Waistline whittling hacks

496507131_a63315b2e2_zThe muffin top is high on the lists of weight-related dreads for most women. Unfortunately, there is nothing attractive about rolls of fat hanging over your waistband, and nothing about a muffin top that makes you feel good either. Surgery to address the problem of the muffin top is one of the most requested surgeries asked of Australia’s best cosmetic surgeons, including Dr Joseph Ajaka. Click here for more information.

Reassuringly, though, a muffin top need not be a concern for you. There are tips you can follow to maintain a wonderfully trim waist:

1. Build up you core muscles

Strengthening your core muscles is one of the very best ways to get rid of a muffin top and prevent its return. Strong core muscles are more effective at burning calories than fatty tissues, and the result is an increased metabolism. When you have strong, toned muscles in your back, chest and abdomen, you will burn more fat, while less fat will settle around your waist.

2. Burn calories with cardio

Excess calories consumed turn into fat. However, regular cardio exercise (for example swimming, running and interval training) will see you work up a sweat and help to limit the amount of calories that are converted to fat.

3. Be smart with your carbs

If you’re serious about avoiding a muffin top, you need to eat carbs carefully. This means you need to restrict the amount of simple (bad) carbohydrates that you eat, because these are readily converted to fat. It’s far healthier, and conducive to weight management, to opt for the far better complex carbohydrates, including fruit, vegetables, and whole grains, such as quinoa.

4. Consume high-fibre foods

One of the best things about high-fibre foods is that they help us to feel full. As a result, we are far less likely to select snacks that have little nutritional value but quickly convert to fat accumulating around the waist.

As much as possible, eat foods that are filled with fibre. Good examples of such foods include: collard greens cabbage, spinach, apples and bananas.

5. Reduce your sugar intake

Sugar is one of the main culprits of weight gain around your middle. You need to be very wary of processed foods that contain added sugars. Foods to watch out for include tomato sauces that come in jars, salad dressings purchased from stores and packaged breakfast cereals.

6. Eat protein

So many people (women in particular) shy away from protein in an attempt to reduce their weight. However, protein is an important part of a healthy diet and women who are not pregnant or breastfeeding need approximately 46 grams of protein each day. Good sources of protein are: lean meats and cold-water fish.

7. Avoid alcohol

Regrettably for people who enjoy a drink, alcohol is empty calories. You may also realise that drinking can break your willpower and commitment to healthy eating. Very often, it’s more difficult to refuse foods that successfully build a muffin top when you’ve had even a little bit too much alcohol.

No one wants a muffin top. With some dedication and commitment to improving your diet and getting active, it really is possible to whittle away an existing muffin top or prevent one from forming in the first place.

Image credit: malingering

Family favourites: meals everyone will love (and which aren’t hard to make!)

Food-tastes-better-when-you-eat-it-with-your-familyWhen it comes to creating meals for the entire family, including the little ones and the elderly, it’s important to choose a dish that everyone will enjoy.

Aside from creating several tasty meals, retreating to the kitchen is a great way to bond with others.

Here we look at family favourites that are quick and simply to make – you can find recipes for all these dishes and more online using sites such as http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/.

Healthy options

Searching for healthy foods that kids will love can seem like a daunting task. However, watching your children polish off a home-cooked, healthy meal comes as a great joy to every parent. Slow-cooker recipes are a great option here and some favourite dishes include:

  • Lamb tagine
  • Beef stew (with sweet potato topping)
  • Chicken and chorizo stew
  • Vegetable goulash
  • Mexican pulled pork
  • Bacon and pea stew/soup
  • Lancashire hotpot

Perfect pasta

Aside from providing friends and family with a great source of energy, B vitamins and fibre, pasta dishes are extremely easy to make. Pasta can also be jazzed up with a range of sauces and toppings as well as plenty of veg.

Family favourite pasta dishes include:

  • Lasagne (made with minced beef or lamb for meat-lovers or Quorn mince for vegetarians)
  • Spaghetti Bolognese or spaghetti and meatballs
  • Macaroni cheese
  • Pasta bake (meat free or topped with cooked meats for extra protein)
  • Sausage and pasta pot
  • Pasta salad
  • Roasted pepper linguine

Super soups

Homemade soups are an ideal freezer staple and can easily be defrosted using a microwave when needed. You don’t need to try anything too complicated to keep the family happy and these soups are all guaranteed to go down a treat in family homes:

  • Creamy tomato soup
  • Spicy lentil soup
  • Thai chicken and sweet potato soup
  • Chicken noodle soup
  • Wild mushroom soup
  • Chorizo and chickpea soup
  • Spiced carrot soup

Family cooking tips

When it comes to creating a number of meals which are guaranteed to suit everyone, from toddlers to the elderly, it’s important to do a little research.

Firms like McCarthy and Stone post some great tips on Facebook so it’s important you make the most of all resources at your disposal and check social media for recipe ideas and other tips, such as cooking in bulk and freezing for later use.

You can even adopt this method to deliver meals to any elderly relatives who may struggle with regular cooking. Set aside one day of each week to cook a large batch of food and give frozen portions to your nearest and dearest to reheat at their leisure.

This is also a great way to support family members recovering from illnesses, operations or other medical treatment.



The Things A 5 Year Old Wants To Measure

DSC_0010After yesterday’s post on weird obsessions of my 5 year old (crikey, he’s going to be 6 soon – why does that seem SO much older than 5?) he caught me looking at watches on the internet. Specifically these tough Casio G-Shock watches that I’m sure make the requisite beeping noises when buttons are pressed, and boy are there a lot of buttons!

