Saturday, March 31, 2012

March Of The Diet

by Kris Pitcher

We finally watched March Of The Penguins. We might have been the last people to watch it, but there we sat riveted to the TV screen. If you haven't seen it, you need to.

There were times when we were both in tears watching as the penguins fought against all odds to try to bring one small life to fruition. When it was over we felt a little exhausted, sad and then we laughed and hugged some more. Damn those penguins.

But it really made me think about the odds stacked against us in our pursuits of weight management. We fight against the elements, we are exposed, and our chances of survival are minimal at best.

We have to huddle together to fight the wind, the storms, and the cupcakes. We have to stand strong against the driving snow, the icy conditions and the many pot lucks. Only some of us will survive the season, to make it one more year.

Those of us that do will trudge on, sticking to our goals...doing what we know will keep us on the path of weight management. But the road is not easy. We're like penguins marching home.  

Friday, March 30, 2012

Finding Time To Workout

by Kris Pitcher

It's a big challenge to find time to workout. Our lives are busy, really busy. We have jobs that take a lot of our time and energy as well as families that need our attention. So how do you find the time to workout on top of all of that?

Some of us do well during the week when our schedule is more structured, then we struggle on the weekends. Others just struggle all together. But I have a mental solution for all of us.

Thirty minutes from now will still be 30 minutes from now whether you do your workout or not. Huh? Well, as I was walking along on the treadmill, I was thinking about the things I needed to get done one Saturday.

As my list grew longer, my day seemed to get shorter. And for a split second, I considered cutting my cardio short so I could get going on my list. Then I reminded myself, that I'll only be 30 minutes ahead in my day once I'm done. Whether I do it or not, so...I might as well complete it.

I owe it to myself to make me a priority. I'm the only one - or the first one - who is going to do that. Getting my workout in is as important as the other things on my list for the day. It's only going to set me back a certain portion of time. And, it's not a setback - it's a set forward. Yes, I just made that up.

On those days when you think about all the things you need to do, think about yourself first. It's still going to be 30 minutes from 30 minutes. Spend those minutes wisely and you'll have done more for yourself than if you had just waffled around trying to decide to do it, or not do it.

Managing our time and making ourselves a priority is number one in this game. We all have the time, we just have to make the time. The clock will tic away regardless, so spend the next 30 minutes doing something really smart.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Candy Food

by Kris Pitcher

I'm coming after coffee creamer today. I love coffee. I drink it every day. I used to drink it with creamer, then with milk, then with soy milk. And now I drink it black.

I realize it's been a progression for me and I don't expect anyone to give up their candy food creamer right off the bat. And like all nutritional choices, it's about personal values. It's up to you.

Cafe mocha, peppermint, pumpkin spice, Irish cream, hazelnut, sugar cookie, vanilla, there's even one flavored cafe latte. Coffee flavored creamer. Hmm?

It's the idea of making sugary sweet drinks when we are trying to be "healthy" that seems like it doesn't mix for me. The chemicals, the dextrose, the partially hydrogenated oils in this stuff isn't worth the 35 calories per tablespoon. And I've seen it poured into coffee by the quarter cup full. That's not 35 calories.

When I think about clean eating, candy food just doesn't fit for me. I would rather train my taste buds to appreciate an occasional piece of fruit, or the sweetness of oats. When we decrease these kinds of chemicals and additives from our diets we can actually taste our food.

A sprinkle of cinnamon, or a fresh grating of nutmeg on your coffee will wake you up in a whole new way. You'll actually taste your coffee too. Enjoy a hot cup of coffee, however you take it. Just consider your clean eating habits and choices as you sip.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Beach Body Ready!

by Kris Pitcher

In a recent poll, 50% of men said they felt they were "beach body ready". Well, I can take one look around at the gym, which is 10% of the general population, and out of every single person in there...7 men might be beach body ready.

And ladies, we're only slightly more realistic. We felt like 67% of us were ready to hit the beach in our bikinis. I'll tell you one thing. I. Am. Not. One. Of. You.

No pressure, but summer is coming and fast. We don't tend to think about it until it's right upon us. Now, for those of you lucky enough to live where you don't know the joys of owning snow're probably the ones already ready.

The rest of us are hiding under our sweaters hoping no one will notice we're not exactly beach body ready. One observation I have made when I am at the beach, it doesn't matter.

There are so many different bodies at the beach that it just doesn't matter what you look like. Someone will be leaner, larger, rounder, bustier, flatter, flabbier, tanner, you name's at the beach.

So, I just thought I'd get us thinking about getting ourselves ready for those bikinis (not you guys...). We might want to get a jump on getting ready in time for May or June. I have hope, after all, that summer is on it's way. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Hunger Games

by Kris Pitcher

Many dieters complain about being hungry, all the time. Now, there's a difference between being aware that you may be becoming hungry...and feeling like you are starving.

There are some things we can do to fight the hunger games. Getting enough fiber is one of the first things we can do. Women should be getting 25 gms per day. It's easy to take a fiber supplement, just look for one without added sugar. You're looking for psyllium husk. If it tastes like dirt, you've got the right stuff.

I'm kidding, it doesn't have to taste like dirt. They're making more advanced ones and if you don't mind parting with a few more dollars there are some great ones. One note of caution - increase your fiber intake slowly.

Our next tool in fighting the hunger games is frequency. We want to make sure we are eating every 2 to 3 hours. Those meals should be a nice mix of complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, and lean protein.

