Seven Habits That Keep You Strong

By Laura Moncur @ 10:32 am — Filed under:

7 Habits that will keep you strong from Starling FitnessTiny buddha has an AWESOME article about seven habits that will keep you strong, even when things go wrong.

Their seven habits are:

  • Use your power of choice.
  • Accept what is, no matter what.
  • Be grateful.
  • Neutralize the negative.
  • Return to the present moment.
  • Trust yourself.
  • Forgive.

The MOST important one to me is to accept what is, no matter what. I spent so much time judging myself and the others around me that all I could see was bad. Accepting things for what they are has helped me so much in the last year and a half. Many times, I overate because I was angry about something that “shouldn’t” be. Whether I felt that it should be or not, it was and once I accepted the world on its own terms, I was a much happier person. I binged less and my weight dropped.

I love this list of habits to learn to keep strong. Considering how much strength and hope I’ve received from just the Acceptance habit, I am eager to see how the rest of them will help me.

Image via: Nature’s Sunshine – 7 Ways to Strengthen Your Brain Naturally


Try To Be A Rainbow In Someone’s Cloud

By Laura Moncur @ 8:36 am — Filed under:

I love this quote and motivational poster from Wake Up World:

Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud from Starling Fitness

It reads:

Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.

  • Maya Angelou

This concept is incredibly helpful to me because I’m a selfish and self-involved person. Taking a moment to try to be nice to someone else, helps me get out of my head, my body and my selfishness enough to make things better for me. Helping other people is a GOOD thing for me.

It can be a two-edged sword, however.

Being a people-pleaser and trying to help others to the detriment of yourself is NOT a good thing. It’s part of the disease for other people. It’s called being codependent or an enabler. It can be draining on your pocketbook and psyche.

Knowing which is which is hard, sometimes. I spend so much time obsessing about myself that getting out of my own head and trying to think of ways that I can be of service to others HELPS me. It invigorates me instead of draining me. The inner spiral of self-obsession is what drains me and serving others gets me away from that.

Take a few moments with yourself and try to know what kind of person you are. Are you a people-pleaser, trying to make everyone except yourself happy? Are you a self-obsession junkie, spending too much time thinking about your own inner working? Being of service to others has been very helpful to me. Hopefully, it will be a tool of use for you as well.


It’s Not Hunger. It’s The FEAR of Being Hungry.

By Laura Moncur @ 8:00 am — Filed under:

On a recent trip to Las Vegas, I sat in the hotel room, worried. How was I going to eat healthy in this city of buffets and constant food all around me? I felt like I couldn’t eat anything and then I felt like I should just eat EVERYTHING. I could feel a binge coming on. I told Mike about it and he said, “Then we should go to the buffet.”

I laughed at his logic. Go to the buffet? I just said I felt like I was going to binge and he suggested that we should go to the place in the casino where I could eat ALL THE THINGS! He looked at me at said, “You always eat healthy at the buffet.”

Buffet Desserts from Starling FitnessI knew he was right, but I still felt it was like a risky thing. I wanted to binge on the Krispy Kreme Donuts and Popcornopolis that we walked past to get to the Excalibur Buffet. When we walked into the buffet, the FIRST thing I saw was the array of desserts.

And suddenly, the hunger dissipated and the fear of a binge evaporated like water in a dessert.

It was time for me to eat, my alarm had gone off about thirty minutes ago, but that terrifying hunger and desire to binge went away. It went away because it wasn’t hunger. It was the FEAR of being hungry. My body knew that I was going into that mode of starving myself because I looked at the food court and told it that there was nothing there that I could eat. It fought back the only way it could, by telling me that it really was very hungry, and I MUST feed it. Begging not to be starved, like with so many diets in the past, my body was scared that I was going to get hungry, which, ironically, made me hungry.

The moment I paid my buffet money and walked past the beautiful collection of desserts, it realized that I was going to feed it and backed off. It was amazing. At the buffet that night, I ate a piece of fish, some cantaloupe, a 1/4 cup of quinoa salad and one wonton. I easily kept my calories within my limits and I did just fine.

And the next day, I bought the decadent wristband that lets you go into the buffet as many times as you want eat all day long for one price. That wristband was a constant reminder that if I was hungry, all I had to do was walk to one of the two buffets nearby and eat. I easily stayed under my calories all day.

It’s not hunger that makes me binge. It’s the FEAR of hunger that makes me binge. After years of dieting, it’s no wonder that my body and psyche are terrified of being starved, because I WAS starved by my own volition. Buying the all day wristband, ensured that I wouldn’t go hungry that day and made eating healthy easier. The next time you feel a binge coming on, remember that and FEED yourself properly. Make sure you are eating enough and you will curb your binges dramatically.


