Archive for July, 2015

Regenerate a Healthy Liver

July 28, 2015

You might be familiar with one of the following scenarios below:

  1. You’ve woken up for work with a ringing headache and are feeling about as average as Spain did in the World cup soccer. How did the end of financial year work drinks cascade into a shower of champagne or a steady flowing abundance of delicious beer?
  2. The weather had become so bitingly cold that it justifies a good hearty glass of red by the fire – every night. For every degree colder this fosters furthur justification of a) A cheeky glass of port or dessert wine to top the night off or b) Some/a block of chocolate to accompany the red wine


Your lovely liver: An under valued vital organ that regulates many processes in your body. However, at this time of the year it’s starting to complain. Battered and bruised its been fighting a little too hard.

The liver has various functions within the body the main one being DETOXIFICATION. That’s right! The liver helps to purify the blood by removing toxins such as alcohol and drugs from the body. But did you know it also helps regulate hormone levels? Can you imagine what happens when it can perform this duty well? Hormones regulate everything from sleep to mood, metabolism, reproduction and immunity (to mention a few!)

The liver also works to DIGEST all your food. Fats are digested by bile in the stomach, which is a product secreted by your happy hepatic (liver) cells and transported to the gall bladder. Carbohydrates and proteins are broken down so that these nutrients can eventually be converted to ATP (energy) for use within the body.

Also wondering why when your liver has been under the pump you are more likely to come down with some mysterious flu? Well the liver is also responsible for your IMMUNITY.  It plays an important role in capturing and digesting nasties such as bacterial, parasites, worn out blood cells and fungi.

So lets focus on some liver regeneration…

Number 1: Reduce your alcohol intake. Limit alcohol to weekends only or if you can, commit to a month off. Lets face it, a hot milo in front of the fire is going to be lot more nutritious; alcohol is empty calories anyway (contains basically no nutrients). Focus on average 2L of water daily which can include herbal teas such as chamomile during the day to rehydrate and filter the blood.

Number 2: Reduce highly processed foods particularly ones that are not only high in saturated fatbut also salt and sugar. For example: processed meats and fatty meats (sausages, salami, bacon), deep fried take out and fast foods, cakes and biscuits, pastries and chocolate.

Number 3: Increase your intake of linoleic acid, a polyunsaturated fat. This will aid in reducing liver inflammation. Include nuts, seeds (flaxseed particularly) and oils (e.g extra virgin olive oil) as a part of your daily diet.

Number 4: Be smart with your selection of fruits.  Berries, pomegranate and grapes (I know you are already thinking wine again but the alcohol content outweighs the benefits here people!) contain ellagic acid and resveratrol, which can help to regenerate liver cells. The bitter in lemon and limes can also break down stagnant material.

After following this for a good month you liver should start to improve all its functions. Hopefully a lot of what I have recommended also becomes habitual!

Written by 
For Dry July

Over 50’s Fitness by Glenn Barnett – Exercise are You Ready?

July 28, 2015

Do you relish your daily exercise regime or are you in bewilderment when you see those enthusiastic walkers striding past your house at the same time every morning while you add an extra teaspoon of coffee to your mug?

You stir your potent brew while wondering why it seems so easy for other people to stick with an exercise regime while you struggle with it. Scientists are always interested in figuring out what makes some of us make exercise a daily ritual while others only find time a few times a year.

Are you mentally ready for exercise or commitment phobic?   Your body might be ready but your mind is having second thoughts. Starting an exercise program might bring on feelings of dread, confusion, memories of pain, frustration or even disappointment. It does take mental preparation to commit to health. Getting help with an exercise program and participating in things that you enjoy will make it much easier.

‘Lifestyle change’ is a common phrase in the health industry today. You often hear that people need to make ‘lifestyle changes’ to achieve their goals and reduce the possibility of succumbing to life threatening diseases. Did you know though that making lifestyle changes should be a slow and gradual change? Don’t make all of your changes at once. The human mind can only deal with a couple of changes at a time so for instance don’t wake up and decide to stop drinking, give up smoking, cut out all sugar, eat more veges and go to the gym everyday starting now! Choose a couple of those lifestyle changes and allow yourself to get use to them over a 4-5 week period then make a couple more. This will be less shocking, more agreeable and more sustainable to your mind and body.

I bet the health of your loved ones is a priority in your life but what about your own health? Give Glen or Jacqui a call at Coffs Coast Health Club if you are ready to get started on 66586222.

