Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Let me paint you a picture--

It's 2:00 AM. I can't sleep. I am on my third consecutive hour of watching reruns of "The Office". Suddenly, I am downstairs, balls deep in a jar of Skippy Peanut Butter.

How in God's good name did this happen....again. Here are the thoughts running through my head right about now:

-Good lord you are repulsive
-You have no self control
-What the hell is wrong with you?
-You are so fat.
-Do you know how much you're going to have to work out tomorrow to burn this off?

So all of this was going on only about 7 short months ago before I decided to try and get my shit together. And for the LIFE OF ME I could not figure out why I had no self control and would just get into this trance-like state and binge after being so "good" and starving myself all day. Why, of all things, would I reach for the peanut butter? & now I know...


We (myself included) are PETRIFIED of fat. There are more fat-free, non-fat, low-fat, half-fat, reduced-fat, 2% fat, etc. products on the market than ever. And, ironically (or is it?), there are more people in the obese weight range than ever before. So what's up? Let me tell you a secret, a well kept secret at that:


I was eating excess amounts of peanut butter because my body was CRAVING fat. Our bodies are actually amazing how they know what they need. So, what actually IS fat? Fats are a concentrated form of energy which help maintain body temperature, and protect body tissues and organs. Fat also plays an essential role in carrying the four fat-soluble vitamins: A, D, E, and K. (So if you're not eating any fat, those vitamins shan't be absorbed which sucks).

Basically the moral of the story is if you think you're being "good" by eating a low-fat or fat-free diet, you are setting yourself up for an epic binge. Your biological need for fats will overcome your willpower. Binging is not a lack of willpower, it's your body literally taking over. You have an innate will to live, your body doesn't care that you want to be rail thin, it just wants to keep you alive. Let me repeat that, because it's worth repeating:


Your body actually knows EXACTLY what it needs. So if you're craving peanut butter, nuts, junk food, fried food, etc., it could really be because you haven't eaten enough fat. Yes, there are "good" fats and "bad" fats. I don't like labeling food "good" or "bad" though. It's just food. And how is a cupcake "bad"? It's the cutest food ever. ANYWAYS, this post can be an exception to avoid confusion.

There are 4 types of fat- Saturated fat, trans fat, polyunsaturated fat, and monounsaturated fat.

1. Saturated Fat- This is found mostly in meat and dairy products, as well as some vegetable oils, such as coconut and palm oils (tropical oils). Most saturated fats tend to be solid at room temperature, like butter.

2. Trans Fat- created in an industrial process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid.  Another name for trans fats is “partially hydrogenated oils." These are the worst kinds. This fat is manmade and added to things like fast food because they're easy to use, cheap, and last a long time. Also, they give foods a desirable taste and texture.  Many restaurants and fast-food outlets use trans fats to deep-fry foods because oils with trans fats can be used many times in commercial fryers. Ick.

3. Polyunsaturated Fat- Found mostly in plant sources. (safflower, sunflower, soybean, corn, cottonseed) and tends to lower blood cholesterol levels.

4. Monounsaturated Fat- Is found in both plant and animal products, such as olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, and in some plant foods such as avocado. It also tends to lower LDL cholesterol or "bad" cholesterol.

So how much fat should you be eating per day to avoid eating it all at once at a super sonic pace? Well 30% of your daily calories should be from fat. Each gram of fat is 9 calories. So on an 1,800 calorie diet-

1,800 calories x .30 (30% from fat) / 9 calories = 60 grams of fat per day. Amazeballs.

If you eat some saturated fat or trans fat, don't trip. The general rule I try and follow is 80% good, 20% bad. Not just for fats, for all foods really. You NEED to be eating a fat at every meal. (Along with a carb and protein). So using myself for example, in the morning I put peanut butter on my toast. For lunch, I put avocado or cheese on my sandwich or salad, or use full fat salad dressing. For dinner I'll put butter on my sweet potato or avocado with my fish or chicken. Want to hear a perfect snack? 1/4 cup of nuts and an apple. NOM. Whatever, you get it. Do it. Eat fat. Your brain will thank you. Seriously, 2/3 of your brain is fat.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

What "Calories in vs Calories out" Actually Means

...Because what you think it means is most likely wrong. Which is cool because I was wrong once and it was terrible. So let's talk about BMR. BMR= Basal Metabolic Rate. Basically what that means is that your body burns a certain amount of calories all by itself. Your body burns calories throughout the day in order to preform necessary bodily functions. Everything from standing up, breathing, to your heart pumping blood through your body, burns calories. Your BMR tells you the number of calories you burn to live through the day. This number can help you figure out your total net calories and know how much you should be eating to lose/maintain/gain weight.

