Author: melonsandmargaritas

Hello there and welcome to my page. My name is Jacqui. I love to write and I love working as a health coach and dietitian. This blog let’s me combine the two! This is my space to write about all things health and well being related, with a touch of Melbourne life thrown in. My day job involves coaching clients to achieve their health goals, linking people into health services and home and community support, and helping develop and deliver new and innovative health services to people across Australia. I have a Bachelors of Applied Science and a Masters in Nutrition and Dietetics, and worked previously as a Medical Scientist. I like being able to break down the science of health and nutrition for people to apply to their own lives, in a way that is meaningful to them. I’m from country Victoria, Gippsland to be exact. But I live and work in Melbourne. I love getting home fairly regularly and hanging out on my parents or my sisters property. I love the city, but I get a bit edgy if I don’t get back to the country for a while, and I love the drive home. In Melbourne I live in a beautiful Victorian House in the city, and am lucky enough to live with three other lovely ladies…one in her 40’s (Tash), one in her 30’s (Zo), and one is her 10’s (Estella)…she’s 9. Ours is a bit of a Modern Family, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Our home is peaceful and homely and filled with love….lots of food…and always wine. Tash is mother to Estella, and also kind of the mother of the house. She cooks ridiculously delicious food and believes in simple ingredients. Zo is our fit housemate and resident handy-woman. She introduced me to kettle bells. Before then, I thought they were christmas decorations for my kettle. Estella is a 9 year old ball of cuteness and sass. She is a fellow lover of games. You name it, we’ve played it. She is also the fashion expert in our house, as well as interior decorator and instagram pro. She takes cool arty pics like the one below and is current dance-off champion in our house. I hope that this blog can be a place to learn, giggle and enjoy, and that a little bit of me comes through in the posts. I’d suggest popping the kettle on, dragging out your favourite brew and hanging round for a little while…

Great expectations: How to be less judgemental

Judging others

I have a confession to make….I’m human. I try most of the time to be a nice, kind and friendly sort of human, but on more occasions than I care for, I can be judgemental. I can judge people on face value, and without really knowing them. I think we all can.

It’s a sad and unavoidable fact friends, but something we would all benefit from being more mindful of, particularly in a month that marks Suicide Prevention awareness. Being from country Victoria, I feel like judgements can seem harsh and more intense in smaller towns where people know each other. The microscope lens can feel a little hotter, we can feel the burn.

On a recent weekend visiting back home, I had a pleasantly unexpected experience in a country pub with my folks and the dad and uncle of a guy I know, and have previously judged. I thought he was a gossip and kind of arrogant and shallow. On this particular night, however, I was privy to more of an insight into this persons life. I found his dad lovely, and snort laughed at his uncles jokes…twice. I also learnt more about this persons personal life that made me realise, he was just like me, and that everyone has stuff they have to deal with.

I myself am not overly fond of being judged by others, but alas, it happens.

Besides the obvious reason we should judge less (cos it’s mean according to my 10 year old housemate), it also makes you feel worse about yourself and see the world more negatively. In addition, it’s counterproductive! If you are judging someone poorly in a team environment such as the workplace, you are far less likely to work well together and get good stuff done. Just cos Barry in Finance breaths too heavy in the lift, doesn’t mean he won’t kick ass when you need him to… know what, I’m not even gonna pretend to know what Barry in Finance does. Numbers are lost on me. Barry’s your guy for anything numbers related.

Whats more, being less judgemental lowers blood pressure, increases creativity and improves your mood and self-esteem. So drop the judgements Judy!

My call to action to you is to try, even just for a few days to spend a little less time judging and a little more time bludging… not really….spend more time doing great stuff.

Six ways to judge less and connect more

1. Don’t be too hard on yourself   

Firstly, recognise it’s human nature to judge others. I’m sure even the Dalai Lama wonders whether Mariah and Jimmy P will last. Back in the caveman days, we needed our fight or flight response to judge situations in order to literally stay alive. Good judgement was no doubt imperative when face to face with a saber-tooth tiger whilst choosing which shade of rock to furnish the cave.

