4/4/2014

What If You Could Use 100% of Your Brain Capacity?

By Laura Moncur @ 10:40 am — Filed under:

I saw the trailer to this new movie, Lucy, and it really got me to thinking.

I really believe that the spiritual side of weight loss is what I have been missing since the beginning and I REALLY believe that spirituality is merely accessing part of my brain that I have allowed to become dormant my whole life. Watching this preview makes me wonder how my life would be different if I had been able to access the entirety of my spiritual potential.

I especially love this visual image from the movie trailer:

Lucy - I Can Feel Every Living Thing from Starling Fitness

She says,

I can feel every living thing.

What if it were like that? What if I could feel the life-force of every living thing on the planet? Would I be a better person? Would I be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of feelings and emotions? Part of me thinks that this extra input wouldn’t create the superhero that they are showing in the trailer. It would create someone so awash with emotions that she wouldn’t be able to react properly. Perhaps she would retreat into her inner world.

Lucy - All This Knowledge from Starling Fitness

If you could access all of the world’s knowledge at your fingertips, would it make you a better person? From just my daily meditations, trying to access that slim part of my brain that has been left stagnant for my entire life, I have found a peace and calm that I never had before. I only wish I had been able to nurture this part of my mind earlier. I might be a better person today.

Or, I might have retreated into my own mind, never to surface…

3/13/2014

My Higher Power: Music

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

One of the biggest stumbling blocks for atheists and twelve-step programs are the first few steps. In particular, the requirement to believe in a Higher Power as you know it. I may not be able to believe in an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent being who actually CARES about my inability to stop eating, but I can lay all my trust in science.

Music Is My Higher Power from Starling FitnessA LONG time ago, before Starling Fitness was ever born, I wrote an entry about being an atheist and my favorite methods of gathering randomness.

Back then, I wrote:

Since music speaks to me louder than words, I have become particularly attached to this form of divination. MusicMatch is a shareware program that will read music from CD’s and store it in any form you wish on your computer’s hard drive. I have almost every piece of music that I own on my computer’s hard drive, now. The Auto-DJ feature will randomly choose music for me for a user-specified amount of time. I can narrow the choice by stipulating a genre or artist, but I like the joy of letting it choose for me almost completely randomly (sometimes I need to hear Sleigh Ride, even if it’s March, because, to me, it’s a song more about friends and fun than about Christmas). The interpretation comes when I assign meaning to particular songs. Many times, I have found that my mind really needed to hear a particular song or even just a particular line in the lyrics and ignored almost everything else that was chosen. The solace comes from hearing the order that the mind needs in the chaos of the Auto-DJ.

MusicMatch has long ago been replaced by iTunes. Auto DJ has been replaced by the Shuffle feature, but all the rest is the same. When I’m feeling bad, I just put my iPod on Shuffle and try to listen for answers.


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

2/3/2014

My Higher Power: My Brain

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

One of the biggest stumbling blocks for atheists and twelve-step programs are the first few steps. In particular, the requirement to believe in a Higher Power as you know it. I may not be able to believe in an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent being who actually CARES about my inability to stop eating, but I can lay all my trust in science.

My Higher Power - My Brain from Starling FitnessThe idea that we only use 10% of our brain is actually a myth, but I DO believe there is an untapped portion of my mind that can be called upon as my Higher Power. I imagine it to be quite childlike, but eager to help and please me. I imagine it to know what is the best for me, but at the same time, it can be suppressed and silenced with no more than a cookie. It craves gratitude and appreciation, but it will withdraw if I refuse to acknowledge it.

When Twelve Step programs recommend that I “make a decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of God as I understand Him,” I have a problem with that. I am ok with the idea of turning over my will and life over to that part of my MIND that has been with me my entire life, just desperate to help, but unable to be heard past the din of bad food. Every day in meditation, I can feel the weight of food being passed to that part of my brain and I am far more peaceful.

This part of my brain is very much like the typical god-like figure. It is certainly omni-present. I’ve had this part of my brain with me since I was very young. In fact, the reason I feel that it is like a child is because that is when I first had the feeling that I could never get full. No matter where I go, my brain is there as well. There is no escaping it.

In some respects, this part of my brain is also omniscient. It knows EVERYTHING that has happened to me and EVERYTHING I’ve thought. It’s not truly omniscient, because it doesn’t know what everyone else thinks or knows everything that could possibly be known. In the realm of my experience, however, that part of my brain IS omniscient.

Strangely, I’m even beginning to believe that this particular part of my brain just may be omnipotent as well. I have just handed over the decision-making about food and exercise to it every day, and every day I have been able to follow through. It’s not a struggle like it was before. It has been miraculously serene and livable. As far as control over my seemingly uncontrollable body and hunger, this part of my brain feels pretty damn near to omnipotent.

