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It’s time we all stop saying “I look fat in that picture”

We live in an era of pictures. We LOVE them. They capture our memories and give our friends and family a glimpse into our lives.

We live in an age of instant gratification. A picture is taken, we all want to immediately see it and know if it’s a good picture. But here’s a simple reality, when we look at a photo, we each only look at ourselves. It’s a good picture if we look good. It’s a bad picture if we look bad. It’s a picture that needs to be burned or deleted if we look fat. A good picture can put us right up on cloud 9 and a bad picture can send us down a deep dark rabbit hole.

Have you ever seen a photo of yourself and it put you in a bad mood for the rest of the day? It used to happen to me all the time. I, like so many people, would judge myself so harshly in photos. I’d analyze flaws. It was like the scale and photos were the two things that determined my mood and self worth daily.

In fact, poses like “skinny arm” were invented strictly so we could love ourselves more in photos. We can also “filter” any flaw. We essentially cater more to how we will look in pictures than how we look in real life.

Recently, I obviously put on a lot of weight. They say pregnancy does that to you:) Although Penelope helped me lose 7 pounds, 8 ounces, I still have a ways to go. And I’m currently still the heaviest I’ve ever been not pregnant. In fact, if I was this weight 10 years ago I’d be in the worst place mentally. I would have HATED myself and spoken to myself horribly. Because 10 years ago, weight trumped everything. A picture where I looked thin meant more to me than anything. It’s sad to say but it’s the truth. And many of us, work so hard at our degrees, our careers, our families and our relationships. We may be successful in them all. But when we fail at weight, we feel like we’ve failed at life.

This past weekend I was at the beach with my family. I decided to take my 3 month old daughter, Penelope down to the water for the first time. I announced to everyone that I was doing that. Naturally, everyone who was with me on the beach wanted to witness this. My sister-in-law, Jen, grabbed her camera to document the moment. Later that night she asked if I wanted to look at the photos she had taken. I of course did. My first reaction, I’m not going to lie, was panic. Wow, I look big I thought. Eek, my rolls are prominent, I said to myself.  I had to take a moment to gather my fear of fat and bring myself back to reality. The reality was that my daughter had felt the ocean water on her toes for the first time. My body had given birth to the daughter that was in that picture. A moment of pain turned into a moment of immense pride. Those we’re body imperfections, those were beauty marks.

I was a little frustrated that I fixated on me instead of Penelope. Like me, you too have spent too much time and energy trying to look perfect in pictures that you’ve forgotten the meaning of a photo. A photo is there to capture a memory not become a vehicle that determines self worth. If the moment is perfect so is your body at that moment.

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An explanation as to why we eat so much when we’re on vacation…you heard it here first!

The minute an initial email is sent about an upcoming bachelorette weekend for a girlfriend 2 things happen. First, ample “reply alls.” You may too chirp in with a whimsical response of “omg, can’t wait” or “it’s going to be the best weekend ever,” with 7000 exclamation points. Second, we mentally start packing. And when we pack, we pack our snacks with the same diligence we pack our clothes & toiletries. There’s planning, prepping and plotting. Most of which happens in the aisles of a Target while sipping a Starbucks latte and trying to keep up with 3 different group texts about the upcoming weekend. Your inner monologue while in Target might sound something like this, “I’m going to try to eat healthy this weekend so Skinny Pop, yes, need the biggest bag they have. Now let me go grab some healthy nuts. “Oh but here’s a Costco size square container of individually packaged Twizzlers, yes, I’ll get these for everyone else to enjoy. Oh here’s a 38 oz. circle tub of Archer Farms Trail Mix with peanuts & M&Ms, yes, need, healthy enough. Don’t forget you need paper towels, hair ties and a Father’s Day card. Umm is that a limited edition bag of all pink Starbursts, that’s amazing, I need these. Oh and you need zip lock bags, an avocado for dinner and Venus razer replacement blades. Oh look, the limited edition S’mores Oreos I just saw in my newsfeed on Facebook, absolutely need to get these for everyone to try. ”  

This past weekend I attended the bachelorette party of one of my favorite people. My friend, Liz, from college. We cheered together.  When my best friend, Kate, and I loaded up her car to start our 2.5 hour drive to upstate New York for the party, we took a moment to laugh before we shut the trunk. It looked like the two of us were going away for a year. The trunk was packed to the brim with our matching Vera Bradley bags, pillows, blankets, towels, snacks and a breast pump. The same way we overpacked things like pillows and blankets “just in case,” we overpacked food.

