Fifty and Fabulous

The thoughts, loves, rants, interests & inspirations for Gen X

Leave a comment

5 ways you’re ruining your diet | Holland & Barrett – the UK’s Leading Health Retailer

Hello lovely followers,

Since becoming 40 I have been trying to be a more healthy person. It’s not as easy as it sounds! Last year I managed to get 7lbs away from my goal weight which was still a whole stone away from my ‘healthy recommended weight but that was fine by me, however, I never actually made it. I am now heavier than I was a year ago (only by a few pounds but it’s still a depressing fact), so I have  given myself a shake and deceided that I need to re-focus my efforts! I still belong to My Fitness Pal and frequently join ‘challenges’ to increase my activity but I am also thinking about kick-starting my journey by doing the NHS Choices 12 week weight loss plan again as it really helped last year.

Anyway, the internet has a wealth of resources, comminity forums and news; faery-red-lily-bye-for-now11I found this article on the Holland & Barrett website while browsing the many ‘health’ suppliments and I thought that I would share it with you.

Feel free to leave a comment


Not losing weight? Read our five common diet mistakes to find out why your diet’s not working, and lose the weight you want.

Problem: Thinking you’re doing more exercise than you actually are

It’s very common for us to believe we’re burning off more calories than we really are. Researchers have found that people tend to think they’re both exercising harder and more often than in reality. It’s also easy to overestimate the amount of calories that exercising burns off. Half an hour of aerobics, for instance, will use 195 calories – which is the equivalent of just an apple and banana or a plain bagel.

Solve it:

Try an activity tracker to keep a more accurate tally of the number of calories you’re burning. To lose around a pound of weight a week, you need to be burning 500 calories more than your usual amount of exercise.

Problem: Relying on an over-simplified diet plan

The simplicity of a diet plan with a ‘hook’ (for instance, low Gi or low-carb) can be very attractive. If just cutting carbs can get you to your target weight, that’s a plan we’d follow! But if you’re replacing carbs with more protein (which is equally calorific) or fat (which has twice as many calories per gram as carbs), then you’re unlikely to lose weight.

The only way to drop pounds is to burn more fuel (through exercise) than you’re taking on. A review of Atkins Diet studies suggested that weight loss was due more to fewer calories consumed rather than physiological changes from removing carbs.

Solve it:

Keep a strict eye on the number of calories you’re consuming rather than focusing on the food type. Moderately active women aged 19-50 should be consuming around 1,500 calories a day in order to lose a pound of weight a week.

Problem: Eating more sugar than you realise

Molasses, fructose, honey, maple syrup, maltose, corn sugar… These are all types of sugar and, when it comes to calories, they are pretty much equal. Ready-prepared foods and lower-fat variants often contain extra sugar to boost taste, so are rarely as healthy as you might expect.

Solve it:

Study ingredients labels, avoiding any foods where sugar is at the start of the list of ingredients, or where there are several different types of sugar in the same product.

Problem: Drinking too much alcohol

Next time you’re meeting friends for a drink, remember that a glass of wine can contain the same calories as four cookies, and a pint of lager is often the calorific equivalent of a slice of pizza. Gram for gram, alcohol contains more calories than carbs or protein – and almost as much as pure fat.

Solve it:

Try to arrange a different activity – that doesn’t involve food or alcohol – when you’re meeting friends. If you are drinking, make clever choices – a single vodka and diet tonic, for instance, contains 54 calories. And alternate alcohol with diet drinks or sparkling water.

Problem: Eating out

Even if you try to order sensibly when you’re out for dinner, it’s difficult to know exactly what’s in your meal. Many dishes are loaded with butter, oil and cheese to make them tasty and luxurious – so you can be consuming far more calories than you realise.

In a restaurant you’re not in control of your portion size, so you’re likely to be served more than you’d eat at home. Yet you may be being short-changed on nutrients: a review of studies on dining out found that restaurant meals are associated with eating more calories (with a higher proportion coming from fat), yet fewer vitamins and minerals.

Solve it:

Try to restrict yourself to normal portion sizes. As a handy guide, your meat or fish should be about the size of a pack of cards, with your carbs the size of your fist. Push the excess to the side of your plate before you start so you can keep track of how much you’re eating.


