Exercise won’t make you slim

At least not if you are fat, obese, very overweight or whatever. It may tone, sculpt and shape, increase flexibility, endurance and strength, improve cardio vascular performance and release wonderful things in your brain that make you feel amazing… happy, lively, sexy, alert and it will increase the number of calories you use… physics tells us that but it won’t make you slim.

Gratuitous photo of ripped guy

This article in the Guardian based on some medical study or other (I’m not a technical blogger academics was my job I can’t make it my fun) states that exercise will not make you lose weight or stop being obese. Lack of exercise is not the cause of obesity, too much sugar and the wrong types of fat are to blame for that and it accuses governments and health bodies of over emphasising the need to exercise in order to reduce obesity and not putting enough emphasis on the need to have a healthy diet.

Well who would have thought it?

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I don’t know about you but every time I use one of these balls I near break my face

I know personally from my own efforts that exercise of one type or another has had various effects on my body, inch loss is more of a feature than weight loss when I step up certain types of exercise such as strength training, a more toned appearance is more of a feature with the stretchy types of exercise such as pilates, increased stamina is more a feature of cardio such as walking or cycling, a greater sense of well being, tone and improved posture (which can show as inch loss) are more evident from exercise such as Tai Chi and Yoga, with all types of exercise, my sense of mental well being is enhanced as it reduces stress levels, makes me feel happier and energises me… the more fun exercise like swimming, playing tennis, really has an even more enhanced effect on me mentally.

Does my exercise make me lose masses of weight? I don’t think so, I know that dietary changes have massive impacts on my weight loss but without the feel good of exercise I would not have the mental wherewithal to fend off stress and misery and the associated lack of resistance to bad food temptations. Exercise helps me work off my frustrations, my anxieties and at times I punch out my sadness and residual effects of bad life experiences.

Posture matters if you want to feel fabulous

Exercise also makes the impact of my weight loss more visibly obvious as my posture improves, my muscle and skin tone, my strength, my awareness of my physiology, it all helps to make me look slimmer and that makes me feel slimmer and that inspires me to not eat crap and continue to lose weight. Take a fat person sit them slouched on a stool, hunched back, spread legs, belly flopping between and then sit that person up straight, put their legs together (or as close together as you can), straighten the back, pull in the tummy, open and press the shoulders down, extend the neck and they’ve lost 10 pounds…. well they haven’t but you know they look like they have.

Do you know I’ve got an inch taller since I started this journey of mine? I’ve regained the inch I lost during my late 30s and that is purely due to having pulled my body back into a posture more befitting a lady and less that of a potato.

So yes I believe that exercise alone is not enough and diet really is the big magic key to weight loss and the better the diet, the more it suits you and the more healthy it is (depending on what you believe, organic ultra low carb has by far had the biggest impact on weight loss for me and my family AND best equips us with energy for our active lifestyles) then the more effective it will be in terms of helping you lose weight more quickly. BUT do not abandon the thought of exercise because it has its place in your success and is important.

And please don’t let that word exercise put you off, think of it just as moving more. To exercise you really do not have to don a lycra one piece and leg warmers and contort your body into strange shapes and lie gasping for breath by the end of the first half of a step class warm up. It doesn’t mean buying expensive equipment and paying for personal trainers. It doesn’t mean sweating your fat ass off in a gym infront of perfect bodies. It just means moving more today than you did yesterday and getting a groove on with that. That can mean cleaning out a spare room or the kitchen cupboards,   it can mean using your upstairs loo rather than your downstairs one, it can mean walking to a bus stop or train station and taking public transport rather than your car, it can mean strolling around a park during your lunch hour rather than sitting in the

Even this is better than total immobility
Even this is better than total immobility

canteen, taking the stairs rather than the lift even if for just one floor, it can mean walking the kids to school rather than driving them, it can mean you taking the dog for a walk with the kids rather than leaving it to them, it can mean standing up in your living room and stepping from one foot to the other during your favourite soap opera, or going for a five minute walk around your neighbourhood at 11pm when it’s dark and no one can see you. People exercise in chairs and in beds, there are videos to follow on You Tube of exercising lying down and sitting down, there is no excuse not to move more. Trust me you will be AMAZED by how fast your fitness levels increase, it happens in a matter of days and your capacity to exercise only increases the more you do it.