Carbs alone will leave you hungry. It's the combination of nutrients that creates the power in keeping hunger at bay. We feel fuller longer, and maintain a stable blood sugar level.

Finally, stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water and drinking herbal teas, or green tea, between meals will help you feel full. Diet sodas, while they are cool and refreshing, can actually lead us to feel more hungry because of their overly sweet taste. Keep it pure, you'll lose the bloat too.

Keep yourself feeling full, or fuller, with these tips. Fiber, frequency, nutrient combination and hydration are great ways to help us stay full even when we're dieting.  

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Doctor's Office Scale

by Kris Pitcher

Last week I met with my new doctor. It's not easy to find a new doctor, and it's a process no one likes. So, as the nurse walked me down the hall with my chart stamped "NEW PATIENT" in red she said, "How does it feel to be a new patient?"

"It feels amazing!" I told her as though I'd been nominated for an Emmy. She laughed and led me through a maze of halls to where she was about to weigh and measure me.

Now, I don't care what I weigh. I had no idea what I weighed. And it means so little to me I didn't even bother taking off my shoes. "This isn't gonna be good." I said as I stepped on the digital scale. I think I heard her say under her breath, "I wish..." She was a heavy set gal.

She then asked me to take off my shoes so she could measure my height. She announced that I was 5' 4.5". I've always thought I was 5' 3.75". Hmm? I guess the added height explains what I saw on the scale.

When we got into the exam room she asked me about my exercise habits. I told her I was a good exerciser, that I did my cardio six days a week. "Oh!" She said, "I hate exercise." I explained that I hadn't said I loved it, I just said I do it. I think I saw a glimmer of hope in her eyes as she put my chart on the counter and left me to wait.

The doctor didn't say anything about my weight. But if I were to use the BMI calculator, I am overweight. There I would sit on her exam table in my (snug) size 6 slacks, being overweight at my new height of 5' 4".

The whole process really chaps my hide to put it lightly. It riles me up. It makes me feel bad when I should feel good. And if my slightly chubby new doctor, who I like very much by the way, were to talk to me about my weight after I'd been checked in by the obese nurse...well I would laugh hysterically.

And the whole thing reminds me that the weight on the scale means nothing. Don't let it dictate what kind of day you'll have, how you'll see yourself, or how you will treat yourself. Don't let it influence the things you say in your head or think when you look in the mirror. In fact, don't even take your shoes off.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Do The Thing In Front Of You

by Kris Pitcher

I heard a really motivating thing from a woman who helps people find their way forward when facing a disaster. She said, "Do the thing in front of you."

Immediately I reached for my purse so I could write it down in my tiny book of big ideas. Do the thing in front of you. That's how we make progress. That's how we find focus toward our goals. That's how we get this "thing" done.

We do the thing in front of us. And then we do the next thing. And then the thing after that. We can't get from point A to point D. We have to take some steps in between.

There are steps in between the steps too. We break it down, and we do that thing. That's the only way it gets done. No one will do it for you, and you can't skip the step in front of you.

Do the thing in front of you. It also makes me think about facing that thing. We can't ignore it. We must face it, see what our options are, and make a decision about what we will do...then do it. This is how we find success. Step by step.

It makes me think about being present as well. Being present to complete the thing in front of you means you are not consumed with the next step. You are focused on the task at hand. You are not distracted by the "what if's". You just do the one thing.

Look at what is in front of you right now. What has been in front of you, and what have you been trying to push those things. This is such a simple and exciting concept. It's freeing. Be focused, be present, and do the thing in front of you.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Head Shots

by Kris Pitcher

I was recently introduced in my organization's newsletter. It was an opportunity to share a photo and bio so as the new person on the block, people would know who I am.

Holding my Pyrex container with my chicken and broccoli I was milling about as people were gathering for a pot luck. We have a lot of pot lucks. I introduced myself to a volunteer who I hadn't met before.

"Oh," he said, "I read about you in the newsletter." Great, I thought! "I never would have recognized you from your picture though." He went on. I couldn't wait to hear what he was about to say.

"Frankly, I wondered how the person in that picture could do all those activities in the bio." He said. "But you're obviously a vibrant young person." He finished.

It was a head shot. And he'd just called me fat. I smiled and told him I wasn't the most photogenic. Then I moved on to greet others I hadn't yet met.

While grateful for his honesty, it reinforced the fact that I don't like to have my picture taken. And I don't like to be told my head is fat. I did appreciate the fact that once I was standing in front of him he noted I was both vibrant, and young (I fooled him on that one).

So much for my debut in the newsletter...and you can bet I won't be doing any professional, or otherwise, head shots any time soon.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Head Games

by Kris Pitcher

It can be hard to get your head in the game with your plan. A greater challenge can be to keep it in the game. Think of all the resolutioner's gone by the wayside.

Sometimes we say we want something, but we can't seem to get ourselves to do what's necessary. We can't get our head in the game. This is a tough issue.

There are some really important things we can do to set ourselves up for success in this department.

It starts with getting really clear on what's important to us. You've heard me say this before. A lot.

Getting clear on why you want something is what will get you to your goal. To simply say you want to lose weight isn't enough. You've got to figure out why it's important.

This is how you get your head in the game. You keep it in the game by holding that importance, that value, right at the surface. How? Any way you can.

