FitITproNews: This fasting thing
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In this issue:
Editor's Corner. Mailbag. My fasting story. Hunger is not an emergency! Safety & Courtesy. IT pro hydration best practices for summer. Training tip of the month! Reasons to stay healthy. IT pro toolbox.
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 July 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!
Fasting is something I definitely don't enjoy and am not very good at. The reason for this is simple: I love food! It probably goes back to my childhood when my mom baked a lot and always had the cupboard stacked with brownies, Wacky Cake, donuts, cinnamon buns, peanut butter cookies, and lots of other delicious (yum!) stuff a growing boy needs. No wonder I had so much energy!
Naturally as I approached mid-life all this caloric consumption finally started catching up with me, and as I've shared previously in this newsletter I ended up putting on a lot of weight. It's been a battle ever since to control my eating habits, and unfortunately fasting isn't one of the weapons I'm good at wielding against this enemy named Fat.
Others however have benefitted a lot from incorporating fasting into their eating habits, and in this issue of our newsletter we'll hear from one of them -- Patrick Blank a Systems Engineer in the UK -- who has successfully made regular fasting part of his healthy lifestyle.
We also have lots of other yummy stuff in this issue of FitITproNews. Lana Khazari shares some helpful thoughts on controlling your response to feelings of hunger, which may actually not really be real hunger at all. Robin Camp talks about safety and courtesy in the weight room and gym. Kris Lall shares some hydration best practices for those hot summer days when you're outside exercising or enjoying your favorite sport or recreational activity. Kris Kane shares two intensifiers you can incorporate into your workout routine. And Sarah Trammell gives you reasons why it's important to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
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
Last month's issue of FitITproNews titled Going Extreme drew a few comments from our loyal newsletter readers. Andrew Wong from Toronto, Canada expressed these thoughts:
Your editorial on 'extreme exercise' echoes my sense of 'dangerous extremes' that I feel every time those Peloton commercials come up on TV. Peloton has been advertising a lot on TV in Toronto lately, and I guess it's the same in Winnipeg TV as well. The Peloton commercials turn me off in disgust instead of attracting me to their products.
I totally agree with your viewpoint in your editorial. Thank you for your wise words.
We also received the following email from Judith Shipps who works as a Systems Administrator in the USA:
I am a fat, over 50, IT pro. I also have cerebral palsy. After spending most of my adult life at 135 lbs, I ended up having surgery that put me down for over a year. When I started walking again I was at 298 lbs. The most recent issue of FitITproNews was spot on for me. I often overdo my exercises because I get very frustrated at what I see as a lack of progress. (I want to be able to do all of the things I used to do!) I very much enjoyed the Editor's Corner and Robin Camp's article on ROM and TUT. Range of Motion is incredibly important in physical therapy, and most people don't realize how much range they lose as they get older. Time Under Tension is tricky with spastic muscles. 30 years ago, active stretch of a spastic muscle was believed best. But it did lead to sprains, strains, and ligament tears if you were not very careful. These days passive stretch of spastic muscles is the norm.
A lot of professional women have problems with their ankles after years of wearing high heels. My favorite passive stretch for this is to stand barefoot, and put my back against a wall (to prevent falling). I stand as straight as I can for a few minutes in this position. Then I put a book under the balls of my feel, and stretch my heel cords. The book should be thick enough to get your foot into a little stretch. Make sure to put the book binding away from you. If you have sensitive feet, or problems with arch support, the binding can be painful or put your toes to sleep. The best part is that I can do this stretch almost anywhere.
The articles in FitITproNews are great, and very encouraging. Thanks!
Send us any comments and questions you have about anything in our newsletter by emailing us.
My fasting story (Patrick Blank)
Patrick Blank is a Systems Engineer working for an IT solutions company based in the UK.
I first heard about fasting about 10 years ago but like most people, my initial reaction was "wow, sounds great but I could never do that". If I had a dollar for every time I've heard that… So it became just another thing I wanted to try but ultimately put to the back of my mind. Cut to the end of 2016 and I had just spent 6 years training twice a week in a very physical martial arts class which had kept my weight in check. With a number of life events conspiring to consume my time and energy however, I felt like leaving the class was the best option for me at the time.
Unfortunately my eating habits remained unchanged and having always had a good appetite the weight started to creep on without me having any real outlet to burn it off. At the time, I wasn't training in a class, I wasn't training in a gym or even at home and I had slipped into a somewhat lazy lifestyle. I had no real interest at that time in keeping particularly fit or in shape so walking to work for about 15 minutes a day was really my only "exercise".
