Monday, April 30, 2012

Benefits of Foam Rolling

by Kris Pitcher

If you haven't gotten down on the ground and rolled yourself all over a foam roll you're missing out. There's a reason dogs and cats roll all around on the feels great! They're also using the dust to get bugs off of them, which incidentally isn't a part of this.

The foam roll is one of the top three pieces of fitness equipment in the most recent IDEA fitness professional survey. I've got one at home and keep one at work too. They come in various shapes and sizes.

When we purchased ours we bought a long one and got out the serrated kitchen knife and cut it in half to make two. It was more cost effective than buying two short ones. Smart me.

Basically, you use your body weight to roll along the foam roll to do "self massage". In the fitness world we're using it for muscle activation (MA) and ART or active release therapy. It's used for soft tissue work of the muscles and tendons.

Using your body weight, you roll a muscle over the foam roll looking for trigger, or tender, points. Rolling decreases muscle density in that area allowing for increased blood flow.

Foam rolling is the poor man's massage. It is a great tool for using post workout as an addition to your stretching, or preworkout. But don't think this is a passive, feel good massage - it's work. You need to be able to get down on the floor and manage and manipulate your body weight over the roll.

Rolling over those trigger points, or tender spots can also be painful - especially at first. I've incorporated foam rolling following my quad workouts, and boy-howdy! That's painful! But I think it's changing the way I'm able to train, and the way my legs are responding.

Try one of the top three pieces of equipment in your routine with foam rolling. And now you know what that cylindrical tube-thing is at the gym.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Five Minute Cardio Program!

by Kris Pitcher

Cardio is an integral component of your program. It's one of your pillars of success as you look to burn fat and make a dent in those unwanted pounds. And you can do it in just five minutes!

Five minutes at a time that is. What I mean by that is breaking it down into increments you can handle. As a beginner, 10 minutes may be all you are able to complete. That's just fine.

Add five more minutes each week. Now, as a progressed athlete, or as a regular exerciser - you may be doing 30 or 45 minutes. Here's where the 5 minute cardio program comes's a trick for your brain.

Can you talk yourself into doing just 5 more minutes? Usually you can. And when that 5 minutes has passed you're thinking, "That wasn't so bad!"

I'd be a liar if I said I loved doing cardio. I love it when my cardio is over. I love the feeling when I've accomplished it, and when I can check it off for the day. I love the fact that I get results from doing it.

But in the moment...I do not love it. I use the 5 minute trick because it works. Before I know it, I've done 25 or 30 minutes. By then I'm on the home stretch. There is no magic to getting it done, but there is magic to coping and making it easier.

Scrimping on your cardio is one of the ways to ensure you aren't making forward progress. It's easy to watch time fly by in increments of time. Try the 5 minute trick and see if you can do just five more. It'll be over before you know it!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Body Confidence

by Kris Pitcher

Raise your hand if you would rather wear a sweat suit than a swim suit right now? Some of us would rather cover up...WAY up!

But when I think about body confidence, I'm not talking about what you're willing to wear. I'm talking about how you feel about your body. Just you.

Do you see yourself as a whole, or in parts? My arms, my thighs, my belly, my butt...or do you see me? Moving forward on the body confidence scale starts with seeing yourself in your entirety, versus compartmentalizing yourself.

If we are just parts and pieces we aren't whole. Confidence comes from being whole, feeling whole. It comes from feeling at peace with our entire self.

Similarly, we don't just focus on one part to "fix". We don't just work chest, or just biceps. We gain body confidence by not only working the things we like to work, but also challenging ourselves to work the part that are hard too.

Being confident in ourselves as a whole helps us direct a certain energy both inward and outward. We project that confidence outward, and we feel grounded in it internally. Confidence is more about being comfortable than conceited.

Body confidence breathes a certain air about it. You can tell when a woman feels confident about who she it, and in her skin. She carries herself differently than someone who doesn't feel that way about herself.

And the same goes for men. A quiet confidence is much more attractive than someone strutting around trying to prove something. Where are you on the body confidence scale? Start by considering how you see yourself.

Begin to build yourself up rather than tear yourself down. Begin by accepting compliments and being gracious about it. Begin by seeing yourself as a whole person with a body you are proud of and love. Body confidence begins with you.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Live Your Dreams!

by Kris Pitcher

They say if you live your dreams you'll never feel like you're working a day in your life. Most people don't live their dreams though. They save their dreams for...later.

They figure they'll live them in retirement, or when things settle down, or when the market recovers. Those things may never happen for any of us. So, why not live your dreams right now?

It's about happiness really. It's about doing the things and creating the life you dream of. If there is something you would love to do. You should do it now.

Sure it's scary to switch directions, to change careers, or to take the big jump and start a business. What ever your dream looks like you can do it. And you should.

