FitITproNews: The first pillar of nutrition

In this issue:

The key to successful weight loss. Staying motivated. Water and flax: the magic elixir for travel constipation. The Bee’s Knees. Scaling back. Working from home. A common issue: rounded shoulders. Mailbag.

Are you building your weightloss program on the right pillars? Photo by Darryl Low on Unsplash

Editor’s Corner

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! Welcome to the September 2021 issue of FitITproNews, the world’s only newsletter devoted to helping “recovering fat IT pros” make progress on the journey towards strength and health! Yes, it’s September—the most beautiful month in my opinion, the start of Fall when the leaves turn to gold. But also, sadly, the end of summer, which means the end of vacation for most of us and back to school for the kids. And also hopefully time to start a new leg of your fitness journey for us “recovering fat IT pros” <grin>!

This month’s newsletter has lots of good stuff for you. Robin Camp gives some examples of people who help him keep inspired and motivated when your fitness journey grows difficult. Lana Khazari shares the magic elixir for travel constipation, something those of us who hit the road again as COVID wanes should definitely take note of. Kris Lall discusses knee issues, something that’s common in sports like soccer, and he has some good links on how to relieve knee strain and avoid serious problems. Sarah Trammell talks about how there are times when we need to scale back our workouts and shares some helpful resources on this topic. Kris Kane shares how buying a standing desk converter has helped him stay more active during his time of working from home because of the pandemic. And please join with me in welcoming our new columnist Judith Shipps who is a Systems Administrator working for a company in the U.S. electric power industry. Judith has cerebral palsy and will be focusing mainly on how to exercise and stretch safely, and her first article deals with rounded shoulders which is something that plagues many of us who work in the IT profession hunched over a laptop all day.

The key to successful weight loss

While regular exercise is important for general health, when it comes to losing weight nutrition holds primary importance. “What you are is what you eat” might better be said “What you look like is what you eat” so if you eat like a pig…you get the picture.

This has always been my own big problem when it comes to maintaining a healthy bodyweight. My mom basically raised me on a diet of sugar and refined wheat. She was a terrific cook and baked up a storm each weekend: donuts, cinnamon buns, peanut butter cookies, fudge square, whacky cake—you name it, she baked it—and I wolfed it down! It’s no wonder that later life saw me edging towards Type II Diabetes. And with working in IT and also writing numerous books, articles, whitepapers, and such—well you can guess how the pounds started to come on, and they wouldn’t go away easily.

Then along came the pandemic with masks, social distancing, restrictions, lockdowns, remotework, and all the frustrations and inconveniences caused by these things, and my stress level finally tipped over the edge. I began overeating again—and drinking, something I had given up completely a decade earlier—and the pounds started coming on. Old habits suddenly arose from the grave—pizza, ice cream, potato chips, Black Forest Cake. In no time at all I had put on 20 lbs and my knees started to ache giving me difficulty going up stairs. I tried cutting out high-calorie foods and increasing my exercise levels, but to no avail. My weight refused to go down. And the older you get, the harder it is to lose significant weight.

After a frustrating year of seeing my weight fluctuate up and down by a few pounds, I came across an article by Dr. Layne Norton that I had filed away in one of my binders of nutrition and workout info I had been collecting over the last decade. As I read the article I came across this statement which hit me like a ton of bricks:

“Whatever strategy you pick for nutrition, make sure that it’s something that you can see yourself doing for YEARS.”

In other words, the what he was saying was that the key to successful weightloss—and keeping lost weight from coming back again—is to find a nutritional program or approach that you can adopt as a lifestyle and adhere to. You can read his full article here on Gymshark.

What I did over the months that followed is study, analyze and ponder my nutritional habits, what I eat and drink each day. Then I made a decision to make certain changes to these habits, changes that I felt I would probably be able to maintain continuously in the years ahead. In the months that followed I made several tweaks to my diet but I basically now feel quite comfortable with my eating habits with the occasional brief falling away (though those are becoming less frequent).

The result of this lifestyle change I’ve made to my nutrition? The 20 lbs that I put on are now almost gone, and I’m continuing to slowly make additional weightloss progress. This loss of weight was slow—it took me about 8 months to achieve it—but I feel confident now that it’s going to be permanent this time. In our next newsletter I’ll share more on this topic. In the meantime however, enjoy this month’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!

Mitch Tulloch, Senior Editor


Staying motivated (Robin Camp)

Robin Camp works as tech support for an Orthodontic Practice Management Software company called New Horizons Software ( As a professional photographer on the side, Robin does fashion, glamour weddings and more in his spare time ( You can also now find him working out on Instagram at


Now a days with so much going on in the world, many people find themselves lacking in motivation or inspiration. When I find myself lagging in this department, there are a few outside sources that I rely on regularly that I wanted to share with everyone.

