Saturday, March 26, 2011

On the Couch: Red Riding Hood

What's the story? Cast yourself back to a Medieval time, in a small village, surrounded by a thick forest... It's an eerie setting, no? Well, in this village lives Valerie (Amanda Seyfried) – a young girl torn between two men, a strapping young woodcutter and the wealthy blacksmith she is set to marry. But the love triangle quickly becomes the least of Valerie's problems when her town  is terrorized by a werewolf who walks among the villagers by day and hunts them at night.

Why it's worth seeing on Cheap Tuesday, but I wouldn't pay full price: It's a dark take on the classic fairytale but sadly there is no snappy script or Oscar-worthy performances here. And it's not particularly scary either. But the story is one that will keep you guessing (and if you're as lucky as I was, there'll be someone seated next to you in the cinema doing all the guessing for you... out loud – for the entire film). I'm tempted to say wait till it comes out on DVD, but I think the big screen might actually do this flick a few favours. Oh, and if you like yourself a brooding bad boy, there's some decent eye candy in the form of Shiloh Fernandez.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Just Remember...

James Smith

Have a lovely weekend.

Mum's The Word.

Last Sunday night I was watching The Biggest Loser with my mum (eating a mixing bowl-sized serve of spag bol, as you do...) when one girl from the black team was talking about her relationship with food – and her relationship with her mum. And here I was thinking I was the only one for whom the two were so closely intertwined...

When this girl told The Commando (an unlikely sympathetic ear) that her mum was too critical, telling her she needed to lose weight, mine immediately piped up, "But what is a mother supposed to do?" And it got my brain whirring. She had a point. If your mum tells you that you need to lose weight, is she helping you get healthy or damaging your self-esteem? And if she doesn't say anything as you pile on the kilos, is she really doing you a favour?

Then I read this fantastic article where Peggy Orenstein asks the question: "How can you simultaneously encourage your daughter to watch her size and accept her body?" 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Five Reasons The April Issue Of Women's Health Is Worth $7.20...

Women's Health

1. It contains an excellent recipe for grilled salmon with red-wine butter. They say it's for Good Friday (when meat is off the menu for most) but I can vouch for the fact that it's also very tasty if you serve it up on a Wednesday.

2. There's a fantastic article on the rise of adult eating disorders (anorexia athletica, anorexia nervosa, orthorexia, binge eating, bulimia nervosa) with some first-person accounts that will make you want to cry. It's an issue I don't think people talk enough about. And it takes lives.

3. Two words: Lea Michele. It's no secret, I love Glee and I think Lea is just fabulous. Even if she does say she likes tofu.

4. The main fashion story is full of rad gadgets, which on second thoughts might not be such a good thing, because now I'm convinced I need a $549 waterproof video camera...

5. There is an awesome full-body workout designed to maximise muscle memory. The moves look tricky and I really thought I was going to stack it when I tried them. But – magically – I didn't.

Oh, and my new favourite shoes pop up on page 130. Zing!

Just Breathe.

The Wallaroo

Fact: Slow, deep breathing releases endorphins into your body, which can relieve headaches and stress, focus your mind and even strengthen your abdominal muscles.

So take a moment for a few big inhales and exhales. I've found the perfect site to help you out. Just click here and go into the universal breathing room. Go on, we'll all do it together...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

On The Couch: Harry Is (Nearly) Here!

It's coming. In July. I'm referring to the final instalment of Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows – obviously.

I'll admit, I'm a wee bit obsessed with Harry. Not as much as some of my friends (Michelle, Ben – I'm looking at you) but I did have a Harry-themed 21st birthday, complete with sorting hat cake and gold snitches, I do own the epic Lego Hogwarts castle and the Harry Potter theme is my ringtone.

But I'm not the only one overcome by Harry fever. To date, the first seven films have grossed a whopping $6.36 billion. So clearly I'm not alone (although I might be in my crush on Rupert Grint).

And if you're half as excited as I am about this moment in Harry history, I know you'll appreciate this tantalising little teaser.

Should You Be Downing A Sports Drink?

Lindsay Lohan.

