Saturday, June 30, 2012

Waiting For Trains

by Kris Pitcher

My morning commute is about eighteen miles. I can take the freeway, or the U.S. state route. I've timed them both, and the state route is often faster. Speeds range from 55MPH to 35MPH, once I hit town.

One morning recently I headed out, sunglasses on ready to concur the day. Low and behold, down come the train crossing signs, flashing lights and a train is coming by. I'm stopped at the tracks and the train whooshes by. It keeps going and going.

The car is in neutral and so is my commute as I watch the minutes tic by. How long is this train? I sit and I sit, the clock ticking closer to starting time and I'm still sitting mere blocks from home.

Now, I could get all excited about it. But I choose not to. After all, waiting for trains takes as long as it takes. And this train was seriously about 17 miles long.

In life we control very little. Much of the time we are sitting, waiting for trains. It gave me time to think about my day as I watched the cars go by at a dizzying pace.

We spend a lot of time getting really excited about things we can't control. I watch this around me all the time. People get really worked up about all sorts of things. Some very small. And I wonder what has happened to perspective?

Whether we are misplacing emotions and energy around issues we cannot effect, or being upset about things that don't truly concern us I can't help but think we've lost perspective. If we save our energy for the things we can control in our lives and stop wasting it on the trains going by we would be much better served.

Focus on the things in your life you can control. Put your energy where you can truly make a difference. Focus on yourself and making improvements where you can. By doing so, you'll be a better more productive, more focused member of the community. Stop getting worked up waiting for trains.

Friday, June 29, 2012

How You See Setbacks

by Kris Pitcher

Life has a natural order to it. It doesn't always go the way we anticipate. When you least expect it you get sick, injured or have to deal with something that consumes way too much time.

These are setbacks. They are called setbacks because they set us back from our progress, from moving toward our goals. Our energies are diverted to the thing which has set us back. It's simple, and it's normal. It happens.

So, how is it that some people just seem to spring back while others lay down and quit? The way we manage and cope with our setbacks determines our future success with weight management. It all starts with how we see the setback.

It's perspective really. An injury, or sickness can set you back for a week or more. Depressing? Sure. But this is a reality of life. People get injured, or sick. It's time to take care of that issue and focus on getting better. That becomes the priority.

Being able to do that takes a long-term philosophy about your exercise and eating well. We're not just doing this for a short time. We are doing this for the rest of our lives. So, a week of having the flu really isn't a big deal in the long run.

If we miss a week of workouts it's not a big deal. We have a lifetime of workouts left. See? If the flu keeps us from being able to eat anything of substance and all we can stomach is soup and a few saltine crackers. Big deal.

We need to keep our electrolytes up, our fluids in and something in our system. If we can't keep six chicken meals down, we need to give ourselves a break. We are sick. It happens.

The way we handle setbacks depends on our longer term outlook about our health and fitness. If we have a short-term approach...sure by all means it is the end of the world. We might as well quit right now because we scraped our elbow.

But with a long-term approach to this process, we know that a slight setback is just for right now. We will be able to get right back in the gym just as soon as the fever breaks and we can keep some nutrients down.

If you're looking for excuses to throw in the towel, this isn't it. You're going to have to do better. Get your long-term view in mind because a setback is just that, a setback. We all have them, and we'll have more. The way we see them is what determines our success. How do you see yours?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Waist Not

by Kris Pitcher

I was making an afternoon cup of "refreshing peppermint, pure and simple" (that's what the package says) tea in the break room at work when I noticed something. As I was crossing my arms, I slid my hands near my waist.

My waist is shrinking. That pudge that used to creep up over my slacks is no longer there. Then I stopped feeling myself up in the break room and finished making my tea.

Waist not want not - I thought to myself with a smile. See, I've given up many things in my diet this time around which last prep I kept in WAY longer. But I'm not necessarily missing them.

Sometimes we simply want what we want and we aren't willing to give them up, even for change. We are perplexed because we want the change, but we don't want to give up the "thing". We feel like giving up those things isn't fair.

I understand the logic there. However, we can't have it both ways. We can't eat the cupcake, and have the low body fat. (Broad example there...) You get the idea. It isn't about fairness. It's about choosing things that get you to your goals.

We need to be willing to give up certain things to see the changes we want. For me, it was easy when I replaced those things. Instead of having a diet soda in the afternoon, I have herbal tea. It's delicious, I enjoy it. It picks me up and feels like a treat.

If you still want what you want and you aren't ready to give those things up that's fine. It's time to come to terms with your state of readiness. You are not ready to make the changes required. You'll be ready later.

Work on getting ready. Make changes in other areas of your life where you can impact your health. Start taking your vitamins, getting plenty of sleep, and drinking your water. Let your resentment over not being able to do it go. It isn't serving you well.

Move on and you'll be ready at some point to work on one more thing. And that's how we find success, one thing at a time. Start by enjoying a cup of tea, relax and waist not! *Smile!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Your Love Affair

by Kris Pitcher

Remember when you first fell in love? Oh, you were so excited, you could hardly stand it! You felt all tingly inside, your palms would get sweaty and you just hoped you could actually form a complete sentence around your new love.

You dated, and it was so romantic. It felt so special, exhilarating even! You could hardly wait to hold hands...and the kissing! Wow! Was that great! You thought your heart was going to beat right out of your chest!

Yeah, exercise isn't going to feel like that. Period. You're not going to feel tingly and excited about it. You're not going to blush after...for the same reasons. Sorry.

You are fooling yourself if you think this is how most people feel about it. We call this, "setting yourself up for failure". See, you thought it was going to be like a love affair - then when it's can just quit. Again.

Well, I'm here to tell you it's more like brushing your teeth. You need to do it because it's the right thing to do. You do it because you don't want your teeth to fall out, because it's standard practice, because everyone else with nice teeth does it.