Jocko Willink – @jockowillink

A decorated SEAL/Vet/Motivational Speaker. On Spotify his Discipline Equals Freedom, Psychological Warfare and The Path are excellent get out of bed and get to work/gym albums. Willink pulls no punches and you may find yourself crying occasionally when he describes how he approaches life and comes to the conclusions he has based on his service. I find him to be great for reminding me how small my problems are!


Demi Bagby – @demibagby

Her recovery from a broken back is amazing enough, but the energy and happiness that she brings to her workouts is truly inspirational.


Dr. Sunny Andrews@drsunnandrews

An IFBB Pro and an MD, Dr. Sunny Andrews is a peak athlete that somehow always manages to sprinkle inspiration and humility with her posts.


CT Fletcher – @C.T.Aali.fletcher

Warning! C.T is loud and he will get your blood pumping, some of his language is not for family audiences. C.T. overcame heart surgery in which he died. Now he coaches and speaks while still putting in workouts that would make most mortals cringe.


David Goggins – @Davidgoggins

A retired Navy Seal, UltraMarathon runner, triathlete, writer and speaker Goggins is also a high energy no nonsense speaker to get the blood pumping for a workout. Some of his language is not for family audiences


Les Brown – @thelesbrown

Les Brown and his brother were given up at an early age by their mother. Despite this and other hardships , Les Brown worked his way up through errand running for a radio station to the Ohio State House Of Representatives. Brown is one of the most calming speakers I know of, he gets you motivated calmly with no screaming or judgement.


Matthew McConaugheyYoutube-13 Truths

There are few motivational speeches I listen to repeatedly, but this one is bookmarked. A calming yet inspirational look at life, how we impact other people’s lives and deciding how we want to be seen.


Bishop T.D. Jakes – Youtube Spotify

Despite the many obstacles that he survived, Bishop T.D. Jakes manages to make you believe in yourself, even when you are doubting your own existence. A wonderful voice to listen to, a great story teller and definitely makes you want to change your life for the better.


Joan MacDonald –  @trainwithJoan

At 75, Joan is one of those people who just makes you realize that change can come at any time. After realizing she was severely overweight, on more and more meds and fighting arthritis, Joan teamed up with her daughter a trainer to hit the gym and documented her changes, losing 50 lbs in the first year and now being off most of her meds. Her posts are always positive and highly encouraging.


Julius Maddox –  @irregular_strength

It’s pretty easy to simply get stuck on the fact that this 34 year old is on the road to benching #800 and has already set the bench world record at least twice with his current max of #775. However if you look beyond that Julius overcame drug addiction and jail to turn his life around and become a world class competitor competing in the Arnold Classic. His posts are usually mind blowing feats of strength or humble thanks or appreciation for people in his life


I hope some of these help you all and provide you with the same motivation they have provided me with. Stay safe and enjoy your fitness journey.


“Do not let yourself be contaminated by others’ ideas of what is best for you. Cast aside the shackles of destructive thinking.” -Kai Greene-


Water and flax: the magic elixir for travel constipation (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


Three days into my vacation, and instead of being completely relaxed, I’m bloated and uncomfortable. Gourmet high-fat meals, not-so-gourmet french fries, wine, and spicy caesar’s, are entirely different from my regular eating routine. Due to my resistance to using public bathrooms, more processed foods, less activity, and less water have created digestive tyranny.

A self-evident tip to prevent travel constipation is to drink more water. But we don’t. Instead, we consume less because of flights and not wanting to stop on our road trips and even get good at resisting the urge to go. A different environment can trip up a lot of us. But holding our poop also helps develop constipation. The science behind that is that the brain will stop responding, and our nerves will respond inappropriately, further reducing the urge to poop.

Once we reach our destination, some replace water with alcohol which compounds the problem. Water is critical in preventing travel constipation and aiding in digestion in general. Having an adequately hydrated system helps to break things down in the digestive tract. Hydration is a pretty basic recommendation to follow, so take the extra time and make a few additional stops. As a rule of thumb, you should drink a liter for every 50 lbs of body weight.

The crazy part about all this is that almost everyone knows how important it is to stay hydrated. But we don’t do it. I didn’t do it. Because it was inconvenient to slow down the trip, steal from my vacation time, and be that person that has to ask to stop at every rest stop. And if I’m honest, I’m also lazy about it. Just like most basic recommendations towards our health and wellness, we are lazy humans.

So after my bowels went on strike, I made an effort to drink more water. And then I went to the next unmedicated thing I could try, adding soluble fiber in the form of ground flaxseeds.

The “make you poop” remedy:

  • 5-2 tbsp of ground flaxseeds
  • 5 ounces of water or any other drink

Take in this magic 2 to 3 times daily. It is crucial to have more water or fluid to prevent discomfort. Flaxseed is a soluble fiber. You may notice that it becomes sticky when mixed with water. Please make sure you up the water intake, and results should happen in 1-2 days. Remember, the solution to pollution is dilution.

