Jane Wenham-Jones presents…

‘Fight the Flab’ Tips

1. A Chilli a Day Keeps a Lard Arse at Bay


So eat a chilli. The hotter the better. Chillies raise the metabolism and the fierier they are, the greater the effect. I ate my last fresh one last night and it’s too cold to go shopping today so here, by way of illustration,  are some I bottled in olive oil the last time I was being a domestic goddess – HA!

Experts estimate that one can expect a 15% increase in calories burned for about two hours after eating a hot chilli sauce. Buy packets of fresh chillies from the supermarket and then keep and dry the seeds. IMG_1955Growing them yourself is easy, cheap and satisfying (sorry to sound like an excerpt from Cooking on a Shoestring in a Bedsit for One) and the plants look pretty on the kitchen window sill. I used to grow new ones each season until a nice girl called Hannah Harman who works for Food


Network UK – I met her at the launch of this fab book –

told me that you could cut back the plants when they’d finished fruiting, give ’em a feed, and they’d sprout again. Here are mine beginning to do just that…

IMG_1954Try them – the chillis – finely chopped in omelettes and scrambled egg, over meat or fish, in sauces and – for the brave – straight down with a couple of crisps. Actually, you will find the more you eat, the more your tolerance will grow (I don’t wish to be indelicate here, but it is best to build up slowly!). They are strangely addictive after a while. Now I twitch if I haven’t had a hot hit in a day or two.


2. Eat Chocolate


I am serious. Although what I’ve got in mind is a few squares of the plain stuff, not three creme eggs, four chocolate rabbits and an entire layer of Milk Tray (tho, hey, it IS Easter – you can always cut back tomorrow). Keep a bar of the dark close by for when the hunger pangs hit between meals. Choose high quality chocolate – at least 70% cocoa content and preferably 85%. (Green & Black’s is good – bring on that product placement) imgresand if you sip a black coffee with it, I find it’s even more effective. My exhaustive research has revealed that chocolate contains stearic acid which slows digestion and also tryptophan, an essential amino acid that stimulates the production of serotonin – a natural anti-depressant – in the brain. This means that a few squares will not only take a significant edge off your appetite, and leave you feeling fuller for longer, but will cheer you up as well (necessary if you’ve planned to diet and are facing the prospect of cutting out butter and not drinking). (NB this is NOT one of my tips – you’ve got to be sensible.)

Try it mid morning, or late afternoon when you feel your sugar levels dipping and are gearing up for the white wine and crisps, and wondering if diving into them at 4.30pm will constitute being a lush. I find a mere two squares – try to eat them as slowly as possible – suck don’t chew (stop that sniggering at the back) – and I can delay wine-time for at least two hours…


3. Get a dog

I have noticed that a lot of people who should, by rights, be fatter than they are, have a mutt that they walk come rain and shine. I am more of a cat person. I find dogs too time-consuming, too needy, too fond of licking their testicles and then wanting to do the same to my face. I am also squeamish about picking up warm poo. But there is no doubt at all, that taking regular brisk walks is an excellent way of keeping the weight under control and one’s thighs and bum toned. If you too, are too self-engrossed to actually own a canine, then can I suggest you….


…borrow a dog

This is a good compromise. I have always enjoyed taking out Kenzo, a black Labrador belonging to my friend Lyn-Marie. Kenzo and I have an arrangement. He does a poo in the garden before we leave and I take him to all the muddy places where he’s not usually allowed.

I also have an arrangement with Lyn-Marie. Should Kenzo ever let me down, I will phone her on her mobile and she will send one of the children to clear up.