Exercise isn't going to make you feel all giddy and crushy. You're not going to want to make out with it. If you've fallen into this trap, I'm here to pull you right out. But, I do have good news.

It will make you a little sweaty, and your heart will palpitate. You'll also feel really good after (not the same kind of good, but really good). You will be really glad you did it.

You will also have a love affair with your results. You will feel pride in taking care of yourself and control of your life. How's that for a love affair?

So, I'm sorry if this is news to you, or if you slipped into the love affair fairytale about what you expected exercise to be. I'm not sorry about being able to be honest with you. Having realistic expectations for what you think this whole thing is going to be, or feel like, will keep you moving toward your goals. That should be your love affair.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Your Walkabout

by Kris Pitcher

Life truly is a journey to behold. As we carry out our day to day lives we sometimes need to wander. We may wander in big ways, or in small ways. And this is your walkabout.

Some travel along the same trajectory and never stray. Others take divergent paths in life which take them places they never would have otherwise experienced. Your walkabout is your way of exploring in life.

A walkabout is a journey, it's an interruption to seek your true path in life, a period of wandering. It's an Australian tradition. I know I've asked you before what you would explore if you were to travel off your life path.

It may be about following a passion, or expanding your career. It may mean pushing your boundaries to invite opportunity. Maybe it's committing to take on a new challenge. Whatever it is, it's your wandering.

I believe it takes courage to go on this journey, it requires independence and belief in yourself. Your walkabout will require you to be bold and be brave. You might be scared, vulnerable, or unsure of what you will find.

But that's the point of wandering. It's being open to possibilities, to opportunity, and to new doors being opened around you. We can never be sure what our walkabout will hold in store for us.

The biggest "what ifs" however seem to be if we don't allow ourselves to go. Enjoy your journey, enjoy your walkabout!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Horoscope Or Hair?

by Kris Pitcher

We all have ways in which we decide what kind of day we are going to have. Many rely on the scale to determine if it is going to be a good day...or a very bad day.

To me, the scale has way too much power. And you know how I feel about the numbers. They are such a poor representation of your work, your progress, your composition. I use a different method.

I use the horoscope or hair method. First of all I can tell right off the bat if it's going to be a great hair day. The moisture content in the air, the amount of towel drying, precision product use, all of these things and more go into whether I will have a good hair day...or not.

Because my hair has such a life of it's own, I don't put a lot of stock in it being perfect. Ha! It's never been perfect. And the beauty is - no one would ever notice. I think to everyone else, it pretty much always looks the same. Only I notice the distinct nuances in a curl here and there.

Using this measure, I'm most always going to have a great day. Works for me. Now, once I get to work as I'm heating up my meal I take a look at my horoscope in the newspaper. First, I take note of how many stars I am assigned for the day.

Three stars, not such a great day. Now, a five star day is going to be great. Combine that with curls that are behaving and I've got a winner! Then I read the horoscope itself.

Sometimes I like it. Sometimes I don't. When I don't like it, I revert to the hair method to determine how great my day will be. I always have that to fall back on. When the horoscope is fantastic, that becomes the forerunner in determining how my day will unfold.

See, you need a more complex system to determine what kind of day you're going to have than just stepping on the scale. You are not getting enough information there. You're also limiting your chances of having a great day by only using one method. This is why I recommend the horoscope or hair method. You double your chances of having a fantastic day, most every day!

One or the other is going to be good. You're set! I don't know if my particular methods will work for you, but my suggestion is you find yourself some additional ways to determine what kind of day you're going to have. Put that scale away and have a great day!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Miracle Body Challenge!

by Kris Pitcher

It happened in the dairy aisle as I reached for my single serving of strawberry cream flavored Greek yogurt. I was planning my weekly cheat meal and my head was filled with what I was going to do with that yogurt.

She pushed her card toward my hand and said, "I saw you and your husband and you look like you work out." I looked her up and down. She went on, "I thought you might be interested in my product, check out the web site."

"What is it?" I asked her. "I started taking it about 6 months ago," she said, "and it works miracles!" Hmm? I wondered what kind of miracles because frankly, she was not the picture of health.

"But what is it?" I pressed on. "Oh just check out the web site, it has all the information." She smiled. Really, you can't tell me what it is? I figured she didn't know. And I have a feeling I was right. I laughed and put her card in my purse.

I did look at the web site to see what multi-level marketing she was pushing on me in the grocery store. It's some kind of shake, a body challenge, and it touts a "reasonable" price of just $1.78 per serving.

Well, I can tell you all about the shake I use. I can break down what it is, what it's not, how many grams of protein are in it...and it costs me $0.78 per serving. I don't need a fat girl (sorry) in the dairy aisle of the grocery store to try to sell me some crap she doesn't know anything about. She picked the wrong dummy.

She's right, I do look like I work out. Because I do. I am doing a body challenge. I'm on a contest prep diet, and I'll take the stage in about 13 weeks. I could probably sell her a thing or two. In fact, I should have given her my card...

But in the end, I'm not selling anything...I'm not trying to get six people to sign up so I get my stuff for free. I'm not trying to push anything, or accost people in the grocery store to tell them that corn dogs are not a good choice.

You want a body challenge? I can most certainly give you one. It will be based on sound exercise and nutritional science not mumbo jumbo. You can save your money and keep your card!

Saturday, June 23, 2012


by Kris Pitcher

I was waiting for Jacques at the gym and I picked up a magazine. Flipping through the pages, I came across a quote that peaked my interest.

Not having my tiny book where I jot down my big ideas...I won't share the direct quote. Instead, I'll share a very big, important idea. You're on the edge of your seat, right?

