Airlines Discriminate Against “People of Size”

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

Seat 7A on Ted/United A320 by JohnCoe from Flickr

Here is a heart breaking story from Bev Sykes.

Bev was happily planning to attend her daughter’s baby shower for a long-awaited grandchild until she saw the fine print:

And there it was.

Rules for “people of size.” It appears that because I am a “person of size” (i.e., fat), I may not be permitted on the plane unless I buy a second seat.

I’m already seeing the number of times I can see our grandchild diminish because of the whole damn 300 mile distance thing and because the airline may feel I’m too damn fat to fit on their plane.

Even if I were to start dieting again now, it would be over a year before I could be considered a regular size person.

I really don’t know what I think about these policies. The airlines are stretched to the breaking point as it is and are barely able to make a profit. Making the seats bigger and able to fit normal people would probably put them out of business. Requiring someone who can’t fit into their tiny seats to pay for two is criminal. Then again, I’ve been on the receiving side of sitting next to someone who should have paid for a second seat.

20060422 Airline Seats by tspauld from Flickr

I might have more sympathy for the airlines if they spent less money on in-seat televisions. I REALLY don’t want an advertisement flashing in my face for three hours. I would gladly sacrifice that stupid TV for two more inches of butt room.

The worst of it all is the title of Bev’s blog entry, “I Hate Myself.” This is an issue of airline economics. How did the airlines make us feel guilty for being unable to fit into their tiny seats?

Her words say it all:

I may have finally done it. I may have eaten myself out of an early relationship with my long-awaited, already much loved grandchild.

The whole thing makes me want to cry…and probably eat, dammit.

According to Size Wise, the measurement of the width of airline seats ranges from 17″ to 21.5″. I just measured the width of my own butt and it’s 18″ wide. Am I a person of size? Do I have to pay for another seat as well? Even the thinnest of people are uncomfortable in airplane seats.

There is the concept of personal responsibility and there is the concept of airline economics. There has to be a happy medium between the two and until we meet it, it’s time to boycott companies that try to pass the blame solely to us.


Microwave Apples

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

Sometimes getting all your fruits and vegetables eaten is a challenge and sometimes it’s easy and delicious. Take the recipe for microwave apples, for example.

Microwave Apples from Flickr

Microwave Apples

  • One apple (1 point)
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon (0 points)
  • 1 packet of Splenda, Stevia, or Sweet N Low (if desired)

Total: 1 point

With a apple slicer, cut up an apple into bite-sized pieces. Sprinkle the apple pieces with cinnamon and sweetener (if desired). Cook in the microwave on high for two to three minutes.

Your house will smell like freshly baked apple pie and you will think you just ate some fresh apple pie as well. I used to make this on my break at work and all the engineers would come out of their offices to see where the yummy apple dessert was.

My favorite apples to do this with are Honeycrisp. I don’t care for Red Delicious, but I’m sure they would work with this as well. I’ve done this with Granny Smith, but they are so sour, not even a packet of Stevia can make them taste like apple pie.

Try this recipe out and tell me what you think.


Ellen Tries Out The Hawaii Chair

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

Yet another gadget in a long line of silly exercise machines, the Hawaii Chair is supposed to work your abs with no effort while you go about your day. Ellen was able to get her hands on a couple of them and tried them out.

Commercials can make anything look good, but when you actually see the products in real life, the veneer is gone and you can see how silly they are.

Next time you’re tempted to buy an exercise gadget that promises you the body you’ve always wanted, remember the difference between the commercial for the Hawaii Chair and the reality of Ellen trying to sit on one. It will save you money, but it will also save you false hope.

Eating wisely and exercising moderately will get you further than any exercise gadget on the planet.

Via: Hilarious Clip: Ellen DeGeneres Tries Hawaii Chair (Video) | TV Crunch


New Year’s Resolutions: Week 6

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

Every week, I’ll be giving you some direction for how to actually KEEP your New Year’s Resolution to lose weight or get more active. If you’re short on time, scroll down to the end and read “The Short Version” to get your weekly tips.

If you’re like a lot of people, you have given up on your New Year’s Resolutions, but are desperately trying to find SOMETHING that works. Somehow, you’ve found Starling Fitness. If this describes you, go back to New Year’s Resolutions: Week 1 and start from there.

If you have been faithfully following along since Week 1, this week is very much like last week.

