New Year’s Resolutions

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

This is the time of year where people make New Year’s Resolutions. Based on the traffic levels, it looks like a lot of people have resolved to lose weight this year. It’s a common resolution. How can we make it last longer than January 2nd, though?

I’d like to say I knew the answers, but I really don’t. I don’t do too much with New Year’s Resolutions. Last year, I posted my resolutions for everyone to see on Pick Me! I didn’t make two of the three, but knowing that they were there, holding me accountable, made me work on them a lot more over the year than if I had just thought about them casually at midnight.

I joined Weight Watchers on January 17, 2002, but my joining had nothing to do with a resolution. I was sick of being overweight. I was finally to the point where I loved my body and I wanted to take good care of it so it would last a long time. I wanted to be able to climb stairs without huffing and puffing. I wanted to finish a 5K race in better than 40 minutes. I wanted to spend a day without severe stomach pain. I was so ready for Weight Watchers when it came into my life. It had nothing to do with resolutions and everything to do with quality of life.

So, what can I tell you about New Year’s Resolutions? Not much…

  • Make Them Measureable: Rather than resolving to lose weight, choose a goal that is easier to measure. Do you want to be at your goal weight by next year? Then write it out in easy to read sentences, “I will weigh 130 pounds next January.” Resolving to “lose weight” can be achieved by losing one pound, but I doubt that was your intention when you chose that goal.

  • Make Them Realistic: Don’t commit to it unless you KNOW you can do it. Making unrealistic resolutions is just creating an excuse to hate yourself. If you know you would have to starve yourself all year long just to make it to your goal, then it’s not a good goal for you. You need something that is doable and fits in with your life.

  • Tell the Freakin’ World: If you tell your sister and your mom and your dad and your girlfriend and that vindictive woman at your work about your resolutions, you’re more likely to succeed. Just knowing that the witch at the front desk is going to ask you about your progress can be enough sometimes.

Tonight, when you hear the countdown to 2006, remember your resolutions and make a wish. Let’s make them last all year long this year!


Running Movies Links

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

I find it inspirational to watch movies about athletes or runners while I’m running on the treadmill. Mark, at Passion for Running, has made a list of movies that he thinks are good running movies.

If see other people running and working as hard or even harder than you are helps keep you motivated, here is a list of movies to help you with your workout.


Dairy Does NOT Aid Weight Loss

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

For a couple hundred dollars, PR Newswire will print whatever you want them to. That explains this bit of propaganda from the National Dairy Council.

All this reporting would be great news, if it were true. However, the study that they were referring to is available for all of us to read. No matter how much they get it wrong, the findings of the scientists at Purdue University were the exact opposite of what was reported:

This study took 155 women and placed them on various diets for one year: low dairy, medium dairy and high dairy consumption. Despite the varying levels of dairy, there was no change in body weight or fat percentage.

No matter what the National Dairy Council tells you, milk doesn’t magically make you skinnier. No matter how many times they misquote the research, we finally have the ability to find out the truth about nutrition. Dairy may be an important part of a healthy diet, but it isn’t a magic diet drink any more than any other diet hype you might see.


U.S. Life Expectancy

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

Here is the first sentence of the linked article:

U.S. life expectancy has hit another all-time high (77.6 years) and deaths from heart disease, cancer and stroke continue to drop, the government reported Thursday.

Here is the second paragraph:

Still, the march of medical progress has taken a worrisome turn: Half of Americans in the 55-to-64 age group (including the oldest of the baby boomers) have high blood pressure, and two in five are obese. That means they are in worse shape in some respects than Americans born a decade earlier were when they were that age.

You can read the full article here:

I find it fascinating that these two sentences sit alongside each other in one article, from the Associated Press, no less. Despite the fact that deaths from diseases are dropping, the article still spews the propaganda that obesity is an epidemic that will kill us all. Our life expectancy just increased, yet they are still screaming that obesity is a disease that must be stopped. Don’t let them fool you.

The insurance companies, Social Security and Medicare are all worried about the large group of baby boomers that deserve the benefits that they have been paying for their entire lives. They are trying to find any loophole they can to exclude people and obesity is the one they are touting as the scurge of the health care industry.

Getting healthy and strong is important, but BMI isn’t the most accurate measure of health and strength. Don’t let the propaganda get you down. Make healthy decisions and live a strong life. Fight obesity prejudice wherever you find it.


The Benefits of Yoga

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

The Benefits of YogaThe article linked below is called “The Science of Yoga.” It’s a misnomer, because I expected it to go into detail about scientific experiments that try to explain the benefits of the practice. It didn’t.

It did talk about the benefits of the practice, however:

In physical yoga, the major actions are forward bends, back bends, lateral bends, inversions (with the head below the heart) and twists. There are poses that work on building strength, flexibility or balance; some poses work on all three.

The muscles at the core of the body—in the abdomen and pelvis—are worked and strengthened in yoga, allowing movements to be more graceful and centered because they are supported by the deepest muscles in the body. In addition, yoga focuses on creating a strong and supple spine, enhancing range of motion and quality of life.

I know researchers are studying yoga to find out the reason yoga poses affect human emotions as much as they do. Practioners cite immediate emotional responses to some of the yoga poses that benefit them. Is it the placebo effect or can the position of our bodies affect our mental states? Scientists are still researching this. For now, all we can do is follow along and see if it works for us.


Eating Disorders Can Be Tracked to the High Chair

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

Laura Lund 1973This is a study that tracked toddlers and their parents’ perception of their eating behaviors.

