*skow

The 1200 Calorie Rule and Why It’s Bullshit.

I’ve posted about this before but seriously…girl after girl messages me saying they eat 1200 calories and they are failing and I want to scream!!

I feel the need to post about this today because it honestly PAINS me to see the amount of people who email me saying that they stick to a 1200 diet when trying to lose weight. They often think that is the ONLY way.



Quick Tip Of The Day: FORGET about the magical number of 1200 calories. Who came up with that load of nonsense anyway? “1200 Calories is the magical number for all women to lose weight.” Bullcrap.

From Dr. Mike Roussell:

Calculating the number of calories you need to lose weight is a relatively simple, three-step process. The Harris-Benedict equation is the most widely used method of calculating your calorie needs (and thus your calorie needs for weight loss). Here is the Harris-Benedict equation for women:

BMR = 655 + (4.35 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) - (4.7 x age in years)

You just need to plug in your age, height, and weight. The number you get is the total number of calories you need each day to exist (also known as your basal metabolic rate, BMR). For example, a 50-year-woman who is 5’ 7” and weighs 160 lbs has a basal metabolic rate of 1441 calories.

Since you don’t lie in bed all day, you’ll burn more calories than this. To estimate how many calories you burn during your daily activities, we’ll use the activity factors listed below.

  • Sedentary: Minimal movement, lots of TV watching, reading, etc. Activity factor = 1.4
  • Light activity: Office work, ~1 hour of moderate exercise/activity during the day. Activity factor = 1.5
  • Moderate activity: Light physical/manual labor during the day, plus more active lifestyle. Activity factor = 1.6
  • Very Active: Active military, full time athlete, hard physical/manual labor job. Activity factor = 1.9

Next, multiply your activity factor by your BMR. For the example we’re using, we’ll choose an activity factor of 1.5 (common for most people) and multiply that by 1441 calories, giving us 2161 calories. This number is your total caloric needs, or roughly the amount of calories that you need to eat each day to maintain your weight. To lose weight, you need to eat less than this. How much less? That’s the next step.

Determining how many calories to cut each day is where weight loss becomes more of an art than a science, as there are many variables that can impact the calories in < calories out equation, including:

1. The type of exercise you are doing. Resistance and interval training will burn more calories after you stop exercising compared to traditional aerobic training.

2. The type of diet you are eating. High-protein diets burn more calories, as protein takes more effort for your body to digest and metabolize.

3. How much weight you have to lose. For simplicity sake I had you use total body weight instead of your lean body mass (which is your total body weight minus your body fat). Because of this assumption, if you need to lose 25 pounds or more to reach your goal weight, then your total caloric needs, which we calculated above, is probably too high. This is because we treated the calorie needs of body fat the same as lean tissue (muscles, bones, and organs), but in reality your body fat has a much lower caloric need (close to zero). I explain how to adjust for this below.

4. Your individual metabolism. The Harris-Benedict equation or any equation that estimates your calorie needs is just that, an estimate. These equations are based on averages, and you are probably not average. Don’t take the numbers you generate after reading this article as gospel, but use them as a starting point, put them to the test, and adjust from there.

Traditionally, recommendations are made for individuals to subtract 500-1000 calories from their total calorie needs in order to lose 1-2 pounds per week. This is because a 500-calorie daily deficit yields a 3500-calorie weekly deficit—which is the number of calories you need to burn to lose one pound of fat. However, I find that these reductions are too aggressive initially and that cutting too many calories too soon sets you up for long-term weight-loss failure.

If you are weight training, doing interval cardio during the week, and eating a carb-controlled/moderate-protein diet, then I recommend that you only subtract 250 calories from your total calorie needs (or 500 calories if you need to lose more than 25 pounds to reach your goal weight). You’ll see results that make you happy while being able to eat more. Using our example, the woman would need to eat 1900 calories per day to lose weight.

