10/31/2005

PostSecret: Sick Halloween

By Laura Moncur @ 12:00 pm — Filed under:

PostSecret: Sick Halloween

This postcard specifies that this happened when they were children, but I have experienced this as an adult. I remember the Halloween that only two kids came to our door. I had dressed up as a mad scientist, but my doorbell was silent. I sat watching TNT’s scary movie marathon and ate chocolate Twix bars and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. By the time the two kids showed up, I had already taken off my costume and showered. I gave them a pile of candy, but my stomach was sick with the disappointment.

This year, I know that I’ll have probably about five groups of kids. I live in a neighborhood that doesn’t have very many children, so I’m not expecting much. I’m just going to make up about 20 little candy bags and have a quiet evening at home. I find that if I make the candy up in pre-made little bags that I’m not tempted by the treats as much. The thought of opening the cute little bag and ruining some child’s treat is enough to keep me from sampling them.

Have a Happy Halloween and remember to take care of yourself!

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.

10/28/2005

How To Survive Your Own Halloween Party

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

For me, Halloween is the most important holiday of the year. My Halloween party is more important than Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas combined. It’s hard for me to stop bingeing when I place so much emphasis on one holiday, but after years of practice, I’m able to do it.

  • Bring something healthy: Our party is potluck, so I have no control over what food is going to show up at my door. I can only control what I bring, so I make sure that there is a vegetable tray so I can nosh on veggies when I’m nervous.

  • Let yourself try the food: I also found that I would feel deprived if I didn’t eat anything that was brought to the party. Last year, I tried a very small taste of almost everything that was brought (except the purple glop that looked like it had a million eyeballs floating in it). I estimated the tastes at about 25 calories a bite. That way I was able to satisfy my curiosity without ruining my eating plan.

  • Remember that you’ll get another chance: The biggest mistakes I have made is when I have told myself that I’ll never get another chance to eat that food again. Someone would bring something delicious to the party and I would eat large quantities of it just because I thought I would never see it again. I can prevent this by telling myself to ask them to make it for me (or bring it to the party next year). For some, I suppose that asking for the recipe would be enough to prevent the binge.

  • Plan ahead: Decide what you’re going to do if you feel tempted to eat. Two years ago I decided to scan the room and talk to anyone who looked like they were lonely or neglected. Sometimes I talked to them for awhile, other times I introduced them to other people. Either way, I was able to head off bingeing before I even got close to the buffet table.

  • Avoid Alcohol: I don’t know about everyone else, but when I get a little tipsy, I throw my diet out the window. Plus, alcohol has a lot of calories. Double-plus, you might have to be sober to drive home guests. Better to just avoid it altogether.

My Halloween party is the only big event I plan all year long. I want it to be fun, but I have finally learned that having fun doesn’t mean gorging myself on food. Sure, food is part of the joy of my party, but if I plan ahead, I can have fun, food and a healthy evening that I don’t have to regret at the scale.

10/27/2005

Baked Body Parts

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

Just in case those Halloween treats look good enough to ruin your eating plan, here are some treats that look gross enough to say no to. Nick Vagnoni highlights some of the grosser ideas for those holiday treats:

Every year we have a Halloween party. We offer a prize for the best potluck dish. The dishes that tend to win are usually unique and delicious. The foods that tend to remain untouched are the ones that look like things you shouldn’t eat. Gelatin brain molds, purple gunk that looks like a million eyes are swimming in it and the Jello Frankenstein hands are the dishes that just flopped on the table.

10/26/2005

Canned Pumpkin: Is It Real?

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

If you have ever thought of making a pumpkin pie out of your jack-o-lantern, be glad you didn’t. Most pumpkin pies are made out of a squash that is vastly different than the bright orange pumpkins you carve for the holiday. Sarah Gilbert has the inside “scoop” on which pumpkins are in the can.

Two years ago, Mike and I searched the city for pumpkin pie pumpkins and finally found them at a specialty food store in the eclectic part of town. He cooked up some delicious pies with those pumpkins, but it was a lot of work. We decided that canned pumpkin was good enough for us in the future.

10/25/2005

Eat Like a Caveman in the Big City

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

It’s easy to be confused about what is healthy and what is not. There are so many experts out there telling us conflicting rules about what we should eat. Erich Kuersten takes a humorous look at the implications of eating the Caveman Diet in Manhattan.

Considering the genetic diversity of our species, I don’t believe there is one diet that works for everyone. I think you have to experiment and find what works for you.

10/24/2005

PostSecret: If Something Is Hard

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

PostSecret

These postcards from PostSecret just call out to me every week. I wish I could talk to this person and explain what’s going on. This is actually a healthy habit gone wrong. Sometimes we are too close to our problems. When something is really hard and I’ve been thinking about it too much, I find it helpful just to abandon it for a little while. I don’t think about it. I don’t try to solve the problem while doing other things. I literally abandon the problem.