But it seems that buttons are what boys like, right? As stereotypical as it sounds I’m yet to meet a man (with the exception of my grandfather who gets exponentially more terrified of electronic items the more buttons they have) that doesn’t drool over shiny things with lots of buttons and bits that light up. I swear in low light settings and the right buzz words in the description most men could get excited about washing machines.

Imagine a washing machine that could play mp3 tracks and you’d basically never have to do any laundry again, would you? Well those of you (un)lucky enough to have a male in the house wouldn’t. The rest of you who don’t have to spend several hours a week cleaning up pee from the bathroom floor have plenty of time on your hands anyway.

So there I was attempting to surreptitiously browse watches for his birthday when he creeps up behind me.

“Ohhh, what are you looking at mummy?”


“Why are you looking at watches?”

“I was just looking to see which of them had a stopwatch on them.”

“Is that so I can have your old one and you can have a lovely new one?”

“Umm, no. No it’s not.”

“Oh,” he said with a sad, melancholy tone to his voice. “I would love a watch with a stop watch, I could measure everything”.


“I would measure how fast i could run up the stairs. And back down again. I could measure how fast I could eat my breakfast and how fast I could get dressed. Everything! All day. I would just measure and measure and measure.”

“Do you not think you’d get bored?”

“Of measuring?”



“Well what would happen when you’d already measured everything?”

“I couldn’t measure everything in the world ever, mummy. Now you are just being silly. I would have to measure all of the clouds and see how fast they were going and all of the people and see how long it took them to walk everywhere. And all the cars and buses and trucks and and and… No, I couldn’t measure everything.”

He was thoughtful for a while, sat next to me at the table.

“You know what I would measure?”

“What darling?”

“I’d measure how long it took me to have a pooh.”

Why for the love of all things none toilet related does every single conversation in this house boil down to being about poop?

Well I guess that’s something to look forward to post birthday then. I might just get him a nice book instead.


The Weird Obsessions Of A 5 Year Old

01To say my son has interests is putting things mildly. He develops obsessions with things. Deep interests in subjects that have him enthralled for hours, weeks, days or months. And then just as quickly as they arrived, they leave. We’ve had Thomas the Tank Engine, dinosaurs, Batman, trains, Skylanders and of course Minecraft – the current love of his life.

He can recite facts and figures that would make some of the biggest adult geeks out there stop in their tracks on all of these topics. If he puts that big brain of his to good use one day he may well be able to keep me in the lifestyle to which I wish to become accustomed. At the moment he’s simply setting himself up for a lifetime of geek heroism at some peculiar retro convention.

He seems to be developing another interest alongside Minecraft (could this be a sign of growing up, this be able to be interested in more than one thing at a time?) at the moment. He seems to be developing a small obsession with running.

Don’t get me wrong, he has no interest in actually running, that’s far too much like hard work and this is the child that was desperate to try skateboarding and then gave up after an couple of lessons cause he couldn’t do all the cool jumps yet. It’s more that he’s developing an interest in all of the paraphernalia that goes along with running. He’s basically becoming a gadget geek. It started when I bought a running water bottle, you know the sort you can put your hand through to carry easily when you run? He loved it, so much that I ended up buying him one (they are only £2.99 in Sports Direct) so that I was allowed to use my own again.

And now he’s moved onto my Garmin.

He ‘needs’ to use it to clean his teeth with because it has a stop watch so he can see that he cleans his teeth for two full minutes. He ‘needs’ to use it to check the clock is right “because sometimes I think that clock is wrong, mummy”. He ‘needs’ to use it to run up and down the drive and see how many fast he can do it (20 seconds, if anyone’s interested).

It’s becoming so that when I can’t find it I have to go and check his bed. “But I was timing how long it would take me to fall asleep.”

It’s become clear that if I ever want to use my Garmin for running again, especially if I don’t want the battery to die half way through a 5 mile run, that I am going to have to get him a stop watch all of his own. I’ve been eyeing watches for his birthday next month – one with lots of buttons to fiddle with that make a satisfying beeping noise when you press them.

Which means I’d be able to continue my training without having to spend an hour hunting for my blummin’ Garmin before hand – practically a workout of its own.

Do your kids get obsessed with things? Is it a boy thing? My daughter never really gets that involved with anything in particular. Or am I simply raising an enormous geek that’s going to be living with me until I die of old age?

Oh dear lord, I am aren’t I? Pass the wine!

Running – how to ruin a perfectly good life

Drunkenly agreeing to run a marathon with two crazy friends may seem like utter madness and a sure-fire way to kill yourself, but as well as that (cause it probably will), It seems it’s also a brilliant way of completely fucking up your life.

I don’t know what’s happened to me. I hardly recognise myself. I’ve become one of ‘those’ people: the sort that write smugly about how many miles they’ve run in their Facebook status; the sort that has some child free time so goes running instead of doing anything fun; the sort that got up at 5am and thought ‘I’ll book myself on to a 10km race for next month’.

Dear Lord, what the hell has happened?

I’ve started doing ‘tempo runs’ and sprints. Hell, I have a training program and a heart rate monitor.

I went shopping a couple of days ago and got very excited about new trainers. New trainers! For actual exercising in!


But look how pretty they are!

The kids are having a sleep over next weekend and so what have I decided to do with my early morning? Go for a sodding 5k race with a bunch of other fucking losers at 9am in the morning.

Somebody shoot me, shoot me now.


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