In this week’s newsletter
Three major tips to juggle two ultra lives, and more. Diet: an often cursed four-letter word. Take it to the limit? Training priorities. How do I stop eating 10 Nanaimo bars? The scale is a valuable tool.
Mitch Tulloch is the Senior Editor of FitITproNews and a recovering fat IT pro who lost 50 lbs in midlife and is now on his way to becoming a fit IT pro. Mitch is a widely recognized expert on Windows Server and cloud technologies who has authored or been Series Editor of numerous books/ebooks from Microsoft Press. Mitch is also the Senior Editor of WServerNews and writes frequently for TechGenix.
Hey everyone! We have a treat in store for you in this issue: a feature article on ultrarunning! But before we get to that take a look at the new photo above for my Editor’s Corner. It’s now been almost 10 years since I began my fitness journey which I described in some detail back in 2013 in a couple of issues (here and here) of our popular IT pro newsletter WServerNews. Since that time I’ve had a few ups and downs, but there’s rarely been a week that’s gone by that hasn’t seen me lifting weights, pedaling on my exercise bike, pounding a heavy bag, running hill sprints, or performing some other kind of exercise. But rather than label myself a “fit IT pro” as if I’ve already arrived at my goal, I still consider myself to be a “recovering fat IT pro” i.e. someone who views fitness as a journey not a destination.
And while losing significant weight like I did requires either an extraordinary level of determination or a radical change of lifestyle — and often both — keeping it off simply requires consistency in two main areas of your life. First, do some challenging form of exercise 3-4 times each week such as lifting heavy weights or high-intensity intervals. And second, find your caloric maintenance level and try to stay fairly close to this apart for the occasional complete breakdown of willpower. By committing to these two priorities you’ll be able to keep your weight from billowing up and becoming a fat IT pro again.
Anyways, I hope these brief thoughts will inspire more of our IT pro readers to take the plunge and embark on a journey towards greater fitness, improved health and an overall better life.
What’s inside this issue of FitITproNews
This issue of FitITproNews starts off with a feature article by Jean Pommier who is Distinguished Engineer & CTO, Methods & Tools for IBM Services (Cloud Application Services). Jean is an avid ultrarunner and he expands in detail on his passion while explaining how IT pros can maintain a work/life balance as they take steps to improve their fitness. After this comes an article by our columnist Robin Camp who gives some simple practical tips on how to stay on track with your diet. Kris Lall then weighs in with some research concerning what kind of workout strategy can optimize muscle growth. Kris Kane follows this with an explanation of the muscle and strength pyramid and how to use it to develop a training plan that can help you achieve your goals. Columnist Lana Khazari talks about how hard it is to break up with food you love and how to overcome the addiction. And Sarah Trammell rounds off this issue of FitITproNews with an honest look at how regularly weighing yourself on a scale can help you keep control of your weight.
Enjoy this week’s issue of FitITproNews and feel free to send us feedback on any of the topics we’ve covered — we love hearing from our readers! And by the way we’re always on the lookout for other “recovering fat IT pros” i.e. IT professionals who have lost significant weight and/or have a passion for fitness. Do you have a personal story you want to share with that can help other IT pros lose weight and improve their health and fitness? Email me today at [email protected] if you’d like to write for our newsletter, either one-off or regularly as a columnist.
Mitch Tulloch, Senior Editor
Three major tips to juggle two ultra lives, and more (Jean Pommier)
Jean Pommier juggles a few ultra lives from an IT executive position as one of IBM’s CTOs to ultra marathon running competition, a family, extensive international travels, a Board of a non-profit, the duties of an official with USA Track & Field, Toastmasters, and a running blog. In this article he offers tips about the delicate balance to keep all the balls up in the air while remaining at the top of your fitness!
Great to meet you all and, first, kudos for working on your fitness, on top of a demanding job!
