Thursday, February 27, 2014

Nutrition Facts: Proposed FDA Label Changes

The redesign would change how serving sizes are calculated and displayed.
Calorie counts would be more prominent, and the existing “Calories from Fat” line would be removed.
Percent daily values would shift to the left, making them easier to read. Some package sizes would be required to show both “per serving” and “per package” calorie and nutrition counts.
The new design would require information about added sugars.
Vitamin D and potassium 
counts would be required. Vitamins A and C would be optional.

Big changes are potentially afoot when it comes to the FDA's Nutrition Labeling guidelines.  GMA highlighted the changes this morning on their show, and various newspapers such as The New York Times, also covered the newly released information.  Keep in mind, these are just proposed changes, and chances are it could take up to two years to fully implement if it is decided to move forward with them.

You can find the FDA's press release here:
and for a little more information:

As you can see above, the major changes include updates to how the serving sizes are calculated AND displayed.  This update aims to reflect serving sizes that are closer to how people really eat, for example, a serving size for a muffin is 1/2 a muffin, but people will typically eat the entire muffin.  So, the labels will be changed to provide more accurate information, which, in my opinion, is always a good thing.
*The FDA explains that the serving sizes were created in 1994, but eating habits have changed in the ensuing 20 years, and by law serving sizes must be based on how people actually eat, not on how they "should" be eating.*

The next big change is the calorie count.  It will be much more prominently displayed, promoting awareness of the relationship between calories and current public health problems such obesity and heart disease.  The Calories From Fat line will also be removed because it is not as relevant as previously believed.  Along those lines, the percent daily values will be shifted so as to be more prominent and easily read, for similar reasons.

Another change, and possibly the most talked about, is the addition of an "Added Sugars" line.  This is to help provide a more in-depth knowledge for consumers about how much sugar has been added to their food during food production.  The impetus behind this change is the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for America, which states that sugar intake in Americans is too high and should be reduced.

Lastly, the amounts of potassium and Vitamin D will be required on the label.  These are important nutrients that are beneficial to the population.  They help prevent chronic disease, promote bone health, and lower blood pressure.  It is suggested that people should be consuming more of these nutrients.

I think that these changes are a step in the right direction, but the key to effective change is for consumers to be aware of the information that is being provided, know the reasons behind why and what the labeling means, and be able to make decisions about their diets effectively using that knowledge.  This requires education about nutrition, and how to read nutrition labels.  A good place to start, if you're looking for in-depth information, is the FDA's website.  They dedicate a page to How to Understand and Use the Nutrition Facts Label:  Or you can skip past the info, and look at the useful diagrams.
*Note: this guide is for the current labeling, not the proposed labels

Sample Label for Macaroni & Cheese
 #1. Start Here with the serving size.Title and Serving Size Information section of label, with number of servings.
 #2. Calories from Fat.Calorie section of label, showing number of calories per serving and calories from fat.
 #3. Limit These Nutrients: Total Fat, Saturated Fat, Cholesterol, and Sodium.Total Fat, Saturated Fat Cholesterol, Sodium with Total Carbohydrate section of label, with quantities and % daily values. #6. Quick Guide to %DV.
 #4. Get Enough of These Nutrients: Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium, and Iron.Remaining Carbohydrates, including Dietary Fiber and Sugars, Protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium and Iron section of label with % daily values, and quantities for fiber, sugar and protein.#6. Quick Guide to %DV: 5% or less is Low / 20% or more is High.
 #5. The Footnote, or Lower part of the Nutrition Facts Label.Footnote section of label, indicating quantities of total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrate, and dietary fiber for 2000 and 2500 calorie diets.

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Monday, February 10, 2014

Blog Update: New Blog Name!!!

