart Rate

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

I have seen so many different calculations for Target Heart Rate that I really don’t know what’s true anymore. For years, it was always:

220-Your Age=Target Heart Rate

I vaguely remember a heart rate that took into account your current weight. I saw another one that used your BMI. I remember another one that had a different rate for women than men. I remember another one that took into account your fitness level. I’ve read about others that take into account your resting heart rate. There are now so many potential calculations for your Target Heart Rate that I can understand if you might be tempted to just forget about it.

One day, I decided that they all were bogus…



Richard Simmons

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

Richard SimmonsAs a child, I watched Richard Simmons’ show every day all summer long. My grandma wanted us to watch the show so that we could lose some weight, but she ended up hating him. She didn’t like the way he would scream and encourage his audience to scream. She said he gave her a headache, but we should watch him so we could lose weight.

The idea of watching a show so that you can lose weight seems laughable to me now. We weren’t expected to exercise with him. We weren’t expected to cook the recipes that he recommended. We were just supposed to sit in front of the television and watch the show. Somehow the weight would magically come off.

Even though he was a tool used by my grandmother to tell me, yet again, that I was fat, I loved Richard Simmons. Even to this day, I love him. (more…)



By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

Chitosan is an ingredient that has been marketed as a “fat magnet.” It is said that it can cause weight loss by preventing fat from being absorbed. Unfortunately, the claims are too good to be true. Three studies have found that chitosan has no measurable effect on weight loss.

Quackwatch: Is Chitosan a “Fat Magnet”? – by Stephen Barrett, M.D.

The FDA and FTC are cracking down on advertisers that claim that this product can help you lose weight without changes in your diet and exercise, but that doesn’t protect you from health store employees that like to recommend these products. So watch out…


Take a Day Off

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

This article explains the benefits of taking a day off from exercising.

A Day Off: why you need to include rest in your exercise program – by Joe Friel, M.S.

This is the hardest thing for me to do. When I do something every day, it becomes a habit and it only takes one day off for me to get out of the habit. Remembering to take a guilt-free day of rest is something that I have been working on since the beginning and haven’t fully mastered.


McDonald’s Redeems Itself

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

For all of you who saw “Supersize Me” and have shied away from McDonald’s Restaurant, Karen Hiser has the rebuttal.

Travel Fitness for Road Warriors: McDonald’s Goes Active

McDonald’s has added a Go Active section to their website for health conscious customers. Using their Bag A Meal utility, Karen found that a meal with a Caesar’s Salad with Grilled Chicken, Lowfat Dressing and the Yogurt Parfait (without the granola) is less calories and fat than the typical healthy lunch she usually eats.

As I have said before, it is possible to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight while eating restaurant food. Bag a Meal is just one of many resources you can use to find one or two meals at each restaurant that are healthy.


Nothing Tastes As Good As Being Thin Feels

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

I hear this phrase all the time. I’ve thought about it a lot. “Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels.” It’s supposed to be a really inspirational thought. I’ve heard women say it to themselves when they are tempted to overeat. I have never found it inspiring.

I don’t know what “being thin” feels like. I have no idea if it compares to lavender creme brulee or carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. Those foods taste pretty damn good, so I’m thinking that being thin must feel incredible. The problem is that I’ve never actually felt thin, so I have no idea what these people are talking about.

Of course, when I look at my old high school pictures, I realize that I was thin. I never felt thin, though. I look at those pictures and I can remember the first time I ever saw them. “Man, I am so fat.” I thought, looking at my offending body parts. Now, years later, I realize that I wasn’t so fat. I was at the upper edge of the healthy weight ranges for my age, but I wasn’t fat. I never felt thin, though. I certainly didn’t feel better than carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.

I suspect that feeling thin has nothing to do with the number on the scale. If that’s the case, can’t I “feel thin” even if I’m fat? I know that I felt a lot thinner when I lost fifty pounds. I felt so thin that I actually considered just maintaining at that weight. Even though I was still overweight, losing those fifty pounds felt so good that I thought I was happy with staying there. In fact, I did stay there for about two years.

After a while, however, I got used to it. I started to see that I was still fat. Instead of feeling good about losing fifty pounds, I started pinching fat and trying to squish it into jeans one size too small. It only took two years to start “feeling fat” again.

What if it never ends? What if I get to my goal weight and I still “feel fat”? What if I never “feel thin”? What if I never understand what they are talking about when they say, “Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels”? Sure, the first year, I’ll “feel thin,” but after that, when I’m used to my body, will I start noticing miniscule bits of fat on myself? Will I just turn my critical eye to wrinkles or gray hair or my speech patterns?

I have no idea. I don’t know what it feels like to feel thin. I don’t know what it’s like to be a thin adult. All of this is undiscovered country for me. Exciting, isn’t it?


