Tag Archives: Exercise

Keeping fit in the family



Like diet, it should be a four-letter word.

Tell anyone they need to get some exercise and images of sweating for hours at the gym sends shivers down their spine.

Or at least it does for me.

Which is why, with the weather improving and the nights getting lighter, I like to think of fun ways to get fitter and healthier. I prefer exercise where we don’t even realise we’re doing it.

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Eschewing the fat: The Final Push

Eschewing the fat: The Final Push

It's been a while since I've updated anyone on my weight loss battle – because I've been stuck in a bit of a rut.

Alright a HUGE rut.

I've really got to make a push towards Christmas, to get at least another 14lbs off.

Yes, I said the word……


But it's 20 weeks away. And for someone who wants to slim down at a rate of 1 – 2lbs a week, it means I haven't got time to mess around.

Our holiday to Cornwall in May saw me first take my eye off the ball.

My 40th birthday in June made it even more difficult to stay on the weight-loss wagon.

And then having a belated party in July (we thought we'd wait til the school Summer holidays) meant I couldn't concentrate on calories at all.

Thankfully, I've pretty much kept off the 12lbs I lost at the start of the year. But I expected to be much further on by now and it's time to re-focus.

No more excuses. No more letting life get in the way.

So I have a three-part plan.

1. Eat more vegetables

Starving myself doesn't work. It just doesn't. And I eat when I'm bored. Success in the past has come from piling my plate high with courgettes, carrots, brocolli, mushrooms, peppers… you get the gist. And having a stash of them chopped and ready in the fridge for snacks. It's common sense, I know. But why don't the majority of us do it? Because the chocolate biscuits call to us. Well I'm not listening any more.

2. No more wine

I love it. It's my drink of choice at weekends and at parties (and OK, sometimes through the week when I've had a hard day). But it does not make the numbers go down on the scales. And it gives me the munchies – you wouldn't believe how many times I've stuck to a diet all day, then had a glass of wine and started stuffing myself with crisps or chocolate. Not saying I won't have a drink on a night out. But the odd gin and tonic will not do the same damage. And a glass of wine can be my treat on Christmas Day when I reach my goal.

3. Short bursts of exercise (when longer bursts aren't possible)

I'm going to try to get to the gym for 30 minutes a day. But if that's not possible I'm very happy to learn that short bursts of exercise are highly effective – in fact, some say they're better than longer durations of moderate exercise. My circuit classes at the gym involve 2 minutes of skipping, followed by 2 minutes of star jumps, or sit-ups. Why can't I do that at home? There's no excuse, and it's hugely beneficial.

Even WeightWatchers recognises this last one as a great way to get the weight off – and keep it off. They've started the Move More Challenge – and here's Masterchef star Gregg Wallace showing how it's done.

So wish me luck, and if you've also fallen off the weight loss wagon, give yourself a break for being human.

Success doesn't always come from staying focused 24 hours a day.

It comes from picking yourself back up again when you stumble, and never giving up.

Eschewing the fat: Dear younger self

dear younger self


Dear younger self,

You’re only in your 20s and looking great.

Yes, I know you think you’re fat and disgusting. You’d like smaller boobs and a waist. But we can’t have everything.

And believe me, almost 20 years on you’re going to look back and realise what a great figure you had.

(Your hair could do with some work, but it won’t be long before hair straighteners are invented and that’ll sort you out!)

Society is telling you that you need to be a size 10 to be perfect. In the future, there’ll actually be a ridiculous size zero to strive for!

But a 12 suits you and it’s healthy. Enjoy it and stop all the crash diets. They’re only going to add lbs to your frame in the long run.

Donns and Geoff Georges1

If you want to tone up, watch your portion sizes and do some exercise. That’s all you need.

Socialise and enjoy yourself. Just because there’s a skinnier woman in the room doesn’t mean you should avoid the party, or go home early in tears.

You’ve met the man you’re going to marry. He loves you for who you are, so don’t keep worrying about how you look.

Beware his love of food and restaurants. Remember he’s almost a foot taller than you, and you shouldn’t be eating the same portion sizes he does.

Donna the outdoor Queen

Join him on more of the hill walks he enjoys. Not only will you get to see the beautiful Scottish countryside, you’ll tone up and keep your figure in an enjoyable way.

Even if you don’t take any of this advice, make the most of your figure while you’ve got it and have a good time.

Stop worrying that you’re not thinner, and trying to live up to some impossible ideal of “the perfect 10″.






Oh, and a note to my present self. Well done on shifting another 1lb this week – making that 7lbs since January 2 through eating less and exercising more.


That’s half a stone in 5 weeks. Go you!

Since your younger self didn’t have the wisdom to take any notice of any of the above you’re going to have to put things right this year.

And you’ve made a great start.



Eschewing the fat is all about turning 40 this year, and not wanting to be a fatty! Check out my first post in the series here – along with the startlingly rotund photos – to see how I started out on January 2. These images will be a distant memory by the end of this year, when I plan to be a lovely, healthy size 12 again.