Tell people you love, make a vision board, write it on the refrigerator, put a quote on your mirror, leave a note in your calendar, buy new workout clothes, keep a goal chart with gold what ever works for you.

I've got a quote on my bathroom mirror, a contest picture on the refrigerator, and I stay very connected with my personal values on a daily basis. I am good at this. I'm good at it because I practice it every day.

Keeping your head in the game doesn't happen by accident. You have to work at it. You have to surround yourself with the right tools to create your success. That's how this works. Now, get your game plan together and get your head back in this game!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Great Exercise Advice

by Kris Pitcher

I heard some really great advice the other day. Stop buying black pants. OK, you're thinking, "What does this have to do with anything?"

More black pants?
What it has to do with anything is that every woman reading, and every woman she knows has multiple pairs of black pants. And I don't mean a couple. I mean seven or ten. The advice to stop buying black pants is good advice. Yet, we still buy black pants.

Here's the connection. People ask about exercise advice all the time. All. The. Time. Yet, they want to keep doing what they are doing. They want to buy black pants.

They don't actually want to do anything different. They don't actually want to take your advice. And it drives us crazy. Well, it used to drive us crazy. But now we just don't give out as much advice to the random's who ask.

At a party, or at work, or in a random social situation when you learn my passion or my husband's profession and you ask for some advice...we're going to ask you questions until the topic changes. Because you want your black pants.

I'm afraid to count how many pairs of black pants I actually have. I know I have one pair I love. I also know there are a few that don't fit right now. They'll fit later. There's one I don't really like...I should get rid of those.

I'll tell you what though, I'm going to be on the look out for great advice. And, I'll stop buying black pants.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

In Your Face, Fear!

by Kris Pitcher

It's funny sometimes the things we are afraid of. Like, not doing things right. Or, failing at something. Recently I screwed something up, and then had to go right back at it.

The building I work in is alarmed. I thought I knew how to turn it off...except I put the wrong code in and the alarm went off. I mean it was screeching. I didn't know what to do, or who to call.

I panicked. And of course I was loaded down with my cooler, my computer bag, my purse...I had my coat on. A minute or so went by and I heard the door open, thank goodness one of my colleagues had arrived. He punched in some codes. The wrong one at first. Meanwhile, I called the security company.

Everything worked out, and I learned the code along with how to punch it in right. The next day, I was the first one to arrive again. I wondered if I should sit in my car for a while.

Nope, I marched right in there and punched in the code, disarming the alarm. Whew! I did it, I faced my fear of it going off again. My colleague was right behind me and said, "Wow! I can't believe you came right in here and turned it off after yesterday."

"What was I going to do," I said, "sit in my car?" He laughed and told me he sat in his car for almost a month. I guess I am not afraid to face things, I'm fairly direct. And really what's the worst that's going to happen if we try things?

What's the worst that will happen if you do something you've been putting off because you're afraid? Have you been playing it safe in your life? Have you been sitting on your hands not tackling things you need to do?

It's time to walk right in and get things done in your life. Stop worrying about what might happen, or if you might fail. It's time to take initiative to go the extra mile in your own life, for you. It's easy. In your face, fear!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Can't I Just Stop Eating To Lose Weight?

by Kris Pitcher

This is a question that I know a lot of people have asked, or have heard asked, or have answered a million times until you're blue in the face. Can't I just stop eating to lose weight?

Well, essentially yes. It's called anorexia and eventually you will kill yourself. I don't think that's your goal here. Eating disorders are serious and should be treated as such. Anyone suspecting this issue should seek professional help. You can't fix this on your own.

I'm talking about the person who thinks that less is more in the pursuit of weight loss. The irony here is that the exact opposite is true. But let's not start there.

These people usually fall into two groups. The "eat once a day" group, and the "eat only salad" group. Either way, there's a big problem. One of the most important components to losing weight is increasing our metabolism.

When we stop eating, or eat very little - we are essentially turning off our metabolism. When we eat once a day, we are turning off our metabolism. Kind of the opposite of our weight loss goal, wouldn't you say?

The other big issue here is that when our body doesn't have the right nutrients, or any nutrients coming in - these folks think that they'll just burn fat. The challenge is, our body wants to spare our fat (because it's in famine, there's no fuel coming in) and burns muscle for fuel.

So, now we've done two things by eating only salads. We have turned off our metabolism, and we are now burning our metabolically active tissue. Double whammy.

What we need to do is we need to fuel more frequently. That's right, eat more often. And, we need to eat more. More of the right nutrients. We need to be fueling with complex carbohydrates, lean protein, healthy fats, and fruits and vegetables.

Eating frequently turns our metabolism up. That's what we want. It fuels our body, our muscles, sending the message to burn fat for fuel. Stored fat. When we add exercise we increase our metabolism further by building our metabolically active tissue.

So, the answer is no, you can't just stop eating to lose weight. The science doesn't pan out. You need to eat more frequently, and you need to be eating the right nutrients in order to lose weight.

Quit pushing that lettuce around your plate and get with the program, it's time to make some progress! Don't you see, more is more here?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Toilets Are For Potty

by Kris Pitcher

I have to bring something to every one's attention. This is something that really bothers me. A lot. It happens at every gym I have ever been at. And I'm sure it happens at your gym too.

This is a simple issue of gym etiquette, and also hygiene as far as I'm concerned. Ready? Here we go. Toilets are for going to the bathroom. Toilets are not for changing your clothes.

