In this issue:
Editor’s Corner. Be SMART about setting goals. Simple stretches for the lower back. Overlooked ways to improve your results that don’t involve the gym. Lift heavy things, ladies. Be my sugar-less Valentine. Supplements for COVID-19? Stay tuned! IT pro toolbox. Meet the Editors.
If you want to reach your goal, you need to think—a lot. Photo by Nik Shuliahin on Unsplash
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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 has written frequently for TechGenix.
Hey everyone! Welcome to the February 2022 issue of FitITproNews, the world’s only newsletter devoted to helping “recovering fat IT pros” make progress on the journey towards strength and health!
Kris Kane has a terrific article below in this month’s newsletter on the subject of being SMART about setting weightloss goals, and I agree with everything he says in his article. But I want to share a somewhat different perspective on the topic of setting goals that has helped me recently to lose almost 25 lbs over a period of about a year.
One problem many of us experience with setting weightloss goals is that we’re unrealistic. “Now that the holiday season is over, my goal is to lose 10 lbs in the next six weeks.” That doesn’t sound so hard, does it? But it *is* hard, and most of us fail to achieve such goals when we establish them.
Why is that? I believe it’s because we tend to set goals based on emotion rather than cold, hard thinking. If we overeat during the holidays and put on several pounds, we probably feel ashamed of ourselves. We then try to deal with this feeling by setting up an unrealistic goal and then being working towards achieving that goal, which now makes us feel positive about ourselves. So we swing emotionally between negative feelings and positive feelings. Unfortunately our emotions tend not to last, probably because we’re constantly bombarded by our environment and the world that surrounds us.
The answer to this conundrum, as I think I’ve found it, is to view losing X pounds not as a goal you want to achieve but as a problem you need to solve. In other words, instead of starting off your weightloss journey by setting your goal, you being by analyzing your problem. You could do this for example by asking yourself a series of questions like the following:
- How much weight do I want to lose?
- Why do I want to lose that much weight?
- What are my current eating habits? i.e. what / when / why do I eat the things I eat?
- What do I like about my current eating habits? What don’t I like?
- What changes can I make to my eating habits that would be easy for me to sustain long-term? i.e. add or drop certain foodstuffs, alter my eating schedule, change portion sizes of different meals etc.
- What changes would be difficult for me to make to my eating habits? Is there any way I could make such changes easier?
- What are the major danger points in my eating habits? i.e. going to certain restaurants, snacking when watching soccer games on TV, and so on.
- Is any of my eating stress-related? If so, what alternative activity can I perform to alleviate stress instead of reaching for those potato chips?
- Do I have tempting food in my cupboard that I should get rid of? Should I restock my fridge with some healthier items that taste good but have low calories (e.g. veggies)? How much extra room in my budget do I have for new foods or vitamins or supplements?
- What is my current exercise routine? Is it difficult or easy for me to sustain? Do I enjoy it or am I getting bored with it?
- How often do I exercise each week? What time do I usually exercise? How long is the duration of my workout?
- Should I try changing my exercise routine? Should I exercise more frequently? Less frequently? For longer periods? For shorter periods?
And so on.
My point is that I believe the solution to losing weight isn’t exercise or nutrition, it’s using your brain to think—and to think hard. Significant, sustainable weightloss is a logical process:
- Identify the causes behind your current problem of being overweight.
- Come up with a number of concrete actions you can take to try and work the problem.
- Begin implementing these actions, not all at once but one or several at a time.
- Track your progress continually by journaling your weight, calories, workouts, binges, etc.
- Evaluate your progress periodically, say once a week, and make any course corrections needed.
And of course, don’t be hard on yourself if you experience setbacks. Ditch those feelings of self-recrimination, that’s just emotion. remain rational and in problem-solving mode, and slowly, steadily you’ll get closer to your goal.
Enjoy this month’s issue of FitITproNews, we have some terrific articles from our columnists. Send us your comments, questions and suggestions about anything we say in this newsletter as we love hearing from our readers. And if you are a “recovering fat IT pro” like I am and you want to share your weightloss successes or struggles with other IT pros, let us know.
Mitch Tulloch, Senior Editor
Be SMART about setting goals (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.