Animal fat… do your research

But yes, I agree for real results and weight loss, to change from obese to normal you really do need to address that diet first and foremost. Read about food and what it does to your body, read about how your body deals with food, how it processes it and how it gets the best out of it and what it does with the rest and develop an eating plan to suit you. Include what you like to eat (the healthy things that is), find ways to adapt what you like into a healthier version so you do not feel deprived, treat yourself now and then, cut right back on sugar including the naturally occurring kind, cut out unhealthy fats (research animal and dairy fats before you make assumptions about them), think organic, think green and leafy, think minimal cooking, think naturally occurring, research your health issues and your health concerns ie hereditary conditions you want to fend off and see which nutrients and foods might help with that, read the pros and the cons and youno-matter-how-slow-you-go won’t go far wrong. Also, if you know your over eating or eating of the wrong foods is linked to something else and has become a habit or a boredom fix or something to do with your hands (ex smokers take heed) then change those habits. This should be a lifestyle change not just diet and not just exercise but often the thing that prevents us from getting in shape is a really bad habit.

Don’t think that if you can’t exercise you can’t lose weight because if that was the case how do we explain people in comas or incarcerated getting real thin and we all know that being bed bound with an illness and unable to eat results in dramatic weight loss… so whilst I wouldn’t advocate any of those methods of losing weight they prove that you can lose weight without moving much, but moving much makes losing weight so much more fun and you won’t run the risk of ending up a skinny weak saggy miserable mess at the end of your efforts.


The Downside of Losing Weight

Having a comment chat the other day with Tony from  One Regular Guy… blog  (have a read it’s good for anyone not just guys and not just people trying to lose weight) we mentioned some of the downsides of weight loss. Now not wanting to put anyone off losing weight at all, because we agreed there is no downside which compares to the upside of having a waist line reduced by inches, but there are a few things that you might want to get to grips with so you’re not so shocked when/if they happen.

It also keeps us grounded in the knowledge that for every good thing there could be a bad thing just waiting to smack us in the face… total unequivocal happiness and satisfaction may not be as easy to come by as we think and losing weight is not going to take all of our stresses away.

The first one we mentioned was temperature control. Remember when we were huge and we lolled around all summer sweating, wishing we had the nerve to wear barely anything, wishing we had the nerve to strip off and dive in a lake or pool (high five to those who just did it anyway), remember those days when we lay under a ceiling fan or hid out in air conditioned rooms as our fat added layers to insulate our bodies which on the upside also kept us warm in the winter? Well when that weight has gone, when the insulation is no more, summer is so much easier, having fewer creases and rolls is more comfortable (less places for sweat to gather) and less chunkiness rubbing on chunkiness causing sores and chaffing. Gosh I have been lucky that my legs were never really very big but even so I’ve had the odd summer where my inner thighs have blistered and bled from friction, and not of the fun gained type either, just walking.

So summer is easier BUT winter is a beast. You will feel sooooooo cold on your first winter and maybe beyond as your body really is shocked by the exposure no longer padded and insulated by all of that fat. If you struggle to lose weight in the winter (I used to) count your lucky stars here because you’re delaying the pain of freezing temperatures. We had a mild winter here this year but even so my heating bill was higher than last year all because I was totally freezing all of the time!

Another thing I’ve noticed is that sitting on a hard chair or bench is sooooo painful. I feel like I’m sitting on metal bars. It took me a while to even figure what it was, I thought the discomfort came from strained butt muscles but eventually realised I had so much less padding on my posterior now and sitting down for a skinny bum is really not comfortable, how do people cope? I’ve yet to find it comfortable and wonder if I ever will. So if you have stubborn bum fat, don’t worry, leave it there, when it’s gone you will know about it.

