iPoint Calculator for your iPhone

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

iPoints keeps a daily tracking of your Points.If you have an iPhone, there is an application that can track your Weight Watcher Points as well as calculate the points for certain foods. You can find out more about it here:

You can easily add what you ate and save your favorite foods so you can easily add them the next day. Right now, it only keeps track of one day and then you have to clear it to start again the next day. Additionally, the activity points don’t deduct from your used points. They also don’t account for Flex Points. You have to work them into your daily points total.

You set your daily points total yourself.Park East, Inc. have the following updates in the works:

  • Weekly point recording
  • Ability to export your log to formatted email
  • Addition of other fields, such as “oil”
  • Flex points (which will deduct from)
  • Exercise points (also will deduct)

I have seen other programs like this for the Palm format that have been served cease and desist papers by Weight Watchers in the past, so hurry and download iPoint before it mysteriously disappears.


St. Thomas Aquinas And Gluttony

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

St. Thomas AquinasWhen I looked for the patron saint of the chubby, I found St. John Climacus, but somehow, I missed the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas. He argued that gluttony could also include an obsessive anticipation of meals, and the constant eating of delicacies and excessively costly foods. Here are his six methods of committing gluttony:

  • Praepropere – eating too soon
  • Laute – eating too expensively
  • Nimis – eating too much
  • Ardenter – eating too eagerly
  • Studiose – eating too daintily
  • Forente – eating too fervently

An excerpt from The Gluttonous PunishedThe idea that eating can be a sin is prevalent in our society. Almost every disdainful look at a person because of their weight can be linked to the thought that gluttony is a sin. There is some innate human preference to a thinner appearance, but most of the aversion is because of the concept that being fat is sinful. This hasn’t really helped our society, and in some cases, I believe it has made things worse.

When it comes to healthy eating, however, did St. Thomas Aquinas have a good idea?

  • Praepropere: I can’t deny that it is harmful if I eat too soon or eat when I’m not hungry. My biggest problem is recognizing that I’m hungry. Too often, I have let myself get too hungry and then I wolf down WAY more food than I need. Recognizing the proper hunger signals is a skill that few of us are taught.

  • Laute: During the Middle Ages, St. Thomas Aquinas suggested that eating food that is too expensive was a sin. I hear this argument even today when people say that eating meat is too much of a strain on the environment and if you want to reduce your carbon footprint, you should eat vegetarian. It is the underlying assumption for the whole food movement. Eat simply, is the battle cry of laute. I have eaten both ways and I honestly feel better when I eat fresh, whole food, so maybe there is something to this argument.

  • Nimis: Anyone with a full stomach after too big of a meal agrees with the idea that eating too much might be a sin. There is actually pain involved, so it’s hard to argue with something that actually causes pain.

  • Ardenter: Eating too eagerly is kind of ambiguous to me, but it seems to mean eating too quickly. I know if I eat slower, I eat less. Taking small bites and chewing my food completely helps with my stomach problems AND helps me eat less food.

  • Studiose: – When I first wrote this entry, I had no idea what eating too daintily might mean, but the excellent Raven left a comment saying that she thinks it means being too picky. I have to admit that I was brought up to eat whatever I was offered, even if I didn’t like it, so I’ve never really had this problem. I can understand how St. Thomas Aquinas might consider this to be a problem, however. Rejecting food because it doesn’t please you can be just as wasteful as eating it when you’re already full.

  • Forente: Does eating too fervently count as eating too quickly? Is it just another wording of the same thing or am I missing something here?

On the whole, St. Thomas Aquinas had some good ideas about healthy eating. I think the idea that overeating is a sin has harmed us far more than helped us, but the ideas of eating slowly only when we’re hungry and not eating too much are classic concepts that shouldn’t be shunned.


Battle of the Deadly Sins

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

In the left corner, weighing it at 105 pounds, you have Vanity. In the right corner, weighing in at 250 pounds is Gluttony. Who will win in this Battle of the Deadly Sins?!


VanityMy whole life, I was told that being vain is wrong. Maybe vanity was never properly defined for me, because I feel vain whenever I care about my looks. Is merely looking into the mirror a deadly sin? The dictionary defines vanity as an inflated pride in oneself or one’s appearance. Is it just the inflated part that is wrong with vanity or is it any pride in one’s appearance.

Does dieting count as vanity?


GluttonyIs the fact that I’m fat mean that I’m a glutton? What about all those days that I starved myself? What if I’m fat and I don’t eat today. Am I still a glutton? The definition for gluttony is more simply defined as excessive eating or drinking, but the simplicity doesn’t make it any easier for me. Is drinking fifteen glasses of water a day gluttony? Is gluttony a permanent thing? What if a skinny person eats a lot of food all the time?

The Loser

The true loser is humanity. The seven deadly sins were first coined by Evagrius Ponticus, a 4th century monk. Nowhere are they listed in the bible. Focusing on the sin aspect of pride and eating has been the biggest detriment to humanity.

It’s alright to care about what you look like.

It’s alright to eat when you’re hungry or even eat for pleasure.