The remedy and a few sets of body squats, and I kick-started my system. I continued doing this for the remainder of my vacation to keep my system humming. I highly recommend packing a little baggie of ground flaxseeds for your next vacation. It is vital to buy ground flaxseeds or run whole flaxseeds through a coffee grinder to release all its benefits.

Flaxseed is not only good at preventing constipation because it contains both soluble and insoluble fiber and lignans, but it’s excellent for heart health and inflammation because of alpha-linolenic (ALA)/omega 3-fatty acids. It is also a great source of protein.

Since excess food is inevitable on vacation, and this can lead to uncomfortable gas and constipation, here are all the things that can come to your aid:

  2. Fiber, especially soluble like flaxseeds
  3. Movement; get on your walking shoes or do a quick workout
  4. Just be careful; if you are already dehydrated, this may work against you
  5. Probiotic supplements or fermented foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, and miso to improve the bacterial flor
  6. Herbal or over-the-counter laxatives

Because there will never be a vacation where we will avoid excess food because food is also a pleasure in life, we can prepare ourselves. Always do #1.


The Bee’s Knees (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.


Perhaps you’ve heard the term “The Bee’s Knees” and know that it means the best or most excellent. Unfortunately when it comes to those participating in demanding physical activities, the knees are one of the first body parts to give way.

As a long-time soccer player, I’ve heard more than my fair share of knee horror stories – bad knees leading to knee replacement surgery, ACL injury requiring surgery and a year or more of rehabilitation, chronic knee pain, and so many more.

One colleague used to ride his bike to the office every day – a round trip of about 60 miles! His knees eventually had had enough – basically wore out – and required replacement.

I’ve been lucky to have avoided serious knee injury over a lengthy period of playing competitive sports. Many factors contribute to healthy knees, including weight, genetics, and regular exercise. Hence, the best strategy to having knees that are in fact The Bee’s Knees is to do everything possible to ensure your knees stay in great shape.

Plenty of FitITPro articles address body weight and how to lose it. This is a key factor in knee health to avoid problems like ACL tears and chronic pain.

Knee issues are common for tech workers that spend long periods of time sitting. Credit: Wikimedia Commons


None of us have any (or much) control over our genetics. We were born this way! Forget eye and hair color, it’s up to a future generation to determine how to give kids “designer knees” that never break.

Sometimes surgery will be necessary to address knee issues. Until surgery becomes necessary, proven treatments, aside from losing weight, include physical therapy, taking anti-inflammatory meds, consuming dietary supplements, fluid therapy, and bracing. Furthermore, daily stretching can loosen up the knees and workouts like yoga can strengthen them.

Pain meds may also have a place in managing knee discomfort, but people are turning to pressure therapy options for relief, including tendon straps, tape, and socks/sox. For example, when the knee’s patella tendon is inflamed, a support band can effectively reduce the pain.

All body parts are important, but knees rank right at the top of the “joint” list, as people rely on their knees a lot. If you’ve been dealt a knee disadvantage either genetically or via an injury, you have many options for getting your knees back into tip-top shape. Follow some of the guidance noted in this article and talk to your doctor and physical therapist for further advice so you can also sport the metaphoric Bees Knees.




Scaling back (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


Sometimes, you may need to revise your workouts because of a medical procedure or other reason. For a short time, just walking may suffice, but other times you may want to keep the variety going but do something lower impact. I recently had to do this after a procedure I’d had done.

At my yearly mammogram in July, there was an abnormal finding. Additional tests led the doctor to believe I’d need a biopsy. I had the biopsy at the beginning of August. Thankfully, the results didn’t show any signs of cancer. However, I had to avoid heavy lifting and could not jog or do aerobics for a week. I do a variety of DVD workouts and do strength training with 5 or 8 pound weights throughout the week. Here is what I did to modify my workouts for that week.

  1. I stuck primarily to my low-impact workout DVDs, such as my walking DVDs. However, they have more than just walking. They incorporate a variety of movements, and none of them are high-impact. They still kept me moving while providing variety. This one is a good example and is one of my favorites:
  2. I used very light 2-pound weights. To add a little more intensity to the low-impact workouts, I used some small hand-held weights that were just two pounds. One morning, I walked on my treadmill while using the weights. I certainly didn’t think 2-pound weights would qualify as “heavy lifting” in my particular case, and I never noticed any issues using them. Since these were so light, I ended up using them every day during that week. The weights I used are very similar to these:
  3. I used workout DVDs where one or two people were modifying the moves for those needing low-impact versions. For these workouts, I focused on the people doing the low-impact versions of the moves and followed what they were doing. This particular walking DVD incorporates jogging, but one of the people in the video did brisk walking during the jogging segments:


Having a medical procedure or another situation causing you to have to scale back your workouts doesn’t always have to mean being stuck doing something mundane. Having a variety of workouts available that can offer something fun but low-impact and having light hand weights available can help you continue to work out and even add a small amount of resistance without overdoing it. Of course, depending on the procedure or situation, you may have to scale back much more than I had to do. Be sure to talk to your doctor about your situation to make sure you’re not doing something that could hurt rather than help.