The Moral Bucket List

July 23, 2015

ABOUT once a month I run across a person who radiates an inner light. These people can be in any walk of life. They seem deeply good. They listen well. They make you feel funny and valued. You often catch them looking after other people and as they do so their laugh is musical and their manner is infused with gratitude. They are not thinking about what wonderful work they are doing. They are not thinking about themselves at all.

When I meet such a person it brightens my whole day. But I confess I often have a sadder thought: It occurs to me that I’ve achieved a decent level of career success, but I have not achieved that. I have not achieved that generosity of spirit, or that depth of character.

A few years ago I realized that I wanted to be a bit more like those people. I realized that if I wanted to do that I was going to have to work harder to save my own soul. I was going to have to have the sort of moral adventures that produce that kind of goodness. I was going to have to be better at balancing my life.

It occurred to me that there were two sets of virtues, the résumé virtues and the eulogy virtues. The résumé virtues are the skills you bring to the marketplace. The eulogy virtues are the ones that are talked about at your funeral — whether you were kind, brave, honest or faithful. Were you capable of deep love?

We all know that the eulogy virtues are more important than the résumé ones. But our culture and our educational systems spend more time teaching the skills and strategies you need for career success than the qualities you need to radiate that sort of inner light. Many of us are clearer on how to build an external career than on how to build inner character.

But if you live for external achievement, years pass and the deepest parts of you go unexplored and unstructured. You lack a moral vocabulary. It is easy to slip into a self-satisfied moral mediocrity. You grade yourself on a forgiving curve. You figure as long as you are not obviously hurting anybody and people seem to like you, you must be O.K. But you live with an unconscious boredom, separated from the deepest meaning of life and the highest moral joys. Gradually, a humiliating gap opens between your actual self and your desired self, between you and those incandescent souls you sometimes meet.

So a few years ago I set out to discover how those deeply good people got that way. I didn’t know if I could follow their road to character (I’m a pundit, more or less paid to appear smarter and better than I really am). But I at least wanted to know what the road looked like.

Photo CreditRachel Levit. Photography by Tony Cenicola/The New York Times 

I came to the conclusion that wonderful people are made, not born — that the people I admired had achieved an unfakeable inner virtue, built slowly from specific moral and spiritual accomplishments.

If we wanted to be gimmicky, we could say these accomplishments amounted to a moral bucket list, the experiences one should have on the way toward the richest possible inner life. Here, quickly, are some of them:

THE HUMILITY SHIFT We live in the culture of the Big Me. The meritocracy wants you to promote yourself. Social media wants you to broadcast a highlight reel of your life. Your parents and teachers were always telling you how wonderful you were.

But all the people I’ve ever deeply admired are profoundly honest about their own weaknesses. They have identified their core sin, whether it is selfishness, the desperate need for approval, cowardice, hardheartedness or whatever. They have traced how that core sin leads to the behavior that makes them feel ashamed. They have achieved a profound humility, which has best been defined as an intense self-awareness from a position of other-centeredness.

SELF-DEFEAT External success is achieved through competition with others. But character is built during the confrontation with your own weakness. Dwight Eisenhower, for example, realized early on that his core sin was his temper. He developed a moderate, cheerful exterior because he knew he needed to project optimism and confidence to lead. He did silly things to tame his anger. He took the names of the people he hated, wrote them down on slips of paper and tore them up and threw them in the garbage. Over a lifetime of self-confrontation, he developed a mature temperament. He made himself strong in his weakest places.

THE DEPENDENCY LEAP Many people give away the book “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” as a graduation gift. This book suggests that life is an autonomous journey. We master certain skills and experience adventures and certain challenges on our way to individual success. This individualist worldview suggests that character is this little iron figure of willpower inside. But people on the road to character understand that no person can achieve self-mastery on his or her own. Individual will, reason and compassion are not strong enough to consistently defeat selfishness, pride and self-deception. We all need redemptive assistance from outside.

People on this road see life as a process of commitment making. Character is defined by how deeply rooted you are. Have you developed deep connections that hold you up in times of challenge and push you toward the good? In the realm of the intellect, a person of character has achieved a settled philosophy about fundamental things. In the realm of emotion, she is embedded in a web of unconditional loves. In the realm of action, she is committed to tasks that can’t be completed in a single lifetime.

