24 Hour Fitness Xpress Zone

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

24 Hour Fitness Xpress ZoneShe was extolling the virtues of Curves. I nodded politely while she described the circle of machines and the overhead announcements when it’s time to change. There is one within walking distance of our houses, so I was interested. The idea of going to a gym that only allowed women sounded unpleasant to me, but I kept that opinion to myself.

“It only takes 30 minutes to go through the circle twice and then I’m done.”

I nodded and agreed, “Yeah, 24 Hour Fitness has something like that. All the blue and yellow machines are in a line and you go down the line working each part of your body. I like it. They’re good machines as long as there isn’t someone just sitting there like a zombie instead of moving on like they’re supposed to.”

“At Curves, there is something on the overhead speakers that tells you when you’re supposed to change.”

“What are the machines like?”

“They are hydraulic things. Kind of like what keeps the door closed. “ She pointed at my screen door and I nodded again. “When you push harder on them, they give you more resistance.”

“At 24 Hour Fitness, they are real machines with weights that you can set. I don’t know why I don’t go there and do the workout. It’s so close. I should really do some weight training. It’s the only thing I haven’t really worked on.”

The next day, I went to my gym and did the Xpress Zone workout. Two days later, I was popping ibuprofen to dull the pain. I forgot how much it hurts to start weight training. I have been working out twice a week now for two weeks. I haven’t seen any results yet, but it has only been two weeks. I am going to give it two months of consistency and see how much I like it. It’s the final piece of the exercise puzzle that I haven’t tried yet, so I’ll keep you updated.

Converting the Prunophobe

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

Prune in a Port Wine Sauce (approximately 4 WW Points)

This website has a homemade recipe that will make even the most severe prunophobe enjoy the dried fruit.

Based on his ingredients, I believe the serving shown would be approximately four WW Points (depending on the marscapone to prune ratio). If you have been eating on the bland side, this dessert might be the exotic taste you’re looking for.


‘Obesity Epidemic’ Overblown

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

This article from UCLA shows, point by point, exactly what I’ve been saying about the “obesity epidemic.” It’s a great read.

The media has been throwing around the word epidemic as if it were a fact, but the true definition of an epidemic is far different that what is actually happening in the United States.

“The term ‘epidemic’ refers to the rapid and episodic onset of infectious diseases and is associated with fear of sudden widespread death,” said UCLA sociologist Abigail C. Saguy. “Deaths attributed to obesity are calculated using odd ratios, which are often only slightly higher for those in the obese categories. This is a much looser use of the term ‘epidemic’ than, say, the flu epidemic.”

In fact, recent research has found no appreciable difference in mortality rates among fat Americans with a BMI less than 35. Only 6 percent of the American population fall into that category, Saguy points out. Many more medical issues pose a greater threat to more Americans, most notably malnutrition and smoking.

If you have been bothered by my entries about Fat Acceptance, here is something to help you get over your fear. The health care industry has been trying to scare you to sell you pills, surgeries and gadgets. Releasing the fear and accepting all people, including yourself, as you are is the first step to getting healthy without their expensive alternatives.

Via: Big Fat Blog: UCLA Soc: Epidemic Overblown

PostSecret: Throw Up

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

PostSecret: Throw UpI never was able to do the purging after binges. I think that might have prevented me from eating as much. This postcard from PostSecret gives me a glimpse of what it would feel like if I had been able to make myself throw up.

I think this is a picture of a pregnant woman, but I am familiar with the feeling after a binge that makes your stomach feel bloated. There were times when all I could do was lay down after the binge. I am able to complete so much more in my life now that I’m not as obsessed with food. I wasted so much time lying on the bed when I could have been writing. I almost resent those bingeing years from stealing my life away from 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.


Half of Me Wants To Eat Everything

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

“Half of me want to lose the weight, but the other half wants to eat whatever I want whenever I want it.”

