Ask Laura: Aspartame Withdrawals

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

Dear Laura,

I have recently stopped taking aspartame. My son and I have been drinking diet lemon lime sodas almost exclusively. I have seen information about aspartame and decided that it was time to get off it. We switched to bottled water, but have each been drinking about one diet drink daily. We both have dry mouth after decreasing to one a day. I have also experienced bed wetting 3 times. I am not sure if that is because I’m not drinking the aspartame or not. I’ve tried drinking less in the evening, but my mouth is so dry. Normally, I wake in the night to use the bathroom, but these 3 times I didn’t. I think I increased diet soda drink each time after wetting and didn’t wet the following night. I have awakened 2 times with severe pain in my left elbow. One of those times, my hand and arm were very swollen. I added over the counter potassium to see if that helps. I don’t like to admit taking an old prescription of HCTZ, but I did, to decrease the swelling. Are dry mouth, fluid retention, bed wetting and increased pain possibly be symptoms of aspartame withdrawal?

Leaving Lemon-Lime

Dear Leaving Lemon-Lime,

I really don’t know the symptoms of aspartame withdrawal, if there are any. Considering your symptoms, I think it would be best to see a trusted doctor.



Doctors Aren’t Perfect

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

I started eating healthy because of this stomach problem. The doctor said I had Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). He handed me a clean colonoscopy and a clean MRI, and basically told me that the reason I had IBS was because I was fat and ate too much fast food. I covertly flipped him off, my left hand covering the right hand’s finger, and I never saw him again.

That doesn’t mean that I didn’t believe him. I decided to get my body in shape and get my eating under control. I decided to do Body For Life. I looked at all those before and after pictures in his book and I was convinced it was the right thing for me to do. I prepared my food and workout journal and started. I worked out and ate perfectly the first day. The second day, I couldn’t move without hurting and I quit.

Two months later, I started Weight Watchers. It was a plan I could follow and after three and a half years, I can safely say that I follow the plan perfectly 80% of the time. My stomach pain has diminished greatly, but there are still times when I experience intense abdominal cramping. I am close to my goal weight and I eat healthy, yet I still am in pain. Sometimes it’s just as bad as when I weighed 235 pounds.

I feel like I should feel justified. I feel like I should go back to that idiot doctor and make him eat his words. Instead, I am STILL blaming myself. During my last attack, I started considering that it might be psychosomatic. After all I have learned about IBS, I still blame myself.

Doctors are not perfect and they have prejudices against overweight people just as so many other people do. If you feel like your symptoms have been glossed over because of your weight, go see another doctor. More importantly, losing weight will help guarantee that you will get healthier, if only because you’ll be able to bypass the prejudice and get better health care.


YMCA’s Coach Approach

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

The YMCA is helping a lot more than “young men” now. They have devised a fitness plan that forces new participants to start out slow. Instead of hurting and being unable to walk after each workout, new clients are slowly taught the habit of exercise. I think it’s a great idea!

When I started out exercising I just jumped in gung ho. Nothing could stop me. I didn’t care that I was hurting because the only thing that was important to me was losing weight. It took me a long time to learn that exercise is more about making myself healthy so I will live longer. If I’m in pain, that means I overdid it and I need to rest the next day. Taking the softer approach has kept me injury free and able to run, bike and play as much as I want.

Via: About.com – Stick With Your Exercise Program – by Paige Waehner


StrengthCast – Dave DePew Interview

By Laura Moncur @ 6:00 pm — Filed under:

This StrengthCast is a telephone interview with Dave DePew, a personal trainer from San Diego. Despite the interview happening over the telephone, it is quite easy to listen to and understand (the sound quality is good). Dave Depew’s plan has a Money Back Guarantee, which is interesting, but this interview doesn’t provide the details of it.

This StrengthCast seems to be more for personal trainers than for people trying to take care of their own health. He gives a lot of advice about tailoring the workout plan to the client. Most of us ARE the client, so listening to this interview might not be as inspiring as it could be.

The Beauty of Imperfection

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

When I imagined the Inner Workouts category, this is the kind of entry I imagined for it.

My favorite quote from this entry:

“Is beauty a thing so shallow that following a few simple rules will allow one to calculate it?”

If it were, only five percent of the population would procreate. You are so much more than the numbers on the scale.


How to Record Your Own Meditation MP3 with MusicMatch

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

Update 09-02-14

I know this entry is REALLY old and MusicMatch doesn’t exist anymore, but you can use iTunes, record things on your phone or use Audacity to record your meditation MP3.

If you did the exercise on my Visualize a Different You, then you have written down positive thoughts about how you want to be in the future and how you want to visualize yourself right now. Braidwood said it like this:

“You know what I’ve been thinking about? Advertising! It is a science and it WORKS, it changes people’s minds. So, why not advertise what you want for yourself?! Create a jingle, create some enticing pictures and a slogan, and expose yourself to them often. You will be unable to resist… :)”

That’s what this entry today will show you how to do…



The Last 10 Pounds

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

O Magazine 08-05After July’s issue, which had me inwardly screaming in anger at the diet pill article, this month’s O Magazine is much, much better. There is a brilliant article about eating “real” food instead of “fake” food. Dr. Phil has an interesting entry about losing weight and there is this article about those last 10 pounds.