We spend way too much time prioritizing our schedule. We think about what we've got to do at what time during the day in our work and home lives. We've got books, diaries, phones and apps for that.

What we need to do is schedule our priorities. That's right. There's your uh-huh moment. Schedule your priorities. Sounds easy, but it requires knowing what's important to you. It assumes you know what you want and how you will get there.

It sort of justifies my entire philosophy. I should'a written that quote not that guy in the magazine. Schedule what's important to you, your priorities - rather than prioritizing your schedule. What that means is you will do the things which are most important to you first.

You will complete your exercise (if that's important). You will accomplish your meal planning (should that be of priority). See? When we schedule our priorities...they get done. It's really simple. It's turning the way we look at things upside down. Which I love.

How will you go about turning this upside down for yourself? How will you begin to schedule your priorities, doing more of what is important to you? Consider how it might change your life.

Begin to see the priorities in your schedule and you will begin to move closer toward your goals. The success can't help but happen as we do the things which are important to us. I can hardly wait for everyone to get started! They're your priorities, what will you do first?!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Party Of One

by Kris Pitcher

You've sent invitations and planned the theme. All of the arrangements have been made and everything is going to be just perfect. You've planned all the party food, the've picked the perfect time on the perfect day!

But you don't really expect anyone to come to this party. In fact, you were looking over your shoulder at the grocery store hoping no one would see you put that quart of ice cream in the cart. And that liter bottle of told the checker you were having friends over.

It just so happens you've planned this pity party all for yourself. Just you, your pajamas, what ever is on TV, and a whole bunch of junk to eat. You've got liquid love, and creamy comfort. The salt will take away your sadness and the carbs will make all your cares go away. Or will they?

This party of one hardly seems like a good idea does it? Yet, how many times has this scenario played out - a bazillion. Which is a lot. Somehow, eating mindlessly trying to fill our emptiness never seems to work.

You should still have the party, you just need to replace the behaviors. Fill the bathtub, play some music, use all that fancy stuff in your bathroom. Make some iced herbal tea, or iced water with cucumber and mint and put it in a special glass. This is your party, make is special.

Or get some movies, make a healthy meal and use the good dishes. Treat yourself with care, get yourself flowers instead of all that junk. It's time to find new ways to celebrate. The pity party is over rated. It under-delivers.

Curl up with that book you've been dying to read, or get busy on that project you've been thinking about. The idea is you need to replace those activities with ones which are nurturing, which create self-care, and celebrate who you are. You don't need to punish yourself with a pity party. No one's's just you.

We somehow think our defiance will really "show them!" - who exactly? This solo binge pity party is only showing you that you aren't worth taking care of. That's simply not the case. Knock it off.

You are a party of one when it comes to taking care of yourself first. When you do it, so will others. Expect the best for yourself and give it of and to yourself. Change the face of this party, you are invited!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

When Support is Mixed

by Kris Pitcher

It's not uncommon for our loved ones to have mixed feelings about our success. As we change it's normal for the people around us to wonder how they fit into that change...or if they fit into it.

I seriously had to laugh though when my husband said he was going to miss hem...backside. I am fortunate that he loves my physique whether I am in my fully curvy off season body, or my lean and muscular contest body.

A few days after he confided in me, he said he was fine with it. I told him that was a good thing because I certainly couldn't take my big fatty butt up on stage. We laughed. But change is difficult.

I've known lots of women who have made lifestyle changes to incorporate exercise into their lives and their spouses or partners simply could not accept their success. Feelings of loss of control over a person leave those spouses wondering if their newly shaped wife will find someone else.

It's an unfortunate insecurity. It's a situation where the focus is misguided. The spouse/partner may feel left behind in the process. They may be wondering how they fit in to the new lifestyle. And they may not want to adopt the new eating and exercise lifestyle for themselves. So, where does that leave them?

Rather than supporting that person in their efforts the person who feels left behind becomes self-focused and sabotages. It's often a crucial turning point for people.

For us, it just means my butt will get smaller and my husband will have less of me to love and hug for a while. He's fine with that. It's kind of a requirement if I'm going to be a competitor. And it's OK to have mixed emotions about that. It's great to have someone who loves me in all my states of being. I consider myself very lucky.

Realizing the people around you might have those kinds of mixed emotions, or wonder how they fit in, or not really know how to support you is important for you. It's important for you to be aware and to be considerate of that. You can help them support you by comforting them. Let them know you are not changing, your body is changing.

Let them know you are not excluding them from your new activities, you are simply making your health a priority. Being able to do that is important to you and you hope they'll support you. Let them know that you don't expect them to eat chicken 5 times a day and join the gym with you, but that their health is also important and you hope it's important to them as well.

Communication is key for working through mixed emotions about support. It's key for creating the much needed support system we all need to be successful. And it's crucial for a successful partnership, marriage and happy family. Have a conversation if things have felt tense. Share what's important to you and laugh together!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Just Dessert - Froyo

by Kris Pitcher

This is one of those topics that may not make me popular. I've never been really I don't care. Remember in the late 1980's and early '90s when Elaine from Seinfield had her love affair with frozen yogurt?

She loved the stuff! She ate it all the time. They went out and got it daily and it was a BIG deal. Frozen yogurt was all the rage at that time. Then Jerry told her that her butt was getting big. Sure enough, her pants were tight and she was getting fat.

But, Elaine denied it was from the frozen yogurt. After all, the yogurt was healthy. Right? Wasn't it supposed to be healthy? Turned was full of sugar and it did indeed make her butt fat. Oh, my, gosh!

Well, as all good fads make a come back - so has frozen yogurt. I have to give it to the marketing of the craze this time around though because now we can serve ourselves. Brilliant! Yes, you can serve yourself as much as you want. And everyone knows...more is better.

