Category Archives: Body and Health

It’s Grade Four Long Jump. Not The Answer To Stop World Hunger.

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BY ABBY MAC

I stand on the sideline of the long jump pit measuring the scores of each grade four girl, at the school athletics carnival.  I smile and tell them well done and try to dismiss the obsessive parent in the background who insists in telling each girl their exact measurement, how far behind or in front they are from the previous girl and the exercises they need to do to be a better long jumper.  Then, the teacher makes a crucial mistake.  She asks for volunteers.  That parent I was trying to ignore is now in my face, her necklace jangling and earrings swinging side to side.  She’s bouncing up and down to be selected.  She’s the only one volunteering.

Now she has a job at the long jump.  All she has to do is measure how long each girl jumps.  Round it off to the closest centimetre and if you really want, millimetre.  The first girl jumps, she starts measuring and for the next five minutes debates whether she jumped 1.02 metres or 1.03.  Her two year old son, Miller (???) who is a great “helper”, jumps out in front of the girls each time they’re jumping.  Miller, seems to have trouble to know what the word “no” means, but I am reiterated to that he is a great “helper”.  The mother starts talking to me again, trepidation and excitement mixed in her voice.   Her daughter is about to jump.  Will she meet her PB?  Oh, how nerve-racking?  Her daughter jumps, and just like her brother Miller, doesn’t seem to understand me when I speak.

“You fouled.  I’m sorry.”

This is where you're meant to jump from.

This is where you’re meant to jump from.

 

“I did not foul,” yelled the little girl!

“I don’t think my Lily* fouled,” yelled the mother/volunteer.

“I’m sorry but the rules are you have to jump before the white line.  Lily jumped whilst she was in the sand.  That is way over the line,” I informed them.

 

This is where the little girl jumped from.

This is where the little girl jumped from.

This debate continued for another five minutes, arguing that we could just grant her with the benefit of the doubt.  Eventually, the little girl stormed out of the pit (she actually walked to where she was meant to jump from, which I could technically measure her from there because that was the last footstep in the pit, but I didn’t because it wasn’t the OLYMPICS) and her mother ran over to the tantrum-ing little girl  and reassured her that she was still the best – she would do better on the next jump.  Once their little pep talk was over, the mother raced back over to me where the following conversation took place.

“My Lily, she just gets really sad when she fouls so I just have to make sure she is okay.”

“Right.”

“Yes.  Yesterday, she was doing discus and she threw a really good shot but it was a foul, as well.  The sports teacher there, Mr Clohe*, said that was the best shot he had ever seen and if it wasn’t a foul then it would have been the best discus throw ever.

Because Grade Four discus would compare to something like the Olympics.

“I can imagine.”

“Grace was just great!”

This mother continued with her fascination of being the coolest, most knowledgeable and completely over-rated mum there.  She compared kids in my grade with each other (how does she even know their names?  Her own child is in grade four???) and went on to measure every jump to 1.03792 exactly.  And she annoyed me.  A lot.

I stood at that athletics carnival and had a look at the parents who were there.  I listened to their conversations such as, “I cannot believe the technique they are teaching for shotput!” (Grade Three) and “I was so angry that my child did not get a PB in high jump, yesterday!” (Grade Three, again).  I looked in utter disbelief and thought:

WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO THE WORLD?  WHEN DID ANYBODY CARE IF A SEVEN YEAR OLD DIDN’T MAKE A PB?  THEY’RE SEVEN?  WHEN DID THEY EVEN GET A PB?

Initially, I was just struck in absolute shock and then I became quite angry.  These parents, these obsessed and pressuring parents, are become so fanatical with their child and minor achievements such as the extra 0.000001 they added to their long jump PB that one day, that child will just give up.  That child will feel so much anxiety and pressure to win or get a PB that their fuse will just burn out and in turn, so will they.

This constant obsession that our society seems for our children to be able to play Grade Five piano when they’re five, winning nationals for swimming, cross country and netball, academically receiving A++ in every subject and being socially perfect is just rubbish.  I cannot understand why a parent would choose to inflict such pressure onto their child – such pain for a child to endlessly desire to live up to their parents’ growing, changing and heightening expectations and let their child run until the ends of the Earth just to please, but, nonetheless, it happens.  I see it every day.  I see what the parents want and what the child wants.  I see the polar opposites trying to meet and then one day, everything that child has ever done and the person they have become is stripped.  They get to a point where they can no longer cope with any pressure at all so they let everything go.