Tip the Scales in Your FavorHave you ever felt like that? It feels like there are two people within you raging a war against each other. When I feel like this, I feel powerless against either one of them and I thought I just had to wait to see who was the strongest. Ever since January 2002, the half that wants to be at a healthy weight has won out, but there were some scary battles there for a while.

I’ve just recently found out that I don’t need to sit around and wait to see who wins the battle. I can affect things for the better and give the half of me that wants to be at a healthy weight a huge club to beat on my other half.

When half of me wants to be healthy and half of me wants to eat, I’ve found that something strange is going on in my life. I have started “weighing” things. Weighing health against cream cheese brownies. Or maybe I’m weighing the feeling of fitting into Seven Jeans against the “freedom” to eat whatever I see. When I am thinking like this, I need to tip the scales back to the health side and it usually takes a couple of things to do it.

  • Kill the Deprivation: If I’m feeling deprived of cream cheese brownies, I need to find a way to work them into my diet. It usually only takes one or two servings spaced out over a couple days to kill the feeling of deprivation. If you find that you have been weighing your health against any food, it’s time to find a way to work it into your diet.

  • Conquer the Boredom: I also find that I get into ruts. I find foods that are low in calories that taste good and fulfill my health needs and I eat them every day… for months. The last time this happened to me it was fresh, cut veggies. I was having all my vegetables in the form of fresh and raw vegetables. When I started adding cooked broccoli and vegetable soup to my diet instead of the raw veggies, I found that it was easier to enjoy my food. I’m sure you have found the perfect snacks to keep you satisfied, but if you eat them every day for months, you WILL get bored of them and this eating healthy thing will start feeling yucky.

  • Feed My Head: Sometimes I forget why I eat healthy. It helps to go back and look at my old pictures to remember how hard it was to be fat. It also helps to read the newest health and fitness information. If I feed my head with images of healthy people and ideas for exercise, eating and health, it’s a lot easier to keep on track.

It takes all three of these things to tip the scales back for me. I’ve found that if I just do one or two of them, it’s not enough to tip the scales where they need to be. I need to bombard myself with all three techniques to get back on track. Give it a try and see if it’s a big enough club to beat into submission the half of you that wants to eat everything.


I Know You Will

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

Christmas was kind of hard on me this year. I let my bingeing creep back into my life during those two weeks of holidays. After Christmas, I got right back to eating healthy, but then I started bingeing again in Las Vegas during CES. I have been eating healthy for a couple of weeks now, but it is going to take some time for me to get back to the weight I was before Christmas.

It’s kind of frustrating.

At one point, Mike and I were out to dinner with a friend visiting his family here in Salt Lake. I was out of control at the restaurant and I ordered a huge cheesecake. I mumbled to Mike, “Right after Christmas, I’m going to get back on track. I promise.” It was a comment meant for Mike, but our friend responded, “I know you will.”

I crinkled my forehead at him. “What?” I asked. He continued, “I know you’ll get back on track because you’ve done it before. You have kept this weight off for what… five years?” I nodded, even though it had only been four years. He continued, “You’re the only person I know who has lost so much weight and kept it off. I’m sure you’ll get back on track. That weight is never coming back.”

He seemed so sure of it that he actually convinced me. I work at eating healthy every day, but I am constantly watching to make sure that the weight won’t come back. It’s something I have been fighting against this whole time. Somehow, to him, I had proven myself and I was now a skinny person in his mind.

When am I going to be a skinny person in my own mind?


Get Some Sleep

By Laura Moncur @ 6:36 pm — Filed under:

Get Some Sleep by Laura Moncur 01-27-06About two months ago, my leader at Weight Watchers brought up people who had gotten to their weight loss goal and achieved lifetime status (maintained the weight loss for six weeks). A lot of the people gave good advice in that meeting, but all I remember is a lady who has been at goal for a couple of years now.

