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.


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.


PostSecret: Thank God I’m Not Thin

By Laura Moncur @ 9:31 am — Filed under:

I found this postcard at PostSecret a long time ago and forgot to post it here:

PostSecret - Thank God I'm Not Thin. I Would Spend WAY Too Much Money on Clothes from Starling Fitness

It reads:

Thank God I’m not thin. I would spend WAY too much money on clothes.

This is just an excuse. It’s one of the many lies we tell ourselves that keep us fat.

The last time I lost a substantial amount of weight, I had this anxiety. None of my bras fit. My pajamas didn’t fit. My swimming suits were huge and floppy. It spawned a HUGE freakout and I gained all the weight back.

Now that I’m at that same weight as the last freakout, I can feel myself having it again. This time, it was the swimming suits. My bras had been so old that I NEEDED new ones, so they didn’t bother me. Pajamas are for sleeping, so the fact that they are too loose wasn’t a big deal. Swimming suits, however, are essential when I need them and I was caught off guard by the fact that mine are too big. There was only one top and one bottom that could adequately cover me without threatening to fall off.

Board Shorts from Starling FitnessEven the board shorts that I altered last year were too loose.

For some strange reason, this made me want to binge. Shouldn’t clothes that are too big for me make me HAPPY?! Shouldn’t they be a reason for rejoicing?! Instead, it caused a freakout, but this time, I vowed to move beyond the freakout instead of letting it get in my way like last time.

I altered some of my old swimming suits so they would fit and I bought a few new ones. Since it’s so late in the season, most of them were on clearance and there were a few left in my size.

This time, the disaster was averted. I was worried that I would be naked or have to spend “too much money” on new ones. Until I am able to decimate the idea that being thin will cost me too much money, I will still have this problem.

And, it’s such a stupid idea.

Being thin is CHEAPER than being fat. Firstly, I’m not shoveling tons of food down my throat, so I save that money. Secondly, thin clothes are less expensive than plus-sized clothes. Thirdly, I will spend less money on health care in the future because I’m closer to a healthy weight. Finally, since I’m not gaining and losing over and over, I don’t need to replace my wardrobe every time I “get it under control.” My clothes actually have the time to wear out now.

The next time you feel that tiny burst of gratitude that you aren’t thin because you think you would spend too much money on clothes, remember that being thin is CHEAPER than being fat in every possible way.


Food Is Not The Way

By Laura Moncur @ 7:57 am — Filed under:

I found this quote yesterday and it really seemed like a sad thing.

Tao. Some of us look for the Way in opium and some in God some of us in whiskey and some in love. It is all the same Way and it leads nowhither. W. Somerset Maugham from The Quotations Page

It reads:

Tao. Some of us look for the Way in opium and some in God, some of us in whiskey and some in love. It is all the same Way and it leads nowhither.

It’s true that people look for Tao in many places where it is not. You will not find The Way in opium or other drugs. You will not find The Way in religion. You will not find The Way in alcohol. You will not find The Way with sex.

And I certainly did not find The Way in food.

Tao is an INNER JOURNEY. It is a mastery of our emotions and thoughts. It is a way of looking at life that allows you to see EVERYTHING at once, which is extremely difficult. Drugs, alcohol, sex and food only mask it and give us the illusion that we can see everything, until the end when they kill us. Religion gets a little closer, but so many religions are just tribal hatred with a pretty face.

I am not there yet. I have not found The Way, but I am certainly closer than I was when I used food to dull my senses and emotions. Instead of controlling and mastering my emotions, food just took them away. That sounded like a good thing to me at the time until I was drugged all day long, eating constantly and unable to do anything but eat.


Feel Like You’re Going To Die

By Laura Moncur @ 11:14 am — Filed under:

I saw this motivational poster on Funeral For My Fat and it made me shake my head.

I want you to feel like you're going to die. Jillian Michaels from Starling Fitness

It reads:

I want you to feel like you’re going to die.

  • Jillian Michaels

THAT is the kind of exercise that spawned a binge for me EVERY TIME. It might not have sent me to a binge that day, but it ALWAYS led to a binge. I could exercise like that for weeks on end, but the desire to binge would surface almost immediately. There is something about intense exercise that makes me hungrier.