Nonetheless, after a quick stop at Starbucks for nonfat  grande lattes with one pump hazelnut for the drive, we were on our way. Upon arrival we headed into the kitchen of the big rented lake house to load our snack contributions onto the communal counter. Since we were the last two gals to arrive, there wasn’t even room for what we had brought. There was something to satisfy every craving… salty, sweet or savory. The room was full with friends and calories. The unopened bags and boxes brought anticipation of fun weekend.

The weekend was filled with bon fires, boat rides, morning yoga, lots of laughs, lots of gossip and of course, lots of calories consumed. In fact, the weekend ended with us, eating a table of candy looking at a phone filled with Facebook pictures from college. Everyone admitting that they ate too much this weekend. And of course we all ate all much, because it was there, right in front of us.

Maybe you haven’t been to a bachelorette party recently but I’m sure you’ve been to a girls getaway or family vacation.

It had me thinking, most getaways or vacation involves a good snack binge. All car rides are accompanied by tons of snacks. The hotel rooms we stay in,  always need snacks. Life needs snacks. And none of us want to eat these snacks YET at the same time, all we want to do is eat these snacks. Why is this? Why do we need the comfort of these things? It’s not because we’re hungry. It’s certainly not because we want to gain weight. It’s not because we haven’t made plans for breakfast, lunch and dinner. None of us are going on vacation to a hotel room and getting snowed in for 5 days. So why do we always leave the places we go feeling overfull and hungover with guilt?

What I am coming to realize is that these snacks are comfort. They’re life’s giant security blanket that’s big enough for all of us to fit under. They’re friends at a party as much as every human in the room. They bring stories, they bring happiness but most importantly, they guarantee a good time. See in life, we all set the highest expectations for everything we do. These expectations are so high, they’re almost impossible to reach.There is so much pressure for everything we do to be so perfect, so fun and so Instagram worthy. Every vacation taken needs to have the perfect clothes, the perfect weather and the perfect pictures. Snacks secure that. A hotel room filled with snacks can secure happiness regardless if our resort and weather aren’t up to par. The same way a place filled with snacks can secure happiness if our friends can’t. If anything doesn’t reach the expectations we’ve envisioned, food can help us hit the high. I assume similar to the same way we gravitate to drinking when we want to have a good time. After all they’re called “spirits” for a reason, to lift the mood.

So if this is the case and we don’t want to always leave a fun weekend filled with food remorse I think we all can lower our expectations a little. We can do that by simply remembering that the imperfections in life are what makes it perfect. The rainy days are sometimes brighter than the sun. The awkward moments bring the biggest belly laughs. And there is never a need to filter your perfectly imperfect reality. Food can add to the party but it doesn’t need to be the party. This simple way of thinking can save us calories…. and cents at any Target checkout:)

At the end of the day, we’re all essentially just trying to live life to the fullest and if a bag of your favorite gummy candies does that, its ok to let it. Happy Monday!

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Here’s my friend, Lizzie, on her bachelorette weekend. She actually said, if “I’m not the cover of Monday Dieter on Monday, I’ll be pissed.” Love you girl!!

Food for Thought on a Tuesday

Most of us are waking up this morning after enjoying a 3 or 4- day weekend. These long weekends are the times we all look forward to. In fact, many of us live from one long week to next long weekend. The glimpse of a long weekend in the horizon is what gives us the energy to push through the harder, longer days.

My long weekend was jam packed, or at least it felt jam packed. I started the weekend celebrating my third wedding anniversary with my husband. We went out to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants on the Jersey Shore.  The weekend continued, involving BBQs, beach time,  family fun and an excellent wedding. And of course with fun and social interactions comes food. My little brother and I joked that we actually think we ate our weight in red, white and blue peanut M&Ms this weekend. And those M&Ms are what I like to call “unintended calories.” Unintended calories are the foods that we eat that we never plan to. Sure we all planned to eat and drink more than usual, its a holiday weekend but its things like a big bowl of M&Ms sitting around the house on a rainy day that get us. It’s the, “i’m completely full from dinner but someone suggested going out for ice cream calories”. It’s the “register calories,” I’m ordering a coffee why not grab a cookie at checkout. Or the conversation is so interesting we sit at the table for another hour picking at the crumb cake calories. All unintended calories.