People who live their dreams are those people we look at and think - wow, they've got it together! They do have it together because they love what they're doing. What ever it may be, they are loving it.

And wouldn't you love to love it too? I think we should all do more of the things we dream of and less of the things we "have" to do. Is it possible to turn your hobby into a job? Maybe not all at once, but it could happen bit by bit.

The more we follow our dreams the more we live a fulfilling life, one we choose. You don't have to quit your day job. Just consider what your life might look like if you began to follow your dreams. It's somehow freeing just to make those considerations.

You are not bound by anything but your own imagination. Create the life you want by following your dreams. It starts by doing the things that make you happy, the things you love. Don't save it all for "later" start some of it now!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Wardrobe Malfunctions

by Kris Pitcher

Last week I had a number of mornings which included wardrobe malfunctions. Now, my mornings are highly organized, timed events. I'm on a tight schedule, and I don't have time for the items on the hangers not to work out.

The first malfunction came when I tried to incorporate color into my outfit by wearing my light blue sweater. It was a little snug and looked, even with a slightly padded bra, like I'd been in the freezer for an hour. This would not be acceptable.

The second malfunction came another day when I slipped a pair of black slacks (I know) on and they felt like they'd been shrunk by some time-warp machine. I looked at my thighs...looked at the slacks. Not the usual ones in my normal rotation. Not acceptable.

I wish Stacy and Clinton would pluck me off the street and tell me What Not To Wear. Now, I know you should be careful what you wish for. But, I would dutifully try on my wardrobe for them while they crossed their arms and hissed at me.

I would let them tell me to throw it away. I would cringe as they clunked my several pairs of Dansko's into the bin. They would however, let me keep my black boots. That's about the only thing I have worth keeping.

I would let them take me shopping so they could see that indeed, nothing fits me. Pants do not come up over my thighs. The ones which do, have enough room for two people in the waist. Brows would furrow when they tried to slip me into a suit jacket - hmm? She's too wide?

We would try jersey knits and jeans with lycra. Most would be too long, too short, too tight, too loose. They would try dresses that would look disproportionate, and suits that would need extensive tailoring.

Ultimately they might find themselves exhausted at trying to fit me into the industry's standard. They can fit bigger girls, square girls, tom-boy looking girls, even skinny girls...they can fit younger girls, older ladies and those who've dressed "age inappropriate" for years. They've turned hippies, gunnie sack wearers, and all types into fashionistas.

But a fit girl with weekly wardrobe malfunctions? I don't know. I'm certainly not willing to change me or my shape for the clothes. If they don't fit, they don't fit.

I think I'll continue purging what doesn't work for me any more...and maybe I'll get a little better with my sewing machine. Because this fit girl is just getting fitter!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Potassium for Muscle Contraction

by Kris Pitcher

Potassium is one of my favorite micro nutrients to talk about because it's all about muscle contraction. And you know nothing gets me more excited than muscle contraction!

Well, maybe some things do. But nutrition is WAY up there on the exciting scale. Potassium is one of our electrolytes. It helps us regulate fluid and mineral uptake.

Guess what you're not getting enough of? Well, sure there's that...but today we're talking potassium. Most people don't get the U.S. RDA of 4700 mg/day. In fact, most people get less than half.

We all know bananas to be a good source. But did you know that baked potatoes are an excellent source of this power house mineral? Just don't load it up with bacon, butter and sour cream.

Tomato sauce is also an excellent source with 453 mg per 1/2 cup. It's easy to make your own so you are not getting added ingredients like sugar from processed brands, which you can do without.

Eating more fruits and vegetables will help you get enough potassium in your diet. Without this important micro nutrient we experience malfunctions in muscle contraction including cardiac muscle. If you're heart isn't're in trouble.

Look up your favorite fruits and veggies to see how much potassium you're getting daily. You won't know unless you do a little research on what you're eating. But isn't that the fun part of nutrition?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Who Do You Appreciate?

by Kris Pitcher

Do you remember the last time you did something really great? I mean super, awesome, great? And you waited for someone to notice and recognize you...and you waited, and waited.

No one ever noticed. You felt bad, got grumpy and stomped around a bit with your bottom lip out. When someone asked you what was the matter, you lied and said, "Nothing!"

It stinks to wait around to be appreciated. It's disappinting and it's frustrating. I am suggesting you just quit it. You shouldn't be waiting around for anyone to appreciate you. Ever.

It's part why you go about doing things and part appreciating yourself. We'll start with the why you go about doing things part.

If you do things to please other people, you're waiting for them to appreciate you for having done them. If you just do the things because you are happy to do them, or because doing them makes you happy - you'll never be waiting.

Doing those things will be the happiness. Sure you do things for other people, but not to be noticed for doing them. We do them to make that person's day better, sunnier, smoother. We do them because it makes us feel good.

