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Sparkly Pants...

...Some simple solutions to get you looking your absolute best this Christmas

I do love this time of Year, It all starts off with Halloween, shortly followed by Guy Fawkes Night, or Fireworks night or whatever you wish to call our big excuse to blow up millions of pounds in posh wiz bangs and then we are on a fairly short trajectory towards all things Christmas and I have to say I LOVE IT!

We all want to look our best, but how to do that when the countdown to Christmas starts with a sweet fest on the 31st October and steadily goes down hill from there. I have never been one to go all hallowed from Halloween. Personally I think its time to say - 'You shall go to the ball!' And bloody well enjoy yourself (always have wanted to be a fairy god-mother!)

For many years I worked on the Lorraine show as the fitness expert on the Little Black Dress Diet. The bit I enjoyed most - apart from dressing up in a number of little black dresses, was helping viewers transform themselves, which they did, and in very short spaces of time - as would anyone if you've got me on your back 24/7 and over a million people watching you on TV! Motivation is a wonderful thing but sometimes the prospect of looking swell at a party isn't quite enough impetus to get you all fired up and gunning it 'til Christmas. So here are my 5 top tips that I know will work for you. Go on, DO THEM! They really can be your magic wand.


So the first tip is to look at all the below and not think this is just for Christmas - for this to really

work, year after year, you've got to adopt a good few of this things now and forever. Sounds impossible? Not really, because each of the below are very much individually focused, what works for one person doesn't for another so get your thinking cap on and start planning round each point to make it work for YOU!


Every time you sit down, think about when you can next stand up and move. Start writing down all the places you sit down - how could you stand up and move instead? Whether its at home, in the car, on the bus. Get moving by walking, sitting on an exercise ball, standing to watch TV whilst folding the washing - you name it you can think of things - write down at least 10!


We need carbohydrates to fuel the body to move and to feed our brains. If you'd like to read more on this then please read my blog Sugar And Spice Or All Things Vice? What tends to happen during the party season is we do the exact opposite - we rush around doing the shopping getting ready for Christmas and not eating much then spend days slobbing, either hung-over or just indulging in a carb ingested frenzy - this is NOT good and will make you pile on the pounds. An active moving body, whatever your fitness level, will make far better use of those carbs than a sedentary one. So apply this simple rule - If you are about to move - eat some carbs the meal before and if that movement was really big - like a 1 hr hard workout, eat carbs afterwards within an hour, preferably within 20 minutes, but ALWAYS with a good portion of protein. Go for equal amounts of protein and carbs -If you are small to average in size and not huge on vigorous exercise think the size of your palm as a portion of each with at least 2 - 4 times the amount of veg. If you are above average in size or activity you can increase this by third to a half. But if you are not moving DON'T EAT CARBS - especially when you are off to bed. Go for chicken/fish or veggie protein with salad or veg but forget the pasta and rice bowls. And don't eat conventional cereal for breakfast. Aside from being probably full of sugar - if you base breakfast around a bowl of cereal you are doomed to fail! Instead go old skool - have an egg or two with tomatoes or grilled bacon with avocado - Only have the toast and oats if you are off on a big plod!


If you eat 3 meals a day you don't need to snack. Snacking is something invented by big food corporations that want us to spend all our money and ruin our bodies on confectionary crap. If you eat three meals a day you don't need anything else. If you are getting hungry in-between then you need to put more protein into your meals and well, sorry to say this, but go hungry for a bit. Getting your stomach used to less food now will be a good thing come Christmas; you'll be less tempted to eat such humongous meals then.


If you are moving more every day (see tip 2) then exercise will start to become something that you'll want to do and feel more able to do. Research is absolutely without doubt showing that exercise is potentially the best medicine for you EVER. It works on so many levels that quite frankly it simply is madness not to do it.

In order for our bodies to improve we do need to shock our systems a bit - that means doing some harder, faster stuff, pushing against some resistance until your muscles tell you they've had enough and doing these things 3 - 5 x a week. You don't have to spend hours on them but you do need to do them, which is where exercise classes, sports and gyms can really help. But here is the thing...If you mentally find it a chore - i.e. your head is telling you, you hate it - then it will NEVER work. There really are a multitude of ways to progressively push your body - whether that's in the garden, running up the escalators or on the dance floor, all you have to do is get a bit of a kick out of doing it! So - try something new tomorrow and if you're not feeling it, move onto something else and keep moving on until you find what works for you. If that means trying something new 2/3 times a week then you'll also get really fit doing it! For balance make sure there is an element of what you do that is focused on breathing and stretching - even if its just a wake up and stretch at the side of your bed. The point here is to always take time to be kind to yourself and think about how your body is feeling - if you listen to it properly it will tell you what to do and will make you your own best judge. Lengthening the body is also the most underated form of movement. Stretching out can transform the way you look so if you can find a likable activity like Yoga, Pilates or Martial arts that strengthens, balances and stretches then you really will be Mr or Mrs Sparkly pants come Christmas!

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