I’m not a gym babe, and I never will be! However, I have been consistently going to the gym for about 15 months, usually attending seven days a week.

Statistically, most people who join a gym quit within three months.

The gym isn’t my natural habitat, for all sorts of reasons, however I do know that humans are creatures of habit and that if you commit to something it can become like second nature. But it’s more than that for me. Not just habit, but discipline.

I was inspired to join the gym after watching how my teenage daughters’ bodies changed. They’d been attending regularly for about a year before I joined.

Physically, I often feel like I’m going through life with the brakes on. Both shoulders can dislocate at the drop of a hat, and my coccyx has dislocated three times. To say I’m both wary and conscious of every movement I make is an understatement. Various underlying endocrine issues can cause my energy levels to fluctuate quite a lot. None of these things get in the way of my daily discipline. I go to the gym as much for my body as for my mind (and my writer’s bum!).

The gym has become a spiritual learning ground for me.

I am constantly facing my judgements:

His sweat stinks! Doesn’t he know that his crappy diet makes him smell that way?

That man groans too much! He’s only doing a quarter of the weights I’m doing! What’s all the fuss about?

Would they turn that horrible music down? Aghh. It’s not even music.

His voice is awful to listen to. He really needs vocal coaching.

Why is it so damn cold in here?

Why isn’t that person practising gym etiquette and returning equipment?

If that female personal trainer has any more plastic surgery she’ll melt when the heating goes on.

The list is endless, really. I even said “Jesus” this morning when a class full of high school students came barrelling into the fitness suite just five minutes shy of the end of my workout. Getting religious in my old age! It was clearly a lesson in surrendering to the moment and letting go of the need to do some more exercises. You see, flexibility isn’t just about how we move the body. It’s in our attitude, too.

Seriously, though, my hour in the gym each day is a time to go within and I spend it dreaming up writing ideas, practising forgiveness, enjoying music in my headphones or a podcast, and sometimes just clearing my mind of thoughts (and judgements!).

It is a time to really listen to my body. What does it need? How far can I go? Why is it that yesterday I sweated like I was in Africa, and today, doing the same exercise, I’m shivering on behalf of the Eskimos?

I’m not skinny, far from it. I have learnt, though, that being strong is what matters. The stronger my body feels, the stronger I am as a person.

My preferred forms of exercise are Yin Yoga, Pilates and walking in the woods. They nourish me in a way that is deeply fulfilling. I can see though, that these allow me to indulge in selfishness.

Exercising in the fitness suite is a lesson in mindfulness and deep spirituality ~ I have to access places of deep tolerance and understanding, not just for those people around me, but for myself.

 

Enjoying a rainbow while on the bike.

Enjoying a rainbow while on the bike.

About Veronika

Veronika Sophia Robinson is the author of many non-fiction books and novels.

You can also find her on:
Facebook | Twitter | WattPad


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The dread of many women when trying to look great in a sleeveless dress or shirt: bingo wings. They’re the flabby bits that hang from the bottom of your upper arm.

 

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I watch women at the gym working hard to erase these wings, trying every trick in the personal trainer’s kit to get rid of the tell-tale flab. Here’s the thing your personal trainer won’t tell you (because the odds are good that he doesn’t know!): bingo wings are not caused through lack of muscle or laziness or poor gym discipline.

Bingo wings are a symptom of low progesterone.

This hormone decreases from about the age of 35 as we start the trek through peri-menopause heading towards menopause aged around 50.

During the peri and post menopausal years, our adrenals steal progesterone to help us deal with life’s stresses.

The lower your progesterone, the higher your oestrogen.

When this is out of balance, that’s when women experience things like PMT, hot flushes, weight gain (especially around the abdomen and hips), night sweats, moodiness, insomnia, depression, and so on. Oestrogen likes fat, and the litter rotter creates more fat. Oestrogen is like an out-of-control kid in a candy store ~ it just takes more and more and more. Unless you can get your progesterone levels to a healthy level, then oestrogen will dominate your hormones and keep progesterone hiding in the corner.

No matter how many upper-arm exercises you do, you won’t see results (that is, flab gone) until your hormones are balanced. This doesn’t mean you can’t or won’t build muscle or create a better tone, but don’t expect miracles to happen just because you’re paying a PT £30 a week or more. Bingo wings are a hormonal issue, not a personal training one.

About Veronika

Veronika Sophia Robinson is the author of many non-fiction books and novels.

You can also find her on:
Facebook | Twitter | WattPad


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Would you like to write for Starflower Living magazine?

Issue 6 themes for the New Moon in Sagittarius (due date, November 2nd): optimism, faith, adventure, freedom, truth, travel, publishing, horses, expansion, higher learning, Nature, conscience, friendliness, universities, philosophy. Health: thighs, sciatica, liver, hips.