A few 0 and 1 bits about me: 326 running races including 27 marathons and 169 ultra-marathons (plus 254 ultra marathon training runs); 53,400 miles (86,000 km or 2.15 x the Earth’s circumference) across 4,100 lines in my running log and 7,100 hours; 658 blog posts; 2 age group podiums at Boston (marathon); 14 age group USATF national championship titles; 5 age group American records; 64 countries visited; 2.2 million miles flown. And counting…
Numbers only tell part of a story but you can clearly see I love running and ultra-running in particular. And that I’m slightly competitive, maybe even fit, and beyond 40. Here is one of the stories hidden behind these numbers though: mildly overweight, I finished my first 15K race 25 years ago, barely making the middle of the pack… Upon crossing the finish line with some pride of accomplishing a first, my face was red like a tomato: so long for making running look like a healthy activity, oops! I was working 80 hours a week to grow an IT start-up (ILOG, acquired by IBM in 2008); that was 25 years ago and a good wake-up call. One I’m glad I responded to with ultra physical and mental engagement and passion!
There is plethora of books already written, and to be written, to teach us not just fitness but how to manage our lives. Among thousands of available tips, I would like to highlight three which I find the most important to keep us moving forward while juggling what appears as way too many things in our lives.
Pick a strong purpose for exercising (hint: that purpose can evolve)
Whatever you chose as mean to become or remain fit (running, cycling, swimming, Zumba, weight lifting, …), associate a strong purpose to it. You should be able to give at least one very clear reason why you do an activity with passion (and, yes, that would include work as well!). For me, running was essentially a way to stay in shape while I was flying all over the world. I have a lot of respect for triathletes who train hard in three sports at once. Even more so for those doing consulting (when consulting required to fly every week, of course not much so during this pandemic). Hotels’ swimming pools are way too short to swim a mile. And these stationary bikes, a joke for a professional cyclist! In contrast, it’s super easy to pack a pair of running shoes in your carry-on; and running is an amazing way to explore new places on foot. After this practical initial reason, my goal switched to being more competitive and training harder to get good results as a reward for serious training work. When you are leading teams, your work is judged by the organization’s outcomes making it harder to evaluate your own contribution. Conversely, with individual sports, your results are more correlated to the individual investment you are putting in.
Overall there are hundreds of good reasons to exercise. From pure and simple pleasure to more practical reasons or self-discipline. Introverts will enjoy running alone to recharge for instance while extroverts will prefer joining others. If you can’t make your mind, the web can always help (e.g. search for “why I run”)! But having a clear purpose helps you going on every day, even when conflicting priorities or lower motivation get in the way!
Set SMART goals (hint: then get them SMARTER)
We work in IT, our lives are filled with acronyms! And, if you work in a large organization, you must be tired of hearing about that particularly cheesy one, SMART. However, even if you don’t consider your fitness activity as a second job, like I do, it’s still extremely valuable to apply some proven management best practices to the activity(ies) you selected to remain in top shape; fitness requires some discipline to either acquire or preserve it, especially while juggling conflicting life priorities!
Out of the well-known and all important Specific, Measurable, Achievable/Attainable/Agreed/Action-oriented, Realistic/Relevant, Timely/Time-based/Time-bound dimensions –note the diversity already– please don’t miss on the Realistic part. SMART goals are meant to be motivating. If you miss a goal because it wasn’t realistic, you risk the opposite effect and build frustration, despair and potentially extinguish the initial sparkle or fire to get fitter. Setting your eye on completing a marathon or qualifying for Boston or an Ironman, may not be the smartest goal you can set right off the bat, before you reteach your body all the fitness we are meant to have by design.
Incidentally, we are invited to make our goals SMARTER. Some authors use Evaluate, Ethical, Ecological, Enthusiastically, Rewarding, Re-evaluate or Readjust, for the better extension (I’ve even seen Eternal). To be honest, these are all great concepts so pick whatever works best for you, no need to argue more. I’m just submitting these additional ones to you, which helped pushing the envelope on my end.
Enjoyable. Both from a destination standpoint, the joy of accomplishing something, but also the journey. Keeping the adage in mind: “It’s not about the destination, it’s the journey” (quote attributed to American philosopher Ralph Emerson). One way to include more enjoyment in your training regimen or overall fitness routines is actually to break the routine: bring in some variety, running a different course, different distances, alternating road, track and trails, swimming in open water, practicing at different times of the day, sometimes by yourself, other times with buddies. You can also break routine by doing cross-training, varying activities and the way you engage different part of your body, another recipe for sustainable fitness.
