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FASHION INJURIES – BAGGING A PAIN IN THE NECK

Posted on 06 August 2013

I do love bags. I really do. I have had to stop my constant bag purchasing since setting up my business at home, I really have very little need for them now, but I am still obsessed. When I spent 7 years working in an office for the ‘man’, I developed a deep affection for anything that would hold stuff. I had several gym-bags and mountains of handbags of all sizes and colours. I toted a coordinated look every day; outfit, handbag, lunch bag and gym bag.

I was so coordinated that one day when getting changed for a Bodybalance class, a fellow change room habitant commented that my two-tone pink gym bag matched my joggers, my singlet top and my yoga mat. I almost collapsed from embarrassment when I stripped down to change my pants and realised that my undies also carried the two tone pink theme. Yes, my companion noticed and she just smiled politely as my face jumped on the matchy matchy bandwagon.

My collection has been stripped down in the last few years and is far more conservative than it once was - do you know how hard it is toting a show stopper handbag while wearing joggers?

Unfortunately my bag obsession has left my body with additional baggage.... a fairly average neck, temperamental shoulders and nervy elbows.

When muscles are stretched at their trigger points in the shoulder and neck, they can cause pain not only in those areas, but further down the torso (and if bad enough right to the ankles!) Carrying a heavy bag on one shoulder leads to a counterbalance and shift in spinal alignment that can cause a multitude of issues such as:

Shoulder or Neck Pain: The strap cutting into the muscles, ligaments and tendons in the shoulder joint can cause burning, numbness and pain and the loading on one side pulls these structures  against the vertebrae, pulling them down and across towards the weight.

Scalp Pain: Immobilised neck and shoulder muscles can irritate the nerves in the neck that feed into your scalp.

Rib Pain: Muscles wrapping from your shoulder blades and spine to your ribs can become tight and restricted with the immobilisation of the directly affected muscles.

Lower Back or Hip Pain: A bag heavier than 10% of your bodyweight causes muscle to strain against the weight on one side of the lumber discs.

Knee or Ankle Pain: A heavy bag changes your natural gait, causing your knees to shit forward. Pain in the side of the knees and ankles can be a sign that you need to lighten your load.

Elbow Pain: Carrying a massive bag celebrity style (on a bent elbow in front of you) not only brings with it all of the above potential issues, but you can throw into the mix compression of the nerves in the arms and elbows. Hello tennis elbow!

To avoid or minimise these potential issues, take an audit of the contents of your bag and lighten your load, ensure you regularly move your bag from side to side and look at getting a gym bag on wheels. Stretching and self massage can help, as can a visit to a therapist if you’ve already started feeling twinges of discomfort.

So, as I rub my neck and click my shoulder, I have to go. I’m on the hunt for a perfect bag to match my 10+ pairs of joggers. Did I mention I love joggers..........

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My first entry into the world of blogging

Posted on 01 August 2013

I have no idea if anyone will be really interested in anything I have to say...
I talk a lot of crap sometimes, but here you will find:

-useful health, fitness and general wellness tips
-insights into the world of eating as a Coeliac with a FODMAPS intolerance and downright aversion for anything labelled 'diet', 'light' or 'low fat'
-recipe sharing (mostly focussing on the above limitations!)
-my often random views on life and people watching
-fashion tips (although, my snow boots and trackies are not substantiating my fashion 'nouse as I write this)
-skin care tips (that I wish I followed more diligently when I was younger)
-possibly more than enough posts about my grandchildren’s varying levels of cuteness
-even more useless posts about the level of ‘adorableness’ of my dog
-too many mentions of my love of latte’s
-loads of information, insights and articles that you can actually learn from and use day to day

I hope you enjoy entering my world. I hope you learn from my expertise. I hope I can make a difference to you and those you love.
Sharon

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PLANNING FOR CHANGE (WHEN YOU FINALLY SUBMIT TO THAT NAG BECAUSE IT’S RIGHT)!

Posted on 31 July 2013

I’m pretty sure that we all have that nag hanging over our shoulders, that person, that voice, that ideal that keeps telling us that for some reason, we are not good enough, for some reason we need to make changes to how we live, eat, breath, act or think.  Just sitting there bitching away, ranting, gloating, demoralising, hating.

Don’t get me wrong. Sometimes, we need to be told. We need to be driven to change for our own benefit. Our health and wellbeing sometimes requires change. Change that is going to be hard to make and change that hasn’t been inspired by our own desires. Sometimes, we just have to accept what’s being said, suck it up and make the decision to do what we’re being told.

