Internet Workout Review

I am probably being a bit premature with this review, as I have barely scratched the surface of what’s out there. But without doubt so far, my favourite internet workout sessions are ones billed as low impact, all standing, no equipment cardio.

I am truly amazed at how absolutely knackering these sessions can be. Who knew that lifting your arms above your heart was a great way of getting your heart beating harder and faster? After a 30 minute workout led by the woman I have nicknamed “Sergeant Major”, I am drenched in sweat and feel as if I have had a hard run up some steep hills, all without lifting my feet off the floor.

This feet-on-the-floor feature is particularly appealing to me because five years ago I slipped down the stairs and broke my ankle in two places. Unfortunately, it turns out that I have a condition whereby my bones are a bit too enthusiastic about healing themselves and grow a lot of extra, unnecessary bone around any break. As is quite usual in cases of broken ankles, I had surgery to insert a metal plate to fix the bone, but I have grown a lot of excess bone all around the joint and, quite frankly there are times when it hurts. When I started doing “proper” aerobics, my ankle really didn’t like it and made its displeasure felt quite acutely. It is not exactly thrilled by the low impact stuff either, but I am ignoring the pain and hoping that in the end it will actually do it some good to be stretched and worked a bit.

Back to the Sergeant Major. She is without doubt the toughest and most humourless of all the instructors I’ve watched. She tries to be a bit jolly, but you can see it doesn’t come naturally. And she is an absolute maniac when it comes to exercise. She goes hard and fast and is never out of breath. The only indication that she is exercising at all are the dark patches of sweat that eventually appear on her t-shirt.

I like this. A lot of these clearly super-fit instructors make a big fuss about how out of breath they are and how tired they are. I suppose it is to make you feel better about how terrible you feel – we are all in this together sort of thing. But please, I know those gym bunnies are a gazillion times fitter than I will ever be and it is a bit patronising to pretend otherwise. Even the “fatties” (I use inverted commas because they are seldom actually properly fat) who are hired to demonstrate the lower intensity moves are obviously as fit as can be and can do all the routines pretty easily.

I am not complaining, because I am glad that they are acknowledging and demonstrating that exercise like this is suitable for all shapes and sizes and ages. But I still like the absolute honesty of the Sergeant Major who has the most stunningly perfectly toned body you have ever seen and doesn’t pretend that she is anything but ultra-fit.

Here are some of my favourite sessions so far:

This is Fat Fella’s favourite workout:


Please note: I am not advertising these sites or endorsing them from any sort of professional perspective. I have merely copied and pasted the URLs of videos that I have enjoyed and I make absolutely no claims about them or their efficacy.


20: Resus


Code Blue!

Mojo has flatlined.

Quick, charge up the defribillator to 2 peaceful nights of Shoelace staying with his uncle in Spain.





Increase the charge to 4 nights without Shoelace worries.




Still nothing.

Right, take it all the way up to 6 nights.

Oh doctor, are you sure? Think of the side effects.

Just do it. We’ve got no choice if we are ever going to get Mojo back.



Beep-beep, beep-beep, beep-beep.

It worked.

Mojo is alive!

But still very weak. We shall have to take great care over the next few weeks.

I prescribe one bowl of oats to be taken every morning.

Increase water therapy to a minimum of 2kms swimming weekly.

Book a therapeutic weekend away with Fat Fella in a beautiful 14th century inn. This must include bracing walks, breath-taking scenery, delicious dinners and a substantial amount of good wine. Maybe a bit of shopping.

We’ll have Mojo back to full strength in no time.

landscape-Image by Elinor Puttick from Pixabay
Image by Elinor Puttick from Pixabay

19: Shoelace and Oats

I have been having a bit of a rotten time lately. It seems my “mojo” has died a horrible death. I just can’t seem to get myself motivated. Not only am I not doing a lot of things that I really wish I were (my cleanerobics are now slotherobics – slow and not very efficient), but I am doing some things that I really wish I weren’t (eating a whole slab of chocolate – blush).

Having given it some thought, I have come up with a few reasons for this sad state of affairs. Firstly, we are having a tough time with Captain Shoelace. Life with him has never been straightforward, but at the moment he is causing both Fat Fella and me a lot of sleepless nights. Like most people, when I don’t get enough sleep, I get grumpy and miserable. I feel sorry for myself. I feel the need for a treat to cheer myself up. I feel that eating a slab of chocolate will do the trick. Of course, deep down, my sensible self knows that this isn’t true. It knows that eating a slab of chocolate is actually going to leave me feeling a lot more grumpy and miserable. But my sleep-deprived brain won’t listen to my sensible self. It just goes right ahead and gets what it wants for a bit of a short-term boost.