And it’s not all in my head.

Exercise has been shown to increase hunger. This article from the Journal of Endocrinology tested that hypothesis:

It reads:

During the exercise period, hunger scores were significantly decreased; however, this effect disappeared in the post-exercise period. Exercise significantly increased subsequent absolute EI, but produced a significant decrease in relative EI after accounting for the energy expended during exercise. Hunger scores and PYY, GLP-1 and PP levels showed an inverse temporal pattern during the 1-h exercise/control intervention.

What they’re saying is that when you exercise, you get a slight decrease in hunger during and after the exercise. Afterward, however, your body produces more ghrelin, which makes you even hungrier than you were before you exercised.

As of this morning, I have lost 70 pounds. I did it by walking the dog and letting her sniff every interesting blade of grass on the journey. SLOW walks and easy yoga. That is all the exercise I did during this weight loss period. EVERY time I’ve tried to increase my intensity to running or intense weight training, I have had an increase in the desire to binge and hunger sensations.

So, when I see Jillian Michaels saying that she wants you to feel like you’re going to die, it just makes me sadly shake my head. That might be very motivational to some people, but to me, it just reeks of a binge about an hour after the workout.


The Imitation of Those Whom We Cannot Resemble

By Laura Moncur @ 12:10 pm — Filed under:

I saw this quote today and it really spoke to me.

It reads:

Almost all absurdity of conduct arises from the imitation of those whom we cannot resemble.

  • Samuel Johnson

I’ve talked about this before here:

Whitney Houston Skin Care from Starling Fitness* Starling Fitness – Whitney Houston Workout Routine

When I was a teenager, I would look at the articles in Seventeen magazine and do the exercises and makeup that were written about there and wonder why I didn’t look like the models. That’s because I was trying to imitate women who I could not possibly resemble. I am not Whitney Houston and I never can be. Only Whitney Houston can be Whitney Houston.

The same thing happens today. Here is an example from OK! magazine called, What I Ate Today, featuring Jayma Mays.

What I Ate Today Jayma Mays from Starling Fitness

If I ate what she ate, will I look like her? Never. If I ate what the expert says I should eat, would I look like her? Nope. No one can be Jayma Mays but Jayma Mays. Once I realized this, all those women’s magazines lost a lot of their appeal to me. I used to read them avidly, hoping for the magic answer.

Here’s the magic answer: You can never be that, and that’s okay because you can be YOU and that’s even better.

Once I realized that, so much of the absurdity in my life evaporated and was replaced by sanity and productive activity. Don’t waste your time trying to imitate those you cannot resemble, and you will can have that sanity as well.


The REAL Five Words We Should Stop Using When Talking About Food

By Laura Moncur @ 10:14 am — Filed under:

The REAL Five Words We Should Stop Using When Talking About Food from Starling FitnessMy friend sent me a link to this Washington Post entry:

I immediately thought of the words that I thought should be on that list. The words they chose, however, weren’t anywhere near to what I was thinking: Detox, Cleanse, Skinny, Never and Perfect. While I might agree with “Never” and “Perfect,” they didn’t come up on my list.

Here are the REAL five words we should stop using when talking about food: (more…)


Mrs. Fields Cookies: That First High

By Laura Moncur @ 7:59 am — Filed under:

Mrs Fields Cookies: That First High from Starling FitnessWhen I was a teenager, I loved Mrs. Field’s Cookies. The walnut milk chocolate chip cookies were my favorite. I loved going to Valley Fair Mall in West Valley to eat them with my binge-buddy.

Lately, though, the cookies haven’t tasted the same. They just don’t taste as good as they did when I was a teenager. I kept eating them, trying to get that same flavor. I blamed the frozen cookie dough, so I tried making them on my own with the recipes I found that said they tasted “just like” Mrs. Fields, but they didn’t taste right either.

What I was looking for is that first high.

We addicts will NEVER again experience that first high from food that we used to feel when we ate. It just takes more and more food or richer food to get even close to how it used to make us feel. Just like heroine addicts, we are searching for a high that we can NEVER get again. Unlike heroine addicts, it’s very difficult to OD on food. We just end up getting fatter and fatter and eating ALL day long.

