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

 

A new weight loss tip to clear the mind and reduce stress!

If you are staring in the mirror this morning in the same place you were last week…you may need a new weight loss tip.

Tell me if you relate to this scenario…

You currently weigh X, lets say that’s 147 pounds. And you want to weigh Y, lets say that’s 135 pounds. (Note these are completely made up numbers)

And the past year you’ve continued to weigh in at around X (147 pounds). Maybe you fluctuated up or down a few pounds  from X, but never made it anywhere close to Y (135 pounds)

And you’re so focused on getting to Y, that Y can fee like a huge pile of laundry you don’t have enough time or energy to fold so you leave it sitting in the dryer. For days. And then, if you’re like me, your dryer becomes your drawer and for the next week and you take what you need from the unfolded pile…still no energy to fold.

This is a current scenario for me. Both laundry & weight.  I’ve let myself become so completely fixated on my Y that I stay consistently at X. It hit me the other day, why haven’t I ever changed my goal weight?

So in our example, you weigh X (147 pounds) and you want to get to Y (135 pounds) but today you change Y to 142 pounds….the goal feels much more doable. And although that number may feel too high for comfort, think of how good you’ll feel if you just get there… after all you haven’t been to that number in god knows how long…

In anything we’re trying to accomplish, we should meet ourselves in the middle. We’re always stuck in an extreme all or nothing mentality. And that mentality is such a sneaky little sabotage.

Here’s another example, I say, “I’m going to do a 10 day cleanse” but by day 2 (sometimes hour 2) it feels so hard that I say to myself, there is no way I can do this for another 9 days. So I quit. What if we just said, I’m going to do a 1 day cleanse. And then reevaluate the next day. Maybe you just do a 3 day cleanse, but regardless, meet yourself in the middle. Put yourself in a position to succeed. You deserve that!!

Happy Monday!

 

 

 

Weight Watchers tricks for everyone

Anyone who knows me knows I love Weight Watchers. I especially love the Weight Watchers app. For me, it’s a way of staying on track and in control, similar to My Fitness Pal for other people. This week I was -68 points, and that doesn’t even include my lattes which I don’t track..

The week before I was -61, and the week before that I was negative 92 points. Most people would panic at that but I look at those negative numbers as a positive. That’s because, when most of us start a diet we start with 1 goal, lose weight. And in that being our only goal, we completely forget to recognize other successes. But not only that, we set ourselves up for failure.

I started a new job about 6 months ago and it was a major life change for me, a change that had me feeling all kinds of emotions. And because of that I started emotionally eating. And I didn’t want to diet, but I also didn’t want to gain so I thought of another goal I could accomplish. I texted my friend and said, I’m going to track in my app until my birthday, keep me accountable.

My goal was to simply track my food in my weight watchers app, I said nothing about what foods I would track, just that I’d track. Sure enough, it’s helped  me stay healthy both physically and mentally.

I believe it’s so important to pick goals that don’t involve losing weight but make weight loss happen in the meantime. Because when you do that, you’re becoming healthy both physically and mentally.

It’s a small thing to focus on, that can fit into your life, without feeling overwhelming. And surprisingly, these habits do stick. So if you started your diet this Monday morning, I challenge you to redirect your thinking, pick a smaller goal that you can accomplish.

Here’s my advice in setting goals to set yourself up for success:

  1. Add something to your life, don’t take something away. (For example, instead of saying I’m not going to eat chocolate, say “I am going to eat two pieces of fruit a day”)
  2. Give yourself a specific end date. (ie: I am going to eat two pieces of fruit everyday until Dec. 9, 2018) I would try to keep your time frame around 1 month, not much longer
  3.  Tell someone. Tell your best friend, a co-worker, your mom, me! (nicole@mondaydieter.com) anyone that you respect and love that will kindly keep you accountable. I will happily be anyone’s person who is reading this.

 

And if you’re rolling your eyes and saying, “yeah nicole but I need to lose 50 pounds by next Tuesday, I need something more aggressive”, gently remind yourself all the times you’ve tried a more aggressive approach and failed… so try this instead…

And I want everyone to remind themselves that maintenance is success. It’s not just about losing weight, it’s about not gaining also. That’s just as important and these little goals are so instrumental in that!

Happy Monday!

pink sweater coffee cup

How to overcome emotional eating

I long to be the type of person who can just eat one Oreo, but for me, it’s the whole sleeve.

The urge to snack sneaks up on us with absolutely no warning.  It’s hard to describe that urge.  But the minute the flood gates open, during a single episode of Modern Family, I can easily put back an extra 500 calories.

I have always envied the type of person who can eat one cookie and move on. Grab a Twizzler and get on with their day. Have one or two chips with a bowl of chili. And week after week at the grocery store I would convince myself that I could be that person; this would be the week I learned self control. So I would buy one or two of my favorite things hoping that each night just one bite would do the trick. It never did.

As each snack session came to a close & the whole sleeve or half bag was gone, I felt weak.  Worse, I was disappointed in myself for upholding my reputation of being the girl who always seemed to exceed the serving size.

One night after half a bag of Tostitos (Hint Of Lime flavor) I was feeling particularly angry at myself when it hit me… I will never be her. I will never be a single-serving kinda girl.

Yet, still in denial after the Tostito incident of 2013, I did what any rational 30-year-old woman does; placed blame on someone else. For me, it was my husband. After all, he brought home the irresistible, cantina-style, white grain tortilla with just the right amount of artificial lime flavoring.  Must be nice to be him, must be nice to never know what it’s like to feel fat, or bloated or out of control in the face of carbohydrates.

Resentment is a place none of us should visit frequently. More importantly, we shouldn’t drag our loved ones there because of our hang-ups.

When I sobered up and realized how irrational I was being, blaming my poor husband for what I had eaten, I did something that made me feel completely vulnerable. I asked my husband to hide the chips from me. If he wanted chips, cookies or candy in the house I didn’t want to know where they were. I felt embarrassed by this. My husband didn’t make me feel embarrassed in the slightest; he actually didn’t think twice about slipping the chips into a cabinet I couldn’t reach. But, I felt ashamed.  How pathetic am I that I am asking my husband to hide food from me? How weak am I? How helpless am I? Basically what kind of a freak am I? I still feel a pang of embarrassment even writing this.

But, that was the best thing I ever did.

The weeks following, when I had food hidden from me, I had time to think and reflect.  Although I thought not having the food in the house was the reason I felt more in control, it wasn’t. I felt more in control because I had admitted, out loud, to a person I love that I was powerless.  I accepted my weakness instead of trying to fight it alone.  Little did I know that insecurity of mine, the insecurity of labeling myself the entire sleeve of Oreo’s girl was seriously shaming me.  And that day, I shed the shame.

Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t sworn off Tostitos.  I haven’t sworn off Oreos.  Because remember, we don’t do the all or nothing thing here. And although I do admit it’s rare we have these types of foods in our house, it’s more than that. It’s understanding who you are and that sometimes you have to get out of your head.  When you take advantage of a support system, you might be surprised how your struggles dissolve and how much stronger you are then a sleeve of cookies.