It’s when either of those aspects of life start to threaten your health or happiness that they can be detrimental to you.

Don’t worry so much about your looks that you’ll have risky surgical procedures or starve yourself.

Don’t eat so much that it is wasteful or harmful to your body.

We do so much better when we look through life without the coloring of sin. If you are hungry, eat. If you feel attractive, rejoice in it.


Review: Champion Action Shape Sports Bra

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

Champion Women's Action Shape Sports Bra at Amazon.comI have been running for years. The BEST jogging bra I have been able to find has been the Champion Action Shape Sports Bra. I have tried every kind of jogging bra out there and this is the absolute best. Here are the reasons:

Keeps everything in place

The most important reason to wear a sports bra is to keep from bouncing. With the Action Shape bra, I never have to clutch my arms around my chest during the fastest part of my run in an effort to prevent pain. EVERYTHING stays in place.

No Uni-boob

I know it sounds vain, but I don’t like the Uni-boob effect that I get with some other jogging bras. I don’t like the rubbing between my breasts (not to mention the sweat) and I think it just looks ugly. The Action Shape separates enough to make me comfortable.

No chaffing

Chaffing is the other reason to have a sports bra. My most sensitive areas are my nipples, where the straps hit my shoulders, and the bottom elastic on my ribcage. I have never had chaffing with the Action Shape, no matter how long my run. I can’t say the same for any other jogging bra I’ve tried.

They last FOREVER

THIS is the BEST feature of the Action Shape bra. They easily last a year or two. I usually buy three bras, wearing them each for two workouts a week. I wash them in the washer and dryer without taking any unusual precautions and they last forever.

Here are the disadvantages:

Champion Action Shape Sports BraYou can’t wear it without a shirt

For all you nearly-nudists at the gym, this sports bra LOOKS like a bra. Despite the discreet bra hook coverup, it really DOES look like a bra, so you can’t bear your midriff with this sports bra without looking like you’re just shirtless.

The velcro shoulder strap adjustments can go awry and scratch your back shoulder

This is VERY rare, but the velcro that holds the bra straps at your desired length can get damaged and curled after MANY washings (I’m talking a year’s worth). No matter what you do, it will always turn wrong and scratch up your back shoulder. This is nature’s way of telling you to buy a new bra.

In the end, the Champion Action Shape bra is the best bra for running out there. I live in CONSTANT fear that Champion will discontinue them. I bought my first Action Shape bras at Lady Footlocker, but they stopped carrying those particular bras. Now, I buy them from Amazon.com here:


Complete Running Reviews the Nike+ Sportband

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

Nike+ SportsBand

Nora at Complete Running wrote a review of the Nike+ Sportsband. You can see it here:

Positive Aspects:

  • It can be used without having to be plugged in to music
  • It’s sleek and not heavy.
  • It tells displays time, distance, and pace.
  • At $59, it’s cheaper than a Garmin.

Negative Aspects:

  • The connectivity is not always great
  • Difficulty installing the software to work with the sportsband
  • If you don’t wear Nike shoes, you have to get creative.

I didn’t know that the Nike+ Sportsband didn’t use iTunes to sync with Nike+. THAT is the deal breaker on a gadget like this. When will Nike learn that they should leave the computer programming to Apple? They obviously didn’t learn it when they built their website and they are making the SAME mistake with the Nike+ Sportsband. If you are looking for something to log your runs, you’ll do better with an iPod Nano and the Nike+ kit instead.


801-FAT-BIKE: UDOT Misses The Mark

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

Fat Bike

When I saw this billboard in my town, I was kind of ticked off. The Utah Department of Transportation had kind of a good idea. The billboard read:

Burn Fat,
Save Gas
Get Started

Suggesting that you can lose weight and save gas money is exactly what will happen if you ride your bike to work. Unfortunately, billboards don’t solve the problem of “Why don’t more people ride their bikes to work?”

Honestly, it’s because of the way YOU have designed the roads, UDOT. Your so-called bike lanes are merely gutters with style. There is NOTHING preventing cars from swerving into our lane, using it as a turn lane or swishing past us with such speed that the wind could knock us down. What we need are WIDE sidewalks that can accommodate bikes AND pedestrians. Or maybe even completely separate bike lanes with dividers that give us a little space and protection from the cars. Billboards aren’t the answer.

Ironically, on Wednesday when I called the number on the billboard, the phone just sat there ringing. No one answered and the voice mail that came on was a generic plea to leave a message.

Hello, people of Utah. It is possible to ride your bike to work safely and efficiently. Here is a list of tips that will help you get to work without getting in an accident or stinking to high heaven.

Since the UDOT website is completely useless, hopefully one person will see this and have some hope that it is possible for them.


Bored? Don’t Eat, Think.

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

I find myself at the fridge when I\'m bored.There have been so many warnings about boredom and eating. Ever since I was a child, I have been accused of eating when I was bored and it was true. I STILL catch myself walking to the fridge when I’m feeling a little bored.

This article from the New York Times got me thinking, though:

They say that boredom is the mind’s way of organizing our thoughts.

