What is a calorie?

I was at a party this weekend and someone asked me this question and I thought it’s not exactly the easiest thing to define. So let me try to help you understand it a little better and maybe it will then help you understand your food label a little more.

The most commonly known definition of a calorie is the energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water through 1 °C. Probably not what you were expecting to hear right? And a lot of science and research is involved in how this original definition became the calories that we today know on the standard US Food Labels. So how do we simply understand that connection between that definition and what we eat? Well, energy used by the body is ultimately derived from the energy contained in the fat, carbs and protein we eat. So every time you eat, imagine energy being released into your body as heat. See the connection back to the original definition kind of? It’s confusing. And I don’t think you technically need to know that to the benefit of your health. The most important calorie information to me is how calories are calculated to give you totals on your food labels.

A food label for a Frozen Pizza.

TOTAL CALORIES IN 1 SERVING (1/3 of the pizza) = 340 calories

TOTAL FAT = 13 grams

TOTAL CARBS = 39 grams

TOTAL PROTEIN = 19 grams

1 gram of fat has 9 calories. So multiply 13 grams X 9 calories = 117 calories

1 gram of carbs has 4 calories. So multiply 39 grams X 4 calories = 156 calories

1 gram of protein has 4 calories. So multiply 19 grams X 4calories =76 calories

Then add that all together. 117 calories from fat+156 calories from carbs+ 76 calories from fat = 349 total calories. Pretty close to the 340 calorie total stated on the package for 1/3 of pizza. The total when using the 4-4-9 method will always be close to the total calories the package states. It may be exact and it may be a little off because this is an overly simplified method and FDA regulations for U.S. foods say individual companies can use different approved methods for determining Calories for their food. It will always be close, but maybe a few calories different. This is another reason why it’s important not to live and die so strictly to the calories in vs. calories out philosophy.

So you see where the calories come from? And kind of how they are calculated? And of course every grams of fat, carbs and protein offer different nutrients and vitamins and act different in the body. Which we’ll talk more about in a later lesson:)!

Splitting the holidays stress is real.

It’s not the pumpkin pie that causes weight gain people, it’s just not. It’s the triggers that throws you into that pumpkin pie. And with Thanksgiving approaching this week, we all must anticipate our emotional eating triggers.

Here’s one of the biggest…splitting the holidays.

I was out to brunch with my girlfriends this weekend and we were talking about who was going where for the holidays. Most of us have kids now and that brings another added layer of logistics for plans. I was sad that in our conversation everyone equally addressed how stressful splitting the holidays between families was. No one wants to hurt anyone’s feelings. No one wants to leave anyone out or alone on the holidays. We were all focusing on who were were going to upset and not focusing on where we were going to be. So the holidays haven’t even begun and a constant feeling of guilt is overshadowing the season. And I know we aren’t the only people dealing with this. It doesn’t matter if you are married, single, divorced, a mom, a dad, a child, a sister, a brother, a best friend…we all have holiday guilt when it comes to the places we chose to celebrate each year. And that guilt makes us emotionally eat. And the anger that we have the guilt makes us emotionally eat. And the anger at ourselves because we are eating because of the anger makes us emotionally eat. That’s where the holiday weight gain comes in.

So let’s talk this out now,  because if we all talk more openly about how we feel over the holidays, we’re all going to be so darn thin because we aren’t going to eat these feelings!!

First, we must all accept that we all cannot be three places at once. So enjoy the moment and the place you are in that moment. Be thankful for the people who are at your table, not the people who aren’t at the moment. And before you put stress on a family member to attend, think of how hard there decision was. If a family member isn’t with you, it’s not because you aren’t loved. We are all so loved. We all love so many people. But we have to accept how hard splitting the holidays are for EVERYONE involved.

Second, think about yourself first. That sounds selfish but its actually the least selfish thing you can do. You have to think of what will make YOU happy over the holidays. If that means seeing your sister, but your sister cannot make it to your dinner then plan something special with her. If that means you opt out of a party because of the way the people there will make you feel, then honor that. Put yourself first.

And everyone…don’t over commit! Don’t over commit to plans. Don’t jam pack your holidays so much that you run yourself ragged. Don’t over commit to cooking or hosting. Offer to bring and do what you can. You don’t need to be the hero. And there is always SO much darn leftover food anyways. So if you only make the sweet potatoes this year, so be it. Tell someone else to make the stuffing.

When you wish someone else a happy holidays you mean it. But why not wish yourself a HAPPY holidays and honor your feelings so it truly is happy:)

Happy Monday!

I’ll be posting all holiday season about triggers than make us eat. Keep checking back <3

me, pink sweater, starbucks, window

Other holiday related posts you may like…

Why the holidays suck sometimes

How to NOT gain weight this holiday season

Diet Tips to eat better at Special Occasions


You need to clean your closet NOW. Here’s why!