 

Let your child grow up.  Let your child lead their own life and nurture their talents, gifts and weaknesses.  Your child should be the most beautiful thing in the world to you, no matter their PB in Grade Four long jump, and if you can’t appreciate them just as they are, then you’re not being a true parent.

 

Did you know any parents who pressure their children?  Do you do it?  Why?  Do your parents pressure you? 

Being Careful: It’s Not Victim-Blaming

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BY ABBY MAC

After recent tumultuous events involving women being violated, hurt and even murdered, a fight for women, but not limited to, to be safe on our streets, has ignited.  People from all ages, no matter what their gender should be allowed to walk down the streets at any time of night, by themselves wearing whatever clothing they choose and not be frightened of predators.  As women, we should be allowed to feel safe walking wearing high heels and a skirt, at 11:00 p.m. down a shadowy alley.  That would be wonderful.  I would never feel afraid again.  However, expecting this is unrealistic.

Girl Alone

We live in a world with many positive aspects and many rapidly improving negatives, from the fight for gender equality to environmental considerations.  We are constantly changing and with these changes, I enjoy seeing parts of our world blossom.  And as much as I would like to add to the list, women feeling comfortable on weird streets late at night, I can’t because it’s simply not true.  Sure, there might be some exceptions to this rule but generally, I stress this generalisation, I would be called a liar. 

We see horrifying stories flash on our television screens describing the despicable acts committed to women whilst trying to walk home or to their parked car.  We are then reminded of the reassuring statistics such as that it is more likely than not that, that women will sexually assaulted a male they know than a stranger.  80% of sexual assault victims know their perpetrators (Better Health Channel).  We are then falsely placed in a sense of security.  Why?  Because there is still that chance that we can be hurt by a strange man on the street.  True, right?

Being oblivious to the fact that you can still be attacked by a strange man is surely just being ignorant?  There are tips my mum and other adults have given to try and be safe on the street like holding the sharpest key between my fingers, how to stop and quickly defend myself against attacks, not wearing high heels and if I am, how to use them and other implements as weapons.  I know, I know.  Some may say slightly over the top, however, it is being equipped with the best possible plans of attacks and knowledge if I was to be put in a similar, unlikely situation.  It is not victim-blaming.  It is being real.  And living in the world that not following safety measures is your way to be a feminist or show the world that not being a victim-blamer, then you’re not being real.  

I am outraged that people suggest that women need to stop going out at night or have a drink in case a man attacks them.  There is victim-blaming.  This is where the line stops, where people suggest it’s the women that need to change than the indescribably contemptible men who commit such acts.  That is victim-blaming.  Being careful is not. 

Mia Freedman, author of mamamia.com.au, conducted a controversial interview with feminist and fellow author Caitlin Moran about the idea of victim-blaming, where the real and on-line world was erupted by their thoughts.  Outraged by their opinions.  Criticising their positions as feminists for their comments.  Here is part of the interview:

Mia and Caitlin

Mia Freedman and Caitlin Moran

“M: There was a very tragic case in Melbourne recently, about an Irish girl who was walking home from a bar, and who was married and lived 800 metres from a bar, and was walking home and was just randomly abducted and raped and murdered. And it’s really been one of those watershed moments for the whole country.

There have been peace marches, and reclaim the night marches, because it is that thing that we all fear, a woman walking alone, randomly taken from the streets, and it’s really divided a lot of women. Because there have been those who have said, “don’t blame the victim, we need to be free to walk the streets at any time, it’s men who need to be taught not to rape and murder.”

And of course it should never be about victim blaming but I worry about the idea of saying to women “don’t change your behaviour, this is  not your problem!”. I feel like that’s saying, ”You should be able to leave your car unlocked with the keys in the ignition, or leave your front door unlocked, and expect nobody to burgle you.”

C: Yes. It’s on that basis that I don’t wear high heels – other than I can’t walk in them – because when I’m lying in bed at night with my husband, I know there’s a woman coming who I could rape and murder, because I can hear her coming up the street in high heels, clack-clack -clack.  And I can hear she’s on her own, I can hear what speed she’s coming at, I could plan where to stand to grab her or an ambush.

To be honest, I agree with them completely.  There are definitely times where victim-blaming occurs.  Where people assume that just because a woman gets raped means that she is a slut.  Definitely.  No doubt.  But helping yourself be safe is not.  We don’t live in a perfect world surrounded by perfect people who all want the best for us, so we need to stop treating it that way.  Not recognising this is simply lying to yourself.  It’s not blaming the victim.  It’s helping you not become the victim.

