Beating Treadmill Boredom

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

Today is the last day of April. Maybe you got the treadmill for Christmas. Maybe it was part of your New Year’s Resolution. Whatever made you purchase it four months ago, you look at the thing now and it’s covered in dust and you haven’t folded down the tread for weeks. Here’s an article to spice things up:

My favorite thing to do while on the treadmill is to watch movies or television shows on DVD. Stopping a movie halfway through is a guaranteed way to get me on the treadmill the next morning. Having a new movie that I’m excited to see is another.

I like to mix up my workout routines with changes in speed or incline. Interval and hill workouts are the best to build speed. Download my Treadmill Workout Spreadsheet for ideas on how to change your workout intensity.

Via: SportsGeezer


What’s the truth about Hoodia Gordonii?

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

Hoodia Gordonii is a cactus that is supposed to suppress the appetite. Everything that I have read about this stuff sounds like hype. I’ve found some articles recommending that you avoid the supplements because they tend to not contain what they say they do (surprise, surprise), but very little information about clinical trials or safety.

Wouldn’t it be funny if the stuff has a million calories and fat in just one bite? It would explain the appetite suppression…

The Wikipedia entry on Hoodia gordonii sums it up perfectly:

There is no published scientific evidence that Hoodia works as an appetite suppressant in humans. The safety and/or effectiveness of Hoodia Gordonii as a dietary supplement must thus be considered as unsubstantiated.


Milk and Weight Loss

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

I have been obsessed with weight control since I was in eighth grade (1983). In those past twenty-two years, many foods have gone in and out of style. Grapefruit, salads before every meal, eight glasses of water every day, and cabbage soup have all gone in and out of fashion.

It seems like foods that are good for you “get discovered” and are the hot topic for the next few years. Right now, dairy foods are the hottest thing in dieting circles:

This is only the tip of the iceberg. I could have listed three times as many articles on this subject. Milk is the new Grapefruit Diet. Dairy is the new Eight Glasses of Water Every Day. Yogurt is the new Eat a Salad Before Every Meal. Cheese is the new Cabbage Soup.

The funny thing is: all of these things are good for you. Grapefruit is low in sugar and provides lots of vitamins. Keeping hydrated not only curbs your hunger, it makes your skin healthier. Salads and cabbage soup fill you up with vitamin-packed fiber. Milk and dairy products provide calcium and vitamin D. All of these things are healthy; I just find it amusing which ones the media decides to obsess about.


Fitsense Speedometer Systems

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

Fitsense Speedometer System

I usually don’t like to recommend unnecessary equipment. If you want to get fit, all you need are a good pair of shoes and a door to walk out of. Too many times I’ve seen people say that they can’t exercise because they don’t have a gym membership or a treadmill. You don’t need those things. All you need to do is get your butt out of the door every day and run.

Then again, I’m a gadget freak. I love to play with new exercise toys. Sometimes a new exercise toy will inspire me for months. Just having a new toy to play with when I get my butt out the door is enough to keep me exercising sometimes. This looks like a fun new toy:

This is a speedometer, heart rate monitor and a link to upload your workout data to the computer. There is a pod that connects to your shoe that measures your distance and speed, a watch for your wrist, a heart rate monitor strap and a USB uplink to connect to your computer. If you don’t want to shell out $250, you can pick and choose which parts you want and upgrade later.


  • Speedometer, heart rate monitor, distance and chronometer all on one watch. They all display on one screen. You won’t have to push buttons to see what you want.

  • Compared to GPS systems, it is relatively inexpensive. Additionally, GPS tracking has problems in “urban canyons”, where the signal bounces off the large buildings.


  • The watch is rather large and bulky. The display is designed to be easy to see while running or walking, but that makes it slightly unwieldy, especially if you’re a woman.

  • If you already have a heart rate monitor, stopwatch or distance meter, you would have to buy extra items in order to have them all be in one watch. Either that or wear two watches.

