PostSecret: I Miss Being a Lardass

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

This postcard from PostSecret showed up a couple of weeks ago.

PostSecret: I Miss Being a Lardass

It’s a pretty intense secret. It reads:

I’m 27 years old. Two years ago, I had surgery to lose 150 lbs. I am thin and beautiful now, but in my head, I still feel morbidly obese. I CAN NO LONGER HIDE BEHIND MYSELF and I am scared.

If you have ever wondered why so many people lose weight and gain it again, this postcard gives us an honest look into our minds. On the back of the postcard were written the words, “I miss being a lardass.” Getting healthy and staying there isn’t the same as just getting thin. It takes the entire body and mind to achieve and maintain that goal.

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.


What Are You Willing To Do?

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

Just this month, a new research study has been trying to find out what women want and how to convince them to take better care of themselves. You can read the summary here:

What was most interesting to me is what women are willing to do to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Here was the information:

What Women Do to Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

80% Drink more water
70% Eat more fruits and vegatibles
49% Read nutritional labels
47% Avoid foods that are high in fat
44% Make a conscious effort to lower calorie intake
44% Watch my sugar intake
43% Exercise at least three times a week

Source: Meredith/NBC Universal, May 2008

It seems that a lot of us are willing to drink more water and try to eat more fruits and veggies, but when it comes to the nitty gritty of living healthy, like limiting fat, sugar and calories, less than half of us are willing to do it.

What are you willing to do to maintain a healthy lifestyle? Are you going to go all the way and do EVERYTHING on the list instead of just the top two? It’s our decision.

Thanks for the tip from Sheri Bigelow at Design Simply.


How Choice Is Bad For Our Diet

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

I just watched this amazing video of a talk from Barry Schwartz about the paradox of choice.

I KNEW this lecture was going to be interesting when he flashed this on the screen.

Choices in your grocery store.These were how many choices he had when he went to his grocery store.

  • 285 Varieties of cookies
  • 75 Iced teas
  • 230 soups
  • 175 Salad Dressings

With all these food choices, you would think that it would make eating EASIER, but it hasn’t. It’s actually HARDER to choose a cookie, tea, soup or dressing. This vast freedom of choice means that we constantly have to make decisions. This can cause a variety of problems:

  • Paralysis rather than liberation: If you have ever faced a menu the size of a book, you might understand how difficult it can be to make a decision. Often people choose to make no choice at all. If you set aside your food choices until you are starving, you end up making the decision when you’re unable to choose healthy food.

  • Less satisfaction with your decisions: If you choose one healthy option instead of another, it’s easy to imagine that the other one would have tasted better or filled you up more. This makes the food you DID eat LESS satisfying. Whenever you are eating something, you are haunted by ALL the things that you’re not eating.

  • Escalation of expectations: With all the different options to eat available, your expectations about what makes a good meal goes up. If you had less choice, you would be just happy to be full. When someone offers you ice cream at their house, you’re just happy to have whatever flavor they have. When you go to Baskin-Robbins with all their flavors of ice cream, you expect the ice cream that you get to be perfect. “The secret to happiness is low expectations.”

  • Self-blame: When you eat something that doesn’t taste right or doesn’t make you feel full enough to last you, the only person to blame is yourself. You had all these choices and you chose WRONG. When you follow a strictly structured eating plan, like Jenny Craig, you can blame the plan or their food.

Barry Schwartz admits that some choice is better than none, but it doesn’t follow that more choice is better than some choice. We are overwhelmed with food choices every day and this has made eating a unsatisfying chore. If you decrease your choices, then eating is easier and more satisfying. “Everybody needs a fishbowl.” I believe this is why people are attracted to diets that limit the kind of food you are allowed to eat. It makes your choices easier and increases your happiness.

Via: Mind Hacks: 2008-05-30 Spike activity


Gardening: Grow Your Own Veggies

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

Grandpa Working in the Garden by Laura Moncur from Flickr

This is a photo of my grandpa working in his garden back in 2005. From fourth grade to my Junior year in high school, I spent every summer working in that garden. I would cringe when my grandma would call down to the basement, “Time to pick the beans!” I have scars on my arms from picking the raspberries. I can shell peas faster than anyone I know. Every summer, I repeated the mantra:

When I grow up, I will NEVER pick vegetables again.