Source: 5 ways youre ruining your diet | Holland & Barrett – the UK’s Leading Health Retailer


1 Comment

Woman Who Shed 11 Stone In A Year Shares Body Selfies To Show Reality Of Extreme Weight Loss

Hello lovely followers,

This story was on my yahoo! front page. Quite shocking visuals but not an unusual story of quick weight loss. I’m in the lucky position of only needed to shed about 3 stone (approx 42lbs) but I’m still planning of doing it gradually, hoping that my skin, tissue and muscles don’t sag excessively….

faery-red-lily-bye-for-now1111I wish her every success in her journey.

As always, I’d love to hear your comments

Aubrey Johansen shares body selfies to show the reality of her extreme weight loss [Photo: Instagram/aubreystrawb_rny]

Two years ago, aspiring singer Aubrey Johansen tipped the scales at 25 stone and was told by doctors she had just 15 years to live. Faced with the scary prospect of not being around to celebrate her 40th birthday, and having been turned down for a prestigious singing program because of her weight, in October 2014 the 25-year-old made the drastic decision to undergo a gastric bypass.

Within a year of the surgery and having overhauled her diet and fitness regime, Aubrey had lost an astonishing 11.4 stone (159lbs) and slimmed to a UK size 14.

Her drastic lifestyle change lead to the personal chef becoming an Instagram sensation, with over 47.9K fans eagerly following her body transformation.

After a gastric bypass and overhauling her diet Aubrey lost over 11 stone [Photo: Instagram/aubreystrawb_rny]

But despite her healthy new life and super trim figure, Aubrey’s not entirely satisfied with her new bod because the dramatic weight loss has left with piles of excess skin. So much so that she’s questioned whether she looked more beautiful before losing the weight.

“You have the vision in your mind of how you will look. You think you’re going to be fit and gorgeous, not like a melted stick of butter,” she told Daily Mail.  “It’s terrible because you don’t feel attractive. Some days I feel I was more beautiful before, so it’s a real mental battle.  It affects going to the beach in a bikini, even taking my clothes off in front of my girlfriend. I just don’t feel proud.”

Aubrey doesn’t shy away from Instagram posts revealing her excess skin [Photos: Instagram/aubreystrawb_rny]

After a gastric bypass and overhauling her diet Aubrey lost over 11 stone [Photo: Instagram/aubreystrawb_rny]

Aubrey hopes to get the excess skin removed some time in the future, but until then she isn’t shying away from showing images portraying the reality of extreme weight loss.

And fans have been quick to praise Aubrey for her honesty.

“Thank you so much for showing the not so pretty side of weight loss. I have yet to come to terms with my excess skin and your vulnerability is so helpful!” one follower commentated.

“I literally started following you for inspiration for my workouts as I was starting my weight loss journey. Your vulnerability is so helpful. You’ve shown me no one is perfect. You’ve earned the body you’ve got from hard work. I hope you’re proud of yourself, sometimes it’s hardest to be kind to ourselves. Thank you for the inspiration!” wrote another.

This article was written by Marie-Claire Dorking  and published on 27 May 2016

Source: Woman Who Shed 11 Stone In A Year Shares Body Selfies To Show Reality Of Extreme Weight Loss

Leave a comment

More than half of school support staff experience stress, anxiety or depression, research finds | News

Hello lovely followers,

As you may already know, I work part-time at a local primary school as a Teaching Assistant. I frequently visit the TES website as they have a wealth of resources to help in the clasroom, a great comminity forum that offers advice and support for anyone who works within the education sector and an informative news section that helps me to keep up to date.

faery-red-lily-bye-for-now11I thought that I would share this article with you; it certainly rings true for many friends that I know who work in schools. As always, feel free to leave a comment


Union warns of ‘crisis in health and wellbeing’ in schools.

More than half of school support staff have experienced stress, anxiety or depression amid heavy workloads, research by Unison has found.

A survey by the union, published this morning, suggests that 52 per cent of UK school support staff have experienced stress, anxiety or depression and 42 per cent said they had difficulty in completing their work.

Some 13 per cent said they found it impossible to manage all that was being asked of them.

The union has warned of a “crisis in health and wellbeing engulfing schools” and said this could lead to a “mass exodus of hard-working, dedicated staff”.

Almost half of support staff (47 per cent) said they were considering leaving their jobs, citing issues such as low pay, stress and huge workloads.

