Question of the Week: 9/11

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

Five years ago, the World Trade Center crumbled to the ground in a rush of dusty fury.

Where were you five years ago?

Did you eat healthy and exercise that day?

What were you doing when you heard the news?

Did it affect the way you dealt with food?

What did you learn from that difficult time? What do you wish you had done better?

On September 11th, 2001, I had just started eating and exercising for my health. I hadn’t joined Weight Watchers, yet, but I did exercise regularly. Watching the World Trade Center get hit time after time on CNN was enough to send me into bingeing, though. Mike and I just sat in front of the television that night and watched the twin towers fall over and over again.

I wish I had learned to deal with emotions without food, but back then, I was still running to my addiction at every turn.

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: Fat Crush on Jenny

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

PostSecret: Fat Crush on Jenny

This postcard from PostSecret made me want to scream, “Tell her!” An emailed response was far more powerful, however:

—–Email Message—–
Sent: Friday, September 08, 2006 12:30 PM

Subject: fat crush on jenny

I am so fat and I did tell Jenny I have a crush on her and she did fall for me. And I didn’t even send that secret in. Crazy.

What are you avoiding because you consider yourself too fat? Is it a swimming suit? A trip to the beach? A new job? A beautiful relationship?

Don’t put your life on hold because of the shape of your body. Life is too short to hide your feelings for someone you love. Life is too short to wait until you have the perfect body. Live the life you want now.

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.


Ask Laura: Portable Milk

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

Yesterday's LunchLaura,

Yesterday, you showed a picture of a lunch. Was that your lunch? Where did you get that bottle for the milk? Did you buy milk in a little bottle and take off the label?

H. J. Tillman

H. J.,

Yes, that was the lunch I ate on Thursday. I have been bringing a glass of milk to work using those bottles for a couple of years now. I looked at every store in Salt Lake City to find a good bottle to put milk in, but I couldn’t find anything.

Powerade Thirst Quencher - Mountain Blast, 72 fl ozFortunately for me, Mike likes Powerade.

We bought two packages of Powerade in the small bottles. After Mike drank the blue stuff, I removed the labels and washed the bottles in the dishwasher. They don’t warp or get damaged, even when I use the heated dry (top rack). When they start to look a little gross, I throw them in the recycle bin and force Mike to drink more Powerade out of little bottles.

I know some people are worried that reusing bottles like this might be bad for your health, but that’s mostly an urban legend:

This method of taking milk to work has worked really well for me and I heartily recommend it. Don’t pay extra money for milk out of a machine or smaller containers from the grocery store. Just fill your own each morning and you’ll save money and get your daily supply of dairy.

Thanks for writing,


Bring Your Lunch To Work

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

Yesterday's LunchBruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough have written an article for Weight Watchers about how to perk up your lunch.

For me, it was always easier to bring a lunch to work than to try to go out to eat at lunch time. The restaurants are always so full and I hate worrying about being able to get back to work within an hour. Bringing my lunch was more about being able to enjoy my free hour calmly.

Bringing lunch to work is less expensive, too. I saved about five dollars every time I brought lunch instead of eating out. The cheapskate in me appreciates the thriftiness of bringing my own lunch far more than the health aspects.

In the end, bringing my own lunch to work made it so much healthier for me. I KNEW how many calories were in my lunch box. I didn’t have to guess like I do at most local restaurants. In the end, when I bring my lunch to work, I end up with healthier food, a calmer lunch hour and a fatter wallet. What more could I ask for?


Ask Laura: How Do You Keep Track?

By Laura Moncur @ 10:55 am — Filed under:


Do you just count calories then? Or do you pay attention to fat content as well? Just curious.



I have been struggling with keeping track of my food since last March. About two or three months ago, I stopped following the Weight Watcher plan and stopped going to the meetings. I essentially started The F**K It Diet again.

I told myself that keeping track of my food was making me obsess about it. All I did all day was think about food: what I ate yesterday, what I was eating today, and what I was going to eat tomorrow. I thought the dieting was making me focus on eating all day long, so I stopped keeping track.

I gained about twenty pounds.

But I learned something really important: it wasn’t the dieting that was making me obsess about food. When I stopped keeping track, I still focused all day on what food I was going to eat. Even though I could eat whatever I wanted whenever I wanted, I still thought about my meals with a strange interest. It wasn’t the dieting that made me obsessive about food.

I’m obsessive about food no matter what I do.

So, I decided that if I’m going to obsess about food no matter what, I’m going to concentrate on eating healthy while I do it.

CalorieKing Handheld Diet Diary Screen ShotsRight now, I’m easing off The F**K It Diet and back into a healthy calorie range. I am currently keeping track using Calorie King software. The company provided me with a free copy of the software to test it out and give a full review. I did a review of the software earlier this year (Starling Fitness » Review: CalorieKing), but they have just added the feature that will allow you to sync your Palm with your desktop computer. That missing feature before made it something that I didn’t want to use, so I’m testing it again.