My Own Two Arms and Legs

By Laura Moncur @ 8:12 am — Filed under:

I understand some of this quote:

There is... nothing greater than touching the shore after crossing some great body of water knowing that Ive done it with my own two arms and legs. Diana Nyad from The Quotations Page

It reads:

There is… nothing greater than touching the shore after crossing some great body of water knowing that I’ve done it with my own two arms and legs.

  • Diana Nyad

I feel the same way about walking and riding my bike. I loved it when I rode my bike to work everyday because I was able to get myself to work without a car. I didn’t depend on the bus or a functional vehicle. Even though I owned a car, I was able to get to work without it. And if the beast ever gave out on me, I’d STILL be able to get to work and bring home the bacon.


Our bodies, when they are strong, give us a feeling of independence. We can do it. All we have to do is wake up a little earlier and we can get ourselves there. I think that’s what Diana Nyad was talking about. Knowing that she could get across that water without needing a boat is a feeling of strength and independence. I’ve never felt that about water, because in Utah, we never have enough water that it’s an impediment to where we’re going, but I have CERTAINLY felt like that about my own two feet.


Judgment Is A Character Defect

By Laura Moncur @ 7:55 am — Filed under:

It is amazing to me how so many things that I thought were good for me are actually BAD for me. Fatally bad for me. Almost killed me bad for me. For example, let’s look at judgment.

Judgment is a Character Defect from Starling Fitness

I always thought that my constant self-evaluation was good for me. Finding my flaws and eradicating them is what I thought made me a better person. That constant negative voice within my head, however is what almost made me eat myself to death. I was never good enough. I wasn’t a supermodel, so I must be fat and hideous.

It wasn’t just me that I judged, either. I constantly looked at others, finding the flaws in them and feeling superior when I noticed them. It’s not like I was subtle when I did it. My disdain was obvious and this judgmental behavior came between everyone I judged and myself. It was hard to maintain friendships. It was hard to even make friends. That look of judgment on my face was a constant reminder to everyone that I didn’t approve.

It also made me a pretty crappy employee. I was constantly judging my work environment, finding flaws in employee reimbursement or how the managers treated us. I always imagined myself to be a good employee because I was trying to make the company better, but in actuality, I was a bad employee, pointing out every problem whether it was important or not.

Judgment negatively affected every aspect of my life and made my life miserable. Instead of making me a better person, it made me binge. Instead of making me a better person, it made me lonely. Instead of making me a better person, it made me almost unhireable.

Giving up judgment is HARD. Telling myself that my body will never be perfect sounds like giving up to me. Telling myself that my friends are to be loved just as they are seems like a cop out. Telling myself that no company can be perfect sounds like settling. But all of those ideas are WRONG. Judgment HURTS me. It poisons my mind and makes good things seem bad.

Letting go of judgment isn’t easy, but it is possible. Keeping our minds open to the idea that nothing is perfect and that’s okay is something that we need to repeat to ourselves every day. It’s okay that we’re not at the weight that the government thinks we should be. If we still exercise every day and eat healthy, then we are doing the best that we can. We just might have to accept that we may never get to that weight. Accepting that friends sometimes flake on us or have irritating habits is hard, but it’s better than pushing them away with that guarded judgment that makes them feel unloved. Believing that our jobs are doing the best that they can to take care of their employees and make a profit sounds naive, but it’s better than having no job or health insurance.

Recognizing that judgment is a character defect was the first step. Letting go of it may take us a lifetime to achieve, but it is possible. Next time you feel yourself thinking that you can fix things or that things “should” be a certain way, then recognize those judgmental feelings within yourself and let them go. You will be stronger, healthier, happier and less lonely if you can.


Running Is The Washing Machine of the Mind

By Laura Moncur @ 7:37 am — Filed under:

I love this motivational poster from RunWiki.

Running is the washing machine of the mind from Starling Fitness

It reads:

Running is the washing machine of the mind.

I am not running right now. It has caused increased hunger and the desire to binge in me that last two times I tried increasing my daily exercise to running, so I have just been walking for twenty minutes a day instead.

That doesn’t mean I don’t miss it.

In fact, every month or so, the thought, “I should bump up my exercise to running a little,” comes to my mind. Sometimes, I think that thoughts like that are my disease talking to me, trying to make me sick again. Sometimes, I think that I will eventually need to increase my exercise in order to get to a healthy weight. Twenty minutes of slow walking while the dog smells everything on the street and five minutes of yoga a day just doesn’t seem like that would be enough.

