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10 Things I Want My Daughter to Know About Working Out

I love this post so much.

wellfesto

Mid-way through a recent group exercise class, the teacher lost me.  She didn’t lose me because of some complicated step sequence or insanely long set of burpees; I mentally checked out because of a few words she kept saying over and over.  “Come on!  Get that body ready for your winter beach vacation!  Think about how you want to look at those holiday parties!  PICTURE HOW YOU’LL LOOK IN THAT DRESS!

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Why I think Frozen got it wrong

With the official news that Frozen 2 is under construction, I thought I’d take my anti-frozen rant to my blog. Because, yep, I think Frozen got it wrong.

Frozen was a revelation in movies aimed at young girls. It show cased two strong female roles, and it was the sister not the prince who saved the day – this is all pretty awesome

So why do I hate Frozen? Read on dear friend..

1. Mental health issues
Let’s me honest, Elsa has a serious anxiety disorder that her parents manage by teaching her that she should ‘not feel’ and to ‘conceal’ her issues/magic. It’s not her magic that is the issue, it’s her anxiety. Now this could be a powerful message on how anxiety (magic) can be managed, but no, let’s lock the crazy bitch up in the castle. That should sort her mental health issues out.. Seriously? WTF?

2. Skinny minny
Well done Disney for providing strong female leads. I am totally happy with that. But, why the fuck are they so skinny??? Women’s arms do not look like that, and head to body ratio in a normal body is not represented by their super skinny ladies. Come one Disney! They are not less awesome if they actually approach real girl proportions.

3. Elsa’s dress vs. Anna’s dress
Elsa’s escapes the castle and moves into the real world. At which point she dons awesome hair and a glorious dress, but decides she must live in solitude, because really no one can live with her mental illness!

Meanwhile Anna embarks on a super adventure where she overcomes her super bad judgment around men, and shows real fortitude and determination. To be frank, Anna kicks some serious ass in the saving of her sister. But who do little girls love? Not the girl with fortitude and determination; oh no. The girl with the nice dress is the ‘real hero’. Just ask my girls. How the fuck have we got to the point where a victim is the hero because she wears a nice dress. When two little girls growing up in a household where fashion is a non-event and career and academia are lauded STILL admire Elsa, you need to examine these issues in society more closely.

As a mum of girls I am happy to see a step forward in the type of women presented to my daughters. However I am frustrated that it stopped where it did. There is still so much work to be done in the types of media that are created for young girls. In the meantime my girls get a running commentary any time they watch it, and The Tradie gets stink eye for letting them watch it in the first place.

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I am not what I weigh

Since having my girls I have put on a lot of weight; 15kgs to be exact. The little voice in my head is continuously telling me that this weight gain makes me less of a person; that I should be ashamed of myself. Well, it’s time to tell that little voice to shut the fuck up.

You see, I have been thinking about this a lot. I’m 35 now, I have two amazing children, I am finishing my masters degree by completing an original piece of research that has implications for improving childhood health, I am kind to others, I love puppies. Why they hell am I defining myself by what I weigh.

We are so hung up on weight, and body image. We walk into shopping centres and are bombarded with images telling us we are not good enough. The internet is saturated with diets and weight loss messages, and somewhere in all of this we bought in and decided we are not good enough. I am about to return to my teaching job; a fantastic position where I get to share my knowledge on nutrition and inspire the next crop of practitioners. Yet instead of being excited about that, I am terrified that I am too fat to teach. I have been putting aside the fact I am knowledgeable and passionate about nutrition, and defining my abilities by my weight.

This all came to head for me yesterday. when I cut my calories so drastically I could barely work from fatigue. I realised my obsession with losing weight, which ironically is not helping me lose weight at all, was now interfering with the things that actually make me a valuable human being.

What would happen if I stopped focusing on what I weigh and started to focus on being amazingly happy?

What if I decided that what makes me amazing is not my body, but my mind and heart?

What if I decided that eating a whole batch of the one minute slice, didn’t mean I was a failure, weak or a bad person?