Recently I ran my Kickstart workshop to help those wanting to move forward with their weight loss. I forgot how much I enjoy running them and it’s surprising how much progress people can make in just a few days.
One of the tasks that got the members thinking the most is all about goal setting. Getting everyone to dig deeper than an initial thought of just “wanting to lose some weight” such as:
- How much weight?
- When by?
- How will you measure your progress?
- What milestones are you aiming for along the way?
- What are you going to do on a weekly basis to contribute to this?
Those that went into detail will now have a much clearer plan of what they want to achieve with much more accurate goals in mind. They also now recognize what they need to be doing along the way to get there. I go into this in a lot more depth with my 121 clients to make sure there is a clear road map to their goals, but if you haven’t done so already….
Plan your goals for the year in a lot more detail than a vague thought or intention of ‘losing weight’ ‘toning up ‘getting fitter etc. Be SMART about it and use that to stay on track until you get there, remembering to hold yourself accountable to make sure you do:
If you are not sure where to start, then the most important area for weight loss is being able to manage your nutrition, I have a calorie calculator on my website which will help you with a realistic starting point for tracking your intake to make sure you are eating in line with your goal:
Hope that helps!
Any questions just get in touch: [email protected]
Simple stretches for the lower back (Judith Shipps)
Judith Shipps is a System Administrator who works for a company in the U.S. electric power industry. She has cerebral palsy.
Many of us experience back pain. I personally have a lot more trouble with my back when the weather is cold. Adding a few simple stretches to the morning routine can warm you up and reduce pain throughout the day.
Lower Back Stretch:
- Lie on your back with your knees bent.
- Lift your feet up and bring your knees toward your chest.
- Place your hands behind your knees and pull your knees into your chest until you feel a stretch in your lower back and butt.
- Hold for 15-20 seconds.
- Slowly return your feet to the floor.
I have heard this stretch called by many names such as Camel and Horse, Cat and Horse, and Basic Core:
- Start on “all fours” in a crawl position.
- Keep your head and neck in line with your spine to avoid putting too much pressure on your spine and neck. (Most people drop their head down. Don’t do this. Keep your chin parallel to the floor).
- Round your back by tightening your stomach and pulling in your hips. (Think angry Halloween Cat, or Camel Hump).
- Hold for 15 seconds.
- Relax back to starting position.
- Arch your back in the other direction, pushing your stomach to the floor. (Think Swayback Horse).
- Make sure your keep your head and neck in line with your spine. (Most people want to move their head and look up).
- Hold for 15 seconds.
- Relax back to starting position.
I do these stretches 2-3 times in the morning. Perform them slowly and gently. Stop if there is pain.
Try these simple stretches and see if they reduce your back pain.
Overlooked ways to improve your results that don’t involve the gym (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/.
Hydration, it may not be glamourous, but dehydration can not only lead to chronic diseases, fatigue, arthritic like pain and kidney failure. Your body is 75% water, coffee, tea and any caffeinated drinks act as diuretics. Make sure you are staying hydrated, not only does it keep your energy up, it helps flush toxins from your body and even helps reduce excess calorie consumption by creating a temporary sensation of fullness.
Sleep, it’s not for the weak, it’s for anyone who wants to give their body time to repair the damage done during exercise, provides recuperation and muscle building. Why bother working out 8-10 hours a week if you are not going to give your body the time to recover properly? Lack of sleep will lead to irritability, lack of energy and in extreme circumstances can cause hallucinations and or a psychotic break. Do your body, and everybody around you a favor, make sure you are getting adequate sleep, your body will recuperate faster and you will be more pleasant to be around!
Nutrition, cutting out sweets and excess calories is part of losing excess weight and staying lean, but don’t forget you need adequate nutrients for your body to recover and get stronger. You can’t build muscle without the appropriate caloric intake, many hormones and body functions rely on the intake of proper nutrients to function properly.
Watch what you eat, but do not starve yourself; not only is it hard on the body, its hard on the mind and makes binging that much more likely. If you are lifting weights and not putting on the muscle like you expect, try adding a couple hundred calories of lean protein and veggies to your diet, give it a week or two and reevaluate. Remember you are stressing your body, so it does need calories to function as frustrating as that is when you are trying to lose weight, watch what you eat, but also eat enough.
