The Dual Benefits of my Silent Refeeding Alarms

By Laura Moncur @ 8:35 am — Filed under:

I have been on a refeeding schedule for several months now. I talked about the idea here:

Back then, I wrote:

After months of not being able to follow my plan for more than an hour each morning, I finally have a tiny modicum of success. It appears that refeeding works for anorexics and binge eaters alike.

Fitbit Flex from Starling FitnessI now have months of success following my plan of eating and I can honestly say that it has helped me. I’ve released 45 pounds over the last six months, taking life one healthy meal at a time.

My FitBit goes off at 7:30 am for breakfast, 10 am for snack, 12:30 pm for lunch, 3 pm for a snack, 5:30 pm for dinner and finally 8 pm for a snack. It’s a good schedule for me and I can always tell myself if I’m hungry that I can eat again when my alarm goes off. It’s never more than two and a half hours away.

My riskiest behavior is when I skip meals. My FitBit will go off and I’ll think, “I’m not hungry right now. I’ll just skip this one.” I’m usually okay if I just skip one alarm, but if I skip two, I’m too hungry and find that I’m tempted to eat way too much.

And then the intrusive food thought came…

Mike and I were going to Las Vegas last week for our anniversary. I wanted to eat in Vegas those foods that are just not available at home. That’s just fine and can be fit into my eating plan, but the bad thought came to me, “I’ll just skip breakfast and morning snack and then I’ll have more calories for lunch and dinner in Vegas.”

This, my friends, is THE definition of my binge-eating disorder. That single thought is what has undermined me time and time again. It’s the thought that triggers months of bingeing. It’s the thought that brought me to the weight of 231.8 pounds at my highest. I have gotten down to 185 pounds eating when the alarms go off, so I’m not about to sacrifice that success.

There is a dual benefit to my silent refeeding alarms on my FitBit. Not only do they keep me from eating between meals, preventing me from bingeing all day long. They also keep me from starving myself. They tell me to eat, even when I think that I can go without food. As long as I treat those alarms like a command instead of a recommendation, I am able to keep my food intake within my caloric restrictions. Paradoxically, by forcing myself to eat every two and a half hours, I eat LESS.

The Vegas trip, by the way, was a complete success. I realized that I was having an unhealthy food thought and ate when the alarm told me to. It went off at 7:30 am and I ate a small and healthy breakfast. It went off again at 10 am and I had a snack. It went off a third time at 12:30 pm and we still weren’t in Vegas, so I had another snack. Even though I wanted to “save” those calories for Vegas, I ate something. When we rolled into town, my 3 pm alarm was going off, so we had lunch then at the place we wanted. Because I wasn’t starving, I was able to share a dish with Mike, even though there was some weird ordering mistake and they gave us TWO entrees instead of one.

If I hadn’t had my breakfast and those two snacks, I would have eaten that second entree all by myself instead of sharing one with Mike. When you look at the calories, I would have eaten MORE if I skipped breakfast and snacks. Instead, we got a to-go box and put that extra entree in the hotel fridge and I ate it for breakfast over the next two days.

If you are having a hard time keeping to your plan of eating or if you feel like you are hungry ALL the time, try setting alarms for yourself every two and a half hours. EAT when they go off, without question. It doesn’t have to be a lot of food. It can be a snack as small as five almonds or a few carrot sticks, but EAT. And then, DON’T eat between the alarms. If you still feel hungry, tell yourself, “I can eat when the next alarm goes off.” It’s only two and a half hours away. You can do anything for two hours. You will be SHOCKED at how easily you are able to stay within your caloric restrictions.

Related entries:


It’s Never About The Food

By Laura Moncur @ 4:09 pm — Filed under:

For the last four months, I have been steadily losing weight. I’ve been keeping my dopamine levels high without eating sugar and watching myself. I’ve learned a very important lesson in these last few months.

It’s never about the food. It’s about WHY I want to eat the food.

Whenever I start to feel uneasy or discontent, then I know that something is wrong with me emotionally. I’m scared about something, or maybe I’m worried about something. The fact that I might be tempted to eat an entire bag of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups isn’t about the candy. It’s about my emotional state.