Top Tip:  Walking, let us remember, can burn 100 calories per mile if you do it briskly. I don’t know how much extra you use up by wielding a pooper-scooper, but just make sure you do. I don’t want to tread in it later…


4. Get a horse… or borrow one


This could be more complicated to arrange than the dog,  but horse riding will also give you muscles of iron. I have the equine problem licked ever since begging for and receiving a hilarious Christmas present which had my husband choking over his credit card statement for the next six months. The iJoy ride is an exercise machine that simulates the action of riding a horse and as you jog up and down, tones your buttocks, thighs and stomach. You can flap your arms at the same time, add weights and do various exercises as outlined in the dvd of suitably bored-looking girls that comes with it. Visiting children will enjoy it too. Plonk the smallest and loudest on there and turn it up to full speed before they can trash the place.

For a quick glimpse of a slappable-looking smug bloke using one, along to a typically-annoying voice-over, I have found you this youtube clip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QOQy4XlBlc

To buy one – go here

Don’t forget I am eagerly awaiting your Before and After photos for any of these tips. Or even just the “befores”. I can always photoshop your head onto a thinner body later…. 🙂

Happy Flab-fighting!


5. Drink hot water with lemon and ginger

Apparently hot water makes your stomach feel full, lemon juice takes the edge off your hunger and ginger1, 2 boosts the metabolism. I can’t vouch for this. I just know it doesn’t sound as nice as a glass of Macon Blanc Villages and a bag of Kettle Chips.


Footnote 1 – it is probably supposed to be hand-reared, organic, eco-friendly ginger but this is all I could find in the cupboard.

Footnote 2 – and I expect HE bought it. I go to Waitrose…..


6. Think Thin

There is a lot to be said for the power of positive thinking. Have you noticed how skinny people are always twitching about and never sit still? Tell yourself you are a thin person too and start fidgeting now. Walk rapidly instead of waddling along like a fatty, throw the kids’ crusts to the birds instead of hoovering them up (thinnies disdain leftovers) stand tall, think slimline and practise an irritating laugh and trilling: Sometimes you know, I forget to eat altogether….



7. The C-Plan

My friend, the writer Lynne (a surprising number of my friends have this name) Hackles, conceived this.

Lynne Hackles photo by Susan Haniford

Lynne Hackles photo by Susan Haniford

You can eat anything you like as long as it doesn’t begin with that letter. So no Cream, Chocolate, Chips, Crisps, Cake etc.

This is easy to follow and when successful, has miraculous results. But in the interests of fairness and impartiality I must warn you that it doesn’t always work.

Especially if you pig out on Gateau and French Fries.

images    depositphotos_5703039-French-fries


8. Jump on a trampoline

If the kids have got a big one in the garden so much the better but otherwise get yourself a trampette (also known as an aerobic bouncer or a rebounder) – one of those mini circular jobs – and leap up and down on that. You can jog, hop or do star jumps– it will come with a leaflet with suggested exercises – and hold a small weight or a tin of baked beans in each hand to intensify the effect. It’s quite good fun, kind on the joints, and a good way of burning calories and firming muscles. Just two words of warning -both for my female readers.

1. Wear that sports bra, and

2. If you’ve had children – they will laugh at you.

(If you’ve had lots of children, best have a wee before you start.)

246-9249185A74UC693166M         images


9. Go on Twitter

Yes — you thought the reason you had an arse the size of Northampton was because you sat on it all day tweeting banalities about how many muffins you’ve eaten, but in fact research has proved that using Twitter can actually help you LOSE weight.


A study carried out by the University of Carolina found that those who posted updates about their diet on twitter and got support from fellow fatties, lost more of their body weight than those who didn’t. (This is my brief Sunday Summary — for the full scientific low-down click here)

So if you feel like sharing with the world, what you had for breakfast, you are not being dull and tedious after all, but Fighting the Flab! Pleased? Don’t mention it. xx


10. Take supplements

If you’re on a diet and can’t keep to it, make sure you’re getting the right vitamins and minerals. Sometimes cravings are your body’s way of saying what it needs. If you’re mainlining chocolate brazil nuts for example, perhaps you need selenium.

If you’re just sucking the chocolate off, you might want iron. If you’ve eaten three doughnuts, four cookies and an apple pie and it’s only 11 a.m., you want to get a grip before you’re the size of Dorset.