Saggy skin is another thing, I’ve not got any yet apart from tops of my arms but that’s not even bad. This section kind of covers more than that though, when you lose weight you can become hyper critical of your body in a whole new way. I have to remind myself when I look int he mirror at my naked self or in my underwear just what I was seeing in that mirror a year ago. It becomes too easy to obsess with body parts, to look at your floppy arms or podgy belly or dimpled thighs or reduced bust or whatever it is and hate it. It’s really bad to start hating your new body, it is. You have to remind yourself where it’s come from, how hard you have worked, how much better your feel and how a saggy bum or a few stretchmarks or boobs that only have a clevage in a bra are really not the end of the world.

It is hard to achieve perfection and what is perfection anyway? Who has a perfect body? Even if you can name someone who in your opinion does have a perfect body if you tell them that they’ll say “Oh no, my bum is too big… my boobs are too small… I have awful feet”. We have to get away from looking at our bodies on the outside and thinking of how they are thriving on the inside. It can be a really really bad downside of losing weight when you start to obsess with things about your body you can not change, OK so some you can change with diet exercise, even surgery but don’t let anything detract from the amazing accomplishment you have made to shed weight in the first place, don’t forget how much better your body is functioning on the inside. Don’t depress yourself because you’ll wind up eating again and risk getting fat again and you’re not going to be happy if everything you’ve done was reversed and we know how fast it can be reversed. When I look at myself in the mirror I suck in and posture and say “Hell yeah, you’re looking amazing, look at those slim ankles, look at that glowing skin, look at that thick shiny hair, look at those gorgeous pearly teeth, look at your slender sophisticated hands, look at the you that was hiding under all of that fat” and I slap my still slightly wobbly bum and turn that to the mirror.

Another downside is people’s comments about your size. This is a real downside. It’s like when you’re pregnant and people feel they have a right to say “Aren’t you massive?” or to touch you without asking first. It happens when you’ve lost weight. It’s like you trade the insults and jokes about your weight from people you didn’t know for constant comments from people you do know. People suddenly feel they have a right to ask a lady her weight, her dress size, how much she’s lost, when she’s going to stop and to comment with things like “you need to stop now, you’ve lost enough now, you’re looking ill, you don’t look like you anymore” and let’s just forget the ones who say behind your back “she’ll put it back on in a year she always does”… those ones need a swift jab in the eyes.

Nobody cares about anything else anymore, all they want to know is how much you lost and how, some of them want you to write them a diet plan, some want you to cook for them, some to come and steal your trainer sessions, you become weight loss guru and they either put you on a pedestal or they can’t cope with the threat of the new you and abandon you like trash. I think this is why I’ve kind of migrated towards relationships with my friends who are also trying to change their lives, either through weight loss or anything else, learning new skills, retraining, finding new jobs, exercising more.. these friends get me and don’t talk to me all the time about losing weight. We mention it but it’s not ALL we talk about and it’s not the first thing we talk about when we see one another. It’s at the point now where I dread seeing anyone I know who hasn’t seen me in a while I just know the first thing they’ll say is “Haven’t you lost weight? Oh gosh I didn’t recognise you” and I’ll have to retort with “Well you did otherwise you’d not have screamed my name across the supermarket so that everyone in here turned to look at me”. You just wish that once in a while someone you know would see you and say “How are you and the kids doing?” just like the old days when they didn’t say “Hi, aren’t you fatter than last time I saw you?” or “So I see you’re still massive then”

The other downside is that guys think you’re hot, everywhere you go guys are chasing you down, throwing flowers at your feet, sending facebook requests – you are in demand. Well not quite, for some maybe but you do notice that single guys you’ve maybe known a while suddenly see a photo of you someone tagged on FB (I hate that) and next thing you get a message asking if you’re doing anything Saturday and you have to send  back a message saying “Yes I’m on a date with my beautiful boyfriend who had the foresight to ask me out before I cross trained my way off the fat bench”.