This is a lesson that has taken me YEARS to learn. I’ve always known that I’ve eaten for emotional reasons, but I was never successful at stopping the never-ending eating compulsion. I am finally able to feel that feeling of hatred for myself and recognize it for what it is. I’m upset about SOMETHING and it has transmogrified into self-hatred and self-destruction, thus, the peanut butter cups.

The WORST part is that I can’t really teach someone else about this. As much as I might try to talk about it here, that feeling that starts the binge is different for every person. I can’t teach you how to recognize that feeling because I’m sure it manifests itself differently in you. In fact, it might not even manifest as a desire to binge. It might manifest as lack of hunger or the unstoppable urge to cut yourself.

It makes me feel so hopeless as a writer for Starling Fitness, because I feel like I’m healing and I don’t know how to pass on that healing.


PostSecret: Soap on the Cake

By Laura Moncur @ 12:50 pm — Filed under:

This postcard from PostSecret reminded me of how I stayed in my addiction to food for so long.

PostSecret - Soap On The Cake from Starling Fitness

It reads:

I had to put soap on this so I wouldn’t eat it out of the garbage. It wasn’t even that good.

I knew that putting soap on food was a sign of disordered eating. I remember throwing away cake and thinking, “See, I’m not that bad. I can throw away cake and not have to soap on it like those poor people who are binge eaters.”

It was a way that I tricked myself. I wasn’t a binge eater because I could throw away food without getting it out of the garbage. Of course, nothing was stopping me from going to the store and buying another cake, some Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and a bag of Munchos. And I did…

The worst part of that postcard is the last sentence:

It wasn’t even that good.

THAT is the wretched betrayal of this disease. The longer we live in it, the less dopamine charge we get from bingeing, so foods that used to taste divine don’t taste as good as they used to. They start to taste bland and we are ever-searching for a better dessert or salty snack.

I can’t believe how many lies I told myself about my binges. Just a few months ago, I would have smugly nodded at this postcard, not realizing that disordered eating comes in many shapes and sizes. Just because I refuse to eat out of the garbage can doesn’t mean that I’m not a binge eater.

The telling aspect of this disease is that last sentence. Wanting to binge and when I did, it didn’t even taste that good, is THE definition of the biological problems that occur with binge eating. If you are noticing this trend in your eating, get some help, because this problem only gets worse the longer you have it.

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.


Sardines – What Was I Afraid Of?

By Laura Moncur @ 8:20 am — Filed under:

Sardines - What Was I Afraid Of? from Starling FitnessA friend on Lose It! had recommended sardines. He said that they are great for protein and they were healthier for me than tuna fish. According to Wikipedia, he’s right:

Sardines are rich in vitamins and minerals. A small serving of sardines once a day can provide 13 percent of vitamin B2; roughly one-quarter of niacin; and about 150 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin B12. All B vitamins help to support proper nervous system function and are used for energy metabolism, or converting food into energy. Also, sardines are high in the major minerals such as phosphorus, calcium, potassium, and some trace minerals including iron and selenium. Sardines are also a natural source of marine omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce the occurrence of cardiovascular disease. Recent studies suggest that regular consumption of omega-3 fatty acids reduces the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease. These fatty acids can also lower blood sugar levels. They are also a good source of vitamin D, calcium, vitamin B12, and protein.

Because they are low in the food chain sardines are very low in contaminants such as mercury, relative to other fish commonly eaten by humans.

Cool, I thought, but a vivid memory hindered me. My grandpa used to love sardines, but my grandma wouldn’t allow them in the house. If he wanted to eat them, he had to sit out on the porch with a fork and the tin. The can wasn’t even allowed in the house. He had to throw away the tin in the outside garbage bin.

If she thought they were that terrible, how good could they be?

Sardines - What Was I Afraid Of? from Starling Fitness

It took me over a month, but I finally bought a can and tried them. Now, I feel like an idiot. They taste great. Just like tuna in oil, in fact, and no smellier. The next time I’m feeling like tuna, I’m just going to buy sardines instead. Less mercury than tuna, better for the environment and tastes the same as tuna fish. I’m sold!



