On being fully sick:

Whatever doesn’t kill you, makes you mildly suicidal.
That is the lesson I learnt this week after being sent to rendezvous with my deathbed by the all-debilitating flu. For the first time in a long time, the sick day I took was actually due to sickness. This may not sound like a big deal to you, but I assure you it’s very serious stuff.
Every time I get sick I take it as a personal insult from the Gods. Basically, me catching a cold is a little less devastating than Hiroshima, but certainly worse than 9/11.
In contrast – and I need to make this very clear – when someone else gets sick I honestly and truly don’t care.
I’m not alone in thinking this way. My mum also thinks that me getting sick is the worst thing that could possibly ever happen to humanity-at-large.

Falling ill was fun when you were little. You got to stay home from school, eat mashed bananas and watch how Blue found his clues. But now falling ill involves melodramatic groaning, grave thoughts about morality, and summoning the last of your energy to write an ill thought out will and testament (in my fever haze I left all my prized possessions to my puppy).

heads-sick-get-well-ecard-someecardsEssentially, I have learnt a lot about myself in the past week; namely that at the ripe old age of 22 I have become an illogical-attention-craving-hypchondriac-crybaby and that my conspiracy theory against flu shots should obtain ‘law’ status.
I cradled my mothers lap, forced to her make me chicken soup, continuously emitted faint groans, nearly overdosed on paracetamol and sobbed whilst telling anyone that would listen how I’m too young to die.
Then the thermometer beeped and I realised just how high my fever was.

That’s when I really proceeded to put on a show – kind of like a crucifixion, but with songs.

If I was going to whinge or groan, I wanted everyone in the room to be able to hear it. I utilised 18 adjectives to describe my excess phlegm and carried on until I was brought soup and treated like a fragile diamond. The more people that knew my suffering, the better I thought my chances of survival were. Evidently, when I’m sick, I like to drag people down to my level. A sentiment that is clearly shared by the succubus who gave me the flu in the first place.

But alas, 5 days later and I’m all better now. It is with that knowledge that I’m quietly reassuring myself and quite loudly telling everyone else how sick I was. Thomas Fuller famously said that ‘health is not valued until sickness comes’ and I feel like he was onto something.
In the end, I think the Gods chose me to bear the burden of the flu and tell everyone about my experiences for the same reason they created paracetamol: because they’re in cahoots with the big pharmaceutical companies.

second-opinion-get-well-ecard-someecards

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Can the skinny people please shut up and eat a cupcake?

No seriously, I mean it. Just stop whatever you’re doing and go eat something. It’ll make you feel good. It might make you a little less self-obsessed and bitchy too.

We’ve completely lost the plot when it comes to body image. I’ve spent the better part of the last 10 years chasing a few kilos and worrying about what I look like in a bikini. No doubt, you have too. But I’ve only recently stopped to think, why am I striving to be skinnier? Why does my mind think there is only one ‘ideal’ size for me? Is there anything wrong with the size I am now? Do I actually believe the only way I’ll be happy is if I lose 5 kilos? Because frankly, if I really do believe that I’m more delusional than first thought. And I didn’t even think that was possible.

Most of my friends have the same mindset. Talking about gym regimes, diets and body weight are our staple conversations. And interestingly, it’s always the skinnier ones that are more shallow, more self obsessed and more self-hating. We live in fear of putting on weight. We shiver at the imagined imminent rejection from the opposite sex and society that would follow a minor weight gain. We’ve grown up with the notion that you have to hate yourself for every cookie you eat, then tell your friends about it and then exercise it off. Why? Because God forbid you get fat and can’t fit into your size 8 jeans. Your friends will make fun of you, society will reject you and the world will actually end.

I’m sick of the weekly routine, whereby you go on a diet every Monday only to fail and eat a cookie by Wednesday, hate yourself till Friday, allow ‘cheat’ days on the weekend in exchange for being good again on Monday when your diet starts and you vow to work harder and lose weight. It a hideous cycle of self hatred and failure. And through the whole ordeal, the focus is on appearance rather than health and happiness.

I don’t know about you, but I get irritated when beautiful and healthy girls complain, obsess and whine about their body fat percentage. Rather than embracing curves and different body shapes we’re hiding from them. Whining about perfectly healthy bodies, competing over exercise regimes and calorie intakes, only ever discussing people’s insecurities and never their admirable qualities and shaming other people’s bodies (be it celebrities or friends) to validate your own is making it near impossible for people to have any self esteem. By accepting these ideals and daily conversations, we’re all contributing to the ‘be-skinny-have-low-self-esteem-juggernaut’.