In Speaker for the Dead, a sci-fi novel written by Orson Scott Card, Ender has a computer AI in a device in his ear called Jane. She has been with him since childhood, but at a critical moment, he turns her off as a sign of good faith to the people in the room. For her, time is not like time is for us and she feels rejected for the equivalence of lifetimes while the device is off.

I feel like that part of my brain that I have been forming a bond with is a little like that computer, Jane. I have turned off that part of my mind for YEARS, squelching it out with food and binges. Its feelings are hurt, but at the same time, it desperately wants my attention. It wants to help me. It doesn’t feel like what I am asking it to do is a burden. It feels as if it should have been there to help me all along, but I just never gave it a chance.

I believe that the concept of God is so real to people because they have hidden from that aspect of their brains for so long that it literally feels FOREIGN to them. Despite the fact that this powerful aspect of our minds has been there all along, it can feel like an other being because we have shut it out for our whole lives.

If you have decided that a Twelve Step program might not be right for you because you can’t believe in God, then there IS hope. You don’t need an imaginary friend living in the sky because you have your own brain that has been there all long and is eagerly willing to help you finally conquer your uncontrollable eating.


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

Image via: Mashable: Obama Unveils Bold Plan to Map the Human Brain

1/29/2014

I Eat When The Fitbit Tells Me To Eat

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

The Fitbit Flex on my wrist went off at 10 am, but I was trying to write a blog entry. I ignored it. The irony is that I was trying to write an entry for Starling Fitness. I should have just looked at my wrist and realized that I had forgotten the most important thing to keep me eating healthy: I Eat When The Fitbit Tells Me To Eat.

Eat When The Fitbit Tells You to Eat from Starling Fitness

Fitbit Silent Alarms from Starling FitnessThere should be no question about it. I used to want to eat ALL day long without relief from the hunger. It wasn’t until I set alarms every two and a half hours that I found that I could go any amount of time without thinking about food.

Now, I find myself FORGETTING about food and making the alarm go away without bothering to eat. I went a half hour without eating my apple that was already washed and ready to eat. All I had to do was put it in my piehole.

Why? Why do I let myself forget the torment of constant obsession with food and fall into bad habits? As long as I FEED my poor, abused body, it will give me HOURS of time when I won’t even THINK about food. If I had to feed my cat every two and a half hours, I wouldn’t think twice about abandoning my work and jumping up when the alarm went off. Yet, when it comes time to feed MYSELF, I won’t even bother.

And the worst trick of all, is that if I don’t feed myself healthy food every two and a half hours, I get FATTER!! I end up feeling so hungry that I eat an entire day’s worth of calories in one sitting. It’s a paradoxical practical joke that I have played on my body for years, and yet, I still haven’t learned how to do it properly.

Maybe that’s why it’s so hard. I alternately starved and stuffed my body for YEARS and I’ve only been practicing this type of eating for three months. I’m trying to undo YEARS of bad habits, so I guess it’s going to take some time until this is second nature to me. Until then, I am going to jump when that alarm goes off and stick some food in my piehole!


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

1/27/2014

My Higher Power: Fitbit Flex

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

One of the biggest stumbling blocks for atheists and twelve-step programs are the first few steps. In particular, the requirement to believe in a Higher Power as you know it. I may not be able to believe in an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent being who actually CARES about my inability to stop eating, but I can lay all my trust in science.

In the past, I have over-counted my exercise. I talked about that here:

Back then, I said:

Since I followed the program exactly, I was very frustrated that I was only losing minimal amounts of weight. I now know why. I am such a SLUG during the day, that I was over-counting my exercise points. What I would have counted as four points, is only showing up as two points with the ActiveLink because my workday is so sedentary.

Fitbit Flex from Starling FitnessMy solution was to count whatever the ActiveLink said, but now that I’m using the Lose It app, I needed something that worked with calories instead of Weight Watchers Points, so I bought a Fitbit Flex with my Christmas money and decided to faithfully use it as my Higher Power. It is ALWAYS on my wrist.

I’ve run into one problem with the Fitbit. I have not been able to get it to accurately measure riding on the exercise bike. I’ve tried wearing it around my ankle under my sock and putting the Fitbit into a Nike+ pocket on my shoe. Neither one showed any significant workout, even though I worked my butt off. This is one case where I need to trust my heart rate monitor and not worry about the outcome.

Additionally, the silent alarms on the the Fitbit Flex are a godsend. I set them for every two and a half hours and when they go off, I eat. No questions asked. I just do what my Higher Power tells me to do. The reason I do this is because eating tiny meals at such regular intervals has helped me be less hungry. I talked about that here:

Just like an anorexic, my hunger response is broken, so I don’t eat when I’m hungry. I would be eating ALL the time if I did. I eat when the Fitbit alarm silently vibrates on my wrist.