The most important thing for me to do is avoid behaviors that make me want to binge. Whether that behavior is eating certain foods that make me want to eat MORE, saving my calories for a big meal, or running every day, I need to avoid them in order to stay healthy.

But it’s so tempting.

It’s tempting to run again because that motivational poster is RIGHT. Running IS the washing machine of the mind in a way that walking isn’t. The rhythmic pounding of my feet on the treadmill is soothing and relaxing just as much as it is difficult. I am continually tempted to go back to running, even though I know it will make me want to eat the world.

I don’t know what is right.

I guess eventually I will need to increase my exercise and since running was so good for me before, I might have to go back to it and learn how to exercise intensely without bingeing. Until then, I will continue with my walking and moderation. I’ll have to learn to wash my mind another way.


Redbook Interesting Sandwich Recipes: Spicy Grilled Ham and Cheese

By Laura Moncur @ 8:00 am — Filed under:

Redbook Spicy Grilled Ham and Cheese from Starling FitnessThe last of the interesting Redbook recipes to spice up your boring sandwiches is this one.

Spicy Grilled Ham and Cheese


  • 1/2 country loaf, cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup red pepper jelly
  • 1 lb. thinly sliced ham
  • 1/2 lb. thinly sliced Guyere
  • 1 cup baby arugula


  • Spread butter on outside of each slice of bread and jelly on the inside.
  • Stack a few slices of ham and Gruyere on the jelly side of 4 of the bread slices, followed by a handful of arugula and remaining bread.
  • Place in a panini press (or in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat, turning once) until bread crips up and cheese begins to melt.

Nutrition Facts:

Makes 4 sandwiches. Each sandwich: 709 calories, 36g fat, 19g saturated fat, 44g protein, 4g fiber, 56g carbohydrates

Summing Up

This one makes me even angrier than the other two combined. There is SO much wrong with this recipe that it just boggles my mind that Redbook printed it.

Let’s start with the bread. The first ingredient wants you to get (or bake) a country loaf of bread and slice it. Right there is going to be a deal breaker for any normal person thinking of making this sandwich. Hello, snooty Redbook chef, we have something in the flyover states called Texas Toast. THAT is what should have been the first ingredient on your list.

Next, red pepper jelly?! This is NOT a common ingredient. It’s not something that you can find anywhere. I found it on Amazon, for eight bucks a jar, but as far as I can tell, this is the SOLE ingredient that changes this sandwich from a boring ham and cheese to a Spicy Ham and Cheese.

Finally, the chef assumes that you either own a panini press or a cast-iron skillet. Us flyover folks probably DO own a cast-iron skillet, but it’s in the chuck box stored away in the camper. I ain’t poppin’ the tent trailer to get the cast iron skillet. This is how you should have said it, snooty chef, “Place the sandwich in your George Foreman Grill until the bread crisps and the cheese melts.” THAT is an appliance that most of us still have sitting in the back of the cupboard somewhere.

After reading that complimentary issue of Redbook on my iPad, I now know that I definitely do NOT want to subscribe to Redbook. They might think they are writing that magazine for busy women all over the nation, but they are really just stuck in the New York publishing microcosm.


Redbook Interesting Sandwich Recipes: BLAST

By Laura Moncur @ 8:00 am — Filed under:

Redbook BLAST from Starling FitnessIf you are sick of what you are typically eating for lunch, Redbook had some recipes that offered a twist on favorites.

BLAST (Bacon, Lettuce, Avocado, Salmon & Tomato)


  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp dill
  • 1 Tbsp chopped chives
  • 8 slices bread (pullman loaf, sliced 1/2 inch thick)
  • 8 slices bacon, cooked
  • 4 leaves romaine
  • 1 avocado, pitted, sliced
  • 8 slices lox (about 8oz)
  • 1 large beefsteak tomato, sliced
  • 1/2 small red onion, sliced


  • Mix mayo with dill, chives and salt and pepper to taste and spread one Tbsp on each slice of bread.
  • Working with 4 slices of bread, layer on 2 bacon slices, 1 romain leaf, 2 avocado slices, 2 lox slices, 1 tomato slice, and 1 red onion slice.
  • Top with remaining 4 slices of bread.

Nutrition Facts:

Makes 4 sandwiches. Each sandwich: 524 calories, 36g fat, 7g saturated fat, 19g protein, 4g fiber, and 32g carbohydrates.

Summing Up

Dill and chives are yet another indication that a chef made this recipe, not a mom. Some people might have dill in their spice cabinet, but they certainly don’t have fresh chives. CHIVES!! I don’t think I’ve even SEEN chives in my grocery store for years. I’m sure they’re there, in the hippie section with the overprice organic food, but chives are NEVER something that I just have lying around the house.