Another great way to make your activity more enjoyable, if the weather permits, is to practice outside. If it’s sunny, this should also boost your vitamin D tank! Now, if you need to practice indoor, you may well enjoy a good movie too! The trick is to find some pleasure in the process, not just wait for the overwhelming joy of reaching the destination by fulfilling that specific goal.
Roomy. Don’t be too tight in the goal you are setting for yourself. Things happen in life: work or family priorities or demand might have increased; weather might have been horrible during a race; injury might have derailed your perfect training plan; competition might have been tougher than you expected. You don’t want to look at a year with negative thoughts and regrets because you missed one of your goals by a second. This will make your goal more achievable and resilient (one more R!). A concept particularly important as the pandemic illustrates. That global event surely tested the flexibility of our goals (gyms closed, races cancelled or replaced by virtual events, stay-at-home orders, travel bans or restrictions). Personally, I much prefer to over achieve rather than disappoint myself. In many races, ultra marathons in particular, I set a hierarchy of goals to make sure I keep my priorities straight. Sometimes it’s about finishing at any cost. Other times, it’s within a set time –typically a record– even if it brings the possibility of DNF (Did Not Finish).
I would also want to bring in the importance of building more ambitious goals in an incremental manner. Something we are all familiar with at work with the virtue of building IT solutions or conducting cloud transformation through iterations, scrums, sprints (pun intended). For instance, if you haven’t completed a 5K yet, please don’t start with the infamous “I want to qualify for Boston” goal. Some people have ventured into ultra-running before competing in a marathon, but that requires special preparation to succeed.
SMARTER goals also make room for both bad and good luck. In addition to not setting the bar too high, or too low depending on the metric, you can have sub goals you can activate or accomplish when all the stars aligned. Seneca the Younger might have said: “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity” but I prefer the simple version of “success is 95% preparation and 5% luck.” The first time I got on the podium at Boston it wasn’t even in my wildest dreams. The second time, it was a dream but not a primary goal, I wouldn’t have coped with the pressure. The only thing I could do is first, toe the start line, show up with the best physical and mental preparation. For me the luck came by way of a much warmer than usual weather, conditions which I perform the best in. The following year we ran in freezing rain and wind, that was luck for all the locals who had trained in these conditions through the winter. Not for the Californian in me… Yet, I was able to check my 7th Boston finish goal!
Three last points before closing on this key topic to build sustainable fitness:
- Accountability: SMARTER goals written down and shared are much more certain to be met;
- Frequency: goal setting isn’t an activity limited to New Year’s Day! On the contrary, successful people go to the discipline or frequently revisiting their goals (quarterly, monthly, weekly, daily…);
- Intangibility: like for happiness or health, there isn’t an absolute metric for fitness. Fitness is so multi-dimensional, it’s impossible to fully grasp. But SMARTER goals can help make it more objective and tangible. Actually quite a strong parallel with many IT activities which aren’t about building a physical product (hardware): for instance, software quality has many attributes (ISO/IEC 9126 anyone?) and you know about the “we can’t improve what we can’t measure.” The parallel for fitness would include some actions to improve (increase/decrease) weight, waistline, BMI, duration or intensity of effort, heart rate, VO2 max, temper, sleep. Yes, fitness is quality, higher that is!
Make time (hint: yes, you can!)
And that’s my favorite, an expression which gives us, you, so much power, the power of both the Greeks’ Kronos and Romans’ Saturn combined!
Of course, you can’t make days longer than 24 hours or extend weeks beyond 7 days, how could that be when… time is money! Yet, have you ever read bios and biographies of executives and wonder how they could accomplish so much in the same time we all, mortals, have? How many times have we said or have we heard people saying “sorry, I don’t have time…” Time is both the most equalitarian concept –we all have the same amount of time–but how much we make of it depends on us.