ENERGIZING LOVE Dorothy Day led a disorganized life when she was young: drinking, carousing, a suicide attempt or two, following her desires, unable to find direction. But the birth of her daughter changed her. She wrote of that birth, “If I had written the greatest book, composed the greatest symphony, painted the most beautiful painting or carved the most exquisite figure I could not have felt the more exalted creator than I did when they placed my child in my arms.”

That kind of love decenters the self. It reminds you that your true riches are in another. Most of all, this love electrifies. It puts you in a state of need and makes it delightful to serve what you love. Day’s love for her daughter spilled outward and upward. As she wrote, “No human creature could receive or contain so vast a flood of love and joy as I often felt after the birth of my child. With this came the need to worship, to adore.”

She made unshakable commitments in all directions. She became a Catholic, started a radical newspaper, opened settlement houses for the poor and lived among the poor, embracing shared poverty as a way to build community, to not only do good, but be good. This gift of love overcame, sometimes, the natural self-centeredness all of us feel.

THE CALL WITHIN THE CALL We all go into professions for many reasons: money, status, security. But some people have experiences that turn a career into a calling. These experiences quiet the self. All that matters is living up to the standard of excellence inherent in their craft.

Frances Perkins was a young woman who was an activist for progressive causes at the start of the 20th century. She was polite and a bit genteel. But one day she stumbled across the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire, and watched dozens of garment workers hurl themselves to their deaths rather than be burned alive. That experience shamed her moral sense and purified her ambition. It was her call within a call.

After that, she turned herself into an instrument for the cause of workers’ rights. She was willing to work with anybody, compromise with anybody, push through hesitation. She even changed her appearance so she could become a more effective instrument for the movement. She became the first woman in a United States cabinet, under Franklin D. Roosevelt, and emerged as one of the great civic figures of the 20th century.

THE CONSCIENCE LEAP In most lives there’s a moment when people strip away all the branding and status symbols, all the prestige that goes with having gone to a certain school or been born into a certain family. They leap out beyond the utilitarian logic and crash through the barriers of their fears.

The novelist George Eliot (her real name was Mary Ann Evans) was a mess as a young woman, emotionally needy, falling for every man she met and being rejected. Finally, in her mid-30s she met a guy named George Lewes. Lewes was estranged from his wife, but legally he was married. If Eliot went with Lewes she would be labeled an adulterer by society. She’d lose her friends, be cut off by her family. It took her a week to decide, but she went with Lewes. “Light and easily broken ties are what I neither desire theoretically nor could live for practically. Women who are satisfied with such ties do not act as I have done,” she wrote.

She chose well. Her character stabilized. Her capacity for empathetic understanding expanded. She lived in a state of steady, devoted love with Lewes, the kind of second love that comes after a person is older, scarred a bit and enmeshed in responsibilities. He served her and helped her become one of the greatest novelists of any age. Together they turned neediness into constancy.

Commencement speakers are always telling young people to follow their passions. Be true to yourself. This is a vision of life that begins with self and ends with self. But people on the road to inner light do not find their vocations by asking, what do I want from life? They ask, what is life asking of me? How can I match my intrinsic talent with one of the world’s deep needs?

Their lives often follow a pattern of defeat, recognition, redemption. They have moments of pain and suffering. But they turn those moments into occasions of radical self-understanding — by keeping a journal or making art. As Paul Tillich put it, suffering introduces you to yourself and reminds you that you are not the person you thought you were.

The people on this road see the moments of suffering as pieces of a larger narrative. They are not really living for happiness, as it is conventionally defined. They see life as a moral drama and feel fulfilled only when they are enmeshed in a struggle on behalf of some ideal.

This is a philosophy for stumblers. The stumbler scuffs through life, a little off balance. But the stumbler faces her imperfect nature with unvarnished honesty, with the opposite of squeamishness. Recognizing her limitations, the stumbler at least has a serious foe to overcome and transcend. The stumbler has an outstretched arm, ready to receive and offer assistance. Her friends are there for deep conversation, comfort and advice.

External ambitions are never satisfied because there’s always something more to achieve. But the stumblers occasionally experience moments of joy. There’s joy in freely chosen obedience to organizations, ideas and people. There’s joy in mutual stumbling. There’s an aesthetic joy we feel when we see morally good action, when we run across someone who is quiet and humble and good, when we see that however old we are, there’s lots to do ahead.