So you may have noticed a BIG change to the's up above.  I changed the title of my blog to Body, Mind and Soul with a new url:
Hopefully this won't be too confusing for people.  I'm currently working on linking all of my Pinterest pins back to the new page.
The main reason for this change is that I am going to be starting a book review blog for which the title, The Sequestered Nook is much more appropriate since it is in reference to a poem.  The title never really fit this blog, but I just didn't have the heart to change it.  So if you're interested in books, check out my new blog (currently under construction) soon at

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Fitness Calendars

A resource I recently stumbled across is the Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans website, at  I like it for the multitude of fitness calendars that they have available for you to peruse.  I discovered it through the following calendar (this is a January 2013 calendar) on pinterest:

Great intro to an abs workout! Gets gradually tougher as the days go by. Make sure you don't skip a whole week because you'll be in for a surprise! ;)

And this calendar (September 2013): 30-Day Amazing Butt Challenge brought to you by @shrinkingjeans  Looking to tone and tighten your butt? Join us in the #buttchallenge - an awesome monthly workout calendar! #fitness #exercise #workoutcalendar

I really like the idea of having a routine laid out for me each day.  Although, these calendars don't account for days or rest, or for those days you don't make it to the gym.  But chock full of good ideas nonetheless.  
They also explain and teach the moves in an accompanying blog post, so, even if you don't follow the calendar perfectly, you're still learning some great moves to incorporate into your future workouts.

Their most recent calendar, for February of this year is available and I would definitely like to give it a try!

Find more calendars here:

Fitness Inspiration:

Disclaimer: None of the above photos are of me, and I do not take credit for them, they are merely on my blog to serve as fitness inspiration and are taken from various different internet sources.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Updates and Interval Training

Just a few updates...

1. You can now search this blog in the handy search box to your right.  Not sure why I never had this feature before, but I did eliminate the word cloud in favor of the search method.  It's a pretty useful tool if you're looking for a specific topic.

2. Also, it is a New Year's resolution of mine to update this blog more regularly.  Changes that I have planned should slowly take place.  I make no guarantees since my spring semester is starting on Tuesday, and I have a thesis to write over the next few months, but I hope to keep up a more steady pace writing here.  As always, topic suggestions are appreciated!

3. Some of the pictures have disappeared from my posts.  I'll be updating and restoring those to the posts slowly.

4.  Check out this infographic on interval training!

Interval training time, y'all.

Thursday, January 23, 2014


In all my time blogging, I have never just written about Stress and how it relates to weight gain (and I will not really be discussing it now - more to come at a later date).  Surprising, since stress is an every day reality for most people.  Simply put, in times of stress or high stress, people may find it difficult to eat healthy, or they may eat for emotional reasons (stress eating).  The Mayo Clinic ( provides a list of stress management techniques to combat stress-related weight gain.

1. Recognize the warning signs of stress, such as anxiety, irritability and muscle tension.  This is a very good suggestion.  While most of us will shrug off a bout of irritability as just an in-the-moment annoyance, or some neck pain or lower back pain as work-related pain, it may be more serious.  Stop and think about whether or not these things have been happening more frequently for you.
2. Before eating, ask yourself why?  Are you actually feeling hungry, or are you feeling stressed out or anxious?
3. If you're tempted to eat when you're not actually hungry, find something to distract you.  If you're at work and there's a project to finish up, work on that for a little while longer before calling it quits, or if you're at home, find a small task to do, such as cleaning.
4. Don't skip meals, particularly breakfast.  This is something I am often guilty of doing.  It really takes some good time management to get me to eat something other than a granola bar in the morning.  I recently found a recipe on Pinterest for Potato and Egg Breakfast Bites.  The good thing about these is once you make a batch, you can refrigerate the rest and they take about a minute to heat up.  Good for those mornings on the go!  The recipe can be found on the Ella Clair blog:
5. Identify comfort foods and keep them out of your home or office.  This one is pretty self-explanatory and takes some willpower.  See those yummy m&ms when you're out shopping?  Avoid those like the plague.
6. Keep a record of your behavior and eating habits so that you may be able to identify patterns and overcome them.  Even if you write a couple of notes at the end of the day, or blog, or journal, it all helps.
7. Learn problem-solving skills so that you can recognize challenges and deal with setbacks.  This is something that I feel may not be entirely necessary.  As long as you can keep moving forward, setbacks are ok once and a while.  I think that reading and learning is our biggest tool when it comes to anticipating things about stress and weight-gain.
8. Practice things such as yoga, or meditation.  All relaxation techniques are good stress combatants.  Relaxation is the opposite of stress!
9. As always, the ever obvious technique, physical activity!
10.  Get enough sleep.  I have blogged about the importance of sleep before, you can read all about it here:
11. Things are almost always easier when you the have the support of family and friends.