Here I am, twenty-two years later, considering planting a garden of my own. It’s too late for this summer, of course, but if I want a garden next year, I have to start planning right now. What on earth would convince me to plant a garden?

  • My grandpa died last summer. Planting a garden would give me a connection to him that I can no longer have now that he’s gone.

  • Fresh veggies are EXPENSIVE lately. Growing my own might defer some of that cost (if I don’t count my time planting, tending, weeding and harvesting).

  • Vegetables from the store just don’t taste as good as my grandpa’s did. I remember being shocked at how wrong vegetables from the store tasted when I first got out on my own. I asked him about it and he said that it’s because they aren’t as fresh as his. I haven’t had a good tomato this season because my grandfather’s garden is fallow.

After years of cursing that garden, I find that I miss it incredibly and want to start one of my own. Only time will tell whether I do start my own garden or not, but this season, I will have store bought vegetables and only dream of snapping fresh green beans between my fingers.


Treadmill Bicycle

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

I couldn’t help laughing at this video for the Treadmill Bicycle.

If you love your treadmill as much as I do, then you know that deep down, you kind of wish that the treadmill bicycle wasn’t a joke. Honestly, I only like to run and walk outside when the weather is perfect. If it’s too cold or hot, I head for the treadmill and watch one of my walking videos instead.

Major props to the people at Bicycle Forest for thinking of the Treadmill Bicycle:

In all sincerity, though, funny gadgets like this remind us that all we really need to be fit are a good pair of running shoes and a door out of the house.

Via: CraziestGadgets.com » Treadmill Bicycle


Toad in the Hole

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

Sometimes the most simple and traditional recipes turn out to be healthy. Take Toad in the Hole, for example:

Toad in the Hole by LauraMoncur from Flickr

This simple dish is delicious and healthy. Here is the recipe:

Toad in the Hole


  • One slice of whole wheat bread
  • One egg
  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Spray the pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Using a glass, cut a hole in the whole wheat bread.
  • Place the bread in the pan and crack the egg into the hole.
  • Add salt and pepper.
  • Put a lid on the pan and cook for four minutes.
  • Toast the round piece.

Calories: Approx. 150 WWPoints: 3

I like to have this for breakfast because it’s very filling and will last me even if my lunch hour comes late in the day.


Update 03-18-10: I learned last month that this dish is NOT called Toad in the Hole. That is a sausages in Yorkshire Pudding dish, which I have never made nor tasted. This dish is called Eggs in a Nest. Mike’s mom always called this dish Toad in the Hole, so that’s what I called it here (since he taught me to make it). If you would like to see a variation of this recipe, here is another version:


Running on Wii Fit Island

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

Wii Fit at Amazon.comThere is no question in my mind what my absolute favorite activity on Wii Fit is: Running on Wii Fit Island. So far, I’ve opened up the Short Run, the Long Run, Island Lap and Free Run. With Free Run, I can run for 10-30 minutes without stopping.

When I first started working out with the Wii Fit, I was worried that I wouldn’t really be able to get a good cardio workout. The Aerobics activities were intense enough to get my heart rate into the high range, but they were only a few minutes long. With the addition of Free Run, however, I can get a REAL aerobic workout and enjoy the scenery of Wii Fit Island.

Here is a video of the Short Run:

Click Here To See The Video

This video only shows you a small part of Wii Fit Island. Here is a map of the running trails:

Map of Wii Fit Island by Laura Moncur from Flickr

Anyone familiar with the Nintendo/Mario Universe will recognize many little in-jokes and familiar sites. Wii Fit Town looks a lot like Delfino Square and the run through Rocky Peak is very much like a Mario Kart drive through Choco Mountain (try to see the choco boulders falling off the cliffs).

Everything that I wished for in that Island Worlds program, has come to pass in Wii Fit with the Basic Run and Free Run activities. They’re better, in fact, because I’m running with my Miis. Every time I pass a Mii that we created, it feels like I’m out exercising with my friends. If you watch carefully at the end of the video, Mike is waiting for me at the end of the run. Just seeing that one of my friends is ahead of me while I’m running makes me run a little faster to catch up to them.