The stumbler doesn’t build her life by being better than others, but by being better than she used to be. Unexpectedly, there are transcendent moments of deep tranquillity. For most of their lives their inner and outer ambitions are strong and in balance. But eventually, at moments of rare joy, career ambitions pause, the ego rests, the stumbler looks out at a picnic or dinner or a valley and is overwhelmed by a feeling of limitless gratitude, and an acceptance of the fact that life has treated her much better than she deserves.

Those are the people we want to be.

Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – Bacon Brussels Sprouts with Brown Butter Vinaigrette

July 23, 2015


Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – Cauliflower Pizza Base

July 16, 2015


Over 50’s Fitness by Glen Barnett – Winter Warm-ups

July 14, 2015

It hasn’t been too cold so far this autumn but I’m sure that will change.   When the morning chill comes you may be forgiven for turning the heater up a notich or snuggling under a blanket to ward off the nippy weather.  Here are some suggestions that will not only burn some calories and keep you warm but may even cut down on your heating bill.

No 1 Get out and go for a walk. Its a great way to circulate your blood, increase lung capacity, clear your mind and warm the joints.  Doesn’t have to be a long one, just a simple brisk walk taking in your surroundings.

No 2 Get vacuuming and jive it up with some music in the background to lift your spirits.  Vacuuming, sweeping and even cleaning your home will help clear the winter bugs away as well as warm you deep to your core.  These activities provide vigorous upper and lower body movements which will burn some winter calories.

No 3 Have a warm shower or bath, dress in layers afterwards and then go through a simple head to toe stretching regime.  Start with your feet and legs, progress to your torso chest and back then move on to your shoulders and arms. Finish with gentle neck stretching to relax this area which can get tight during winter and deeply breath to open your lungs and  clear your airways. Rubbing some eucalyptus oil onto your chest will help with this process.

No 4 Don’t stay stuck in your home feeling miserable.  Try a new environment or a new activity – something of course to get you active.  Salsa dancing, ten pin bowling, classes at my health club or even take a plunge in one of our local heated swimming pools.

Remember a body is like a car if you want it to run well on these cooler mornings then you need to warm it up first. You’ll get more mileage and you won’t need a service for ages.

If you have any questions to help you with your Winter warming up, give Glen or Jacqui a call at Coffs Coast Health Club on 66586222.

How does ageing affect athletic performance?

July 12, 2015

Two men on an early morning run.

I remember the moment a few years ago while watching TV when I realized that if I were riding in the Tour de France, at age 42 I’d be the oldest person in the race. It hit me that my dream of racing in cycling’s biggest event was over…it was not going to happen.

Not that I’d been competing, let alone training seriously, on the bike for a number of years.

Or that not even in my “prime” years for competitive cycling would I have been good enough. It’s just that now I had an excuse…. I was too old, too far past my prime years.

So what happened? Is there a physiological reason people in their mid-40’s are no longer able to compete at the professional level in most sports, or is it a constellation of challenges, such as the time devoted to training, motivation, managing kids’ schedules or busy work demands?

“I’m old” is the common refrain for why we get worse at athletics as we age. But here’s what’s really happening in the body through the years to make world-class performance less possible. And, interestingly, there are a few physiological elements that contribute to athleticism that don’t seem as affected by aging.

The ‘sweet-spot’ age

In most sports, there is an age “sweet spot,“ at which the combination of physical, technical and strategic abilities comes together.

In most sports, this age sweet spot falls in the mid-20’s to early 30’s. Although there have been numerous examples of Olympians competing, and sometimes winning medals, over the age of 50, the vast majority of these come from sports requiring exceptional skill and less aerobic or anaerobic power, such as the shooting events, sailing, equestrian and fencing.

For endurance events, the upper cap for competing at the sport’s highest levels appears to be around the age of 40.

Chris Horner won the 2013 edition of the Vuelta a Espana, Spain’s version of the Tour de France, just shy of his 42nd birthday, making him the oldest winner of a Grand Tour in cycling.

The oldest Olympic marathon winner was the 38-year-old Romanian athlete Constantina Dita Tomescu, competing at the Beijing Olympic Games.

Dara Torres, at the age of 41 in 2008, is the oldest swimmer to compete in the history of the Olympics, missing the gold medal in the 50-meter freestyle by hundredths of a second. But these examples are the exceptions, not the rule.