Time efficiency. How long can you keep full engagement and attention on a task? The answer is not that long. TED’s talks are limited to 18 minutes for good reasons. The time management Pomodoro technique is based on 25-minute working slots. Yet, many organizations still plan 1-hour back to back meetings. 1 hour is surely going to contain some wasted time for all, and there are even no room for breaks to recharge between two calls, or even no time to properly conclude a meeting, getting all the participants late to their next meeting. The success of very busy –and usually important– people is that they use every minute super efficiently by being fully engage and attentive to analyzing and finding solutions to important problems. We need to do the same so we can squeeze in enough time each day to work on our fitness. No way fitness will fall off the schedule, it’s too important to our work-life balance! And efficiency at work to start with!
Split and share time. Life is a big game, a constant balancing act between trade-offs. If you look at all the things you want to do in a day and, individually, and estimate the corresponding time (as in hours) you would like to spend on each, chance is that this isn’t going to fit the time you have available (and don’t forget sleep and other essential daily activities as well as quality time with the ones you love). Most calendaring software gives us the option to set the default duration for new meetings. Depending on the culture of your organization, you can play with 25 or 45 minutes, you’ll be amazed at the positive productivity results!
The expression make time consists in making conscious decisions about how you will spread the time across all the streams representing your ideal life balance: work, learning, physical and mental fitness, family and friends, hobbies, community engagement, etc.
Block time. The previous point doesn’t mean you have to give up your entire calendar to other’s demands, that would be a recipe for fit-less instead! Make time by blocking a few slots for key activities including, of course, room for working on your fitness. Being fitter is important to your employer because you’ll function better and be more efficient. Personally, my technique is to block some time for running at different times each day (alternating pattern), thus giving more flexibility to others for scheduling meetings in my calendar. If there is a conflict, then I move the slot/block around, earlier or later in the day. But never delete it!
Again, there are many other tips on this topic of work life balance, life management, exercise or ultra-marathon running. Especially on the running side for those interested from successful training and racing techniques, what it takes to run for 100 miles, 24 hours or more, the importance of an appropriate diet, and other topics such as: supplements, hydration, sleep, equipment, injury prevention or mitigation, aging, recommended readings. Short of a comment section at the bottom of this article, if any of these topics resonate with you and you would like to see more discussion about it, please let me know in this anonymous and private survey (Google form). Don’t be shy, I have nothing to sell but free tips to share to help all of us in IT on our journey to stronger fitness!
Diet: an often cursed four-letter word (Robin Camp)
Robin Camp works as tech support for an Orthodontic Practice Management Software company called New Horizons Software ( www.nhsoftware.com). As a professional photographer on the side, Robin does fashion, glamour weddings and more in his spare time (www.dancingwithlightphoto.com). You can also now find him working out on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/fitittech/.
When you hear someone say diet, the inflection can vary widely, for some it’s a curse word, spit with disgust and the crossing of oneself to ward off the devil, for others you can see their shoulders sag, the burden and misery of the very word weighing them down. Diet does not have to be a bad word, nor does it have to become a world changing obsession that causes you to suddenly stop getting party invitations.
As with everything, diet is about balance, not obsession (unless you are competing). If you take a step back, and take a look at every one of the myriad of different diets, each one has multiple similarities; limiting calories to a more appropriate caloric intake for the individual, a balance of nutrients and discipline.
Let’s talk about discipline. Dieting does not have to mean that you NEVER get to eat what you want and NEVER get to eat comfort food. Dieting for me at least is broken down to a couple different principals.
The first principal is perhaps one of the simplest, but also the most difficult. Stop eating when we are full, it sound simple yet we all have been told to clean are plates so food doesn’t go to waste and starving children in Africa (as if our not eating our food is somehow going to make them starve more….. Or was that just my mother?)
Any ways, develop the habit of pushing the plate away when you are full. We can put it in the fridge for later so it doesn’t go to waste. Your waist and your metabolism will thank you. Your body is surprisingly intelligent and will tell you when you have eaten as much as you can actually digest, IF you listen to it.
Second is the principal of stepping back and asking yourself a couple questions before digging in:
- Am I hungry or bored? If bored, have a cup of water and put the food down!
- Am I hungry or emotional/stressed? If emotional/stressed put the junk down and have a glass of water or a healthy snack!
