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


How To Use A Rosary for OA Meditations

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

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 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.


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


The Tools of Recovery: Anonymity

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

Anonymity Is Impossible from Starling FitnessPart 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:

Anonymity is one of the tools that I struggle with. I mean STRUGGLE. It’s because I don’t believe that anonymity is possible when you’re fat. Sure, bulimics might be able to hide their disease by clinging to a healthy weight by their fingernails using purging methods, but for us binge eaters and anorexics, it’s impossible to hide the fact that we have a problem. People can LITERALLY SEE that we have a problem. No amount of empire waists and black leggings can hide it. No amount of baggy sweatshirts can hide it. EVERYONE knows that we are struggling with food, either by eating too much or restricting too much.

The truth is, even alcoholics can’t hide it. They might think that they can hide the fact that they have a problem, but they can’t. WE ALL KNOW YOU’RE AN ALCOHOLIC! You’re not hiding it, no matter how much you think you are.

The “Anonymous” in Overeaters Anonymous seems to be the only thing that goes against the program. We have to accept that we have a problem and that our lives are unmanageable. Pretending that we are anonymous seems to go against every bit of that. It seems to hide the fact that we have the problem, when the program tells us that we need to OWN it. We need to FULLY accept the fact that we have a DISEASE of the mind that makes us eat too much, purge, or restrict. Whatever form the disease takes, it is a problem with food and it is impossible to hide it, so why are we pretending we can?

Even when we are in recovery, we can’t hide it. There are scars all over our bodies from it. If you look at that photo above, you can SEE the scars from being overweight, even though my face is blurred. I was at 150 lbs. when that photo was taken and I had lost approximately 80 pounds at that point. If you look at my arms, you can see the extra skin, hanging flaccid over my elbows. Even at an almost healthy weight, I couldn’t hide the fact that I have a problem with food.

I DO understand confidence. When someone shares in a OA meeting, they might say things that are sensitive. It’s no one’s business what is said in our meetings and we expect you to keep our confidence. But being closed-mouth about our shares is a FAR cry from anonymity. Holding each other’s confidence is possible, but true anonymity is NOT.

We live in a computer age, where cameras are everywhere and corporations have access to our Facebook account information for their own perusal. There is no such thing as anonymity in this world and clinging to that idea not only is impossible, but I don’t believe it is helpful for recovery. Maybe I will change my mind in the future, but for now, it’s the tool of recovery I believe should be scraped and replaced with a spiritual practice.

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


The Tools of Recovery: Action Plan

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

Give Yourself A Dopamine Boost With A To-Do List from Starling FitnessPart 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:

I have literally only heard ONE person talk about using an Action Plan as part of her recovery, yet I feel it’s one of the most important tools we have in OA. I talked about it before in my entry: Keeping My Dopamine Levels High

Set Tiny, Obtainable Goals and Achieve Them Every Day: Benjamin Franklin worked on this technique and it’s the whole idea behind the Franklin Covey planners. This year, I bought myself a planner and just listing the tiny and seemingly inconsequential things I do every day has brought great joy. I can write more than one entry a day, but setting my goal low gives me the feel-good chemicals I need. I actually read for fun, but putting it on the list forces me to take time for myself. Set a goal, no matter how easy it seems and achieve it. You’ll get a chemical reward from your own physiology.

Additionally, the Action Plan is the ONLY tool which mentions spirituality. Considering how important I believe accessing that part of my brain is to my recovery, I am surprised that prayer and meditation aren’t items on the list of tools all by themselves. Taking time every day to access the spiritual centers of my brain has helped me and gives me a dopamine hit that is WAY better than bingeing ever gave me.

Take the time every day to set TINY and easily obtainable goals every day concerning your eating, exercise, spirituality and emotional well-being (things that will make you happy like reading or playing video games). Checking those goals off your list will not only make you happy, they will give you a tiny dopamine hit that will help you resist food more easily.

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


The Tools of Recovery: Writing

By Laura Moncur @ 11:04 am — Filed under:

My journal...Part 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:

Writing is something I do every day. I write in my journal. I write here. I write for other blogs. I write fiction. I am literally writing all day long, but writing about my eating problems specifically is the crux of this tool and it has helped me so much.

When I was working through the steps with my sponsor, she would assign writing to me every time we talked. It was amazing to me how much this helped me work through my emotions and the things that drove me to binge. Even now, I write a daily Step 10 and email it to my sponsor and I’m shocked at how answering those questions helps me feel better.

In larger cities, there are even meetings that use the tool of writing. In SLC, I attend one that reads from the big book for a while and then gives us ten minutes to write what we feel about the passage we read and then we share what we wrote. It is an inspirational meeting that never fails to make me feel better and less likely to eat the world.

Because I am a writer, I am particularly partial to this tool of recovery. I do it every day and it’s easy for me. If you haven’t tried it in your recovery, I suggest starting slow by setting a timer for five minutes and write constantly during that time. Don’t let yourself stop writing, even if you just write the words, “I don’t know what to write.” Keep going and you will eventually write something helpful to you. Do that every day for a week and the next week up the time to ten minutes. I personally write until I fill one page in my journal and I’m surprised at how much good comes from it every day.

Try using the writing tool in your recovery and you will find your days are filled with joy instead of constant eating.

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


The Tools of Recovery: Telephone

By Laura Moncur @ 10:39 am — Filed under:

Tools of Recovery - TelephonePart 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:

This tool is hard for me. I set a goal of doing two calls a day to other OA members and today, I am procrastinating that very goal. I can text quite regularly, but actually CALLING another person feel intrusive. I feel as if I am invading their lives rather than helping.

It’s even worse when I am feeling like I might eat the world. I’m perfectly willing to text all my OA friends, but to actually CALL them is hard for me. I don’t know when I got so reserved about picking up the phone. I have no idea when texting became more acceptable to me than calling someone on the phone.

With my sponsor, almost all of my contact with her is on the phone. I call her every day at 8 am. Sometimes she can talk, other times, I leave a message on her voice mail. I have to be honest, though. It has taken me months to get to the point where I’m willing to call her every single day.

If there is a tool of recovery that I don’t use as much as I should, it’s the telephone. That’s why I set a goal to use it. I guess I should go make those calls now…

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

Image via: Scream 1996 – Wikipedia

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