The Weight Loss Secret Weapon: Thrift Stores

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

Thrift shops are a weight loss secret weapon.When you are in transition to your new life by losing weight, the thrift store is your ultimate secret weapon. One of the good things about dropping pounds is that my clothes are suddenly looser. One of the bad things about dropping pounds is that my clothes are suddenly TOO loose. When that happens to me, I just go to the local thrift shops and buy to my heart’s content.

Since the clothing is a fraction of the price of new clothes, I feel no guilt in buying a whole new wardrobe that will only last me a few months until I get down to my goal weight. Here are my thrift store shopping tips:

  • Try on EVERYTHING: Clothes vary in size. You can’t go by the size on the label. We all know that different brands are different sizes, but sizes can vary within the SAME brand depending on the year that the clothing was made. A size 14 dress from 1969 is VASTLY different than a size 14 dress from 2009. Try on everything just to make sure it fits.

  • Be kind to yourself: A corollary to the fact that clothing sizes vary is the request that you be kind to yourself while trying on clothes. When you are so proud of the fact that you finally got down to a size 18, it can be devastating to try on a pair of size 18 jeans that won’t pull up over your thighs. Remind yourself that clothing sizes can change through the years and don’t let the number on the label define your self worth.

  • Be patient: If shopping in normal stores is difficult for you, shopping in thrift stores will be even more difficult. You pay for those six dollar designer jeans in TIME. You have to be willing to look through EVERY pair of jeans in the store to find the ones that fit you and look good. Patience will pay off.

  • Wash everything when you get home: Even if the clothing still has the original store tags on it, wash every item when you get home. Thrift stores rarely wash the clothing they receive. Most people donate CLEAN clothes, but sometimes they have been sitting in closets gathering dust for years before they go to the thrift store. Make sure you wash your new finds before you wear them.

Losing weight is a journey that takes a while. Don’t swim in clothes that are two sizes too big just to save money. You deserve to look good at EVERY point in this process. Take a trip to your local thrift stores and find some clothes that look good and fit you right now.

Photo via: Found in Mom’s Basement: Vintage thrift store sign


Ice Skating Workout

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

R.P. Hobson & wife on ice skates by The Library of Congress from FlickrWhen I saw this Library of Congress photo this morning, it reminded me that winter is almost over. We got a fresh layer of snow in Salt Lake City, yesterday, but I’m sure other parts of the world are enjoying much better weather. Fortunately, we can ice skate all year ’round with indoor ice skating rinks.

It’s almost spring and I haven’t gone ice skating… again.

Ice skating isn’t just a sport that athletes do on the ice. For inspiration, here is the workout regimen that allowed Johnny Weir to overcome devastating knee and ankle injuries and make it to the 2006 Olympics.

For me, ice skating is just a fun way to try to keep my butt off the ice, but the workouts that I do every week are what keep me strong enough to enjoy ice skating as a casual sport. Before the winter melts into spring, get yourself out to a skating rink to enjoy the last of the winter sports.


Energy Spent Wisely

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

I love this advertisement for Target and Champion sportswear.

Energy Spent Wisely by LauraMoncur from Flickr

It reads:

Energy Spent Wisely

C9 by Champion® Cardio Skort - Ebony at Amazon.comThe ad is for Champion’s C9 running skort and tank. I love running skorts. They are feminine and they protect my inner thighs from chafing. They come in sizes as large as 2XL, so they are watching out for more women than most sportswear clothing manufacturers do.

Mostly, I love the advertisement for it’s motivational value. I love photos that show people exercising, and this one is perfect. It doesn’t show the best features of the skort (the inner shorts), but it does make me want to get on the treadmill and run.


Respect For Eating Decisions

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

Kathy Henderson at Rudd Sound Bites brought up a real concern with no answers:

Why is it that people are generally so much more respectful of parents’ food-related decisions due to allergies or religion, but not of these same decisions when framed as nutrition- or weight management-based? Is it the immediacy of an allergic reaction that drives the point home? The apparent severity? And why is religion a more respected explanation than general health? Perhaps it is the idea that one “violation” will have little impact on health, while we see violation of religious tradition as a bigger deal. On the other hand, there is no evidence that one cigarette will cause major health consequences, and most of us would be pretty upset if our children were offered one cigarette. The reality is that many more children are impacted by poor nutrition and weight problems than are affected by food allergies.

UT Geek/Blogger Dinner by LauraMoncur from FlickrThis reaction doesn’t just affect parents and children. When I had severe stomach problems, no one questioned when I said that I couldn’t eat something, especially when they saw (or smelled) me suffer through an episode. Now that my stomach problems have subsided, however, people are much less willing to let me say I don’t want to eat something. They say things like:

Come one, just a small slice.

You can have just one, right?

Oh? Are you dieting… AGAIN?

I almost want to make up fake allergies or stomach ailments just to escape from the talk. They are right, just one small slice of pie isn’t going to derail my weight, but it DOES derail my eating habits for a couple of days.

It all comes down to training those around us to respect our eating decisions. The oldest cliche about respect is:

If you want respect, you have to give it.