First, let me bust some major clothing myths that I believed for way too long…

  1. If you wear tighter clothes, you’ll be reminded to eat less.
  2. You should always keep smaller jeans within eye sight for motivation.
  3. Throw away all clothes that are too big so you never gain weight back.
  4. If you’re in between sizes, buy the smaller size as motivation.

All 4 of these are lies. And when you believe these myths we’re left with a closet full of clothes that don’t fit and a mad dash every other day to clean the two pairs of pants/leggings that do fit. If you’re anything like me, you have 700 articles of clothing, but wear the same 10 things in a weekly rotation.

My closet and drawers lately have been a disaster and I’ve found that getting dressed and getting out of the house has been stressful. I’ve gone back to the days of trying on 9 shirts before settling on the same one that always looks good and leaving my bed piled high with discards each morning.

This weekend, I did something about it. I decided to build a weight loss friendly closet. And that doesn’t just mean donating any and all clothes that don’t fit, it’s means organizing them in a way that you always feel happy and healthy when deciding what to wear.

Here’s what I did:

First, I laid everything on my bed that I don’t wear at the moment.

Then, I made piles. Pile 1 was for all the jeans and pants that for whatever reason at the moment don’t fit or feel good when wearing. However, since I have an emotional attachment to them I can’t just give them away. Some are smaller and I secretly hope to fit back into them someday. Some just have happy memories and are associated with times that I love thinking of. And others are just expensive and I can’t justify donating. But regardless, since at the moment, none of them fit, I don’t need to look at them everyday.

The next pile was for what I call, forever friends. For whatever reason certain shirts or dresses I can’t get rid of because of the slight chance I’ll need them again. These are the clothes that have a specific meaning and purpose. That outfit you may need for New Years.  That shirt you may need for a holiday party.  The dress you could possibly wear last minute to another wedding. Your high school sport shirts that you can’t possible throw away. And even workout clothes that are either expensive or might serve a purpose one day. It’s OK to keep all these clothes, but day to day, they cause clutter and chaos.

The next pile was simply seasonal, no big surprise here but I am someone who can go the entire year with jean shorts in my drawers.

The last pile was simply formal dresses. I always assume they belong in my closet but I decided I could neatly get them under the bed to make my closet less of a mess.

And of course, I had an ongoing donation pile.

clothes on bed

Then I focused my attention to detail and threw away all the random hangers I had, you know, the wire ones from the dry cleaner or the hangers from target with colorful sizes on them.

I then, organized all of these into my under the bed containers from Target so the are in my life, but aren’t in my eye sight each day.

clothes in containers

By the time I was done, I had neat drawers, and a closet filled with all clothes I wear on a regular basis RIGHT NOW. This morning I got dressed in point 4 seconds. And I also realized the exact thing I really need to shop for. The exact article of clothing that I DO need to bring more outfits together.

clothes in drawersclothes-in-closet.jpg

It’s important to give yourself permission to find ways to be the best version of yourself. We’ve all spent too much time wearing the size we think we should be. Trying to get to a weight  we think will make us happier. And wearing clothes that we think we’re supposed to wear. But keeping clothes and sizes in eye sight that don’t fit is completely causing the opposite of motivation. It’s causing stress and anxiety and that only triggers emotional eating more. Your clothes will always be there if you need them, whether under the bed like mine or in another place in your home where you store things. The same way we make a trip to storage to get our holiday decorations once a year, you can make that same trip to get an article of clothing you need once a year.

Happy Monday!





self talk is real

I often talk about how I talk to myself constantly throughout the day. Its something that has become essential to me as I build a healthy relationship with food and my body. SO today I thought, why not post, and give you an insight into my mind…

It occurred to me recently that a big part of  my self talk is asking myself this question ….WHY?

Let me give you some examples:

When I say to myself, “I need to lose weight” The follow up question is always, “WHY?” Why do you need to lose weight? Is it because you truly need to for health reasons or is it because you are trying to find control in your life? Or is it for another reason you are scared to admit out loud…ie: you’re seeing an someone and want to make them jealous or you’re going on a trip and want to look better on social media…

If I say to yourself, “I can’t stop overeating”…The follow up question is always, WHY? Why can’t I stop eating? Am I really hungry? Or am I eating my feelings? Did something trigger me? How can I deal with that instead of dealing with the food?

If I say to yourself, I need to start  a diet Monday…The follow up question should be…Why? Why do you need to go down this path AGAIN. Why didn’t it work for you last time?

We often let food and diets drive our decisions. But it’s important to remember that the way you eat and diet isn’t the problem that needs to be fixed. Our thinking and our feelings need to be evaluated. Once we do that, eating better and dieting healthier is a symptom.