If it’s an indulgence can I limit myself to one reasonable sized proportion? If not step back and say no!
Third, pay attention to where your calories are coming from especially with sugary drinks, many sweet confections from the multitude of coffee houses have between 800-1200 calories from sugar and fat. Process that for a second, the average individual should be consuming a healthy 2000 calories a day and that one Tall/Grande/Venti whatever you want to call it drink could be providing you with HALF of your daily caloric intake without the nutrition you need. Look at ways to cut corners, we all need indulgences occasionally, but we can get less sweet, smaller servings or cut out the lesser indulgences.
Fourth, get yourself a small notebook and for just a week a month, track what you are eating and compare the caloric content to what you should be consuming. It’s a real eye opener. Don’t worry if you slip, everyone makes mistakes occasionally, the important thing is to keep track of your progress or lack thereof and keep trading forwards.
Pair these basic steps with a consistent exercise routine and an eye forward, you will make progress!
“Never give up. It’s like breathing–once you quit, your flame dies letting total darkness extinguish every last gasp of hope. You can’t do that. You must continue taking in even the shallowest of breaths, continue putting forth even the smallest of efforts to sustain your dreams. Don’t ever, ever, ever give up.” ― Richelle E. Goodrich
“Some people try to tell you the things you want in life are out of your grasp, while others lift you up on their shoulders and help you reach them. I may not know a lot, but I prefer to fill my life with people who let me climb on top of their shoulders, not people who try to keep me planted on the ground.” ― Katie Kacvinsky
Take it to the limit? (Kris Lall)
Kris Lall works as a product manager in the tech industry for an enterprise software manufacturer. As a youngster, Kris was consumed with soccer before technology came along. Now he’s consumed with both. You can find him on Twitter at the not-too-surprising handle @krisoccer.
Sometimes I turn to a younger generation of fitness buffs to learn about the latest exercise trends, and they rarely fail to deliver. My younger, college age son, Sam, has been tracking an interesting one.
Fitness folks naturally have different goals for working out. Some are looking to lose weight, others like power builders are looking to increase the amount of weight they can lift, and still others want to gain muscle mass and add body weight.
For this latter group, one prevailing thought on working out has been that increasing training volume should continuously increase muscle mass and corresponding weight gain until some reasonable limit is reached. If we were to graph the x-axis as volume of workout and y-axis as muscle gain, the theory is that the curve would go up and then level off. In other words, you wouldn’t lose anything by working out more intensely.
This idea is being challenged, however, as some recent research shows gains falling off with a higher volume of repetitions. Sam referred me to an online video that studied four groups doing a specific number of sets during each workout. What was observed is that over-training can decrease returns, as the highest muscle gaining groups were associated with moderate to high intensity workouts, but a surprisingly lower number of reps.
This means if you increase your workout volume more than necessary and you work out longer than necessary, you’re working harder and longer, but at the expense of diminishing returns and may in fact be losing some of your gains.
The conclusion in the referenced video was that the optimal set volume to maximize gains is between 10 and 20, as illustrated by this chart from the video:
Hence, if you exercise with a focus on gaining muscle mass, performing fewer sets during moderate to high intensity workouts might actually help you increase your muscle mass, making it unnecessary to take it to the limit…
Training priorities (Kris Kane)
Kris Kane is a North Yorkshire based personal trainer, martial arts instructor and general fitness enthusiast. You can find him on Instagram at @koachedbykris and also view him professionally on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/kris-kane.
It’s great to finally be back in the gym, hopefully you have been able to do the same and get back into a routine.
The muscle and strength pyramid (Eric Helms) does a great job of representing the importance of priorities when it comes to your workouts and the type of training you do:
Each layer has its role to play in making progress however I want to concentrate on the base/foundation which is all about adherence.
Your training plan has to be one that fits your lifestyle, is suitable for your goals and something you can see yourself doing for a period of time.
Without being consistent in following the plan the rest of the pyramid becomes irrelevant.
There are many influencing factors which will affect your level of adherence that should be considered for your programming including:
- Does the number of sessions reflect the number of days you can train?
