Enjoy Your Slimming with Eileen Fowler

Label / Cat. No: BBC Records & Tapes REC 284 
First Released: 1977 

What The Album Blurb Says...

I say "enjoy your slimming" because it is much more successful if you do. It is a bore to be forever worrying about strict diets and complicated calorie counting. It can be just a simple "way of life". Regular exercise and sensible eating will keep your weight where you want it. It works for both men and women, as my husband could tell you. Cut down on fats, starches and sugars, exercise regularly and you are on the way. To help you to select the non-fattening foods there are two lists. Plan your meals around the first and try to avoid the second. Don't deny yourself all the foods you really like even if they are on the fattening list because this way leads to tension and you won't enjoy your slimming. Just reduce the quantities and include small amounts in a balanced eating programme.

For a really spectacular loss of weight, say six to seven stone, then I would suggest group therapy - Silhouette Slimming Club have wonderful results, which I have seen for myself, that is why I sought their advice with this album for those of us who wish to lose a lesser amount and to stay slim throughout our lives.

Don't forget the bathroom scales, these play a major part in our slimming plan. Decide on a reasonably weight for you height and work for that. I find at 5ft 2 1/2ins, eight and a half stone is about right and easy to hold, but bone structure can make a difference of several pounds. Weigh yourself once a week minus clothes and look for a gradual but steady weight loss - 2lbs a week adds up to nearly four stone in six months. Don't be disappointed if after losing weight at first - nothing happens for a time. This is quite normal while the body adjust to its new exercise and sensible eating pattern. But watch that fattening list! My own personal best hints are these: BUY THE RIGHT FOODS. If you have got them in the house you will eat them. If you haven't you will eat what is there, and they may be on the wrong list!

Finally, get out and walk. Carry nothing but yourself but carry yourself well - and don't worry. If you slip up today, there is always tomorrow.

Best Wishes,

Eileen Fowler


In a man's world a light-hearted approach to slimming is more likely to be successful than serious denial, as sensible eating and exercise are not usually his favourite subjects. he will joke about being overweight while fully realising the importance of keeping it down. Long hours spent sitting in an office chair or other sedentary occupations tend to tire the brain and exhaust the body, leaving him disinclined to take kindly to anything but the food and drink he likes in order to relax.

The pace of life today with its attendant stresses and strains can have a lasting effect on the way we look and feel and it's essential to counteract this in the best way we can. If overweight and the ensuing lack of vitality and energy is a problem , what better way than to Enjoy Your Slimming. Near starvation and tiring work-outs are out of date, and the more relaxed and healthy way to combat spreading and tension is in. It's a question of application. When eating out, study the menu carefully and choose as far as possible according to the suggestions given on List 1. If you really want Ma's apple pie, have it - not too much and not too often, and you won't feel deprived. of course you will want a drink, but the odd tomato juice can be useful. Drink, if and when you need it - or the occasion demands.

Figurewise - take a look at these diagrams and cut this exercise bogey down to size. concentrate on two areas - chest/shoulders and back for good posture, and you will never walk head first, but stay straight and tall. Work on the tummy muscles for control and you will look and feel better. try the following three exercises - Side 1. The Wall Game, Hairpin Bend and Arm Circling, Touch Toe. With a bit of help from the family regarding food, you will be slimmer and fitter and it's quite painless.

What I Say

I have this indistinct memory of seeing black and white footage from the early 50s of pert young girls in pointy bras and gym knickers doing healthy, wholesome exercises - presumably to keep them sound of morals and fit for whichever young buck they might marry, settle down with and make a home for. Assuming that this isn't just some figment of my fevered imagination, the work presented here by Eileen Fowler would be the perfect soundtrack to such a film.

Eileen is a no-nonsense woman. Oh, she seems friendly enough with her occasional chuckles and chummy manner, but the authority in her voice commands you to follow her instructions immediately and to the letter. There's a schoolma'am quality that marks her out for an ideal P.E. teacher in Malory Towers.