But did you know it's still packed with sugar? I'm sure you did, you're pretty smart. And did you know that once it's frozen the good pro-biotic bacteria in it is useless? So, this healthy dessert is really just dessert.

You can try to justify fulfillling your sweet tooth by thinking you're being healthy like Elaine did. But it's often got more sugar than ice cream. And, you can fool yourself into thinking you're getting pro-biotics...but they're not going to be able to do anything for you.

It's true, frozen yogurt is just dessert. It's not healthy, or even better for you than other desserts. Enjoy it in small quantities if it fits into your plan. Just don't be froyo fooled.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Mountains Out of Molehills

by Kris Pitcher

I was certain our house must be filling up with sewage. We live in a rural area and have a septic tank. Having recently received a notice that it was time to pump the tank, my husband quickly disregarded it.

We are simply two people living in a house with a tank adequate for a family much larger, and in his opinion we have several more years. Then we had at least two weeks of heavy rain. Around the same time the shower sort of slowed, then nearly turned into a tub as it refused to drain.

You can see why I concluded that we must be filling up with a backing up septic tank. I was creating a certain mountain out of this situation. I envisioned running the washing machine while showering and the entire house filling up, sinks backing up, the tub filling. It would be a horrible mess.

Then one day I came to my senses. I grabbed a screw driver, put on a pair of gloves, got some paper towels and knelt down by the shower drain. Prying the drain cover up with the screw driver I released the most disgusting hairball known to mankind.

It was smelly and slimy. I knew it would be gross. I've done this before. That's why I got the gloves, the paper towels and pulled the garbage can close. Sure enough, even with the drain cover and the thing that goes over that to collect the hair, and a fairly good habit of not allowing my curls to go down there...they go down there.

Sorry, now you know for sure I'm gross. Anyway, my mountain was actually a very small molehill. One I took care of all by myself. One I knew exactly how to take care of. One I'd taken care of before.

And your mountain of a weight problem, or getting your exercise in is just the same. It's actually a molehill. You just have to take care of it one thing at a time. You know the right things to do - you've even done them before. But you've worked yourself up about why you can't do them. You've decided why it won't work, or why it's simply too huge to tackle.

It's a molehill. You can do it. You've done it. It's built up over some time because you have ignored it. But it's something you can solve if you just give it some attention. Get your gloves out, roll up your sleeves and do what you need to do. It's your molehill and only you can take care of it. And,'s not gross. *smile!

Monday, June 18, 2012

My Lengthening Slacks

by Kris Pitcher

I first noticed it with my grey slacks, which I like very much because they are already on the longer side. Catching a glimpse of myself in the generously full length mirror in the ladies room at work, I realized my slacks were grazing the floor. Hmm?

Then I noticed my brownish slacks too were getting longer. Was I getting shorter? What was going on? Sure enough the length of my slacks was gaining toward the floor, closing the gap between my heels and the ground.

Certainly I am not getting shorter. In fact, you may remember my latest trip to the doctor where they told me I'm taller than I have thought for the past twenty or so years. (They might have miss measured.)

As I examined myself closer in the mirror (at work because we don't have a full length mirror at home) I butt is getting smaller! My slacks are no longer being pulled up from the floor by the girth of my behind. They are freeing up to hit the floor!

Holy Cow and Super Wow! Just when you think it's possible nothing is happening - something is happening. And this is why I would love to throw the scale out the front picture window. It's a full size medical scale, imagine the shattering glass and how wonderful the effect would be...

OK, enough theatrics. The point is, I know we all get seriously caught up in the numbers with complete disregard for the changes happening around us. Our bodies are changing. We're feeling more energetic, sleeping better, feeling happier, etc.

What other markers of success are we downplaying due to the number on the scale? Let it go and embrace your lengthening slacks!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

What's Keeping You Fat

by Kris Pitcher

By all means this is a difficult process. The journey is not easy and it requires constant committment. It can be frustrating...disappointing even. And I've figured out what's keeping you fat.

With even the best intentions, "later" is keeping you fat. It dawned on me as I reached for the snooze button. Knowing full well I don't have time to snooze, I had hit the button anyway. I turned off the alarm and got up at 4:25 am to hit the treadmill. There's no time for later.

Letting later into your subconscious, and even your conscious decisions is damaging your progress. You think you'll do it...later.

The problem is that later never comes. You never quite get to it. You're always too busy, there's never quite enough time. Later get's put off until "later".

What you have is right now. You have those 20 seconds to make the decision that now is the time, not later. Now is the time to take action toward your goals. Now is the time to get up on time, to make yourself a priority, to do the things you've said you would do.

Right now is all we really have. Later is always pushed forward. We can always put things off until later, but that's what's keeping you from your own success. Later is keeping you from doing the things right now that you can do to reach your goals.

Keep yourself from believing in later and setting yourself up for continued failure. Do it now. Take advantage of right now to do the things that will take you toward your goals and success. There is no "later", there is just right now.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Measuring Progress

by Kris Pitcher

Last week, I presented myself in my posing suit (teeny-tiny) to my husband in the living room. Wearing my figure heels I did my quarter turns asking him, "Is this going to be anything?" Then, my cat bit me on the leg.

We confirmed that indeed..."this" is going to be something this season. Meaning, I'm on track. He checks in his official capacity as my trainer. And, he monitors unofficially as my husband.

But, I thought he should see me in my suit. And, I actually didn't look like I was hiding Twinkies in or around my body. Not bad.

So, how do you know if you're on track or not with your plan? How do you measure and what should you be measuring? Do you have anyone you can check in with?

All important questions. Important because - you can't see what an impartial eye can see. Sometimes you don't think you're on track at all when actually you are. Monitoring your progress is critical to keeping your head in check.

