Don’t Eat The Marshmallow

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

I loved this BRILLIANT speech by Joachim de Posada at the Ted Conference. This video is less than six minutes long and worth every second, especially the funny clips of four year old children trying their best not to eat a marshmallow.

A study at Stanford put four year old children alone in a room with a marshmallow. They were told that if they could last fifteen minutes without eating the marshmallow, then they would get to keep it to eat and get ANOTHER one. Two out of three children ate the marshmallow the second the door was closed. One out of three children were able to wait the fifteen minutes in order to get the double reward.

Fourteen years later, Stanford tracked down the children from this study and rated their success at school and socially. The children who were able to last the fifteen minutes without eating the marshmallow were FAR more successful in life than the others. They were able to delay gratification to get a better reward.

Delaying gratification is what eating healthy and exercising is all about. We are willing to eat simple and healthy food and sweat a little bit every day so that we can get the better reward of being healthy, slim and strong.

The next time you’re tempted to eat something that you know isn’t healthy for you, think about Joachim de Posada. The next time you’re thinking about blowing off your daily workout, remember that little girl who ate the middle out of the marshmallow to make the researcher think that she hadn’t eaten it. The only way to have a svelte and strong body is to do the things that svelte and strong people do.

Don’t eat the marshmallow. You deserve so much more.


Is Cane Sugar Better Than High Fructose Corn Syrup?

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

I just saw this commercial for Pepsi Throwback.

The reason why this soda is supposed to be better than normal Pepsi is because it is made with cane sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup. They aren’t saying that it’s healthier than normal Pepsi, but there are a lot of people out there who believe it is:

Yes, sugar is made up of glucose, which is easier to digest and metabolize. High fructose corn syrup has been altered to increase the fructose and decrease the glucose. The body doesn’t metabolize fructose as easily as glucose; it metabolizes it more like fat. The natural fructose in fruit is counterbalanced by the fiber but this is generally not present in foods with high fructose corn syrup. For this reason the blood sugar level goes much higher, especially if drinking high fructose corn syrup. This can lead to obesity, diabetes and poor digestion.

Authors: Heather Basciano, Lisa Federico and Khosrow Adeli of the Clinical Biochemistry Division, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Published in the journal: “Nutrition & Metabolism”, February 21, 2005.

In the end, however, it all comes down to calories. There are EXACTLY the same amount of calories in a Pepsi Throwback as there are in a regular old Pepsi. Some people might think it tastes better than HCFS, but you can’t get me to believe that 100 calories of regular soda is going to make me fatter than 100 calories of cane sugar soda.

Via: Go Retro!: Throw Back Some Pepsi Throwback


Twitter Updates for 2009-05-29

By @ 11:59 pm — Filed under:
  • Hold on babe! RT @SeagullFountain: I start off the day on a diet and off Mtn Dew. At 11 drink a Dew and at 5? I make cookies. Maybe tomorrow #
  • @ddrdiva Thanks for the Follow Friday mention! #
  • @fitprosarah Thanks for the Follow Friday mention! #

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Face Swapping with Photoshop

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

Yesterday, I talked about The Digital Diet, which is changing your photographs so that you look slimmer. I stated that this technique isn’t a good idea because it clouds our view of reality. If we can’t accept how our bodies are right now, then how can we change them?

But sometimes, we NEED to cloud our view of reality.

Sometimes we can’t remember what it was like to be thin, or in my case, I didn’t ever feel thin, even when I was. In that case, I needed a photograph to tell me what I was shooting for. I needed something to use for visualization for a goal. Now, I could have used an old photograph of myself and slimmed it down using the Digital Diet techniques, but there is another way to create a goal photo and that’s Face Swapping.

This video gives you an example of how face swapping can be done using Photoshop. I suggest you mute the volume unless you like The Beastie Boys.

That video looks great, but it isn’t a very good tutorial. Here are two videos that are GREAT tutorials, but their finished effects weren’t that spectacular.

Goal by LauraMoncur from FlickrI used the techniques in the Tom Cruise/Jennifer Aniston video to make this photo of myself. I look at it for a couple of minutes every night before I go to sleep to visualize my perfect body and how I’ll feel when I’m physically fit.