For me, by 1 pm Monday, I was starting to feel exhausted. In fact, when I went to put my daughter down for her nap, I ended up falling asleep also. I found myself longing for the weekend to end so I could get back to my routine, our routine. A routine that involves eating like a normal person.

That’s because much of my exhaustion came from the fact that I ate poorly and overindulged. Not only did the actual food zap my energy but the emotions of eating the food zapped my energy.  Because my unintended calories bring emotions with them. After I eat them, I have all the feels. Regret, anger and frustration with myself for once again being in the place I said I wouldn’t be. I’m sure you can relate. We feel sluggish, bloated, we want to only wear sweatpants and sleep. We get to a point where we start craving healthy food for both our bodies and our minds.

We’ve all heard of the term, “sunday scaries, or “sunday anxiety.”  Many of us suffer from it, me included. And when it hits and we’re away from home we immediately want to rush home. Many times rushing home to get absolutely nothing done because the anxiety feel paralyzing.

We’ve always assumed that sunday anxiety is due to thinking about all we have to do for the upcoming week. We panic that our time with no responsibilities is coming to an end and it’s time to get back to the real world. But think about this…What if the sunday scaries are more about wanting the weekend to end vs. not wanting the week to start?  What if our sunday anxiety is actually the energy of longing to get back to our routine? The anxiety is actually the sad reality that we have to undo the damage from a weekend of bad eating. We have to now add “lose weight” to your to-do list.

So that got me thinking ahead to next weekend.  I don’t want the weekends to be cut short mid day sunday by the anxiety of what I did and what I have to do. It sounds counterintuitive that we’d wait all week for the freedom of the weekend and then crave the structure of our week and routine but it’s a reality for me. Overeating and drinking take a toll on us. As much as we HATE the thought of eating healthy, it’s healthy for our mind. Talk about “FOOD FOR THOUGHT.” And the motivation you may need.

The truth about being a yo yo dieter.

Welcome Dr. Oz viewers! You may have been directed here from my amazing boss, Dr. Oz. Welcome to the site!! I hope you stop by every Monday. Especially if you are someone who starts a diet every Monday. Since many of you may be first time readers, in today’s post I thought I’d help you understand a little more about me. For my die hard readers, you know who you are, I wanted to recap what I hope this blog can do for us together.

This personal blog is a place where I discuss the reality of being a woman in a world where we constantly wage war against our bodies. I hope as I share my personal stories relating to food, you peel back the layers and understand your own struggles of being in a lifelong battle with a body you never feel thin enough or good enough in. As we all begin to understand ourselves emotionally, we’ll naturally slip closer to our happy weights without crash dieting. AND hopefully learn to perfect the love of our imperfections.

As you now know, I am a producer for The Dr. Oz Show.  I am also a lifelong dieter. I have battled the scale my entire life.  My weight has fluctuated for as long as I can remember. I’ve had 4 sizes of jeans in my closet at all times. I’ve had high weight highs and low weight lows. Losing weight is always on my mind. A few years ago, in the throws of obsessing over what I weighed, I decided to explore therapy. I learned I was an emotional eater. I soothe myself with food. I numb my stress and anxiety with carbohydrates. I turn to a full box or bag when I am struggling.  I also learned that a side effect of emotional eating is yo yo dieting. After I overeat, I punish myself by restricting or crash dieting. Once I understood this, I was able to better understand my relationship with the Monday Diet. The need to start a diet every Monday. Because of that, I decided to start my blog, Monday Dieter.  The “Monday Diet” represents the emotional component to dieting. If losing weight was as easy as eating healthy, eating less and moving more, we’d all be at our goal weight, we’d never need to start a Monday Diet. It’s NOT though. There is an emotional component to dieting and we need to bring awareness to that.  You may be just like me.