Ask Laura: Plantar Faciitis

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


I know you’re not a medical authority. I know that you will begin your reply to this question with “talk to your doctor”. I also know you do a lot of running, know people who run and read a lot of articles on the subject.

So here goes…

I’m nearing a year ago when I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis. Since then, I’ve limited my walking/running to allow my feet to heal. If you’ve never had this, you can’t imagine how painful this can be.

While I looked good walking with a cane, it was no fun.

I want to start walking/running again, but whenever I do my feet hurt that night. I don’t want to reinjure myself. (The latest was actually when I fired up my Wii Fit and did the “running” minigame.)

I’ve always heard of people who just train through the pain.

Do you know of anyone who has plantar fasciitis and when they went back to training? Did it hurt? How do I know when it’s ok to go back to being active?

Any advice would be appreciated.



Actually, I DO know about the pain of plantar faciitis. I had it when I first started walking in the early nineties. I went to a doctor for it and he wrapped it. It wasn’t until months later that I found something to help it. I talked about it on Starling Fitness before:

Step StretchBefore and after exercise, I would do the Straight Leg Calf Stretch. After my cardio, I would also do Calf Raises after the stretch (about twenty per leg). Strengthening the calf muscle somehow protects those tendons at the bottom of my feet and I NEVER have that pain anymore.

You’re right, of course. You really should see a doctor to make sure that your foot pain isn’t something more serious. My doctor x-rayed my feet to make sure there weren’t any other issues.

I actually LOVE the running game on the Wii Fit. It is just like my walking videos and I love to pass the Miis that represent the people I know and love. Now that I’ve opened up the Free Run option in the Aerobics section, I have been running in place in front of my television every day.

Running on Wii Fit Island by Laura Moncur from Flickr

Do I “train through the pain”? A little, yes. Sometimes some exercise helps me work out some of the muscle soreness. There are other times when I have really overdone it, however, and I rest. We didn’t get fat overnight, so it’s alright to get slim slowly. Don’t believe the Biggest Loser mentality. You are doing GREAT if you exercise 3-5 times a week. That gives you plenty of time to rest between workouts.

Believe me, I KNOW that it’s easy to overdo it while playing Wii Fit. I was surprised at how much muscle soreness I had after doing EVERY exercise available on the program. Learning to take it slowly is something that I have been working on as well.

Thanks for being such a loyal reader and commenter, Ernie. I hope you know how much I appreciate regular readers like you.

Laura Moncur


The Social Implications of Weight

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

I love Braidwood’s writing on why she is trying to lose weight right now:

I would like to just not care what society says and not have my weight, up or down, be in reaction to establishment values. BUT, I am a mammal and it’s normal for me to want enough status in my group to be treated with respect and to have access to resources.

It’s true that we are judged every day by what our bodies look like. It’s not fair, but it’s true. As much as we’d like to change that, we’re going against thousands of years of evolution and a lifetime of conditioning. I’m sure that a lot of us want to be thin just so that people will adore and envy us.

Is that a “bad” reason to want to get healthy?

I don’t think so. External validation might be difficult to maintain, but it is an important facet of being human. What do you think?


Quote of the Month: June 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 Google. This is one of my favorite all-time quotes and you can see it here:

If you trust Google more than your doctor then maybe it’s time to switch doctors.

Jadelr and Cristina Cordova, Chasing Windmills, 08-21-06

Chasing Windmills is an online video drama that is a wonderful story of two young people in love. When she gets pregnant, they are both happy, but when she starts spotting they both get scared. You can see the episode here:

Click here to see the video

There are lots of times when people ask me advice about losing weight or exercising. I’m not a doctor or a nutritionist. The best advice comes from a health care provider that knows you personally and I just can’t give that advice. SO many times I want to tell you to talk to your doctor. If you haven’t done so, do it as soon as you can schedule an appointment. Only they can give you the best advice for losing weight and keeping fit.

You can see more of Chasing Windmills here:

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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