The second part is appreciating yourself. Waiting for external appreciation which may never come is backward. Appreciate yourself first, love yourself first and what you put out will come back to you.

Our disposition in the way we go about things sets us up to either be eternally disappointed and frustrated, or self-satisfied that we are doing from the heart. No more stomping around for any of us, if I've done something good for you...I've done it for me too. *smile

Monday, April 23, 2012


by Kris Pitcher

We finished watching a DVD recently and my husband joked that we better rewind it before we returned it. Then he said, "Remember when we had a separate machine to rewind?"

Remember the saying - be kind, rewind! I'm sure many of you don't so I'll quit reminiscing and get to the point. The point is it made me think about undoing things. Have you ever wished you could undo things?

Like, maybe the weekend? I find that a lot of people do really well all week and then cut loose on the weekend and throw all caution to the wind. Their diet goes down the toilet with their inhibitions and their progress.

The reality is we can't rewind. We cant' undo what we've done. We can only do what we're doing. We can only plan what we are going to do...and then do it. We don't get to undo them. The two steps forward and one step back phenomenon can be really frustrating.

The rewind mentality keeps you frustrated about things that have already happened, instead of being focused on the present. Keep yourself focused on right now, on doing what you need to be doing. Then you'll always be doing what you need to do in order to get to your goals.

There's no special machine for it, there's just us, our plans, our accountability and desire to get to our goals. Be kind, don't think to rewind!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Get What You Want In Bed!

by Kris Pitcher

Ladies, and guys, I know what you want. It's time you get EXACTLY what you want in bed. Don't be shy. It's time to get what's yours. You need to let it be known, oh yes!

You want your pillow to stay under your head, where you put it. You want to let go of the covers and have them remain on your body. You want the cat to unchain your feet. You want to be released from the clenches of your "loved one" and you want your side of the bed...all to yourself.

That's right, you want to sleep through the night. I know you want it. Sleep is critical to our well being, and we aren't getting it. There are some simple things to make it easier to get what you want in bed. And it starts with creating the right space.

Now, many of you aren't going to like this...but TVs are not for bedrooms. Your bedroom is for sleeping, and um...grown up stuff. It's not for watching TV, being on the computer, or taking phone calls. This stuff is ruining your sleep.

Pets can drive you nuts. Some of you have a small forest worth of animals on the bed, and there's hardly space for you. The animals should have their own bed (on the floor) right next to yours. We know we're a pack, but fido needs to get off the bed.

Buy a larger flat sheet and comforter. If you are always playing tug of war with the covers it's not because your partner is trying to expose you to the frigid night air. It's because they don't have any covers either. This is a simple fix.

Turn the air temperature down a few notches. We sleep better when the temperature is a little cooler. And ladies, put a pair of socks on. When our feet are warm, it's off to dream-land.

Removing the clutter from your bedroom creates a sanctuary for sleep. Having a comfortable bed with plenty of pillows and covers for each of you will keep everyone happy. Making a few small changes will help everyone sleep better.

Now get to spring cleaning the bedroom, and get that TV out of there. You'll figure out what to do!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Lose A Pound!

by Kris Pitcher

So, the other week I lost a pound. I was pretty excited about it. But I would never tell anyone (except you) about it because they'd scrunch up their eyebrows and say, "Just one?"

Progress can and should be slow. Do you have any idea what it takes to lose a pound of fat? We are talking about fat here. Not water or other fluids, and certainly not muscle. Just the fat.

A pound is equal to 3,500 calories. Now, I wouldn't want you to pay much attention to the calorie count on the cardio machine. Don't get me started on how inaccurate those are.

Let's just say for the sake of illustration that you burn 300 calories in your 45 minute cardio session. You would need to do almost 12 sessions to burn that pound. I know!

I made a tiny observation one night while I was killing time on the elliptical (which after only 10 minutes makes my feet go to sleep?)...everyone around me was carrying a lot of extra adipose tissue. Yep, fat.

All the runners on the treadmills, all the people on the ellipticals, the bikes and even those cross elliptical/stepper things. I have two theories about my observation. First, most of them were working at a very high intensity. Second, I question whether they are paying attention to the most important factor in losing that measly one pound.

Working at a high intensity brings us into an anaerobic state, one where we aren't efficiently burning fat for fuel. So while they may be burning more overall calories, they're not burning fat. There are pros and cons to this. Just an observation.

The most important factor in losing that one pound? What happens in the kitchen. You could say I'm committed to what happens in the kitchen. I have to question the average exerciser though. And I know it's hard. That's why they're not losing the one pound.

You can cut down the time it take to lose that pound by combining exercise and diet. What a concept! Maybe I'll write a book! But really, it works and most people don't do it.

Be proud of that pound you lost, I know it took a lot of work! I'm certainly proud of the one I lost, and there are many more where that one came from ;) Don't discount what it takes to lose just one pound.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Did You Feel That?

by Kris Pitcher

What was that? Did you feel that? Was it happiness, loneliness, anger, confusion, or frustration? Those are feelings. It's OK to feel them.