As soon as I know whether CalorieKing works for me, I’ll do another review. For now, I’m keeping track of calories, but I might just end up going back to Weight Watcher Points.

Laura Moncur


Why I Don’t Trust Weight Watchers Points System

By Laura Moncur @ 3:38 pm — Filed under:

Weight Watchers Points make keeping track of calories very easy, but they are overkill. The Weight Watchers formula has been registered as a patented formula for giving values to food using calories, fat and fiber. I have a couple of problems with the Points Program:

  • Fat is counted twice: Fat is a macronutrient that accounts for nine calories per gram, so the Weight Watchers Points system counts it once with its calories and again as fat grams. It entices people to choose low fat foods, which might be a healthier option, but I find it to be inaccurate for calorie calculation.

  • Fiber is overrated: Fiber is an important macronutrient, but the Weight Watchers Points system weighs it far heavily than it should. Additionally, many diet foods have caught on to this and have added fiber to foods where it doesn’t occur naturally. If you carefully look at the food labels, many manufacturers have started adding the equivalent of a teaspoon of Metamucil to their food in order to lower the Points value.

Weight Watchers originally created this elaborate formula to encourage its people to eat foods that are lower in fat and higher in fiber. That’s a great philosophy, but it’s not good accounting. Keep track of what really counts: calories.

But Weight Watchers Points are so easy…

You’re right. They are. If you want to keep track of your food using the Weight Watchers Points, go ahead. It’s a relatively accurate system of monitoring your intake, and it’s better than not keeping track at all. If you are familiar with it and you like the program, stay with it. The first rule is to write down everything you eat. If you keep track of your calories using the Weight Watchers Points, it’s really just a shorthand and will work. If you don’t know the Weight Watchers Points, then don’t follow their system, just keep track of your calories. Calories are more accurate anyway.


Ask Laura: Treadmill Shopping Guide

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


I hate to be a bother, but since I have your attention – do you have any advice on what to look for when buying a treadmill? Hey, what a great idea for a blog entry!

(Of course, I’ll do a search in your archives.)



I haven’t written that entry because it’s so complicated. It depends on a lot of things, like your space requirements. We live in an 890 square foot house, so the only spot we had to put a treadmill was a tiny area in Mike’s office. It was essential that we had a fold-up design, so we compromised on horsepower and stability because of space.

We use ours so much that I wish we had gotten an industrial grade treadmill (like the kind they use in gyms). One that works with a Polar heart rate monitor would have been nice also. I thought the iFit thing would be important, but I rarely use it anymore. I used to use it a lot with a program called i2Workout, where I could program workouts that controlled the treadmill, but I haven’t used it lately.

The most important thing is to wear workout clothes and running shoes to test them out. If the store doesn’t let you test them, then don’t buy them. And REALLY test them out. Try running on them at top speed and see how they vibrate. Ours makes a lot of noise and it has been a bother because I will wake up Mike when I’m running, even though the treadmill is in another room.

I just remembered that Wendy Bumgardner wrote a few entries back in March about the latest treadmills. Maybe they will help:

I guess I WILL turn this email into an entry on Starling Fitness, if you don’t mind.

Happy Shopping, Laura

New Format

By Laura Moncur @ 10:35 am — Filed under:

For the next couple of weeks, Starling Fitness will be updating once a day (instead of twice a day). Feel free to leave comments on this entry about that and how it works for you.


Question of the Week: When Do You Exercise?

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

Sometimes WHEN you exercise is as important as what you do and for how long. Choosing your time carefully can keep your exercise routine a routine or kill it in the water:

What time of the day do you exercise?

How often do you exercise?

Does this work for you? Are you able to keep your exercise appointments or are you tempted to skip them?

What would be the best time for you to exercise and how often?

What have you done in the past? Did it work?

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.



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

Bonking happens when you are exercising and your glycogen stores run out. It’s like running your car on fumes, except your car doesn’t have fat storages to draw from. It has been described as painful and long distance racers avoid it by loading up on high calorie supplements like Gu Energy Gel and PowerGel.

You can find out more information about bonking here:

Bonking is actually a very rare condition and usually only shows up during extreme exercise. Of course the marketing for products like Gu and PowerGel don’t want you to know that. They hype their products by providing them for free to the extreme athletes who need them, focusing the cameras on Lance Armstrong when he sucks down a mouthful of the sugary stuff.

Most of us are exercising to get rid of the fat in our bodies. Consuming mass quantities of sugary goo is counter-productive to that goal. If you are going to be exercising for more than an hour, eat half a banana before your workout. Longer than that should probably be broken up into two workout sessions.

There is also the idea that doing extreme exercise in the morning before breakfast, when glycogen levels are low, burns more fat than doing the same amount of exercise after eating. This hasn’t been proven and can lead to dizzyness and shaking. Be careful and listen to your body.

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