All credit for this list of techniques goes to the Mayo Clinic (link above).  I just added my own commentary and thoughts.

On another note, if pictures are more your speed, here is an awesome infographic about how stress can affect the body.
how stress affects the body.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Fitness Inspiration For the End of January

As our resolve to maintain our fitness resolutions for the New Year starts to waver, here is some inspiration as we head into the end of January!

4 Pilates Moves

10 things you must tell yourself today


#Fit #Motivation

5 reasons to jump rope, sounds funner, and easier than doing seperate excersises, plus it's a full body work out the link for the 5 reasons are above

Disclaimer: None of the above photos are of me, and I do not take credit for them, they are merely on my blog to serve as fitness inspiration and are taken from various different internet sources.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Thigh Gaps Continued

I'd like to extend the conversation I started about thigh gaps from a previous post (you can read that here:

A good friend shared an article from Cosmopolitan with me, entitled: "Why the Thigh Gap Obsession Needs to Stop Immediately" by Kendra Alvey (link:  Alvey brings a unique perspective to the topic because she previously worked as a body double, and because of that knows quite a bit about an industry that obsesses over weight and appearance.  But even she was shocked the first time she heard about "thigh gap."  This is definitely an article worth perusing.  I think that Alvey makes some very good points about body image, body types, and what women should aspire to.  In a particularly enlightening sentence, she compares the thigh gap to foot-binding and neck-lengthening, both of which were status symbols of beauty, but now considered barbaric practices.  I also happened to enjoy this line very much, "If I had a daughter, I'd rather her see a horror film than this damaging crap."  This said in reference to googling the terms, "thigh gap" or "thinspo."

Overall, an interesting read and an interesting addition to the conversation on thigh gaps.

Both images from:

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Reverse Airbrushing

I recently wrote about Jennifer Lawrence and airbrushing.  With this post, I want offer up another perspective of airbrushing that more often than not, women are not aware of: the airbrushing of women who look "too skinny" to make them look "more healthy."  

An article from the Huffington Post caught my eye, (you can read it here: ) mainly because it featured Cameron Diaz and mentioned airbrushing.  I noticed a few differences in the two photographs, for example, they smoothed out her hip bones and her cheekbones, but other than that did not really see the differences until the article went on to point out that they also widened her thighs, and made her stomach, shoulders and arms a bit fuller...

So, the point was that they were airbrushing her to make her look less skinny, which was surprising to me.  And I will just say, how can anyone possibly find anything wrong with the picture on the left (the one not airbrushed)?  Cameron Diaz looks great.

*Just so I don't step on anybody's toes, I do realize that some girls are naturally very skinny, and that that is a body type - in the case of this post I will be referring to those women and girls who go to unhealthy lengths to have the type of skinny body that is unnatural for them.*

The article I saw, with the headline, "You'd Be Shocked at What These Fashion Editors Are Editing Out of Their Photos" was pretty accurate in my case.  I can honestly say that I had never thought about reverse airbrushing.  The article was prompted by an expose written by Lead Hardy, a former Cosmopolitan editor.  You can read that here:

Reverse airbrushing presents us again with the issue of making women appear to be something that they are not.  That something is being presented to everyday women as obtainable, when in reality, it is nearly impossible.  In this case, these women featured in magazines, models and stars alike, who are underweight and skinny through unhealthy means (Hardy's expose mentions anorexia, alcohol-abuse, starvation), and thus have the "right measurements" (ex. 6', 22" waist, tiny thighs) but are then given healthy curves, glowing skin through retouching.  The image created is one of perfection, and one that is most likely, unobtainable for many women.  

As Hardy wrote, "Thanks to retouching, our readers - and those of Vogue, and Self, and Healthy magazine - never saw the horrible, hungry downside of skinny.  That these underweight girls didn't look glamorous in the flesh.  Their skeletal bodies, dull, thinning hair, spots and dark circles under their eyes were magicked away by technology, leaving only the allure of coltish limbs and Bambi eyes."