On top of that, at one point I decided to replace my lunchtime sandwich with a big portion of quinoa, chicken and veggies. That doesn't sound like a terrible lunch on the surface but I failed to realize back then that quinoa and chicken contain an immense amount of protein. Seeing as I had no outlet for this high protein intake, my body was converting all of these calories into fat. I'm not sure what I weighed at my "peak", I don't weigh myself, but I can assure you that when I show people pictures from that time, most reactions vary somewhere from "wow, you were big back then" to "holy cow, that doesn't even look like you".
The turning point came when I found myself getting dressed one morning for a friend's wedding and trying on an old suit which I wrongly assumed would still fit. The jacket was a no go, the trousers squeezed and pinched my stomach all day but I had no other choice as there were no other trousers for me to wear (I'm a jeans and t-shirt kinda guy) and the only alternative was to smarten up a bit with the use of a waistcoat; which I couldn't do up. Needless to say, I kind of looked like a mess and felt even worse.
That day (and the subsequent pictures) spurred me into action thereafter. I decided to try "this fasting thing" out for myself as everything I read about fasting ticked an awful lot of boxes for me. I bought myself a copy of Dr. Jason Fung's book The complete guide to fasting, read it from cover to cover and jumped straight into a 5 day fast. Obviously I'd recommend anyone interested in fasting to consult their doctor and maybe dip a toe into it instead of jumping in feet first like myself but I've lived to tell the tale so it wasn't all bad.
Approximately 3 years on and I still fast for 2.5 days a week in order to keep my weight in check. I've never eaten badly, I'm just a voracious eater, but I look at calories as a weekly, rather than a daily tally. Seeing as over the course of the week I save 2.5 days' worth of calories that works out (assuming we use the average daily recommended calories for a man of 2500) at 6250 calories, which allows me a good amount of leeway on the days I eat. Combined with a mixture of HIIT workouts and resistance training 3-4 times per week, I've managed to get myself into the best shape I've been in at the age of 37.
There are some important things to remember. Fasting lowers blood sugar level so it must be noted that for this reason, anyone who is type 1 diabetic will be unable to fast. Also, anyone with a history of heart disease/failure should consult a doctor first to understand how fasting would affect them. There are however numerous benefits to fasting which make the process worthwhile for a multitude of reasons.
Hunger is not an emergency! (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.
Do you remember the last time you ate where you were starving? Knowing the difference between real hunger, the desire to eat, and craving is a skill. The best thing about intermittent fasting is that it teaches you that you won't die if you go without food for a while, and you may experience real hunger. Fasting is another tool or diet. It may work for you, or it may not.
I'm all about the anti-diet approach because I've been taught not to trust the body's messages after years of riding the dieting roller coaster. Diets include overwhelming rules like don't eat after dinner, don't eat bread, breakfast should be the biggest meal of the day. Not one diet I followed told me to eat when I was hungry. But a critical part of dieting is knowing how to differentiate between actual hunger and mental hunger. If I was always following a specific meal plan, I did not listen to hunger cues. Instead, I'd follow external measures and quantities and ignore my biofeedback. Also, because things felt restrictive, I wanted to binge due to intense cravings - mental hunger. There has always been a tendency for me to satisfy my craving immediately. Being part of a Macedonian/Greek family, you were to stuff yourself to the rim, and it became an insult if you didn't eat everything on your plate. Compound this with a dieting culture that creates paralyzing anxiety and fear around hunger. Think of how many times you have heard of supplements that suppress hunger or a diet promising you won't be hungry. More often than not, we are afraid to be hungry. Fasting for periods will help differentiate between the impulse to eat and real physical hunger.
Instead of eating in anticipation of hunger, fasting allows you to get hungry and learn how to be okay with it. Hunger is not an emergency. If you use food to fill in the empty spaces and deal with difficult situations and feelings (aka emotional eating), then allowing hunger may trigger anger, fear, or resistance. In this case, you may need to be patient as you allow the feelings to surface and deal with emotions that can be uncomfortable. Fasting may help build discipline and mental resilience as you learn not to cave into cravings. The more you practice impulse control, the easier you will reach your dieting goals.
When we begin to experience physical hunger, our blood sugar drops, and our bodies release adrenaline, the "fight-or-flight" hormone. It is natural for our heart rate to elevate and to feel panic. This feeling is even stronger when we are highly caffeinated or had a sugary meal or snack prior. Pumped with sugar and caffeine, we experience the crash, and we cycle in more to keep us going. In today's society, food is accessible 24-7. We eat in our cars, eat at our desks, eat almost anywhere, and aren't considered rude. Our convenience-driven society and our biological responses to food scarcity invoke fear when hunger arises.