My teacher asked the panel of people what they did for exercise to lose weight. The woman who answered was sheepish. She said, “I didn’t exercise at all to lose weight.” Everyone was shocked. She then added quickly, “but I allowed myself to sleep any time that I felt tired, no matter when it was. I think sleep is just as important as exercise.” I looked at her tiny frame and was amazed that she didn’t exercise to get where she was. She had lost almost 100 pounds without exercising. How did she do it?

This article might have an answer:

“Those who got less than four hours of sleep a night were 73 percent more likely to be obese than those who got the recommended seven to nine hours of rest, scientists discovered. Those who averaged five hours of sleep had 50 percent greater risk, and those who got six hours had 23 percent more.”

We need eight hours of sleep every night just to maintain our weight at a healthy level. When we are restricting our calorie levels to lose weight, we might even need more. I know that when I’m tired, I will reach for food to wake me up. I’ve just recently decided that I’m going to let myself sleep whenever I feel drowsy or tired, even if that means taking a nap in the middle of the day. If given the choice between exercise and sleep, I’ll choose sleep every time.

Beauty Kit by Pleix Films

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

Beauty Kit

The imagery of this small video is so vivid to me. Each of these Beauty Kits look like commercials for little girls. The look of excited anticipation of the little girl makes me think she got such a cool toy.

Next time you start comparing your body to the women on the magazine covers, remember the Beauty Kit and ask yourself if it is really worth it.

To View The Video: Go to Pleix Films, scroll down to the bottom and click on the Beauty Kit picture. You will need Quicktime to view them. It’s worth the download time.

Update 02-09-07: Now that plastic surgery has been performed on a 12 year old girl, this film just shows how prophetic it was…


Ask Laura: Neck Stiffness

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


I’ve started having neck stiffness since I started running. I know it’s from running because the stiffness goes away on the weekends when I don’t run. I stopped holding on to the handrails on the treadmill and I even had someone look at my form when I run, but they didn’t notice any problems.

Do you know any neck stretches that I could do before and after exercise to help with the stiffness?



Firstly, you might want to make sure your form is correct and there aren’t any underlying problems by seeing an orthopedic doctor or a physical therapist. After you’ve done that, here are a couple of stretches that might help with the stiffness and pain:


Ear-To-Shoulder Stretch

  • Stand up straight with your shoulders down.
  • Lower your ear as close to your shoulder as possible.
  • Raise your hand, place it on the top of your head and GENTLY lower your ear closer to your shoulder until you feel a good stretch.
  • Hold the stretch for 20 seconds and repeat.
  • Stretch the other side.

Intense Neck Stretch:

Neck Stretch - Starting Position Neck Stretch - Stretching Position

  • Grab your wrist behind your back.
  • GENTLY pull the arm toward the opposite hip.
  • At the same time, lower your ear to your shoulder.
  • Hold the stretch for 20 seconds and repeat.
  • Stretch the other side.

Upper TrapeziusThese exercises stretch the upper trapezius (shown here). You should feel the stretch in the highlighted areas. If you feel the stretch somewhere else, check your form and try again. The stretch should not be intensely painful. Always check with your physical therapist for more information.

If you are experiencing pain elsewhere, then there are other exercises and stretches to strengthen that area. You can find more information at the Exercise & Muscle Directory.

Good Luck,
Laura Moncur

Why I Believe in Fat Acceptance

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

Every time I post anything about fat acceptance, I get blasted. I try to edit out the most offensive comments before anyone sees them, but the articulate ones are left to bring about discussion. Considering that I am writing about health and fitness, it might seem strange that I’m such an advocate for fat acceptance, so I’m here to tell you why I believe that we need to be willing to see more fat people on television, in magazines and everywhere else.

The opposite of fat acceptance is fat fear, fat disgust, fat discrimination. I’ve been on the receiving end of that spectrum and, quite frankly, it didn’t feel so good. Now that I’m thinner, people are nicer to me. I had less problems in the business world. Everything just got easier. Is that fair? I’m still just as competent and efficient as I was when I was fat, but no one infers that I’m lazy anymore. I’m still just as witty as I was before, but people laugh at my jokes more now. More people look me in the eye. My insurance premiums are cheaper.