I think that it is only through awareness of something like reverse airbrushing, that women can begin to see the power that media has over the way we view our bodies.  We are presented images of women who appear to be perfect, whether they were airbrushed to look skinnier, or to look healthier.  Hopefully, it is through this awareness and recognition that what we are presented with is not real, that we can begin to take back control of our body image, instead of leaving it in the hands of magazine image editors.

As always, let me know what you think!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Jennifer Lawrence

Jennifer Lawrence...I just have to write a post about her because she is quickly becoming an important icon in discussions of women and body image.  Ever since Jennifer Lawrence stepped into the spotlight in recent years, she has been someone that I look to as an example and honestly, she's done a great job so far, particularly when it comes to being a role model for young women.

LA Times reporter, Alexandra Le Tellier, puts it into words very well in this article:, saying, "So, in that context, Jennifer Lawrence isn't just a body-positive role model for young women.  In speaking out about body image, and in maintaining a realistic figure herself, she's helping broaden out definition of beauty so that it is more inclusive.  That makes her a heroine to all women, even if that wasn't her intended goal."  I absolutely love that line -

"She's helping broaden out definition of beauty so that it is more inclusive."  And it's true.

So today, while browsing, I discovered this:
I am just shocked that a magazine would airbrush and distort, and yes, I mean the word distort, her image.  She has spoken out about this before, as you can see in her quote also on that page.  The pictures show that there was absolutely nothing that needed to be changed about her picture - she looks great in the un-airbrushed image - but they did it anyway because it was not up to the standard of beauty that the magazine holds women to.  This is wrong on many different levels and it also demonstrates the level of control magazines, and other media outlets who participate in airbrushing, have over our society's standards of beauty.

Either way, Jennifer Lawrence has been my hero for speaking out about these topics for women in such a frank way.  I wish more women who are in the spotlight and ordinary, every-day women would do so because it is important to teach our children and the next generations of girls that life is not - and should not be - just about how pretty or skinny you are.

J.Law Inspiration Photos

Jennifer Lawrence Rolling Stone Magazine Cover - P 2012

Jennifer Lawrence - Hot Photos for Flare magazine-19 - Hot Celebs Blog - FabZZ

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Thigh Gap

The thigh gap...I recently read an article online that said that one of the markers of a "skinny girl" is a thigh gap and that girls are going to unhealthy lengths to achieve this goal.  Thinking back on conversations I've had with girlfriends, and other health&fitness blogs I've perused, I have no doubt that this is true.

To be honest, the thigh gap looks a little weird to me.  There is a point where young women start to develop, meaning their curves start to fill out more, which is a natural process that shouldn't be tampered with.  I had a small thigh gap when I started college, and a flat stomach and I was an A cup.  By the time I had graduated college, I had hips and a butt, the curve to the belly and I was a B cup.  And no more thigh gap.  (My apologies to those of you who consider this to be TMI, I'm just trying to paint an accurate picture here.)  I won't say I consistently worked out, because I didn't, but the change my body had gone through was not unusual for my age and it wasn't because I didn't exercise.  It was only after college that I gained the weight that I started this blog to help me lose.

So back to the thigh gap...why is this something girls strive for?  The thigh gap is completely dependent on genetics, bone structure primarily, how wide your hips are, the length of your legs, and one person who commented on the article that sparked my post today actually mentioned that people used to call girls like this, "bow-legged" which, I don't think I would totally disagree with.  The thigh gap is natural to some, and for others, it will never happen, so it should not be a weight loss goal.  Ever.  If you had one, and it vanished as you got older, it was a natural part of your body's development.  No one should ever starve themselves to get such a silly thing back.

In the end, my advice is this...make your goals obtainable for your body.  Recognize and embrace your body type, and your body shape.  It's a part of who you are, and everybody is different.  

Take a look at this image....I'm going to speculate and say, if we presented this picture to men and women, the men would choose the image on the right, and the women would choose the picture on the left.  Anyone have thoughts or opinions on this?

Check out this opinion article:

Disclaimer: None of the above photos are of me, and I do not take credit for them, they are merely on my blog to serve as fitness inspiration and are taken from various different internet sources.