PLEASE STOP CHANGING YOUR CLOTHES IN THE TOILET! Please. The reason I wish you would not change your clothes in the toilet is I have to pee.

I am tired of waiting for you while you change in one of the FEW toilet stalls. Plus, it's not the most sanitary place to strip down. I don't see how you keep your clothes from draping all over the bowl. Stop it.

See all those EMPTY shower stalls? At my gym I counted six of them. Six! Completely empty. You might consider changing there so I don't pee my pants. I can't be called, "Pee pants!"

I realize you are modest. Seriously, no one is checking you out while you change into your workout clothes. We all have boobs. Go in the back corner where no one ever is. But please stop changing in the toilet.

Besides, doesn't it feel awkward for you to have people waiting on you while you're in there? Where you're not really supposed to be? OK, it's out of my system now.

At least I have my privacy out in the open locker room. But I swear, if I pee my pants waiting for you...I will hunt down your locker and trade out my clothes for yours! Besides, your boots were really cute.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Check Engine Light

by Kris Pitcher

I've had a good run of at least three days with my check engine light off. That's right, off. I drive a Volkswagen, so if my check engine light isn't on...I'm worried.

If you're not familiar, the joke is that a VW's check engine light is on so often that a true aficionado might get a check engine tattoo. It's just always on.

It's purpose though is to warn us of something we need to pay attention to. And I'm wondering about your "check engine" light. Are there things going on you should be paying attention to? Any signs or symptoms you've been ignoring?

Having recently changed jobs, I've been faced with finding a new doctor. Not as easy as it sounds. But, I have found one and now I've got my "new patient" appointment so that I can establish a relationship. My objective is to get connected before I actually need something.

But then I started thinking about my internal check engine light. So, I started my little list. I think I have a wart on my toe they can freeze off. (I know, you thought I was perfect...sorry.) And I should check my moles...I know moles are gross too, but I'm fair skinned and we have melanoma in my family.

When was the last time you had a check up? Ladies, have you had your mammogram? Did you know that cervical cancer is very treatable, but only if it's detected? And how about that prostate guys?

We need to make sure we are getting our basic screenings done on the appropriate schedule. Pay attention to your internal check engine light. If something doesn't seem right, or isn't sitting well with you - get it checked out.


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Perfect Fitting Jeans

by Kris Pitcher

You could say...I'm between sizes. I have a handful of pairs of jeans in my closet and none of them fit me right now. I've got the cute skinny jeans that I wear when I'm dieting. I blinged out the pockets...super cute!

But those bad girls would take one look at my thighs and fold themselves over laughing. I've been kind of sad about it. I have one pair that actually does fit, but I wanted something new. So, I went on a quest to find a new pair of jeans.

Twenty pairs of jeans later I felt worse than dejected. Some 7/8s fell off, while others barely went over my knee. You get them to the point of resistance at your knee and you look at your thigh knowing this is not going to work.

Some 9/10s would fit two of me, and others wouldn't zip up. Flat butt, pockets too wide, or too low. Pant legs too short, or WAY too long. My hamstrings curve out and my quads feel thick. Nothing was right.

Maybe finding the perfect pair of jeans isn't possible, and maybe I shouldn't be shopping when I'm at my off season size. But I want something cute right now, regardless of what size they are.

The next day I pulled on the one pair of jeans I do have that actually come up over my thighs. First I noticed the color, and I'm happy with the darkness of the dye. They have some stretch...that's a bonus. The pockets are cute, and in just the right place. The waist is not too low...I'm not a teeny bopper after all. Hmm? The length is even just right.

It turns out the perfect fitting jeans were in my closet all along. And they fit me right now, the size I am. Sometimes we have to look right in front of us and want what we have. Have you been looking for something that's right in front of you? Where are your perfect fitting jeans?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Like It, Or Lump It - Searching For Unicorns

by Kris Pitcher

You thought there would be unicorns and rainbows. You thought there would be puppies and sunshine and beaches and that your hair would be long and would flow in the breeze...

You thought you would love your exercise every single minute of every single day, every time, all the time. And I think that's noble.

But nobility gets you nowhere here. Remember in college when you thought you could change the world (fast forward if you're still in college)? And then you started a real job and paid your real bills, and realized how expensive toilet paper is, and you didn't have time to fix the world anymore.

Well, exercise isn't exactly like that, but my point is - we don't have to love it every time. There may not be unicorns either.

We just have to do it. We have to do it because it's the right thing to do. Because it gets us where we want to go. We do it because deep down it's important to us, and in the big picture we're happy when we do it.

But in each moment, I'm just saying you might not love it. And the confusing thing is people act like they love it all the time. I'm not saying they don't, I'm just saying - they make it look easy, and it's not easy.

So, you thought it was going to be easy and as a result, you'd love it. You're not loving it, because it's not easy. My point is, when things are hard we have to work for them. They push us out of our comfort zone (where the rainbows and puppies are) where we have to grit our teeth and get it done.

There is no comfort zone here. Like it, or lump it it's hard work. It doesn't come easy for those of us who really do love it either. And we push hard to find the unicorns. I think the difference is - we love the search.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Adjusting Workout Expectations

by Kris Pitcher

There are times when we need to be able to adjust the intensity of our workouts. We get sick. We have crazy work schedules. We have a night when we don't sleep well.