Knowing that food will never again make me feel like it used to make me feel really depressed me, but it has also helped me to prevent binges. My binge foods don’t have as much attraction to me because I know that my brain is broken. I know they won’t taste as good as they used to. I’m sad about that, but at the same time, accepting it is my only option if I don’t want to eat myself into oblivion.

Two months ago, when we went to Cottonwood, AZ to camp, we passed through the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. There was a little shop there that sold cookies (and had gas and a bathroom). Mike asked if I wanted a bite of his cookie and I said yes. It tasted just like a Mrs. Fields Cookie used to taste and I KNEW that I couldn’t eat any more or I’d have a binge. Ironically, it was some insane “loaded” cookie with a THICK layer of chocolate in the middle. Probably THREE times the sugar and fat that was in those original Mrs. Fields Cookies.

THAT’S what it now takes to get me to that first high: a diabetic coma in a cookie.

The only thing that ever helped me was Overeater’s Anonymous. If it is taking more and more food to feel the same as you did when you were younger, you might have the same problem as I do. Get yourself to an Overeater’s Anonymous meeting, tell the truth, get a sponsor and DO WHAT THEY SAY. There IS hope. It’s just not in the form of a diet, workout or pill.

Overeater’s Anonymous does not endorse anything on this entry or blog. I speak only of my personal experience and not for OA as a whole.

Image via:


Make Yourself HUMBLE

By Laura Moncur @ 8:03 am — Filed under:

Almost five years ago, Nike ran the “Make Yourself” ads. I wrote about them back then:

Back then, I said,

I love these advertisements from Nike. They encourage me to be strong, to let myself shine and to become fit. Sometimes I need encouragement like this and these are the perfect ads to tear out of a magazine and put on my wall right in front of the treadmill.

I found another Nike ad from that collection, but I don’t quite like it as much as the other ones.

Make Yourself Proud from Starling Fitness

It says:

Make yourself proud

I have written about humility and how it has affected my weight loss journey MANY times. You can read some of the articles here.

Time and time again, I have learned that when I’m humble, I lose weight. When I start to get proud, the weight comes back on. Humility is not about thinking I’m not as good as everyone else. It’s about thinking that we are all of the same value. You are not more important than me. I am not more important than you. We are BOTH important. There is room for BOTH of us to be great.

So, do I want to Make Myself Proud?

Strangely, no. I do not. I want to make myself humble.


M&Ms and Artificial Scarcity

By Laura Moncur @ 11:33 am — Filed under:

I saw this ad for M&Ms a while ago. It was before I had started OA, so it was QUITE a while ago. When I saw it, I immediately wanted to go out and buy M&Ms.

M and Ms Artificial Scarcity from Starling Fitness

Somehow that ad had triggered my desire for them and I didn’t know why. I took a screen shot of the ad, which was, ironically, in a health and fitness magazine, and didn’t think about it again until today.

I looked through my folder of ideas to write about Starling Fitness and saw this ad. I was going to write about how advertising triggers cravings, but I now know it goes further than that. This advertisement triggers the Artificial Scarcity craving. We want it because it won’t always be around. We want it because we think it’s scarce.

Do those M&Ms taste any different than normal M&MS? No.

Do I even like regular M&Ms? Not particularly.

Because those M&Ms are in special “Fall” colors, they won’t be around for long. This is a limited time product, so I better act now. They do the same thing at Christmas, Easter and even Independence Day. The same M&Ms, only in red and green, pastels and pink, or the old red, white and blue. They are desirable because we can’t get them all the time.

I talked about this before here:

Back then, I said:

The problem is PERCEIVED SCARCITY. We could cook a turkey any time, but we only have them at Thanksgiving. We could buy that Torani Pumpkin Pie Sugar Free Syrup for our coffee at any time, but Starbucks has somehow convinced us that it is only available in the fall. None of these things are actually scarce. The food manufacturers use marketing and self-imposed limits to make them scarce and even create hoarding.


M&Ms in Autumn Colors. Don’t Fall for it…

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