Eat Healthy and Get an Xbox

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

Apparently, the Glasgow City Council is offering incentives to children who eat healthy. It actually reminds me of when the toothpaste companies sponsored a program to teach us kids to brush our teeth. We got a free toothbrush, toothpaste and some little red pills that show you how miserably you have brushed your teeth when you’re done. I would have liked to earn a Sony Walkman for my effort back then.

Why don’t I live in Glasgow? I knew that whole Revolutionary War was a bad thing…

Via – Popgadget – Eat your greens and get an Xbox


Belly Dancing

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

MargaretChoDancing Margaret Cho has taken up belly dancing and it is so liberating to hear her talk about it.

I was dancing when I was eight, I was dancing when I was eight. Is it strange to dance so late?

I think I might have stopped dancing when I was eight because my father told me I was fat. After that, you just have a hard time getting yourself off the ground. It was like I put on lead shoes and didn’t take them off for nearly thirty years.

Exercise for me always meant suffering. Punishing my body for not being thin, or eating too much, or not eating at all, or not exercising the day before, or not exercising hard enough or whatever whatever whatever. There was never a lack of reasons to hate myself, to hate my body. I decided to give it all up entirely, all physical activity. Nothing.

She has spoken so frankly about her war with her body, both in her stand up routine and on her blog. I just feel so happy to see this picture of her dancing. It makes me want to take lessons.


Team Sports

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

Softball “You play softball?”

“I played it in grade school.”

They are quiet, so I nervously continue, “You know, where they line us all up and you get to bat once every thirty kids or so.”

I edited out the rest of the story. You know, the part where the kids made fun of me because I was fat or because I didn’t hit the ball or because I couldn’t catch it when it came right for me. I can still remember their childish voices, “Couldn’t you see it?! It was coming right at you!”

“Well, we could sure use you. You got a mitt?”

“No, but I can get one.”



Sugar-Free Energy Drinks

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

Diet Red Bull I’ve talked many times about excising caffeine from my diet (see links below), so I’m sure you know where I stand on these super-caffeinated beverages. I view caffeine as a drug. Sometimes, I need caffeine, just like I need an aspirin or some allergy medicine. I don’t drink caffeine every day, so none of this huge surplus of sugar-free energy drinks appeals to me. The $3 price tag makes me shy from them even more. Do you know how many tablets of No-Doz you can buy for three bucks?!

If you want to hear someone gush about this wave of sugar-free caffeinated beverages, here is a link to Hungry Girl’s review:

My advice: wash down a No-Doz or Vivarin with your favorite soda or water. You’ll get just as much of a buzz and won’t have to gulp down drinks that are heavily flavored to hide the bitter taste of caffeine.


No Fat Chicks

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

No Fat Chicks I was looking for the new book from the American Heart Association, No Fad Diet, on my library’s website. Of course, it’s too new to be in their system. The search brought me to where the book would have been in the list, had they attained it. Instead of finding the latest health information from the American Heart Association, I looked at an unrelated list of titles that start with the word “No”. The book titled “No Fat Chicks: How Big Business Profits Making Women Hate Their Bodies and How to Fight Back” caught my eye.

Released in 1997, it is a little out of date. Fen-Phen is off the market. Plus-size clothing is a lot easier to find now. Even Karl Lagerfield has lost weight and published a horrible and degrading diet book. The author would have been livid at that one.

The book spends most of its time convincing the reader that overweight people encounter prejudice from employers, physicians and even the fashion industry. Anyone who has ever been fat knows this. We all have our stories of doctors that have insulted and demeaned us. We all have a list of stores that we will never step into, even though we’ve long ago lost the weight. We all have those dark suspicions about promotions and pay increases that we never received. We all have unrequited loves who rejected us strictly because of our girth. Most readers of this book don’t need to be convinced that we have been victims of prejudice. We’ve experienced it first hand.

The second half of the title, “And How to Fight Back” comprises only a couple of pages. I would have liked to see a section at the end of each chapter telling me how to talk to my doctor, which companies are the worst offenders and should be boycotted, and how to be a luscious and delectable woman that men fall for. The Fat Girl’s Guide to Life was much better at that than No Fat Chicks.

All in all, this is a really good book to read when you feel like you’re going crazy about your weight. It really helped me to realize that I’m not going crazy, I’m living in a crazy world where thinness is a religion.


Finding Exercise That You Love So Much You’ll Miss It

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

At first, I was training for a race, so I didn’t have time to play DDR. Then the race was over, but I got a new job that was only 5.6 miles from home, so I’ve been riding my bike to work, so I don’t have the time to play DDR. I’m getting my exercise in during my daily commute and it actually ends up saving me time in the end. I haven’t fired up the Xbox and danced my butt off for months.

The truth of the matter is that I miss playing DDR. I also miss going to the gym. I have so many options for exercise, that I am missing things when I don’t allow myself to do them. I never, in a million years, thought I would feel like this. I miss walking into the gym and having my choice of all the toys to play with. I miss dancing against other DDR players on Xbox Live, even though they kicked my butt almost every time.