2. Check yourself before you wreck yourself

Before you go to judge someone, or react to a situation, try and catch yourself first. Check in with your own mood, and see if you can see things from the other persons perspective.  Is it possible you might be judging an action/behaviour you’ve done yourself in the past? Judgement is a natural first instinct, but getting in the habit of pausing can be a very good thing. It’s too late once you’ve sent that reactive text/email/obscene snapchat

3. Find the common ground

In the words of the talented homegrown musician, Ben Lee, “we’re all in this together”. He makes a very good point in that “I’m made of atoms, and you’re made of atoms”. Nice one Ben. I love a good solid science-based lyric! We are all human and made of the same stuff and, being human, we can all make mistakes. I often try and remember that the other person is just like me, they have a family, loved ones, folks who bought them into the world.

4. Give people the benefit of the doubt 

When someone does something we may not necessarily like or agree with, 99.9% of the time, it’s not about us. They may be struggling with something themselves, or going through something painful.  You’ve heard the quote – “Don’t judge people. You never know what battle they are fighting” (author unknown). Everybody has their own stuff going on behind closed doors.

5. Let go of pride

This one is a toughy! I happen to like my pride, I’m super attached to it and stuff. Pride, however, can further wedge the divide, make it difficult to empathise with the other person and see things from their perspective. If you notice your pride’s on steroids, take a deep breath, suck it in, and while you’re at it, let it go.

6. Cultivate compassion

Not just for others, but for yourself too. Ever heard the phrase, when you judge others, you’re really judging yourself? What is it you’re not overly fond of in yourself? If you feel good about you, you’re less likely to judge others.

I’m sure we’ve all received an unfair review at one point or another. But the bottom line is, you can’t compare your insides to other people’s outsides. You never really know what other people are going through. You also never know when someone will surprise you. No opinion is final. What a better world we would live in if we all gave others the benefit of the doubt.



Altruistic August….It’s cool to be kind

Namaste everyone.

Namaste to you and all your mates.

I love that word. I think if you put it on the end of any sentence it can excuse whatever words just preceded it.  Like “hey, I’m enjoying your new black and white Supre jumper today. How many magpies had to throw up on that in production I wonder…namaste”, all would be well between the people involved in that friendly exchange.

I don’t actually know the exact translation of namaste, but I know it has to do with meditation….which is a good segue to May to Julys goal to meditate more.  I extended it to July, because I’m super keen on the benefits of meditation, and hadn’t done so much of it in May. July went better, and I did fit in at least 2 x 15 minute sessions per week but still, not as much as I’d liked. This one’s a work in progress for me, and one I am going to continue on.

But with August came a new goal to try. My goal for August is centred around altruism. “Atruistic August” if you will. Altruism is a bit of a fancy word. It’s probably my hardest goal month to roll off the tongue, but aside from Fun Feb, it might just be my favourite. For one, it was fun to research. Above and beyond wikipediaing the definition of altruism, I came across some people doing some impressive stuff in the world and great ways to be more altruistic.


Top 10 job interview secrets – the stuff you won’t get off seek 

Whaddya mean I don't look old enough to apply for this job?! Yes my mum knows I'm here....

I’ve had quite a few good friends going for job interviews lately, and at my own workplace, there are loads of interviews going on and a buzz around the office.

In fact, I had dinner at a friends house last week as a prep sesh the day before her interview. My prep on her behalf was abnormally enthusiastic. I had a printed template of common job interview questions, a background briefing on the role and the project she would be heading up and some suggested responses based on her point of difference and why she should get the role – which she should, by the way, she’s the shiz*.

Whilst she was appreciative, I believe her exact words were “nerd alert”.