What is your perspective on victim-blaming?  Is being safe victim-blaming? 

Run like the Wind

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BY JESS WRAY

Running. For me, this word brings about pain in my body just by thinking about it; an endless battle between my mind and my body. However, that is about to change. I have just officially purchased a new pair of Nikes and have assembled a “WORKOUT” playlist on my iPod, so I have absolutely NO more excuses holding me back from starting running. If you are one of those people who loves the idea of running but not so interested in the practical, you’re just like me but we might have to rethink that and understand just how much running can benefit our health as teenagers.

“Running benefits a teenage girl’s health and fitness in many ways, from the obvious to the more nuanced. A strong cardio base and experience in running can boost performance in many sports, including track and field, soccer, softball and basketball.” (Livestrong.com, 2011) Most teenage boys and girls begin running with a clear mind-set or physical goal to achieve weight loss, muscle gain or toning throughout the legs. These are definitely some potential benefits of running and can be achieved with a bit of hard work and determination. However there are so many other health benefits that come from running too.

Feeling the burn? Excellent, really, do carry on! Did you know that approximately 60% of runners start running to manage their weight? The reason being that running is one of the top burners of fat and burns plenty of calories and kilo joules that will keep us girls lean and mean. In fact, running (with the exception of cross-country skiing) burns more calories per minute, than any other form of cardiovascular exercise (RIRIAN PROJECT, 2012). Running has also proven to reduce the risk of stroke, breast cancer and childhood diabetes. Even though you may not love running, your heart definitely does! As regular running reduces the risk of heart attacks, by strengthening your heart and lowering your blood pressure. So that racing heart beat is not such a bad thing after all!

Through running, you can also maintain and/ or improve your general health by raising HDL or also known as “good” cholesterol, reducing your risk of blood clots and encourages your lungs to use the 50% of the organ that is usually unused. So when you are out for a run and you feel as if you can’t breathe, it’s just your mind, the unused 50% of your lungs is clearing out all the cob webs!

Apart from the many physical benefits that running has on your body, running is extremely beneficial in training the mind and encouraging mental improvement. With us humans only using a small percentage of our brains, I’m pretty sure there is plenty of room for improvement!  Jogging and running builds your confidence and self-esteem like few other individual sports can. It makes you feel such a sense of achievement when you have conquered that evil hill or ran that extra 2 km and with each victory we grow stronger and stronger both in our bodies and our minds. By making yourself overcome the nasty or nice obstacles that running brings your way, you learn to train your mind to focus and you feel determined. These skills will prove very important as you go all throughout life, by increasing focus and determination, so it is beneficial in the making and shaping of your actions and your attitude. “It provides a feeling of empowerment and freedom that comes with knowing that your legs and body are strong and capable.” (RIRIAN PROJECT, 2012) And for those who are trying or experiencing weight loss, you will start to feel more confident as your self-image and attitude towards yourself start to change.

With running, there is no more room for excuses such as: “I just broke up with my boyfriend” or “I’m too stressed with school” because running happens to relieve stress and is great for tearing away with that anger and aggression that you might be feeling towards your maths teacher. Think about it, whilst you run you are alone, your tension soon flies by and you are left to think about life, question what is going on and really focus all that emotion into a well-paced sprint that will allow you to clear your mind and have you feeling better in no time. Running is scientifically proven to make you happier, by releasing endorphins that can cause euphoria (runner’s high) or just a general sense of happiness! (Livestrong.com, 2011)

There are so many more benefits of running that I could just go on and on and on, but that would get rather boring, so I have summed up the most beneficial and most important ones that will leave you with no reason NOT to run. However it’s that silly mind of mine again, saying “It’s too hot” or “I am tired” but I know that running actually cools you down with the release of perspiration AND running gives you more energy. So I guess, a bad run is better than no run at all, right? Correct. So as Anthony Bailey once said, “Man imposes his own limitations, don’t set any”.

As Nike says too, “JUST DO IT.”

So See Ya Later Alligators! I am off to run, it is my first time in my new Nikes and my first time running in about 3 months. I know this will be a challenge. However I will overcome it, I WILL DO IT! I challenge you to make room for one run this week, that’s all, just one and see if you feel the difference!

So… RUN LIKE THE WIND.