Yet boredom is more than a mere flagging of interest or a precursor to mischief. Some experts say that people tune things out for good reasons, and that over time boredom becomes a tool for sorting information — an increasingly sensitive spam filter. In various fields including neuroscience and education, research suggests that falling into a numbed trance allows the brain to recast the outside world in ways that can be productive and creative at least as often as they are disruptive.

So, how can I avoid overeating when I’m bored? When I find myself at the fridge looking to eat, even though I’m not really hungry, I need to remember to sit down and zone out. I need to give my mind the rest it is asking for. Filling that rest time with food keeps my mind numbed, but if I allow it to rest without the food, it will also get what it needs.

I think that’s why people recommend a hobby for people who are trying to lose weight. A repetitive hobby like crochet, knitting or woodworking can give your mind the rest it needs without filling yourself with food.


Make Dumbbells Out Of Old CDs

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

Make dumbbells out of old CDsIf you have been wondering how to incorporate your weight training with your home decor (and maybe even storage), here is an idea:

Danny made 10 pound dumbbells out CDs, a bolt and nuts:

150 CDs, about 75 on each side, on a threaded rod from the hardware store and then (8) bolts to hold it all together. No tools needed. Just thread it all and bolt it tight.

They weight about 10 pounds each and I actually love the shiny look of them. I made two of them and they are sitting in my living room. Very handsome looking items I must say!

If you were worried about where you would store your old CDs after you ripped them and where you would put your workout gear, there are two birds offed with one stone with these bad boys!

Via: Craftzine.com blog: HOW TO – Turn Old CDs into Dumbbells


Make Dieting Easier By Limiting Choices

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

The Starling Fitness Yearly JournalI’ve heard it time and time again from other people. They don’t want to journal because it’s too much work. I have felt the same thing. The idea of writing down everything I put into my mouth just feels like such a burden.

Honestly, it EASY. Keeping a food journal is the EASY part. It’s the constant deciding what to eat that will be healthy that is the taxing part of keeping a food journal. It’s the decision-making process that makes it difficult. According to this article by On Amir from Scientific American, they have studied this phenomenon.

They say that making decisions is tiring and a burden.

These experimental insights suggest that the brain works like a muscle: when depleted, it becomes less effective.

That’s all well and good, but what do we do with this knowledge. According to Mr. Amir,

[W]e should take this knowledge into account when making decisions. If we’ve just spent lots of time focusing on a particular task, exercising self-control or even if we’ve just made lots of seemingly minor choices, then we probably shouldn’t try to make a major decision. These deleterious carryover effects from a tired brain may have a strong shaping effect on our lives.

So, how can we make dieting easier for ourselves? We are bombarded with choices every day that deplete our decision-making abilities. Here are a couple of tips:

  • Limit your choices: When you go grocery shopping, shop at a smaller store. Instead of choosing between seven brands of canned tomatoes, you will only have two. You can choose to buy only a certain brand of canned food. You can choose to only shop within a certain radius of your home. That’s why people who eat the Subway diet, The Flavor Point diet, and even the grapefruit diet can be successful. Any arbitrary limitation will help you make decisions easier and save your brain power for the most important decisions.

  • Make the decision now: Group all your decision-making into one session and then rest afterward. That’s why menu planning can be helpful. Instead of an endless stream of decisions all day long, you can make all of your food decisions once a week and then follow the plan religiously. This might be taxing the one day of the week when you plan your menu, but the rest of the week leaves your decision-making skills for the really important things like work and family. If you would like a weekly planning spreadsheet, you can download one here: Weekly Meal Planning Spreadsheet

  • Make rules set in stone: If you set up rules for yourself that you are NEVER allowed to break, then there is no decision to be made. That’s why a lot of people have success with diets that have “good” foods and “bad” foods. It’s the whole reason The Core Plan on Weight Watchers and veganism works. When you have a strict limitation on your food, you don’t have many decisions to make. You just follow the rules and eat from your small selection of food. If, however, you are constantly deciding whether to eat from your good list or bad list, then you’ve lost all benefits of this one. The rules have to be set in stone.

  • Limit other decisions in your life: If you are unwilling to make a weekly plan for your food or limit your food choices, you can limit the OTHER choices in your life. Make the rest of your life simple and dieting will be easier.

In the end, the constant barrage of decisions is tiring. When you limit your decisions, food journaling and eating healthy won’t seem like such a chore.

If you have decided that you are willing to journal your food every day, here is a form to get you started: Weight Watchers Weekly Tracking 5 1/2″ X 8 1/2″ – Requires Microsoft Excel


PostSecret: Bike To Work

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

I found this postcard from PostSecret this week to be ironic since I was just writing about biking to work.

PostSecret: Bike To Work

When I rode my bike to work, I did it strictly because of my physical fitness. I never considered the savings in gas money until I realized that I didn’t need to fill the tank as often. If you would like to bike to work to lose weight, here are some pointers:

Should you be ashamed that you want to bike to work to lose weight instead of saving the planet? HELL NO! That saving the planet business is just icing on the cake. Here’s a little video about all the good reasons to bike to work that have NOTHING to do with the environment.

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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