9/15/2014

A Meditation for When You Want To Binge

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

Imagine yourself in a lush, green park. The grass is perfectly soft and dry. The sun outside is bright, but a light breeze keeps you from getting too warm. You sit in the grass and start thinking.

First, you think about bingeing. You think about that feeling and feel it deep in your chest. That compulsion feels heavy and black and you gather it into your hands, squishing it into a ball.

Then, you scan your body for pain. Anything that hurts and anything that even twinges starts migrating to your chest as well. A black lump of pain congregates near your heart, but you gather it into your hands and add it to the ball you have, smoothing it and compacting it like a black snowball.

Then you think about all the emotional pain you are dealing with right now. Anything that has hurt your feelings in the last few hours or days or even weeks or years, let it come to your chest. Let it gather like another lump of blackness. Remove it from your chest and add it to the ball in your hands, ever smoothing it with your fingertips.

Finally, think about all the pain around you. Loved ones who are in pain. Those who have harmed you. Anything external to you that is affecting you negatively is attracted to the ball in your hands. You can feel it getting quite big from all the pain that is within you and without you.

In your hands, work that ball. Push upon it with your hands, making it more compact and smaller. It is still rather heavy, but you have finally gotten it to the size of an eight ball on a pool table. Shiny, black and firm, you keep compressing this ball until you are unable to make it any smaller.

As you run your hands along the black smoothness, you look up to see an eager puppy in front of you. You realize this puppy is your spiritual guide and she misses you so much. She hasn’t seen you since the last time you tried meditating and she is overjoyed to be with you again. She eyes the black ball of your pain and you know that she wants to play fetch.

You throw the ball as far as you can. The weight of it makes a thump on the soft grass, far down the field and the puppy races to get it. She grabs the ball and brings it back to you, dropping it at your feet. When you pick it up, you can feel that it is smaller, lighter and softer than it was before. The puppy is jumping at your hand, begging you to throw it again and you toss it away even further than before.

Let Your Spiritual Guide Take Away Your Pain from Starling Fitness

After many throws, the ball is a small and malleable lump in the puppy’s mouth, but she is tired of fetch. When you try to take the ball from her to throw it again, she dodges away from you. After a few chases, she lies on the grass just out of your reach, chewing on the ball. She keeps chewing until it dissolves into nothing.

Your pain is gone, cleansed by the love of your spiritual guide and the two of you can now walk along the grassy field of the park in the sunshine together, happy and content.

Original Photo via: Ian D. Keating at Flickr

9/13/2014

Indiana Jones and the Final Crusade Is A Representation of the First Three Steps

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

I don’t know how to express how much this scene from the end of Indiana Jones and the Final Crusade has helped me. If you have never seen the movie, watch it now, or be spoiled.

In this scene, Indy’s father has been shot by the Nazis and the only way he can save his father is by going through the three trials and finding the Holy Grail. Fortunately, his father kept a detailed Grail Diary documenting the three trials.

The Three Trials from Starling Fitness

Here is what happens:

The Breath of God

The first trial is The Breath of God: Only the penitent man shall pass.

I love how Indy and his father repeat it over and over. Penitent, penitent, penitent. At the last minute, Indy realizes he needs to kneel before God or he will be struck down by very real blades.

“The penitent man is humble before God. The penitent man is humble. He kneels before God!”

The Breath of God - Kneel from Starling Fitness

To me, this trial represents the first step in the Twelve Steps. You MUST be humble for this program to work. You MUST admit that you are not as cool as you thought you were. You have to be so defeated by this disease that you bow your head in humility. God, not required. The razor sharp blades of your disease will cut you down whether there is a god or not.

The Word of God

The second trial is The Word of God: Only in the footsteps of God will he proceed.

Indy reads the Grail Diary and realizes he needs to spell out the name of God, which was easy! Jehovah!

The Word of God - Name from Starling Fitness

And then Indy realizes that in Latin, Jehovah starts with an “i.”