Are you a runner? Do you enjoy running or do you prefer another sport? How does running affect or make you feel?

My dog’s my best friend.

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BY ABBY MAC

Zaakie Grass

My boy.

My best friend is perfect. He listens to everything I have to say, he never questions my opinions and traits and he always greets me with a smile. Unfortunately, he’s my dog. I know, I know. You’re probably thinking that I’ll end up being that crazy cat lady down the street, or in this case dog lady, but someone else please tell me you feel the same way?

I have other really good friends, of course, who meet my needs of human interaction better than my dog, Zaakie, but he still never fails to make me smile every day. Zaakie calms me down, reads my emotions and manages to always be there when I need him. And I think I do the same for him. When he is frightened, he runs to where I am or into my room and that makes me feel very satisfied. Our friendship isn’t just me talking to a dog, he feels protected around me. When I’m sad he comes and lies me and when he’s sad, tired or being lazy he lies on me.

I really do love my dog. He’s my friend. He’s the best one I have. But he’s actually so much more than I thought. It isn’t just Zaakie who calms me down. He isn’t a special dog, in that, any dog can calm and soothe you. According to Elizabeth Scott, wellness coach, author and health coach, it’s often hard to resist calming down when you look into their adoring eyes. Pets can reduce blood pressure and help with your stress levels.

I know Zaakie does this. If he walks in and I’m angry, I don’t yell or show anger in front of him. It will scare him and I don’t want that. His infective personality is hard to resist and his big goofy smile doesn’t help. I watch him rip up toys and try to steal teddies from my room. That makes me laugh. He makes me very, very happy.

He may not be able to speak back to me, but he knows me better than any other friend. As I wrote earlier, when I’m sad, he lays on me. To non-animal lovers, that may seem disgusting but it’s comforting. How can you not obey to his demands; calm down and just pat him? Dogs have other benefits as well. They can encourage you to do exercise and get outside. Unless, you have a dog like mine and I end up pulling him home or just driving him everywhere.

Zaakie Sunglasses

I protect him from the sun.

But most of all, my dog loves me unconditionally. No matter whether you like to dance in your dressing gown and slippers to Mariah Carey songs…at 1pm in the afternoon, or you have no friends at school, your dog will love you. And that is one constant friendship and love in your life. Your friends can be so conditional during school, and there is nothing better than having one assuring friend. Your pet.

Zaakie is my best mate and there are days where I have a bad day at school and I just want to come home to Zac. It is his love and smile and dog antics that every day, make me love him even more. And, so on days where your assignments are getting a bit stressful or your ‘friends’ aren’t being friendly, maybe you should turn to that little obliging dog or cat who will always sit by you.

And if I am the crazy dog lady, at least my dogs won’t judge me.

Make-Unders.

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BY ABBY MAC

I love them. I really do adore them. And I think it’s time we brought them to Growing Pains.

I found the idea of having a make-under on the television show ‘Snog Marry Avoid’ where girls (and boys), who wear a little bit too much make-up and buy masking tape as T-shirts, are made-under to their natural and more attractive look. The public is asked at the beginning of the show whether they would snog, marry or avoid that girl (or boy) and once the make-under has been completed the public is asked again. Most times, the majority of the public prefers the made-under version of one girl (or boy).

Even though ‘Snog Marry Avoid’ may seem like a tongue-in-cheek television show, the fundamental idea never ceases to amaze me. The girls that enter the show are completely dependent upon their makeup and skimpy clothes to ‘hide’ what is on the inside; mostly insecurity and self-consciousness.

Public Analysis

Would you snog, marry or avoid her?

I have read many articles which list all the reasons why girls wear make-up and they wear it not because they are insecure about their looks, but because they enjoy wearing it. I get that. Totally. I am not a big make-up wearer (because I don’t know how to apply it) but I do use it on certain occasions; weddings, eating out etc.

For some, make-up is like a hobby or playing sport. It is something that they are thrilled and interested by, however there are people telling them to stop using it, for no reason. I wouldn’t let someone tell me to stop playing hockey or shopping for no sufficient reason because I LOVE to play hockey and go shopping. People feel the same about make-up. Make-up can be worn so the user can look more professional, more polished, coverage from the sun and coverage of blemishes and pimples. But when I see girls of all ages wearing more make-up on their face than I have in my life, I start to question the extreme of this ‘hobby’.

Transformation

Who would you prefer?

