Health and Fitness Magazines Never Had What I Needed

By Laura Moncur @ 10:50 am — Filed under:

I saw the ad on the corner of the screen. I can’t even remember where I was on the vast chasms of the Internet, but I saw it there: an ad for Self Magazine.

Health and Fitness Magazines Never Had What I Needed from Starling Fitness

I was surprised when I saw it because I wasn’t attracted to it. The inexpensive price for the subscription didn’t attract me. The six free gifts didn’t attract me. Not even the gym tote attracted me. None of it drew me nearer.

But that somehow seemed wrong.

Usually, when I am losing weight, I am DESPERATE for positive motivation. The last time I weighed as little as 180.6 pounds, I was subscribed to no less than THREE health and fitness magazines and I read TONS of blogs and thinspiration sites online. I have lost 51 pounds and I don’t feel any attraction to purchase a subscription to any of those magazines.

I think the reason is that I now know they don’t have the answer. They have diets. They have exercise moves. They have fluffy pieces that tell me how to wear makeup with glasses, but they never made me thin. I don’t need a diet. I don’t need exercises. With the bingeing in the realm of my Higher Power, I am able to lose weight slowly and healthily. No motivation required. I don’t need magazines. I need meditation. I don’t need thinspiration blogs. I need outreach phone calls to other OA members.

This is nothing short of amazing to me.

In fact, I suspect that health and fitness magazines and all of those thinspiration blogs I read were another facet to my disease. If I find those magazines and their promises to drop a dress size in a week alluring, that’s an indication that I might be in trouble. Just like cravings for binge foods is a warning that something is wrong in my life, maybe attraction to those magazines is the same. Instead of buying a magazine, I need to analyze my feelings and see which one of my character defects have popped back up.

I am so grateful to the OA program. It has helped me in countless ways. Not only am I healthier and losing weight, I am happier, calmer and less insane in my every day life.

Overeaters Anonymous does not endorse anything on this entry or blog.


Can’t Buy It. Can’t Read It In A Book.

By Laura Moncur @ 12:05 pm — Filed under:

Monoamine Neurotrasmitters from Starling FitnessI have been rereading my entries about my spiritual experiences, because they are… lacking…

No matter how I rewrite them, I can’t convey the feeling that I had when I had them. I can’t even recreate them in my mind and feel the same feeling. I am completely incapable of making you feel that feeling I had when I was at the Blue Man Concert or so desperate with Calculus homework that day so long ago.

And that’s because I can’t control your brain.

I can’t make your brain release monoamine neurotransmitters. Heck, YOU can’t even make your brain release them. It just happens and science hasn’t quite figured it out yet, so we are at the mercy of them. You can’t buy it. You can’t read it in a book. All you can do is practice.

Practice meditation. Keep practicing meditation until you can feel at one with the universe just by sitting in the lotus position.

Practice prayer. Keeping practicing prayer until you can just clasp your hands together and feel that other worldly presence in the room with you.

Practice music. Keep playing guitar, drums or any other instrument until you can feel at one with the universe just by thinking about the beat.

Keep practicing EVERY day. Give yourself that chemical hit of monoamine neurotransmitters every day to keep yourself from eating poorly. I can’t give it to you. You MUST give it to yourself.

Image via: With Altered Brain Chemistry, Fear Is More Easily Overcome « Bangkok Hypnosis


How To Start And End Your Day With Love

By Laura Moncur @ 2:35 pm — Filed under:

I read the headline to this old Sara Lee advertisement and I thought to myself, “THAT! That was my problem for so long!”

How To Start and End Your Day With Love from Starling Fitness

It reads:

How to start and end your day with love.

Pecan Morning Love

Strawberry French Cheesecake Evening Love

That’s what we all want, right? We want to start our day with love and we want to end our day with love. The only problem with this ad is the idea that it comes in a pie tin.

I’m not villianizing pie and coffee cake, mind you. You can work a slice of pie into your diet as well as any other high calorie food. I’m just pointing out that sweets and desserts are NOT love.

Love is a hug. Love is a kind smile when we make a mistake. Love is a calm and loving response when we have a bad day. Love is NOT food.

Oh, but it can FEEL like it sometimes. That’s why it fools us. Sometimes love MAKES a pie, but it’s the person who made the treat, NOT the treat that is the expression of love. Don’t get fooled.

Or maybe love isn’t around, but there’s pie and when I eat it, it ALMOST feels like love. Yeah, that dopamine response is good, but honestly it’s not THAT good. It’s close, but a hug is much, much better.

So marketing is doing what marketing does best and fools me into thinking that a Sara Lee coffee cake IS love, but they are wrong. So how can I do it? How do I start and end my day with love?


If you want more love in your life, you MUST be the first one to give it away.

