Marathon Running Can Hurt

By Laura Moncur @ 11:09 am — Filed under:

World Famous FeetLong-time readers, remember when I wrote that entry about my black toenail and how much it hurt? If you don’t here’s a refresher:

Now, my feet are nationwide famous. Check it!

It’s an article about running marathons and preventing injuries. Of course, I didn’t get black toenail from running a marathon. I didn’t even get it from running. I got it from walking on the treadmill for 10 miles one day and 7 miles the next… all while playing Animal Crossing.

It could be said that video games gave me black toenail… embarrassing, I know.

But not embarrassing enough to deny Lauren Cox from ABC News the right to use my photos. Feeling pretty stoked about that.

By the way, she wrote a really good article about all the things you should do to prevent injury during a marathon. It’s good advice, so check it out!


Avoid Caffeine

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

Click to see full size ad.

If you’re a long-time reader, then you probably remember these two entries from back in 2004. If you’re a new reader, these entries might be the reason that you’re a regular now.

I have found myself back on caffeine a couple of times since I wrote those original entries, but I’ve been caffeine-free for the last few months now and I’m surprised at how often I’m tempted to go back to it. Sometimes just the smell of Mike’s Diet Coke is enough to entice me.

In all honesty, I feel better when I’m not drinking soda of any kind. I don’t know if it’s the caffeine, the sweeteners or the carbonation, but I feel MUCH better when I just have water. Sometimes I even order a milk, but it’s so rare that I shouldn’t even mention it here.

Why should you avoid caffeine? I don’t necessarily think you should. Caffeine affects ME negatively, but that doesn’t mean that it will affect you the same way. The most important thing during this whole journey is learning how to listen to your body. How do you know if caffeine is negatively affecting your body? Here are a few symptoms that might tell you that you should try giving soda a rest:

  • Gastro-Intestinal Problems: stomach bloating, gas, uncontrollable farting, pain. This is the reason that I first went off soda. It didn’t help with my stomach, but I’ve heard other people say that pop was the whole reason for their stomach pain.

  • Anxiety: anxiousness, irritability, restlessness, inability to concentrate. HELLO! Caffeine is a DRUG! It’s a mind enhancing drug that makes you more alert. Being in a constant state of alertness isn’t necessarily healthy for you. Some people tolerate it more than others, but if you’re experiencing those symptoms, you might want to throw yourself in rehab.

  • Sleep Issues: inability to sleep, sleep binges on the weekends. Ironically, when I’m off caffeine, I am more alert during the day. Sure, I don’t have those hyper-alert moments like I do when I’m on caffeine, but I don’t have those lows either. The highs aren’t as high and the lows aren’t as low, so on the whole, I do a lot better as far as alertness and ability to sleep is concerned. THIS was the unexpected benefit I found from being off caffeine.

Not everyone has a caffeine addiction. Not everyone who drinks soda, sips coffee or chugs Red Bull needs to look at their caffeine consumption, but for the few of us who are very sensitive to the chemical, it’s best to avoid it.

Photo via: Found in Mom’s Basement: 1947: The year of mutant children


Get Your Butt On The Elliptical Trainer

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

If Otis the Cat can figure out an elliptical trainer within three minutes, then you can certainly learn how to exercise on it. Next time you’re intimidated by a piece of gym equipment (or even the idea of walking into the gym), remember Otis. Considering your brain is larger than a golf ball, you should be able to conquer even the scariest of cardio equipment.

Via: Two Arms! : Complete Running Network


PostSecret: You’re Still An Asshole

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

This postcard from PostSecret says EVERYTHING about someone who says they love you one minute and tells you you’re fat the next:

PostSecret: You're Still An Asshole

It reads:

My whole life, you told me I was fat. I had surgery to become thin.

Now I’m skinny. And you’re still an asshole.

This exact same thing happened to me (except the surgery part, I lost the weight on my own). The first time I tried Weight Watchers, I lost almost 75 pounds. I wasn’t to goal yet, but I looked world’s better than before.

I’ve made no secret that my grandparents starved me every summer in Billings. On one particularly dark night, I was feeling down. I felt like my grandpa never was proud of me. Mike told me that it wasn’t true and told me to call him and talk to him.

In tears, I called him and asked, “Are you proud of me? Are you proud of anything I’ve done?”

He answered, “Well, you really need to get your weight under control.”

No mention of the college degree. No mention of the prestigious job. No mention of the recent weight loss.