It's also the only way to know if you need to change anything. You can use the scale, although I think you know how I feel about that. I use it only as a guideline, a vague reference. You can also use a measuring tape. A great tool which you can use yourself.

If you have a qualified and competent clinician you can have a body composition test done using calipers, or a variety of other methods. They're all relatively a degree. Once you choose a method and a tester, keep them both so you can compare apples to apples.

You can take progress pictures. Bleck! The idea of that makes me want to barf. You don't have to even look at them now. But, you might be glad later that you have them to look back on.

Ultimately, for me during this process having someone else look at me is the best measure of all. He said, "Did you look at yourself?" No, I explained...we don't have a full length mirror. (Seems dangerous doesn't it?)

So, I don't really know what I look like. I trust that I'm looking better every week. And if the cat is any indication, I'm delicious. She is after all a carnivore and I have suspected for years she's been after me.

Give some thought to how you monitor your progress. It's important to know if you are making the changes you intend to make. It's important so that you can confirm your hard work, and feel empowered and energized to keep going. How are you doing?

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Spirit of the Crane

by Kris Pitcher

Growing up we had a tradition in my family of looking for wildlife. I joke with my husband now on road trips that I will keep my eyes out for bears. I rarely (never) see any. Although I do see other things.

The other morning as I was getting a cup of coffee I was on the look out as I stood watching out the kitchen window when I saw the huge wingspan of a grey crane.

Now, everyone knows when you see a's good luck. This crane flew to a graceful stop atop the barn next door. I couldn't believe it. I could not believe my luck! It was so close too.

I hollered for my husband to come quickly...he couldn't hear me over the running water in the bathroom half a house away. I stood there mesmerized, unable to take my eyes off this huge crane.

It made me wonder, what will I do with my day of good fortune? I felt a sense of joy and somehow I felt uplifted and then it dawned on me.

Every day there is a crane waiting for me. Each day is full of luck and good fortune. I took my coffee into the other room and put my shoes on. As Jacques came down the hall I told him to look out the kitchen window.

It had flown away to bestow it's luck on another, he'd missed it. When I told him I'd seen a giant grey crane he said, "That's good luck."

We each have the same spirit of good fortune within us each day. Whether we choose to embrace it is something different. Seeing the crane out my kitchen window was just what I needed to remind me of the choice I have within me to make on a daily basis.

What you choose to do with yours is up to you. My hope is that you feel that same sense of peace and uplifting of your spirit as I did when I saw the crane. My hope is that you embrace the spirit of the crane.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Lash Out!

by Kris Pitcher

I stood there in the aisle with information overload. "Nourishing", "Mega Volume", "Protein Enriched", "Soy Extracts", "80% Longer", "Enriched", "Extended", "Long Lasting", "Vibrating Wand", "Pump Volume"...

What's pump volume, and I don't need a vibrating wand for my mascara? They ranged from $1.99 to well over $15. I just needed a new mascara. I was mesmerized by mascara marketing.

I stood there and I thought...this is how people feel about nutrition. And it's all marketing. I ended up with the one with the seal touting it as "Self's best" something or other. It was $2.99. It said it would make my lashes 80% longer...which I knew would not happen.

I didn't even want that to happen. If that happened, my lashes would be up over my hair line. But it works just fine.

Marketing is perfectly designed by psychologists and tricky people to sell you the sexy person you wish you were. Whether you're buying cereal or mascara. It's just marketing.

So the moral of the story is, don't worry about the marketing. You don't need to buy every item you see on Dr. Oz. Sorry Dr. We don't have to get all caught up in all the hype. You don't need to eat acai berries. You probably don't need raspberry keytones, or whatever the next thing is.

Eat what you know you need. Eat less of the things you know you should eat less of. Drink your water, do your workouts...don't be a lemming.

The marketing doesn't have to suck you in, you're smarter than that. You know that carrots don't have trans fats - the package telling you so shouldn't make you buy one brand over another. (You didn't fall for that did you?)

Stop and think before you get caught up in the marketing. Stand in the aisle and think before you make a bad purchase. Use your head, and lash out! 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Happily Different

by Kris Pitcher

It's usually at the grocery store where I realize I'm so different. My general path takes me to work and out and about, and to the gym. But it's out in "general public" where I notice the most.

Now, don't get me wrong exercise has not always been a part of my life. But I just can't imagine a life without it now. Yet, the majority of people never do it. They live a life without exercise.

It's intrinsic to who I am. I start my day with it and it helps me focus and clear my mind. I look forward to the time I spend lifting with my husband in the evening. Sacred time together to close out the day.

Exercise leads me to my goals and makes me who I am. I've developed a relationship with it and woven it into my life. It's at the grocery store as I observe an obese, nearly crippled population, that I wonder why most people are so adverse to something I love.

We're all wired differently. We each have different values. And it's my values which drive my actions. What's driving your actions? Your decisions?

I know it isn't for everyone. The same way that scrap booking isn't for me, I can see why exercise isn't for the next guy. But for me, it's more than just a hobby. It's part of who I am.

The beauty of this world is what makes us different. My connection to that makes me feel particularly beautiful today. Happily different...

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Turmeric, My Spice Right Now

by Kris Pitcher

One of my favorite spices right now is turmeric. It's a root in the ginger family and is native to South India. You know it as a common ingredient in curries. Turmeric is a very common condiment to Asian cooking and has many health benefits.

It has been credited to reducing the rate of Alzheimer's disease in India. It removes the amyloyd plaque build up in the brain which is one of the causes of Alzheimer's disease. I better add an extra sprinkle.

Turmeric is also a natural antiseptic and antibacterial. It is an anti-inflammatory as well. It is thought to have positive effects on cancer including stopping the growth of blood vessels in tumors.