Age changes how our bodies use oxygen

One big reason we see declines in aerobic (or endurance) athletic performance with age is that our bodies can’t use oxygen as effectively.

The maximal ability to utilize oxygen (VO2max) is a predictor of endurance performance across ages. VO2max is a numerical value that describes how much oxygen your body can use per kilogram of body weight.

VO2max is affected by how well your body can bring oxygen into the lungs, how well this is carried in our blood to the working muscles, and how much oxygen the muscles can use to fuel contraction.

Exercise can improve all of these, and the higher the VO2max, the more “aerobically fit” a person is. That is, they can do more endurance work for their body weight.

In the general population, VO2max tends to decline by about 10% per decade after the age of 30. Athletes who continue to compete and train hard can reduce the drop by about half, to 5% per decade after the age of 30.

The reason VO2max declines with age is that our maximal heart rates go down as well.

Maximal heart rate is the highest heart rate in beats per minute one can achieve during increasing intensity of endurance exercise. It is often roughly predicted as “220 – age = maximal heart rate.” Although the actual maximal heart rate for a given person is highly variable, as you age, your maximal heart rate decreases, whether you are a highly fit athlete or a couch potato.

And this decrease reduces both cardiac output and oxygen delivery to the muscles, which translates to a lower VO2max and thus to lower performance in endurance events as we age.

Even if oxygen delivery to muscles goes down, the ability of your muscles to efficiently utilize the oxygen they do get relative to a given workload (this is called exercise economy) is well maintained into our 60’s and 70’s, though total muscle mass tends to decline as we age, and can contribute to declines in performance as well.

In terms of competitive endurance exercise, rowers have shown the least decline in VO2max with age, but the difference to other sports isn’t huge. And it might be because rowing is a lower-impact sport than cycling (with crashes) and running (constant pounding).

Let’s not forget the muscles

Some evidence suggest that for sports that require high levels of strength or power, like weightlifting, age-related limitations may reside in our skeletal muscles, those muscles that move our bones and joints.

For competitive weightlifters over the age of 40 (masters level), performance drops more precipitously than it does for endurance athletes such as runners, swimmers and cyclists. That’s likely because weightlifting draws on type II muscle fibers (called “fast-twitch” muscles) to produce strength and power. Research indicates that these cells decline in number and function with age.

Not only do these cells decline with age, but so do the cells that support the repair and growth of skeletal muscles in response to exercise decline.

These age-related declines are not as obvious in type I muscles, those muscle fibers most associated with endurance-type exercise.

Recovery can take longer

As they age, many athletes complain that the ability to recover from hard bouts of exercise diminishes.

This can affect the intensity and volume of training of all athletes. But in many contact sports, such as professional American football or rugby, recovering from injuries and the cumulative effects of hard hits becomes the limiting factor in continuing to play at the highest level.

For instance, last season there were only two people in the NFL, Sav Rocca of the Washington Redskins and Adam Vinatieri of the Indianapolis Colts, playing in their 40’s.

Injuries take their toll on people playing non-contact sports as well. For masters athletes, experiencing more training-associated injuries leads to reduced training intensity and volume, and thus poorer performance come race day.

Better training can help you stay at your peak longer

Although all athletes will eventually lose the age versus performance race, with better training and recovery practices, in the coming years we likely will begin to see more athletes in their 40’s remaining competitive at the highest levels of sport. By “training smarter, not harder,” athletes can reduce the chances of injuries, maximize gains from training and minimize the effects of aging.

Older athletes need longer to recover and adapt to a training stimulus, so workout planning needs to change with age.

High-intensity interval training, for instance, focuses on the quality of a workout, rather than the sheer volume of training, and can be used effectively by older athletes to improve aerobic capacity.

Cross-training, such as weightlifting and yoga, can help to maintain muscle mass and flexibility, and reduce overuse injuries in endurance athletes.

An emphasis on “active recovery” strategies (an easy run or swim on your rest days) and improved sleeping habits are important for athletes of all ages, but become essential for older athletes.

Performance decline isn’t just about physical changes, however. As we age, our intrinsic motivation to train diminishes. Even in athletes, the motivation to train may shift somewhat from setting personal records to remaining active and healthy. And that’s a great motivation for any athlete at any age.

