Avital Zeisler


An amazing woman, I am currently doing her October challenge. It’s not a fitness program but something so much more about defending yourself and being strong. I encourage you to check it out here.

We are on day six now and this is the quote of the day. I am sure she will not mind me posting just the quote – it was too powerful not to and rings so true to where I am at the moment.

avital zeisler

Making its rounds

This is making its rounds around Facebook at the moment, but boy is it inspirational and so very true.  Well worth sharing with you here if you haven’t seen it yet.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles roll
ed into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full.. The students responded with a unanimous ‘yes.’

The professor then produced two Beers from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand.The students laughed..

‘Now,’ said the professor as the laughter subsided, ‘I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things—-your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions—-and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.. The sand is everything else—-the small stuff.

‘If you put the sand into the jar first,’ he continued, ‘there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life.

If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.

Spend time with your children. Spend time with your parents. Visit with grandparents. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and mow the lawn.

Take care of the golf balls first—-the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the Beer represented. The professor smiled and said, ‘I’m glad you asked.’ The Beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of Beers with a friend.

A little help from my friends and family

Support from friends and family gets me through each day.  I was feeling really down last night on the way home and called mum just to hear her voice.  She is incredibly supportive of what I’m doing to gain my health back.  This morning I found this text on my phone when I got out of the shower.  It’s made my day.

I am a very lucky girl for sure.

Food rules

I love Michael Pollan’s book “Food Rules”.  I have written about him on this blog before, and this book is just as great and only takes about 1 hour to read.  Whilst he has over 60 rules to follow, these ones really got me:

  1. Eat food.
  2. Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognise as food.
  3. Avoid food products containing ingredients that no ordinary human would keep in the pantry.
  4. Avoid food products that contain high-fructose corn syrup.
  5. Avoid foods that have some form of sugar (or sweetener) listed among the top three ingredients.
  6. Avoid food products containing ingredients that a third-grader cannot pronounce.
  7. Avoid food products that make health claims.
  8. Avoid food products with the wordoid “lite” or the terms “low-fat” or “nonfat” in their names.
  9. Avoid foods that are pretending to be something they are not.
  10. Avoid foods that you see advertised on television.

Something to live by for sure.

Shopping cart provokes healthier purchases

I am lucky to have been bought up in a home that was abundant in good, healthy food.  Very lucky.  I remember having vegetables and good cuts of meat to eat at night.  Fruit was always on the table and we were never allowed to drink Coke.  Occasionally we were allowed treats, but that’s what they were.  Treats.  The school canteen was only open 2 days a week and I was allowed a ‘sausage roll’ from there once every two weeks.  I looked forward to this treat and appreciated the value of money and what it cost to buy food and provide for a family on a working class wage.

After school we would disappear on our bikes until meal-time around 6pm.  TV was only one hour a day.  We were active.  No video games to play.  Any calories consumed during the day was used up running around with the kids in the neighbourhood.

That is why I am so inspired by what a number of people are now doing to teach children (by way of their adult caretakers) about healthy choices in school and out.  Just like Jamie Oliver.  I find him beyond inspirational.  I met him once when I was dining at his restaurant in London.  That night he took the time to visit every table and talk with people about their meal, who they were and what they were doing in their lives.  He didn’t have to, but he did and I have been a fan of his ever since.  He even offered to donate time to an AIDS charity I was on the committee for in New York.

Anyway, back to my point.  I am finding this new eating regime relatively easy compared to some people that don’t eat healthy food in their real life.  I put this down to the education my parents gave me when I was a child.  I am fortune, but there are a lot of parents out there that don’t know how to feed their kids, or themselves.

Reading the blogs I love tonight, I came across this very talented guy called Alex Unger. He has ‘imagined’ the idea of a healthy shopping cart that promotes better buying in the supermarket itself.

Click here for the full article.

One of the topics that Dr Rensburg discusses at length in the first seminar I went to is the burden of obesity on the health system.  People like Jamie Oliver and Alex Unger should be applauded for thinking outside of the box about this problem and looking for a solution to what I believe is at crisis point in this country and many more.

25 facts about women around the world

I recently came across this wonderful post titled “25 Fast Facts About Women Around the World” via Kelly at She-Power (from last year) and I really wanted to share it.  From her original post:

Here’s the 25 that got my attention and made the list.

1. 80% of the 50 million people around the world who are affected by violent conflicts, civil wars, disasters, and displacement are women and children

2. In 2004, 48.8% of the seats held in parliament in Rwanda were held by women. Contrast that to Cuba where 36% of the seats were held by women, and the USA, where 14.3 % of the seats were held by women. Saudi Arabia and the Solomon Islands are just two countries where there are no women in parliament (UNDP, Human Development Report 2004)

3. In 76 countries, less than half the eligible girls are enrolled in secondary school

4. Women own only 1% of the world’s land

5. Approximately three million women in the USA sport tattoos

6. A Saudi Arabian woman can get a divorce if her husband doesn’t give her coffee

7. 43% of Australian marriages end in divorce. of those who remarry, 65% of them will divorce again. By the time you try for marriage number 3, your chance of getting divorced is about 75%

8. The women of the Tiwi tribe in the South Pacific are married at birth

9. It is illegal to be a prostitute in Siena, Italy, if your name is Mary

10. In parts of Malaya, the women keep harems of men

11. The two highest IQ’s ever recorded (on a standard test) both belong to women

12. In Kenya where 38% of the farms are run by women, those women manage to harvest the same amount per hectare (2.47 acres) as men, despite men having greater access to loans, advice, fertilizers, hybrid seeds, insecticides. And when women were given the same level of help, they were found to be more efficient than men, and produced bigger harvests

