Q & A

What standing exercise can I do at home to work my abs?

Have you ever noticed how dancers have the most amazing abs? This is because they constantly have to engage their deep core muscles in order to support their posture and balance. Try the Flamingo Move at home to help get great abdominals. Stand straight with good posture with your feet hip-width apart and knees soft. Now slowly lift one foot off the floor, until your thing is parallel to the floor, hold, and then slowly lower with control. You will instantly feel your deepest abdominals working as you lift, to help balance and stabilize you. If you want an extra challenge, you can make this move harder by standing with your feet wider apart.

How long does it take to gain 500g of fat?

Activity level, age and size determine how many kilojoules you need in a day to maintain your weight, says Dr Kevin Hall of the US National Institute of Diseases. After you eat something, your body takes days to process the nutrients that are burnt for fuel, then stores excess kilojoules as fat. It was thought that 14 630 extra kilojoules equaled 500g, but new research by Hall found that the number varies. For example, over time, lean people gain less than obese people do after taking in the same amount of additional kilojoules.

Cellulite appears on my things when I cross my legs. How can I prevent this?

The fat on your legs is held in a fibrous mesh network that looks like a fishnet stocking. When you sit with your legs crossed, you increase the pressure on that “stocking”, which causes fat to protrude through the openings, says dermatologist Dr Francesca Fusco. A quick trick for avoiding this: “If you have your right leg over your left, reach your left hand between your legs, press firmly on the skin on the back of your right thigh, pull it in towards the centre of your body and place your leg back down”. The spongy-looking skin will be tucked out of sight.

Description: Suspect your scale may be jammed?

Suspect your scale may be jammed?

If I shave my legs at 7am, the hair is already coarse by 2pm. I’ve tried waxing and one laser treatment. What can I do to decrease the growth?

Your hair issue is described as hirsutism (superfluous hair): excessive growth of thick, dark hair in areas where growth in women is usually minimal or absent, says trichologist Elma Titus. You’re going to need expert medical help because, as Titus explains, treatment starts with lowering your androgen levels (hormones in your body) and it’ll take from six months to a year for noticeable results. “Even then, only approximately half to three-quarters of patients show improvement,” says Titus. In the meantime, laser therapy is your best bet.

What’s the quickest way to banish bloat without taking meds?

Exercise: 30 minutes a day is best, but even a 10-minute walk is enough to get things moving through your digestive tract, says gastroenterologist Dr Christine Lee. Peppermint or chamomile tea may also help to relax digestive muscles. Avoid bloat in the first place by laying off fizzy drinks, sweeteners, dairy products, beans and certain veggies (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower), which can cause excess gas, says Lee. And try to eat slowly with your mouth closed, which will prevent you from gulping in air.

After years as a couple, are women really expected to forego the Bridget Jones PJs and keep it sexy for bedtime?

Description: Suspect your scale may be jammed?

You want me to wear what?

Yes and no. We understand that there are times when you just want to be comfortable. If that means wearing plaid pyjamas of the sort Susan Boyle might sport on a Friday night in, tucked up with a box of Whispers and a Gareth Gates DVD, so be it. However, for the sustainability of your sex life, try alternating it with the slinky stuff. You don’t even need to do it in one of those “Look! I’m dressed for sex” ways. Some guys prefer the spontaneous approach, so whether you’re wearing your finest bondage suspenders or one of his T-shirts, he’ll be slightly on edge knowing that anything could happen. The check pyjamas? Not so much?

My husband hates free-swinging genitals in the change rooms at gym. So why do men think parading their meat and two veg will be super appealing to their wives?

“Meat and two veg!” See, you feign ignorance, but even you get it. There’s pride in naming your package, your boys, your hairy bagpipes. And where there’s pride, there will inevitably be parading. Why doesn’t he like it at the gym? I reckon it’s part homophobia, but mainly because he’s not seeing his own package, the same one that’s been on every adventure, real of fantasized, that he can remember. When he’s with you he gets to bore you by reintroducing you to his bubbles and squeak, every day, like any passionate, hobbyist (Imagine Bear Grylls showing off his survival tools). Plus, he knows that at times you quite like his pink oboe and djembes… Sure, when relaxed it’s not particularly arresting, but he will still feel he need to play guitar on it, hangtowels, pretend it’s a lightsabre… whatever. Think of him as re-enacting some deep tribal need to advertise what he’s got, regardless of whether you’re a captive audience or not. And try to laugh only when appropriate – that means not when he’s erect and trying to look his most impressive.

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