It turns out though that Eileen was a very sensible woman who spent her life crusading to get people fitter and eating more healthily. Perhaps it is this campaigning zest which fires the authority I mentioned. Yet that is forgiveable when you realise that what she's trying to do is improve people's lives. If there had been more people spreading Eileen's message a bit earlier, we might not be facing the supposed 'obesity crisis'. What's more important is that we might have been spared endless fitness DVDs of pneumatic 'lovelies' in lycra.

This album clearly focuses on the exercises - simple things that you can do at home. No equipment is needed, just a willingness to obey Eileen's commands at a moments notice. She whizzes through the exercises, and leaves it a bit late with the instructions. I have to admit, I haven't actually tried any of the exercises, not least because I know that a combination of my unco-ordinatedness and her late instructions would lead to an unsightly tangle. However, this isn't just about exercise. We are handily presented with two lists in the sleeve notes - food to eat lots of and food to avoid where possible. Unsurprisingly, the former is full of fruit, vegetables, fish and Ryvita whole-grain (OK, that last bit's a lie, but you get the picture), and the latter list seems to be a foretelling of my diet - chocolate, fried foods, biscuits, alcohol, and really anything that makes life worth living.

I would have assumed that this was common knowledge, even in 1977, but I really don't know. But that's the main feature of this record - it seems anachronistic, even for such unenlightened times as the late seventies. If this album had been produced in 1954 it would seem perfectly natural, but to think that it was produced in my lifetime makes it seem alien. To be fair, this record was a tie-in with Eileen's series of the same name on Radio 4's "Today" programme. I suspect that those listening to Radio 4 in 1977 thought it was still 1954.

As with that Peter Powell exercise album, it's hard to pick out any individual tracks, so instead I've compiled just a few of my favourite soundclips. I'm very pleased to know how to avoid a 'Dowager's Hump' thanks to Eileen's sound advice. Now, can anyone tell me what a Dowager's Hump actually is?


Sound Clips


Side 1

1. The "Wall Game" For A Slimming Stretch 
2. "Hairpin Bend" For Tummy Muscles
3. "Circle Touch Toe" For Arms, Chest, Shoulders and Back.
4. Sequence - Repeat all three exercises linking them together 

Side 2

1. See Saw Stretch For Waistline And Knees
2. "Roll And Reach" For Tummy, Seat And Hips
3. "Rolling Pin Roll" To Fine Down Your Figure (sic)
4. Sequence - Repeat all three exercises linking them together and improvising to the extra music

Final score:

1954 out of 10


Keep Fit and Dance with Peter Powell

Label / Cat. No: K-Tel INTL ONE1167
First Released: 1982

What The Album Blurb Says...

An Album to help you take shape and have fun while you’re doing it.

Exercising to your favourite music has proved to be one of the most successful and enjoyable ways of keeping fit.

Feel better and look good.

Keep Fit and Dance is precisely what it says. This album will give you a range of exercises you can do easily in your own home – either by yourself or with your friends or family.

The dance steps are fun to work out and you’ll find when you’ve learned them you can use them to very good effect in the disco or at parties.

One word of advice – don’t overdo it! Gradually build up the exercises as you feel fitter and more supple. Only do what you feel capable of doing.

Enjoy yourself.

*If you are in any doubt about your health or ability to do these exercises, you should consult your doctor before commencing the exercises.

What I Say

1982. What a heady year that was. E.T., The Falklands 'Conflict', The Commodore 64, Come On Eileen, T.J. Hooker, and, most importantly, Jane Fonda's very first 'Workout'.

Naturally, on this side of the pond we needed to find a British answer to this American type, trying to tell us how to exercise. A home grown role model to knock Hanoi Jane into a cocked hat. Who had the necessary gravitas, the long history of keep fit and the engaging personality to take on the future heavyweight of workout videos? Peter Powell, will you please step forward.

Yes, Peter Powell. That Peter Powell. It's sad to think that a man who was once one of our most highly regarded radio stars will forever be remembered as the man who married, and was left by, Anthea Turner...