Please vote Donna in this competition, where I could win a spa break to Ragdale Hall, for sharing my diet diary with UKMums.tv. It would be a huge boost to all my weight loss efforts.

Trick or treaters….. in June?

Introducing Sally, AKA Mrs Nursery, and mum of four lively boys aged eight months, three, seven and nine.

In many people’s eyes, she’s far too young to have four kids.

“In the words of my son’s teacher ‘No Dominic, your mummy can’t be 27, as you are nine!’”

Her life is fairly hectic, and she is partial to late-night cleaning, believing she does her best work at 2am.

“ I wouldn’t say I am a yo-yo dieter – more week on week off. I haven’t had the ‘moderation is the key’ eureka moment but am sure any day now I will develop an intolerance to junk and chocolate and only feel whole after strenuous exercise. I know it’s coming I can feel it!”

Big thanks to her for stepping in with a guest blog – and sharing this hilarious tale of one of life’s most horrific experiences – an unannounced visit from distant relatives.


I made the decision last year to move from one of the most vibrant cities in the country to an area that is not even labelled on a map and looks like somewhere that only has a saloon, a sheriff’s office and the odd tumbleweed passing through.

I blame rightmove as their photography was amazing and they made the house look great. They just failed to mention there are no pavements or local amenities!
What are the odds, since my relocation to rural isolation, that tonight the most irritating of distant relatives would “stop in for a brew” on a 40-mile round trip detour?
As I attempt to drop numerous hints that it’s bedtime for the children and the baby’s been poorly, still no budging.

My exaggerated yawn does nothing as steam builds up and in slow motion I see her take her shoes off.

“That’s it. She thinks she’s kipping here.”

I have two options:
1. Plod along and hope there gonna head off soon, “surely no one is that thick that they wouldn’t get the hint?
2. Revert back to my Manchester roots and kick them both out?

IÂ make small talk and repeat myself for the 10th time as she again asks “What is it you do again, are you a nurse or a doctor?”
“Neither” I tell her “I am a nursery consultant”.

I then attempt to explain how I help parents in their search for great childcare, and I help nurseries be the very best they can be.

The reply: “I wouldn’t bother. Why don’t you get a smaller house and give up work? It’s too much hassle”

I hasten to add these relatives are as first, second or third removed as you can get.

And I have three bedrooms and four kids. How small is she talking? A bedsit?
My sons stare in disbelief. After my own childhood of falling asleep to the sound of gunshots in gang territory Manchester, I have raised them in somewhat of a bubble.

IÂ hiss through gritted teeth “Stop staring at his eye patch”.

My seven-year-old, who has a tendency to gawp, sniggers “Does he think he’s a pirate?”

I am waiting for my three-year-old to get home at any moment and I know my appearance of living a refined and comfortable life in the Cheshire countryside is about to come crashing down once he arrives.

The baby crawls around the floor, dribbling and whinging, as I watch his evening routine fade away.

“He’s teething” she informs me.

Thanks for that because as a mum-of-four I’d failed to notice for the last three nights he was chewing his hand off, water flowing from his mouth like a tap!
“God it’s hot in here,” says Captain Hook.

It takes every bone in my body not to snap that the temperature is probably just right at their house.
I am out of biscuits and crisps. They don’t like the tea bags and I’ve offered them first dibs on anything in the skip outside.

Any moment now surely they will leave?
And then I hear it. The front door bangs as I hear him approach. His footsteps are fitting for a child who has more attitude than he does body.

The living room door flies open. “Mummy what is that smell? It smells weird in here.”

Our female visitor is fond of musk perfume but I’m sure she actually means musk from a Deer or Moose in season!
Three-year-old scans the room and pinpoints his target “Haha whats that on your eye? Are you from Peter Pan? Can you see me?”

He proceeds to wiggle and dance, as though that makes him more visible.

I am past the point of curling up and dying. I have turned myself inside out twice over with the shame. And with that, the most miraculous of events occurs.

They both stand up and in perfect harmony exclaim:Â “We best be heading off”.
As I wave goodbye to a car now towing the majority of the junk from my skip, I think to myself how glad I am to have my family.
Slightly disfunctional we may be and full of life is a definite, but I wouldn’t change a thing. I work to provide for my boys – but also to help others and possibly keep me sane.

As the distant car exhaust emits fumes as it snakes down the country lane on an engine running off chip fat, I look at the alternative and think we’re doing alright. I shut my door and slump on the couch, the baby cuddles in and the boys go to get ready for bed.

As I start to get comfy, I feel a blunt object in my back. I reach down and it dawns on me “I don’t wear reading glasses”. My ideal is ruined.

I can turn off all of the lights and teach the kids to hide – as we did when my mum had spent the window-cleaner’s money.

Or I can break the mold and be first in line at the pocket sized post office attached to the local farm shop!

“Special delivery please, without the return to sender option thanks.”
And back to my bubble I go. I could have sworn I was ex-directory?



Check out Sally on her website Mrs Nursery

Follow her on Twitter @MrsNursery


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