Working from home (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


Since working from home I have seen a big decrease in my daily activity and step count

Without the time spent walking to work, moving around the building and a stroll out for lunch…

I am lucky to hit 2k steps per day!

Also being seated for much longer isn’t great for posture and mobility which started to cause some aches

Enter something that has been a big game changer for me…I can now stand at my desk!

Desk converters are a lot more affordable than they used to be, they sit on top of your normal desk so you then have the option to sit or stand as you need.

If you are still working from home and have started to develop any negative effects, this could really help and be a worthwhile investment!

Especially during them long meetings, just being able to move around more leaves you feeling fresher at the end of the day

Plus you will be more inclined to move around the room more as you think/talk to people which is all extra steps!

Check out ‘standing desk converters’ on Amazon to see the full range available.


A common issue: rounded shoulders (Judith Shipps)

Judith Shipps is a Systems Administrator who works for a company in the U.S. electric power industry. She has cerebral palsy.


Every IT professional I have ever worked with has suffered from rounded shoulders at some point. Think about it. You are awakened at 3 am by a page or phone call to fix some critical server or application. Most of us end up sitting in a recliner with a laptop in our laps. We are not worried about posture at this point. We are doing whatever we have to so that we can go back to sleep!

Rounded shoulders can lead to headaches, fatigue, neck pain, and poor sleep.

A simple exercise to correct rounded shoulders is to stand (or sit) as straight as possible, and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Make sure you keep your shoulders down, and have good posture while doing this exercise.

I do this exercise in sets of 5 throughout the day. For this exercise, THE CORRECT FORM IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN LOTS OF REPETITION.

There are many ways to increase the difficulty of this exercise, when you have the form perfected. You can attach tension bands in front of you, and flex with your arms straight at your sides turning your thumbs slightly outward.

Obviously if you are seated, use a chair with no arms. You can use the tension bands in the same manner, with your elbows bent. A variation that I really like, is to lay on your back on a firm surface. I use a carpeted area of the floor. Raise your arms perpendicular to your body, and squeeze your shoulders blades together. You can also try moving one shoulder blade at a time. I like the floor variation because it tells me when I am cheating and not doing the exercise correctly. In this variation, do not roll, raise your neck, raise your shoulders, or push with your hips or feet.

Try this exercise and see how your neck and head feel at the end of the day!



In the August issue of FitITproNews our columnist wrote about the problem of dealing with lower back pain. This drew the following story from reader Howard Rubin in Brazil:

Years ago, high school teenager, Houston, Texas – Summertime, I worked as a product stocker in a popular imported goods store. I was sitting down on the cement floor and lifted a heavy stack of ceramic on clay plates into a shelf above me, ouch. I was sore for weeks on end, couldn’t straighten my legs or stand straight. Slowly I got better on my own, but over the years the pain would come back and I’d be stuck in bed for a week. I decided to not take gym that year too.

Fast forward, in my late 30s. My wife brought me to a Chinese medicine doctor (some guy said he was the chief practitioner for the Emperor long ago!) she really believed in. He put cups on my back, stuck needles in me – nothing really worked, however they always said I was making progress (money?). After a few weeks, I would get better on my own.

I drove to a recommended chiropractor. He wrapped me in so many positions and my body cracked everywhere it seemed on the first visit, I nearly crawled back to my car!

Fast forward, new wife and life in Brazil 1999, she took me to a medical doctor, orthopedist (doctor who specializes in the musculoskeletal system). He x-rayed my lower back, found a couple of spinal bones slightly out of alignment, said no surgery needed. He said to start walking! I need to strengthen the muscles there, that’s it! I tasked myself to see how far I could walk in our city.

21 years late still in Brazil, 66, still no nonoccurence of my previous back problems. Yes, at this age, pain happens easier and more often, but my experience tells me to maybe get a new bed mattress or change walking shoes and by all means if nothing else works – go see a real medical doctor.

Anything other than a medical doctor who can show you exactly where and what the problem is, is wasting your time. And with pain like this, you want to get a solution fast! Check with your medical doctor first and do lots of walking (if recommended)! Also, try to stay away from persons the whole family recommends and who ‘everyone’ says he/she is the best. If in doubt, always get a second opinion – in no way do you want to get unnecessary surgery. Get proof of your condition you can put on the wall, read and understand.

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