I’m actually incredibly embarrassed to show my goal photograph here. I’ve used this particular one for a few months without mentioning anything here on Starling Fitness, but having something to work toward is really helpful to me. I’m actually MORE embarrassed to show this photo than to show my before pictures. I’ve never gotten to goal, so this photograph gives me an idea of what it will be like to be thin (and about five inches taller).

Using Photoshop techniques to give yourself a Digital Diet is a double edged sword. It can be kind of bad if you are using it for family photos to change history and further keep your head in the sand about your health and fitness. It can, however, be an amazingly powerful tool to help you visualize what you want from all this exercise and healthy eating.

Use your Photoshop Skillz wisely.

Update 05-29-09 3:09 pm: Braidwood has written an excellent entry in response to this one:

If you don’t own Photoshop and don’t want to pay the $600 price tag for it, there is a great open source program available that can do almost as much as Photoshop for FREE. You can download it here:


Twitter Updates for 2009-05-28

By @ 11:59 pm — Filed under:
  • @arholtz Thank you for all of the retweets! I really appreciate it! #
  • @epersonae I am the sun and the air… err… heir… #

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The Digital Diet

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

Bogus Before and After PhotoLong ago, I wrote about making yourself look thinner with Photoshop techniques.

Back then, I said:

In the end, there is no software that can make you look better. You have to do the work to look better. I have never had a better photo taken of me than the quick clicks of friends when I am healthy and strong.

It looks like photography websites are eagerly jumping on the bandwagon of making their subjects look thinner using this technique. Here is a video showing photographers how to make their clients look a little bit thinner in their photos using the Transform Tool in Photoshop. If you are using GIMP, use the Scale Image tool.

There is also a way to do something similar to this using the Liquify Tool. If you are using GIMP, use the iWarp tool. Here is a video tutorial showing those techniques as well.

I think that minor manipulation of photos like this is just a way for us to fool ourselves into not seeing our true selves. Until we are willing to look at our bodies and accept the way they are RIGHT NOW, it’s impossible for us to make the appropriate decisions to change it. If you accept your body the way it is and love it, that’s great! If you accept your body the way it is and want to change it, that’s great, as well. The first thing you have to do, however, is ACCEPT your body the way it is.

There is one exception to this thought and I will talk about that tomorrow.

Via: Pioneer Woman Photography – Ree Drummond

If you don’t own Photoshop and don’t want to pay the $600 price tag for it, there is a great open source program available that can do almost as much as Photoshop for FREE. You can download it here:

Update 06-25-09: I’ve found another good tutorial that really gives you a clear idea of how to do this:


Twitter Updates for 2009-05-27

By @ 11:59 pm — Filed under:

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Watermelon: Low Calorie Treat

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


Watermelon has been in my grocery store all winter this year, but the one that I bought didn’t taste right. Not to mention the fact that it cost about three times what it would have cost me in the summer. So, I’ve been waiting for watermelon season and it’s finally here!

Nutrition Facts and Analysis for Watermelon, rawWatermelon is a great, low calorie treat. It’s only 46 calories for a full cup. You can have two servings of fruit for less than fifty calories, so it’s a great food value.

It’s also very thirst quenching. Unlike the other melons, watermelon bursts with water and juice in your mouth. That’s why I love to eat watermelon at a picnic. By the time the Utah sun has bled me dry of moisture, I’m ready for a huge slice of watermelon to quench my thirst.

Here is a great video from Photoweborama on how to cut a watermelon:

Personally, I like watermelon with the rind, so I have a handle for the food. This video shows you how to cut a watermelon for the kids.

I can just imagine taking one of those large slices and eating it all the way through. Drops of juice are on my cheeks where they hit the side of the rind. I love to eat right through the white rind and enjoy the slightly sour taste in contrast to the extra sweet pulp.

This summer jump right into watermelon season with both feet and enjoy!


When You Drink A Dr. Pepper, You Drink A Bite To Eat

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

This photo of a Dr. Pepper advertisement from 1939 surprised me.