I was pleased to notice that for most of the women, Bob Greene recommended that they didn’t need to lose those last 10 pounds. He suggested that they continue exercising to tone up and be healthy, but losing the weight was not a goal they should pursue. It’s a rare health guru that will tell his followers that they are beautiful the way they are and that they shouldn’t lose any more weight.


Childhood Obesity

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

Childhood Obesity picture via Eric SchneiderIt’s everywhere. I can’t pick up a newspaper or turn on the television news without hearing about Childhood Obesity. Every article has tips for parents on how to deal with obese children. What they need to do and what they need to feed their kids.

Let me tell you, as a former obese child, there is no way that your children don’t know that they are fat. They get it every day at school. They hear the rhymes: “Fattie, fattie, two by four. Can’t fit through the bathroom door.” There is no escape from the hell that they experience at school. If you start treating them like they are fat, then there is no escape, period. If they get the torment at school and then get it at home, they might as well…

I’m speaking from experience and here is what I might as well did: vomiting after each meal, starving myself, overeating in frustration, living in depression, and contemplating ending it all. And I was lucky. I only dealt with a home situation that called me fat during the summers when I lived with my grandmother. Three quarters of the year, I lived in a loving and nurturing environment.

So, what do I recommend parents do?

“If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make a change.”
– Michael Jackson, The Man in the Mirror, 1987

Your children learned their habits from somewhere. If you want your child to eat healthier food, don’t say a word to them. You need to eat healthy food as an example. That means if you’re making a healthy dinner, they eat it too. If you want a snack, make sure you’re snacking on fruits and vegetables.

If you want your child to stop watching television and playing video games, don’t say a word to them. Get your own butt off the couch. “Hey, I’m going on a bike ride. Do you want to come with me? No? Ok, have fun.” Several weeks of them missing a nightly bike ride, they will join in. It works with anything, “I’m going to go shoot some hoops, wanna come?” “I’m going to take a walk over to the park, wanna come with me?” Don’t force them to come. Don’t reprimand them for not coming. Just give them a good example.

No amount of nagging will make them eat healthier or exercise more. Enrolling them in classes and watching television the whole time they’re gone, just makes them resent you. Forcing them to eat food that is healthy and sneaking off to stuff Hostess Cupcakes in your face just proves to them that “our family is just fat.” Don’t make their homelife the living hell that school is. Provide them with a good example and let them make their own choices.


Forbes.com Best of the Web – Health and Fitness Blogs

By Laura Moncur @ 6:00 pm — Filed under:

It’s only natural that I feel sad that we weren’t on the list, but one of the “blogs” that they listed isn’t even a weblog.

Here is the list of Forbes’ Favs:

  • A Trail Runner’s Blog – A good specialized weblog about trail running. The author is a runner who gives you the inside look. Recommended entry: Where does all the money go?

  • AllYourStrength.com B-Blog – This weblog is written by a company that sells personal training (over the phone?!). I don’t care for this site because they promote the over-muscled and bulked up image for men. I don’t think that sort of body abuse is any more healthy than being overweight and I don’t think men need that pressure to look like a steroid addict.

  • A Passion for Running – Another very specialized weblog about running. I knew about this site, but I don’t read it because this guy is into more running than I can comfortably relate to.

  • Diet Blog – The Truth About Diet and Weight Loss – This weblog is the only one that I regularly read on this list. It’s a pretty good resource for information. They won’t feed you full of commercials or hype.

  • Health and Fitness Blog – Note to Forbes: I would call this blog an Echo Chamber. This is a weblog that is run by a company that sells fitness equipment (getfitsource.com) The posts are mostly just links to other websites’ articles with little original content. I know of at least 10 other weblogs that are better than this one, so don’t bother.

  • ActiveLog Health and Fitness Training Blog – Note to Forbes: Just because it says “blog” in its title, doesn’t mean it is one. This is a program that you sign up for to “log” your daily exercise and eating. You can read other peoples’ “logs”, but it’s not the same thing as a weblog.

  • Genetics and Public Health Blog: All about genetics and public health – This is a professional weblog that has little to do with weight loss. It is categorized correctly for Forbes, but I don’t want to read about genetics on a regular basis.

  • Male Pattern Fitness – This is a new one on me. It looks pretty good and I will keep reading it. Somehow, I like the fact that he’s willing to use guttural language when he’s angry about things. I tend to just use big words.

It seems like the boys at Forbes called their friends and asked them, “Hey do you know any good weblogs?” Their friends in suits said, “Well, my company has a weblog and there are a couple others that I know…”

Firefox Search Plugin for NutritionData

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

Firefox Search Plugin for NutritionDataI talked before about NutritionData’s Nutrition Facts & Calorie Counter. They are a helpful resource when you need to know the nutrition facts for food. Now, they have another tool that makes it even easier to look things up.

It is a small little plugin that allows you to type a food in the search bar on your Firefox browser. It doesn’t take up extra space, it’s just another option on that search bar (you can choose it instead of Google). It works like a dream and I haven’t had any weirdness since installing it. It was so easy to install, that I thought I did something wrong and installed it again, so don’t worry if it takes less than a second to download.

If you don’t use Firefox as your browser, you’re missing out. Try it for free.

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