Love Isnt Love Till You Give It Away from Starling Fitness

I know it sucks that you have to put your heart out there on the line. I know that as much love as you give out to strangers, lovers and acquaintances will never come back to you in the same form or quantity. But it WILL come back. All you need to do is honestly love others and SHOW them it every morning and every night and you can start and end your day with love. No pie required…

Images via


Two Facets of my Disease

By Laura Moncur @ 7:04 am — Filed under:

I saw this image on Breathe Happiness and it shocked me into a realization.

Two Types of People - Two Facets of my Disease from Starling Fitness

It reads:

Fasting day 1 in full effect

Going to eat the rest of my graduation cake for every meal today because I don’t even CARE.

Built to Bulk posted this first and commented:

There are two types of people…

The thing is, the longer I am in recovery, the more I realize that THESE are the two facets to my disease. My disease wasn’t just all bingeing. It was also starvation. It was also exercising so much that I my toenails fell off.

Every time I feel like bingeing, that is an indicator that something is wrong in my life. Paradoxically, every time I feel like upping my exercise drastically, that is ALSO an indicator that something is wrong in my life. Every time I feel like changing my calorie goal to a far lower number so I can lose more than one pound a week, that is an ADDITIONAL indicator that something is wrong in my life. It’s never about the food, whether I want to eat ALL of it or NONE of it. It’s never about the running, whether I want to do nothing or ten miles in a day. It’s about WHY I want eat, restrict or exercise too much.

I am so grateful that I have finally learned this. When I am tempted to overeat, over-restrict or over-exercise, there is something ELSE going on. Maybe I’m anxious about something. Maybe I’m angry at someone. Maybe I’m resenting something from my past. Maybe I am getting too proud and have forgotten my humility. Whatever it is, it’s not about the fasting. It’s not about the graduation cake. These are the two facets of my disease and they are warnings every time they surface in my mind.


How To Use A Rosary for OA Meditations

By Laura Moncur @ 8:39 am — Filed under:

Update 12-18-14

Twelve Step Meditations for Atheists by Laura M. at Amazon.comI’ve written a meditation book for atheists that you can see here: Twelve Step Meditations for Atheists by Laura M. at Amazon.com

I like to meditate for fifteen minutes each day. It gives me a hit of those brain chemicals that feel even better than the dopamine response I get from food. I’ve found that using a rosary for my meditations is an easy way to get a fifteen-minute meditation without a timer. It gives me a good tactile sensation from the beads while I do each meditation and helps me keep track of what I’m meditating about.

As a disclaimer, I am not Catholic and appropriating a religion’s tools may be considered blasphemy and I apologize if I have offended you. The truth of the matter is: religions and their tools evolved for a reason. Praying with a rosary has worked for many people for centuries. There is some validity to the practice, so I am modifying it to my needs.

Here’s how you do it:

OA Meditations with a Rosary from Starling Fitness

At the cross, I do the OA Promise Meditation:

I put my hand in yours, and together we can do what we could never do alone. No longer is there a sense of hopelessness, no longer must we each depend upon our own unsteady willpower. We are all together now, reaching out our hands for power and strength greater than ours, and as we join hands, we find love and understanding beyond our wildest dreams.

Then, each time there is a single bead, I do the Serenity Prayer:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and the Wisdom to know the difference.

For the three beads, I do the Third Step Prayer:

God, I offer myself to thee-to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always.

For each of the ten bead groupings, I do the Seventh Step Prayer, but I change it slightly. I do one for each character defect I have, replacing “every single defect of character” with the particular defect (i.e. guilt, resentment, anger, etc.) and replacing the word “strength” for the corresponding positive aspect of each defect (i.e. self-acceptance, forgiveness, calm, etc.). I will write more about this technique in the future.

My Creator, I am now willing that You should have all of Me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to You and my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do Your bidding.

You may notice that there is an awful lot of god-talk in these meditations. As an atheist, I have rewritten the prayers to help myself with these meditations without rejecting them wholesale. I’ll share them with you later. I’ve written a meditation book for atheists that you can see here: Twelve Step Meditations for Atheists by Laura M. at Amazon.com

I find that when I’m repeating the OA meditations, my mind doesn’t wander like it does with other meditation techniques. It’s a far more powerful meditation for me than trying to “think of nothing.” If you have been having trouble incorporating prayer or meditation into your daily practice, try this and see if it works for you.

For more meditations, try this website:

Overeaters Anonymous does not endorse anything on this entry or blog.


Beware The Pumpkin Spice Latte

By Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am — Filed under:

Beware the Pumpkin Spice LatteStarbucks is bringing back the Pumpkin Spice Latte early this year, which brings joy to many people, apparently. I’ve seen excited ramblings on Tumblr and FaceBook, which is all well and good, but only if you know what you’re getting into.