Coming back to it after hours or days, I can usually look at things with fresh eyes. Suddenly the answer to the problem is right there in front of me and I don’t have to wonder what I’m going to do anymore. It’s like my mind solves the problem when I’m not thinking about it.

Now, if we could just take the snacking out of the picture for this person. If I could teach him how to abandon the problem without resorting to food, he would have the healthy habit without the negative consequences. Here are some things that I do when I’m trying not to think about something that is hard:

  • Go for a walk outside. It’s not for exercise, it’s just to see new things or pick up some garbage off the ground.

  • Work on a hobby. For me it’s crochet or any systematic hobby that occupies my hands and mind so much that I don’t think about the problem.

  • Play video games. I have to concentrate on what I’m doing in the game so that I can get a higher score. I don’t have any extra room in my head for thinking.

  • Surf the web. Reading all that there is out there helps me forget what is going on here.

All I need is distraction for a couple of hours and I usually can get past whatever was bothering me.

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.

10/23/2005

Sometimes the Truth Is Right In Front of You

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

I don’t need to say anything, do I?

Via: The Diet Blog – McDonald’s Irony

10/22/2005

Why We Unknowingly Overeat

By Laura Moncur @ 7:23 pm — Filed under:

As if bingeing wasn’t enough, there are so many other factors that can cause us to overeat. The size of the glass can cause us to drink more high-calorie drinks. The accessibilty of treats can cause unwanted snacking. Even buying food at bulk stores can cause us to eat more than we normally would. Professor Brian Wansink is a professor of Nutritional Science, of Marketing, of Advertising, and of Agricultural and Consumer Science. He has performed many studies on Food Psychology. Here are a sampling of them:

These abstracts don’t read like weight-loss magazine articles, but if you are willing to wade through the formality of them, here are a couple of things that you’ll learn:

  • Studies at “Weight-loss Camps” (and with veteran bartenders) show that visual illusions unknowingly cause people to pour 32-43% more in to short wide glasses than tall narrow ones.

  • Subjects ate more popcorn when they were served more, even if the popcorn was stale and didn’t taste good.

  • Unknown to the participants, they used self-refilling soup bowls to show that people keep eating regardless of what they intended to eat or how full they were.

  • Hidden cameras at Italian restaurants show that people who put olive oil on a piece of bread will eat more fat and calories than if they instead used butter. The good news… they eat fewer pieces of bread.

Via: CalorieLab Calorie Counter News » Archives » The more we’re served, the more we eat

10/21/2005

Swimming Can Kick Your Butt

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

I hear a lot of negative press about swimming. Bob Greene, Oprah’s Trainer, believes that swimming isn’t as good as running or even riding a stationary bicycle. Abi decided to diversify her training and her experience was the opposite.

The last time I tried to swim laps, we were staying at the Luxor Hotel. I didn’t want to pay the high fee to use the hotel gym, so I decided to do laps in the pool. I had been running 2-3 miles a day, so I thought swimming laps would be a relaxing “easy” day. I went out there early and found myself gasping for breath. None of the strokes were relaxing or easy, not even the breast stroke, which had been the stroke that I always used when I was just floating along. I haven’t tried since.

My gym has a pool. Maybe I’ll add one day of swimming laps into my routine and mix my workout a little bit.

10/20/2005

The Biggest Loser: That’s it?!

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

The Biggest LoserThis week on the Biggest Loser, Mark decided to take it up a notch. He had two weeks of big losses in a row and he was feeling ready to give it his all, so he added an extra hour of exercise a day to his routine. This is in addition to the four hours a day that the rest of his team is doing. He asked his trainer, Jillian, if she was proud of him because he was willing to do five hours a day. She was more worried about him than proud. She was worried that his body might go into shock, slowing his progress instead of speeding it up.

When he got on the scale at the end of the week, he showed a four pound loss. You could see the disappointment on his face. “Four pounds, that’s it?!” After losing seventeen pounds two weeks ago and ten pounds the previous week, he was crushed at losing four pounds.

…insert record scratch noise here…

Four pounds in a week is a FANTASTIC loss, especially since he had such big losses the previous two weeks. Normal people have an adjustment period after losing so much weight. I have to give snaps to Jillian. She told Mark that if he was going to exercise that much, he needed to eat more to compensate. She must have gotten the balance exactly right for him to still have a loss at the scale.

I am continually amazed at how much weight each of these people are losing. Andrea said it perfectly:

“In the real world, a two pound loss is great, but here it just doesn’t cut it.”

When you watch this show, and find a loss of a half a pound on the scale for yourself, don’t get discouraged. When you find yourself lying in bed, thinking about whether you should get up on time to exercise, remember Mark busting his butt on the treadmill for five hours a day. I think I can get up and do forty minutes.

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