Cut Your Intake By 100 Calories A Day

Your goal is to get to The USDA’s MyPyramid recommended daily calorie intake. If you complete their little questionaire, it will give you an idea of how many calories you should be eating every day. If you are still above that amount, then cut your intake by 100 calories a day.

If you are eating the right amount of calories every day, then keep it up. If you are eating LESS than the recommended amount, then increase your calories by adding healthy food. Never eat less than the USDA’s recommended daily calorie intake for your height and gender.

Save enough calories to eat two teaspoons of healthy oil each day

We talked last week about eating healthy oils. Increase your daily intake to two teaspoons. The USDA has a list of healthy oils that they recommend. My preferences are olive oil, flaxseed oil and sunflower oil. I don’t recommend just eating oil like medicine. Find a way to substitute healthy oils for other fats that you might use. How do I get my oils in? I cook with them and use them on salads. Sometimes I mix flaxseed oil with my cereal because I like the flavor of it.

Lean Proteins and Whole Grains

This week, manage your protein and “starches.” Choose lean meats with as little fat as possible. Choose whole grain breads and cereals over “white” bread. Choosing lean protein limits your fat intake and choosing whole grains increases your fiber intake. Both of these are supposed to be healthy. Once again, head over to the USDA’s MyPyramid to see the amounts recommended each day.

Plan One Non-Food Related Present Every Day

The longer you follow this program the more important it is to give yourself a non-food present every day. It will help you avoid the feeling of deprivation by finding non-food activities to nurture yourself. Since this is different for every person, think of some activities that you like to do. If you didn’t do this exercise, then go back to New Year’s Resolutions: Week 3 and work on finding out what these activities are for you.

Plan a non-food activity for yourself EVERY day and protect that time. It is your reward for eating healthy every day. You MUST reward yourself every day to stave off any feelings of deprivation that limiting your calories might cause.

Eat five servings of fruits and vegetables every day

One way to stay within your calorie range is to eat vegetables on a regular basis. You should be adding four to five 1/2 cup servings of fruits or veggies to your diet every day now. They are low in calories, provide essential vitamins and fiber and they keep you feeling full.

Save enough calories to eat two servings of dairy products each day

You need to make sure that you have enough calories saved up for two servings of dairy products every day. This is another healthy food to add to your diet. One cup of fat-free milk is approximately 110 calories. It’s probably your best option for adding calcium to your diet, so make sure you get two servings a day.

Increase Your Exercise

This week, I want you to increase your walking mileage to 1.75 miles five days a week. I want you to do it at the same time every day. If you want, you can increase your speed to really get yourself sweating, but if you end up sore the next day, you MUST slow down. It’s more important to exercise every day than to push yourself. Consistency is key. You need to learn the habit of exercising every day and that is WAY more important than going fast or covering a lot of miles.

If you are keeping track of your mileage, you can join us at Runner+ to track your miles and compete against other beginners.

Give Yourself Kudos

If you are still working toward your New Year’s Resolution, then you need to give yourself kudos. There are little boxes on the forms every day to give yourself a shiny sticker. Each day that you stay on the program, you need to acknowledge yourself and how good you are doing.

See you next week!

The Short Version:

  • Reduce your daily caloric average by another 100 calories. Write down EVERYTHING you eat including measurements and calories.

  • Choose lean protein and whole grains.

  • Save enough calories to eat two teaspoons of healthy oil each day.

  • Avoid the feeling of deprivation by finding non-food activities to nurture yourself EVERY day.

  • Eat five servings of fruits and vegetables every day.

  • Save enough calories to eat two servings of dairy products each day.

  • Increase your mileage. Walk 1.75 miles five days this week. You are allowed to increase your speed to the point of sweating, but if you are sore the next day you MUST go slow again.

  • Give yourself kudos for coming this far.



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

These billboards have shown up all over my town. Can I just say that it has taken me over a month to realize that it’s advertising a government website that is supposed to help you lose weight? Heck, it took me over a month to realized that it’s a picture of a belly with a valve like a beach ball. I guess following the plan on smallstep.gov will help “deflate” your gut.

Lose Your Gut Billboard from Flickr

I checked out the website and almost everything they recommend is a really good idea.

There are a bunch of recipes there, a list of 100 steps you can take to live a healthier life, and resources you can turn to if you need to lose weight.

I know a bunch of people worked really hard on this website, but I have my doubts about how helpful it will be. For example, their page about portion control is a huge block of text, when a few pictures would be so much more helpful.