This is change that has to be driven by extrinsic motivation – doing something only to specifically achieve an end goal or outcome. Think about your mum telling you to clean your room, you know it’s filthy, but seriously, why do you need to clean it, there are more exciting things to do, like sloth all over the lounge, because, that’s awesome right now. If you were intrinsically motivated, (doing something for the enjoyment of it and the strong desire for the outcome) you would have jumped on the vacuum, hung up your clothes and polished your mirror long before your mother would have even noticed you were on the lounge!

Don’t think though, that being extrinsically motivated means that making your change is going to be all hard slog and that you won’t learn to enjoy it along the way. With great planning, there can be many opportunities for you to seek reward and achievement throughout your process, even though you personally did not inspire your change, or dislike what it will take for you to change.

I’m talking PLANNNG. Not just spruiking and bragging that you will lose 20kg for your sisters best friends cousins wedding in 6 months time and then hating your fat disgusting loser self as you squeeze into your dress and mince your way out the front door the get to the Chapple. I’m talking planning like a boss, treating your goal as a project, taking ownership of that 20kg loss and knowing exactly how you’re going to achieve it.

I really don’t know what my husband does when he heads off to his big office with an awesome view each day, but I do know that he works his arse off to achieve multiple milestones over the course of a bigger project – several small wins before the far future dated final trophy.

So, what am I saying here – I don’t know what my husband does for a living? No. Well yes, but. Read it again... “he works his arse off to achieve several smaller goals as he works his way to the larger final goal”.

He does this through thorough planning; tangible, visible plans that lead to an outcome, with multiple smaller milestones and markers along the way. This assists him in maintaining accountability and gives a clear insight into the strengths and weaknesses of himself, his team and his plan. By planning clearly and concisely up front, he can also determine what resources are needed, what it will cost, what the impact will be on those directly and indirectly affected and if it is indeed achievable.

He’s a specialist in Project Management. He has big shiny qualifications with letters he can put after his name, and membership cards to elite well-suited associations that he could flash if he so desired. But my man is humble, and all he really wants to do is get the job done, on time and on budget so he can jump onto the next exciting challenge. So, even though his idea of health and fitness is watching endless hours of sport and eating the occasional piece of fruit, he holds a lot of knowledge that we can learn from and put into practice. And won’t he be horrified when I tell him!

The key point here is that a goal is not a plan, stating that you will lose 20kg is a goal, showing how you will lose 20kg is a plan. Remember how my unfit husband sets his plans and milestones for accountability, measurability and where needed, modification, he has to, otherwise there is no clear path of process and no chance for reward and satisfaction along what can be a very long path.

Reward and satisfaction; dopamine is a feel good chemical, it works on reward and motivation. Trust me; you will not produce enough dopamine to maintain enthusiasm for a goal that you set for 6 months away! You need to keep topping it up, so you can ride its high all the way to that 6 month mark. This is where milestones come in. Setting several smaller goals on the way to the ultimate one! Let’s workshop it:

GOAL:                      Lose 20kg in 6 months = 3.3kg a month = 825g a week - let’s say 1kg. This smaller weekly goal now becomes a milestone.

                                 You set regular milestones each week of a 1kg loss.

RESOURCES:         Exercise, nutrition, sleep, recovery

PLAN:                      Exercise:  3 days a week PT, 2 days a week HIIT cardio, 1 day a week LISS cardio

                                Nutrition:  pack lunch every day, eat breakfast every day, cut dessert to 2 days a week

                                Sleep:       aim for 7-9 hours nightly; keep a sleep diary to monitor quality

                                Recovery: 1 day a week no exercise, protein shake after resistance training

Now, don’t just say or think it – write it down! Make it as simple or elaborate as you want. Make it a chart, a timeline, a calendar or dedicate a diary to it. Then put it somewhere in clear sight and look at it daily! Mark off everything as you achieve it; from workouts to lunches to hours sleep, if its part of your plan, honour it, don’t ignore it! As you see each tick as you mark off your achievements you will get a sense of satisfaction, and a little more dopamine gets released to re-ignite your motivation.

Then, hold your weekly progress meeting. Check in and take your plan with you. Measure (weigh in) and you see if you hit your milestone. If you did, awesome, the plan is working. Continue as you are. If you missed it you need to find out why. Look back over your plan, look at your markers, did you hit each one, or did you miss some? Maybe the plan needs to be adjusted; maybe this plan won’t help you get in ‘on time or on budget’, maybe your resources need to be increased or replaced.

