Tag Archives: health

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



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.”


“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:


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? 

My dog’s my best friend.



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.

Ditch the Diets and Focus on Healthy Eating



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!


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?




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.



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’.