What if I starting moving my body in ways I love, and that made my soul happy, and stopped thinking the only exercise I should do is one that makes me skinny or strong (being strong is an awesome goal, but the new focus on ‘strong’ is associated with the message that you are strong or a failure – just like the skinny message).

What if I showed my girls that food is about pleasure, nourishment, family, and that happiness comes from living a great life that fulfills me?

I’m going to answer those questions by living them. I am going to try these radical ideas, and let go of the idea that my weight in some defines who I am. I am going to stand in front of my kids, and in front of my class, and I am going to be fantastic just as I am. Because maybe, just maybe, if I stop judging myself for something so superficial then what makes me great can shine out in the world and inspire others.

I can see this life ahead of me too. It’s filled with beach trips, cooking great meals, fun at the park playing, yoga because yoga is freaking amazing, love, family, joy and somewhere in there will be the moment when I realise that self-acceptance is happiness. It is also freedom.

Who is going to join me?

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Antidepressants are just tops!

If there is one question about my PND that drives me totally batty, it’s when people ask when I can come off my antidepressants. It always comes with the best intentions, but it makes me feel like shit. There are two answers to this question. Usually I give this friendly, socially acceptable one: oh, I don’t know. When LillyPilly sleeps through, then my doc and I will review it. This is not untrue. When my little girl is weaned and sleeping through we will review my meds.

You know why this question drives me nuts though? It unintentionally implies that there is something wrong with me taking medication. It says that because I look well now, I should be thinking about coming off the evil medication, and getting on with my life.

I think we can all agree that antidepressants are over-prescribed, and that there are effective natural remedies and counselling-based therapies that could be used as a front line treatment. But I didn’t start taking medication as a front line treatment. I started taking it when all else had failed. I freaking love my meds. They saved my life; literally. I function most days pretty well now. Sometimes I even do awesome stuff, and am totally together. If I miss a dose, I fall into a crying useless heap for a few days. They allow me to get on with my life, and be the best Mum and person I can be. Why would I be in a rush to stop that. Do I want to be on meds forever? No. When will I be stopping them? No bloody idea, and that is totally okay. Antidepressants are tops.

 

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Quitting sugar: week 2

Day 8 and 9

At this stage I am learning to deal with sugar cravings. They are really manageable now, so it’s nothing like trying to deal with them when I was eating sugar. Now I notice them, and make a decision: am I actually hungry and need a snack, or is this just a craving and will pass. I feel very in control of myself, and that feels really good. I am becoming in tune with my bodies needs too. I have realised I really do need a snack after dinner. The other big change is that my energy is consistent throughout the day. This is completely new for me, as I have always had poor energy. Now, I am getting through the day with ease. Amazing! There is a bad side to quitting sugar (well good and bad), and it’s how much sugar I see my girls consuming now. Yesterday they ate baked beans, bacon and homemade bread for breakfast (the beans and bacon both have sugar), then a bowl of natural yogurt with honey and crunchola (the honey and crunchola), and then grapes and fresh dates for morning tea. Previously I would have thought that was a good healthy morning, but now all I see is the sugar! When I move to the maintenance plan of this diet, I will start to change the girls food too. Of course I will keep healthy sugars like honey and fruit in for them, but overall there will be a reduction in the amount of sugar they eat.

Day 10

Today I hot footed it to the health food store to stock up on stevia and xylitol. I’m not planning to use the xylitol until after the strict 3 week phase, but the stevia is for now. I went to the shops, and seeing all the chocolate eggs EVERYWHERE really kicked some cravings in. I didn’t end up using it as 1/ it tastes like crap and 2/ I strongly suspect the weaning myself off the sweet taste is as important and life changing as weaning myself off the actual sugar.

Day 11

Today was tough! I’m not sure why, but all day I have wanted chocolate. My resolve was very sorely tested. I stayed strong, but it was very hard.