No matter who you encounter in your life, respect their eating decisions. If they are a raw food vegan, that choice is theirs to make. If they are a junk food junkie, that is also their choice. If you treat others the way you want to be treated, then they will have more respect for you. That includes keeping those barbs to yourself:

Don’t you think you’ve had enough?

I can’t believe you eat that crap.

You know that isn’t cheese, don’t you? It’s just orange-colored congealed fat.

When I eat healthy, I tend to get on my high horse about food and let loose comments like those. For every time I’ve insulted Mike’s nachos, I’ve attracted a “just one bite.” When I am able to keep my food judgment away from other people, they will keep their judgment away from me.



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

This brilliant advertisement from PruHealth UK shows that they actually get it.


The billboards sit beside the bus stops and dispense oranges at the rate of one per minute. The sign reads:

Help yourself.
Find out how eating more fruit could help lower the cost of health insurance.
PruHealth: It pays to be healthy.

Here are some other photos:



Kudos to PruHealth for creating an advertising campaign that actually provides a positive alternative!

Via: directdaily: Pruhealth “Orange Dispenser”


Quadrathon Rides Through Death Valley

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

Quadrathon at Death ValleyStuart and his wife took a ride through Death Valley from Furnace Creek to Badwater.

Riding there was pretty simple, but the ride back was a little more difficult.

The way back was simply that, such is a ‘there and back’ route, this time we had a headwind that while being not overly strong was consistent and so we plodded on, not wanting to provide my wife with the fond memory of seeing my ass disappear over the horizon, I periodically circled back to ride with her and make sure she was ok. To her credit she muscled through the whole ride; although she is the first to admit that it was about 10 miles too long.

It’s always hard to do something active with a family member that is in better shape. Congrats to Stuart’s wife for muscling through the whole ride. The whole Internet is proud of you, babe!

Here is a video that Stuart shot while he was riding into Badwater:

THIS is why we exercise, so we can get to places that we wouldn’t be able to see without the power of our own two legs. The experience of seeing Death Valley in such an intimate way is far more powerful than steaming past it in a car.

By the way, Stuart has started a podcast documenting his training. You can get it here:


Nike Women iPhone App

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

Nike Women Training ClubIf you look at the iPhone app section on iTunes, you will find hundreds of fitness and health applications for your phone. Finding the good ones, however, can be a little difficult. A couple of weeks ago, I downloaded the Nike Women Training Club App (iTunes Link) because it was free.

You have to register on their website, which is a bunch of advertisement for their shoes, but after that, you can use your app on your iPhone to exercise.

Just like the iPump workouts, you are given a series of exercises to do. The videos show you how to do them and then you can check off whether you did them or not.

I earned 90 points!The best part is that they give you points for completing workouts. I’m a sucker for points and I love to see myself on the leaderboard. I don’t have any friends yet, so I can’t see how I am competing against others, but I LOVE collecting points for a workout.

You don’t need an iPhone to participate in this program. You can log in online, start a workout, invite friends, see the videos and even print out the workout to take to the gym or just to do at home. You don’t need a lot of equipment to do the workouts either. It would probably help to have some Nike training shoes, so that’s probably why Nike has invested in this program.

This app isn’t perfect, of course, Their idea of beginner workouts has some exercises that are FAR too difficult for a beginner. I really wish they would let me choose to do an easier exercise for less points. On one of the exercises, I modified it to an easier exercise and said that I did the “real” exercise. On another, I was just completely incapable of doing the workout, so I had to skip it.

I’d also like to see how I compare to other people. I don’t have very many friends who are willing to play with every new iPhone app that comes along, so I felt like the workouts were just me competing against myself. I would have loved to see how other people were doing, even if I didn’t know them. What’s the point of earning points if I can’t kick somebody’s butt?

On the whole, I like the Nike Women Training Club app for the iPhone. It has a wide variety of exercises to do, but most importantly, it was free. A free workout program that you can carry in your pocket with you at all times, is a great thing to have!


Eat A Gorilla Sandwich

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

Gorilla SandwichWhen I saw that this food was called a Gorilla Sandwich, I immediately wanted one. Who wouldn’t want to be a strong monkey?!

There was no need to cut the cucumber into the salad, because I could now stuff the salad into the cucumber, and my all raw sandwich was ready to go. I had a great surf session, and afterwards, my first Gorilla Sandwich tasted awesome.

I had overcome the challenge by accident or inspiration. Sometimes the two are hard to keep apart. However, the solution turned out to be the best possible. I was able to get rid of the pulp, the part of the cucumber that was very high in water content, which was one of the main reasons the other ingredients would spoil so easily.

It is supposed to be available at Whole Foods. I was so excited about this that I went to my Whole Foods that evening and looked for a Gorilla Sandwich for myself. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find one.

Have any of you tried this? I’m tempted to make one for myself!

Via: Weekend Link Love | Mark’s Daily Apple


Antioxidant Showdown: Hershey’s Vs. An Apple

By Laura Moncur @ 9:07 am — Filed under:

Hershey's Extra Dark ChocolateI am just about sick of chocolate bar companies bragging about the antioxidant power of chocolate. I got a promotional email from Hershey’s and The Best Life. Bob Greene has teamed up with Hershey’s to promote their Extra Dark Chocolate bars as approved foods.