You're at the gym, standing in front of the vending machine. Do you cough up $3.50 for a sports drink  or a bottle of the old faithful H2O? It's a tough call. Sports drinks – specially designed to keep your body hydrated during exercise – can be beneficial for your muscle strength but as a general rule: anything under an hour typically doesn't cause you to sweat enough to make a sports drink essential for hydration.

You need to remember that there are a lot of hidden calories in sports drinks. I think nutrition expert Dr David Katz summed it up best when he said: "It's a way of peddling soda to the health-conscious crowd."

According to Dr Katz, "If you're in training for the NFL, then having Gatorade at the sidelines is reasonable, but most people use them badly. Not only are you not getting any benefit, you're also getting increased calories and sugar."

So just how much is sugar in a sports drink? Well, a 240mL serve of Gatorade (less than half a regular-sized bottle) contains 14g of sugar, and in Powerade you'll find 19g – that's just marginally less than what's in a same-sized serve of Coke.

So the bottom line is, if you are amping up your exercise and trying to shed a few kilos, you need to make sure that the sugar and calories you're consuming in your sports drink are coming out of your diet elsewhere.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Just Go With It.

Go Hard Or Go Home

Last night I had a great spin class. Heart rate went through the roof. Legs were agony. But I smashed it. And it completely caught me by surprise. I wasn't in a good headspace when I got to the gym. I was tired, it was raining, I'd had too many Jatz and french onion dip at an office farewell two hours before. I just showed up because, well, I always do. It's habit. And out of nowhere, I had a killer ride.

That's the funny thing about really great workouts – you never know when they're coming. My dad left the house for a jog a few days ago and suddenly started feeling so good he upped his pace. Until he was running 3:30min kms. Not too shabby.

I train every day and sometimes I'm feeling it, other times I'm really not. There's not always a reason but I've learned to just go with the flow. I'll take it up a notch if I can or take it easy if I think that's what my body needs. I've learned there's no sense in pushing muscles that are crying out for a rest. Sometimes I think that knowing when to pull back is just as important as knowing when to go hard.

My Latest Shoe Crush.

Asics Gel Nimbus 12 Q111, $249.99 from Rebel Sport.

Now I know you can't buy a running shoe just because you like the look of it (apparently there are more important things to consider – like whether it gives your foot the proper support), but when I saw a girl wearing these yesterday, I wanted to make like Usain Bolt and run to Rebel to get me a pair.

Monday, March 21, 2011

On The Couch: Limitless

What's the story? Eddie (Bradley Cooper) is a down-and-out writer with a book deal but not so much as a single word to give his editor. And after he gets dumped by his girlfriend (Abbie Cornish), things are not looking good... That is until his former brother-in-law offers to give him the focus and motivation he needs in the form of a risky and illegal narcotic. Soon Eddie is looking suave, making millions and has more bikini-clad girls around him than you'll find in a Kanye West video. But that kind of overnight success never lasts long in movie land, does it? So, sure enough, things start to turn to bad. Really bad. And as he learns more about the miracle pills he's been popping, the big question quickly turns from, can he get himself out of this stick and hold on to his success, to can he get himself out alive?

Why it's worth paying $17.80 to see: It's a slick film with an interesting plot. The narration makes it easy to follow, and while there might be some holes in the story (I think it's safe to say this one's not based on true events), it all comes together in a neat and very entertaining 110-minute package. The fact that Bradley is very easy on the eye certainly doesn't hurt either. A good pick for date night with your other half. I'm giving it three and a half spuds out of five.

Work Out And Walk Tall.

I don't have a whole lot in common with Kim Kardashian. I mean, she earned $6 million last year and has her own reality show, and all I have is a Newlyweds box set and a sizeable credit card bill. But I recently found out we do have something in common.

Kim admits, "I think my thighs are jiggly and I have cellulite." Well, amen sister! But where I think she really hit the nail on the head was when she explained why she works out every day, anyway...

"Because when I put the time in at the gym, I'm confident. You have to feel good to look good."
I might not always love every bit of my body, but I can honestly say I feel a lot better about the package as a whole when I've hit the gym. Maybe my body looks different. Maybe it's all in my head. But really, who cares? All that really matters is how you see your own body. Because when you think you look good, you can walk with all the confidence of Kim.