Day 12, 13 and 14

The last few days have been insanely tough! I have been having really strong cravings, and right now this quitting sugar business seems all a bit much. Yesterday was the first day I knowingly ate something that had sugar in it. I was out at a community event and had very few choices. In the end I selected a pizza, which definitely would have had some sugar in the dough. It’s not a major indiscretion, but still irritating given how hard I have been working at this. It’s another reminder that preparation and planning are the key to making it through the tough stage with minimal problems. Despite the cravings, it has not been all bad news. I went to the shops to grab breadcrumbs today*, and my cravings were so strong I was worried I would cave and buy a chocolate. When I got to the shops I found the constant bombardment of sugar foods, all prominently on display, to be really offensive. It made me angry and more resolved to be strong. So from this I can see my attitude is changing. I also decided to have a hot chocolate at night time with some xylitol, as a bit of a treat. When I made it, I actually found the cocoa and milk to be sweet enough – I didn’t even need the xylitol! This is a huge change, as I would have found this undrinkable prior to quitting.

I only have one week of the super strict regime to go, then I can relax and add some fruit back in. As tough as it has been I can see both my palate and attitude changing and adjusting. This is a lifestyle choice I feel really works for me. People have been commenting that I look better, and I’m losing weight (to be fair I am also exercising a lot more so it may not be related). It’s been worth the pain.

*Did you know the commercial bread crumbs have sugar in them? I ended up toasting some fresh bread and making the crumbs myself

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Bathroom Safety: quick, easy and upcycled.

I really love the concept of upcycling: finding new uses for rubbish. Normally upcycling is done with lovely old materials and turned into some artistic and lovely creation. That’s very cool, but that is not going to happen in my world. In our house upcycling is uber-practical; even if it’s not pretty.

When you unleash the chaos of small children into your world, you quickly learn that your house is fraught with dangers that little people just love to find. Bathrooms are especially bad. You could spend a fortune on fancy gadgets to protect your little ones, but there are two bathroom safety items you can quickly and easily make yourself: a tap cover and a spout cover.

Supplies

  • 1 old tennis ball
  • 1 soft drink bottle, between 1.25 to 2L
  • A stanley knife, or similar

Method

  • Using a sharp stanley knife, cut an incision in the tennis ball about 3cms long (you can go wider if your spout needs it)
  • Now cut a cross shape about 5 cms long into the side of the soft drink bottle
  • To stop head knocks on the spout attach the tennis ball
  • To stop children turning on the hot water, attach the bottle over the hot water tap
  • Admire your handiwork

**Caution** Do NOT allow kids to play with the soft drink bottle once cut. Both my girls (yes both) have stuck their hand in there and scratched themselves trying to get it out. It’s not a serious injury, but you will be pretty sure you’re a shitty parent afterwards (especially if you didn’t learn the first time like me)

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Old tennis balls can always be found around tennis courts. No need to buy new.

 

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The incision doesn’t need to be big, as you don’t want it to come off to easily.

 

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Again, don’t cut this too big. It should be hard to get off.

 

 

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It’s not pretty, but it reuses rubbish and it works!

 

Have you got any simple safety tips like this? Please share!

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Slippery Elm lozenges

This is a fantastic post from one of my wonderful naturopath friends. Slippery elm is a wonder herb for heart burn, IBS, IBD and chronic constipation. It’s also really great for feed the good bacteria in your bowel. I love Kathleen’s method for dosing it, as it takes a brave soul to drink it in cold water! I recommend making a tea from it, with a spoonful of honey, but this is my new favourite way to take it.

Your health. Your life.

For those of you that experience regular bouts of indigestion or heartburn, I have an excellent and dead-easy home remedy for you: slippery elm lozenges. Earlier in the week I posted about pregnancy heartburn, what causes it, how common it is and my top tips for reducing symptoms. These lozenges were mentioned, as they can be used safely throughout pregnancy. It should also be noted that they are great for anyone, i.e. non-pregnant folk, who experience reflux.

Firstly, let me give you a quick run down on slippery elm (Ulmus rubra), an all-round hero of herbal medicine and truly excellent remedy to have on hand in your pantry.

The bark of the slippery elm tree had been used for centuries in herbal medicine, with remedies requiring both topical application (as a healing balm for wounds) and oral ingestion (for sore throats, digestive upsets, etc).

slippery elm powder - image via pinterestSlippery elm is taken as a powder and…

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