He died last year and right up to the end he was that kind of person. My mistake was ever trying to please him in the first place. Don’t get me wrong. That doesn’t mean I don’t love him. Whenever I tried to get any positive reinforcement from him, however, I always came away feeling worse than before.

In the end, I need to eat healthy and exercise for ME. Not for anyone else.

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.


The Facts About Sleep and Obesity

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

Maggie YawningThe October New Scientist has a great article that debunks many myths about sleep. They even attack the idea that sleep deprivation causes obesity:

What of the risk of a sleep shortage causing obesity? Several studies have found a link, including the Nurses’ Health Study, which tracked 68,000 women for 16 years (American Journal of Epidemiology, vol 164, p 947).

The hazard, though real, is hardly anything to worry about. It only becomes apparent when habitual sleep is below 5 hours a day, which applies to only 5 per cent of the population, and even then the problem is minimal. Somebody sleeping 5 hours every night would only gain a kilogram or so of fat per year. To put it in perspective, you could lose weight at the same rate by reducing your food intake by about 30 calories per day, equivalent to about one bite of a muffin, or by exercising gently for 30 minutes a week.

In truth, few obese adults are short-sleepers, and few short-sleeping adults are obese. The Nurses’ Health Study also revealed that people sleeping more than 9 hours a night are just as likely as short-sleepers to be fat.

Ever since that study linking sleep deprivation with obesity, I have been faithfully marking how much sleep I get every day, but it looks like all I need to do is make sure I get at least five hours and no more than nine hours in order to be “safe” from sleep-related weight gain. In fact, the weight gain experienced by the short sleepers could be attributed to eating a little extra food while they are awake, so as long as I stay on program, I should be just fine.

On some days, I could sure use an extra hour of sleep, but other days, I really need to use that time for work or family. It’s nice to know that sleeping less than eight hours isn’t necessarily the death sentence that the media has made it out to be.

Via: Mind Hacks – Myths of the sleep deprived


Mini Raviolis Are Protein Food? I Don’t Think So…

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

Found in Mom’s Basement posted this advertisement for Chef Boy-Ar-Dee Ravioli from the 1970’s:

Click to see full size ad

It reads:

Kids think it’s treat food
(but it’s protein food).

Ravioli Nutrition Facts: Click to see full sizeThis advertisement was made before food companies were required to label their products with nutrition facts, so it was easy for Chef Boy-Ar-Dee to say that their ravioli was “protein food.” How could anyone disagree?

Now, however, we can ALL see that protein comes in at a slim third place behind carbohydrates and fat. Sorry, Mom, but the kid’s were right. Chef Boy-Ar-Dee Ravioli is a treat food. At 240 calories a serving, the kids could eat a lot of REAL beef instead of ravioli.

It’s easy to make fun of advertising from thirty years ago, but the truth of the matter is, food manufacturers are STILL lying to you. Keep a keen eye on the nutrition facts whenever you’re tempted to buy something because it’s “healthy.” The only way that you can keep from being lied to is by arming yourself with information.


Sheldon Shows You How NOT Following Weight Watchers Works

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

Click to see full size comic.This Sunday’s Sheldon shows how NOT to follow Weight Watchers:

The panel on the right is the only tip that I follow religiously. Especially now that they have made eTools SO much better, I love keeping track of my food online with Weight Watchers. They have made it easy and I really love how they have added the system to give me positive reinforcement for following the Healthy Habits For Living.

WW eTools Healthy ChecksDo you see the little smiley faces on my water, vitamin and exercise Healthy Checks? That means that I’ve fulfilled my requirements for the day. I know it’s such a small thing, but I really like trying to get all smiley faces every day. It feels like such an accomplishment when the program gives me a smiley face. I look at that field almost more than I check whether I have enough points left in the day. You see, I need to eat one more serving of dairy, two more servings of veggies and two teaspoons of healthy oil in order to get a full complement of smiley faces.

I don’t know why something as simple as the gift of a smiley face should be enough to motivate me to eat healthy, but strangely, it does. I’ve been really happy with eTools ever since they released this new version. I just hope they don’t screw it up and take away my smiley faces.


Should Your Child Be Taken Away From You Because She’s Fat?

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

Mother and Child from the Musee de OrsayA child in Great Britain has been taken away from her parents because she is too fat:

An eight-year-old girl has been taken from her parents and put into care because she is seriously overweight.