That’s why I’m calling for a make-under to all those who can’t even go to sleep without make-up on. I’m not asking for all application of make-up to be immediately stopped, that’s unrealistic and not necessary. But, we need to empower those around us with the knowledge that you don’t need to wear gallons of make-up and instead a light foundation, mascara, concealer, eye shadow and gloss. For whatever purpose you wear make-up for, it doesn’t necessarily improve you. You deserve to feel natural.

Did you know?: Make-up affect people’s skin differently. Though, this does depend on the brand, how long you wear it for and how much you apply. Typically, skin can react in two ways; irritant contact dermatitis and allergic contact dermatitis. Irritant contact dermatitis can be felt as a burning sensation or itch on the skin, however, the allergic contact is a ‘true’ allergic reaction resulting in sores and blisters.

Make-up can also be the cause of or worsen acne. If make-up is removed by the end of the day and after exercise, your skin won’t react or as badly, however certain oils will have negative effects on your acne.

To avoid all these symptoms, look for make-ups that are oil and fragrance free and hypoallergenic (less likely to cause allergic reactions), noncomedogenic (they won’t block pores – the cause of acne) and nonacnegenic (shouldn’t cause acne).

7 Tips on Make-up:

  1. Eye shadow can sometimes be the worst offender. The skin around this application zone is extremely sensitive and will easily react to eye shadows, kohl pencils and mascaras.
  2. Be careful when rubbing your eyes with nail polish on, this can also affect the sensitive skin around them.
  3. The best way to retain the moisture in your skin is to not use cosmetics every day. Eczema, dermatitis and inflammation around the eyes can also be caused by cosmetics.
  4. Never share your make-up. Even ask for a new sponge when applying make-up at a store. The brushes and sponges will always carry bacteria from the skin. You wouldn’t share a lollipop, would you? So don’t share your make-up brush.
  5. Don’t ever sleep with make-up on. For instance, if you were wearing mascara and the flakes from it fell in your eye; it can cause itchiness, infections or blood shot eyes the next morning.
  6. There are certain ingredients that are used in make-up that can cause harmful repercussions as serious as cancer. They include:
  • Bithionol
  • Mercury compounds
  • Vinyl chloride
  • Halogenated salicyanilides
  • Zirconium complexes in aerosol sprays
  • Chloroform
  • Methylene chloride
  • Chloroflurocarbon propellants
  • Hexachlorophene

8. The preservatives in cosmetics are the second biggest causes of skin problems. Here are some of the preservatives you should avoid:

  • Paraben
  • Imidazolidinyl urea
  • Quaternium-15
  • DMDM hydantoin
  • Phenoxyethanol
  • Formaldehye

Do you wear a lot of make-up? Why? Are you going on a make under? Why do you feel people apply too much make-up?

Abby: Why I Deleted My Facebook Account.

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BY ABBY MAC

Facebook can connect us to friends and family all over the world. It allows us to share photos, videos and information about ourselves and as the viewer; we can like and comment easily on people’s lives. But for me, Facebook can no longer offer this glossy cover. As a teen, it has been infiltrated with hate, misery and falseness which is enjoyable to the people causing it.

I deleted my Facebook account for a variety of reasons but the biggest one was that some of the users, particularly teens, had lost sight of what the true purpose of it was. It was hard every day to see some form of bullying and sadistic comments from these faceless people behind their computer screens.

Media and other adults often portray the biggest threats online to be strange predators that are 50 year old men looking to find you, though they are serious threats, there are other predators which can easily be friends of Facebook; the people that you share your photos, videos and information with, every day.

For me, Facebook was no longer a place of sincerity but teens sharing their lives only to be let down and bullied by their ‘friends’ (friends on Facebook; not necessarily friends in real life).

It seems that your Facebook profile is meant to be perfect and glossy with perfect pictures of yourself, or stupid pictures of yourself which still make you look cute and sexy. But that’s not my life. I don’t take a perfect picture every time. When I look stupid in a photo, I genuinely look stupid not cute and sexy.

Un-Facebookfied

This is un-facebookfied. It isn’t perfect! But look! Do you like my pyjamas?