Issue 7 themes for the New Moon in Capricorn (due date, December 1st): self-discipline, commitment, public image, aging, success, reaching goals, financial security, ambition, respect, fathers, and tradition. Health: knees, skin, bones, joints, gall bladder/stones, arthritis.

We are looking for articles which make people think, and that will inspire, take them out of their comfort zone.

Love, Veronika

 

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About Veronika

Veronika Sophia Robinson is the author of many non-fiction books and novels.

You can also find her on:
Facebook | Twitter | WattPad


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As a child, I only knew pumpkin as a savoury dish. This all changed after I left home. At 19, I met my dear friend Amy from America, who was travelling through Australia at the time. She baked me sweet pumpkin pie. It was ridiculously gorgeous! I hope my recipe in issue 5 of Starflower Living comes close to her wonderful creation.

 

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About Veronika

Veronika Sophia Robinson is the author of many non-fiction books and novels.

You can also find her on:
Facebook | Twitter | WattPad


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Did you know that Halloween began as the Festival of the Wise Grandmother?

Issue 5 is out on Wednesday 23rd.

 

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About Veronika

Veronika Sophia Robinson is the author of many non-fiction books and novels.

You can also find her on:
Facebook | Twitter | WattPad


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My head was dunked down the school toilet for not shaving my legs. I got beaten to a pulp after school simply because someone didn’t like me. Every day contained threats and terror. The school bus was a nightmare. Bullying was the soundtrack to my childhood in school. To say I hated school doesn’t even come close.

When I met my husband (one of the nicest human beings you could ever meet), I was shocked to hear that he’d been relentlessly bullied in school. There was no question we’d home educate our children and spare them the pain of poisonous human beings (for as long as possible).

A year ago, our daughters decided to go to school. One of them did 2 years of A levels in 9 months (and is now studying music at university ~ and is ridiculously happy), and the younger one did two years of GCSEs in 9 months. She is now doing A levels. The older one had regular panic attacks because of the level of bullying she received, both at school and on the school bus.

My daughter loves her teachers ~ absolutely adores them. She’s studious and has a passion for many things, especially helping the downtrodden and the underdog. Oh the irony. Every day she is bullied. It’s constant. It’s relentless. But who is there speaking up for her? No one!

Online she’s had torment from a lot of boys both on Facebook (setting up group chats which include her…saying horrible things so she can see them, then removing her from it so she can’t see where the conversation goes); she’s had horrible abusive comments on her blog (she writes novels, and as a writer it is common to have a blog). When she reported this to the teacher in charge of student welfare, the reply was to ‘stop blogging, and go and eat some chocolate’. The mind boggles. How hard is it to put yourself in someone else’s shoes?

I am sickened to the core at the level and degree of bullying that occurs at a school which has a good Ofsted rating. Education isn’t just about what bloody King ruled or the syntax of something or anything else on the damn curriculum. It’s also about how we interact and relate with other people on this planet. In the end, that’s the most important thing of all.

You can’t make people like each other (there are plenty of people I don’t like), but there are ways to just go about your day without intruding on each other.

I always turn to writing when my mouth has trouble articulating the depth of emotion in me. My daughter―my beautiful, kind, loving daughter―is having gay porn written about her on a website by fellow students. As a parent, my vegetarian pacifist tendencies have all but disappeared and I want to shake those students until they see sense.

How do children (how does anyone) learn about balance, kindness and fairness if there are no consequences? How do we teach children about being accountable for their actions? What you sow, shall you reap. You don’t need to be a Christian to understand that this is the law of the Universe.

The world has so much beauty and brilliance, and there are such truly loving and kind people. Do we let those who don’t aspire to anything wonderful or joyous or wholesome ruin it for others? What right do they have to hold others to ransom?

In indigenous cultures, such as those mentioned in Jean Liedloff’s Continuum Concept, a tribe does not tolerate anti-social behaviour. Offenders are removed from the circle until they’re prepared to behave again. Perhaps if these horrid school children had been raised in-arms by loving and conscious parents they wouldn’t have the need to bully those who are unlike them.

If your child is being bullied, turn up at the school and make a noise. If the bullying is online, speak up about it. I know there is a common belief that kids should be left to ‘sort it out’ without adults intervening, but I don’t agree.

If you saw a teenager pouring petrol on another teen, and then throwing a match, would you stand back? Why is emotional/psychological petrol-pouring any different?

My daughter has one goal: to do well in A levels and get into Oxford or one of the top ten universities in the country. Surely she has the right to do that, and to enjoy these next two years.

About Veronika

Veronika Sophia Robinson is the author of many non-fiction books and novels.

You can also find her on:
Facebook | Twitter | WattPad


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