This spice may also prevent metastases from occurring in breast, prostate and other cancers and is thought to prevent melanoma and even shrink existing melanoma cells. It's anti-inflammatory properties help psoriasis and other inflammatory skin problems.

It has been used in Chinese medicine to treat depression for hundreds of years. There must be something to this bright yellow spice. It is also thought to speed up wound healing.

But if all of that weren't enough to get you to incorporate turmeric into your may aid in fat metabolism and weight management.

I buy it in the bulk section of the grocery and put it in a shaker container. I shake it onto my chicken and broccoli along with chili powder. Try something new to spice up your meals with turmeric.

Monday, June 11, 2012

M is for Murder

by Kris Pitcher

My morning began with murder...and I didn't give it a second thought. Confidence overcame me as I watched the water flush down the toilet. I felt proud.

It was early, very early and I was drying my hair when I saw it's big, fat, hairy body. Legs as thick as q-tips it clung to the highest spot where the ceiling rose to the sky-light. My instincts kicked in.

With complete disregard for the importance of the timing involved in completing the task I was involved in, I shut the dryer off and in one fell swoop grabbed the hand towel from the rack. I swung.

It was the size of a quarter. FAT! I missed. No scream escaped my lips as I swung and missed a second time. It dropped on it's silken line. Putting the towel on the counter I grabbed a tissue from the box. I would take this into my own hands.

With a steady hand I cupped the giant, scary, bad spider in that tissue and flushed it. Murder! And then I finished my coffee and dried my hair not waking another sleeping soul in the house.

Sometimes you just have to take care of things yourself. There are times when you have the urge to call in reinforcement, to think you can't do it yourself, or times when you wish someone else would just do it for you.

Guess what? You have to do this yourself. No one can do your cardio for you. No one can stick to your eating plan but you. No one is going to lift your weights for you. No one can make you a priority but you. You have to take this big, hairy thing into your own hands.

The don't need them to. You can do this without crying out for help, without giving in to the urge to just give up on yourself before you even try to take care of it yourself. You've got this. Now, get your day started!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Holding Your Compass

by Kris Pitcher

Do you have a life plan? Sure, that's a big question. I believe you choose your life direction. You set your compass.

If that's the case, where are you leading your compass? The plans you set for yourself, your goals, are often impacted by distractions along the way. The way we see those distractions, or how we allow ourselves to explore them, can change our lives.

Sometimes those diversions allow us to learn something new about ourselves. We learn we are capable of something we hadn't considered before. Or, we find we are capable of things we didn't know we could do.

If we hadn't explored that distraction, that diversion, we may never have found our passion. Some explorations simply confirm we are on the right path. They make it easier for us to stay the course.

Either way, we learn about ourselves in the process. Maybe you've forgotten what your life plan was...or you've gone in a completely different direction than you thought you ever would, or maybe you'd like to move in a new direction.

The direction is yours. You are holding the compass. Where will you lead your life?

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Wear Them Now!

by Kris Pitcher

Every now and then everyone should get themselves something new to wear. Today we're all getting Big Girl Panties (BGP). Yep, even the boys are getting them today. And we're all putting them on!

Here's why. The sink is full of dishes and they won't go away. Too bad. Put on your BGPs and get the job done. You're right, they won't go away. You need to do them.

I'm tired and I just want to hit the snooze. Too bad. You've got your BGPs on. Get out of bed and get going. You said you wanted to make some changes. Let's see you follow through on making change actually happen this time.

I hate drinking water. What? That's just a stupid thing to say. Put one leg into your BGPs at a time and do the thing required for life. Drink. Water. This is a silly thing to even be talking about.

I want to lose 10 pounds. Yes. WE KNOW! You've said that over and over. Yet you won't keep your BGPs on. Put them on and keep them on. You need to be accountable for what you want. That means doing what you need to do in order to have success. Wear em!

This is hard. It is hard, but now you have two pairs of BGPs so you can rotate them. It's hard for all of us. And whining is over rated. You're a big girl, and big girls don't whine.

I can't go to the gym, I don't have time. We all have the same amount of time. Your BGPs allow you to prioritize your life. Put them on and make yourself a priority. You have to decide.

I'm not motivated anymore. Dig deep! You've got beautiful new BGPs! Motivation comes from within, find your internal values around working out and making your health a priority. Wear your BGPs proudly and feel the confidence and motivation!

There! Now that we are out of excuses we can get on with our success. See! All you needed was a brand new pair of BGPs. That's all any of us need now and then is a reminder that we have to be the one to decide. We are in control and it's hard for everyone.

Hold them up, put them on one leg at a time...just like everyone else! Look at you, you're wearing your BGPs!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Whoa! Negative Nelly

by Kris Pitcher

I can't help but share a trend I see which interests me. I do actually know a few people who are not on facebook. But most people are and it's an interesting emotional experiment. Never have we been so quick to emodicate.

Doing so can either be good or it can be really interesting for others to read depending on whether your cup is half full or half empty. What I'm seeing is people who have found a forum to co-ruminate.

If you've found the perfect place to talk about your problems all the time, you are ruminating. And isn't it wonderful that you can now attract friends and surround yourself with others who will talk about their problems and confirm how horrible your problems are? It's a big co-ruminating social network.

The problem is that constant negativity is tiresome. Obviously there are plenty of negative Nelly's doing this in their coffee clutches outside of social networking sites. And I seem to remember high school being pretty brutal with the cliques...but social media has given the outlet for open commiseration.

We can now commiserate about problems in a completely open, non-confrontational, highly inappropriate place where we are usually fully supported by another negative Nelly just like us. In the olden days, if you wanted to air trash about someone you'd have to actually say it to them...or pass a note about them, or whisper it out loud. Now, you can just silently type it and wait.