The other problem closely related to this is your girlfriends suddenly see you as hot too and they panic whenever you are around their men folk. You are no longer the safe fat mate who they can take anywhere or who they can leave alone with their man or who they take along  just to make themselves feel thinner. What do they call it? The DUFF… dull ugly fat friend… seriously slim people see us fat people like that and whats worse we didn’t even realise it until we lost weight, we thought they were really our friends. This isn’t some juvenile only thing, this happens with middle aged women too, there are bitches alive and kicking out there at all ages. I really hate this one though, it’s like your friends, people you called FRIEND think that because you’ve lost 150 pounds you want to destroy their marriage or suddenly you find their whimpy boring idiot husband remotely attractive. Harsh? You bet I am! This is so upsetting when it happens. It suddenly becomes your fault that their husband says to them that you look good even when you’re miles away, or he says that maybe they should think about getting in shape again.

That is not your fault and don’t you dare feel guilty about it if it happens to you because that shit is not your fault. If your friend stops inviting you over or wants to kill you because their husband who they insisted you add on facebook while you were fat happens to like a picture of you now you’re not… even if it’s a picture you didn’t put there, it is her fault, his fault, anyone’s fault but yours. Sadly to some of your friends you will become the biggest flirty ho bag ever to walk the Earth because you lost some weight and got in shape and even if you have a lovely man in your life, that doesn’t exclude you from your expulsion from friendship groups. Sometimes I wish Nick would just hurry up and propose so that these idiots see us as more official and stop worrying. But then I don’t see why he should be rushed into something he’s clearly waiting for a very special time for (pft) by people who hate me because I’ve lost some weight. Oh yeah, because I also forget that as soon as  you lose weight, another downside,  you suddenly lose all of your morals and become a marriage wrecker and your years of friendship mean nothing and yes, you really can not keep your pants up for more than ten minutes. Upside of this, Christmas list shrinks and birthday calendar frees up some slots and when the wedding does come… Nick reads this so I’m told so excuse me a second while I get needy with the hints… ring, diamonds, ring, proposal, waiting, only joking when I said I wouldn’t do it again.

Honestly we went to a former colleague’s house for dinner a few nights ago and we both could feel the tension. Every time her husband, who I’ve known longer than I’ve known her, laughed at something I said we could feel the draft from her kicking him under the table. It’s not even flattering, years ago the bitch in me would have played on it and had him eating strawberries out of my cleavage but now I’m mature I can’t be bothered and my dresses are more expensive. I just find it very sad and very disappointing that my friend pool is diminishing at a time when it should be expanding as I become more social. But then it’s not diminishing because I have better quality friends now, I know who the real ones are and I also have met lots of lovely new ones through my activities so that’s not such a bad thing, we don’t need negative people in our lives do we?

On that note I shall say keep on going or start going if you are losing or wanting to lose weight. The downsides are few compared to the masses of positive effects, the longer life being the best one, the non irritable bowel, the lack of heartburn, the unswollen liver, nice clear wee, solid sleep, energy, flexibility, mental alertness, even my memory has improved, better hair, better skin, better nails, better teeth, reduced blood pressure, reduced water retention, reduced risk of diabetes reduced risk of heart disease and cancer, increased libido, cheaper clothes, being able to get out of the bath, being able to do a home pedi, knowing if you’re ready for a bikini wax without using your selfie camera… OK so that last one was  TMI but don’t not lose weight because of the downsides just prepare yourself to deal with them, some of them can really piss you off.

I only went and did it!

I really want to find time to blog about this properly as there is so much to say and my inability to keep a secret is going to reveal other things which I want to blog separately about but I just can’t keep it in.

I’m finally OVERWEIGHT!!! Just overweight not obese or morbidly obese or super morbidly obese as I was this time last year but just pure and simple overweight. Just overweight. Isn’t that wonderful?

Before anyone tells me it is not good to be overweight, I know I know but it is a whole lot better than being super morbidly obese so cut me slack and keep your opinion to yourself, I’m trying here. I’m not settling for overweight, normal is my goal but right now I am feeling positively skinny, I swear I have protruding bones (if I lie down and suck in).