To be honest, this is what I thought: I thought if I went to the gym and burned 600 calories on the elliptical, then I had to eat 600 calories to maintain my weight, and under than to lose. Long story short: That was wrong and I seriously messed up my metabolism. The amount of calories I should have been eating was my BMR + the 600 calories I burned to maintain, or my BMR + the 600 I burned - like 100 to lose weight.

So how do you figure out your BMR? Well, there's an online calculator but I am not super fond of that one because it doesn't take your activity level into account. Also, I like doing things like this myself, it makes me feel mega-smart and uber-cool

The formula is: 655 + (4.35 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) - (4.7 x age in years)

So here's mine (because it helps me to see so maybe it'll help you, if not, ignore this):

655 + (4.35 x 125lbs) + (4.7 x 63 inches) - (4.7 x 21 years)
655 + (543.75) + (296.1) - (98.7)
BMR= 1,396.15 calories

I even showed my work. My high school math teacher would be proud.

Now let's factor in activity level. Multiply your BMR by:
1.2 = sedentary
1.375 = lightly active
1.55 = moderately active
1.725 = very active
1.9 = extremely active

So my true BMR is 1,396.15 x 1.55 (moderately active) = 2,164 calories.

So in order to maintain  my weight (which you all know now is 125 lbs. So many secrets I'm sharing. If you're reading this we're basically BFF now since you know that), I need to eat around 2,000 calories a day. To lose weight, you need to eat 300 to 500 calories less than your BMR.

Yes Kitty, you CAN haz cheezburger.

NO MORE THAN 500 CALORIES UNDER. Why you ask? I will tell you. (Look Mom, me having an 'answer for everything' actually IS getting me ahead in life!)

If you eat more than 500 calories under your BMR, your body will actually do the opposite of losing fat. Meaning it will gain fat. Will you lose weight? Probably. But as you learned in my previous post, losing weight and losing fat are two different things. Eating more than 500 calories under your BMR causes your body to go into starvation mode. Your body needs calories, and if you don't give them to it, it's going to get them from somewhere else. It's going to get them from the most potent energy source in your body, which is your muscle, not your fat. Bummer. So if your body is in starvation mode, you will lose muscle and gain body fat. Even if you're lifting weights. You are lifting weights, gaining muscle, and losing it right away because your body needs it. You may not look fat, but believe you me, your body fat percentage has gone up. Ever hear of a girl being "skinny fat"? This is why.

Not to mention, being in starvation mode causes:
-bad breath
-hair loss
-feeling weak
-mood swings
-low immune system
-and basically just being a total raving bitch (trust me, my family knows that one first hand)

So, this holiday season, eat anything you want and don't beat yourself up over it. You deserve it. You need it. Your body deserves it. Your body needs it. Strong is sexy. Happy Holidays everyone! x

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Oh For the Love of Carbs

 I guarantee you that there are at least two reactions to reading that word- "Omg YES. Where?!" & "Omg get them away from me now they make you fat". 

I will be the first to say, carbs scare the living hell out of me. And in my quest to body acceptance, I am finding out I am not the only one. In fact, there are very, VERY, few people that I have met that can honestly say they have no qualms with carbohydrates. And yes, they are all boys. 

When I first started seeing my dietician, Brooke, (who is the most awesome, patient, understanding, adorable human being I know, with a seriously enviable wardrobe), she asked me what my day looked like in terms of food. I told her and she asked me if I was eating no carbohydrates on purpose. "Um, duh. Carbs make you fat." Obviously I was the all knowing, all seeing, Goddess of Carbs. Then she asked me, 

"How many carbs do you think you should be eating in a day?" 
"Uhhhh, should? I don't know. 70-100?"


I didn't believe her. So I made her explain the logic and science behind that. In a way that even I could understand. So if I can understand it, so can you. Here it goes:

60 percent of your calories per day should be from carbs. I will tell you why in a minute. There are 4 calories per 1 gram of carbs. So, let's say you are eating 1,600 calories per day (don't eat less than that, seriously.) 1,600 calories x .60 (the 60%) = 960. Now, 960 divided by the 4 calories per gram of carb= 240 carbohydrates per day.

Okay so the 300 was based on 2,000 calories but you guys get the gist. 


So why are we so afraid? Carbs are fuel. Nothing more, nothing less. We put WAY too much stock in what the media tells us (I'm lookin' at you Atkins Diet!).  They provide the body with fuel it needs for physical activity and for proper organ function. If you restrict your intake of carbs, you will overeat them eventually. I promise. 