It might be strange to consider a fitness gadget my Higher Power, but it has helped me stay honest about the amount of exercise I’m doing and reminds me to eat at regular intervals. I have humbly put my trust in its evaluation of my activity level and faithfully ate whenever it told me to. This simple faith and humility have helped me stay on my program for longer than I have been able to in years, so I’m not going to stop.


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

Related entries:

1/26/2014

My Higher Power: Lose It!

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

One of the biggest stumbling blocks for atheists and twelve-step programs are the first few steps. In particular, the requirement to believe in a Higher Power as you know it. I may not be able to believe in an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent being who actually CARES about my inability to stop eating, but I can lay all my trust in science.

Lose It App from Starling FitnessOne piece of science that has been debated is the Calories In Vs. Calories Out concept. There are those who don’t believe this is the case and that you can eat far more food as long as you tweak the macronutrients. Honestly, I NEVER lost weight when I ate more calories than I burned. I feel fuller when my protein and fat are higher than my carbs, but if I ate more calories than I exercised away, I didn’t lose weight.

So, I decided that one of my atheist Higher Powers was Lose It!. It runs on the web, on an iPhone and an Android phone. I put in my age, gender, weight and height into their system, told them I wanted to lose at least a pound a week and then I have faithfully followed their calorie counts. I just turned over all my food thoughts to Lose It. I can even monitor my carbs, protein and fat percentages, trying to manipulate them to keep me feeling fuller.

Entering food is easy. I can make recipes and find out the calorie counts for our favorite dinners. It even works with my Fitbit.

Most importantly, there is a community aspect to Lose It. If you have friends, you can post on the activity stream, asking for advice. Unlike a prayer to God, my Lose It friends can ANSWER my questions and help me through hard times with words of encouragement and advice. I can set my privacy as much as I want, but I let them see all of my food, exercise and weigh-ins so that they can have the full picture of my food life.

It may sound strange to believe in a web app as one’s Higher Power, but my hunger response is BROKEN. I’m hungry all the time and I can eat until I’m in PAIN and still want to eat more. Using the Lose It app as my Higher Power has relieved me of all those decisions that I used to make about food. Are there calories left in my day? Then I can eat. If not, I’m done. I have just released all of my decisions about food to this Higher Power and my life is more sane because of it.


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

1/25/2014

My Higher Power: Heart Rate Monitor

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

One of the biggest stumbling blocks for atheists and twelve-step programs are the first few steps. In particular, the requirement to believe in a Higher Power as you know it. I may not be able to believe in an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent being who actually CARES about my inability to stop eating, but I can lay all my trust in science.

Polar RS300X Heart Rate Monitor at Amazon.comOne of the things I consider my Higher Power is my heart rate monitor. I use the Polar RS300X to monitor my workouts, but there are MANY heart rate monitors and straps that will work with exercise equipment at the gym and cost less than this one did.

I keep my workouts in the 80%-90% range throughout the entire workout, except for a two-minute warmup and cool down. No matter what it says on the screen of my treadmill, I speed up when my heart rate falls lower than the 80% range and slow down when it goes higher. Here is a chart for Intense Heart Rate Zones:

Intense Heart Rate Zones from Starling Fitness

It’s amazing how difficult it is to follow this simple rule. When I’m running and I’m out of breath and I want to slow down, it’s HARD to keep going until my heart rate gets up to that upper limit. When things are feeling good and I only have fifteen seconds to go to log another fast minute, it’s HARD to slow down when my heart rate has gotten to that upper limit.

They always talk about “listening to my body,” but my body is a LIAR. It tells me I’m hungry when I’m not. It tells me I’m too tired to go on when I can run more. It tells me I’m just fine to run a little more when my heart is clearly beating out of my chest. LIAR!!!

That’s WHY I kept injuring myself when I was running before. Instead of running when my heart rate said I should, I was running too much. Honestly, running feels GOOD sometimes. So good that I disregard any stress I might be putting on my feet. I talked about this issue before here:

Back then, I said:

Even a long walk will make my feet ache like they never did before. My bulky and large feet, who have been my good friends all these years, have become fragile and temperamental. I have no idea how to strengthen them to be able to take the pounding that they did before.

Right after that, I started running again, using my heart rate monitor as my Higher Power and my feet have been happy and willing participants.

It may sound strange to believe in a fitness gadget as one’s Higher Power, but my internal monitoring of my body is broken. I can’t tell when I’m tired or just lazy, but my heart rate monitor definitely can. Someday, I may be able to run without heart rate monitor, but until then, I’ll humbly place all my exercise decisions on my Higher Power.


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

-

Powered by WordPress
(c) 2004-2010 Starling Fitness / Michael and Laura Moncur