One of the things that derails us faster than you can say, "Cupcake!" are our emotions. But I'm here to tell you it's normal to have emotions and it's alright to feel your feelings.

Now, I'm not going to suggest we all sit in a circle and hold hands here. Although that sounds kind of nice...

The thing is, you don't need to numb yourself from them. And you don't have to feed them away.

We are emotional creatures and we've allowed ourselves to cope with emotions and feelings by eating and drinking them away. It's socially acceptable to have a drink after a hard day, or to celebrate something great by going out for ice cream.

It hasn't served us well. So, the next time you feel something - just feel it. Let it settle, and deal with what ever is causing you to feel that way. It's a much healthier way to cope with our feelings and emotions than sabotaging our efforts.

And if you want to sit in a big cyber circle and hold hands we can, that's what we're here for!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Vilified Foods

by Kris Pitcher

Remember when fat was a vilified food group? Carbs are under the gun now, but each has had it's moment under the spotlight of nutritional shame.

These cycles of marketing follow trends of one sort or another. A diet book, a "new" way of eating, the next greatest magic way to lose weight once and for all. We've combined our foods, banished certain foods, and for often unfounded reasons we spread bad information like butter.

The topic I love, especially because I am a competitor, is protein. Even amongst ourselves we tend to spread the notion that protein is hard on our kidneys and we are taxing our systems.

The truth is that for normal healthy exercising adults without renal compromise protein consumption in "high" levels does not tax the kidneys. Yet we hear from our doctors that it does. I've yet to meet a doctor, no offense, who knows anything about exercise science or nutrition.

Yes we need to be drinking water, everyone needs to be drinking water. Protein does need to be broken down and processed, as do all nutrients. The difference for the athlete is we are using the protein we are ingesting.

Our needs in building and repairing are greater than the sedentary adult thus the requirement for more protein. But protein isn't a villain here. And we shouldn't be spreading false information based on studies done on patients with renal failure.

Of course people with compromised renal function are taxed by protein, they are taxed by everything passing through their kidneys. Learn about information before parroting it, find the source and decide if it's relevant to you.   

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Cut That Out!

by Kris Pitcher

I lost a pound last week by doing NOTHING at all. Nothing! Well, wasn't nothing. It was doing what I was supposed to be doing. It all started with a plan.

See, I have a plan. And I had been doing my plan. But I hadn't JUST been doing my plan. I had been doing other stuff. I had been doing "extra curricular" nibbling, eating out and joining my husband for the occasional Friday afternoon tuna sandwich.

Yeah, see tuna sandwiches are not on my plan. So, when I decided it was time to tighten things up I knew I had to cut all that out. It meant getting really honest about all the things that I was doing "under the radar".

Sometimes we think we're following a plan, but we're actually doing a lot of extra curricular stuff that we aren't being honest about. So, week one - get back to the plan. And JUST the plan. I didn't change anything else.

When I announced that I was down a pound, Jacques asked what I was doing. He wanted to know if I started a diet? "No, I'm just following the diet you gave me. The one posted on the fridge." I told him.

And that's how it starts. You clean it up, and you cut out the funny business. My funny business included, as you know, raisins from the pantry, extra nuts while I was packing my meals...the occasional weeknight (tiny) bowl of ice cream, and cereal once in a while. Total loosy-goosey stuff.

My contest season began. It started with backtracking to the diet I was - mostly - doing. The difference is now I am doing it. I wonder what would happen if you cut out a little bit of your funny business?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Chipped Off!

by Kris Pitcher

I was changing at the gym (not in the toilet!), and I noticed this pink fleck fly from my foot to the floor. I looked at it, and looked at my foot. It was my nail had petrified right off my toe!

My brain did a quick mental long had it been? How long does it take for paint to literally fall off your body? Definitely more than two weeks...could it have been a month? I looked closer at my toes, and yes it could have easily been a month.

Wow! I was kind of chipped off. How does the time get lost? How do you neglect simple self care like a pedicure? Are weekends so busy that I don't have 20 minutes to cut and paint my nails?

Yes they are. And there are never enough minutes in the day, or hours, or days in the week to do all the things we need to do. Never. We have to prioritize and sometimes when we do, "we" come in last on the list.

Fitting time in for ourselves is as important as taking care of everyone else in our lives. Being able to focus on our workouts for one hour is time well spent. Taking a few extra minutes on the weekend to make sure you are taken care of is well worth it too.

We're in for a busy season as the spring contests begin. It's great fun, we'll see shows, judge shows, and Jacques will take clients to shows. The weekends will be busy, but I will not be chipped off. These toes are taken care of! And yours should be too ;)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Once A Day Mentality

by Kris Pitcher

There are some nuts you just can't crack. Coaching someone is one thing, but in the casual conversation I've learned to pick my battles and I pretty much know you don't want to hear what I have to say.