The instant outpouring of support for your crazy problems and trash talking and negativity is all bound up with a bow in the perfect social experiment. And I find it fascinating to watch.

But it does wear on people. They block you, and delete your message. They write a status update that could be about anyone but most specifically is pointed at you. You get in a facebook fight.

So, I guess I'm wondering if it's worth it to go around with the negative Nelly's of the world or if you're just getting sick of it? It's all up to you whether you change it or not. You can only change you, you can't change the followers. You might loose some friends in the process. But, I'm certain you'll find others.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

What Dogs Need

by Kris Pitcher

Bad dogs are just bored dogs, and bored dogs are usually a little on the...chunky side. It can be said that dogs are a lot like their owners. Or, maybe that goes the other way around?

Wanna go out?
Either way, I've got some advice for those dogs. It should be noted: this advice is for dogs. Let's get started.

Boredom is a big problem with dogs. When your dog is bored he displays destructive tendencies, gets anxiety, feels stress and even depression. Sometimes this comes out in hyperactivity, or even the opposite...couch dog.

We obviously don't want a bored destructive dog. Anxiety can lead to cruising the counters for snacks, over eating and gaining unwanted pounds. Before you know it, fido is head first into the bag of kibble and he'll finish it off by eating the bag itself.

But, I've got five tips to keeping your dog engaged and stimulated so they'll feel less stressed, anxious and depressed. Let's help them feel entertained both when you are around and when they're they don't eat the draperies.

Please remember this is dog advice:
  1. Daily Exercise! Dogs need daily exercise to be stimulated. It's no surprise that physical engagement leads to mental engagement. A busy body is a busy mind.
  2. Spend Time Together. They want to be included in play. Play games together, spend time together and include them in activities.
  3. Provide Puzzles. Providing toys and puzzles (like words with friends) gives them something to keep their mind busy. When fido has a brain game, he is less likely to think about the bag of is a 20 lb. bag after all.
  4. Hire A Professional. If your dog needs added attention from a professional by all means use that resource. Whether you need a sitter for when you're not there, a walker when you can't go to the park, or a trainer to teach your dog a new skill...bring in the professionals to help your dog be all he can be.
  5. Participate In Community. Getting engaged in the community is great for our four legged friends. Taking part in a walk for charity, or getting out to the dog park is important for socialization and meeting others.
Again, I can't warn you enough - this is advice for dogs. These are tips to help dogs become more active and engaged. They will help dogs feel more stimulated, less anxious and even lose weight. For dogs only. I cannot stress that enough. Now, get off the couch and do what dogs need!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The No Guilt Cheat Meal

by Kris Pitcher

This is a topic near and dear to my heart. One that gets a great deal of discussion amongst my fellow competitors. In fact, it gets even more discussion than removal.

We're talking cheat meals. Now, people have a love, a hate, a love-hate, or a take it or leave it attitude about them. The common thread in all the chatter however is steeping with two things - misinformation, and guilt.

These make amazing fries!
Oh the big "G" word. Yes, guilt. Now, it's not up to me how you feel. You are perfectly allowed to feel any way you choose. If you choose guilt, by all means feel that feeling. We can all sit in a circle, maybe on recumbent bikes, and talk about our feelings.

But here's my suggestion. Get over it. And here's why. The cheat, or re-feed meal if that's easier to swallow, has a very specific purpose within your plan. It really has two specific purposes.

First, dieting is difficult. I'd be lying if I told you it wasn't. I'd also be lying if I told you that I never wanted for anything while I'm dieting for a contest. Like: french fries, doughnuts, cupcakes, ice cream, dark beer, crunchy salty things, popcorn, cereal, chocolate anythings, get the idea.

I mean, that's not even stuff I eat off season. It's not stuff I think about when I could have it. But kick in a diet, and all of a sudden, I think I want a snowball. I realize I don't and I would never waste a cheat meal on that...but lets get back on track here.

The point is, the re-feed is an opportunity for you to have, in a controlled way, something you've been thinking about. I always have a piece of fruit (on top of yogurt or ice cream if we have it). It gets that thing out of your head for another week. Knowing you can have something makes it possible to do what you are supposed to do for the week. Make sense?

Now, the more important aspects of the re-feed are to bump up your carbohydrates. Many dieters are on a low carb plan. The bump up replenishes the glycogen stores, kicks your thyroid into action, and boosts your metabolism.

I've learned a lot about re-feeds through trial and error. What has become the most satisfying and successful for me is a very controlled environment at home. Usually when people go to restaurants they end up feeling lots of guilt over their choices.

Here's what the meal is not. It is not an open ended time line. It is not a drunk fest. In fact, if you are drinking alcohol, you might want to check your priorities about competing. It is not a festival of fatty foods. And it is not about how much you can eat over an entire day.

What makes the meal successful is having it as your final meal of the day. Yes, right before bed. Often having it at home, where you can control what you're eating. Eating more of your clean carbs such as sweet potatoes or something you would normally have. Or splurging on a baked potato. Setting a time limit of 45 minutes, or one hour maximum.

Remember that the meal has both psychological and physiological benefits to the dieter. It's something that can be done in a controlled way for people who tend to slip off into the binge category. Your coach can define what is "allowed" for you. This can be very successful.

Don't get all wrapped up in whether or not you should have one. If you are working with someone and this is part of your plan, trust that person. If you've been having one, but can make some (massive) improvements. Make them. Use the tools at your disposal to make you better. No guilt!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Tired of Chicken?

by Kris Pitcher

I walked into an ironic conversation in the break room at work. People were talking about eating the same thing over and over and how they couldn't do that. The irony is that I eat the same thing...over and over and over and over and over...

What? Again?!
Some had tried to make a large amount of "dinner" so they wouldn't have to cook for several nights. They ended up throwing out the food because they were sick of it. Another chimed in that that would never work for her because she would get bored.