A photo of what a serving of rice should look live versus what I am usually served at a restaurant is far more helpful than talking to me about limiting my portion sizes. Give me useful information, don’t preach at me.

If you need a link to the US Department of Health and Human Services, then Smallstep has your back. If you really need to lose weight, you are going to have to dig a little.


Space Food Sticks and Astronaut Food

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

Food fads look silly thirty years later, but I vividly remember wanting to eat the food that astronauts eat. I had never heard of Space Food Sticks , but I wanted a glass of Tang every morning. Even now, as an adult, I prefer the taste of Tang to real orange juice.

Here is a video from Pillsbury advertising Space Food Sticks:

The technical description of Space Food Sticks doesn’t sound appetizing:

A battery of food scientists at Pillsbury, lead by Dr. Howard Bauman, whipped up an energy stick that was actually edible. The long chewy stick could slide into an airtight port located in an astronaut’s helmet to provide essential nutrition in case of an emergency. Pillsbury released a commercial spin-off of their cosmic creation, imaginatively dubbing the product Space Food Sticks.

Described as a “non-frozen balanced energy snack in rod form containing nutritionally balanced amounts of carbohydrate, fat and protein,” the original energy bars came in several flavors including caramel, chocolate, malt, mint, orange and the ever-popular peanut butter. Aficionados will recall that the Space Food Sticks were wrapped in special foil to give them an added space-age appearance.

When you hear people who ate Space Food Sticks as a child, however, you might think they were a delicacy:

I remember eating them with many a lunch brought to school – peeling away the weird silvery paper (not the slick Mylar of today!) and biting into the weirdly homogeneous cylinder of snack! I can remember the flavor(s) even now. – Seattle,WA

We simply refered to them as “Space Sticks.” They were only around when I was a child, but my brother and I considered them a special treat – so much so we’d ask for them as Christmas presents. We were never allowed to eat more than two at a time but I always wanted more. Chocolate was my favorite flavor. – Pleasant Hill,CA

I had never heard of them before, but at only 44 calories, there was worse food that children could obsess over.

The food fads right now seem to be whole foods: whole grain, whole vegetables, whole wheat… I wonder if thirty years from now if any kids will be as excited about whole grain Captain Crunch cereal as kids were about Space Food Sticks and Tang.

Via: Retro Futurism: The Future Will Taste Like Space Food Sticks


Rice and Cottage Cheese

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

I’ve talked before about how much I love the rice cooker. I will cook several servings of brown rice or wild rice and then eat it in a variety of ways throughout the week. Here is another variation that I enjoy.

Rice and Cottage Cheese from Flickr

Rice and Cottage Cheese

  • 1/2 cup of brown rice (3 points)
  • 1/2 cup of fat free cottage cheese (2 points)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of jalepeno peppers (0 points)

Total: 5 points

Mix the rice, cottage cheese and jalepeno peppers in a microwave-safe bowl and cook for one to two minutes on high. The cottage cheese will melt and create a cheesy, creamy rice that tastes a lot like risotto without the extra calories.

If you use 1/2 cup of jalepeno peppers, this with count as one vegetable serving and 1/2 of a dairy serving.

Try this recipe and tell me what you think.


Quote of the Month: February 2008

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

Non-descript black cover from FlickrIf you are one of the many people who have bought a Starling Fitness Yearly Journal, then you know that the quote of the month is about bravery and patience. If not, here it is:

“We could never learn to be brave and patient, if there were only joy in the world.”

If you started the New Year off with a bang, then you might be running into the first stumbling stone right about now. Maybe you’re feeling hungry or you’re sore from exercising too much. Whatever it is, know that the joy from achieving your goals will outweigh whatever unpleasantness you’re feeling right now.

Take a few moments right now to really think about why you want to lose weight and get fit.

  • What do you want to look like?

  • What do you want to feel like?

  • What do you want when people see you for the first time? What about old friends who haven’t seen you for a while?

  • What kind of person will you be when you finally reach your goal weight?

Sit down with a piece of paper or write out what you want here in the comments section. Really visualize what you want and imagine the joy that you will feel when you finally get there. The stronger of a vision that you can get of the outcome you want, the more likely you’ll achieve it.

If you would like to order your own Starling Fitness Yearly Journal, you can do so here:

If you order it now, you can choose the month you want it to start and it will last you a year from that date. You won’t have to throw away any unused days from the first of the year. You can start fresh now.

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