Sleep deprivation also results in discombobulation and disorganisation, which in turn leads to the second reason my “mojo” has expired. I have not been eating my oats for breakfast. Instead of scoffing that satisfying, cholesterol-reducing bowl of loveliness every morning, I have been going off for my dog walk on an empty stomach, returning home ravenously hungry and then eating far too much lunch, far too early. This leaves me starving again by about 5pm and needing something to tide me over until dinner. Bad habits are hard to break and good ones (like eating a healthy breakfast) seem as fragile as tissue paper.

The final nail in “mojo’s” coffin is the fact that I have not been losing any bloody weight. Even before the chocolate/no breakfast/ too much snacking incidents, that number on the scales would not budge. Running up and down stairs, swimming for kilometres, dancing while dusting – none of them made a blind bit of difference to the size of my lardie arse. I know I shouldn’t need the boost that losing weight gives me, and that I should be satisfied with better health, but I jolly well do, and I really am not.

Where does this leave me? Can “mojo” be resurrected? I suspect that some of the reasons for its demise are more intractable than others. For example, I think it would be frowned upon were I to attempt to get rid of Shoelace along with the sleepless nights he causes. But I can start eating breakfast again and in fact, that’s what I have been doing for the past few days. And yes, it has improved my mood to the extent that I have been able to write this. Another major plus is that I have carried on swimming and am really loving it. I feel stronger and fitter each time I swim, and if that doesn’t breathe new life into ole “mojo”, nothing will.


16: Ready, steady, go!

I have come up with an action plan that I think is going to work for me. Obviously, it will need tweaking and refining, but I believe it is a pretty good starting off point.

For now, I am only going to try to add three activity days into my week, with the idea that I will increase this as my fitness improves.

Dog walk/ shuffle/ jog/ run

run-Image by susanne906 from Pixabay
Image by susanne906 from Pixabay

Wow, have I ever been kidding myself about my current levels of activity? I had been feeling fairly sanguine about the amount I exercised because, as I have (frequently) mentioned, I walk my dog for an hour every weekday. At some point these walks may have been brisk, active affairs, but obviously, over time, they have become little more than leisurely ambles. When I put on a pair of running shoes and a sports bra yesterday morning and proceeded to try and pick up the pace from a walk to a bit of a shuffling jog, I was appalled at just how unfit I have become. After only a minute of downhill jogging, my heart was pounding out of my chest and I was forced to slow down to a walk. I persevered, however, and mixed brisk walking with short bursts of shuffling and quite a bit of hill-climbing. I returned home sweaty, but pleased with myself for making a start. I hope to gradually increase the amount of shuffling I do and eventually increase my speed to a jog and even, dare I say it, a run.


cleaning-supplies Image by Annalise Batista from Pixabay
Image by Annalise Batista from Pixabay

I do a weekly big clean of my whole house. This usually involves a fair amount of exercise but, like dog walking, can be done at quite a slow pace if that’s what I feel inclined to do. However, if I pick up the pace and energy, I reckon I could turn a cleaning session into an excellent aerobic workout. I am going to try doing aerobic exercise steps while I am standing at the sink washing dishes to keep my heart rate raised. I’ll run up the stairs. I’ll get down on my hands and knees and scrub the floors instead of mopping them. Maybe I’ll dance while vacuuming. The hope is that not only will my cleaning session take less time, but it will be more thorough and I’ll end up with a sparkling house — win win!

Update: I had a go at this this morning and I am knackered! I must have looked pretty weird, hopping about my house like someone with a dubious itch or with an urgent call of nature, but I definitely got my heart rate raised and some serious cleaning done.


swimming Image by David Mark from Pixabay
Sadly, this is not a picture of me swimming. But who knows? Maybe one day… — Image by David Mark from Pixabay

I really enjoy playing sports, but on the whole I am not terribly good at them. One thing I have always been pretty competent at, though, is swimming. I often think I am more at home in water than on land. Despite this, I have managed to find reasons not to swim regularly. The most obvious problem is having to appear in public in a swimming costume. A fat woman’s nightmare. Absolutely no way to hide the blubber with a lovely loose-fitting shirt or anything like that. I need to get over this nonsense of course. The truth is no-one is in the least bit interested in looking at me and if they do, so what? They are unlikely to start laughing and pointing, are they?