I wish I knew what I did to get to this level. I wish I could bottle it up or list it out and hand it to you in a neat little package. (more…)


PCRM Ask Dr. Phil To Get Real About Milk

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

Dr. Phil Milk AdThe PCRM (Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine) has attacked the idea that dairy products help people lose weight.

Based on PCRM’s affiliated websites, they seem to be animal rights activists. They promote a vegan diet and decry disection of animals for medical training. They have their own agenda just as the American Dairy Association does.

That said, the studies that they link to are very real:

Whether you want dairy products in your diet is a personal choice, just like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups or broccoli. There was one study that showed that the addition of dairy to your diet may help you lose weight, but that study has not been replicated, which is a requirement when using the scientific method.


FTC Crackdown on More Diet Scams

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

$20 Million in FinesThe FTC has fined two Florida companies $20 million dollars for false claims.

Companies to watch out for: Great American Products, Inc. and Physician’s Choice, Inc..

The Bogus Products: Ultimate HGH, Super HGH Booster, Master HGH, Super HGH, Fat Blaster, Super Carbo Blocker, Ultimate Wild Oregano Oil, and Super Wild Oregano Oil.

The FTC is requiring that any future claims must be substantiated, but don’t trust them. Physician’s Choice’s website is advertising some Super Slim pill that is suposed to “metabolize fat away for a beautiful figure and increased energy.” Don’t let them take any of your money.

Via: Consumer Health Digest


Ask Laura: DDR and Weight Loss

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

Email from radman:

My question relates to different types of exercise. I have never been able to keep up exercise… but I have been using DDR and have been able to keep it up for a year.

I currently do DDR 3X a week at heavy level. It seems like it is a good workout for my lower body but, even though I get out of breath during each song, there is about 20 seconds between songs and the overall intensity just isn’t there. It says I have done 10 miles…but I am not near as fatigued/winded as if I jogged 10 miles… or even did 20 min on a treadmill(which I can’t stand doing). I love the DDR and am spending lots of time at it at a high level, but I haven’t really lost any weight and wonder if it is having an effect aside from lower body muscle toning… I have been going to the gym 2-3x a week and doing strength exercises for upper body and have enjoyed that. I was thinking of using the Yourself fitness to get more consistent aerobic exercise to lose some pounds (which I haven’t done with DDR). What are your thoughts on this? How would you integrate these different things (or would you?)


You’re right. You’ve realized the limitations of DDR. In the end, it’s just a game. It’s an easy and fun way to get a little exercise in your day while having fun. If you are really serious about exercise, there are more efficient routines that work more of your muscles more intensely than DDR.

You’re also right about the exercise estimates. The calorie counters and the exercise comparisons are optimistic at best and misleading at worst. I wouldn’t believe either when evaluating how much exercise you’ve gotten from your session.

Yourself! Fitness is another exercise routine, but it’s more like a workout video than a game. It only took me a few weeks to earn all the perks of the game and I found some of the moves repetitive. There are as many different useful exercises as there are people in the world. You are at an exciting time right now. You get to explore them! The cool thing is that a lot of them (like running and walking and playing in the park) are free. Check out About.com’s Workout Center for some ideas. Find something you love and stick to it.

Now, about your weight loss. If you haven’t lost any weight from the exercise, you have run into one of the unalterable physics of the human body. Exercise alone won’t bring you significant weight loss. You need to exercise AND monitor your eating. I wouldn’t recommend cutting your calories drastically, however.

Start with slow, healthy changes to your diet. Add fruits and vegetables to your diet until you are easily (and comfortably) eating five servings a day. Make sure you have low-fat protein in your diet, whether it comes from meat, beans, or dairy. Drink at least five glasses of water a day. Make sure that you don’t allow yourself to get too hungry (I eat every three to four hours) to prevent binges.

These are the diet changes that have really helped me. If you want more ideas, check out Prevention.com’s Eat More, Lose More eating plan. If you want a more formal diet regime or you have serious problems with bingeing (eating until you feel too full more than twice a week), then I would recommend Weight Watchers.

Remember, I’m not a doctor, so make sure that everything you do is cleared through your general practitioner.

Good Luck!
Laura Moncur


TACX Virtual Reality Bicycle Trainers

By Michael Moncur @ 6:00 am — Filed under:

TACX VR TrainerLaura wrote about the Reebok Cyber Rider last week. If you’re looking for an alternative and have an unlimited budget, you might want to try one of TACX’s VR Trainers instead. These use a combination of software (for the PC) and a steering frame—you add the bicycle—to simulate cycling. Their new Fortius model will include a motor and brake that rotate or stop your rear tire to simulate uphill and downhill rides.

You’ll need over $1000 and a compatible bike to set this up, so it’s a serious expense—I suppose this is intended to target professional bicyclists rather than ordinary “exergaming” consumers, but it looks like a very professional product. The TACX website, by contrast, is nearly worthless, so you’ll probably find out more from this PDF catalog.

Via Engadget, which also mentions that the Fortius sends the power generated by your exercise back into the grid so it can power your other appliances—I don’t think the power you generate will be significant unless you’re a very obsessive biker, but if lowering the electric bill motivates you to exercise, more power to you.

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