- Does it allow for the time available for each session?
- Does it suit your level of training experience?
- Does it include the equipment you have access to?
- Does it consider your volume tolerance?
- Does it factor in progression over time?
- Does it include exercises you enjoy doing?
- Does it reflect your goals?
- Does it leave you feeling pumped and energized?
If your programming incorporates the above, you are more likely to enjoy and sustain your training which will then lead to results.
If you are just starting back at the gym and would like some workouts to ease you back into training drop me a message and I have some new plans you can try 🙂
Drop me an e-mail at [email protected] via my Facebook page where I will be posting more tips on training, nutrition and mindset:
As always, good luck with your training and let me know if you have any questions.
How do I stop eating 10 Nanaimo bars? (Lana Khazari)
Lana Khazari is a Technical Support Analyst for the Corporation of City of Windsor, Ontario, Canada. She is also a Precision Nutrition Coach, Personal Trainer, Fitness Instructor and a Yoga 200-RYT Instructor. You can find her online at lanakharazi.com.
This question was posted as a response to my question “What do you wish you knew more about with regards to your fitness and nutrition?” posted in our online fitness group.
Most can relate to the Nanaimo question. Breaking up with food can feel just as hard as breaking up with alcohol, smoking, or even crack cocaine. Not only does it taste really good, but it also tastes really good. Nanaimo bars are made like crack cocaine and on purpose. The same goes for potato chips, candy bars, ice cream, and anything with the right mix of ingredients of that help you reach a “bliss point”. These foods are described as hyper-palatable foods and combine at least two of these components – sugar, salt, and fat – in ways that trick your brain into overeating.
Food scientists design “blissful” food to light up neural circuits in the reward centers of the brain and override signals that tell us that we’ve had enough to eat. This creates a vicious feedback loop that leaves us wanting more and eating more. Studies suggest that food “addiction” is real and the same areas of the brain are triggered as drug addiction. Firing off these areas of the brain would require an even bigger “hit” of hyper-palatable food the next time to get the same brain-based reward. Even “diet” foods are specifically engineered to contain the right levels of salt, fat, and sugar. Chew on that one.
Even though we may experience the uncontrollable urge to continue busting through a bag of chips due to our brain lighting up like a Christmas tree, here are 3 steps you can take to prevent this from happening.
- Avoid hyper-palatable foods
Remembering that we live in a toxic food environment where food is engineered to create pleasure and override biological signals. The easiest way to not overuse these circuits is to reduce the intake of hyper-palatable or processed foods. If you consider yourself a food addict, abstinence should be considered. Wherever possible, eat whole foods. This will keep you full and provide your body with much-needed nutrients. Have you ever seen anyone overeat apples? Being conscious of our food choices is important now more than ever. Read labels and know what is in your food. If buying pre-packaged products, choose ones that have minimal added ingredients. If foods trigger you to overeat, don’t eat them and keep them out of the house. This is a simple solution that is often avoided but will help to take the weight off or keep the weight off.
- Don’t be a food-pusher
It starts with you. Do you reward your children with ice cream? Stop that. Do you plan movie-food binge nights with your friends? Stop that too. People underestimate the effects their friends and family have on achieving or keeping healthy eating habits. And everyone knows someone that pushes high calorie and unhealthy food their way. We live in a society where social events usually have food as the main focus. As a society, we need to change that, but as individuals, we also have to learn how to say “no”. If people are successfully pushing food on you it is because you allow it. Know your food pushers and have a plan ready. Pre-script and use your words. Consider “Oh, I really shouldn’t?” versus. “Thank you, but I don’t eat x”. Don’t give any room for more pushing. Thank them for the offer and tell them what you will do like “I will save this for later” or “I will share this with everyone”. If you know they are serious food pushers, then keep the words few. Say “No thank you”, with nothing more.
- Truth = Transformation
The biggest factor in the ability to successfully transform is taking personal responsibility.
As suggested, first do what you can to control your food environment. However, if you are still having problems controlling your food cravings or continuously justifying the need for “balance” and “moderation” you may need to take an honest account of your efforts. Practicing some awareness and tuning into internal dialogue may help reveal the stories you may be telling yourself. Do you truly have no control over eating some foods?