The other thing that puts me off (don’t bother reading this if you are a man as you really won’t relate) is having to keep myself properly depilated. I so wish I was one of those fabulous women who simply do not give a toss about all of that hair-removing malarkey. As a wide-eyed twenty something travelling in Europe for the first time, I remember looking in awe at the German girls on the beach with their hairy bits, not so much on display, but not even considered. Sadly, with the best will in the world, I am just not that person. I have been thoroughly conditioned to find hairy bits unacceptable and have spent years enduring razor rashes, nasty chemicals, painful, tearing waxing, and those horrible little torture machines that rip the hairs out one by one. Apparently most young women now just have it all lasered off, which I suppose is sensible, if a touch expensive and time-consuming. I certainly am not bothered enough to go down that route, and as of today I don’t need to because I have just purchased a very sporty swimming costume with legs! Hurray. Problem solved.

Does this mean that I have run out of excuses not to start swimming tomorrow? I have to say that I am really pushed for time at the moment, and I am so unfit that I will probably drown, and, and, and… There are always excuses if you really want them, aren’t there?

swimming Image by skeeze from Pixabay
Aren’t these swimming costumes with legs great? They hide a multitude of sins. — Image by skeeze from Pixabay

I am going to stop at this point. Since first thinking of these activities, I have come up with a few other good options, but I am going to see how I get on with these for now.

11: A Dog’s Life

pet-Image by Jose Antonio Alba from Pixabay
Image by Jose Antonio Alba from Pixabay

I am a volunteer for a charity called the Cinnamon Trust. We walk dogs belonging to people who are either too old or too ill to do it themselves. This is great, because it means they can keep their much-loved pets with them for as long as possible. Last week, I walked a “new” dog. I was chatting to Fat Fella about it afterwards and commented how awful it was to see a dog who was in such pain because he was so fat and arthritic. “I would never allow an animal of mine to get in such a state,” I proclaimed self-righteously. And, to be fair, that’s true. I wouldn’t.

I wouldn’t call any of my pets skinny, exactly, and I am not great at refusing them treats, but I do make sure they keep to a reasonably healthy weight. I wonder why I find it so straightforward and easy to do it for them, but not for myself? If my dog groaned and winced whenever she stood up, as I do, she would be on a diet so fast, her head would spin.

golden-retriever-Image by Barbara Danázs from Pixabay
This is a stock image of a fat dog for illustrative purposes, not the actual dog mentioned. — Image by Barbara Danazs from Pixabay.

Similarly, when my children were younger and I had more control over what they ate, they were both the picture of good health. Poster children for the benefits of eating a varied, yet balanced diet, heavy on fruit and veg and light on treats. I took such pride in their fabulous diets. Yet, I could not do the same for myself.

Nowadays things are a bit different as far as the children’s diets go. My son’s nickname of Captain Shoelace is well deserved. He is very tall and very, very thin. Not, sad to say, as a result of a healthy diet. Far from it. I firmly believe that the fact that he likes apples, and has got in the habit of eating one a day, is all that stands between him and a dose of scurvy. He lives on crap energy drinks, cakes, crisps and chips. The “shoelace” effect is simply the result of a lot of high energy exercise.

apples-Image by Tracy Lundgren from Pixabay
Image by Tracy Lundgren from Pixabay

My lovely daughter, on the other hand, is no shoelace. Captain Jellybean would be a better name for her. She is very well rounded these days. The first time she got pocket money and had an independent trip to the shops with it, she returned home with a shopping bag bulging with chocolates, biscuits and sweets. This was a child who took delight in eating as many as nine different types of fruit and vegetables in a single sitting. Tragically, her love affair with vegetables had, for the time being, come to an end.

carton-figure-Image by Michael Rühle from Pixabay (2)
Image by Michael Ruhle from Pixabay.

The situation with Captain Jellybean presents a tricky challenge for me. How do I tackle it? I don’t want to pass on my own lifetime obsession with weight, but I can’t completely ignore it, can I? She has a minor medical condition that would be improved were she to lose a bit of weight. Her doctor has told her that she needs to look at her diet and exercise regime and see if she can lose some pounds. I want to encourage her, but I really don’t want her to “go on a diet”. I truly believe that dieting like that ends up making you fatter.