Article sourced from here:

Author:    Professor at University of Oregon

Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – Capsicum, Kale & Feta Frittata

July 9, 2015


Over 50’s Fitness by Glen Barnett – 6 Areas of Fitness for an Ageing Populating

July 7, 2015

Part A

Below are 3 areas in your fitness that need attention paid to them as you age. They are strong legs, strong back and good balance.  Let’s take a look at each one and what you can do to get them.

According to traditional Chinese medical wisdom you are only as old as your legs. It is believed that if you strengthen your legs you can slow down the effects of aging and stop certain health problems because of the stimulation of important energy meridians in your legs which are linked to your spleen, liver and kidneys.

Strong and flexible legs provide better support for your whole body, better balance and better circulation. Better circulation provides balanced energy flow.  To get strong  legs keep up your regular walking and find some hills to stride up.  Then add squats into your day by repeatedly sitting down and standing up from a straight back chair with tummy tucked in and feet flat.

With strong legs comes improved balance.  Being able to stand on one leg with your eyes closed for up to 1 minute is a indicator of good balance.  While you’re washing the dishes or standing in line at the check out practise lifting one leg slightly off the ground (keep your eyes open In this case).  It helps of course if you are not wearing heels as they tend to throw your posture out of alignment and your balance off. Maintaining good balance as you get older can be a great asset in preventing falls. Try also walking heel to toe along a straight line – with your eyes closed will make it harder!

Keeping your back strong will help maintain an upright posture therefore opening your chest and keeping those airways functioning efficiently.  A strong back will also help you with your general upper body strength and help you avoid the stooped over stance that many seniors tend to succumb to.

Lay on face down on the ground or even on your bed.  Stretch your arms out in front of you, and then slowly lift one leg off the ground, then the other. Then lift one arm off the ground then the other.  The whole time keep your face pointing downward so as not to strain your neck.  As you lift breath outward rather than hold your breath.  When you feel this is easy then try lifting opposite arm and leg at the same time, then switch to the other side.  Keep the movements slow and smooth and even add a slight hold at the top of each movement as your strength improves.

Part B

Last week I wrote about maintaining strength in your legs and back plus maintaining a good sense of balance as you age this week we will look at 3 more areas that can weaken as we age so therefore we need to pay more attention to them.  These are biceps and triceps which are your upper arm muscles and strong trapezius muscles which you will find in your upper back and neck area.  Keeping these muscles strong could someday make the difference in doing basic tasks such as carrying groceries or your grandchildren.  If this group of muscles becomes weaker they are more prone to create neck problems.

You can certainly grab a dumbbell or something similar and do some bicep curls but there is a simpler and more productive way to work these muscles more effectively.

Pushups are one of the best all round upper body exercises.  Now don’t think I expect you to get down on the ground and give me 20!  You can do pushups against the wall bearing in mind the further your feet are away from the wall the harder the push up will be.

Position your feet about hip distance apart, then place your hands on the wall level with your chest and wider than the width of your shoulders. If this is uncomfortable move your hands further apart or closer together   Keep your body long, so don’t sag in the middle, and then lower yourself towards the wall by bending your elbows and leading with your chest.  From there carefully and gradually push yourself away from the wall again.  Try, if you can, to squeeze the muscles between your shoulder blades as you do this exercise and pull your tummy muscles in.  This will provide you with more stability and power.

Try doing repetitions of 10 maybe 3 times during your day.  When you feel this is easy, slow them down or add a little pause when you get close to the wall before pushing away again.  Then you can progress to trying some on your hands and knees on a bench or later the floor.

Next exercise to strengthen your shoulders and neck area are shoulder shrugs.  During winter we tend to lift our shoulders in an attempt to get warmer.  We also lift this area when we are angry or arguing with someone.  These movements create tension in your neck and upper body rather than strength.  To strengthen this area, simply hold something that weighs a couple of kgs in each hand. Let your arms hang down by your sides then lift your shoulder upwards to your ears in a shrugging action. Repeat, again doing repetitions of 10 maybe 3 times during your day.

Of course if you have shoulder problems or experience pain in these areas during these exercises then you should seek medical guidance.  A good mantra to live by as we age is, if you don’t use it you will loose it.

Give Glen a call if you need a hand at Coffs Coast Health Club on 66586222.

Asking a Person if they’ve Lost Weight isn’t a Compliment

July 5, 2015

This article was source from The Daily Life, July 1st 2015.

Don’t ask me if I’ve lost weight. I haven’t. Or maybe I have. I don’t know, I’m not counting.