You see, the Pumpkin Spice Latte is not just a cup of coffee. It’s basically a milkshake that a little coffee looked at once. Look at these nutrition facts from Starbucks’ website. If you get the smallest cup (8 oz.) and ask them to use non-fat milk and no whipped cream, you can get away with it for only 130, which seems like a LOT to me considering I can have three ounces of chicken for the same amount of calories.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Nutrition Facts 8 oz

If you’re feeling like a tiny 8 oz. cup is not enough, however, you might order a Venti. Since you’re going big, you might as well splurge with whole milk and whipped cream. If you do, you’re drinking 510 in one cup.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Nutrition Facts 20 oz

Torani® Pumpkin Pie Syrup Sugar Free at Amazon.comSkip Starbucks altogether and you’ll be $3.50 richer and thinner. Here’s how to do it. Use the Torani Pumpkin Pie Sugar Free Syrup in your coffee and you’ll spend zero calories on your coffee unless you choose to put milk or creamer in it. The reason Starbucks coffee tastes so good isn’t about the coffee. It’s about the SUGAR and MILK that they put in. The pumpkin spice is just a flavoring added. Save yourself the calories and make your own.


Food Porn

By Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am — Filed under:

I had to adjust my Pinterest boards recently. I realized that so many of the things that my friends were pinning were food porn. They weren’t necessarily unhealthy foods being posted, but I was seeing page after page of pictures of food. Sure, they were healthy food pictures like this one.

Food Porn from Starling Fitness

Still so many images of food just aren’t that good for me. They make me feel hungry even when I’m not hungry. So, I unsubscribed to the boards that my friends had set up that pertained to food. ALL of them, even the healthy food recipes. I decided that when I’m feeling like I need new food recipes, I’ll go find them myself.

The funny thing is, BEFORE OA, I used to love looking at pictures of food. I would fantasize about making the recipe or ordering it at a restaurant. I spent A LOT of time thinking about food I was never going to eat. Now that the compulsion to eat is being handled by other means, I can see those images for what they are: FOOD PORN.

Image via: Breathe Happiness


Anorexia Knows No Age

By Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am — Filed under:

This postcard from PostSecret reminded me how hard eating disorders can be.

Anorexia knows no age

It reads:

Anorexia does not discriminate and it knows no age.

People assume that anorexia is a young person’s disease because that’s all we see in the media, but it can hit people at any age. The same is true with bulimia, binge-eating and exercise bulimia. You’re not “safe” once you hit a milestone in your age. You’re not even “safe” if you used to suffer from an eating disorder and have been in recovery for many years.

In fact, when you have a relapse, it usually hits you HARDER and STRONGER the second time. If you have been recovered and you fall back into your eating disorder, it will be that much harder to get back out. Your brain is pre-disposed to being addicted to these behaviors, so if you give it that crazy hit of dopamine again, then you are playing with fire.

I HATE the fact that I will never be free from binge-eating. I haven’t had a binge for over seven months, but I am not safe. I will never be safe and every day, I need to meditate and get my “hit” of those brain chemicals that are released when I have a spiritual experience in order to hold off the eating.

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.


Shake It Off

By Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am — Filed under:

I love this new song by Taylor Swift called Shake It Off!

There were many times when I overate because of something mean someone did to me. Ironically, overeating may have made me feel better at the moment, but it hurt me in the long run, so I let that person hurt me TWICE. Learning how to Shake It Off has been so helpful to me and I learned it through the OA program. Years of therapy never taught me how to Shake It Off. I needed a different process and OA brought it to me. I am so grateful for their help.

Overeaters Anonymous does not endorse anything on this entry or blog.


The Tools of Recovery: Service

By Laura Moncur @ 7:41 am — Filed under:

The Tools of Recovery - ServicePart of the reason I have enjoyed so much success with Overeaters Anonymous is because of their tools of recovery. You can read more about them here:

Service is the final tool of recovery. I have found a lot of solace in it. The Big Book says that when we are feeling bad, we are supposed to talk to someone about it immediately, make amends or meditate about which defect of character has surfaced and then find someone to help. They don’t specify that it needs to be someone in a Twelve Step program, you can help ANYONE. The lady next door who needs her sidewalk shoveled or lawn mowed, the friend who is moving, or even the stranger on the street who dropped his stuff all over the sidewalk.

Somehow, helping other people gets me out of my mind and into a mode that makes food less important. I don’t know if there has been any research on brain chemistry when people are performing service to others, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a release of monoamine neurotransmitters in the brain when people are making themselves useful to other humans. It makes sense that we would receive a “hit” of positive chemicals when we help others because that enables the species to progress as a whole. Especially, when you help someone of the “tribe” because then your own genetic material has a better chance of surviving. It makes sense evolutionarily.

The chemical “hit” from helping others feels better to me than the dopamine “hit” that I get from food. My only problem is finding people to help. Eating disorders are very isolating and it’s easy to find myself alone, without anyone to give service to. I have been working on increasing my sphere of friends, which helps me in other ways as well. For now, I give myself to service whenever the occasion arrives.

Overeaters Anonymous does not endorse anything on this entry or blog.

Image via: Service to Others | Student Affairs Home

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