The girl, who is 5ft (1.52m) tall, is a size 16 — six sizes bigger than the average for her age. She has suffered several health problems associated with her weight. But her parents, from West Cumbria, say that they are devastated, and that her size is due to a medical problem or genetics, not a poor diet.

Tam Fry, a member of the National Obesity Forum’s board in Great Britain says that all obese children should be removed from their homes:

My point will be that we regard malnourished children as being abused and so with those children who are so overweight, either consciously or by neglect because their parents allow it, there should be a case for them being removed from their parents to a paediatric ward and put under weight management by doctors.

It is drastic but it’s a long-term therapy. For the sake of the children it does need to be done because we have got children who are horrendously fat. In many cases it will mean thinking the unthinkable.

With the “unthinkable” being ordering gastric bypass surgery for children who are overweight, forcing them to subsist on tiny portions of pureed food.

Is an overweight child a symptom of neglect? I don’t know. All I know is that I was one of those children forced into a dieting plan at a very young age. Everything that they did to me made things worse and started a bingeing problem that has lasted with me until this day. I struggle every day to eat wisely and what I was put through as a child made matters FAR worse than if I had been left alone.

Children learn to eat by watching their parents and siblings eat. If you have a child who is overweight and want to help them get healthy, the only way that you can positively affect them is by concentrating on yourself. Make sure you set a good example by eating small portions of healthy food. Never starve your child in an effort to get them slim. In the end, they’ll end up fatter than before. I sure did.

Via: Rudd Sound Bites: “Frisked for Chocolate and Fizzy Drinks”


The Best Hot Cocoa for Two Points

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

Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa Mix, Diet with Calcium at Amazon.comWhen Swiss Miss came out with their Swiss Miss Diet Cocoa, everyone at Weight Watchers were excited about it. Whenever someone mentioned an indulgence, the Swiss Miss Diet Cocoa jumped into the conversation. I tried it. It was good, but I still have almost a full box of it sitting in the cupboard.


Because I like REAL cocoa. Plus, I have a hard time eating my two servings of dairy every day, so if I’m going to have cocoa, I’m going to make it WORTH it.

My REAL Cocoa Recipe

  • 1 cup fat-free milk
  • 1 tsp of Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 packet of Stevia (or Equal or Sweet N Low, whatever you like)


  1. Set your microwave to 50% power. Microwave your milk in a heat-safe mug for three minutes. If you don’t reduce your microwave cooking power level, the milk will bubble up and make quite a mess in your microwave, so make sure you reduce your cooking level to 50%.
  2. Once the milk is heated correctly, stir in the teaspoon of cocoa and the packet of Stevia. You have to stir in a little more with real cocoa than you would if you were using a packet of Swiss Miss. Make sure all the lumps of cocoa are mixed in.

Servings: 1
WW Points: 2

The reason why Swiss Miss is so popular is because you don’t need to have milk with you to make it, so if you’re in an office, all you have to do is get some hot water from the water cooler. With a little planning, however, you can have cocoa that tastes like REAL chocolate and do your body some good.


Runners World Got It Wrong

By Laura Moncur @ 9:18 am — Filed under:

I am coming off a magazine binge, but I wanted to share this article I found with you. Runners World had an Ask Miles question here:

How should I react to rude comments? If I hear “Run, Forrest, run” one more time, I’m going to snap. —Owen R., Brooklyn

The best response to taunts is the very same response that Mr. Gump himself gave: No response at all. Wisenheimers aren’t trying to draw attention to you; they’re trying to draw attention to themselves. Any reaction from you is just fuel to the fire. Instead, go Zen. Keep your gaze ahead, your stride smooth. All of this assumes, of course, that it’s illegal to carry a Taser in your state. Otherwise, my advice would change dramatically.

My advice to Owen would be COMPLETELY different. If someone is screaming, “Run, Forrest, Run,” they might just be wanting to encourage you. I remember when I got black toenail. I wasn’t able to run (or even walk) for a couple of months. It was almost torture to drive past other runners because they were running and I couldn’t. A lot of times, I would give a quick beep or a wave at the runners on the road.

In fact, there have been a lot of times when people have beeped at me when I’m running and I’ve ALWAYS considered it a note of encouragement.

It’s all about your mentality. Every time you hear someone scream out their car at you, whether you can understand what they are saying or not, consider it a compliment or a word of encouragement. Sure, the mean guys screamed “Run, Forrest, run,” but so did his girlfriend and the entire stadium at the football game. Consider it a compliment and wave back!

For more motivation, here’s an inspirational video of Forrest Gump running:

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