Many things happen that effect our energy level. It is OK to adjust our workout level to accommodate those kinds of fluctuations. We don't have to give 110% every workout, every time. It's not realistic.

One of the major reasons is we need rest. Recovery and rest is as much a part of our progress as our workouts. And if we are sick, we could use a lighter workout, or a rest day.

Getting your head around that is the tough part. You don't have to run wind sprints up the stadium stairs in the pouring rain when you have the flu. Sound crazy? But I think I've seen you shivering in your car in the parking lot.

Adjusting expectations around intensity is about perspective. More isn't always better. Harder, more intense isn't always the answer. If you've had a rough week and haven't slept well on top of a grueling work schedule...give yourself a break.

Getting some good rest while taking your workouts down a notch will get you further ahead in the long run. And that's what this is...a long run.

And if you can't make these mental adjustments on your own, check in with someone who can help you make those decisions. Bounce it off someone who can give you good advice before you go doing something crazy. Sometimes all you need is a little support to do what you know you need to.

Remember that these life situations are temporary too. Sickness goes away. Stressful things become easier. Life becomes more balanced. When they do, we can pick up our intense workouts once again. Oh, and by the're human.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Pep Talk Walk

by Kris Pitcher

Motivation is not pouring out of my heart and soul at 4:30 AM when I get on the treadmill. I'm sorry if you thought it was going to pour out of you whenever you do your cardio.

There are times when we have to dig deep to find the motivation to get it done. And I've said this before, I have never been sorry afterwards that I did it. I have always felt proud that I'd completed my cardio.

This is where the pep talk comes in real handy. It goes like this: "Come on, we can do this. We did it yesterday, and we'll do it tomorrow. But for right now, we just have to get going. Really? Has it only been seven minutes? Ok, halfway. Halfway is good. Five more minutes. This incline isn't so bad. See! You did 5 more minutes! Ten more minutes. You're almost done! Let's go, you can do this! See? That wasn't so bad...45 minutes, no big deal."

There is no shame in the cardio pep talk. The five more minute trick works on me every time. Somehow, it's easier when we break it into little chunks. I can reach these mini-milestones along the way. Before I know it, I'm actually done.

Along the way, I'm listening to my ipod, or watching TV, or whatever else I can do to help the time go by. But for now, 45 minutes still takes 45 minutes. I'll let you know when I figure out how to compress it, or time travel or something.

If you find you're cutting your cardio or workout short, or not quite getting to it at need the pep talk. It might feel silly at first, but you'll soon find you are your best cheer leader!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Strangled By My Tights

by Kris Pitcher

A dry day warranted wearing my suede boots and a skirt. But this is not the time of year to go without tights, nor were my legs in any condition to do so. I pulled the first pair out of the drawer and pulled them on.

I could tell it was going to be a problem. But my mornings are precision timed, and there was no time to worry about it. There were more important things to do like pack my cooler.

Eleven hours later I slammed my trunk closed and marched into the gym like I was going to catch on fire. I smiled at the nice girl at the counter, said my pleasantries and power walked (in my cute boots) to the locker room.

I stripped off those tights and threw them on the floor so fast I had barely taken my jacket off. But these things had been STRANGLING me all day. The waistband had been rolling down my rear like they were trying to sneak away!

Once I was in my gym clothes I looked around to make sure no one was looking and I threw them, hard, in the trash. I wanted to make sure they hit the bottom, beneath the paper towels.

If your clothes are ill fitting, too small, too big, don't feel good, don't flatter you...let them go! Less in your wardrobe is more when it comes to feeling good in our clothes. There is no use hanging on to pieces that don't work for us, or have some glaring defect.

Why those tights had made their way back in my drawer is beyond me. No more! And, for who ever has to take out the trash at the gym: I'm sorry. I know it's creepy when people throw away their near undergarments there. But these stranglers had to go!

Monday, March 12, 2012

You Never Actually Get Where You're Going

by Kris Pitcher

Many of us, as we begin "this", are destination bound. The truth is, you never actually get where you're going. Another Yogiism.

It's true though. You never get to a place and think, "Here I am! I'm done!" There isn't any such place. The "place" or target is always moving. You might think, yeah but I have a specific goal. And that's great!

When you reach that're not just finished. It isn't "over". You set a new goal. Or you work to maintain where you are. It's never just done.

This goes along well with what you've heard me say lots of times: we only have to do weight management as long as we want it to work.

We do it for the rest of our lives because we never actually get where we're going. You can look at this two ways. You can think - holy cow that's depressing!

Or, you can think - wow, that takes the pressure off, because I don't have to be in a rush. I can take my time, do this right and keep moving ahead.

You can guess which perspective I prefer. Having the mindset that one day we'll get there means that this is temporary. It's not temporary.

It's your new way of life. If you hate it, you need some new ways of doing it, and a way to get clear on what's important to you. Until you get clear on associating your new habits with values that are important to're going to hate it. That's just unnecessary.

Knowing that you never actually get where you're going, gives you the freedom to make adjustments, to change course and to re-evaluate. What you're working toward now is just one step in a life's path. It's not the end all.

You'll get further, with greater success in this journey knowing that you never actually get where you're going. This notion keeps you moving ahead, making progress and looking for the next challenge!  

Sunday, March 11, 2012

If I Were A Bikini Barista

by Kris Pitcher

I admire the bikini barista girls at the drive through espresso huts. Along with their lingerie colleagues, they make up a unique work force.