When you drink a Dr. Pepper

The advertisement says:

When you drink a Dr. Pepper

You drink a bite to eat

Dr. Pepper Nutrition FactsIt’s a surprising bit of honest advertisement. A can of Dr. Pepper is 156 calories, so it’s as much calories as an apple and a bit of cheese. Of course, if you eat the apple and cheese, you won’t be hungry again in two hours, but honestly, Dr. Pepper WANTED you to be hungry again in two hours.

In fact, they built an entire advertising campaign around it. If you notice on that advertisement, there is a clock with the numbers 10, 2 and 4 highlighted. In fact, I own a Dr. Pepper clock with those numbers highlighted as well.

Dr. Pepper Clock by LauraMoncur from Flickr

Their marketing campaign suggested that at 10 am, 2 pm and 4pm, you should have a Dr. Pepper. If you were to add three cans of soda to your diet every day, that’s an extra 468 calories a day, meaning an extra 3276 calories a week. That’s a weight gain of almost a pound a week, just from soda.

Back in 1939, most people didn’t need to worry about getting fat. They were too busy trying to get enough calories to maintain weight, but now, that Dr. Pepper slogan is ominous.

Next time you’re tempted to get a Big Gulp, remember the Dr. Pepper slogan:

When you drink a soda, you drink a bite to eat.

Wouldn’t you rather just have a bite to eat?


Farmer’s Market Season

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

Farmer's Market SLC by Tangerine Being from FlickrIt is finally Farmer’s Market season here in Utah. Every Saturday at Pioneer Park, they have a Farmer’s Market with tons of wonderful food just for me!

I love to go to the Farmer’s Market for a lot of reasons:

  • The food is CHEAP: This is the main reason that I go to the farmer’s market. Compared to fresh fruits and veggies at the grocery store, the food is very cheap. Sometimes I feel guilty because the farmers are asking so little for the yummy food.

  • The food is FRESH: A lot of times when I buy produce at the grocery store, it goes bad within a day or two because it has been sitting at the store for so long. The fruits and veggies that I buy at the farmer’s market tend to last longer than the produce that I buy at the grocery store.

  • The food is YUMMY: I don’t know why produce that I buy at the farmer’s market tastes better to me. Especially the tomatoes, taste just like the tomatoes that my grandpa grew in his garden. I’ve never been able to get that taste from a grocery store tomato, even at Whole Foods. I think part of the reason the food tastes better to me is because I saw the person who grew and picked it. I gave them money and they put it into a bag for me. I know that shouldn’t make food taste better, but it DOES.

  • I like to take pictures: The farmer’s market is a place where there are tons of interesting people and colorful food. I love to take photos there.

DSC_6252 by empracht from Flickr

Here are some tips to make your farmer’s market trip hassle-free:

  • Bring cash: I use my debit card EVERYWHERE, so it’s a bit of a surprise when I actually need to use dollar bills to buy something. The farmer’s market is one of those places. Make sure you get plenty of cash in small bills so it’s easy to buy what you want.

  • Bring a basket or canvas bag: A lot of us are used to bringing our own bags into the grocery store so we can get a discount (or to save the environment), but when I first went to the farmer’s market, I wasn’t in that habit. Hardly any of the vendors had bags to put my fruit and veggies in, so I ended up carrying food in my shirt to the car, embarrassed at my tummy for all to see. Make sure you bring something to carry what you buy.

  • Expect to talk: At the grocery store, I’m able to just run in, get what I want and leave. Sometimes, I don’t even deal with a clerk because I go through the self-checkout line. At the farmer’s market, however, you end up talking to everyone. If you want tomatoes, pears and peppers, you’re going to end up talking to at least three farmers unless you’re lucky enough to find one that sells all three. The farmer’s market is a community thing, you can’t escape it without talking to someone.

There are plenty of farmer’s markets this time of the year. You can find one in your state here:

I wish we had farmer’s markets all year here in Utah, but they will close up shop in September, so I have to enjoy them while they are here. Next weekend, make sure you get out of your house early and hit your local farmer’s market for some fresh fruit and veggies.

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