Lift heavy things, ladies (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.
As a woman in tech, I’m no stranger to the boy’s club. There are more attempts towards inclusiveness, but the mansplaining hasn’t decreased, and I know those who would prefer I take the meeting notes. I remember in University when the professor said that girls in Computer Science don’t get married. My good friend, the only other girl, and I attacked our fourth-year class! Still enraged, I continue to challenge and negate stereotypes.
As a woman in the weight room, I also get to experience the same “bro culture .” Bros steal my mirror space. Bros stare at my ass when they think I’m not looking. And little bros crowd my lifting space as they continue to “spot” each other while they scroll on their phones. Nobody cares how much you barbell bench press, little bro; you could use another leg day.
Feeling the effects of being a minority is hard. Tech companies are making moves to create a more diversified and inclusive industry. I wish there was more diversity in the training space. The weight room is primarily men. You’ll find the woman on treadmills, ellipticals, and in group fitness.
A study reports gender differences when it comes to exercise habits. Men say that they exercise more for enjoyment than women. Women report that primary drivers are weight loss and “toning.” I despise the word “toning .”It relates to the “I don’t want to get bulky” fear women have about weight training. It pains me that women still believe this because the fastest way to increase muscle “tone” is to lift heavy loads. I think the one thing we can all agree on is that both men and women want to look firm and sexy.
Strength training programs made for women are not inferior to one’s made for men. Women can do what men can do in the weight room, and the approach to strength training is similar. Gaining muscle takes well-programmed training methods, dietary considerations, and an optimal hormonal environment. Hormone differences are where women have a disadvantage. You should know that testosterone is good, and estrogen is terrible for fat loss and muscle gain. Because testosterone levels are low in women, this should help alleviate any concern of getting “too big” or “too bulky.”
To gain significant muscle mass, one also needs to eat in caloric excess. This is another unlikely scenario for a woman since most typically want to lose weight, not gain it. By chance, you notice yourself putting on more muscle than you want; you could quickly lower the training volume and caloric intake.
Let’s also please break all biases. There are no girl pushups, just pushups. Please abolish the use of the words long, lean, or toned. The abductor/adductor and glute machines are not just for girls. I often feel the need to confiscate all 3-pound pink dumbbells. Gender-labeled equipment and language reinforce that women should exercise differently than men, and that is just not true.
The lack of role models and biases make strength training scary for a woman, I get it. I was intimidated too. If you don’t grow up around it or have any active friends, you don’t know where to start. I can’t stress enough how important it is to incorporate regular strength training into your life. As you age, hormonal changes increase the likelihood of weight gain, and you lose both muscle mass and bone mass. Menopause also causes fatigue and sleep disruption. Lack of sleep is accompanied by depression and anxiety, making you tense, irritable, and moody.
Exercise helps boost energy and fight fatigue. Regular resistance training helps increase lean muscle mass, increase resting metabolism, and stimulate bone tissue growth.
After reading this list of benefits, I hope you realize what is missing from your life. But if you don’t train, it is ridiculous to think you can jump into a 5 day/week program. Instead, start with two workouts a week consistently. Then add. If you have little to no motivation or know-how, hire a trainer. Yes, it is expensive. However, you can invest in your health now or pay the price later for not adding exercise into your life.
Hiring a trainer is also the best way to find a great role model. Ladies should consider hiring a female trainer to show the use of strength training equipment. She can help lead you through the space with a better sense of security and show how ladies get things done in the weight room. I hired a trainer before my wedding to lose weight, of course. My motivations changed as I started to build a strong relationship with my trainer and build confidence over the strength exercises and movement. Another benefit is that my routine began to work for me, not against me. A former cardio bunny, I would work out to the point of exhaustion. After making lifting my priority, my energy has skyrocketed.