Punctuated Equilibrium

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

“See how I had a spike in my stats on that day. That’s when that website linked to me.” I was showing Mike my webstats last year. He replied, “Yeah, you’ll notice that your numbers will go back down, but they will be a little bit higher than they were before they linked to you. It’s called Punctuated Equilibrium.” I crinkled my brow at him and he continued, “It’s a biological term, actually, but it describes this… I guess because we are dealing with people and people are biological, it works…”

Punctuated Equilibrium is a theory that states that jumps in evolution can happen suddenly with long periods of stabilization afterwards. I see it in my webstats. I will get linked to a big site, I’ll have a huge jump in traffic, it will ease off, but never as low as it was before the huge jump.

It took me three years to notice the same phenomenon in my weight loss. After looking at the graph, my weight loss has followed the same pattern. I will have a large loss and the next week or two, I will either gain a little or maintain. On the whole, the graph has gone down consistently, but there were just months where things would stay the same.

It was hard for me not to panic during the Equilibrium time. When things felt like they were stagnating, it really meant that my body was catching up. When that scale didn’t move, my mind was getting used to the idea of being thin. My weight loss journey has taken so long that by the time I get to goal, I am going to be completely acclimated to life as a thin person.

Next time you feel discouraged that the scale hasn’t moved and you know that you did everything perfectly the week before, remember the phrase Punctuated Equilibrium. You might be waiting for that big loss that is coming in the next week or two. Just hold on.


No Cooking Required

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

I have a few recipe books, but on the whole, I’m not a recipe girl. If someone makes fabulous food for a potluck, I compliment them. I thank them. I never, ever ask them for a recipe.

After months of writing for Starling Fitness, I realized today that I haven’t shared one recipe with you. It’s not because I don’t have any. I have family recipes that have been slimmed down and bulked up with veggies. I have books of healthy recipes including nutrition facts. I have plenty of recipes, but it never occurred to me to tell you about them.

I guess I prefer to outsource my food preparation. My hardest task during this weight loss journey has been portion control because restaurants give me so much food. Ironically, if I complain, they usually end up giving me more food. Even more frustrating is when they get to know me and give me even more food because they like me. Slimming down family recipes and finding new ones was easy compared to learning how to politely and graciously say, “No, thank you.”

I remember talking with a group of friends. One of them said that she wished she had a cook to take care of family meals. I told her, “I have several cooks. They work at all the restaurants all over the city.” Living in America has given me the luxury of being able to have other people cook my meals.

With that luxury, however, is the added difficulty of eating healthy. If you ask me, I can tell you three healthy menu items at every restaurant in town. The large restaurant chains have nutrition facts for you so that you can easily find the healthiest food. The local restaurants, however, are a little more difficult. Sometimes you have to estimate or compare their menus to that of the large restaurant chains.

Here are some simple tips if you eat out:

  • Find the menu and nutrition facts for the restaurant online (See Dotti’s Weight Loss Zone)
  • Choose at least two healthy options for each restaurant.
  • Make a list of the healthy choices and keep it with you just in case your plans change.
  • Download the nutrition facts to your Palm device (See Palm Restaurants).

After “Supersize Me” came out in the theaters, there was a huge backlash on the food industry. I had already lost my weight eating primarily restaurant food, so I had already learned that I am responsible for the food that I eat. You can eat healthy and lose or maintain your weight eating out every night of the week. No cooking required.


From Flab to Fab

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

US Weekly My cat likes to sit on paper. If she were in an empty room and one sheet of paper was lying on the floor, my cat would be sitting on it. That’s about the best use I can think of for this week’s US Weekly.

The headline reads, “20 Best Body Makeovers: How top stars went from flab to fab!” Referring to any one of those twenty women with the adjective “flab” is a travesty. Even when Oprah Winfrey and Queen Latifah were at their heaviest, they were fabulous. I sat there looking at all the before pictures thinking, “If that is flab? How could I ever measure up?”

Margaret Cho said that when she looks at the pictures of women in fashion magazines wearing things that she could barely fit on her finger, she thinks, “If that’s what being a woman is all about, I must not be one.” I understand how she feels. Sometimes I feel so disconnected from the media’s perception of female beauty. Magazines like this week’s US Weekly just make me want to pound someone into a bloody pulp.

It’s such a contrast from the January article about the same issue. The Sexy Diet Secrets that turned out to be eat less and exercise more was so down to earth. This week’s article calls twenty beautiful and stunning women flabby and then touts “losing baby fat” as fabulous.

They did provide one tip per woman on how they lost the weight. These tips amounted to the same story of eating less and moving more, but the focus of the article was the before and after pictures. It was as if some catty girl’s club sat down and looked at all the pictures. “Look at her thighs. She was FAT. I can’t believe she went out in public looking like that!” When all I can see is one fabulous before picture after another.

Worst of all, there wasn’t one man on the list. What about Billy Bob Thornton? That boy looked like he was on death’s door when he first met Angelina Jolie and by the time she was finished with him, he was toned up and looking hot. What about the lead singer of The Goo Goo Dolls, Johnny Rzeznik? After pressure from his record label, he dropped weight and came back lean. There is not one mention of Tom Hanks’ multiple dances with weight loss for movie roles. What about Matt LeBlanc? He starved himself on The Zone diet to keep Joey’s character slim and sexy. Sure he was fabulous before, but so was Beyonce.

Don’t waste your money on this week’s US Weekly.

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