The final step: Put it to the test! At the end of two weeks, see how much weight you have lost. If you aren’t losing at a rate that makes you happy, opt to do more activity beforeyou cut out more calories. If you need to cut out more calories, remove another 250 and put that new calorie level to the test for two weeks.

AMEN. AH-Freaking-Men.

And as he says, this is an equation based on AVERAGES. We are all different. You need to experiment to find out what actually works for you.

When I plug my numbers into this equation, I get roughly 2500 calories. That means that since I still want to lose some weight, I should be eating roughly 2000 calories a day. So no wonder when I tried to stick to the “magical 1200” I failed. I was STARVING. And to my shock, now that I’m eating more, I’m losing more.

I have spoken to so many people that are afraid to eat bananas, avocados, Ezekial Bread, protein shakes..all because they say that they are “too many calories.” BULLCRAP. I think eating whole nutrient dense foods that are higher in calories is SO much better than eating processed crap that is made to be low calorie. You can eat as much of that processed crap as you want but still be nutritionally starving.

Start Eating, Start Sweating, Start Losing, Start Living.


Follow me on facebook here.

Follow me on youtube here.

Subscribe to my email list here.


XOXO, Sami


P.S. Challenge group application here.

I know I did a post recently about my favorite go to snacks, but I wanted to create another list for those on a low carb/keto diet (the diet I really follow). 

I’m not lying, I really am ALWAYS hungry, and always snacking. I eat throughout the day so I’m never too hungry. I want to keep my metabolism moving too. 

If you guys have any other suggestions, please comment!!

When you have veggies and ranch, make sure that it is full fat. Those crappy fat free versions usually have hidden sugars/carbs.

I L-O-V-E Quest Bars!! And now they have cookies and cream!! STFU!!

Atkins is a great resource for bars and shakes, as well as yummy dessert goodies

I also really love NuGo Smarte Carb Bars!!!

Nom Nom Nom.

XOXO, Sami

Thanks for all of the love on here guys! It’s so great that there is such a supportive online community for those on journeys to living healthier lives. 

Make sure to follow me on instagram, twitter, like me on facebook, and email me with any questions!

Also, if you are interested in a challenge group, there is still time to email me. 

You guys are the best! Spread love, not hate.

XOXO, Sami

20 Date Ideas That Don't Center Around Food

by Maria Bertrand




Dating game got you feeling, and looking, a little sluggish? Instead of heading out for another heavy meal and some drinks, why not try something a little healthier on your next date? Doing an activity on a date not only eases pressure, it lets someone see a cool, fun side of you that may not come across in a stuffy restaurant.

Plus, if you’ve been together for a while, trying something new could reignite those flames. According to numerous scientific studies, novel experiences can flood the brain with dopamine and norepinephrine, the same chemicals that are released when you first fall in love.

Here are 20 healthy date ideas from the super active to the not-so-active that will help you stay in shape. And ladies, suggest some of these ideas! Not only will he appreciate your willingness to share the planning, but your waistline will also thank you.

1. Hiking: It’s not too strenuous and you get to wear workout clothes that show off your assets. The best part: you can take a bunch of deep breaths of fresh air to keep your cool if you get the butterflies.

2. Amusement park: First dates can be a little awkward but you can be sure that the roller coaster’s first big drop will help you drop your guard and get your adrenaline pumping.

3. Dance lessons: Dancing is intimate and sexy, so you may want to start out with a line dancing lesson and save the salsa lesson for the second date.

4. Museum or art walk: Walking around a museum might not sound “sexy,” but if your date enjoys the arts, they just might get inspired by a romantic piece. And remember, smart is sexy, so no matter what, it’s a chance to enrich your brain.

5. Mini golf: Get silly on a date with mini-golf, the king of non-sports. Relax, have fun, hit a ball through a windmill and have some laughs.

6. Bowling: This is where you can show off your athleticism or you can just roll the ball from between your legs and hope it hits a pin. And when you throw on those sexy bowling shoes, no one can take themselves too seriously, which helps you both just be yourselves.