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

I adore this animated GIF I found on work sweat achieve!

Give Me My Broccoli from Starling Fitness

That first cat is all, “I’m not eating THAT!” The second cat is like, “Give me my BROCCOLI!!”

I want to be like the second cat. I want to love broccoli so much that I am willing to fight for it.

This image is from this YouTube video. You can see it in full here:

The last time I had broccoli was at Sizzler last Friday. I ordered the steak and had it with blue cheese crumbles and mushrooms. I moved the mushrooms and blue cheese off my steak onto my broccoli to make it more palatable.

Why can’t I just love it for the cruciferous veggie that it is? It’s supposed to make my brain more healthy so I can enjoy life with less hits of dopamine. When am I going to start CRAVING it like the kitty in that video?


Apple Juice Hater!

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

I LOVE this comic talking about his apple juice. It attracted me because the first thing he says is:

“I realized recently that my judgment gets more messed up by food and juice than it does by drugs and alcohol.”

I have made that same realization myself…

I love that point where he realizes that the man is judging him differently than he thought.

“I was so caught up in the euphoria of having all that apple juice, that for like a minute, I lived in world where racism didn’t exist.”

Hannibal Buress - Apple Juice Hater from Starling Fitness

YES! Food can literally make me forget that there are other ills in the world. I can be so involved in thinking about what I’m going to eat next that I forget about everything else. THAT is the craziness about food. THAT is the powerlessness and I need to admit and accept about myself EVERY day.

Via: WIL WHEATON dot TUMBLR — aspeckamongdots: I don’t think I’ve ever laughed…


Keurig Coffee Pods: Sendin’ U Packin’

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

I’ve had a never ending problem with caffeine that I’ve talked about for over ten years:

I have limited my caffeine intake to a single Coke Zero every day. I’ve always said that coffee is the cheapest way to get a caffeine dose, but a cup of coffee is not consistent. What I get from a pot of coffee at a convenience store is different from my automatic drip coffee maker at home, which is also different than what I would get from the local barista.

Keurig K75 Platinum Brewing System at Amazon.comKnow what IS consistent? Keurig coffee makers.

I get the same amount of caffeine every time from that machine, if it will keep working. We LITERALLY have returned three machines because they keep on breaking.

Now, I learn that Keurig is trying to prevent people from using coffee pods from other companies in their machines.

“Green Mountain has announced a new anticompetitive plan to maintain its monopoly by redesigning its brewers to lock out competitors’ products. Such lock-out technology cannot be justified based on any purported consumer benefit, and Green Mountain itself has admitted that the lock-out technology is not essential for the new brewers’ function. Like its exclusionary agreements, this lock-out technology is intended to serve anticompetitive and unlawful ends.”

So, when my current machine breaks, (and it WILL very soon, I guarantee it because they all do) the new machine will only work with pods that pay for the extra DRM or that come from Keurig. It’s kind of a crappy thing to do to your customers, so I’m sending the Keurig machine to the thrift store.

As Wil Wheaton says: “Friends don’t let friends use pod coffee makers.”

Update 08-03-14

Folgers Flavors Hazelnut Ground Coffee at Amazon.comI DID send the Keurig machine packing. Right after writing this article, I pulled down the automatic drip machine from the top of the cupboards and started using it, leaving the Keurig unplugged, but ready for me if I wanted to go back. The thing that I liked best about the Keurig was the variety of flavored coffees. I had no idea that I could get so many varieties for my automatic drip machine, but Folgers has been VERY busy.

They also have a wide variety of roasts (i.e. French, Country, Breakfast, House) for every taste. EVERYTHING that I loved about the Keurig has been easily replaced with my old automatic drip coffeemaker and each cup costs me a few cents instead of a dollar. I haven’t missed the Keurig for the last few months, so I gave it away and didn’t look back.


P3: A Truck Stop Miracle

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

We had a heinous drive down to St. George this last weekend. I was driving a big truck and my husband was following behind me in our car, hauling the camper. That would have been stressful enough on its own, but there was a torrential rain interfering with that drive that put my nerves on edge.