Of course, we keep coming up with ways to get her to exercise more, and she is fairly cooperative. She loves the step tracker that her aunt gave her for her birthday and has started boxing classes recently. But if left to herself, she is completely inactive and, like many (most?) teenagers will just slump on her bed watching YouTube videos.

If only I could simply reduce the amount of kibble I give her and pop her on a leash for an extra walk or two every day! If only I could do the same for myself. Is it wrong to wish I were a dog?


You can find out more about the work of The Cinnamon Trust here:



4: Failure…

Last week, I was wondering if my genius idea about denying myself sugar, seconds, snacks and alcohol was so very clever after all. It felt like the focus was all on restraint, denial and saying “no” to things. By being so negative, I felt I was setting myself up for a fall. I would most likely fail to stick to my resolutions and then just give up on the whole idea. Reflecting on this, I recalled all those parenting manuals I once devoured so avidly. Of course! The focus shouldn’t be on all the things I can’t do or have, but instead should be on all the things I can and should have. Turn that frown upside down/ positive reinforcement/blah blah blah blah.

So, I had another look at that list of cholesterol lowering foods. Almonds, avocadoes, oats, fruit – those sound great. I proceeded to add them into my diet with gusto. Can you see where I am heading with this? Can you understand the title of this blog now? Yes, I confused gusto with guzzle, and this week, I am sad to say that I have put on a bit of weight.

avocado-Image by Rainer Lieverscheidt from Pixabay
Image by Rainer Lieverscheidt from Pixabay

Well, putting on a few pounds is not necessarily a failure, you might say. Remember, your stated intention when embarking on this regime was to improve your health. Aren’t you feeling brighter, more energetic and generally more cheerful? Yes. Yes, I am. But my stated intention was a big (fat) lie. This blog is not entitled “Confessions of a menopausal woman with high cholesterol” is it? No, this blog is really all about trying to get thinner without dieting. I am certainly not about to stop myself from consuming some of my all-time favourite things in order to get fatter. Hell no.

It is no mystery why I have gained weight despite eating more healthily. Firstly, it is to do with quantity. It may seem blindingly obvious, but too much of even the healthiest food will make you fat. I had hoped that the “no seconds” part of my mantra would address the portion control issue, but I am ashamed to say that my first helpings have often been large enough to feed a hungry family of four.

Then, there is the issue of exercise. Fat Fella (my husband) had the week off work last week and, as a result, did the lion’s share of the dog walking, which is my main form of exercise. Truth be told, dog walking does not always entail very energetic exercise in any case. I have to make a conscious decision to walk faster, climb up and down stairs and hills, and so on. Wandering slowly while texting my friends or browsing the internet on my phone doesn’t cut it.

dog walker Image by Prawny from Pixabay
Image by Prawny from Pixabay

There is also the whole emotional side of things. On Friday we had a bit of difficulty with my son, and it left me feeling rather sorry for myself. I have always used food as a comfort. That little voice in my head telling me to give myself a treat because I deserve something nice when things in my life aren’t, is seldom a little voice at all – more of a loud shout.

Finally, there are “bad influences”. I know I can’t blame other people for what I decide to put into my mouth, but there’s no doubt that they can make it more difficult to keep oneself on track. On Saturday, Fat Fella and I had a pub lunch with a couple of friends. I had lovely fish and chips (remember, I “deserved” a treat after a bad Friday), but stuck to fizzy water to drink.

fish-and-chips-Image by Famifranquoi from Pixabay
Image by Famifranquoi from Pixabay

It was a glorious sunny day and we returned to our house and the three of them proceeded to have a wonderful and very merry afternoon, drinking beer in the garden. Much chat and laughter and encouragement to join in. Eventually, I just felt too much of a killjoy and had some wine. Not too much, but enough that when Fat Fella ordered a Thai take away for supper, complete with gorgeous (very oily) vegetable tempura, which I love, and coconut cream-rich green curry, I happily partook and (blush) may even have had seconds.

So, the statistics below shouldn’t come as such a blow to me. But they do. This coming week, I am going to stop pretending that this isn’t about weight loss, and I am going to focus on reducing the amount I eat while increasing the exercise I take. And if that doesn’t work, then I really am stuck. In the end, it will only be a failure if I give up. I so hope I don’t.


  • Week four: 3 June 2019 – Plus 1.5kg
  • Total weight loss: Minus 1kg (2.2lbs)                                                            

    emotiguy- sad Image by SilviaP_Design from Pixabay (2)
    Image by SilviaP_Design from Pixabay