You know your training routine is really working for you when:
- You become more consistent
- You actually miss working out when you are sick or miss a day or few
- It’s easier to pick up your groceries, and your endurance is improving
- You are happier, more confident, and more mentally sharp
- Your posture improves, and you move around with ease
- You’re hella stronger
- You can read what your body needs and know its limits
- You exercise because it’s fun (the leading reason men exercise), and you love checking out your gains in the mirror
I don’t want to be the one and only woman in the weight room. When I see another woman working hard, it inspires and motivates me to work harder. If you are thinking of starting, please also make room for self-discovery. Explore what you like and dislike. When motivation comes within, you will check off more of the above list. Once you see and feel the benefits of building muscle, you’ll stick with it. Better yet, you may show the bros a thing or two.
Be my sugar-less Valentine (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.
February is the month of love. And Love means chocolate. And chocolate means sugar.
Since sugar is often considered the root-of-all-healthy-eating evil (at least this week), another reasonable resolution for 2022 would be removing sugar from your diet. I’ve thought about doing this in the past; however, my affection for confection has always taken priority over abstaining from consuming the sweet stuff.
We’ve discussed in the past how fat was initially targeted as a villain of healthy eating back in the 1960’s due to the effectiveness of an influence campaign (not surprisingly sponsored) by the sugar industry on consumers. Yes, the sugar industry has an interest in demonizing the fat industry and vice versa; so you may want to take these health claims with a grain of salt (not sugar – at least for now!).
Of course, it depends on what types of foods we eat and whether there’s a viable replacement for foods we consume that contain sugar. If you have a standard food palette, plenty of the foods you’re consuming contain sugar, even though it seems they wouldn’t. I was surprised when I found out that milk contains a not-so-insignificant amount of sugar. I had mistakenly thought that milk was supposed to (only) do a body good!
Over the years, I’ve gradually migrated away from sugary foodstuffs to foods with less sugar. I now buy cereals that contain minimal amounts and have replaced sweetened sports drinks with water for hydration when I’m exercising or playing soccer.
Many of the foods we love contain sugar. (Credit: Copyright MaxPixel)
What are some possible substitutes for the sweeter foods in our daily meals?
Breakfast: Healthline.com published a list of cereals with little to no sugar. You may have to spend a bit more, but there are plenty of non-traditional brands that might fit the bill – Three Wishes, Barbara’s, Nature’s Path, HighKey, and Kashi, to name a few. Most milks contain lactose, a natural sugar, so look for unsweetened milk to add to your cereal. If you’re lactose tolerant, this type of sugar may be OK for you. Oatmeal can be another great option, as the right oatmeal will be low in sugar and have other health benefits. And reduce the types and quantities of additives to your coffee.
Lunch: The Greatest offers several lunch ideas that can be made at home and that include minimal sugar. This might require a bit more investment of time and money, but in the end it will be worth it. Avocado Pea Smash, Salmon Quinoa Salad With Balsamic and Olive Oil Dressing, Tuna Spinach Salad, Mediterranean Hummus Bowl, Peanut Sesame Zucchini Noodles, Mango Shrimp Stuffed Avocado, and Grilled Chicken, Avocado, and Spinach Wrap. These sound yummy to me, but perhaps not to everyone. The good news is the wide range of options.
I tend to think of dinner foods as having less sugar, but we add sugar in many ways without realizing it. Barbeque sauce, ketchup, spaghetti sauce, pre-made soup, salad dressing, and baked beans all typically include a fair amount of sugar, so this should be taken into account when scrutinizing your intake. Perhaps begin by reviewing food labels when you suspect ingredients you’re buying for dinner might contain sugar.
Sugar is today’s health villain. If contemporary information being touted about sugar is correct, we’d be wise to take measures to reduce our intake. Further, the human body is a complex machine with lots of moving parts and it’s difficult to create a controlled environment to study sugar’s effects on it. As the science continues to evolve, we may learn that some other consumable is bad for our health. Until then, I’m going to continue eating foods that contain fat and sugar in moderate quantities, refining my diet as new information becomes available. And I’ll be well on my way to becoming a sugar-less, but not quite sugar-free, Valentine.
Supplements for COVID-19? (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.