When I was young enough to be a barista I certainly didn't have a bikini body...and I don't think it would be an age appropriate job for me now.

Besides, if I was a bikini barista, they would have to hand out special soft filtering glasses at the first window. That way when you picked up your drink from skin would look smooth and milky like your latte.

There would be a collection basket near the tip jar for you to deposit your special glasses so we could distribute them to the next customer. Without them, customers would see the harsh realities of life.

They'd see spider veins, dry skin, and blemishes. They would notice the way my fat insulates around my middle during off season and the way when I would reach through the window...gravity brings all of me closer.

Customers might notice the fine lines, and that thinning neck skin I said I'd never get. As they made me laugh they'd see the flock of crows threatening to take off from my sparkling eyes.

So, maybe it's better if I don't become a bikini barista. It's probably a job best left for the girls with plenty of collagen and elastin in their skin. It's likely more fitting for women who haven't yet seen the hands of time, or the pull of gravity as their pulling shots.

But thank goodness for them and their bikini ready physiques. I applaude them for their confidence and believe they are holding the power. Keep pulling the shots ladies! Me? I'll be waiting for those soft filtering glasses.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Exercising Weighty Decisions

by Kris Pitcher

A new study finds that holding something heavy while making a decision actually gives you more confidence in your own opinions.

The study, conducted at the University of Amsterdam found that people holding a heavy clipboard assigned more importance to their own decisions than people holding a light one, or nothing at all.

The literal translation is that holding something heavy gives you more weight to what you are considering. I like that. If we take that further can we assume that lifting weights gives us the confidence to make strong judgements?

I'd like to think it does. The confidence we build right along with our muscles is something that I have witnessed in myself and in others, but I couldn't document it for you.

When you think of the many benefits of weight lifting, know that building your strength in decision making is one. Your ability to make decisions and have confidence in the one you are making is an important muscle to build. And to exercise!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Does This Make Me Look Fat? What Women Want to Hear

by Kris Pitcher

This question has ruined marriages, stopped dates before they started, caused tears, fights, and probably heart attacks. It's the worst question a man can hear. It makes his ears ring, his eyes go blind and causes stuttering.

It's a bad question to ask. Ladies! Please stop asking this question! Here's what we're going to do. I'm going to tell you what women want to hear when they ask this question. But ladies, you have to promise you will not ask this bee's nest of a question any more.

Women want to hear:
  • Your curves are in just the right places.
  • I love the way your body looks.
  • Your shape is just the way I like it.
  • You look sexy when you walk.
  • I love the way you feel next to me.
  • You look best when you're wearing nothing from your closet.
  • Your figure is just right.
  • You feel perfect in my arms.
  • I want you to feel comfortable no matter what size you are.
  • I love you, I love your body, but I love you.
  • I wish you'd wait longer to get dressed.
  • The way your body looks makes me feel sexy.
  • I want to be next to you for the rest of my life.
Get it? If you're not saying this stuff to your lady...she's not feeling confident, or sexy, and she's getting dressed real fast. In fact, she's asking you, "Does this make me look fat?" And you know you're in trouble.

So, we have a deal. Ladies - we are not going to ask this question. And guys - we are going to start saying how we feel about our ladies. One tip though, don't say them all at once. Sprinkle them like seasoning. Now you know, what women want to hear.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Fitness Frienemies

by Kris Pitcher

Is your bestie a beastie when it comes to supporting you? I've heard more people say that their friends cut them down, say they're "addicted" to exercise, or just plain compete with them when it comes to health and fitness.

Friends, or fitness enemies?
I didn't realize we were in a race for the fittest? When your friend becomes a frienemie you have to wonder if it's worth hanging out anymore.

It's frustrating really. You want to share your success and every time you do, they "one up" you. You think you're just telling them about what you've been up to (since they asked) and they turn it back to focus on them. Every. Time.

And how about the accusation that because you're heading to the gym instead of out for drinks, you're "addicted" and they're worried about you? Huh? Since when was a healthy lifestyle a concern?

Here's what I think. People want to talk about themselves. They don't mean to turn everything around to focus back on themselves but they can't help it. They want to have the last word, and they want it to be about them. I don't think they even realize it. They're self-absorbed.

People also want to justify their own habits. So, if they're sitting on the couch and you're at the gym, they feel threatened and a bit guilty. They don't mean to sabotage, necessarily, they just want to feel better about their own sad state of health.

My suggestion for the saboteurs (because sometimes they are family you can't stop hanging around) is to let them know you appreciate their concern for your health. Your health is important to you too, and that's why you've taken a serious approach to your fitness.

Tell them that your doctor supports your efforts and that what you're doing is within the healthy guidelines. Let them know that you don't expect anyone else to follow in your're doing this for you.

There is nothing wrong with standing your ground and being direct. You can also spend less time with those friends who make you feel bad for being healthy. Don't let people chip away at your sense of self. And don't let frienemies get you down. Plus, there are plenty of us who support what you do!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Binge Busters!

by Kris Pitcher

Binging is no joke, and you can find yourself in the throws of a true binge in no time. There are many things that feed (excuse the pun) into a binge. And the best defense is a strong offense when it comes to keeping yourself safe from the "B" word.

One of the most important things is to eat the meals you are supposed to be eating. We get in trouble when we've missed a meal, or two, and before we know it we are famished. In that state we are going to over eat, and eat the wrong things. So, eat your meals.