I’ve been ‘overweight’ since I was about 10, fluctuating between what people might describe as ‘chubby’ or ‘curvy’ and can’t-buy-clothes-in-regular-shops fat. A few years ago, I finally stopped worrying about the kilos and focused on just being happy and healthy. I don’t know what I weigh anymore, but I do know what I’m worth.

As a result of this shift in focus I am happier and, if you go by the attention I’ve received from the ladies, I’m also more attractive. I leave the house more confident and, in my opinion, better dressed, largely a result of following plus-size bloggers and having a friend who works at a plus-size store (we won’t mention her by name in case she gets in trouble for sharing her staff discount around!).

And yet, despite the fact that I’m fairly sure I’ve gained a bit of weight in this time, many friends and relatives greet me with “Have you lost weight?” when I am looking particularly good. They haven’t gotten out the tape measure or scales; indeed I question whether they’ve even scoped out my frame for a potential change in size. What they mean by “Have you lost weight?” is “You look nice today”.

So why not just say that? What value does asking if I’ve lost weight add to the compliment? All it does is remind me you’ve noticed I’m overweight and think a change to how I look would be an improvement. As an aside, I loathe the term overweight. It makes me think of luggage. I prefer to describe myself as fat.

People are so conditioned to equate ‘fat’ with ‘bad’, they can’t tell a woman she looks good without providing size-based commentary. Alas, commenting on size brings with it many risks and pitfalls. Firstly, it reinforces size-based judgment, even when it’s supposedly supportive. Instead of judging a person on their humour, warmth, great fashion choices or intellect, you’re commenting on whether they eat less and exercise more. For me, every time someone asks if I’ve lost weight, I am reminded that I haven’t, I’m reminded I am different and I am reminded that I live in a society that thinks I am a problem.

Secondly, not everyone loses weight healthily and happily. By asking someone if they’ve lost weight, you could be opening up a conversation about depression, chronic illness, eating disorders or stress. A person may not want to be reminded that they’ve lost ten kilos due to Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Thinner is not always better.

Thirdly, by telling a person that their weight loss makes them look better, you set them up for a fall if they gain some weight back. I recently got into a Facebook debate with a woman who commented on my friend Viv’s selfie: “While you’ve always been stunning, I want to congratulate you on your shrinkage – you’ve gone from a 10 to a 10+.”

Leaving aside rating a woman’s attractiveness out of 10 (which we shouldn’t leave aside because gross, but I only have so many words), by specifically indicating that my friend looks better skinnier, the commenter is saying that if she gains any weight back she’ll be back to a boring old 10! The argument carried on, as social media arguments tend to do, ’til the commenter stated “Maybe it’s a little arrogant for me to assume this, but I find it hard to imagine somebody would go through the hard yards of losing weight and not see that as an achievement.”

Viv finally weighed in (‘scuse the pun), writing: “I have a chronic illness. Losing weight because I’m sick, and will be sick for the rest of my life, isn’t an achievement. So yeah, your assumptions regarding my body and health are way off. And even if I had lost weight on purpose, I agree with everything Maeve said. Also, I miss my boobs.”

The triumph of winning a Facebook debate was tempered by empathy for my friend, who I knew was unwell and who I continue to have engaging and challenging discussions about bodies, size, feminism and the way society equates ‘healthy’ with ‘skinny’.

When I was 21, I lost 17kg in a few months by starving myself and taking up smoking. Should I have been congratulated then? Or should I be congratulated now for being a fatty who dances, plays soccer, does a little lounge room yoga with her girlfriend and eats her greens? How about you just don’t comment on my health or size AT ALL?

Some people do work hard to lose weight and, if they tell you about it, feel free to share their joy. But don’t let their experiences colour your assumptions about others. When you place value on size, you reinforce damaging ‘rules’ about what makes a person attractive. Making desirability about size reinforces the idea that to take up less space is better, that ‘shrinkage’ is an achievement.

This idea is so ingrained that it takes intellectual and emotional work to break down societal pressures to see thin as better, more beautiful, more successful. One way we can achieve this is to actively not comment on other people’s size. “You look stunning tonight” will suffice.

Maeve Marsden is a freelance writer, director, producer and performer. She performs in feminist cabaret act Lady Sings it Better, consults on education outreach campaigns, and collaborates on various creative projects. She tweets from @maevegobash.