Do you have that friend that seems like they can eat whatever they want and never get fat? There is no magic to this. More than likely, they do not fear hunger. They understand hunger comes and goes. They are not panicking when they feel hungry and can eat later when food becomes available. They also understand the difference between physical hunger and mental hunger. They can let food cravings pass. They also know when they are full. I can watch my 2.5-year-old daughter get excited about cake, have a few bites, and move on. For me, this is much harder to do with my past experiences and mental programming.
If you have a goal to lose fat, you must maintain tolerable hunger. Hunger is not something to abolish or fight. So what can you do the next time you get hungry?
- Over everything else, understand that hunger is not an emergency. Program this into your mind.
- Slow down and pay attention. If you need help with this, you can even chart what you ate, the times you ate them, and your hunger level before and after each meal.
- Relax! You can biologically go without food for days. When you get hungry, pay attention to how your body feels. How do you experience hunger? Do you feel sensations/pangs in your stomach, your legs, your chest? Do you think you need to eat right now?
- Rank your hunger on a scale of 1 to 10. Assigning a number provides objective data to compare past to present hunger. One could represent "a little hungry," and ten could be "ravenous." If it is five or less, you can probably wait it out. Once you gather enough data, you can determine which number you feel comfortable eating and which number is uncomfortable.
- Take some time to practice awareness and ask yourself: What would be the most thoughtful choice in this particular circumstance?
If you are not hungry and decide to eat, consider how the food tastes, if you enjoy it, and notice when you stop eating. When you are physically hungry, food tastes better, and you want it more!
The body feels physical hunger and the mind and heart feel non-physical hunger. Our "eyes" often want more food than our body needs. When you suspect this is happening, next time, ask, "Am I really hungry?"
Safety & Courtesy (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/.
Bouncing on the Bench
My first day in an actual gym was a grim eye opener. A middle age gentleman was trying to impress some college girls and was bouncing the weight off his chest, a sudden cracking sound and the weights fell. The gym attendant ran over, the man wasn't breathing. Luckily medics were close by and were able to revive him, the excessive bouncing of the weight off his chest had cracked his sternum and stopped his heart.
Please consider your safety when on the bench. Performed properly the press is a great exercise, performed poorly however it can be dangerous. Smooth lifts are essential, do not bounce the weights off your chest, if you need to bounce it, you are lifting beyond your ability and unnecessarily endangering yourself.
It continues to boggle my mind, how many people unconsciously hold their breath while lifting. Improper breathing can lead to rapid blood pressure drops, something you absolutely do not want while lifting heavy weights. Please remember that proper breathing helps fuel your muscles. If you feel your breathing is off, try taking some weight off for a set and focus on your breathing technique; taking air in through your nose, using your diaphragm to breath. You want your abdomen to swell as you take your breath in, not your chest, breath out on the pull or press for maximum effectiveness. Proper breathing will give you more energy, allow you to lift heavier and prevent blood pressure drops. There are a few exceptions to this such as heavy squats, however even with these, the breath holding is only from the bottom to the top of the lift, then another breath before the next rep. Remember to breathe!
With heatwaves rocking several portions of the country right now, it is incredibly important to remember to keep hydrated. Over 60% of our bodies are comprised of water, dehydration can lead to dizziness, headaches, lack of focus and muscle weakness. Intense exercise will exasperate these effects with increased sweating from your workout.
Please remember to wipe down your equipment when you are done with it, you don't want to lay down in some strangers sweat and they don't want to lay in yours. While working out your immune system is slightly weakened, so paying extra attention to hygiene like wiping down the equipment may save you from an unwanted cold.
PLEASE re-rack your weights (in their proper place), it's not just a courtesy to the next person, but also a courtesy to the staff of your establishment. Talking to trainers I have been told it is not uncommon for the staff to spend up to an extra hour and a half after closing to re-rack people's weights.
"Conquer the angry one by not getting angry; conquer the wicked by goodness; conquer the stingy by generosity, and the liar by speaking the truth." - Siddhārtha Gautama-
"Just because you fall once, doesn't mean you're fall at everything. Keep trying, hold on, and always trust yourself, because if you don't then who will??" - Marilyn Monroe -
IT pro hydration best practices for summer (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.
IT and technology folks in general are a special bunch. We sit in front of a display for a lot of the day, getting distracted by a multitude of issues that make it easy to forget to do the little things that keep us healthy, like eat and drink.
Now that we're smack in the middle of the dog days of summer, folks are getting out more due to the pandemic being currently somewhat contained. It's also hotter than ever just about everywhere, so it's important to stay hydrated to avoid medical conditions caused by excessive heat. Signs of being overheated and dehydrated include vomiting, fever, and excessive sweating. Not to mention that extended exposure to the sun and its corresponding heat can lead to more serious conditions, like heat stroke and/or heat exhaustion.