But there are times when a whiff of something can just throw you for a loop and you're up to your ears in doughnuts before you can blink an eye. The coping mechanism here is to stop, drop, and breath. Then you need to remove yourself from whatever situation you are in.

Most binges though, are emotionally driven. These are the toughest "B's" on the block. Busting these takes getting control of your emotions, and dealing with them in different ways. We choose how we handle stress. Don't forget that.

We know (after) that we're only punishing ourselves when we eat out of anger, sadness, and disappointment. We've got to find other ways to deal with these feelings. Period. If this is a sticking point for you, get yourself some professional help. There's no shame in talking to a professional.

Managing cravings is the final binge busting technique to put in our plan. This means having some of the things you like. Some. Things like an ounce of dark (at least 70% cacao) chocolate, an ounce of almonds, or one ounce of mini pretzels can keep cravings for sweet, fatty, and salty at bay.

Managing is the key word there. And when you know that ounce of dark chocolate is in your plan, you don't have to eat the whole bar. An ounce will do.

Knowing what your behaviors around binging are will help you make busting them easy. It takes conscious effort. And you can do it. Be present, stop and think, make I really want to eat this box of cereal because I'm lonely? No! Busted.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Short Pants

by Kris Pitcher

I was walking through the office and caught a glimpse of myself in a large window. My pants looked kind of short. I'm not a tall person, so I like my pants to be a little on the long side.

In the ladies room, where there is a full length mirror, I checked my pant length again. A little short. Hmm? What was going on with my slacks? Were they shortening in the wash? And then it struck me like a ton of bricks...

My butt is getting bigger! That's right. My butt is getting bigger and it's bringing the hem up in my slacks! I'll be darned!

This is crap, I thought. What's the deal? I am hell bent on not growing out of my 6's this off season. I've increased my mind was racing trying to figure out what was happening. And then I got that sinking feeling. I think it's guilt?

Maybe it's the few raisins I popped in my mouth every now and then...or the "little" bowl of ice cream I might have with my husband in the evening. Truth be told, I've been slacking.

I've been enjoying my off season. I've been a little off plan on Saturdays, which used to be all "on track" for me. It's turned into a cheat-ish day, rather than just a cheat meal.

So, I'm destined to get the hem of my slacks back on the floor. And that means getting my butt in gear, in shape, downsized etc.

It happens to all of us. If you've gotten a little off track, get back on. I'm no different. A few bites here and there and pretty've got short pants. Don't let your pants creep up on you! 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Energy Balance

by Kris Pitcher

We used to think that weight loss was simply math. When calories in are less than calories out, we lose weight. On paper it works. But there are many factors - human factors - which complicate the simple math.

Figuring out how many calories we need to burn on a weekly basis to make a change is complicated. It's also quite a few more calories than needed just to maintain health. This is the first important distinction. To lose weight we need to be doing more work.

Many of the recommendations we are familiar with, and comfortable with, are for maintaining health. Forgive me...but who cares about that? We want body composition change. People want to win the battle of the bulge. And three days a week won't cut it.

The big challenge with what it actually takes to make change, is that it would turn any beginner into a quitter. We have to find balance as we ramp up to the needed amount of exercise, while managing our expectations about the massive changes we think are going to take place.

There are many different equations to determine your resting metabolic rate (the number of calories you need to perform basic bodily function), then we add on our activity level to determine approximately how many calories we should be eating. One thing that will typically happen as we begin to increase our activity is we increase our nutrition.

This can be good, or it can be harmful to our progress. It's complicated. There is a fine balance. We have to make sure we're getting the right nutrients to repair and build, but not excess. This takes trial and error to see where we make changes.

It's not just as simple as energy in, energy out. The real kicker is that each individual will respond differently. That's what makes this a science. So, when I modify my eating plan with my husband's guidance, we are "trying" things. Then we're looking for my body to respond.

People inquire if he develops "individual" programs. Each person is individual, and their nutrition plan is individualized and modified based on their specific response. If it were as simple as energy in, energy out...he could write one diet and put everyone on it. It doesn't work that way.

As you are working to figure out the energy balance equation, know that each of us is individual, and it's not as simple as the math penciled out on paper. We are complex, and we present complicated situations. Be patient with yourself and the process. Find the balance.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Succulent Chicken

by Kris Pitcher

I am a utilitarian cook. I want to get in, get the job done, and get out. Hopefully it tastes good too. And I am a good cook. I do come from a family of good cooks.

We go through a lot of chicken at our house and we cook it by the bag-full. I confess, I don't buy free range organic chicken. I'm not a billionaire.

One day last week when I asked my husband if he had time to cook the chicken the next day he said he thought so. I looked at his schedule...packed. I suggested if he didn't have time I could throw it in the crock pot overnight.

He will not eat it that way. So, I guess my suggestion came out as a threat. He said he indeed had time. As it turned out though the wind was gusting at 50 MPH and grilling was out of the question.

"What did you do to this chicken?!" I asked him taking a bite. It was the most moist, succulent chicken I'd ever had. Turns out, I've been doing it all wrong. He baked it at 325 degrees for 20 minutes, turned it added spices and baked another 20 minutes.

He went on to explain the extravagant foil structure he created on a cookie sheet to facilitate this process. I think men like to build stuff. He explained how he built two structures on two sheets rotating the sheets to get both batches done. I was very proud of him.