Do you ever look back to the times you overate and blame your sheer lack of willpower? Do you blame cravings? Do you blame social outings? Do you wish you could be like your friends who’ve never had a weight problem? Are you frustrated because you feel you’ve been trying to lose the weight our whole life? I feel all these things.  Until I began to talk out the days I binge. I am able to see an emotional trigger.  For example, we always tend to overeat on holidays. We blame the cookies, cakes and meals that accompany these holidays. Yet, holidays are filled with family and friends who trigger emotional eating. Do you ever head to the office candy jar when work gets stressful? Again, we blame our lack of willpower or our cravings. We never stop to see how the stress of work is why we eat. Ever find yourself saying screw my diet, I’ll start again on Monday? No idea why you are falling off your diet? You may not even realize that something someone said or something you may have read on Facebook can trigger that. We all have triggers that set us off emotionally and thrust us into the arms of food for comfort. They take time to uncover but once we start to discover them, we can steer clear and work to better manage them without food.

Some signs I’ve learned represent me as an emotional eater, maybe you can relate to one or all.

  • An all or nothing mentality, we’re either being 100% good or completely off the wagon.
  • We’ve labeled food as “good food” and “bad food”
  • We look to crash diets in times of desperation or to undo any damage
  • We let the number on the scale dictate our moods
  • We believe in the fairy tale of weight loss (our problems will melt away with the pounds)

I’ve learned that simply bringing words and validation to these things has helped stop the big weight fluctuations and made a lifetime of weight stress more manageable.

This week on The Dr. Oz Show Monday Dieter series we talk about The Mediterranean Diet Shopping List! The Mediterranean Diet emphasizes eating heart healthy foods like fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts and oils. All foods that are good and good for you! The reason I love this way of eating is because freedom from dieting comes when you stop counting calories and start counting ingredients. Freedom from body shaming comes when eating becomes about health and not about being skinny.  Try these foods today:)

Thanks for stopping by! If you want, tell me a little about you! Write to me, mondaydieter@gmail.com

xo

Nicole

 

Here’s why you shouldn’t feel bad about the scale this morning: Clearing up the confusion about water weight.

Did you wake up this morning and panic? Do you feel huge this morning from all you ate this weekend?! I’m there with you! It’s easy to feel horrible about the weight gain. But guess what, in reality, most of it, is what I call “fake weight” OR “water weight.”

Here’s a little science that will put extra pep in your step this morning!

Have you ever heard the phrase, “It’s just water Weight” or “you only lost water weight.” Have you ever sold yourself short when you’ve had a big weight loss on week 1 of a diet and thought well, “it’s only water weight?”

In my opinion water weight has gotten a bad wrap. We hate carrying it around yet when we lose it, we don’t give ourselves credit.
It’s Week 3 of The Monday Dieter series on The Dr. Oz Show! This week on the show: The 3 Day Guide to Lose Water Weight in a Hurry
Here’s how Dr. Oz explains water weight:

An estimated 50-60% of our total body weight is water and how much we retain fluctuates in response to our eating habits. So, we have to target and eliminate the foods that make us hold water like a sponge. When we eat certain foods, like sugar and salt, our cells start sopping up that water and holding on to it, the same way a sponge does. For every gram of carbohydrate your body stores for energy, it also stores 3 grams of water! When you shed water weight, picture literally wringing out a sponge.

And since I’m in grad school I feel I can confidently explain water weight. Picture a donut, when you eat that donut, you also pour 1/4 cup of water into your body. That’s a lot of fake weight you’re carrying around. You get double punished for eating poorly. Sure, these foods can turn into fat if not burned BUT they also bring water which makes us feel fat.

Yesterday, I’m sure you had sweets and high carbohydrate brunch foods to celebrate Mother’s Day. With all those foods, water stuck to you like glue. That’s why if you’ve ever stepped on the scale after a horrible day of eating and saw an astronomical weight gain and panicked… Rest assured, it’s mostly water weight. Everything you ate, brought more water into your body. And the GOOD news, that weight sheds quickly…ALOT faster than fat.
I believe water weight is something we want to lose. It’s especially important to understand water weight if you are an emotional eater. I know when I’m eating my emotions, I’m eating carbs and sugar. All foods that bring water.
It’s exciting when you realize you’re only holding onto water weight, because it’s SO quick to lose!! AND EASY!! Today, let’s be excited to lose the water weight!! With the help of Dr. Oz

Oatmeal Brownies 😍

Recipe:

  • 1 box brownie mix
  • 2 cups oats
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 tbsp. Flaxseed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips 

Directions:

  • Mix together brownie mix, 1/2 cup oats, 2 tbsp. Flaxseed, 1 avocado, 1 cup water and 2 eggs
  • Stir in remaining oats and chocolate chips

Bake!