We’ve now learned there are physiological effects on junk food. What you might not believe is that cravings are controllable. Most people feel that this isn’t true and it certainly may not feel that way if you’ve made it a habit to succumb to them often. I can tell you from personal experience that an emotional eating habit can be changed. But that’s a topic for a whole other article.
Try to consider that you are responsible for giving a craving its energy and power.
The more you cave to a craving, the harder it becomes to break its influence. The more you starve a craving, the more conscious control you gain over it.
Now I’m not saying this process is easy because it isn’t. I’m also not saying you can’t ever eat Nanaimo bars. Please do, and please enjoy every bite. But if you are no longer tasting the bites and just mindlessly eating them, are they worth eating? If not, there may be some deeper truths for you to explore. And know that trying something different and/or digging into some more emotional work will require a substantial amount of mental energy.
Transformation is not easy and for it to be possible you first need to accept that the beginning of it is very hard. Once you begin to charter new territory, it gets even messier. Finally, when you change, it becomes completely worth it. What was hard, no longer is hard as it becomes routine to your daily life.
But before you can stop eating Nanaimo bars, you have to explore the truth as to why you are eating them. Without truth, there is no path to forge.
The scale is a valuable tool (Sarah Trammell)
Sarah Trammell is an application analyst at a university in Georgia. She became interested in health and fitness issues when she began making diet and lifestyle changes to lose weight back in 2007 and learned even more when trying to track down what to do about other health issues beginning in 2011 with not much input from doctors. You may follow her blog at ihatemyglutenfreelife.com.
While some may find that using a scale during weight loss and maintenance efforts is counterproductive, I’ve found it to be a helpful tool. It’s allowed me to keep track of my progress and to take care of any upward trends promptly. It’s also allowed me to have a better picture of what’s going on with my health and my body.
When I started taking steps to lose weight, I began recording my weight and waste circumference weekly. I liked having the written record of my weight and waist circumference so that I could gauge my progress. In the end, I was able to know that I had lost around forty pounds. It felt good to know that, and it helped me to be proud of what I had accomplished.
After I got to the point where I was maintaining my weight, I continued to step on the scale most mornings just to monitor my weight. I wanted to make sure that I could quickly make changes to handle any upward trend. My weight remained steady for several years. However, I began to have problems keeping up my iron and realized I had problems with imbalances in certain nutrients. When I corrected those, I noticed the number on the scale creeping upward. I had made no other changes to my diet as far as the number of calories consumed or in any other way that I thought could cause me to gain weight. I finally realized that getting my diet balanced was what was causing me to gain weight. I decided not to worry about the weight gain. My body was undernourished before and was now getting the nutrition that it needed. My weight gain stopped at ten pounds. Thankfully I didn’t have to get rid of and buy too many clothes!
A few years after modifying my diet, I noticed that my weight started to creep upward again. I was having other symptoms that suggested I may be perimenopausal. Results of some blood tests seemed to indicate that was the case. I decided to cut out “extra” foods as much as possible and only eat foods that met my nutrition needs. My weight stopped climbing and went down a few pounds. It went down even more when I began taking a menopause supplement. I went back to my previous diet. Several months later, however, my weight started going up again. I decided once again to cut out the extras and have so far been able to keep my weight at its “pre-perimenopausal” level. Because I was keeping an eye on my weight by using the scale, I was able to stop any weight gain before it got to the point where my clothes stopped fitting and other signs started appearing.
Some have found that using a scale is counterproductive to their efforts to get to a healthy weight. The scale might cause them to become overly obsessed with their actual weight or might cause them to take focus off of what they consider to be more important goals. For me, however, the scale has been very helpful because it’s allowed me to keep track of my progress and have a record to revisit that allows me celebrate my accomplishment. It has also been very valuable in helping me to stop weight gain in its tracks before it gets out of control. It’s helped me to know how much the nutritional imbalances affected my body. The scale has definitely been my friend!
Send us your feedback!
Got feedback about anything in this issue of FitITproNews? Email us at [email protected] today!
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