Somethin' wrong with the thinker!
"I never eat breakfast, that would only make me hungry!" It starts. "Besides, I usually only eat once a day...if I ate more than that, I'd be huge!"

I give up - I think to myself as I smile and nod my head. What I want to say is, "How's that working for you?" Because from here, you have zero lean body mass, and you might be height weight proportionate but you are FAT. Sorry.

When we eat once a day we essentially shut off our metabolism. Our energy takes a dive and we are in the basement of functionality. Of course eating breakfast makes you hungry - you are turning on your metabolism!

Because we are getting no fuel our body catabolizes itself, eating up our muscle mass and saving our fat for the final hours, just before death. We are literally wasting away. By doing this we lose the very tissue which requires energy and helps us burn fat. We stop our fat burning.

Now, we're just a small fat person. Gross. But hey, if you want to squish your fat into your size 4's and eat once a day by all means don't let common sense or science stop you. Your once a day mentality isn't fooling anyone. You aren't winning any health award either. You're just a nut.  

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Fresh Look

by Kris Pitcher

Sometimes you just feel like you need a face lift. It's a difficult thing, because change can be uncomfortable for some people. But I would argue you are savvy, forward thinkers who can take a little nudge with a fresh look.

I used to really love my look. Then on April Fool's day I changed it thinking I would just change it right back. Only I couldn't quite get the look back I had been so accustomed to. And ever since I've been not as excited about it. With that, I decided we could use a fresh look at Fitness Bliss.

Spring is a good time to take a fresh look at a lot of things. A couple of weeks ago I had a meeting with a vendor who had come up from Los Angeles. Let's just say she did not fit into our black and grey office theme dress code.

She was such a refreshing concept. She was full of color, fun she had those crazy nails with all the bling, designs, and tiny dioramas on them. I half expected to see some scene from a Day of the Dead shadow box on her index finger (which she did not have).

It made me think about the doldrums of my winter wardrobe and how desprately I need to take a fresh look at putting some color into my life. I've already promissed all of you I won't buy another pair of black pants (unless I really, really need them).

Welcome to spring! Take a fresh look at your wardrobe, your workout, your meal plan. Take a new look at your goals, your hopes and your nails. What a great time of year to take a fresh look!  

Saturday, April 14, 2012


by Kris Pitcher

Do you have what it takes to be a loser? That's right a loser? Usually we want a winning attitude, but in this case it takes a special kind of attitude to be a loser.

Weight management is a process. It's not a program that starts and ends. It is a process that is life long. You know my mantra: you only have to do weight management as long as you want it to work.

It's a losers attitude that this is something you will do for a lifetime. You don't just diet for a wedding, a reunion or a contest. You manage your weight for the rest of your life.

Recently I was explaining to my new colleagues (who I love) about my contest diet. I was eating chicken and broccoli out of a Pyrex container as I was explaining. One of them said, "I can't wait to see what your diet looks like if this is how you eat now!"

It doesn't look all that different. My habits don't drastically change...because it's something I do all the time. The amounts of food will change, but it will look the same.

It will look the same because I manage my weight off season just the same as during prep. We should all have that mentality. We always manage our weight. It's not a program that stops, but a process that continues. It's endless.

We don't get to a magic place and it's all over. Poof! We've arrived! Nope. If we want to stay there we keep working. Those same behaviors that get us to our goal, keep us there. This is the loser's attitude.

In order to be a lifelong loser, like me, you've got to make the mental shift. This isn't something you do for a short time. I've been successfully managing for 20 years. And I will continue to be a loser for the long haul.

No, it's not easy. But I am happy with the result. It's my lifestyle. And I'm OK with being a total loser! LOL!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Public Service Announcement

by Kris Pitcher

This is a public service announcement:
I am not the fitness police.

I'm also not the fitness confessional...although I do love gossip, and will keep your stories (mostly) to myself. I actually love that people tell me stuff. I also love that people feel accountable to me.

Now in all fairness, there's two Kris' here. There's the Kris associated with Team Pitcher. Yes, you are accountable to me, and yes you can make your confessionals to me, and yes those are in strict professional confidence.

I'm talking about the "regular" Kris. Every day me. It's the people I'm surrounded with, who are great people, and I enjoy you all very much. But let's put it this way, just because you knit...I am not going to take up knitting or explain to you why I am not currently knitting.

See? And in that same light, you don't have to explain to me why you are not currently exercising. You don't have to tell me when you will begin exercising again, or explain why you went through the drive through to get your lunch. Not necessary.

I do like to talk about it, and I'm happy to. But ultimately you won't want to do what I'm suggesting and I'll get tired of telling you the same thing and eventually we'll find it easier to talk about knitting.