...but we won't dwell on his marriage mistakes when we have this record in front of us. Oh no, we'll focus on his career ones. I think the problem here is that 'generally being a bit matey' isn't quite enough to compel people to start exercising. There is no authority from the man - he cajoles in a quaintly cheesy way, but there's no way you're going to listen to him and think,"oh, well I'd better start exercising then". No presence, you see.

Equally, I'm not convinced that Peter Powell at this point had ever been anywhere near a gym. His photo on the cover of him in a sweatshirt and wearing a towel casually round his shoulders isn't enough to convince me that he's a regular aerobics aficionado.

Speaking of which, it's interesting that this album (which only achieved number 13 on the British album charts for just the one week) was also released in America. Taking on La Fonda on her own turf, eh? I have no idea how well it did, but there is one interesting addition to the album:-

...it features the words 'Aerobic Dance Program' on the cover. Clearly the word 'Aerobic' hadn't made it to the UK at that point, but was a major selling point in the USA.

Anyway, as I was saying, I have no belief whatsoever that Peter Powell had even thought about joining a gym before this album, so his sports clothes and fake involvement annoy all the more. He's clearly in a sound booth, probably sitting in a nice comfy chair, telling the listeners 'I know it hurts' and then scoffing like a schoolgirl into his sleeve. The barrage of 'terrific's and 'great's really.... grates. The whole thing is so contrived.

See, at least with a video, you can see that the instructor / celebrity is actually doing the workout, and therefore has some kind of a bond with you. Having just a disembodied voice which, for all you know could be sat within reaching distance of a plate of doughnuts and a trifle, just doesn't inspire.

To make up for this lack of visuals, there is a free poster included which demonstrates all the moves that you should know for complete involvement with this record. Is it Peter himself, photographed in the various stages of exercise? No it sodding isn't. It's the same leotard-clad lovely who graces the cover in a range of clothes and hairstyles to try and convince us that K-Tel weren't so cheap that they would only pay for one model.

I'm not sure how helpful the static images are in getting you to do the right exercises, but here are the moves to the first routine.

 All in all I found this record fairly confusing. I've never indulged in 'keep fit' products in my life, and if this is in any way representative, then there's no chance of me ever getting involved. The instructions are confusing, they come too fast, Peter, for all his DJ skills seems to have little sense of rhythm or timing and the whole thing just seems a bit rushed. I imagine the results of trying this at home would be akin to something from the golden age of 'The Generation Game'.

I know we all need to exercise in these post-holiday girth-widening times, but take it from me, this album is not your friend.

As a final point, as the songs are secondary, with the exception of the 'Can-Can' which demonstrates the bizarre pace, nasty matiness and general weirdness of this album, the soundclips are just some of my favourite Peter Powellisms from this record. I'm sure they'll become your favourites too.

Sound Clips


Side 1

1. The Shakedown (‘Use It Up and Wear It Out’) – A general warm up and de-tenser. A preparation for the exercises to come.
2. Firming The Body (‘Isn’t She Lovely’) – Firming exercise for the stomach and thighs.
3. Firming The Legs (‘Physical’) – Leg kicks and ‘bicycles’ for firm shapely legs.
4. Body Stretches (‘Body Talk’) – Let’s tone up some of those muscles that don’t get used too often.
5. Looseners (‘Ai No Corrida’) – You’ll be amazed what you can do with just the back of a chair for support!
6. Troublespots (‘Young and Beautiful’) – Waist, bottom, bust – you know the spots that need a little extra attention.

Side 2

1.The Energiser (‘Hooked on a Can Can’ – specially edited version) – A lighthearted track to ‘get some energy into your body’ – when you’re feeling very fit, play this track twice!
2. Absolute Collapse (‘The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’) – Rest for a few moments after the exertion of the last track and take a few deep breaths.

Now learn four simple dance sequences:-

3. The Strut (‘D.I.S.C.O.)
4. The Wrap (‘Celebration’)
5. The Rotor (‘Cuba’)
6. The Slice (‘Hands up’)
7. Danceability (‘Dance Yourself Dizzy’) Put all the steps together and enjoy yourself.

8. Relaxation (‘The Canon Suite’) – After the exercises a special time put aside for you to relax your body and mind.

Final score:

3.25 out of 10