Big Bums, Babies, The Universe and Everything – 3 Steps to a happy Mirror part 1

By Tanya Grant

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In the whirlwind that is family life, there are those moments you catch  sight of yourself in the mirror…. and let out an involuntary gasp. Or sigh.  Or a combination of the two!

A decreasing perkiness, widening and softening of various regions of the anatomy is an almost universal by-product of producing our little darlings,  coupled with similarly decreasing reserves of energy to do the first thing  about it!

The Universe has quite a sense of irony, when it puts its mind to it.

If you are a toned size 8 who enjoys a 5k run, blueberry oatmeal yoghurt and  sun salutation first thing, you can skip past the next bit (or indeed drop me a  line to let me know how you do it).

Over the past 20 years I have worked in the fields of getting people fit, helping them stay there, assisting in their weight loss through exercise,  training competitors and devising activity programmes for families and children.

I am not a nutrition expert (although I have some training in this field) – but I am a mum who spent a few of post-baby years with an overly large bottom and thighs for my 5ft 1″ frame, and managed to bring things back into proportion!

I am not a ‘fitness fanatic’, I do not juice, I do not take supplements, sometimes I have Burger King (although I throw away the packaging so no one sees)…I have been known to have a couple of glasses of Pinot on a school night…

So hopefully I speak from reasonable experience (and questionable moral high ground) when I pass on my TIPS on all this.

Firstly and most importantly of all, In the words of Douglas Adams: ***DON’T PANIC!!!***

Please, please put your scales in the loft. They will only make you sad, and genuinely not tell you anything of use. I weigh more now than I did this time last year, but am a whole 2 dress sizes smaller. If you are anything like me, becoming obsessed with day-to-day ups and downs of the readings will only make you reach for the nearest doughnut, with a scream of “SOD IT!”

Metabolism is the key.

If you raise your metabolism, and you don’t eat more than you do now, you will burn your calories faster and your extra cuddly reserves will start to go. This is just a fact.

To raise your metabolism you need to get active.

As a fitness instructor of course I will say: come to all of my BodyJam classes and that will sort everything out. (And of course it will!) But group exercise may not be your cuppatee, you may live on a remote island or most likely, you have a selection of small people/grumpy husband that require your attention.

The very best way of raising your metabolism and keeping it there, is raised ACTIVITY throughout the day, every day. Build it in. Do the following everyday, several things, every day – and you will lose extra weight, shape up and feel better and sexier. My absolute guarantee. Consistency is the key.

Patience is the point.

So this plan is in 3 parts. It will cover the period of the next 4-6 months. Sounds a long time, but actually it isn’t. By Christmas you will have radically changed how you look and feel.

It IS possible to do it in a month, and if this is what you want it requires huge amounts of commitment and willpower. If you want that, I can point you to people who will help you make that happen.

However if you are like me (little willpower, busy life, lazy, easily distracted, hedonistic), then a more realistic, medium-term approach is probably more helpful.


Step 1. (3-4 weeks) Get fit enough to get fit – and start to FEEL the difference.

  • Download this newsletter’s Fitness Activity, print and do!
  • Walk to school or playgroup
  • Hoover with loud music (my hoovering band of choice is The Prodigy…we have very clean carpets!)
  • Buy a Wii Fit and use it
  • Go swimming – but don’t just wallow. Do the can-can underwater, keep moving, hold onto the side and do straight leg kicks and so on.
  • Never use a lift. My 6 year old says “we’ve got legs – lifts are for people with wheels”. The power of suggestion!
  • Push your buggy fast enough and far enough to get your cheeks all rosy.
  • Working? Lunch hour: 20 minutes brisk walk – before you eat.
  • Walk in the woods with the children before dinner.
  • Dance. At any opportunity!
  • Go to the park, especially one with a trim trail, and use all the stuff yourself as well as the children. (note: I have, in the past, wedged my previously generous bottom halfway down a slide – so you will have to select appropriate equipment. Take a ball.
  • Mid Afternoon slump? Change the beds, do a bit of weeding, put the bins out

Without trying to overly complicate things (never a good idea!) you could jot down in the morning over your cup of tea and work out roughly where you are going to fit in some activity. Cross each thing through on the way past, and you can see your achievements mounting up.

Do this kind of thing for a few weeks before you start attempting anything more. I bet you start sleeping more soundly. If you can try to eat more healthily (I won’t lecture you, you know what that means) at the same time, you will feel the benefits quicker too. Don’t stress about this for now – one thing at a time. Climbing a mountain happens by taking lots of small steps.

As with EVERYTHING in life: it is not about what you do particularly…but how you feel about it. Trust me on that.

Just the above will make you feel better. You will feel more positive in general, look better, probably be less confrontational, feel sexier and more confident…..

You can just continue like that, but if I was a betting person, I would put some money on the fact that by your 4th week, buoyed up by compliments (and maybe the odd admiring glance) you will be eager to step up a gear.

Next Time: Step up a gear and really FEEL the difference (so they know that there is more to come..)


Tanya Grant runs Wiggle Waggle – who offer a training and great-value license package for people who want to run music & movement classes for young children and their grown ups.  No expensive franchise fees, no geographical restrictions – Wiggle Waggle strive to make everything they do fair, valuable – and to help people succeed.


Classes fit brilliantly with family life and provide a fun, healthy way to earn a great income.

You can be up and running in a few weeks and work in a way to suit your life. (And get all the cuddles you can handle!)

Please visit

Licenses currently available for Wiggle Waggle Music.

(Tanya also runs Zumba and BodyJam adult fitness classes. She describes this as a hobby that has just got out of hand!)


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Other articles by Tanya Grant:

How Not to go Stark Staring Mental! A day in the life of the stay-at-home mum…


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