When I say ‘Facebook’ as a general term, I mean the Facebook world constructed by teens. Facebook, by teens, is no longer about sharing our lives, not the real ones anyway. It is a fake, perfected life for all those ‘friends’ to ‘hate on’ or ‘like’ and then ‘unlike’ only to be mean. You’re not meant to share the photo of you still in your pyjamas eating birthday cake at 9 am but in fact the beautiful, already ‘Instagram(med)’ photo with all your friends wearing high heels and way-too-short dresses in the city. Apparently, I’m unlike the rest of the teenage population on Facebook and don’t own a way-too-short dress (that I wear in the city at 9pm at night) and I don’t celebrate my birthday by taking enough cute and sexy photos to fill a real photo album.

This perfected Facebook life isn’t fair on the rest of us ‘normal’ or ‘unperfected’ people. People like me. People who then strive to have a perfect Facebook page. It became that a lot of photos I took and activities and I joined in on, were based upon what I could get out of it for Facebook. For instance, ‘If I go to this dance, I’ll be able to take these photos with my friends and then upload it onto Facebook’ or I went into this weird extreme place thinking if a photo isn’t good enough to be on Facebook, it was deleted. It didn’t matter whether it was going on Facebook or not.

Facebook-fied

That’s ‘perfect’. No, it’s just boring. My pyjamas were way cooler.

Fake photos, videos and the status updates don’t connect our lives to people. They only share very fleeting parts of our lives that are ‘Facebook-ready’ and are good enough to not be attacked online. The photos that girls put on Facebook with their flat tummies and beautiful bikinis aren’t real. They have most likely stood there for 50 or so shots, with either the peace sign, sitting down or pretending that they don’t know the photo is being taken to find the ‘Facebook-ified’ one. And my least favourite part – when they then have the caption ‘ew my bod is disgusting. just want to die.’ That’s not fair. It’s not fair on so many levels but the biggest one is, they have taken a photo of their beautiful body and then demean themselves in hope to be presented with 189 likes and 67 comments all saying ‘ew no. your bootfiul. i just want to die now.’ or ‘get some ugly.’ It’s these photos and comments which make the rest of us all sit back and be brain washed with all these beautiful girls saying their ugly and as a result, we are feeling twice as ugly as them.

It would be nice to think that Facebook is still living up to its true purpose in the teen world, but it’s not. I can’t stand the bullying and the falseness. People trying to be someone they’re not. Whilst we continue to be tricked that everyone’s life is just so perfect, we will continue to feel how imperfect we are.

Facebook is like a reality show; it’s meant to be real but it is just so fake.

Did you delete your Facebook page? Why? How do you use Facebook? Do you think Facebook is changing?

Ditch the Diets and Focus on Healthy Eating

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BY JESS WRAY

Are you sick of not being able to fit into your skinny jeans every winter? Or the feeling that over short periods of time your clothing seems to get tighter? I am so tired of feeling embarrassed about my body, especially during summer. I have tried so many different diets and I still don’t look like Miranda Kerr! Whenever I reach “rock bottom” and I feel the time for change, I get a burst of motivation; motivation to get outside and lose weight. This time, I’m serious, I WILL DO IT. However, I am taking a completely different approach. This approach simply ditches ‘dieting’ and instead focuses on maintaining a healthy lifestyle, this including: eating healthy, regular exercise and getting rid of the junk (in the trunk).

Eating healthy is extremely important for everybody and especially teenagers, as our teenage bodies need important nutrients to maintain growth and development. Many teens don’t realise how important our growth and development really is. If bad eating habits are established now, it is most likely that you will be overweight and unhealthy when you reach adulthood. If your growth and development is affected, resulting from unhealthy eating and deprivation of certain foods, you put strain on and expose your body to many serious health risks that could possibly affect your life. With New Years Eve only 2 weeks away from today, now is the perfect time to take control of yourself , start a fresh and restore the healthier you so you can take on the new year with force and a positive outlook!

The next question is, “Where do I start?”

To start, you need to be positive and have the mind-set that this is NOT a diet, but rather a new and improved healthy lifestyle choice that you will continue for the rest of your life. Once the mind is ready, the body will follow.

Start off with a spring clean! By this I mean, get rid of all the junk food, unhealthy factors and negativity that may be holding you back. The next step is finding out what you should and should not do and/or eat. To maintain a healthy body, teenagers need a daily supply of healthy carbohydrates, fats and protein so we can absorb energy and nutrients to achieve maximum health and prevention of disease. Equally important, we need to develop healthy eating habits that include choosing healthy foods in a balanced diet of breakfast, lunch and dinner, including small, healthy snacks between meals, whilst being aware of portion size. Please avoid skipping meals at all cost! From research and advice from my nutritionist, I have been informed that missing meals is really bad for weight loss and affects the way your body responds to food. Therefore, now that we know how many times to eat and what types of nutrients we need, next we need to find out which foods to eat more of and which foods to avoid.

