Dying to be Thin by NOVA

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

I just finished watching the online episode of Dying to be Thin from PBS. You can view it here:

The show is packed with interesting quotes:

“Everyone wants to know the secret to being thin because that… that’s success… that’s love, that’s glory, that’s power – that’s a crock.”

“Sometimes they make it look so glamorous to have an eating disorder.”

“In some ways we all have distorted views of what is beautiful. And the repeated exposure to a particular image teaches you to like that particular image. And we have become so used to seeing extremely thin women that we have learned to think that this is what is beautiful.”

“The whole society is involved in the perfection game; that we can all fix our bodies, make our bodies over. “

“I see the common theme in all of this is that women are using the appetite as a voice and they’re using the appetite to express different things depending on their situation.”

“When I was heavy, I was ignored instead of nurtured. And when I was really thin all of a sudden I was nurtured and taken care of and the teachers loved me and they cared about me. Gaining weight was the worst thing. I was just so ashamed of my body. I felt like I was the biggest failure.”

“The scale becomes your altar. It becomes the site where you pray every morning. You pray that it will be down another pound or another ounce or anything to show that the work that you’re doing – and the work is starving – is working, because other things in your life aren’t working.”

“I believe that very few women escape a battle with their bodies.”

“During a binge people will typically report something changes. At least they feel numb – they’re not thinking about whatever it is that they were worrying about. So there is a reward there. They don’t feel good, but they feel different and they feel some relief.”

“Plus size is no different than being skinny. It’s just another way of being beautiful.”

It was a little glurgy at the end with the “cured” girl writing a letter to the hospital that treated her. but it had a lot of good things to say also.

The most interesting portion of the show for me was the section about bulimia. I don’t have purging problems, but I have dealt with bingeing ever since childhood. I was surprised to learn that it takes about three months of staying away from bingeing before the body recovers and starts acting like a normal digestive system. The signal of fullness isn’t as strong with someone who has regularly binged as with a normal person, and it takes three months of not bingeing to start getting back to normal.

I’ve never gone three months without bingeing my entire life.

That’s probably why weight loss is still a struggle for me, so my new goal is to refrain from bingeing for over three months. That is what I’m striving for to get my body back to normalcy. This was a very helpful documentary for me, even though it focused on anorexia nervosa instead of binge eating.

Via: Online Documentary Illustrates Devastation of Anorexia

Strawberry Basil Bruschetta

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

Food Porn: Strawberry Basil Bruschetta

The original recipe for this treat is relatively low in calories except for one ingredient: marscarpone, which is a creamy cheese that is usually a little sweet.

A Blithe PALATE: Strawberry Basil “Bruschetta”

A simple substitution can create a beautiful and healthy treat that will make you feel like you’re eating decadently for less calories than a Twinkie.

2 slices cinnamon raisin bread
1/4 cup sugar free and fat free yogurt (instead of the marscapone)
1 T honey (because the yogurt is sweetened, use less honey)
4 large strawberries, rinsed and hulled, cut in half
1 T fresh basil leaves, chopped into a fine chiffonade

Follow their directions:

“Toast the slices of bread, then cut diagonally for four toast “points.” (Alternatively, you can use a round cookie cutter and cut out toast rounds; cutting diagonally simply prevents waste).”

“Mix together mascarpone and honey. Pipe or spread honey mascarpone mixture onto bread. Sprinkle with basil chiffonade. Top with strawberries and remaining basil.”

Depending on the brand of cinnamon raisin bread, the calorie count will range between 150-300 calories. If you are careful when you buy your bread, you can have a low-calorie treat that makes you feel like a pampered aristocrat.

Via: Food Porn: Strawberry Basil Bruschetta – Slashfood


You Are Beautiful

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

Margaret ChoMargaret Cho has floored me again. A radio DJ asked her, “What if you woke up tomorrow, and you were beautiful? I mean really beautiful. You were 19, blonde, weighed 110 pounds, 5’11” and beautiful. What would you do?” This is her response:

These are my favorite quotations from her answer:

“Just because you are blind, and unable to see my beauty doesn’t mean it does not exist.”