People are looking for things they can do to prevent serious illness if they get COVID, and one thing I see suggested is to take supplements, which is a wonderful thing to do if people are only taking supplements for nutrients in which they’re deficient and in the proper amounts. However, people should not take (additional) supplements if they are not already deficient. Too much, particularly at high doses, can cause more harm than good. A person could be deficient in other nutrients that are not mentioned for COVID prevention or treatment. Those deficiencies can also cause harm and could also put someone at higher risk for illness and other health issues. Ultimately, one should consult his or her doctor to see what deficiencies exist, if any, and what would need to be done to correct those. It could be that a properly-balanced diet with a properly-formulated multivitamin is all that’s needed.
I have someone come to my house to clean the carpet once a year. We generally get into good conversations about various topics, and one thing he’s discussed with me is what he takes to stay healthy and keep from getting COVID or getting a serious case of it. He talked about taking high-dose vitamin D and drinking a lot of orange juice. I remember thinking there’s no way I could take that much. An amount of vitamin D that was much smaller than what I remember him mentioning negatively affected my iron levels. When adding some supplemental vitamin C to my regimen last summer, I had to go down to 250 mg because 500 mg was too much. I generally see vitamin C supplements with much higher doses. I hope that what he’s doing will keep him healthy and boost his immune system, but in my mind, I couldn’t help but think of the possibility that he may be making things worse with all that extra supplementation. Taking high doses of one or a few supplements can cause deficiencies in other nutrients. Like I mentioned above, a higher dose of vitamin D in my case interfered with my iron levels.
I believe that what I’m doing to get what I need nutritionally in general will be enough to keep my immune system in shape. I corrected some nutritional imbalances and deficiencies by modifying my diet to balance copper with zinc and iron with vitamin E. My diet was previously too high in copper relative to zinc. I also switched to a different multivitamin. The previous one just wasn’t the proper formulation for my needs. These changes allow me to get enough zinc but keep the other nutrients at normal levels as well. Throughout the time I was making these changes, I saw multiple doctors who ran tests to make sure that nutrient levels and other markers were normal. My iron and markers related to it have been consistently normal for at least a year and a half now. Unless a doctor recommends it and it makes sense to me to do so, I never plan to take a high-dose supplement. My past track record with those has proven that they just make things worse.
If you’re looking into supplementation to prevent serious illness from COVID-19 or other causes, please consider seeing a doctor to be evaluated to see what deficiencies actually exist and take supplements where needed to correct them, or modify your diet to correct them. Don’t begin by just going out and finding high doses of suggested vitamins and minerals and taking those because they could make things worse if you’re not already deficient in them or if you’re not properly balancing those supplements with other nutrients. Consider that some dietary tweaks and a good multivitamin may be enough.
Stay tuned! (Andrey Sarantsev)
Andrey is 62 years old and resides in Russia, Moscow. He is a former scientist at Moscow State University (Physics) and has worked for IBM as an IT Architect for the last 18 years. He was dedicated to Shotokan karate in his early years, then later practiced bodybuilding and now plays tennis and exercises with not-so-heavy-weights just to be in good shape.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Andrey is working flat-out for IBM this week and didn’t have time to write an article for us, but we look forward to his rejoining our newsletter next month.
IT pro toolbox
TreeSize Free lets you quickly scan directory sizes and find space hogs:
WSADReport is a utility to export your Active Directory objects like users and computers to CSV and Excel files for auditing, reporting and scripting purposes:
AutoLogoff is the solution for managing inactive Windows user sessions and cleaning up user profiles:
Device Cleanup removes non-present devices from the Windows device management:
Meet the Editors
MITCH TULLOCH is Senior Editor of both WServerNews and FitITproNews and is a widely recognized expert on Windows Server and cloud technologies. He has written more than a thousand articles and has authored or been series editor for over 50 books for Microsoft Press and other publishers. Mitch has also been a twelve-time recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award in the technical category of Cloud and Datacenter Management. He currently runs an IT content development business in Winnipeg, Canada that produces books, ebooks, whitepapers, case studies, courseware, documentation, newsletters and articles for various companies.
INGRID TULLOCH is Associate Editor of both WServerNews and FitITproNews. She was co-author of the Microsoft Encyclopedia of Networking from Microsoft Press and collaborated on developing university-level courses in Information Security Management for a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) program. Ingrid also manages Research and Development for the IT content development business she runs together with Mitch.
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