So, why are low-carb/no-carb diets SO appealing? Because you lose weight and you lose it fast. There is no denying that. Spoiler alert though: It is physically impossible to lose 10 pounds of fat that fast. So what are you losing? WATER. Carbo-HYDRATE. AH HA! Why do you lose weight so quick on a no carb diet? Because each carbohydrate molecule is attached to a water molecule. Lose carbs, lose water. Boom. Guess what happens as soon as you put a carb in your body? All the weight comes back! Imagine that. You are not gaining fat, just like you didn't lose fat, your body is simply rehydrating itself. When I reintroduced carbs to my diet, I put on 15 pounds. In three months. Yiiiiiiiiikes. And every week, through my hysteric sobs, Brooke would remind me, "Your insides are rehydrating. Your organs are swelling back up to their normal size, your blood in thickening. You are gaining weight, not fat". 

Research shows that the majority of people lose the same amount of weight whether they follow a carb-based or low-carb diet. This is because the main cause of weight-gain are calories: eating more calories than you burn will result in weight-gain, and vice versa. You could eat 4 Snickers bars a day or 5-6 healthy meals and lose weight either way. Calories in VS. Calories out. Period.

Another one of Brooke's favorite things to tell me is, "A carb is a carb is a carb." Are there 'good carbs' and 'bad carbs'? Ehhh sort of. There are simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates (candy, sugar, white rice, white bread, white pasta, etc) are not 'bad'. Bad is Lord Voldermort. Bad is not a slice of Wonder Bread. Wonder Bread did not kill Harry Potter's whole family and cause havoc on the wizzarding world. I'm just saying. Anyways, simple carbs spike your blood sugar faster than complex ones (whole grains, beans, starchy vegetables, brown rice, whole wheat pasta). This leads to a quicker energy peak, and a quicker come down, which is turn, makes you hungry sooner. Your body has to work harder to digest the complex carbs, thus, keeping you fuller longer. About 2-3 hours. Seriously, that's the difference. So if you like white rice better than brown, eat the damn white rice. Because it will do the same exact thing in your body. Pinky promise.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Nation Obsessed

Oh man, if I had a dollar for every time I've heard someone say, "Our nation is so obsessed with food", well, honestly I'd have about 9 dollars. (I really don't know that many people to be honest and 9 is a lot to hear the same phrase from!) It's true though, we really are obsessed. I'm not so concerned about our nation though. I think lumping every individual into the term "our nation" is pointless and isn't going to help the individual very much. So I'd like to re-word that phrase to fit this post and my general outlook on things to, "I am obsessed with food". It's too easy to generalize. It makes you feel like, since everyone is obsessed, it's okay that I am too. 

Well it's not. It sucks and makes you miserable. Wether you're obsessed with counting calories, dieting, binging, purging, over-exercising, "cleansing" (don't even get me started), eating only raw foods, not eating carbs (seriously guys don't get me started), not eating past 7 P.M., eating x amount of grams of fat, eating no saturated fat, eating no processed foods, it's just nuts! Albert Einstein once said, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." So why do we keep extreme dieting?! Now, I'm not saying I don't do it. I do. And regardless of age, gender, race, location, we all fall victim. As a 21 year old female living in Southern California, I get it. For real, I get it. 

Now, if I had a dollar for every time I've heard someone say, "I don't care what other people think of me", I would have close to like, five hundred dollars. And if I had a dollar for every time someone meant it, I'd have probably around three bucks. We all care what we look like. But it's how we handle it that defines us. 

Confession: I was that girl.

For the last 5 or so years of my life, I have been in eating disorder hell. Restrict calories, cry, binge, cry, purge, cry, over exercise, cry. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat. You get it. Now, most people don't know that about me so we're just getting real personal here. Anyways, for the last 6 months I've been in a treatment program. My team is amazing and I have learned SO much and feel like I have made great strides towards recovery. I have never weighed this much, and it's scary for me. But I am far from being over weight, and far from being under weight. I am, for all intensive purposes, NORMAL. Am I still afraid of food? Yes. But far from the anxiety it caused me only 6 short months ago. Do I still want to restrict/binge/purge/over exercise? At times, yes. But far from the uncontrollable urge I had 6 months ago. 

This is why I am starting this blog. I want to talk about the demons that snuck into my mind, and how I'm getting them the F out. Because unfortunately, I'm sure someone reading this can relate. And maybe that person isn't ready for treatment, or they are but can't afford it or are scared. I want to free you like I am free now. Or rather, being freed. I know I have a long way to go, and I'm excited to document my journey with you guys.