7. Batting cages: Swing batter batter swing! You’ll need some skill to hit a home run, but if your date is having trouble with his or her swing, you’ll get the opportunity to get close and help with their form.

8. Planetarium: Is there anything more relaxing and romantic than staring up at a starry night sky? And everybody knows, when you wish upon a star, your dreams come true. Even if it’s a planetarium star. So make those wishes, lovers!

9. Paintball and laser tag: Paintball can sting so if you want to be sure no one goes home with a bruise, laser tag might be the way to go. Personally, I would opt for paintball, it really gets the adrenaline going and leaves you flushed and feeling alive.

10. Mug painting: You can sit across from each other, eat a big meal, drink wine and feel completely awkward when you make eye contact, or you can paint some mugs and put the awkwardness into your art. Bonus: if it goes really well, you’ll have a souvenir from your first date that you can sip from on your wedding night.

11. Roller skating or ice skating: You might fall, you might be off balance, and you might look a little silly. But you know what? That’s endearing. Be willing to fall, since then your date has to help you up. How else would you get to hold hands so quickly? Roller skaters—if your date is game, dress up 70s style.

12. Yoga: Yoga is a great way to relax and keep anxiety levels down. You also have to be quiet, so imagine not saying anything stupid for at least an hour on a first date (that would be a record for me). Afterwards hit a juice bar for a little conversation—and now you have something to talk about.

13. Go to a park to picnic and play: Play Frisbee, play catch, play badminton, kick the soccer ball around, fly a kite, or teach your date how to throw a football. Just get out there and play! And bring some nice healthy snacks and a blanket so you can take a break, lay down, and watch the clouds go by.

14. Visit a wildlife center: Check out your local wildlife, maybe pet some cool animals, and show them your cuddly, sweet side.

15. Sunset walk on the beach: The negative ions, the slow rolling waves, the warmth of the sun and the sand between your toes…it’s the perfect scenario for a first kiss.

16. Build a snowman: If the weather outside is frightful, that means it’s probably perfect snowman-building weather! Have fun with your snowman. Bring different options for eyes, noses, and mouths. Give Frosty an old scarf and a funny hat. And don’t forget to name your snowman. It’ll be an inside joke you two can share for years to come.

17. Go for a bike ride: Either on separate bikes or, if you really want to build trust, rent a tandem bicycle and head out for a ride. Stop at a local tea or juice place to replenish and get to know each other.

18. Arcade: Where else can you race cars, shoot hoops, and save the world from killer zombies? Also, there aren’t too many things that will loosen you up like a good dance off. Time to find your inner M.C. Hammer.

19. Watch the airplanes take off: Drive near your local airport, park, lay on the hood of your car, and watch the planes take off. It’s a great way to spark conversation about all the places you want to visit…possibly sparking the idea of a romantic getaway.

20. Indoor parachuting: Just think, afterwards your date can tell his/her friends that you made them feel like they were flying. Throw on your parachute jumpsuit to earn your wings, and maybe even a second date.

Get out there, get moving, do something different and, most of all, have fun! Get those endorphins flowing, get your adrenaline pumping and show your date that you’re into more than just another cheese plate and bottle of wine. Happy dating and tell us your favorite non-food dates below!


If you guys want to fill out an application for one of my challenge groups click here. If you want to fill out an application to be a coach click here. Thanks!

The "1200" Calorie Rule

I feel the need to post about this today because it honestly PAINS me to see the amount of people who email me saying that they stick to a 1200 diet when trying to lose weight. They often think that is the ONLY way. 



Quick Tip Of The Day: FORGET about the magical number of 1200 calories. Who came up with that load of nonsense anyway? “1200 Calories is the magical number for all women to lose weight.” Bullcrap.