Eat-well Plate

“Whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, seeds and nuts, are unprocessed and contain a spectrum of nutrients that include vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber” (Jeffrey Traister, 2011). Intake of whole foods has been proven to protect against chronic diseases, such as: obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer, as well as, making weight loss easier through the improvement of blood cholesterol and fat (Joanne Slavin, 2003). Teenagers enjoy fun comfort foods that are easy to share with friends and get us through study sessions, break-ups, sleep over gossips, pity feeds, you name it, we eat them. I’m sure I speak on behalf of most teenagers, that when given the choice, teens gravitate to unhealthy food items such as chips, chocolate or soft drink as opposed to carrots, cucumber and water. However, these junk foods are very bad for our bodies, and sure, once in a while is okay, but we can not be eating these foods on a daily basis. In order to proceed with our new healthy lifestyle we do have to change our thinking and this means sacrificing certain foods and eliminating and/or reducing our intake of very sugary, fattening foods. Only to replace the junk with healthier options such as fruit or crackers and cheese to satisfy your hunger.

Woah, information overload. Is that what you’re thinking? I know, it can be all a bit overwhelming but it is so important for all of us to know this, in order to positively influence our food choices. I’m really having second thoughts about that chicken pie that I just ate… It had vegetables in it though! Still, please don’t get me wrong, I am NOT saying that you must say goodbye to chocolate forever or never have Coke again, I am only saying that these delicious, not very nutritious foods are “once-in-a-while” foods, we just can’t have them everyday. This way, when we settle down to eat our KitKat while we watch Gossip Girl or if you enjoy a big glass of Milo when you are Facebooking, you won’t feel guilty about eating and/or drinking these “sometimes” foods as it can be your little treat!

EXERCISING:

Exercise is a proven method of enhancing your life and well-being. When we were younger,  we tended to engage in exercise effortlessly while playing and exploring the world. However as we age and become teenagers, our lives get busier with homework, study and socialising and exercise often takes a back seat to other activities. Exercise is most beneficial for teenagers when we exercise for at least one hour per day, keeping in mind that our workouts must be a mixture of moderate and hard intensity. All forms of exercise is great for your body. So if you are not a runner but a swimmer, go right ahead and swim! Work on your strengths, but also remember to push yourself and break your comfort zones sometimes. You will be rewarded in the long run (no pun what so ever). If you are really stuck and need some exercise routines to follow, keep tuned on our website as we will be posting new forms of exercise every now and then! Start off with Abby’s boxing and rowing routine, found under the category ‘Body and Health’ titled, ‘Exercise, I hate you’, Ironic , but it’s great!

So set yourself a realistic goal if you are trying to achieve weight loss, or if you are simply just wishing to become the healthiest version of yourself, remember to do plenty of exercise, maintain your healthy eating habits and don’t compare yourself to others, remember that you are you and everyone has a unique body that works differently to yours. Don’t give up this time. Make this time the time that you improve yourself; in body, mind and spirit.

Are you a ‘routine dieter’? Have you ditched the diets? What’s your healthy lifestyle like?

BEST WORKOUT MUSIC OF 2012

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BY THE GROWING PAINS TEAM

There are multiple times where one will think ‘Exercise is rubbish. The idea of exercise is rubbish. The person who invented exercise is an idiot’ And that is totally okay. Just like Abby posted on Thursday, exercise hurts but there are certain factors which can either increase your likelihood to exercise or how much you push yourself during a workout. After SELF magazine released an 100 song list of songs that can motiviate you for exercise, we compiled our favourites on the list (in no particular order):

1. Sexy and I know It – LMFAO
2. Rolling in the Deep – Adele
3. I Gotta Feeling – The Black Eyed Peas
4. Bad Romance – Lady Gaga
5. Poker Face – Lady Gaga
6. Stronger – Kanya West
7. Stuck Like Glue – Sugarland
8. Lights – Ellie Goulding
9. Greyhound – Swedish House Mafia
10. Zero – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
11. Born This Way – Lady Gaga
12. You and I – Lady Gaga
14. Raise Your Glass – P!nk
15. Cinema – Benny Benassi
16. Paradise – Coldplay
17. Titanium feat. Sia – David Guetta
18. Pumped Up Kicks – Foster the Love
19. Firework – Katy Perry
20. So What – P!nk