It's not your fault, everyone does it. Sometimes I think I must have a neon light on my forehead that says, "Fitness Police - Confess Here". It's the checker at Walmart, the lady at the post's everyone.

So, we'll just clear it up. I'm happy to talk about it, or not. And, I don't carry a badge because I am not the fitness police.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Nutrient Bioavailability

by Kris Pitcher

What the heck is bioavailability? Well, food conscious people have been looking to get the best nutrients from the most efficient forms. Like any nutritional choice, this is a very value laden topic.

Many people would prefer to get their nutrients, and we are talking about micro nutrients typically here, from their food only. This means they do not prefer taking a supplement to get their micro nutrients.

It's smart to try to get the majority of our vitamins and minerals from the foods we eat each day. There's nothing "wacky" going on in this ideology.

Now, because everything needs a name...this is called functional food. Right. It cracked me up too. Isn't all food functional? Anyway...

Bioavailability refers to the body's ability to use a nutrient. It's measured by how well a vitamin or mineral for example is digested, absorbed and how well it's distributed. It's also measured as to whether or not it's actually taken up by specific body tissues for use.

How we grow, process and store food all effect the bioavailability of its nutrients. Consider the soil it's grown in for example. If the soil is not rich in nutrients, the plant we are growing will not have those nutrients either.

The more highly processed foods are the more those vitamins and minerals are stripped away. The further that food travels from the farm to your table the longer it is exposed to light which diminishes the nutrients even more.

As we take into consideration our preparation methods, cooking brings some nutrients to life and destroys others. Nutrient combinations are necessary for absorption in some cases and diminish absorption in others. It's complex. It's a science.

The big picture take away is if you eat a wide variety of different colors of vegetable s and fruits daily, eat whole grains, lean proteins, dairy and healthy fats you are likely getting the nutrients required - in some areas.

Many of us do not eat a wide variety of food from the various groups and can benefit from a micro nutrient supplement. You can have blood work done to check your nutrient levels to determine if you should be supplementing or not. You can always check with your physician to determine guidance in this area.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Control Freak!

by Kris Pitcher

Occasionally, when I'm trudging around with my cooler full of meals and my tiny containers with their portioned one ounce almond/walnut mix...I wonder if I look like a freak.

"Everyone has to eat." I tell myself. I wonder if other people feel conspicuous with their super-sized meal? Probably not. That's normal after all, right?

I have a system!
My preference is to control what I can control. It snowed last Friday, so I know I can't control the weather. But I can eat what I'm supposed to eat in order to meet my goals. They are my goals, it would only make sense for me to work to get there.

And maybe it's the monotony of the food. It is literally the same thing meal after meal, day after day, week after week. This works for me. I don't need "variety". But maybe it's that monotony that seems so conspicuous to others.

I'll tell you what, it doesn't matter to me. It doesn't matter if I stick out like a big ol' thumb. It doesn't matter if I drag (figuratively) my cooler along where I go each day. I don't care if you see me take a bag of chicken out of my purse to put on the plain salad I just ordered at the restaurant.

It doesn't matter because I've got a plan. It's not so much that I'm a control freak...I mean you should see my house. I control nothing. The piles of magazines that come in and never go out. The office which has crept from it's designated room up to the kitchen table. My creative space which looks like it was hit with a hurricane. Don't care.

What I do care about is the plan. The plan is I'll be on stage competing, and I know what I need to do to get there. Period. So, I eat the way I'm supposed to eat, and I do my workouts.

Maybe we should all be freaks about something important to us. But maybe a more fair name would be passion freaks?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I'm The Wrong Naked

by Kris Pitcher

Let's face it, working out helps us look better without our clothes on. Recently, when I was talking about starting my diet someone said, "Well, you look great!"

Thank you! But it's all relative to what you're wearing frankly. And when I'm wearing my posing suit on stage...if I were in the condition I'm in RIGHT NOW I would look like a sausage that had come out of it's casing.

Sure in my business clothes I look fine. But I'm the wrong naked. My husband would disagree (thank you honey). But, to get on stage I've got serious work to do.

Most of that work will happen with my eating. What are your plans to become the right naked? Are you following the plan set forth? Yeah, neither have I.

The first thing I'll do is follow the plan I've been given. I mean follow it to a "T". With no extras. None. Nada. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Not even one raisin. I pinkie swear.

Then we watch for change and make adjustments. That's how the process works. So, get on board. The winter is over and you can't hide any longer. It's time to get on track so you can get on the course, the beach, the boat etc. And you want to be the right naked!

Monday, April 9, 2012

How to Change Your Life!

by Kris Pitcher

"Lose weight to change your life..." the commercial touted. I just cringed. Here was another mass media, heavily marketed magic bullet plan. A plan that has it all wrong.

