Toning your body versus losing body weight- You decide.

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Spring is here in Adelaide and the pressure is on to look good, again! Winter fashion is very forgiving for the less than ideal body type, which is about 95% of the world. By ideal I mean what the fashion industry defines as ideal, super slim or what the fitness industry defines as ideal, super muscled. For the less than super, myself included, spring and summer can dampen that yippee ya yee jingle  you feel like doing when you see the almond blossoms and smell the sweet jasmine scent in the air.

While I am all for a healthy lifestyle I am not buying that perfect body hype. As my hubby very vocally puts it, “A woman’s gotta have curves!” Yes ladies, I am blessed. As I wolf down my quinoa and roasted chicken salad and eye my yoga mat, I strive for a well-balanced outlook on physical beauty. Sparkling eyes, shinny hair, smooth skin, gorgeous smile and an infectious personality represent beauty for me. As opposed to a gaunt frame, hollowed cheeks, spindly arms and skinny legs.

I do yoga to tone myself, as I believe that a toned body is way sexier than a skinny one. You can be a size zero and still have jiggly arms, but a size 12 with a firm body is amazing! You need food to provide you with the nutrition for strong bones, healthy organs, muscles and stamina; you can’t get all of that with just iceberg lettuce. My fitness parameter? If I can run for an hour with my kids in the park before getting tired, I consider myself fit.

A positive body image is so important and not just for physical health. Your outlook on life needs to be positive and healthy, a negative self-image can destroy not just your mojo but also your life. An energetic outlook makes you want to accomplish more, achieve more and in turn makes you feel great, the opposite can lead to depression that can ruin marriages, friendships and even careers.

I consider myself lucky as I grew up with very positive role models and a very healthy affirmation of beautiful. Strong confidant women with fulfilling lives who made an impact on society were the hallmark of an ideal woman. Marie Curie, Bertha Von Suttner, Margaret Thatcher, Indira Ghandi, Martina Navratilova, Mother Teresa and the list goes on.

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Today most young women when asked whom they admire fervidly exclaim, ‘Kim Kardashian.’ While I can appreciate the business ingenuity and drive of Kim Kardashian and hold no grievance against her, a role model?

Perhaps my outlook on life is different because I grew up under the wings of a very intelligent and independent woman, my mother. She was the daughter of a wealthy businessman who was also an aspiring inventor and a village beauty who hailed from a prominent religious family. The untimely death of her father led to their fortunes being stolen by malicious relatives who took advantage of her mother’s illiteracy. She thumb printed away their home, land and business to her husband’s conniving nephew. Scared for life, granny made sure all her children, nine of them would be educated.

My mother grew up with an innate distrust of people and made it her life ambition to learn all that she could, after all knowledge was power. As children she forbade us from watching cartoons or movies, it was just documentaries and books for us. We never had cable and there were no magazine subscriptions, except for the odd National geographic and readers digest.

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For entertainment we would sit together in the living room and hear stories about my parent’s lives, funny anecdotes about our ancestors, family history and family legends. My father had books from his travels and I grew up in the company of Dale Carnegie, Napoleon hill, Edward De Bono, Ben Sweetland, and offcourse encyclopaedias.

Our childhood mentors determine not only our outlook on life but also our perception of self. As I hear the music from my children’s playroom I realise that soon my little girls will need more than fluffy unicorns to help them develop a sense of self. Their positive affirmations will need to come from real heroes, everyday men and women who live fulfilling lives with purpose.

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Lent- Peace and love to all on Earth.

 

Nederlands: Lent (Nijmegen) H.Hartbeeld bij RK...
Nederlands: Lent (Nijmegen) H.Hartbeeld bij RK kerk. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s the Christian holy period of Lent, 40 days of introspection, fasting and prayers. Not many Christians observe it and as there aren’t any fixed rules, many just don’t let it affect their lives. My mother is a very staunch Catholic and my father; a merry soul believes his special relationship with God exempts him from ritualistic traditions. It was very interesting growing up in my home, my mother a fervent prayer warrior who prayed unceasingly on her knees through most of the night and hurried about the housework all day, exhorting us to keep praying. As a kid I hated school but I remember preferring to study than join my mum in her never-ending novenas and rosaries. My Dad was way cooler, rarely went to church and was well versed with the DE Silva method, mediation, psychology, mind control, hypnosis, and the like. He had a well-stacked library with rare finds like Ben Sweetland’s I WILL, ESP, Works of Carl Jung, Psych symbology, along with regulars like Napoleon Hill, Dale Carnegie, Edward De Bono etc. While most kids read fairy tales, I would read Napoleon Hill and Dale Carnegie. My elder brother and I used to play mind games, like trying to materialise the family TV into our bedroom cupboard. When thoroughly bored we would try ESP, I would draw a symbol and mentally project it to him and he would clear his mind and try to receive it. I was 8 and he was 10, in hindsight we should have played more in the park! My mum though staunchly religious never brushed aside any of these new science practises and in fact encouraged us to explore the sciences. I remember she would keep telling us, Einstein says we use only 2 % of our brains, so use more! This dialogue was especially more prevalent during exam times. That was mum, madly in love with God but so fiercely intelligent and she found a perfect balance. Science and religion were never in conflict, God had created all, including science and mankind only discovered what the almighty had already set in motion. Dad on the other hand always struggled with religion, the traditions were nonsensical to him, the rules and regulation another form of thought control. He was always intrigued with conspiracy theories, the Bermuda triangle, secret societies and was always researching the latest theory. Mum, whom dad called a brainwashed sheep of the church was always at peace and never lost her faith. Dad, the wise one, was always deeply troubled and made many hurried decisions based on fear, doubt and insecurity. I learnt early that what is right varies form society to society but truth varies form an individual to an individual. Personal truths are what empowers a person, a solid one like the one my mother had, grounded her and gave her stability; a varying one like my father’s made him a boat tossed about in the stormy sea. It is for this very reason that Lord Jesus had declared, “know the truth and the truth will set you free.” So as we enter this holy period of fasting, prayer and self-reflection, I take time out to quite my mind and to find out my truth. I intend to reaffirm my beliefs and strengthen my resolve. I hope I can be half the role model my mother was and instruct my children in the way of our ancestors. Peace and love to all the inhabitants of the Earth.