‘It is making staff depressed’

Many said it was difficult to talk about the pressures of their jobs, with two-fifths (40 per cent) saying they felt unable to report concerns about the size of their workload to managers.

Respondents to the survey reported instances of teaching assistants regularly taking on extra work because schools were frequently understaffed.

One said: “Staff cuts are at a dangerous level. People are off sick due to stress because there aren’t enough staff. Teaching assistants are taking on teaching roles on a regular basis.”

Another said: “Classrooms are strained – every single teaching assistant is doing far more than they are paid for. They are covering classes constantly with no support – it is making people depressed.”

Unison’s head of education, Jon Richards, said: “It’s shocking that more than half of the UK’s school support staff are now experiencing stress, anxiety or depression because they are being given way too much to do.

“These are dedicated professionals, but with too few of them employed for the amount of work that has to be done, schools are increasingly relying on the goodwill of staff.

“Teaching assistants are putting in nearly four hours of unpaid overtime each week, and with increasing cuts in school support staff numbers, the situation can only get worse.”

Unison is calling on the government to establish a national initiative with unions and employers to come up with recommendations for schools to reduce workload pressure on support staff.

Want to keep up with the latest education news and opinion? Follow TES on Twitter and like TES on Facebook

Source: More than half of school support staff experience stress, anxiety or depression, research finds | News

Leave a comment

How did we get here.. May 2016 Already

May Calendar OK, so we’ve had May Day with maypoles, Morris dancing and the promise of summer are patiently waiting for the Spring Bank holiday at the end of the month and I realise that I’ve neglected to write anything new here for quite a few months – sorry dear followers, I plan to rectify that embarrassing oversight right now!

So, I work as a teaching assistant in a local primary school, (you knew that, right?) which is always challenging; new pupils to recognise & remember, new directives from the Department of Education (don’t get me started as I type this we’re just about to enter SAT time *dummdummduuummm*) and some new responsibilities since the new academic year. Not that I’m complaining, hello wonderfully long 6 week summer break coming up soon – I LOVE IT! And of course, being a Teaching Assistant (TA) means I get the challenge and job satisfaction without all the paperwork and planning that bogs down teachers! So, anyway, my time as a teaching assistant in the school’s food technology kitchen is still blissfully satisfying, I’m enjoying my time as a 1:1 teaching assistant for a pupil with SEN (Special Educational Needs) and I have just started covering the maternity leave for a colleague in our Year 3/4 classroom.

Yes, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I love a challenge and without change, I feel we stagnate and lose our zest for life but I must confess, I am finding that as I get older the time it takes me to adjust to changes lengthens and perhaps a ‘flap’ a bit more… J Is it just me? For example, my eldest daughter is now a Year 8 at secondary school and my youngest will be leaving primary school at the end of this academic year (exciting and daunting all at the same time – where did the time go!) I keep reminding myself that it will make the school runs much easier, save me petrol, save me time… but… *sigh*

Studying 1 Back in December 2015 I decided that I’d been working as a Teaching Assistant for a few years and needed to expand my CV and give myself a new challenge, my daughters don’t need me as much as they used to and before they reach that ‘Mum’s taxi service’ stage it was the perfect time to get qualified; so I enrolled in a Teaching Assistant course. I had already decided that my life was too busy to pay for a course that was full-time, part-time or required any attendance (e.g. day release, evening, etc) to classroom sessions/lectures, so I found an online course offered by De Montfort Home Study College which would give me a Level 3 Certificate in “Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools”. Perfect! Just what I was looking for! 🙂

There are 11 written assignments; I’ve already written and passed 3 with some lovely comments from the assessor, waiting to hear back about Unit 4. The next 6 units are a mix of written assignments with assessed practical demonstrations of the various learning outcomes. I’m lucky that I’m already employed at a school so finding the time and opportunities to demonstrate my understanding should (hopefully) be painless.

When I near the completion of my course I was thinking that might consider posting my assignments here on my blog to help others wanting to be qualified teaching assistants (there was a time a few years ago that the government wanted all TAs to be qualified but that idea seems to have been shelved for the time being)…. I’ll see how I feel at the time 🙂


The downside is that this blog maybe quite quiet for large chunks of this year – I’m still tweeting (and re-tweeting) the odd thing most days but usually in snatched moments here and there so for now, enjoy the beautiful sunshine and the upcoming bank holiday and thanks for your continued support and patience. 🙂