We might just add to the list:

21. Skinny Love – Birdy
22. Chasing Pavements – Adele
23. Girl on Fire – Alicia Keys feat. Nicki Minaj
24. Get Along – Guy Sebastian
25. Keep Your Head Up – Andy Grammer
26. Sitting on Top of the World – Delta Goodrem
27. What You’ve Done To Me – Samantha Jade
28. How We Do – Rita Ora
29. Troublemaker feat. Flor Rida – Olly Murs
30. Die Young – Ke$ha
31. Wings – Little Mix
32. Battle Scars – Guy Sebastian
33. We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together – Taylor Swift
34. Try – P!nk
35. Hall of Fame – The Script
36. I Cry – Flo Rida
37. Rock Star – Reece Mastin
38. Good Time feat. Carly Rae Jepsen – Owl City
39. Live While We’re Young – One Direction
40. Let Me Love You (Until You learn to Love Yourself) – Ne-Yo

There you have it. Some of those songs might not be extremely fitness based, however, they do make you feel good. That’s what it’s all about, right?

Do you have favourite songs to exercise to? If so, what are they? Or, do you have songs that put you off exercising?

Exercise. I hate you.

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BY ABBY MAC

Exercise is like running up a hill. Quite literally. However, I find that the stages of exercise can be compared to the progressions of running . See, at the bottom of the hill, you’re thinking of all the pain and suffering you will experience whilst doing so. And then you’re trying defeat the devil on your shoulder saying, “No Abby! You don’t have to worry. I am sure you will be able to gain the same workout from playing Wii tennis.” On the opposite, sweet little angel  is trying to convince you otherwise by whispering “Abby, don’t listen to him. If you run up this hill now, it will be finished faster than if you wait for him to finish his flawed debate.” The angel is right, of course.

Sweat is just your fat crying.

Sweat is just your fat crying. Cry fat cry.

The uphill run begins and every single second you curse that little angel sweetly floating on your shoulder. Once that hill run is complete, your body feels as though it could fall apart right at your feet. Then, time subsides and you are no longer feeling as though throwing up is a serious possibility and the feeling of inner self pride emerges. That’s what exercise is like for me. It’s painful. Haunting. And no one’s ever happy with just one a year. It must occur every single day. Apparently.

However, for my long-term health and happiness…This. Must. Change. So, for this reason I have prepared a ‘Go-To-Guide’ for exercise regimes. It only takes 15 minutes of intense (not pass-over, call 000 intense) exercise, per day and you could be the fittest person around.

Workout One: Boxing and Rowing (Ergo)

  • Always warm up and down. It depends on the type of warm up and warm down you are doing, but for this workout using a stationary rowing machine – ergo, is the best way to go. Row for about three minutes setting a slow pace as it is only meant to warm your muscles up and raise your heart rate.
  • Start the 15 minute timer here. To begin the workout, start with the boxing aspect. If you don’t have the gloves or boxing bag, you can substitute this exercise with 1 kg weights or 1 L water bottles and punch in the air.
  • a) Box using only one hand x 10
  • b) Box with the alternate hand x 10
  • c) Box flat-out, following a left-right motion until you reach 100 boxes altogether.
  • Next, jump on the ergo and row for 15 seconds building your pace and then for 30 seconds row as hard as you can.
  • From here, it is boxing again
  • a) Box in a left-right rhythm x10
  • b) Box in a right-left x 10
  • c) Box in either a left-right or right-left rhythm for 100 punches
  • Complete the ergo set again
  • Boxing:
  • a) Box in a left-right-left rhythm x10
  • b) Box in a right-left-right rhythm x10
  • c) Box in left-right-left rhythm or right-left-right for 100 punches
  • Complete the ergo set again
  • Now, you only complete this work out until 15 minutes is up. You always do have the option of finishing the workout if the timer ends before you are finished. However, if you complete these sets in under 15 minutes, you can experiment with upper cuts and kick boxing.
  • For warm down, you can repeat the three minute ergo piece or a gentle 5 minute run. I like to complete this on the Wii. See, I always satisfy my guilty Wii pleasure?

That’s the first workout. I know for some of you, the equipment used isn’t accessible, however I will be posting a new workout for the next coming days which is different in both equipment and the muscles which you use – resulting in gained improvement fitness for your whole body.

Have fun. Remember: ‘Sweat is only your fat crying’.