Everyone just needs to take a moment and have a serious reality check. I’m not suggesting to completely let yourself go, but there’s no need to be so hard on yourself either. Embrace your genes and current jeans. Remember that who you are inside is what really counts.

I did some research (I’m just as shocked as you) so lets crack open a can of facts shall we?
-The average girl goes on her first diet when she is 8 years old.
-81% of 10 year-olds have a fear of being fat.
-The average size of the idealized woman (as portrayed by models), has stabilized at 23% below healthy weight.
-80% of women feel worse after seeing a beauty ad.
-Approximately 20% of girls will suffer from a eating disorder, and 95% of them will be under the age of 25 when they do.
-If Barbie was a woman, she would have to walk on all fours due to her body proportions.
-The weight loss industry brings in about 60 billion dollars in revenue a year.

Feel free to take a moment to take all that in. Please also take time to scream into a pillow if you feel it will help.

No woman diets alone. There’s always both a man and the media behind her eating a doughnut and selling her the latest dose of insecurities and weight loss products. And within every women’s head is her own insult making machine. Normal and healthy women somehow always describe their bodies in unbelievably unflattering terms. Cankles, muffin tops, bat wings and jelly-belly are just a few that spring to mind. The media bombards us with these terms and photoshopped celebrities that look like they haven’t eaten in weeks. Their weight loss plans and stories don’t enrich our lives. They just make us feel insecure and anxious. Fad diets are part of the problem, not the solution.

I’m (for now) going to ignore the fact Dove are owned by a horrible company who also own Lynx (part of the initial problem). The pictures alone speaks a thousand words.

Having a positive body image isn’t an overnight process. But it should be a goal we’re striving to achieve. Confidence is much sexier than skinny legs or a flat stomach.
I’m going to throw out a crazy thought so be prepared: why don’t we all stop hating ourselves and try to accept and love our bodies whatever shape we’re in? Next time you look at yourself in the mirror, rather than measuring the fat on your thighs or seeing your bloated stomach, tell yourself you’re beautiful and perfect exactly the way you are. Given that diets aren’t making you happy, why not try a little acceptance and positive thinking? What have you got to lose? And while you’re at it, maybe extend this thought process to your friends. Rather than ridiculing and judging them behind their backs tell them the positive things you like about them.

Next time you go out and have dessert, don’t hate yourself for it. If you’re healthy, cut yourself some slack. Don’t compare yourself to anybody else, don’t try to be anyone else; just be happy with who you are. Confidence is what you need; not size 6 jeans.
As for me; bring on the comfortable fat pants and tim tams. They make me happier than celery sticks and being ridiculously skinny ever will.

Running to the wine shop counts as exercise, right?

I have a shocking announcement to make: this morning…I went to the gym.
It’s so surreal for me to say that and not have it be a lie.
I’ve been a member for a while now. And I try to go at least 4 times a week. It’s just that I have missed the last 140 times I was supposed to go.

The gym I go to that takes my money isn’t actually a gym. It’s a ‘ladies health club’. Just a little bit fancy.
The only difference between the ladies health club and a regular gym is the cliental. The ladies health club seems to be strictly for 50-year-old housewives competing to look younger than their daughters, and for old women who have nothing better to do than spend 2 hours a day on the cross-trainer and populate yoga classes. Obviously, you also get the oddballs like me who fall for the yearly gym donation membership sale and buy a year long pass. But there are very few of us, and I hazard to say we very rarely go.

The moment I signed up for my membership, I immediately felt healthier, which I deemed ample reason for me not to actually ever go again. I now realize, I could have better spent my money by going to Thailand for a week and drinking my body weight in alcohol. It would have yielded the same result for the same price, been more fun and would save me having to lie every time someone sees my membership key chain.
Person seeing my keychain: “Oh, you’re a member at the Health Club, how often do you go? Don’t you just love body pump!?”
Me: “Ummmmm, I try to go four times a week. And yeah, body pump is just the greatest”. All whilst racking my brain to remember what the hell body pump is and trying to fathom how anyone can be so excited about it.

But I digress. I actually enjoyed myself this morning. It was a spiritual journey to the place that commits daylight robbery on my bank account every month. I went through my ‘program’ and confirmed for old times sake that I have absolutely no upper body strength and even less patience to sit and pedal a stationary bike. My favorite exercise however, was judging. And boy oh boy did I work up a sweat doing it. It’s amazing how much you can learn about human nature by just observing in a gym.
It becomes clear there are some unwritten rules in gyms, (and I’m guilty of all of them). Given they’re not listed next to the motivational posters I thought I’d do society a favor a list them here:

If you’re on the treadmill next to me the answer is yes, we’re racing.
Don’t bother denying it. We all do it, and we all know it’s true.
Luckily for me, today I had two older ladies on either side of me. And despite the fact I don’t know what body pump is and struggle to lift the weightlifting bar, I can run. It’s probably the only thing I can do. So really, the ladies didn’t stand much of chance. The fact they were both over 80 didn’t hurt either.

