Get fit & confident with Beyonce, J-Lo & Shakira as your coach

I have been struggling to get fit and firm for the last 6 years since having my daughter Yasmin.  It's been a bit of a challenge all my life, really.  So what are the causes.... or the excuses? 

The stresses of starting and surviving in a new business.  Sick parents in hospital, Mum for almost 7 months.  Dissatisfaction with elements of my marriage.  The joys of having a 6 year old and wanting to spend free time with her.  Worrying about money.  My genetic composition and the small cracks beginning to show in my own health.  Add to that, intake of wine is a wee bit high, sleep deprivation, succumbing to Deliveroo a little too frequently (though a healthy-ish eater most of the time), standing at the school gates with other (fit & firm) Mothers who are at least a decade younger than me, Yasmin, frequently tapping me and shouting 'Tag Mummy, Catch Me!'...  And finally, but importantly, lacking the discipline and application to consistently address getting fitter and firmer, for the months it is going to take to put it right.

If that sounds like you, listen up. The following has galvanised me to take ACTION!

  • A little health scare that had me in A&E a couple of weeks ago
  • Some, serious inflammation in my joints (my Mum has chronic Rheumatoid Arthritis and other auto-immune diseases) and,
  • An upcoming long weekend in Italy with my girlfriends and their daughters.

I am very aware that in order to age youthfully I need to be healthy, mobile, fit, feel attractive, maintain energy, stay off long-term drugs and avoid chronic disease.  So, here are a few tips to help you feel fitter, firmer, more youthful, more attractive, more confident and happier.

The Gym. Move More

When on cardio machines, put the music channel on. Watching dancing, fit bodies, listening to power pump music and being distracted does work.  My faves are:

  • #J-Lo, #Beyonce and #Shakira - Great beat and rhythm and you can sing along in your head. Actually Shakira is my favourite of them all because she genuinely looks happy in her videos. Like she is really enjoying herself and her dancing.  Check out Waka Waka and I bet you cant help but feel happier and before you know it, almost 4 minutes of exercise is done.  Working out with these females motivates me. Sure, they have an army of people helping them look good but they had to put the work in. I admire their fit, flexible bodies not because they are slim but because they are strong and mobile. It feels like they are my personal trainer.
  • #Carpool Karaoke with James Corden - It's great and 15 minutes just flies by while you are laughing. Or watching the #Ellen Degeneres show.

I do cardio and stretch one visit and strength with stretch the next, so that I do not spend longer than an hour in the gym. Otherwise I split equal time between the three. Yes, equal time to stretching avoids injury, makes your joints more flexible and has a calming effect on your mind.


So here is the most important thing.  Over the years, I have gotten used to 'feeling full' rather than 'no longer being hungry'.  I know I overeat because when I get to the point I feel full, I know that in a few minutes I will feel uncomfortably full, as the brain registers the signals of fullness.  It's too late!  It is a tiny difference that makes the biggest difference.  Eating consciously and slowly, tasting each mouthful and away from the TV will set you on the right path.  If you are a plate clearer, serve yourself smaller portions (on a smaller plate if it helps).  It is so much more comfortable to feel satiated or no longer hungry, than it feels to be stuffed.  Do it for a few days and your brain will work it out.

Eat more veg and fruit - bet you've never heard that before!  Seriously, I have been indulging in some vegetarian meals and they have satisfied me.  Just have plenty in the house.

Cold Turkey on the Booze

I am on my 12th day of abstinence as I write and it feels so good. You already know about the empty calories in alcohol. But the other differences are there: bloating disappears, puffiness in your face disappears, your eyes look clearer, less food cravings, swollen ankles minimised, less calories and the immense feeling of being in control.  Only the first couple of days will be tricky.


How many times have you read that you need to drink more?  It's true though, it keeps you filled up. We often mistake being thirsty for being hungry and so eat more than we need.  Skin improves too.  When out for dinner I am drinking sparkling water with Elderflower cordial and a lime slce with ice.  It doesn't feel like a soft drink somehow.


Research shows that those who are sleep deprived are more likely to be overweight, which makes you less likely to exercise, which makes you feel a bit crap about yourself, etc etc blah blah! Get enough sleep or you will never get up early in the morning to get to the gym.  I like going in the morning because it is done and out of the way before anything can derail me and also, I feel good for the rest of the day. Virtuous even!

Look at your body in the mirror. I mean really look.

Sounds odd but I tended to avoid looking at my naked self in the mirror when I am on the unfit and heavier side, which means am less likely to be motivated to do something about it.  On the other hand, when you've got your brain in the groove and are motivated, look at the changes in your body as the days pass. I mean really look and you will see differences pretty quickly. Download a weigh in app and record the results from the scales. This time I am weighing myself daily and in the last 10 days it went up three times but overall it is almost 3kg down. Keep focused on the overall loss, don't let it derail you. Other benefits are that you will likely find that you want to have sex more often too!

Please leave your comments below. All of us need to help and support each other to be fitter, firmer, healthier, more confident and ultimately, happier!

I am delighted if you enjoy our blog posts. I'd also really love it if you take a look at our website - We'd love you to be part of our tribe.


  • Great piece, I recognise so much of myself in this. But as 50 beckons next year, I’ve definitely got a new motivation. I just want to make sure I have as long, healthy and active life as possible, to be there for my kids, but also so my partner and I can enjoy the time when it finally gets to be just the two of us. We’re a blended family, so never had time just the two of us, so I don’t want to spend that time unwell and not able to do much. I’m managing twice a week for half an hour on the cross trainer at the gym, and a lot more walking each day. And Slimming World is a new experience, but so far it’s providing the discipline I need. Here’s to be being fabulous, fit and fifty, that’s my goal :)

    Helen T
  • Good for you Maleka. Keep it up. As a PCOS sufferer I struggle to lose weight. I eat healthy and exercise regularly but I still struggle to shift the weight. I feel better in myself for exercising but I also know my age and genes are against me. I’m 42. I think having role models to empower us is great and I think it’s good to promote living a healthy lifestyle. Skinny doesn’t necessarily mean healthy and overweight doesn’t necessarily mean unfit. I am quite fit despite being overweight. Hopefully you’ll reach your goal and so will I. We just gotta keep going!!!!

    Natalie Walton

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