From Dr. Mike Roussell:

Calculating the number of calories you need to lose weight is a relatively simple, three-step process. The Harris-Benedict equation is the most widely used method of calculating your calorie needs (and thus your calorie needs for weight loss). Here is the Harris-Benedict equation for women:


BMR = 655 + (4.35 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) - (4.7 x age in years)


You just need to plug in your age, height, and weight. The number you get is the total number of calories you need each day to exist (also known as your basal metabolic rate, BMR). For example, a 50-year-woman who is 5’ 7” and weighs 160 lbs has a basal metabolic rate of 1441 calories.

Since you don’t lie in bed all day, you’ll burn more calories than this. To estimate how many calories you burn during your daily activities, we’ll use the activity factors listed below.

  • Sedentary: Minimal movement, lots of TV watching, reading, etc. Activity factor = 1.4
  • Light activity: Office work, ~1 hour of moderate exercise/activity during the day. Activity factor = 1.5
  • Moderate activity: Light physical/manual labor during the day, plus more active lifestyle. Activity factor = 1.6
  • Very Active: Active military, full time athlete, hard physical/manual labor job. Activity factor = 1.9

Next, multiply your activity factor by your BMR. For the example we’re using, we’ll choose an activity factor of 1.5 (common for most people) and multiply that by 1441 calories, giving us 2161 calories. This number is your total caloric needs, or roughly the amount of calories that you need to eat each day to maintain your weight. To lose weight, you need to eat less than this. How much less? That’s the next step.

Determining how many calories to cut each day is where weight loss becomes more of an art than a science, as there are many variables that can impact the calories in < calories out equation, including:

1. The type of exercise you are doing. Resistance and interval training will burn more calories after you stop exercising compared to traditional aerobic training.

2. The type of diet you are eating. High-protein diets burn more calories, as protein takes more effort for your body to digest and metabolize.

3. How much weight you have to lose. For simplicity sake I had you use total body weight instead of your lean body mass (which is your total body weight minus your body fat). Because of this assumption, if you need to lose 25 pounds or more to reach your goal weight, then your total caloric needs, which we calculated above, is probably too high. This is because we treated the calorie needs of body fat the same as lean tissue (muscles, bones, and organs), but in reality your body fat has a much lower caloric need (close to zero). I explain how to adjust for this below.

4. Your individual metabolism. The Harris-Benedict equation or any equation that estimates your calorie needs is just that, an estimate. These equations are based on averages, and you are probably not average. Don’t take the numbers you generate after reading this article as gospel, but use them as a starting point, put them to the test, and adjust from there.

Traditionally, recommendations are made for individuals to subtract 500-1000 calories from their total calorie needs in order to lose 1-2 pounds per week. This is because a 500-calorie daily deficit yields a 3500-calorie weekly deficit—which is the number of calories you need to burn to lose one pound of fat. However, I find that these reductions are too aggressive initially and that cutting too many calories too soon sets you up for long-term weight-loss failure.

If you are weight training, doing interval cardio during the week, and eating a carb-controlled/moderate-protein diet, then I recommend that you only subtract 250 calories from your total calorie needs (or 500 calories if you need to lose more than 25 pounds to reach your goal weight). You’ll see results that make you happy while being able to eat more. Using our example, the woman would need to eat 1900 calories per day to lose weight.

The final step: Put it to the test! At the end of two weeks, see how much weight you have lost. If you aren’t losing at a rate that makes you happy, opt to do more activity beforeyou cut out more calories. If you need to cut out more calories, remove another 250 and put that new calorie level to the test for two weeks.

AMEN. AH-Freaking-Men.

And as he says, this is an equation based on AVERAGES. We are all different. You need to experiment to find out what actually works for you.

When I plug my numbers into this equation, I get roughly 2500 calories. That means that since I still want to lose some weight, I should be eating roughly 2000 calories a day. So no wonder when I tried to stick to the “magical 1200” I failed. I was STARVING. And to my shock, now that I’m eating more, I’m losing more.

I have spoken to so many people that are afraid to eat bananas, avocados, Ezekial Bread, protein shakes..all because they say that they are “too many calories.” BULLCRAP. I think eating whole nutrient dense foods that are higher in calories is SO much better than eating processed crap that is made to be low calorie. You can eat as much of that processed crap as you want but still be nutritionally starving.