You don't lose weight to change your life. How exactly do you think your life is going to change? That's exactly the opposite of what happens.

You change your life to lose weight. This commercial plan proposes the exact mentality that I've been trying to help people fight for twenty years - if...then.

If I lose weight, then my life will be better. We have to turn that around. If your life is better, then you will lose weight. You can't wait for a better life? That makes no sense. You create it!

By creating it you make the things happen that will get you to your goals. Want a happy life? Go for a walk in the sunshine. Eat a healthy well balanced plan. Spend time doing the things you like with the people you love.

Those are the things which get you to your goals. If you lose weight, those things don't magically happen for you. Nothing magically happens for you! You make them happen. And by doing so, you create happiness.

You change your life to lose weight. Period. There is no waiting, there is only now. Do the things now that will get you moving in the right direction toward your goals. There is no if/ have right now. Go get it!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Make Believe

by Kris Pitcher

As a little girl I played make believe a lot. It was in the days when kids got together to play, we even played...outside. I know!

It's only natural that the spirit of make believe worked it's way into my adult life, and ultimately into my dieting life. Not coming together yet? Don't worry the connection is just scary.

Well, maybe not scary. But when I first started dieting, my make believe skills came right into high gear creating all kinds of "diet goodies". Now, diet goodies are like jumbo shrimp a great big oxymoron.

I'm not saying you are a moron. I'm saying I was pretending I could have goodies when I was cutting those very things out of my eating plan. It was make believe. For instance, my famous protein powder cake.

You take one scoop protein powder, an egg white, a teaspoon of cocoa powder, and a packet of truvia. Mix that up and put it in the microwave for around 25 seconds. The timing is experimental. Too long and it's a sponge you can't even wash the dishes with.

But the point is, I shouldn't be telling my brain we can eat cake while we are dieting. It's make believe. And I hear people telling me all about their make believe food they are crafting out of "legal" ingredients and I just sigh inside.

The real leap is that when I stopped making believe food, I actually had an easier time dieting. I was sending different messages to my brain. I had jumped over the goodie chasm in my mind and I was able to walk down the path without this big "thing" in my way.

You can make believe food if you want. But I'm done - I've made the shift. And that is no make believe.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Pleaded Pants

by Kris Pitcher

Early one morning I looked at myself in the bathroom mirror then at the slacks on the hanger I was about to put on. I wondered if my pants were going to fit over my curves. Then, I pleaded with those pants, "Please, please fit over my hips!"

Those pants did fit, thanks to their 5% spandex...but they were snug. Then I put my top on. My arms felt like sausages in the sleeves that hugged my upper arms. I am plumping right out of everything.

There comes a time when enough is enough. I looked at the calendar and my contest is 23 weeks away. It is time to start dieting. Almost. And while I know I will regret saying this later...I can't wait to start.

It's just that I've become uncomfortable in my skin. I feel like I am taking up too much space. Nothing fits. I am not a medium...and I'm not to the left of that, but way over to the right. I'm a large.

People look at me and say, "But you look small?" Well, tell that to my 8/10 top that is generously cut because it doesn't fit me. I'm big, for being little. The difficult part is, that has been my goal.

Getting bigger was the plan, it was the goal. And I did it. I have made gains. Muscular gains. Balancing being happy about that and feeling like I'm going to hulk out of my suit jacket is tricky. I know that when I diet off this extra layer I'm going to be pleased with the progress I made during the off season.

But enough is enough and I'm ready to head in the other direction. Shortly I'll step (backwards) on the scale to get a starting weight and we'll be off and running for another 20 some weeks of contest preparation.

It won't be long before I'm pleading with those same pants not to fall off in the parking lot as I'm walking into work. "Please, please don't pop this bobby pin!"

Friday, April 6, 2012

Relationship Neglect

by Kris Pitcher

This might sound funny but stop paying so much attention to the kids. A healthy relationship will help you in your pursuits. You need the support and strength, but it's going to take some work.

Couples tend to focus on the kids, the jobs, the "stuff". What ends us happening is they stop paying attention to the couple. My advice, ditch the kids.

Your relationship needs work, attention and renewal. You need to spend adult time, doing adult things together. The two of you need to have fun like you used to and not worry about what the kids are doing.

Instead of neglecting one another and growing apart, take things in the other direction. Put down the to do lists for one weekend. Who cares if the house gets dusted? I'll tell you what needs some dusting off...

Plan a date, go out and do something fun and spend some time together - just the two of you. Don't talk about the kids, the jobs, or the taxes. Putting energy into your relationship will give you the renewal and the support you need to be a team.

And that's just what this takes, team work. You need your best supporter on your side for the long haul. All it takes is a little time and attention to get yourself out of relationship neglect.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Your Favorite Fast Food

by Kris Pitcher

This one surprised me. In a recent social media poll, our favorite fast food restaurant is...Starbucks. Yep, the coffee mogul rates higher than McDonald's and Burger King was dead last.