The number of reps you can do it directly proportional to the number of people you think are watching you.
The gym is one big show, and you’re there to impress people. If no ones watching me, I can’t be arsed lifting the dumbell 15 times. I do it twice and get bored. If I have an audience, then I’ve got people to impress and it’s a whole different ball game. “Yes little lady, look at me doing 20 sits up. In a row. Ow you’re still watching? Let me do another 20.”

Just judge. Everyone. Always.
That’s the aim of the game isn’t it? I’m going to go and judge the housewives in matching pink outfits grunting as they’re walking on the treadmill.  They’re going to judge me in my Ramones t-shirt as I wonder aimlessly round the gym staring at equipment. Then we’re all going to go judge the professional weightlifter whose gender would be in question had she not been in a female only gym.

Calculating how much cake you can now eat guilt free is imperative.
Okay, maybe this ones just me, but as I peddled on my stationary bike today all I could think about was cake. This isn’t a big change from my normal thought pattern, but it was bloody good motivation to just keep peddling.  For the record, I rounded up to 2 pieces of cake. It was my first day back and I figured rounding up will will serve as encouragement.

The inspirational quotes inspire you to puke.
Now obviously depending on who you are, you’re going to puke for different reasons. When I read “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” and “Life’s too short to be fat” I felt like puking at the thought of what our society values and the lengths people go to for ‘perfection’. For the record, chocolate tastes better than being skinny and life’s too short for self hatred and celery sticks.
Obviously, others may puke for different reasons upon reading such quotes but lets not go there. Regardless, there should be inspirational quotes about health and achieving goals, not weight loss and perfection. I’m going to write a letter to the manager.

At the end of the day though, I’m going to try and stick with this gym thing. I felt pretty good about going today (my muscles probably won’t be feeling the same tomorrow). And now I’ll have something to contribute as all my friends talk (in excruciating detail) about their gym programs.
I’m aiming to live a healthier and happier life and with that comes a healthy diet and exercise regime. Given it’s too cold and rainy to go running outside I have to make friends with the stationary bike. Besides, I still want to find out what the hell ‘body pump’ is.
I’ve got 5 weeks until I head off to Europe and undo all my hard work. But until then: challenge accepted.

Love Letters: Dear Sugar

Dear Sugar,

I don’t know how to say this, so I’m going to just come out and say it. We’re breaking up. Or at least changing our facebook relationship to ‘it’s complicated’.
It’s not me, it’s you.

Sugar you’ve been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. You make icecream taste like heaven. And cookies extra delicious. You make coffee taste more tolerable. And the thought of breakfast cereals worth getting up for. Every time I put cake in my mouth, you’re the first thing I taste. In all your mouthwatering scrumptious glory. Let’s not even talk about doughnuts.

Sugar, you’re just everywhere I look. It’s almost like you’re stalking me. You’re in all my favorite foods. And most foods that aren’t my favourite, but I tolerate. It’s impressive. You know how Ryan Gosling is God’s gift to women? We’re you’re God’s gift to food. Even when something doesn’t taste sweet, BAM! You’re in it. You’re a ninja. The master of disguise. Pizza isn’t sweet. But you still hang out there. You’re in the tomato sauce.  Some of the toppings. And in the cheese. THE CHEESE. Sugar, you selfish bastard. You have no business being in the cheese!

But I get it. You’re an overachiever. Maybe your friends weren’t nice to you in high-school so you’ve decided to overachieve and show them up. Or maybe you had daddy issues. But it’s clear you just want to be a part of everything. You attention seeker, you! Sugar, you make yourself so addictive that everyone just keeps coming back for more. You’re an evil genius. You could take Victor Von Doom on and win.
You’re evil because of what you do to me. You make it impossible for me to eat one piece of cake. I have to eat three. Then when they’ve settled. Eat another three. You make is impossible for me not to think about chocolate. You coerce and harass me till I eat you. The rush is wonderful. A feeling of fun and energy runs to my extremities. But then, just as quickly, the abuse starts. You make me sad. Fat. And tired. Yet, I don’t stop thinking about you. Only you can make me feel better. So I keep coming back.