Is that fair?

Fat discrimination runs rampant throughout our society and it is accepted by people who would scream bigot if someone made similar comments about race or sexual orientation. Prejudice is fear and hate and I will fight both as ardently as I can. The reason people are prejudice against the obese is because they both fear and hate them.

Fat Hate:

People hate (or resent) fat people because they think fat people can eat whatever they want. They assume that the obese have never dieted a day in their lives. They rationalize that if someone is fat, they are lazy. It’s prejudice, plain and simple. People make assumptions about the obese based solely on their body type which have little to do with reality.

When I was fat, I was constantly starving. I was always on a diet or recovering from one. Exercise was harder for me back then than it is now, because I was packing 75 extra pounds. When I exercised, I burned more calories than I do now because I was so overweight. It was harder, yet I did it every day.

When I was fat, I worked hard at my jobs, yet I had to defend myself against implications that I was lazy all the time. Weighing 235 pounds had absolutely no effect on how many phone calls I could answer or how many insurance claims I could process every day, yet I was constantly defending myself against insults about laziness. Not even my daily performance, which was one of the highest in my group, could protect me from those insults. Only losing the weight changed their perception of me.

Fat Fear:

“Oh my God! Look at that woman! How does she live like that?! Oh please, don’t ever let that happen to me.”

Thoughts like these are far less detrimental to the obese than the prejudice of Fat Hate. They are far more detrimental to the person thinking them. People fear overweight people because they fear the prejudice of others. It doesn’t help that the media is constantly feeding the fear with threats of obesity causing diseases (as opposed to aggravating diseases that are already present).

Living in a state of fear is harmful. It is one of those low-grade stressors that accumulate in your mind and you wonder why your shoulders are tight all the time and you have the beginnings of an ulcer. Learning to accept fat people will lesson that fear and will help you more than you can imagine.

The day I decided that I was going to accept my body (fat and all), was the day that I let go of the fear. After a few months of truly accepting and loving my body for what it was, I started eating healthier to take better care of myself. I started exercising to make my heart healthier. I did all of these things to take better care of my body. I even joined Weight Watchers to learn how to eat healthier because I was so confused by all the diets I had put myself through during my fat years.

The lack of fat people in advertising, magazines, on television and in movies is just a form of Fat Fear. Hollywood is the worst offender in this category. Because being fat can kill the career of an actor or actress, is it any wonder that they fear? That’s why I applaud every magazine that features real-looking people. Don’t feed your fear of fat by only allowing images of the bone thin into your life.

Getting rid of Fat Fear is something that you do for yourself. When you are able to completely accept fat people without prejudice, you are actually helping yourself be healthier. Let go of the fear. It isn’t helping you. It’s harming you.

What I Don’t Agree About Fat Acceptance:

I hear the phrase “Diets Don’t Work” in the Fat Acceptance circles. I hate to disagree with them, but they are wrong. When you eat a healthy diet and consume less calories than you burn, you lose weight. It’s physics physiology. There is no way around it. Fad diets typically don’t work, but a healthy diet does.

I hear stories about people who insist that they ate correctly, but still didn’t lose weight. I think if someone had followed them around all day and kept meticulous track of what they ate and how they exercised, I’m sure they could have found the problem. When we are truly honest with ourselves, we know when we are cutting corners. Now that most food has nutrition facts, it is so much easier than it used to be.

I don’t believe that Fat Acceptance means giving up responsibility. Just because someone is fat doesn’t mean that they deserve the kind of abuse that I received. I believe fat people should be protected from discrimination, but I also believe that being thinner helps a lot of health problems. I chose to lose weight because I wanted my body to be healthy and last a long time, but I don’t think anyone has the right to discriminate against someone who is fat.

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