It was just the kind of thing that has caused me to binge in the past.

We stopped for gas in Parowan at a truck stop. I looked around the store because my alarm for dinner had gone off over a half hour ago. I was hungry and stressed, but everywhere I looked, there was food that made my intestines bleed. Bread, bread, everywhere and not a bite to eat. I was seconds away from a meltdown when I took a deep breath and decided to let Mike decide what I should eat because he wasn’t crazy like I am.

The second I decided to hand over the decision for food over to someone else, I saw it in the fridge section. It was called P3.

P3 - A Truck Stop Miracle from Starling Fitness

It was a bit of cheese, a bit of ham and some almonds. Not too much food, just enough protein to keep me fed and from freaking out. And all that for only 160 calories. It’s made by Oscar Mayer and finding it felt like a Truck Stop Miracle.


Thirty Minutes of Prep – One Week of Serenity

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

Monday morning, I woke up to an empty fridge and major anxiety. My biggest fear is to be HUNGRY. I eat every two and a half hours to keep from being too hungry and starting a binge. I had food for breakfast and a nut bar for my first snack of the day, but I was out of food for snacks and lunches. I was literally two meals away from starvation (in my mind, if not in body).

So, I went to the grocery store and stocked up on food. I hauled it into the house all by myself. And right when I felt too tired to do anything else, I washed and separated all the fruits and veggies into little one serving bags. I was tired. No one had helped me shop or carry in the groceries, but that thirty minutes was completely worth it.

Thirty Minutes of Prep - One Week of Serenity from Starling Fitness

I also washed all the apples and put the oranges into the fruit bowl.

Thirty Minutes of Prep - One Week of Serenity from Starling Fitness

For that thirty minutes of effort, I will have one week of serenity. No worries about what to eat. No fears about starving. No temptation to skip a snack because it’s too difficult to find one. No binges.

The next time you grocery shop, remember this. If you spend the extra thirty minutes to set up all your snacks for the week, you will enjoy and entire week of food serenity. Isn’t that what all of us want?


How To Make Almond Milk with Your Blendtec Blender

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

I found this video about a week ago and I decided to try it.

My results weren’t quite as easy or or beautiful as hers. It started out the same. I soaked the almonds and put them into my Blendtec blender.

How To Make Almond Milk - Don't Do It from Starling Fitness

I used the “Soup” button on my Blendtec twice, and the blending looked exactly how it did on the video.

How To Make Almond Milk - Don't Do It from Starling Fitness

It was the straining that was difficult. I used a small mesh strainer instead of cheesecloth, but there was quite a bit MORE to strain than shown in the video. It was kind of disgusting, actually.

How To Make Almond Milk - Don't Do It from Starling Fitness

Of course, I felt vindicated when I was done because it looked PERFECT when I put it in the fridge.

How To Make Almond Milk - Don't Do It from Starling Fitness

By the next morning, however, it looked awful. I know it just separated and the commercial almond milk has weird emulsifiers to keep it from separating like that. Oh, and they package it in a opaque container, so you can’t SEE it if it does separate. A quick shake of the container made it look beautiful again, though.

How To Make Almond Milk - Don't Do It from Starling Fitness

Worst of all, unless you shop around for a good deal (which I didn’t this time, but I will next time), one cup of almonds costs almost as much as that much almond milk, so I saved hardly any money for all that work.

The taste and texture, however, is far and above the almond milk I’ve been drinking. Once you shake the container, it’s white, creamy and thick. I sincerely thought that my husband had played a trick on me and replaced it with whole milk when I ate my cereal the next morning. That alone made up for all the work (and perhaps even the cost).

Additionally, there are some benefits. When I make my own, I have almond milk without any added sugar, sweeteners or preservatives. More importantly, if I notice that I’m almost out of milk, I can make some in a short amount of time using dry and storable ingredients. I always notice I’m almost out of milk at the most inconvenient time. This way, I can pretty much make a new batch whenever I want.

So, if you’re willing to do a lot of work, you can make your own almond milk. It’s possible, but in the end, you probably will do better to just pick up a tetra-pak or two while you’re in the grocery store.

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