They are WORTH finding, however. Because the difference between a boring BLT and this sandwich are those irritating and hard to find items.

Lox, on the other hand, tells me that this chef lives in a BIG city like New York. Lox isn’t something we normal folks can find anywhere. Since it’s a big part of the BLAST (it’s the Salmon), skipping it is going to change this sandwich from a BLAST to a boring BLT with avocado. It is obvious that the chef who created this sandwich hasn’t walked into a grocery store in a flyover state in a LONG time. Lox is something we flyover states have to order from Amazon at forty bucks a pop.

Don’t even get me started about the Pullman loaf bread sliced 1/2 inch thick. There is no normal, working woman on the earth that is willing to make bread and slice it thinly for her sandwich. Finding an interesting loaf of bread, like rye or pumpernickel, in your store might be a nice change of pace, though.

In the end, this isn’t going to work for the BULK of the nation. I would think that Redbook would have more sense than to let this recipe end up in print.


Redbook Interesting Sandwich Recipes: Thai Tuna Salad

By Laura Moncur @ 8:14 am — Filed under:

Redbook Thai Tuna Salad from Starling FitnessI was reading a free introductory issue of Redbook and they had some interesting sandwich recipes. I get sick of eating the same thing every day, so every once and a while, I need to pull up ideas for new food. Over the next three days, I’ll post the recipes and my thoughts on them.

Thai Tuna Salad


  • 3 (5oz) cans water packed tuna, drained
  • 1/2 small red onion, chopped
  • 2 scallions, sliced diagonally
  • 1 small jalapeño, some seeds removed, finely chopped.
  • 2 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 lime, juiced, zested
  • 4 pita pockets
  • 1 small head butter lettuce


  • In a large bowl, combine tuna, onion, scallions, jalapeño, ginger, cilantro, and peanuts; season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • In a small bowl, whisk mayo, sesame oil, and lime juice and zest until smooth; fold into tuna.
  • Dividing evenly, spoon tuna mixture into pita pockets with leaves of lettuce.

Nutrition Facts:

Make 4 sandwiches. Each sandwich: 665 calories, 41g fat, 7g saturated fat, 34g protein, 4g fiber, 40g carbohydrates

Summing Up

Whenever I see scallions on an ingredient list, I know that I am dealing with a “chef” who doesn’t understand the real world. They cook for a living. Getting scallions means that they walk into the huge, walk-in fridge and get some scallions. They are there all the time, just waiting to be used in their recipes, always fresh and available.

To normal human beings, things like fresh scallions, ginger and cilantro are EXPENSIVE ingredients that will be used for this ONE recipe. We have to go to the grocery store specifically for them. They aren’t just lying around. It takes sincere EFFORT to get the ingredients for this recipe.

That said, if you are SICK of your tuna fish sandwich, it’s worth it.

Scallions, red onions (as opposed to the yellow or white onions you probably have in your fridge), cilantro and ginger are the very things that will make this sandwich taste different than your boring old tuna fish sandwich. And the beauty of it all is that they make your tuna fish taste different without adding any additional calories.

The fact that the chef suggests whisking the mayo, sesame oil and lime in a separate bowl ALSO tells me how very out of touch the inventor of this recipe is. I’m sure there is some benefit to making sure those ingredients are thoroughly mixed before adding them to the tuna, but whatever benefit that might be, it’s not going to even START to compete with the fact that it dirties ANOTHER bowl. To a chef, another dirty bowl isn’t a big deal. They have people to clean the dishes, but to a REAL person, every dirty bowl is a bowl I have to clean. What the chef should have done is START with the mayo, oil and lime in the big bowl and whisk it. THEN, add the tuna and other ingredients. ONE bowl. Less cleanup.

In the end, this sounds like a great way to spice up and change a boring tuna fish sandwich into something that tastes interesting and worth eating.


To Lengthen Thy Life, Lessen Thy Meals

By Laura Moncur @ 8:51 am — Filed under:

I saw this quote this morning and it made me nod in agreement.

To lengthen thy life lessen thy meals. Benjamin Franklin from The Quotations Page

It reads:

To lengthen thy life lessen thy meals.

  • Benjamin Franklin

You don’t need to starve. You don’t need to change everything about what you eat. All you need to do is LESSEN. Make all of your meals a tad smaller and you will live longer. That’s all you need to do. Being fit is 80% what you eat and 20% exercise. You can’t outrun your fork, so put it DOWN. Eat a little bit less and you will be healthier and happier.

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