So, even thought this post is not directly related to health, job security is definitely an aspect of well-being. From being interviewed, being on the panel, taking a nerdish interest in what Human Resource and Management colleagues look for in interviews, here is a list of what to do’s, from my humble non-HR perspective. (more…)

Job Interview Hall of Shame – Top 3 Interview fails

These really do (sadly) come from personal experience.

Three “What-not-to-do’s” in a job interview.

1) Don’t cry in the interview (!) 

This is never ideal, particularly when the next question is “how do you handle pressure?”

Um, didn’t I just demonstrate that?!

I can laugh about it now, but at the time I was mortified! It was my first interview since graduating as a dietitian, I had it hammered into me how hard it was getting a job in my field and I had been volunteering at the organisation where I was going for the job. I had already accepted two other jobs, and would have to knock them back if I got this.

I was feeling awful about this scenario. At the time I desperately thought I wanted this job and that this would define my future career. Hindsight and a bit of time is a great thing, I didn’t get that job (pretty sure I know why) and it would have been very specialised and limited my experience. I kept the other two jobs and rapidly developed experience and adaptability in many different fields of dietetics. I became a flexible, well-rounded dietitian and got to experience private practice, aged care, community and hospital work all at once.

That little melt down in front of an interview panel may well have been a blessing in disguise…

2) Answer a “how do you handle conflict” with “I’ve never had conflict in the workplace”

…again, same interview, train wreck answer. But I’ll never again not be able to answer that question!

It’s inevitable that there will be conflict in the workplace.

If you get nothing else from this post, walk away nailing the conflict management question. Google it. Ask people in the know for examples. Practice your answer out loud till you’re blue in the face. Get very comfy with this question.

3) Shake hands with the entire interview panel then call them the next day to advise that you just found out last night you’re at the height of the contagious phase of the highly infectious “Hand Foot and Mouth” Disease

Whilst this wasn’t me personally, it may or may not have been my buddy from the previous post.….and whilst she didn’t call the entire panel, she did call our direct manager who was on the panel…. Unlike me, she still got the job, regardless of the infectious kids disease. This still impresses me, as she was definitely out of sorts that day (any wonder!) and still nailed the interview.

There you have it, avoid these three common pitfalls and you’re on the career path to stable employment….


Meditation May……be I should give this another go-around

If this lil guy can do it....

It’s almost the end of June and I regret to say that my goal for May was not achieved. Though I’m not too regretful, because it’s really normal not to achieve all your goals straight up, and one goal a month for a year was a bit ambitious, wasn’t it?

For May, the goal was to start meditating regularly.  Just a bit, say 15 minutes 3 times per week. I started off well for the first week then dwindled from there.

There are oodles of benefits to regular meditation. It can help reduce stress, increase physical health, manage chronic pain, make you sleep better and feel happier. The science behind what it does to the brain is also really impressive, and discussed in more detail below.

So if it’s so good for me……


Moderation March…and April…send back the clowns


March and April whizzed by! I don’t know how, considering the goal for these two month was to reduce my alcohol intake, so you would expect time to go slower…

Feb was so fun that it was time to reign in the horns and moderate my alcohol consumption…. I hadn’t been guzzling gallons of cask wine and whizzing round clothes-lines or chandeliers anything like that, but I had been enjoying most evenings in the backyard with a few glasses of wine…sometimes more.


What’s in that drink? Your go-to guide for the kilojoules in alcoholic drinks

Espresso Martini-82382a940349d8e719f1ce0095b7611c

Some people think that some alcohol choices are healthier than others. The truth is, all alcohol has negative impacts on your health, because of the alcohol (ethanol) these drinks contain. All alcohol is high in calories.

Per gram, alcohol contains 29kj, that’s almost double that of a carbohydrate food. What’s more, alcohol provides zero nutritional benefit and has many adverse affects on our health, which is why my preference would always be lower alcohol drinks vs lower carb drinks. It’s also worth thinking about what your mixing your alcohol with, if it’s with soft drink or fruit juice, you’re adding loads more kilojoules on top of the alcohol content.