This trial represents the second step in the Twelve Steps. You must recognize that only a power greater than yourself can help you. Once again, no God required. In fact, what you think you know about God might be a liability. That power greater than you can be the group, your sponsor, your FitBit or any other guidance outside your own diseased mind. I’ve talked about this quite a bit here:

I like to think that Indy’s dad translated it wrong. The true meditation should be, “Only in the footsteps of one greater than you shall you proceed.”

The Path of God

The final trial is The Path of God: Only in the leap from the lion’s head will he prove his worth.

A quick look at the Grail Diary tells him all he needs to know.

The Path of God - Leap of Faith from Starling Fitness

“It’s a leap of faith. Oh jeez!” “You must believe, boy. You must believe.”

This is the third step in the Twelve Steps. You must believe that a power greater than you can stop you from killing yourself. You have to hand yourself over to it, whatever it may be. You just close your eyes and step onto that delicate bridge. It will be there under your feet as long as you are careful.

Was It Intentional?

I’ve looked all over the Internet and I can’t see any reference to the Twelve Steps with this movie. In fact, Indy’s dad said he found these clues in the Chronicles of St. Anselm. Most believe that to be St. Anselm of Canterbury, but I did a search through all the works of St. Anselm and found nothing written that is even close to the phrases in the three trials.

I must have watched this movie at a very impressionable time in my teens. I can recite this scene almost verbatim and when I have felt too cocky, I repeat to myself, “Only the penitent shall pass.” When I have felt like I could just skip my meetings and do this alone, I repeat, “Only in the footsteps of one greater than you shall you proceed.” Each time my atheism got in the way of my recovery, I thought about that leap of faith and Indiana Jones standing on the slim and cleverly disguised walkway.

Leap of Faith from Starling Fitness

I didn’t need to believe in God. All I needed to do was believe that it could be done with the help of someone else.

Images via:

9/10/2014

Don’t Change Be Yourself Unless You’re A Jerk

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

There is a more vulgar version of this floating around Pinterest, but it wasn’t that pretty and I really wanted one that didn’t swear, so I made one.

Don't Change Unless You're A Jerk from Starling Fitness

It reads:

Don’t change so people will like you.

Be yourself and the right people will love the real you.

Unless you’re a jerk. Then you should change.

Sure, we get a little laugh from this, but the truth is, I am a bit of a jerk. I’m probably a colossal jerk, if certain people are to be believed. When I went through my Twelve Steps, I was brought face to face with exactly how much of a jerk I really am.

And I had to APOLOGIZE!

Not only that, I had to make it right.

There were some people on my amends list whom I couldn’t contact to apologize. They were the hardest people to work through my amends. In the end, my sponsor had me write a letter to them.

Then she made me write ANOTHER letter, because I was STILL a jerk in the first one.

Inside my God Box from Starling FitnessWhen I read her the second draft, she said it was acceptable and to put it in my God Box. I folded it up as small as it would go and it’s still in there, tempting me to pull it back out and read it. But the guilt from all my jerky behavior is gone. I did the best I could to apologize in the situation I was in.

And honestly, I’m still a jerk.

I’ll probably be a jerk for the rest of my life, but I’m doing the best I can to not be a jerk. And I’m apologizing quicker when I am.

What does this have to do with health and fitness?

I haven’t binged since I wrote those letters freeing me from the past. Despite my lack of belief in a god, writing those letters and handing them over to my God Box helped me. I have no idea how the act of folding those letters up into tiny rectangles and hiding them in a discarded Pringles can released me from my past jerkiness, but they did. Not only have they helped me keep my bingeing at bay, they have helped me to be a tad less jerky so I don’t have new situations to apologize for.

So, given the option to be myself and be a jerk or to change, I chose to change as best as I can.

Image via: Hunington Sunset by jonashaffer | Flickr

9/5/2014

And This, Too, Shall Pass Away

By Laura Moncur @ 8:01 am — Filed under:

Last night, I painted my nails. I combined two colors, a really dark green creme with an iridescent pink and ended up with this shade.