By now we must all know that good old water is one of the best medicines for staving off dangerous health conditions related to dehydration. However, during the summer, with people socializing more than they have in a long time, many are hydrating with more "celebratory" types of beverages. Mai Tai, Piña Colada, Margarita, cerveza, and now the Frosé (basically a wine Slurpee/Icee) sound so refreshing (and perhaps hydrating) during the warm weather.
Unfortunately, beverages with alcohol can have a dehydrating effect on people because diuretics remove water from the body. Hence, our favorite beverages can actually inhibit or restrict the body's ability to properly hydrate. So if you're drinking caffeinated beverages and/or alcoholic drinks, you may be reducing your level of hydration without realizing it.
If you like Piña Coladas and the taste of champagne during the summer, you'll want to augment your beverage intake with an appropriate quantity of water!
Healthline provides a simple explanation of how the liver processes alcohol and can lead to serious dehydration. The somewhat good news is that, according to WebMD, caffeinated beverages have a more mild diuretic effect than alcohol, so caffeinated drinks like coffee and tea can have a net positive hydrating effect.
Another way to get ahead of dehydration is to begin a habit of drinking a large glass of water at the start of every day before you feel thirsty. And if you're planning to be on the move during the day and unsure whether you'll have opportunities to hydrate, perhaps tote a water bottle.
Hence, some hydration best practices would consist of:
- Avoiding alcohol on an empty stomach.
- Being aware of alcohol's diuretic effect and appropriately supplementing summer spirits with plenty of water.
- Drinking fluids proactively instead of reactively by building it into your daily routine and making it a permanent habit so that you rarely get into a situation where you're in danger of getting dehydrated.
As you're getting out more due to post-pandemic cabin fever and celebrating with "special sauce", consider observing IT hydration best practices to ensure a summer of fun and health.
Training tip of the month! (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.
Here are 2 intensifiers you can incorporate into your workout to make them challenging and make more gains!
Supersets are a great time-saver to be able to fit more exercises in your session by reducing the rest intervals using opposing muscle groups.
Drop sets can be used to accumulate more volume, usually on the end of the last working set. These can help promote muscle growth and build endurance with the extra reps you pump out.
Give them a try!
If you still haven't got a plan in place for your training drop me a line for some advice 🙂
Email: [email protected]
Reasons to stay healthy (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.
When most people think of reasons to maintain a healthy lifestyle, they may think of living a long life and being able to participate in the lives of their loved ones, for example, playing sports with their children. Here are a couple other reasons people may not always consider when striving for a healthy lifestyle.
One, a healthy lifestyle gives your body the ability to build up and stay strong when dealing with a chronic condition or other physical issue outside of your control. I have inner ear damage on my right side, and even with my healthy diet, supplements, and exercise regimen, it can take its toll. There are days where it will simply wear me out and make me so sleepy that all I can do is think about stretching out somewhere to take a nap. I'm not sure how much worse it would be if I weren't trying to handle the aspects of my health that I can control. I definitely believe healthy habits keep my body in the best shape possible in spite of the inner ear damage and the symptoms it causes.
Two, a healthy lifestyle will minimize your involvement with doctors. Staying well means fewer trips to the doctor due to fewer illnesses, saving both time and money. Also, dealing with doctors can be difficult. This is not to say that there aren't good doctors out there and that you shouldn't plan a visit with one when needed, but my experience has shown me that many doctors are incompetent, lazy, or overworked. I've not been able to get much help from them except for maybe a few pieces of the puzzle here and there through test results and the occasional suggestion. Most of what I've been able to do to improve my health has been through my own research and by participating in discussion groups online. Some choices I made were wrong and caused problems that landed me in the offices of doctors that I would be content never to see again. One in particular is a hematologist. All she wanted to do was load me up with iron through supplements and infusions, even when I tried to explain that I cannot handle high amounts of iron supplementation, especially when out of balance with other nutrients. For a while, my iron test results were improving and looking good with what I was doing, but then things took a bad turn. I had an idea of what happened, but instead of listening to me, the hematologist just decided to stop seeing me. While I was perfectly content with that, I was also upset that she wouldn't even consider my thoughts about what was going on and rechecking my labs at a later date. I ended up checking them on my own and discovered that things were improving after changing what I thought was the issue. It turned out I was right about what caused things to get worse. Now that I'm getting most of my issues under control, I'm able to end routine visits with most of my doctors, and I couldn't be happier. I won't have to use leave time for those visits, and I can finally really start building up my health savings account. I will also be glad not to have to worry about their inability to figure out what's going on with my health or how to treat me.
While getting and staying healthy is important for a variety of reasons, I think the two above are some that most might not consider when trying to build healthy habits. If you need more reasons for getting healthy, consider the two above. They might even become your motivation if others don't.
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IT pro toolbox
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