“I have to believe that I am beautiful because if I don’t I will die. How I lived when I was convinced I was ugly: I starved myself, and fucking fucked as many people as possible.”

“I am so beautiful, sometimes people weep when they see me. And it has nothing to do with what I look like really, it is just that I gave myself the power to say that I am beautiful, and if I could do that, maybe there is hope for them too. And the great divide between the beautiful and the ugly will cease to be. Because we are all what we choose.”

Bookmark this epistle from Margaret and every time you start to compare yourself to the model on the cover of SELF magazine, go back and read it.

Vat Grown Meat

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

In the science fiction books of Lois McMaster Bujold, the more “civilized” planets produce “vat grown meat”, which is genetically produced meat tissue. All of the flavor, vitamins and fat with none of the cruelty. It looks like there is a patent registered with the United States for this process.

If this is process can be refined and made feasibly available, I would be a very happy camper. I enjoy eating meat, even though I also feel a responsiblity to animals. It’s hard for me to even consider giving up meat, even though I know that our planet’s resources could be put to better use if we weren’t feeding so many cows grain that could be used to feed humans. If they invented vat grown meat, I would choose it over conventionally grown meat every time, even if it cost twice the money.

I’ve been waiting for this invention for about ten years. Get it on the market already!

Via: Patently Silly :: Method for Producing Tissue Engineered Meat for Consumption


Weighty Matters

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

While I was at the South By Southwest (SXSW) Conference, I met an amazing woman, Tish Grier. I have been enjoying her personal weblog, so imagine my surprise when she writes an entry about the gym that hits home with me.

If I had known all this was lurking under the surface of her skin, I would have given her a great big hug when I had the chance in Austin.

“It begins to bother me even more about my weight, that I can’t be happy just the way I am because there are all these messages around me, all this pressure, that guilts me into thinking that I should do my best to try to have that body I had when I was in my late 20’s…that great-looking un-traumatized body that only comes, quite truthfully, once in a lifetime…”

The truth is, the media IS trying to make us feel inadequate because it’s so much easier to sell us stuff when we are. If you have been feeling like you need to live up to anyone’s expectations but your own, take a break and write it out just like Tish did. You might not be able to get to the bottom of the issue in one sitting, but you should be able to find a nugget of truth that makes you feel better.

Whole Foods Stretching The Truth

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

Whole Foods has been using a lot of marketing surrounding their organic produce and foods. Some of this marketing is hype according to this Slate article by Field Maloney.

Here are a few of their marketing statements that are misleading:

  • “Save energy” is misleading because it takes far more energy to transport “organically grown” tomatoes from Chile than to transport conventionally grown tomatoes from New Jersey.

  • “Help the Small Farmer” is misleading because most of the organic food grown in the United States comes from a few large California farms. Although many small, family-run organic farms exist, their market share and representation at Whole Foods are minuscule.

  • “Our Commitment to the Local Farmer” is misleading because few products are obtained locally and “grower profiles” depict organic farmers whose products are not on the shelves.

I tend to buy organic produce when it is readily available. I have convinced myself that it tastes better, but I have never tested myself in a blind taste test, so I think it’s just an excuse I’ve made in my mind. I don’t believe organic is inherently better than food grown with chemical fertilizers and pesticides, but I tend to buy it if I have the choice.

“Credo quia consolans.” (I believe because it consoles me.)

Via: Consumer Health Digest, March 21, 2006


FDA Defines Whole Grains

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

So many companies are jumping on the “Whole Grain” bandwagon that the FDA has drafted a guidance for what companies are allowed to call whole grain.

“The Food and Drug Administration has issued draft guidance on what the term ‘whole grain’ may include. The FDA document clarifies that the agency considers ‘whole grain’ to include cereal grains that consist of the intact, ground, cracked or flaked fruit of the grains whose principal components—the starchy endosperm, germ and bran—are present in the same relative proportions as they exist in the intact grain.”