This also lets a couple of cats out of the bag in that I’ve clearly passed another huge miles stone and shrunk below 200 pounds for the first time in a long time and I’ve lost so many pounds over a hundred now that I’ve stopped counting and Tracey my ten stone initial target is done although I’ve yet to update her.

This also shows that I’ve experienced a huge weight loss in a month following a zero carb diet and a huge weigbtloss after I’d already lost over a hundred pounds was something I wasn’t expecting at all and I have been loving my meals beyond expression.

A proper update or two will come as soon as I have time but my life is hectic right now putting the house back in order family and with work and prep for Easter that I don’t have time to give it what it deserves but it needed a tiny shout out from the roof tops. All that and my teen son has really got into girls so I’ve had reiterative sensitive talks aplenty going on too. My motherhood duties are far from over although we do find we are ushered out of the house more and more these days, encouraged to go to the cinema and to eat and for walks. I must blog about all that as it’s all new to me and to Nick as we’ve both had teen daughters but the sons are lagging behind. So we’re probably getting it so wrong.

We’ve taken up yoga too so anyone with tips or advice please comment And please DO link me to your blog posts in comments I am not averse to that I find it really helpful. I’ll blog about yoga too but we’re loving it so far. We are looking to find a couples yoga retreat somewhere nice and hot and sunny if anyone has any recommendations I’d be grateful. I’m sure these places exist in reality and not just in Meet the Fockers.

Happy days and after a very late night where we dined out on delicious lobster and frolicked in the rain on the beach like teenagers and came home to find ourselves positioning and repositioning lovely things in our new kitchen and dining room like newly weds in our first home it is definitely time for some sleep if Nick can tear himself away from restocking cupboards with tableware and polishing glasses.

Spring has sprung chez nous our new beginning has begun. I’m feeling twenty years younger than I did last year it’s amazing. If you’re wanting to lose some weight or beat an addiction or kick a habit or to just take back control of your life and make yourself happier, know you can do it, just take a tiny step today and another tomorrow and another the next day and you know what? Magic starts to happen. It does.

Crash and Burn – Low Carb Pros and Cons

It was perhaps inevitable that I would fall ill at some point. I’ve had a relatively healthy year in terms of bugs and things and am constitutionally quite sound in that I’ve never been a real sick;y person. I put this down to not taking medication unless I’m close to death. As a child we were not the kind to be rushed to the doctor as soon as we sniffled, rather we’d be left in bed, tucked up warm with comfort food and drinks and left to fight off whatever had taken over us and in the main it worked. Only now and then one of us needed a doctor and some medicine. Our parents believed they were building our immunity.

As an adult I’ve done the same with my children and they’ve been quite the same, very resilient and bounce back fast from viral infections. I like to think I’m helping them to build their immunity too and that I’ve passed on some of mine.

When I’m run down, over doing things, not sleeping enough or not eating right  I know I’m risking picking something up, especially at seasonal transitions when bugs seem to make a last attempt to invade every human possible before the heat or cold kills them off for another half a year or when the new seasons bugs spring to life. So as we move from winter to spring very definitely in the UK with increased temperatures and lighter mornings and evenings it was rather silly of me to be working more hours than there are in a day and keeping up with my routines and regimes as well as being ma to my kids and friend to my friends and queen to my king (urgh can’t believe I just said that mushy garbage but hey ho it’s done now). The only thing I’ve kept normal is my eating habits.

In short, I’m sick and I’ve never had anything like it. I’m not going to blame it on the new eating plan as I know it’s a virus but I have a real chesty cough and coughing is not something I’m used to at all. It’s so bad that it’s made me vomit a couple of times in the night which is then obviously disrupting my sleep and so it all bundles up to create a very sorry state of me, sitting blanket wrapped, soft full length pjs, warm socks and slippers with a messy bun, glasses perched on the end of my nose, reclined in the lounge in front of the telly with a frequent green tea refil infused with ginger and turmeric roots and mint leaves. A hot water bottle on my back is doing the trick in terms of keeping my yucky chest gunk nice and loose and bringupable and I’m feeling very sorry for myself. Sorry if that’s TMI but be thankful I’ve not gone into detail about how I’ve found through all of the coughing that even though I’ve never given birth, weakened pelvic floor muscles may just be a middle aged ladies thing and totally unrelated to child birth.