Start Eating, Start Sweating, Start Losing, Start Living.


Follow me on facebook here.

Follow me on youtube here.

Subscribe to my email list here.


XOXO, Sami


P.S. Challenge group application here.

Benefits Of Lemon Water

Ok, it took me a while to get on board with the lemon water thing. I was a hater and thought it was total BS, but then I actually tried it and I’m a convert. 

Here are some benefits of lemon water (from Life Hack), the photo is my own. 


Why lemons?

Lemons are packed like a clown car with nutrients, including vitamin C, B-complex vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and fiber. (Fun fact: they contain more potassium than apples or grapes!)


Because of how hard lemon juice can be on the enamel of your teeth, it’s important to dilute it with water of any temperature (though lukewarm is recommended). Drink it first thing in the morning, and wait 15 to 30 minutes to have breakfast. This will help you fully receive the benefits of lemon water, which are listed below.

Reduces inflammation

If you drink lemon water on a regular basis, it will decrease the acidity in your body, which is where disease states occur. It removes uric acid in your joints, which is one of the main causes of inflammation.


Aids digestion

Lemon juice not only encourages healthy digestion by loosening toxins in your digestive tract, it helps to relieve symptoms of indigestion such as heartburn, burping, and bloating.


Helps you lose weight

Lemons contain pectin fiber, which assists in fighting hunger cravings.

Cleanses your system

It helps flush out the toxins in your body by enhancing enzyme function, stimulating your liver.


Keeps your skin blemish-free

The antioxidants in lemon juice help to not only decrease blemishes, but wrinkles too! It can also be applied to scars and age spots to reduce their appearance, and because it’s detoxifying your blood, it will maintain your skin’s radiance.


Gives your immune system a boost

Vitamin C is like our immune system’s jumper cables, and lemon juice is full of it. The level of vitamin C in your system is one of the first things to plummet when you’re stressed, which is why experts recommended popping extra vitamin C during especially stressful days.


Excellent source of potassium

As already mentioned, lemons are high in potassium, which is good for heart health, as well as brain and nerve function.


Freshens your breath

It also helps relieve toothaches and gingivitis (say wha?). Because the citric acid can erode tooth enamel, either hold off on brushing your teeth after drinking lemon water or brush your teeth before drinking it.


Gives you an energy boost

Lemon juice provides your body with energy when it enters your digestive tract, and it also helps reduce anxiety and depression. (Even the scent of lemons has a calming effect on your nervous system!)


Helps to cut out caffeine

I didn’t believe this until I tried it, but replacing my morning coffee with a cup of hot lemon water has really done wonders! I feel refreshed, and no longer have to deal with that pesky afternoon crash. Plus, my nerves are thankful.

Helps fight viral infections

Warm lemon water is the most effective way to diminish viral infections and their subsequent sore throats. Plus, with the lemon juice also boosting your immune system, you’ll simultaneously fight off the infection completely.


How much?

For those who weigh less than 150 pounds, squeeze half a lemon’s worth of juice into a glass of water. If over 150 pounds, use an entire lemon’s juice. You can of course dilute the lemon juice more, depending on your personal taste.

Not only are the benefits of lemon water endless, it’s one of the most substantial yet simple changes you can make for your health.

Practice Makes Perfect - Part 8

The Some Kind of Wonderful AU I’ve been dragged into semi-reluctantly.

Previous parts and their authors:

Continuation of the Some Kind of Wonderful Verse.

Part 1 by jaybear1701

Part 2 by tatarrific

Part 3 by twig-height

Part 4 by soundreason-truereligion

Part 5 by thecirclesquare

Part 6 by @trylonandperisphere

Part 7 by cophinaphile

Part 8:

Cosima strained her neck, turning so that she could see out into the parking lot from the partially fenced in patio. She was beginning to wish that they could just go to the party thing Shay was insisting they go to after dinner. A few beers might help with the nerves.  And getting decked would be a relief at this point, they seem to have run out of topics of conversation.