They are promoting the chocolate as some great food for health:

Chocolate lovers rejoice! Hershey®’s Extra Dark Chocolate has become the first chocolate bar to earn the respected Best Life Treat Seal of Approval. Designed by renowned health and fitness expert Bob Greene, the Best Life Treat Seal is awarded to products that have a nutrition edge over products in their class and are available in portion sizes of 150 calories or fewer. The Treat Seal appears on select grocery products and is intended to help consumers make healthier food and lifestyle decisions.

The criterion for the Best Life Treat Seal is that it should be available in portion sizes of 150 calories or fewer. Let’s look at the nutrition facts for the candy bar, shall we?

Hershey's Extra Dark Nutrition Facts

For three squares of the candy bar (most bars have several servings), it’s 210 calories, so the Hershey bar fails the bare minimum requirement for The Best Life.

But what about those magical antioxidant properties of chocolate?

The most important antioxidants are beta carotene (provitamin A), vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, and proanthocyanidin (or procyanidin). Of these, chocolate has only procyanidin, or Vitamin P as it is starting to be called. If you look at the nutrition facts, Hershey’s has no Vitamin A or C. The other three antioxidants aren’t listed on the nutrition facts label.

Chocolate is known to have procyanidin, but it is by no means the highest in that antioxidant. That award goes to black chokecherries, but they are a little difficult to find at your local grocery store. A granny smith apple, however, is VERY easy to find. How does it compete against Hershey’s?

Granny Smith Apple Nutrition FactsA medium apple is only 80 calories, has 2% of the Vitamin A and 20% of the vitamin C you need for the day. It also doesn’t show how much procyanidin it has, but considering that there is zero fat and five grams of fiber, the apple beats Hershey’s hands down.

To me, The Best Life Food Partners just seems like a marketing ploy to sell you processed food. Here is the fine print from their website:

Best Life Partners benefit from use of the “Best Life approved” seal, as well as integrated book content and web site mentions, banner advertising, tour sponsorships and some of the most coveted national and local broadcast media coverage around. We are always looking for great food, fitness, apparel and wellness companies to partner with.

It all makes me a little angry, actually. Now I feel like I can’t trust Bob Greene…

For more information about antioxidants and procyanidin:


Primal Workout: Trick Your Body Into Getting Thin

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

I’ve been reading up on The Gabriel Method and trying out his ideas to see if they work.

Jon Gabriel

I’m still not finished reviewing his plan, but I have found ONE very important idea in everything he says. It is possible to trick your body into getting thin by giving it positive stress.

One of those positive stresses is exercise. We need to convince our bodies that they need to be thin so we can outrun the predators or fight them off if we’re cornered. In his book, Jon Gabriel talks about a time when he was riding his bike. A vicious dog started chasing him, nipping at his heels. It took over a minute to shake off the dog and after he had pedaled himself away, he felt more vitality than he had felt all day.

The idea is to envision that we are in danger during an interval workout. Whether we are running, walking or riding a bike, it can be difficult to imagine that a pack of dogs are at our heels when the treadmill is steadily keeping its pace. Even if I boot the speed up for a minute, it’s kind of hard to materialize blood thirsty animals at my heels.

Sid Vicious: Demon DogThen I remembered that I live with one…

My dog, Sid, has never been vicious with me, but every day, he turns into an panicked lunatic. It happens Monday through Saturday between 9:30 am and 11:00 am. He starts barking and beating himself against the front door each morning the mail carrier delivers our mail.

So I set my audio recorder right next to the door and recorded his barking. After a couple of days’ worth of screeching at our postal worker, I was able to compile the recordings into an MP3 that is a little over a minute long. I’ve set this MP3, called Primal Reaction, as my Power Song on my Nike+. Every few minutes, I set the treadmill to the highest speed I can maintain for one minute, hold down the middle button for three seconds and the sound of five dogs barking at my heels gets my heart rate up faster than running on the treadmill could possibly do. It really sets off my flight response.

You can download it here:

Wii BoxingI’ve also been exercising with Wii Boxing. Despite the cartoony feel of my opponents, I have found that if I truly pretend that the guy wants to hit me, I get that adrenaline surge from the workout. Wii Boxing was the only section of Wii Sports that got my heart rate into the cardio zone, but I can keep boxing opponents for a twenty minute workout and by the time I’m done I’m sweating, breathing heavily and all wound up. It truly sets off my fight response.

When it comes to fight or flight, we humans have been at the top of the food chain for so long that it’s only natural that our bodies have been convinced that it’s safer to be fat than thin. Especially since we go on diets and impose a famine on them every January, our bodies are trying to hold onto the fat so that we don’t starve to death. A few primal workouts every week just might be enough to convince our bodies that it’s more important to be fast and strong. Maybe we can trick our bodies into making us thin so we can run away or fight ourselves out of sticky situations. That’s the whole goal of a primal workout.

« Previous Entries - Next Page »

Powered by WordPress
(c) 2004-2017 Starling Fitness / Michael and Laura Moncur