Anyway, I’ve managed to get my hands on my lap top but only after I swore not to use it for work and I am under strict instruction to be better for Mother’s Day on Sunday. Don’t panic anyone reading this outside of the UK, I’m talking about mother’s day here not wherever you are.

I thought I’d take this chance to write about my progress with my new eating plan, the low to zero carb approach but to be honest I don’t have much new to write about. I’ve written quite lengthy accounts of the kids’ progress and Nick and I have noticed the same positives as they have, feeling full for longer which has led to a reduction in portion size which for me is a real plus point. I’m a glutton so reducing portions was something that has been happening very slowly but surely over the past 11 months but was something I knew I’d have to work more on at this end stage of  my journey. I’d dreaded having to cope with more control over the amount I eat but this seems to be taking care of that for me which is a miracle in itself.

I am definitely losing weight and inches but I’ll update on that at the end of the first thirty days.

Before getting ill I also had noticed that I was sleeping better and feeling more energetic so it’s all good and I’ve already said that the tastiness of this organic meat and veg is fabulous, I feel like I’m having a treat every day.

I have noticed no change in terms of IBS which was something I suffered from for years until a few days into my healthy lifestyle changes last year. So it hasn’t returned. BUT acid reflux has returned. I’ve been eating virtually no fat at all, besides what is in dairy and splashes of olive oil in cooking or salad dressings and that’s kind of the same except for now of course I eat the fat on my steak and chops and I eat sausage and minced beef and bacon complete with fat and rind. I think I might have to experiment a little and eat less of the fat and see what happens but I have definitely over the past week noticed that I’m experiencing some acid indigestion or heart burn or whatever you want to call it and it’s not a welcome return.

But as I always say, this is all about trial and error and so I’ll find a way to continue with the plan but not get heart burn. It’s not so bad but having suffered with it for years and not having had it for months it feels uncomfortable but what I’m going to do is press on for another week and see if it settles, if it doesn’t then I’m going to reduce the fat I eat from meat and not have dairy in my evening meal if I can help it,

Another thing I’ve noticed and Nick can also attest to this is that we have a lot of wind, it seems to be subsiding now but for the first few days we were positively embarrassing with the amount we were expelling. I’m hoping that it’s going to eventually level out and am feeling so fortunate right now to be working for myself so that i don’t have to explain why I’m surrounded by air fresheners to anyone.

I also noticed that I have terrible breath in the morning but again that seems to have settled now and I worried that I was just getting accustomed to it but I’ve tested it out on Nick and my son and they agree that it’s improved from the rancid stench it was before. Strange thing is nobody else has had the breath thing and only myself and Nick have the gas issue, the kids don’t. Maybe it’s our aged alimentary canals struggling with the changes which the younger bodied are adapting to far more quickly.

All in all I’d say I’m actually enjoying my food a lot more right now and definitely feeling fuller for longer and loving that I don’t even want to snack and as I said really enjoying the reduction in portion size which has come along naturally.

It get’s a thumbs up thus far, especially for tastiness, my gosh, some of these meats and vegetables, even though they are cooked in very basic ways are explosions of flavour. How much we’ve lost out on to the supermarket and mass production ways of rearing our food, it’s sad to think of it.

Steamed genitals anybody?

Was reading this earlier all about the benefits of and how to carry out vaginal steaming. Click here to read. I’m always looking for interesting uses for my herb stash and for healthy natural ways to improve my overall well-being  but just when you thought you’d seen it all….

I’m not sure I’ll try this between two chairs method I think if Nick came in and caught me mid steam, as new age as he is, he would fear for my sanity.

Never say never though I’m compiling a bouquet garni for this evening as soon as I’ve posted this and will be sure to report on any noticed effects.