And This Too Shall Pass Away from Starling Fitness

I don’t know if I like it or not, but then I realized that it doesn’t matter. In two days, it will be chipped and need to be removed, whether I like it or not.

If I adore this shade, it will be gone in two days. If I abhor this shade, it will be gone in two days. My feelings about the color of my fingernails are irrelevant. No matter what happens, it will be gone in two days.

The same is true for EVERYTHING in life.

I literally felt at one with the universe while looking at my fingernails this morning because I knew that all of life is the same. Whether I love my situation or hate it, it will change. I can’t stop that change. No matter what I do, my situation will be different two years from now than it is today. I can’t stop it. I can’t speed it along.

That is incredibly sad…

I am happy now. I have a family. I have a husband I adore. I have a boy in my life who brings me joy and laughter. I have a cute little dog, a cat who hates me and a another cat who follows me around wherever I go. All of this will change and I can’t stop it. I can’t even predict HOW it will change. I just know that two years from now, things will be different.

And this, too, shall pass away.

At the same time, it can be incredibly comforting…

Whenever I am unhappy, I just need to take in a deep breath and remember that in two years, all of this will be different. Just as it is guaranteed that two days from now, my chipped fingernail polish will need to be removed, two years from now, things will be different.

And this, too, shall pass away.

There is a legend that a powerful Persian king asked his wise men to create him a ring that would make him happy when he was sad. They did, but it had a consequence. The ring also made him sad when he was happy. Inscribed on the ring was the phrase, “And this, too, shall pass away.”

The corollary to this is the knowledge that our feelings are irrelevant. Whether they are joyful or grieving, blissful or raging, our feelings will have little effect on the march of time. Whether we like a thing or not, it will change.

I learned this lesson in a fit of pain and agony. I was having a migraine and something misfired in my brain. Suddenly, I was crying. It wasn’t a normal cry, it was a gut-wrenching cry that I hadn’t had since I realized that I had spent four years getting a degree that I didn’t want. But I wasn’t sad. It wasn’t a cry from the pain. The pain was severe enough, but nothing to warrant the horrendous sadness. Logically, I didn’t have a reason to be sad, yet, I felt an utter hopelessness lost in a depression of agony.

All because my brain misfired somewhere during the migraine.

Fortunately, I’ve also had migraines that gave me complete and unwarranted joy. Every touch felt like supreme ecstasy. I was still in pain from the migraine, but at the same time, I experienced an ancient and sublime happiness.

All because my brain misfired somewhere during the migraine.

If my emotions can be hijacked by a misfiring in my brain, then are they real? If there is a question of the reality of my emotions and a relevancy as well, then why did I EAT so many times in response to them? Knowing that how I feel could just be a blip in my brain is POWER. Knowing that how I feel is irrelevant in the march of time is POWER.

When my feelings are proven to be specters, I no longer need to react to them to my detriment. If someone makes me feel stupid, I don’t need to retaliate or prove myself worthy. My feeling stupid is just a misfiring in my brain. My feeling stupid is irrelevant. I am now free to react positively. I am now free.

9/2/2014

Motivate Your Mind And Your Body Will Follow

By Laura Moncur @ 9:45 am — Filed under:

I found this image on Incensus – Motivate the mind, and the body will follow

Motivate Your Mind And Your Body Will Follow from Starling Fitness

It reads:

Motivate your mind and your body will follow.

It’s true. The days when I meditate are easier for me when it comes to eating and exercise. Meditation is just sitting still for fifteen minutes. Logically, it burns hardly any calories, but EVERYTHING is easier for me when I have concentrated on getting my meditation done.

The next time you’re tempted to skip a workout or eat everything in the fridge, take fifteen minutes and do a meditation. Here are some entries that talk about meditations that you can refer to for ideas:

8/31/2014

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.

8/28/2014

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

8/26/2014

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?

GIVE IT AWAY.

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

8/24/2014

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.

8/20/2014

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.

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