11. Have lots of great sex!

(NB if you’re married, best not to let your spouse find out.)

A good shag burns up to 400 calories and increases the endorphins in your body leaving you feeling naturally high without resorting to chocolate.

Points in favour: you spend all your eating time bonking, and when you do come up for air, you don’t want to look unalluring by ramming food down your throat.

Points against: if you’re single, you might fall in love, decide to get married and that will be your sex life gone for ever.

Footnote 1

I am including a nice picture of a sunset because when I tried google images for a suitable illustration I got more than I’d bargained for. It is a Sunday after all…

taken leaving St Maarten when I was a speaker on P&0's Arcadia. An experience to test one's flab-fighting to the limit. Never seen so much food in my life...

taken leaving St Maarten when I was a speaker on P&0’s Arcadia. An experience to test one’s flab-fighting to the limit. Never seen so much food in my life…


12. Keep your crisps in the loft.

Having to climbing up and down the ladder every time you fancy some cheese & onion will tone your thighs in no time…

loft ladder  Kettle_Chips_Mature_Cheddar_and_Red_Onion_Flavour_40g

(especially if you allow yourself only one mouthful per trip!)


13. Eat eggs for breakfast

Studies have shown that if you eat eggs for breakfast you will consume, on average, 400 calories less during the rest of the day than if you have a carbohydrate-only start to the morning.


Research carried out over eight years, by dietician Dr Carrie Ruxton, showed that those eating eggs, as opposed to cereal, felt fuller for longer and therefore ate less later on. This is presumably because eggs are high in protein, which stops you feeling hungry, but they also, apparently, contain quite a specific sort of protein at that, which works well on feelings of satiety. More research is required, but eggs may also possibly affect some appetite-related gut hormones aiding feelings of fullness. In the meantime, they certainly contain Vitamin D which regulates the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body and promotes strong bones and teeth. Hurrah!

(NB Eggs are also excellent as a hangover remedy and, together with cress and mayonnaise, make the very best sort of sandwich.)


14. Eat yoghurt and banana

This idea came from my friend Irene who swears by this unlikely-sounding regime which has one simple rule – you can eat as much as you like of absolutely anything as long as it is plain yoghurt or banana. You are supposed to do it for three days. Since banana is a diuretic and yoghurt an evacuant (let’s not go there) it does work, but I don’t suggest you do it for that long. By dawn of the second day you will be out of your head with the tedium of it and hallucinating about toast and marmite or anything that isn’t bloody yogurt or banana.


It does, however work, as a quick fix to get into a tight dress. (On the other hand, you could just wear a bigger one.) (Or a decorated tent.)


15. Get yourself on TV!

Television puts ten pounds on you. So get yourself on screen, see it all hang out, and I guarantee you won’t eat for a week 🙂

May I refer you to www.wannabeawritertvshow.com where you can get a chance to do just that….

Wannabe A Writer TV Show Title Card

We could do with the hits…



100 Ways to Fight the Flab – The Wannabe Guide to a Better Bottom

One hundred helpful and hilarious tips for fighting the flab and looking your best from Jane Wenham-Jones, best-selling author and columnist.

“My BMI is 22, my hip to waist ratio passes muster with the medical profession and given the right light, when wearing the right underwear, I have even been referred to “slim”. A small miracle given my alcohol intake, addiction to crisps and erratic approach to exercise….”

So speaks Jane Wenham-Jones, the author who coined the term “Writer’s Bottom”. Here, she brings you her top 100 tips for keeping a spreading rear end at bay. Quirky, hilarious, uplifting, occasionally bizarre, every one of these tried-and-tested methods will have you looking and feeling slimmer and fitter – even with a glass in your hand…

Click on the book cover or the following link to go to the Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk stores… 


Comments on: "‘Fight the Flab’ Tips" (1)

  1. Jan Harvey said:

    The film of the man on the horse replacement machine ought to come with a health warning!

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