Winter’s End Blues

I need to jet off to some hot, sunny location every year around right now. I hate the winter months and am just thankful that Christmas comes in the middle of them to offer some cheer and respite, for me at least. I know Christmas is not a great time for everyone.

downloadI find I struggle more with healthy eating as I tend to eat a lot of uncooked foods as part of my healthy lifestyle and find it so much easier to fill myself up and keep away from temptation with yummy salads, raw veggies and lots of fruits. In this cold, dark, dreary weather I want hot, warm, spicy stuff and so I supplement the raw foods somewhat with soups and stews and North African spicy fishy soups but just being in the kitchen cooking makes me crave baking some delicious bread and smothering it while still hot with butter, or to bake some fab cookies or scones and smother them in jam and cream. I want hot chocolate with cream frothed up on the top and I want something delicious to dip my hand into while watching a movie snuggled up on the sofa all warm and cosy in blankies. I also find it very hard to want to go out and exercise when it’s cold and dark and miserable.

Besides all of this I’m sure I suffer to some degree with SAD, I’ve always struggled with winter blues and find that around now I’m just tired of the dark and cold and long to throw open some windows, have seagulls waking me up and to feel the sun on my skin when I go for a walk. Being swaddled in scarves and coats and jumpers is great for a couple of weeks but by this time of year I’m through with the excitement of the winter chill.

Ways I’ve found to combat this if anyone else is interested and struggles with the same things are to:

1. cook my soups and stews in bulk so that I don’t have that temptation of spending time in the kitchen for longer than I have to

2. allow myself a baked loaf once a week. I make from scratch a small wholegrain granary loaf and I have a chunk with butter as a special winter treat. Everyone knows I have a weekly scone with 100% fruit puree homemade jam and cream and I satisfy the craving to bake by making just 4 decent sized ones, one each for myself and Nick and two for the growing son.

3. I make my own granola each week so what I’ve been doing is putting some into small air tight plastic boxes and I use that to munch on when movie watching with…

4. low calorie, low fat instant hot choc drinks which kill my craving for something hot and chocolatey without piling on the pounds again

5. share the trainer has meant that I am more motivated to go to those sessions as my friend is newly enthusiastic and that is contagious and I can’t let her down as she drives to my house and parks up then we walk together so there is no escaping that and also pre-paying for sessions makes you more likely to drag your sorry behind to them

6. install a day light lamp in the room I’m in the most which is my studio now. It’s working to make me feel happier (as well as helping me to see my work) and I also have a massive window in there so I keep the curtain and blinds open and let the natural light flood in during the day when I’m working. I used to be tempted to leave it all closed up as the side of my house faces a road and so for privacy’s sake I wanted it to be closed but hang privacy, I need that precious day light boost.

7. warm up with some faster paced walking or a little sneaky jog to make you forget its winter when you’re out and about

Close your eyes and imagine

8. go to the spa where the temperature is pretty ambient. Swim or float around with your eyes closed and imagine that artificially heated water is a blue, tropical lagoon, sweat it out in a steam room imagining you’re in some hot forest (especially easy for me as the steam room at my spa plays a kind of tropical rain forest back track), lie down in the sauna and as the sweat trickles down your body imagine you’re on a hot sandy beach. All of this stuff works for me, visualising myself where I would feel happier works, I swear sometimes I can see the sunshine haha. I invariably leave with my mood uplifted, only trouble is daily spa visits are a tad over indulgent and I really don’t have time for them. I plan to do this after work outs so that I have the boost to look forward to – it inspires me to workout for the reward after but of course the reward from working out comes from the work out itself. Anything that encourages you to go do the work out is worth trying though so that your low mood doesn’t make you miss out on that essential mood boost from working out.

9. plan trips to hotter climates and watch vlogs of people on holiday in warm places, the escapism like above lifts my mood maybe it would work for you too

10. notice that the night is setting in later and the mornings are getting lighter earlier already and know that we’re in February now and spring is just around the corner. Don’t let yourself give in to winter just yet, it’s almost another challenge won.