  • The uplink to your computer is an Internet based system, which is unnecessary. I would prefer software that just runs on my computer. I don’t want to depend on my unreliable ISP in order to upload my workout data.

My current heart rate monitor is a Timex, so you know it’s going to last a hundred years. I’m thinking that I’ll never get a chance to try this new toy, but if you are in the market for a heart rate monitor, it looks like this one will give you the extra benefits of speedometer and distance measurement. Check it out.


Cookie Monster Confronts His Bingeing

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

Apple Monster?I grew up with Cookie Monster bingeing on cookies at every opportunity. I remember noticing that he ate so quickly that half the cookies ended up on the floor. I remember thinking, “If he was careful, he would get a lot more cookies in his mouth.” I consciously took notes, “When bingeing on cookies, make sure to eat slowly so you can get every crumb.” I had no grasp of the concept that Cookie Monster was a muppet and couldn’t actually swallow the cookies he was crunching. Now, it looks like Cookie Monster is slimming down.

I don’t know what to think of this. Cookie Monster wasn’t my favorite of the Sesame Street characters. I would have to go with Oscar first and then Burt and Ernie. So, with Cookie Monster at a distant fourth (or maybe fifth, I forgot about Grover), do I really care that he is changing? The main feature of his personality was that he was obsessed with cookies. I was too. I always felt like I never got enough cookies to fill my mouth. Cookie Monster eventually always found enough cookies. He had so many that he didn’t have to eat up every crumb.

When I finally got a job and had enough money to buy all the cookies that minimum wage could afford, I ate a lot. Much of the money I earned at K-Mart went right to the junk food industry. Ironically, when I can have all the junk food that I want, I’m less obsessed with it.

So, Cookie Monster is going to tell kids how great mangoes are. I guess I think this is a good thing. Childhood idols enticing kids to eat different fruits and vegetables is probably the best way for them to at least try healthy food. Of course, Popeye and his spinach addiction has been doing this for years. Looks like Cookie Monster is just trying to jump Popeye’s train.

Via: The Salt Lake Tribune – ‘Sesame’ teaches kids to trade in cookies for carrots – by Kathy Stephenson


Pac Manhattan

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


Interested in a high tech game of tag? Here’s something fun for you.

Their description of the game is as follows:

Pac-Manhattan is a large-scale urban game that utilizes the New York City grid to recreate the 1980’s video game sensation Pac-Man. This analog version of Pac-man is being developed in NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications graduate program, in order to explore what happens when games are removed from their “little world” of tabletops, televisions and computers and placed in the larger “real world” of street corners, and cities.

A player dressed as Pac-man will run around the Washington square park area of Manhattan while attempting to collect all of the virtual “dots” that run the length of the streets. Four players dressed as the ghosts Inky, Blinky, Pinky and Clyde will attempt to catch Pac-man before all of the dots are collected.

Using cell-phone contact, Wi-Fi internet connections, and custom software designed by the Pac-Manhattan team, Pac-man and the ghosts will be tracked from a central location and their progress will be broadcast over the internet for viewers from around the world.

Via: Fitness News and CNet


Hungry Man Sports Grill

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

Hungry Man Sports Grill

I was just cruising the grocery aisle when I came across this TV Dinner. It’s 16 ounces of food. The box announces it in bold letters, “1 lb. of food!” That cheeseburger and cheese fries looked so good to me. I figured it must be pretty small considering how big the box was. I was shocked when I turned it over and looked at the nutrition facts.

Hungry Man Sports GrillAt 1110 calories, 66 grams of fat and 9 grams of fiber, that calculates to 27 Points on the Weight Watchers Flex Point Plan. Do you know how many points I’m allotted every day? 22 That one frozen dinner is a full 5 Points more than I’m supposed to eat every day (not including Flex Points).

