“AM I DOING THIS RIGHT?” MODERN PARENT CONTEST

Working from home and learning to say “I have time for you”

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This post is an entry in Modern Parent’s “Am I Doing This Right?” writing contest.

“I don’t have time.”

It’s something I’ve been saying a lot for a while now. Looking at Small Boy — or rather not looking at him, but at my phone, and telling him again:

“We don’t have time. Daddy has to go back home and work.”

Pre-pandemic days my plans were quite different. After taking a career-break and training for something new, I thought by now I would be a PT and yoga teacher, taking classes, have a place of work. Something separate from home…


To an extent, our health and fitness journey has a pre-determined path — but there’s still room to break free

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“To what extent is our physical destiny set? Is there any point in training for skills and traits that don’t come naturally?…How do we maximise our genetic gifts and minimise the impact of our weaknesses? — Adam Sinicki

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like the idea of having limits. And yet…

Imagine two athletes, under the same program, giving 100% — they will not achieve the same results.

This is the basis of our genetic gifts — and limits. It is the idea that, irrespective of our effort or our regime, our bodies have — to an…


An unbreakable spirit

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“Come back with this shield, or upon it.” — A Spartan mother’s farewell to her son before he went to war.

Confession: I wanted to be a Spartan.

When King Leonidas (re: ripped, Scottish accent-wielding Gerard Butler) led his 300 Spartans (re: other ripped actors) against King Xerxes and his million (more likely, 150–250,000) strong army, never before had I been so motivated to train.

“This… is… SPARTA!”

Those lines, those abs, and the popular 300 rep workouts that ensued defined years of training post-2006, and still have a following even this day. The reality, of course, is always different…


How unhealthy food can harm your life — or enrich it — according to 1 simple rule.

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How bad is a Big Mac, really?

If you ate just one would it be the end of the world? And if instead of a Big Mac you — like me — devoured a cheesy, oh so cheesy pizza oozing with fat on a Sunday evening, or ate sticky, sickly chocolate cake on a Monday afternoon, would it harm your health in any catastrophic way?

Well, it depends.

Everyone indulges in “unhealthy food”. Even some Shaolin monks have been known to eat the occasional Big Mac, and generally most other people deemed fit have regular “cheat meals” or “cheat days”…


Evolutionary biology, from your back pain to your knee strain, humans were built to squat

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Confession — my favourite exercise? The squat.

Why? It builds powerful, mobile legs, a strong core, and even improves posture and boosts physical and mental confidence. Just visualise (or better yet, do) the squat right now:

You stand. In yoga they call it “Tadasana”, or mountain pose. The ‘Mountain’, one of the world’s strongest men, squats nearly a 1000lb. Squats are mountains: they start and finish tall and strong, as evolution intended for us bipedal beasts. You stand like a mountain and you lower yourself. Your thighs — bursting with some of the biggest and strongest muscles in the body…


And how I’m slowly breaking free from “obsessive saving” today.

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Money worries are crippling — not least for parents.

We are, after all, not only responsible for ourselves but for tiny humans as well. Tiny (and not so tiny) children who need to eat, sleep, and get out there in the world; tiny children who can’t work, can’t understand, and can’t help themselves. They rely on us and, when we can’t provide, in some small way we feel our hearts crushed in despair and guilt.

For over a year I felt like that. Unemployed, I felt I was failing.

My savings were disappearing fast, rejection emails for new work were…


Maybe. Even probably. But there are other options too.

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It seems the one thing everyone can agree upon about organic food is that it’s expensive.

Organic food is a divisive issue. On the one hand, it’s praised for it’s more environmentally-friendly farming, its supposed superior nutrition (and even taste), as well as its indirect health benefits on account of its usage of fewer and less harmful pesticides and antibiotics.


From ancient Greek philosophers to today’s neuroscientists, exercise is a smart choice

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“What if I told you there is something you can do right now that would have an immediate positive benefit for your brain including your mood and your focus… [T]hat same thing could last a long time and protect your brain from Alzheimer's disease and depression… I am talking about the powerful effects of physical activity.”

“Exercise is the most transformative thing you can do for your brain today” — Wendy Suzuki, Professor of Neuroscience speaking during her Ted Talk, The Brain-Changing Benefits of Exercise.

Socrates was a soldier before he was a philosopher.

Imagine that, the ancient Greek philosopher…


Lessons I’ve taken from my acne years

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“Sometimes, it feels like nothing in life is more stressful than a poorly timed breakout. So, it seems plausible that the reverse can also be true — your emotions may also affect your skin” — Gila Lyon, Healthline

Everyone, it seems, has some ugliness on them. For me, my single most difficult experience was acne — and I felt like a weed.

For years I had spots, blots, white heads, black heads, eruptions, flares; and I tried all the ‘remedies’, the creams, lotions, potions, prescriptions and so on. Of course, none of them worked, and besides my confidence slipping through…


It’s more than just losing weight and building muscle

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17 years ago, I made a choice that transformed my life and has affected me ever since: I said “yes” to exercise and fitness.

Regardless of the specifics (I was 13 and said “yes” to joining my mum in her Sunday trip to the gym, as a teenager typically does), I was introduced to a world that, at the time, seemed strange and even alien. I remember I lasted barely 10 minutes on the treadmill and it dawned on me how weak I was, slow and skinny I was.

But I went back. Twice a week, three times, five times…

Jamie D Stacey

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