A third said her husband wanted something different every night and eating the same thing just wouldn't be exciting. Exciting?

Now, in the past I've heard people have concerns that it's not "healthy" to eat the same things all the time. This is just silly to me. The nutritional community would agree that it is not unhealthy to eat a common menu of items, provided they are healthy and clean.

I have two thoughts around this topic. First, eating the same menu of items is a good thing when it comes to weight control. Preparing a large quantity of food makes sense so that you have food prepared ahead of time.

Creating less complication around our food is a good thing as we are trying to manage our weight. Knowing that we can select from a group of 4 complex carbohydrates which work for our plan is a smart tool. Having a list of lean protein sources, or a "go to" list of vegetables and fruits just makes the process easier.

Taking the constant guess-work out of the process simplifies it. When things are easy, we can do it. When we can do it, we do it. See?

My second thought is about deriving our excitement from our meals. You know what? If you need excitement...go buy some new underwear and find some new hobbies with your spouse.

If you have a weight management goal, are dieting, or need to make changes thinking you need to find excitement with your meals is a recipe for self-destruction. Chicken and vegetables is chicken and vegetables. Spice it up a lot of different ways...but it's still the same. Look for other ways to "feed" your excitement.

I washed out my Pyrex container from which I'd eaten my umpteenth chicken and broccoli meal. As I did, I recognized that what I choose for myself is very different from the norm. And, I have great hobbies with my spouse ;)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Body Scape

by Kris Pitcher

If your body was a canvas, what would you be painting through your actions? Would you be creating a sketch, or maybe a highly composed portrait, a paint-by-numbers, or a complete abstract?

We don't necessarily think of ourselves as a work of art, and maybe for some that is just counter to belief. It is an analogy worth exploring however as it tells much about how we see ourselves.

Would we be depicting confidence, security and purpose on our canvas? Or would we be wearing away the material from constant erasing of our work? Would we be apologizing for our crude strokes, or would we be (in our analogy) the artist proud to show our work at a gallery opening?

These are simply things to consider about our body scape. If we truly create who we are through our actions it leads me to wonder, what are we creating...

Each choice we make through our day or week molds and shapes who we are literally and figuratively. And as we move along this journey to healthier lifestyles making those choices consciously to create the body scape with intention will bring success.

Your actions and decisions literally shape who you become. No one has a harder or easier time than any one else. Choose with intention, and be the artist of your body scape! 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Protein Brownie

by Kris Pitcher

Did someone say they wanted brownies? Who doesn't love chocolate? That was a rhetorical question. Seriously, I never met a brownie I didn't love...and that's part of my life long problem with excess. But here's a brownie you can actually have. There are TONS of protein brownie recipes floating around out there and here is just one.

2 scoops whey protein (we have vanilla)
1 T cocoa powder (unsweetened, the real deal)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 T sugar free jello pudding mix (powder) chocolate
1/3 C water

Mix it all together in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 45-60 seconds. This is a bit of an experiment, each microwave is a little different.

I don't care for things to be super sweet and the jello and protein powder both have sweeteners in them...but you could add a packet of truvia if you want. You can also add a dash of cayenne pepper to spice it up. Or some fresh ground black pepper. You do know how good chocolate and spice are together, right?

Enjoy your chocolate treat, in moderation. Remember this is not your meal replacement, or post workout meal. This is a dessert, a extra. It's just one that you can handle. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Do, Not Have

by Kris Pitcher

When we want something, we need to have the right attitude about going after it. It's about do, not have. The mistake we make is thinking about the have, not the do.

It's not surprising really, our attitude is backwards. I'll explain. We think about the outcome of our goal rather than what will get us there. We just want the end result.

Our focus needs to be on the do. On what will get us there, on the process rather than the end result. When we pay attention to the steps along the way, to the "do", the outcome will happen.

We can't help but be successful if we pay attention to the doing, to what steps will get us to our goal. That just makes sense. So why can't we stay focused there?

It's like you see a flashy bright thing and start running toward it...even though you know that quick fix won't last. You know it won't lead you to your goal. I pull you back with information, with science, with the basics. But I turn my back for a minute, and you're running toward the shiny thing.

I'm still here, reminding you about the process, about the doing. I'm still here giving you consistent information, dispelling myths and reminding you that you do have support.

So, today your reminder is about attitude. It's about do, not have. Do the work, do the process, do the things that get you to the goal. The goal comes. It can't help but come when we do the "do".

But the big reminder is we have to do, in order to have. We can't be upset about not meeting our goals, if we're not really doing the work. It's all in our attitude. You can "do" this!


Friday, June 1, 2012

Take Flight!

by Kris Pitcher

With my arms outstreached I flew above a neighborhood. I could see the houses and control my flight above them swooping higher and higher. A calm sense of feedom swept over me and I felt so happy and free. I spread my arms and soared higher and higher feeling the warm wind rush over me. Soon I was so high in the sky I could no longer see the houses, I felt an overwhelming sense of happiness and freedom.

They say that dreams about flying can represent an expansion of awareness of the higher self. That the sky may symbolize consciousness and spirituality and dreaming of flying represents being open to your higher self.

It is also thought to represent a release of obstructions which have held you down. You are being released to experience freedom from those things. You are being liberated from things which might have troubled you.

So what am I being released from? What have I been liberated from which may have been grounding me? I'm uncertain. Dreams are really interesting though. We are working out what's happening in our subconscious mind.

The experts would say to allow the freedom and gentleness of the dream to be expressed through daily behavior. They would urge the carefree feelings of freedom be allowed to enter your daily conscious brain so you are open to opportunity.

By doing so, you're not only open to opportunity, you are open to abundance and to acceptance. You are ready to take flight!