13. Over half a million women die in childbirth every year in Africa and Asia

14. Nearly 1/2 of all Indonesian women have had their first child by the time they are 17

15. In the USA, unintended pregnancies account for almost half of all pregnancies

16. According to The World Health Org., 40 per cent of girls aged 17 or under in South Africa are reported to have been the victim of rape or attempted rape

17. In Sweden, 76% of mothers work, the highest percentage in the developed world

18. Australia, New Zealand and the US are among a handful of governments that do not require women to be paid some form of maternity leave. In countries as diverse as Russia, Colombia, Laos and Morocco, the government foots the entire bill for three to six months of maternity leave

19. By age 55, 95% of all U.S. women have married

20. In 2007 the world’s richest self-made woman was Ms Zhang Yin, a Chinese paper recycling entrepreneur

21. Only 5% of Hollywood feature films are directed by women

22. Today, Japan leads the world in condom use. Like cosmetics, they’re sold door to door, by women

23. Seventy percent of women would rather have chocolate than sex (Poll taken in a 1995 women’s magazine)

24. Australian women have sex on the first date more than women the same age in the USA and Canada

25. China is considered the next big marketing opportunity for the tobacco industry because only 3.8% of Chinese women smoke, compared with 63 % of adult males

When you research the state of women around the world, I am sad to say that finding inspiring facts and figures is difficult.

We may look around at progress in developed countries and feel women are better off than they’ve ever been, but we are such a minority. The story is completely different for much of the world’s women, who are suffering from the same persecution, and deplorable health and living conditions that they’ve endured for centuries. I’ll try to remember that the next time I’m complaining about my life.

Here I am worried about my weight, my looks, getting older and what I can next put in my mouth and then you read this.  We are so very lucky in our country to be able to make choices about our life.  Many women cannot, and like Kelly says, “I’ll try and remember that the next time I’m complaining about my life”.


plus-size-model-crystal-renn-releases-book-called-hungryI just came across this book and it’s a must have for me.  Some of the reviews on Amazon include:

“An eye-opening tale for all women, Hungry explores the difference between the fantasy that society projects and the reality of what makes us happy. Crystal Renn’s experience debunks the modern-day Cinderella story of the fat girl who loses weight to get happy. This is a new fairy tale, one in which a young woman embraces the size she’s supposed to be and the world opens up for her.” — Lori Gottlieb, author of Stick Figure: A Diary of My Former Self

“Crystal Renn is a high-spirited, convincing spokesperson for broadening our notions of beauty. Hungry adds a unique twist to a growing women’s chorus: even if you are young and beautiful, as Renn is, it’s best to give up the addiction to slimness for the sake of personal authenticity, social relations, intimacy, and sexual pleasure.” — Joan Jacobs Brumberg, author of The Body Project and Fasting Girls

Hungry offers an intelligent and intimate look inside the modeling industry and into Crystal Renn’s heart. Renn’s epiphany — that she didn’t have to be a size 0 to find success and happiness — serves as a more powerful portrait of strength and beauty than anything a camera could capture.” — Wendy Shanker, author of The Fat Girl’s Guide to Life

I promise to write my own review after I get it into my hand.  You can buy it online here.

Taking issue with the issue

There is a lot of debate at the moment around plus size models.  Basically, I am for all types of bodies.  Healthy bodies that is.  They are the role models our children need to see in their overly media-saturated lives.

I was just pointed to an article, written by Susie O’Brien, which originally appeared in the Herald Sun this Sunday.

Titled “Plus-size models doing big girls no favours” she goes on to say:

“While these women might make us feel better about our bulging butts and guts, the truth is, few women over a size 14 are in a healthy weight range.  And many need encouragement to lose weight instead of being told to feel good about being overweight.  Seeing big girls might give us healthier self-esteem, but it might not encourage us to lead healthier lives.”

She has totally missed the point here.  It’s not about being OK to be big.  It’s about accepting who you are, what you are, and how you look as being OK.  Only from there can you begin to make positive lifestyle changes that are based in a love for yourself and a respect for you body.  Trust me, I’ve been there again and again.

Take a look at the article and judge for yourself, but I would argue that Ms Susie O’Brien has never had to confront the demons that make us put on weight in the first place.  If she did, I am sure her take on these issues would be very, very different.

In defense of food


I love listening to Radio National.  During the summer series this morning, they featured an American author called Michael Pollen.  He was talking about his new book “In defence of food:  An eater’s manifesto”.

Given I am watching everything that goes into my mouth at the moment, I was interested to hear his thoughts on our [western cultures] dietary habits.

Basically he says that real food – the kind your great-grandmother would recognise as good – is being undermined by science on the one side and the food industry on the other.  He believes that these two groups want us to focus on nutrients, good and bad, rather than actual plants, animals and fungi.  He calls this the rise of nutritionism.

Nutritionism arose to deal with a genuine problem – the fact that the modern diet is responsible for an epidemic of chronic diseases, from obesity to heart disease and many cancers.

What he has realised though, is that a real solution to this problem involves putting the focus back on organic foods and food chains.  You cannot isolate various nutrients (in particular the meteoric rise of Omega 3) from the rest of the food source.  They require the context of all other nutrients in the food to do their work.

His best piece of advice is “If your great grandmother wouldn’t know what food it is, you probably shouldn’t be eating it”.

If, like me, you find this subject fascinating, I would urge you to order his book.  You can buy it here on Amazon.

You can also get more information and hear him talk at his web site michaelpollan.com.