Food for thought on this Monday:)



Holiday Special Edition: 1 Genius thing to do with leftover Halloween Candy

Eat it.

If you know me well, you knew that would be my answer. Now, hear me out. I feel like every ounce of our beings are conditioned to NOT eat Halloween candy. From the minute the candy hits the shelves in late summer, we’re trying to resist every temptation to buy it, eat it and enjoy it. There are a million tactics online to help you NOT eat the candy. And in the interest of full disclosure, last night I was sitting in my living room trying to come up with suggestions to help you and me with leftover candy. I said things like, “make an advent calendar!”  And my husband rolled his eyes. I suggested making a trail mix with all the M&Ms to balance out the calories and add nutrients to the candy. Again, he rolled his eyes. I said, “bring it to the office,” but reminded myself I work there.

I too, felt unsettled with all of my suggestions.  They felt like a cop out, what I SHOULD be saying. He actually said to me, your readers deserve more from you. And you do. That’s why I truly think the best thing we can all do with our leftover Halloween candy this year is eat it. Not in one sitting of course. But there is nothing wrong with leaving your Halloween candy in the cute bowl in your house and having 1 piece a day. Maybe even having 2 pieces. We have to remind ourselves that we don’t gain weight because we eat 1 fun sized Snickers bar. We gain weight because we eat 10 fun sized Snickers bars.

I also used to think I was created with only two settings, severe restricting and excessive  consuming. I’d either eat Greek yogurt, a kale salad and grilled chicken or 9 muffins, 6 slices of pizza, 13 cookies and a bowl of leftover Halloween Candy.

The ALL or NOTHING mentality has done more damage than 1 mini bag of M&Ms ever will. I have spent my whole life restricting. ESPECIALLY around the holidays. And let’s be serious the Holiday season is Halloween through New Year’s Day. It’s counter-intuitive but when we release the weight of needing to restrict, we’re lighter.

We have to spend the whole holiday season talking to ourselves. Figuring out if we’re eating Halloween candy because it’s our 1 or 2 pieces a day and we’re really enjoying it or if we’re eating it because we’re numbing our emotions.  And here’s another thing, if I am allowing myself to keep my Halloween candy, then I’m going to make sure I’m enjoying it. I don’t have time for Smarties & DumDums when what I really want is a Snickers & Peanut Butter Cups. Don’t eat around what you really love in an attempt to save calories, it never works. We’re unsatisfied. I personally plan to pick out all the candy I love that’s leftover from trick-or-treaters and throw it in the freezer. Dessert time!

There is so much joy in holidays like Halloween. Just seeing the candy hit the shelves brings a sense of happiness and nostalgia. Relish in that love for the holiday, not in the hate for what you ate.




A simple way to stop mindless eating

I have to admit I’ve been a little self conscious about things said in front of my daughter in regards to weight, food, certain words. I didn’t know this would happen but it was an innate reaction. Everyone loves fat babies. They are the cutest, they are the healthiest. And although I know this, I find myself flinching whenever anyone says she’s fat, even though it’s a compliment.  When I realized my natural reaction to that word it made me aware of other things people, including myself, say out loud.  With that being said, did you ever notice that we all narrate our food choices out loud? We broadcast to anyone within ear sight what we’re choosing to put in our mouths.

For example, we’re  at a party. We are seated at a table filled with all our high fattening favorites. We’re  a little self conscious about our over eating at this event so we speak our over-indulgent insecurities out loud. It sounds something like this, “I know I shouldn’t be having another cookie but I’m going to do it anyway” or “Well I’m completely off my diet so I might as well enjoy this pie.” or “I know this has too many calories but I am going to eat it anyway because it’s so good.” 

I found myself doing it this weekend. I was at a friends party and I showed up starving. I sat on the couch and in front of me was a bowl of Utz Party Mix. You know, the one with the Doritos and the Cheetos and the pretzels and tortilla chips, it comes in the big tub. I love that stuff.  I truly did enjoy eating this and I did feel like I had calories to spare for the day/weekend. However, I probably said out loud a minimum of 13 times to my friends around me things like this, “I’m literally eating this whole bowl” and “I cannot stop eating this.”

Well guess what, who cares. Literally no one cares what I’m eating and no one cares what you’re eating. No one is watching what anyone else is eating. I’m actually bringing more attention to myself. I’m reminding people that I’m eating like crap, when they probably didn’t even realize.

The truth is, we think people are judging us. But the reality is, we are just judging ourselves. No one is shaming us, we’re shaming ourselves. The judgement and shame we place on ourselves when we eat poorly makes us emotional, emotions make us eat. So stop judging yourself. Own your decision to eat what you want when you want. The judgement is weighing us down more than any calorie ever will.

Happy Monday!


I’m just going to go ahead and eat two ice cream cones.