The only way you will honestly know for sure, is if you have that plan and those markers to keep referring back to. A quality plan will keep you accountable. A quality plan will give you clarity. Working that quality plan like a Project Manager will see you strutting into that wedding, head high, boobs up, butt tight, turning heads and knowing that you deserve to flaunt your very own brand of awesome baby!

Fitness solution

MEMORIES AND BOUNTY BALLS!

Posted on 17 July 2013

HEALTHY BOUNTY BALLS

I remember my first Bounty. 

After seeing the add with a bikini clad girl in hammock swinging in a tropical paradise, I had to have one. I've always loved anything coconut!

I couldn't wait for the weekend. Our grandfather would take us every Sunday morning for a little ice cream and lolly shopping spree at the corner store down the road. Super fond memories, but looking back, I'm not sure how Mum coped with 3 sugar high kids for the rest of the day. Trust me, nothing was leftover for the rest of the week, everything was consumed before lunch, the ice blocks barely made it home most days!

I remember this Sunday ritual going on for years, many years, I was in High School before they stopped. It wasn't until I was an adult and (Nan and) Pop had passed away that Mum told us how these wonderous sugar filled excursions started, luckily my sister and I were well aware, with no uncertainty of our place in our grandparents family...... Our older brother was all our grandparents needed, one grandchild, one heir, one male, the only son of an only son. I'm pretty sure that my sister and I were just an inconvenience to them (although Pop did want to buy ME a pony and Mum said no - so there must have been a little bit of love left over - small win!)........

These wonderous trips that took us up the hill, turn right, down the hill turn left, turn another left on the corner to sugar heaven started for my brother, the chosen one, the male, the heir. I apparently started to question why my little sister and I didn't get treats from Pop like our brother did. Mum, being the ballsy woman she was (is), fronted my grandfather and told him that these trips were to stop unless 'the girls' were included. GO MUM YOU GOOD THING! And in all fairness, GO POP for worshipping my brother enough to drag the inconvenient females along! Yep, I can live with that. My memories are intack, my memories are still awesome - I still smile when I remember what I now refer to as "Sugar Sunday". (I love you Pop) xxx

I digress - back to the deliciousness of the Bounty Bar.

It cost a little more, but he was willing to purchase me one, (some leftover love must have been floating around that day), anyway, it was everything I expected! OMG! Juicy sweet coco-nutty filling, slightly oily chocolate coating, two little bars parading in a package as one - what could be better! I do remember Pop sharing a liking for them too, we also shared a love of dark bitter chocolate and licorice.......and Wiley Cyotee, I mean, how dumb was he!  

These days, the good old Bounty Bar doesn't fit with my eating ethos and dietary restrictions (neither does the massive Sunday sugar hit for that matter!) so you can imagine me jumping into the pantry to gather ingredients when I found the original version of these babies (Choc Mint Coconut Balls) on www.foodness.com.au 

I've modified the recipe to suit my taste, and to revamp my beloved Bounty Bar - therefore christening these little beauties BOUNTY BALLS.

My version is here. 

Each bite might not take you back to that ad, or to the bench seat in my grandfathers Belmont Ute driving down the road to our little corner store, but I am confident that you will enjoy their flavour as much as I do!

X Sharon

 

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

2 Cups Coconut – shredded, or chipped, just make sure it’s pure coconut, nothing else!

3 Tbsp Coconut Oil – I love the Loving Earth one (butter), it’s smooth and creamy

2 Tbsp Rice malt syrup

3 Tbsp Coconut water – I only use Raw C

To taste Vanilla essence or powder

 

¼ Cup Cocoa / Cacao Butter

¼ Cup Coconut Oil

¼ Cup Rice malt syrup

¼ Cup Raw Cacao powder – I use Power Superfoods Cacao Gold, it mixes easily

To taste Vanilla essence or powder

               

 WHAT YOU’LL DO

1. Put all of the first ingredients into a blender until finely chopped and blended

2. Make 10 balls with the mixture, put onto a plate and pop in the freezer to set

3. Put all of the second group of ingredients into the blender (except for the Raw Cacao powder) and blend until smooth and quite liquid

4. Add the Raw Cacao powder and blend in

5. Pour over the balls and set in the fridge

 

WHAT ABOUT LEFTOVERS

I scrape the excess chocolate off the plate and put into a container to use as garnish for desserts and drinks (or to snack on after all of the Bounty Balls have gone!)

When taking the balls off the plate, use a metal knife and be prepared for them to crack – hey, as with most home made snacks, they won’t win a prize for presentation but most certainly will get a trophy for taste and healthiness!

 

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