I had been baking it too hot, drying it out so that it was hardly tolerable. Let's just say I have changed my chicken ways and our family is much happier. I put my foil inside my broiler pan though, it already has sides.

For the most moist and succulent chicken, turn down the heat, or just put a man in charge of it. *smile

Saturday, March 3, 2012

212: The Extra Degree

by Kris Pitcher

What separates good from great? Is it the difference between just showing up in life and doing something more? What if you went the extra degree? Watch this 3 minute video...

212: The Extra Degree

In competition, in business, and in life a very few actually go the extra degree. It's hard. It takes extra time, time away from your hobbies, families...your movie line up.

Those who make the extra effort reap the reward. Will you be standing next to that person? Or will you BE that person? The choice is really yours.

I think about the goals I hear people say they would like to achieve in their health and fitness pursuits...but when it really comes down to it, they don't want to actually change their life.

Make it boil!
It's being accountable and taking responsibility for enacting change in your life which brings change in your health and in your body. Want those six pack abs? Do the work. Period.

It takes one degree. What will that look like in your life? Be the change you want, and live that right now. Don't wait for's all within you. Take charge and take your life the extra degree. Make life boil!

Friday, March 2, 2012

You On A Cleanse

by Kris Pitcher

People wonder if they should go on liquid cleanses, to "detox" their bodies. For those of you who have been around for a while, you know how I feel about these types of things. But I thought you should know why I take the position I do.

Many cleanses are juice based, or some version there of. Whether it's fruit or vegetable based the reaction in your system is similar. As you begin your cleanse, you signal your body by drinking the juice. The signal sent is one of hunger. It's hunger due to the insulin response.

The insulin surge moves the juice from your blood stream into your cells to be stored as glycogen. Once your blood sugar level has been reduced, you get hungry. The cycle begins.

Cleanses are typically very low calorie as well. This is set up so that we can use the glycogen stores in the muscles and liver. OK. But it only takes a few days at this rate to run out of these stores. We then go into a state called ketosis. We begin to burn fat for fuel.

But without the right nutrients coming into our body (protein), our brain is lacking amino acids. We begin to rob from our muscle to get the necessary fuel for our not so clear brain. At this point we're not burning fat efficiently, and we've taken to catabolizing our muscle mass to get what we need.

After all, juice is all we're getting in, right? Without solid food our intestines are struggling, we get diarrhea and although we're on a liquid diet...we're getting dehydrated.

And after the cleanse you are left with less muscle mass meaning a decrease in metabolism. You've been in a perceived starvation mode leading to fat storage, and muscle loss. This is not a good scenario. Not to mention you've been in a depressed mental fog for a week.

All in the name of detoxification. If we think about it, our liver detoxifies our body. Lots of insoluble fiber and a healthy colon is one of our best methods of keeping things regularly cleaned out. If you're having regular bowel movements, you're good. Additionally, flushing our system with water and keeping our cells hydrated literally perks us up.

Eating clean, exercising regularly and getting plenty of rest are all we need to stay "cleansed". Leave the liquid diet to someone who doesn't know any better. You're smarter than that!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Motivation Mistakes

by Kris Pitcher

People ask me about motivation all the time. I get asked two things. How do I stay motivated to workout all the time, and how do I stay motivated to write a blog every day.

There are some really simple motivation mistakes we make. It's no wonder we ebb and flow with our enthusiasm for exercise. When we put a few of these things together...we're destined to drop out.

The first one is doing it for anyone but yourself. If your motivation to exercise is to make someone else like your body better, to love you more, to accept you, to find you attractive again, or any variation there of. You. Are. In. Trouble.

Doing this for someone else will breed resentment. Eventually. And we need more than a three minute blog to dig deep into that. You have to be doing this for yourself in order to remain motivated to do it day after day. After day. Repeat.

Being able to make lifestyle changes takes a commitment to yourself, and that means you need to be doing this for you. This is simple and when we approach it from this perspective of self love, it's a whole new journey.

The next biggie on the motivation mistake list is trying to use our super human shield of being able to overcome temptation. When we put ourselves in the path of temptation over and over again...we will soon be up to our elbows in margaritas and nachos. Or, whatever the temptation is in our path.

Tempting willpower is like not wearing your seat belt in the car. You always wear your seat belt in the car. Period. Likewise, you control your environment when it comes to food. You just do. Otherwise it chips away at your motivation and you break down.

Motivation mistakes like these are really no brainers when we break them down. Do this for you foremost. And don't try to be superman, or wonder woman, and sit in the middle of a pile of cupcakes when you are on a plan. Cupcakes are not on your plan. And like a dog, we can't help but roll in the cupcakes.

So, how do I stay motivated to workout? And how do I keep writing witty (oh that was me) blogs every day? I do it for me. That might sound funny, because without you I realize I'm nothing.

But...I write because it keeps me focused on my fitness pursuits. I see the world through my fitness lens and I want to share it. My motivation is internal.

As for my workouts, they are just part of who I am. I owe much of that to my husband who champions me. I'm a better, more balanced, happier person because I exercise. My contest date keeps me on my eating plan...along with seeing the changes and meeting the goals along the way. My motivation is internal.

I do both ultimately to please myself. I'm fortunate to please many of you, most of the time, along the way. I thank you for that. Your motivation is in you too. Find it, it's there when you look in the right place.