Here's what I love about statistics. The number of "likes" you have on face book determine who the winner is. So, naturally a savvy, young, social-media-mad company like Starbucks is going to come out on top. And apparently, the billions that BK serves just aren't that into social media.

If you haven't liked Starbucks yet you can add to the 29,299,522 likes which ranked it number one in this particular poll. I guess they do have all kinds of food now, and even wine bars? Hmm?

It might be a favorite of mine in that a cup of coffee is about the only thing worth eating at a fast food restaurant. A plain cup of coffee, no sprinkles and caramel machiato business.

I actually like that they are lumped into this category because it's easy to think a yogurt parfait is "healthy" but it can be a calorie trap loaded with sugar. And for everyone struggling to wonder why they aren't making headway on their plan when they just have "one cup of coffee a day"?

That one cup is actually 950 calories and for some reason the whipped cream on the top wasn't a give away. Well, there you have it, your favorite fast food restaurant. Me? I'll skip it all together.


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

New Look!

by Kris Pitcher

I'm going to hear about telling you this, but I'm going to tell you anyway. I'm telling you anyway because there is a lesson here.

I wear glasses. When you wear glasses they are a true part of your identity. Getting new glasses is a big deal. It's fun to pick them out, and the day you actually get to pick them's like a whole new you!

So, I went to pick up my new glasses which I wore for two days without my husband saying anything. Now, in his defense, we did have company at the house so he was distracted and I really only see him for two hours in the evening.

The first day I held my secret like a Cheshire cat. I was kind of giggly inside just waiting for him to notice. THEY SIT ON MY FACE FOR HEAVEN SAKE! Nothing.

The second day, I could wait no longer. "Honey, look me in the face." I demanded. "I see your new glasses," He said. "but I was busy talking."

Now...I think what he meant to say was - you look fantastic in your new glasses, I noticed them right away yesterday but with everything going on, I just neglected to tell you how beautiful and young you look.

OK, I'm getting to the point. The point is, we get caught up in the details of how we look. There are things that are really important to us, that other people don't really notice. We let things bother us that we shouldn't. We focus on little "flaws" which aren't flaws at all. In fact, no one else notices them.

Give yourself a break and cut yourself some slack. If you're a week past due for a hair cut, no one is going crazy over it except for you. Same with the minutia over your body parts.

He laughed and hugged me close and I told him I could see the crap out of him with my new glasses. He asked if I was disappointed, and I told him no, I love my new look.  

Monday, April 2, 2012

When No One's Looking

by Kris Pitcher

When no one's looking I stand in the pantry and eat raisins out of the container. Raisins are not on my plan. I love them. They are sweet and when they hit my tongue a rush of saliva fills my mouth and they start to plump up as I chew them.

When no one's looking I will put a spoon in the ice cream container. Just once. But still. My confession is not for self cleansing, although I do feel's because I'm on to you.

I know that "when no one's looking" is ruining your plan. It's wrecking your progress and it makes you feel kind of guilty. So here's the thing - you need to figure out how to be accountable to yourself.

We don't do this when other people are around because we are accountable to them. They know we are making efforts to eat a certain way...and raisins out of the container aren't on the plan.

This would be a good place to use your new 20 second window tool you just learned. In that 20 seconds you need to decide, will I eat this? Am I stressed, sad, tired, mad? Can I divert these feelings to another activity? Can I step away from the pantry? And the answer is yes you can.

Becoming accountable to yourself will be game changing for you. You will never have to look over your shoulder to see if anyone is looking. But don't feel like you're alone, or you've been caught because as long as you don't tell anyone about the raisins it will just be our secret. *wink

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Get Results NOW!

by Kris Pitcher

Did you know that you are just moments away from getting the results you want? This isn't just related to your fitness goals, this goes for anything you want. Anything!

The thing standing between you and your results, is follow through. You want to do the "thing" you just aren't following through. And there is something you can do about it.

Just 20 seconds stands between you and following through on actions that will get you toward your results. Twenty seconds. In that amount of time, you can either talk yourself into, or out of doing something.

So, it's up to you to take advantage of your 20 second window and choose to do the thing that will get you results right now. It's easy. You want to make progress toward your fitness goals? Put your shoes by the door and set your alarm clock 30 minutes early. When it goes off, you are out the door for a walk.

In 20 seconds, you can decide to pack your gym bag and put it in the car. When your work day is done, you are ready to hit the gym. It is your window of opportunity to think your way to get the results you want.

It's just as easy to talk yourself into doing the right things as it is to talk yourself out. That's the difference between people who succeed and those who don't. And all it takes is 20 seconds.

Pay attention as you make important decisions today, what are you doing in your 20 second window? I want to see you get the results in your life that you want. Right now!