Keep reading

I found this old headshot of me and I almost died. I know that I was that heavy, but sometimes I forget just how far I have come, not just physically but mentally as well.

I also like this comparison of pictures because it’s just my face. Although I’m smiling in both pictures, I’m reminded of being the girl on the left. I know how often I put on a fake smile while I was masking real pain, depression, and self loathing. I can see it in my eyes in that picture. I see this glimmer in my eye in the picture on the right, and it warms my heart. 

Choosing to put myself first and get healthy has changed my life, my mind, my body, everything. I’m always a work in progress but I’ve come a long way. 

No matter where you are in your journey, keep going. It’s worth it, I promise.

XOXO, Sami

Whether you have binge eating disorder or not, staying on track can be hard. I find that eating three meals and three snacks a day (often an extra snack or mini meal if I workout) helps to keep me on track. If I don’t eat enough or if I wait too long to eat, the urge to go off track very quickly sets in. 

I find that like many people with binge eating disorder, sometimes if I eat something bad I automatically think, “well I ate that so this day is ruined, I might as well eat whatever I want for the rest of the day and start over tomorrow.” This all or nothing mentality is something that I dealt with a lot in therapy after my surgery. Tomorrow often doesn’t come. We just fall off track completely. I definitely don’t always eat healthy, but if I eat something “bad” at a meal, I try to just enjoy it and then brush it off and eat healthy the rest of the day. I don’t try to make excuses for my poor food choices anymore (although of course I slip up).

I think having a plan is absolutely essential. I meal prep every day. I also track what I am eating because we forget about that handful of nuts here, the handful of popcorn there. Those things add up….and fast. 

I use My Fitness Pal to track my calories as well as my workouts. My Fitness Pal can guess how many calories you burn during a workout..but I prefer to have as accurate a count as possible. That is why I use a Polar watch and heart rate monitor when I workout and then I just input that number into the My Fitness Pal app. 

Some people stick to their daily calorie goal even on days they workout. Meaning, if you input your age, height, weight, and activity level into an app like My Fitness Pal and it tells you that you should eat 1500 calories a day to lose 2 pounds a week, you only eat 1500 calories even if you burn 635 in a workout (like I did above). I find this is one of the ways I get off track. Your body needs more fuel if you are working out and burning a significant amount of calories. However, I don’t eat back the entire amount of calories. I try to eat back about half. I find that works best (for me anyway).

I bring all of my food with me to work and I eat on a pretty regimented schedule during the work week. I love the on the go containers from Sistema

Lunch Bots also makes great containers. 

I’ve been a bit obsessed with the pumpkin crisps and pumpkin cream cheese from Trader Joe’s. 

Trader Joe’s also has peanut butter with chia seeds and flax seeds that is delish! The pink container is part of a set from Laptop Lunches. You can see one of my lunch boxes in their newsletter here.

I like having nuts/trail mix as a snack because it keeps me full for a long time.

And fruit is a must.

I love using Flatout Fold It bread because it is low calorie, delicious, and made to be portable!

If I’m on the go and I don’t have time to meal prep or I need an additional meal/snack, I love the protein box from Starbucks.

I also have a wicked sweet tooth, so I try to incorporate some of the things I would normally crave into my meal plan. That way I don’t go nuts and binge on them.

In addition to my meal prep, working out also really helps me battle binge eating disorder. Because firstly, I tend to want to binge when I’m depressed or stressed (or both). Working out helps me release endorphins and feel good so that urge subsides. Secondly, if I just worked really hard during a workout, I’m not going to want to ruin it with a binge. 

Being prepared is everything, having a routine is everything. I know it might sound like a lot of work, but once you get used to it, it’s so easy. If I can do it, you definitely can!

XO, Sami

**Need a workout routine? Some inspiration? Feel free to email me at FitWithSami@gmail.com