Parents of children as young as three years old subconsciously pressure their girls to eat less:

Researchers found that parents of 3-year-olds worried that their sons but not their daughters were underweight—even though the weights and body mass index of the boys and girls in the study were nearly identical. They also said that their daughters ate enough food, but their sons did not.

I KNOW this is true. I actually remember my grandma worrying about whether I was fat or not when I was four years old. It’s a vivid memory and sometimes I believe that my personality came into being on that day that I overheard my grandma badgering my mother about my weight. I look at those pictures from when I was four and I was NOT fat (see picture above).

Ron, Carol and Laura Lund 1973My grandmother had my entire family convinced that we were all fat. My dad is still struggling with those issues today. When you look at this picture, how could she have told any of us that we were fat?

Body image is a much more complicated thing than the number on the scale or the size of clothing that we wear. It can come from the most unexpected places and the perceptions of our parents can actually cause us to become what they think we are. I was not fat when I was four years old and my grandmother was so concerned about me, but I DID become fat later in life because I considered myself a fat girl for so long.

My grandma was just doing the best she could with the knowledge she had way back in 1973, but parents today have so much more at their disposal. Don’t let the worries that you have today become a fact in your child’s life years down the road. If you are concerned about your child’s weight, here’s the best advice I can give you.


Happy Chrismahanuhkwanzakah!

By Laura Moncur @ 10:19 am — Filed under:

I’m taking a couple days off writing, so I’ll see you after the holidays. May you have a healthy holiday this year.

Happy Chrismahanuhkwanzakah!

Whatever you do or don’t celebrate this season, may it be a joyful one!


How To Survive Christmas in the Office

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

If you work in an office, I’m sure you will understand this dilemma. Since last Monday, the breakroom has been filled with treats. The nice lady who says hello in that sweet voice brought each employee an individually wrapped gift of her famous gingerbread. A huge plate of various treats was abandoned at the front desk. That skinny wench who always has a candy dish on her desk has added a never-empty platter of chocolate chip cookies. Plus, on Friday, there’s the potluck.

How can you hope to keep eating healthy when all of this is surrounding you?

How To Survive Christmas in the Office:

  • Plan, Plan, Plan: If you eat a healthy breakfast, bring a healthy lunch and plan for a light dinner, you can easily allocate approximately 300 calories for treats. That gives you the freedom to try the yummy things that come your way.

  • Imagine The Office As a Huge Garbage Can: Remember when I said that you should regift or throw away any treats that you cannot have in your house? You can also bring them to the office. The 20-somethings in the mail room alone could wipe out all the treats that have been haunting you in your house. Plus, if the office is a huge garbage can, you don’t want to eat anything that was left in the breakroom, right? It would be like eating out of the garbage.

  • Treat Potluck Differently: The last two years, I treated the potluck Christmas lunch a little differently. I brought a vegetable platter and another healthy dish that I enjoy eating. I only ate what I brought. No one even noticed that I didn’t eat any of their food. They were all too interested in their own plates. I just sat down and ate what I would have normally eaten for lunch and no one was any the wiser. If someone asked if I tried the best of the treats, I replied truthfully, “I didn’t get any of that. I’ll have to go back for some.” I never went back, but by then, the casual banter had moved onto the latest office gossip.

  • Avoid The Temptation: When the breakroom is filled with treats and goodies, sometimes it’s easier to avoid the room than to keep from indulging. Throw on your coat and take a walk outside for your break. The cold air is invigorating and the exercise will remind you why you eat healthy in the first place.

  • Exercise A Little More: If your plan allows for 300 calories for goodies, think about how many extra treats you could eat if you did an extra half hour on the bike. I don’t recommend this as an all-year practice, but a little more exercise at this time of the year can mean the difference between enjoying the holiday or feeling deprived.

Sometimes I felt like the entire office was trying to get me to “fall off the wagon.” That’s not really the case. So much of our celebrations revolve around food that some people don’t know how to have a good time without it. All they are trying to do is bring a little cheer into the office. It’s your responsibility to accept the cheer without eating the food. You can do it!


How To Handle Neighbor Treats

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

You see them almost every day. Maybe they wave at you when you get into your car in the morning. Maybe you talk over the latest on those warm summer evenings. You know their first names and they offer to take care of your dog when you go on vacation. And… they bring huge plates of yummy treats to you for Christmas.

How To Handle Neighbor Treats:

  • Accept Them Graciously: They are just trying to say thank you for being a good neighbor. They don’t need to know that you haven’t eaten chocolate for three months. Graciously thank them for the present and be glad that they spelled your name right.

  • Decide What You Want: Do they look good? Do you even want to keep them? If you do, separate out your portion from the rest of the family’s portion.

  • Regift Them: If you don’t want them, send them to someone else. There is no shame in regifting. When they ask if you baked them, tell them no, but you hope they like them.

  • Freeze Your Portion and Ration Them Out: Decide how many calories a day you can spend on treats and separate them into daily servings. Freeze any servings that will take you longer than a week to eat. This way, you can enjoy your Christmas present well into January.

  • Worst Case Scenario – Throw Them Away: If you can’t regift them and you seem to be unable to ration your portion out, then throw them away. It’s better for them to go to waste than to go to your waist.

Because I have been eating healthy for so long, we rarely get neighbor treats anymore, but when we do, I look forward to giving myself a rare gift every once and a while. I have finally learned how to live with tempting foods and deal with them in a healthy manner. You can do it too!


Exercise Activity

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

Click here to read Ballard Street

When I talk about an exercise that makes you excited about exercise, this is what I’m talking about. Look at that guy’s face. He’s so excited to be out today! Next time you get on the treadmill feeling drugery, pretend that the most fun thing is right in front of you. If you could only run fast enough, you could catch it.

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