These are the thoughts of a woman in a destructive relationship. These are the thoughts of a woman who wants to quit you, but can’t. This is why we have to break up. At least for a little while. I’ll be back. I always come back. But just for a little while, I need to know that I dominate you and not the other way round.

This means you stay the hell out of my food, unless you’re in fruit. Fruit comes with fiber and nutrients. Fruit isn’t empty. Fruit has a soul (unlike you). Sugar, you’re not allowed to show up at work. You can’t send me flowers. Don’t crash my dinner parties. And don’t try to play games and get inside my head. It’s just not nice.

It’s not going to be an easy road though. You’ve infiltrated my two favorite things. Chocolate and wine. I’m going to find chocolate without you. Surely it’s gotta exist. And we all know wine is just you. And some grapes. But I’ll find a way. Ohhh you’re in mayonnaise, too, aren’t you? You sneaky, sneaky jerk.

Now don’t think you can fool me into eating you. I know how to read. I know all your nicknames. Brown rice syrup, glucose, dextrose, malt syrup, and your evil minion high fructose corn syrup. And your fake friends? They’re out too. They make me feel just as bad. For the next 10 days, I denounce your power over me. After that, we can talk about our relationship status again. Because at the end of the day,  I do love you, sugar.

I love you like a fat kid loves cake.

Sincerely,

Your greatest fan.

Hypochondria is the only disease I don’t have.

Disclaimer: This post is (mostly) fictional. It is also passively aggressively aimed at people in my life. 

I don’t mean to alarm anyone, but this morning, I woke up with a headache. I know what you’re thinking. Initially I thought it was the end of the world too. But don’t fret, for I’ve found a light at the end of the tunnel. This light is otherwise known as copious amounts of paracetamol (that will probably be the cause of my future liver disease). And so long as you don’t shine the metaphorical light in my eyes right now, I think I’ll make it through this challenging period in my life. Just. 

Now my headache could be due to me trying (and almost succeeding) to replace all the blood in my body with wine last night.  It could also be due to the sinus infection I’ve been suffering from. Alternatively it could be brain cancer. Or Lupus. I’m looking into it now.

You see, I’m a big believer in self diagnosis. Why spend time and money on ‘medical professionals’ and tests (which are almost always false negative) when everything you could possibly need to know about your life threatening condition is one Google search away?

Typing ‘headache’ into google yields the following responses**: “Is your headache a sign of something more sinister?”, “Carbon monoxide poisoning, the headache that can kill you”, “Headache: The only true brain tumor symptom” and “Short-lasting unilateral neuralgiform headache with conjunctival injection and tearing: the fight for a cure.”


Well now that you mention it Google, I think my headache is a sign of something more sinister. Carbon monoxide poisoning sounds like something coming from Tony Abbott’s mouth. And God knows I don’t want to contract that. I don’t even know what a short-lasting unilateral neuralgiform headache with conjunctival injection and tearing (SUNCT for short) is. But there’s a high possibility I have it. And there’s no cure, which is even more concerning. However, at the end of the day I still think it’s a brain tumor. Headaches are the only ‘true’ symptom after all.
See, who needs doctors when self-diagnosis is so much fun!?

Now to repay my loyal readership base of 7, I’m going to write a comprehensive list of symptoms and their causes that will ensure you never have to spend time and money going to the doctor again:

Headache: Brain tumor.
Or short-lasting unilateral neuralgiform headache with conjunctival injection and tearing.

Swelling of glands: Lymphoma.

A new freckle: Skin cancer.

Dizziness: Iron deficiency. Or AIDS.

Nausea: Congratulations! It’s going to be a boy. Now lets read up on all the things that can possibly go wrong.

A sore leg: Huntington’s disease. Or cancer.

Hot flushes: Menopause.

Cold flushes: Menopause.

General frustration and higher than average inclination to kill people: Menopause. Or PMS. Probably PMS.

Cough: Life threatening pneumonia.

Heartbeat over 60 beats per minute: You’re having a heart attack.

Paper cut: Flesh eating disease.

Any other symptom: Lupus. It’s always lupus.

Now readers also remember, an annual full body ‘just in case’ MRI is always a good idea.  Worrying about going blind, especially whilst driving is normal. Taking every supplement known to man is vital for your survival. A sore wrist is a sign of smokers foot. Investigatory surgeries on the lump in your thumb that you’ve had since you were a baby are completely necessary. A poor mattress will give you cancer.
And if by odd chance you find yourself at the doctors, maybe ask for a second opinion on your hypochondria? I know I will be.

**All responses are legitimate Google results.