If someone had shown me the picture and asked me to guess the points, I would have guessed 6 for the burger and 8 for the fries. I would have said 14 points, missing the mark by a full 13 points. I am so grateful that the FDA requires the nutrition facts on all food now. I would have eaten this monster and wondered why I didn’t lose weight.

I put the dinner back in the freezer where I found it…


Torrid: Cool Clothes for Plus-Sized Teens

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

Torrid Plus-SizesThis article from Boing Boing brings up so many bad memories for me.

It talks about Torrid, which is a plus-sized store from the Hot Topic people. Cool clothes for plus-sized kids. Growing up a plus-sized teen was hard. There are some stores to this day that I won’t even walk into because they were so pretentious. Even though I can wear their clothes now, I boycott them.

Knowing that Hot Topic has set up these Torrid stores makes me so happy. It almost eases the pain that I felt back then. There were times when I had a purse full of money and nothing to buy that was cool or fit. I could buy cool clothes that didn’t fit or I could buy old lady clothes that did fit. Neither choice worked for me. I remember holding back my tears while my skinny cheerleader friend found outfit after outfit of cute, cool clothes.

There is a curmudgeon in the back of my mind that says, “Doesn’t having options like this promote unhealthy weight? Shouldn’t we only release cool clothes in small sizes as an incentive to overweight people to get healthy?”


Getting to a healthy weight doesn’t happen easily. I didn’t get to a healthy weight when stores told me I was not welcome. It wasn’t the exclusiveness that attracted me to lose weight. I didn’t lose it for the clothes. In fact, I still shun those stores that treated me like a second class citizen when I was fat. I lost weight for me. I lost weight to be healthy. I lost it so that I would live a few years longer on this planet.

I was only able to get to that point in the journey when I believed that I was worth it. I deserve a healthy body. I deserve to live longer. I deserve to look good. Having stores exclude me didn’t help in that process, they hindered me. That’s why I’m so glad that Torrid exists.


Slimming Foods for Summer

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

WebMD has a nice article that gives you reasons for eating the recommended amount of veggies and dairy. It also has some good ideas on how to fit them into your diet.

These foods aren’t really a “secret,” but I would definitely recommend them to mix up your fruit and veggie routine. If you are sick of carrots, apples and salad, give these options a try.


Thermostat of Change

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

“I’m sick of the news talking about obesity.” I had just written “Who Is To Blame?” Stacey, Dan and Mike nodded. They braced themselves for a Laura Tirade. “No matter where I look, there is some news program about obesity.”

Stacey surprised us all. “I think it’s the insurance companies.”

I crinkled my brow. “The insurance companies are to blame for obesity?”

She shook her head. “Obesity costs insurance companies a lot of money. I think they are promoting this idea that obesity is a problem so they won’t have to pay so much.”

She stopped the Laura Tirade in its tracks. Over a month later, I’m still thinking about what she said. I understand that the news moguls are controlled by the businesses that own them. I realize that insurance companies are big players in our economy. Could all those news programs be an underhanded method to absolve the health insurance companies from paying for obesity-related illnesses? Am I helping them out and doing their work for them?

For about a month, I have been fretting about whether I’m working for “The Man.” Martin Luther King, Jr. once wrote, “The church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society.” Am I merely a thermometer of popular opinion instead of a thermostat of change?

After all this fretting, I realized the truth…

Obesity not only costs insurance companies money. It robs people of their lives and their quality of life. When I weighed 235 pounds, I was tired. I was relatively healthy, but I couldn’t tie my shoes without holding my breath. If I had let my bingeing continue, I would have ended up not being able to go grocery shopping without one of those electric grocery carts. I’m intimately familiar with where the path of obesity leads.

If I can convince just one of you to take charge of your health, then I am the thermostat for change. If just one of you decides to exercise today instead of skipping your workout, then I have achieved my goal. If just one of you decides to choose a healthy snack instead of the food that is tempting you, then I am working for you, not “The Man.”

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