I’m glad that the FDA is setting up guidelines to protect us from companies that are trying to profit off the obsession with whole grains instead of actually making products that are made with them. Now, if the label says “whole grain” it better mean something or they’ll have the FDA breathing down their neck.

Via: Consumer Health Digest, February 21, 2006


Question of the Week: Laura’s Writeup

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

When was the last time you enjoyed exercise?

What about it did you enjoy?

The last time I REALLY enjoyed exercise was when I came home from my trip to SXSW. On the trip, I had been working out at the hotel gym, which is different than my weight bench and treadmill at home. I also had to share the equipment with other people, which I hate. I didn’t have to deal with any gross, sweaty people, but I’m kind of spoiled now. I don’t want to have to wait for equipment. I want to go from exercise to exercise quickly without having to ask the 98 pound girl for the 8 pound weights. I just want to go through my workout without seeing or talking to anyone. I didn’t realize I had gotten so set in my ways until I had to “play nice” at the hotel gym.

When I got home from my trip, I looked forward to working out at home. The next morning, I walked downstairs to my claustrophobic basement and enjoyed every minute of my weight training workout. I even upped my weights because I was in that good of a mood. I just moved from one exercise to another seamlessly. The weight training portion of the workout only took about 30 minutes and I was disappointed when it was over. I even considered doing another circuit, but I worried about overworking my muscles, so I kept it simple.

After the weight training, I went upstairs and rode the bike on my bike trainer. I have my bike placed right in front of the television in the living room, so I can watch whatever I want. I put in a DVD and pedaled away without even feeling it. I kept checking my heart rate monitor to make sure I was still in the high zone. I was easily above that mark and I just kept riding for longer than I needed to.

I think I liked this workout so much because I was able to just get in and get it done very easily without having to encounter any other people. I didn’t have to check in at a desk. I didn’t have to wait for the 8 pound weights. I didn’t have to try to learn new machinery. I didn’t have to spray down the bike after I was done. All I had to do was wake up, get dressed and work out.

I don’t remember working out at home being so easy before. I used to have a full weight system, treadmill, exercise bike and stair stepper at home when we lived in the huge house in the suburbs and I don’t ever remember enjoying a workout at home as much as I did the other day. I don’t know what’s different. Maybe it was the years of working out at the gym and dealing with other peoples’ sweat that has made me so grateful to just stay home. Maybe exercise is just more of a habit for me. I don’t know, but I’m sure glad that it feels this good.

Question of the Week

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

When was the last time you enjoyed exercise?

What about it did you enjoy?

The Question of the Week is meant to be an Inner Workout for you. Find some time during the week and allow yourself to write the answers to the questions posted. You can write them on paper, on a word processor or here in the comments section. Whatever works for you as long as you do it.

Keep writing until you find out something about yourself that you didn’t know before. I’ve also heard that it works to keep writing until you cry, but that doesn’t really work for me. Whatever works for you. Just keep writing until it feels right.


PostSecret: Soap

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

PostSecret: Soap

Damaging food so that you can’t eat it is one way of avoiding overindulgence. It’s true and I’ve done it.

I usually put my napkin on the food and press it in so that I won’t want to eat it. It’s as if the napkin has “contaminated” the food. I’ve also poured water on my leftovers so that I wouldn’t pick at them while I waited for the waiter to take it away. I’ve heard that pouring salt over food is supposed to work, but I crave salt so much that I don’t think it would be much of a deterrent for me.

What if I didn’t need to damage food in order to be “safe”? What if I was able to leave a half-eaten entree on the table untouched? Would I be cured then? Is that my next test? I won’t take the food home in a container. I won’t damage the food so I can’t pick at it. I won’t share the food with someone else. I’ll just let it sit there, untouched. I think that’s my next step in this evolution.

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.

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