How was christmas for you Since 2020 was such a difficult year, it would be perfectly understandable if you had really walked into town, ate, drank and made as much “happy” as the rules allow during the festive season.
You may feel a little worse wearing it and you may need to leave your belt a notch. . . Too many mince pies or an extra spoonful of brandy butter didn’t help, but it’s probably not just Christmas, it’s covid pounds you are dealing with.
Many of us have eased the monotony of being home day in and day out by eating and drinking more than normal. In an Ipsos MORI poll earlier this year, 48 percent of respondents said they had put on weight during the lockdown and a third admitted drinking more.
Since 2020 was such a difficult year, it would be perfectly understandable if you had really walked into town, ate, drank and made as much “happy” as the rules allow during the festive season [File photo]
But now we are saying goodbye to the stresses of 2020 and goodbye to 2021 when life will hopefully get back to normal.
To make 2021 a memorable year for all the right reasons, I’m going to be kicking off the Daily Mail’s one-of-a-kind 30-day health kick next week – a month of simple and practical steps to get your health going.
Next Saturday’s newspaper has our brilliant 30 Day Wellness Diary, a daily diary that keeps track of your progress and gives you the structure you need to stay on track. In addition to daily tips, it includes a checklist of activities to improve your health and wellbeing.
As you fill out the 30-day journal, you will stick with your good intentions long enough to notice big changes.
The Mail also publishes unique excerpts each week for the next month, written by a number of leading experts (including my wife, Dr. Clare Bailey), that provide advice and guidance to help you manage obesity and type 2 diabetes and strengthen your defenses against diseases and infections like Covid-19.
With Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a leading neurosurgeon, teaches you how to keep your mind sharp and ward off dementia, and how to get fit every day with exercises from fitness expert Joanna Hall.
In an Ipsos MORI poll earlier this year, 48 percent of respondents said they had put on weight during the lockdown and a third admitted drinking more [File photo]
And in case you need medical advice, there are a number of must-read series that will help you learn how to get in touch with Dr. Xand van Tulleken and Dr. Max Pemberton can benefit. To help you really take advantage of our 30-day Health Kick before we start it next Saturday, I would recommend the SMART approach.
SMART is a proven way to stick to any goal. It was first featured by a successful business consultant in Management Review magazine in the 1980s and is used today by many experts and entrepreneurs.
SMART – or specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely goals – works like this:
■ Specific: This means that it is not enough to just say “I want to lose weight” or “I want to get fitter”. You need to have a specific goal, e.g. B. “I want to lose a stone while doing the 30 Day Health Kick” or “I want to be able to run a mile without stopping until the end of January”.
The more precise the goal, the better. It is also important that you write down your reasons for the change. When you are in the middle of a new diet or exercise program, you will inevitably have moments of doubt. Before you begin, write down the reasons you want to do the 30 Day Health Kick as a reminder.
■ Measurable: To stay on track, you can track your progress and see how far you have come. This is where our 30 Day Wellness Diary comes in – use it to keep track of how you are doing.
What you measure very strongly depends on your goals, but when it comes to health, there are three simple things I would recommend: heart rate, weight, and waistline.
Your (resting) heart rate is a measure of how hard your heart has to work to keep you going. The lower the better. A 16-year-old Danish study of more than 3,000 men found that men with resting heart rates over 80 died twice as often compared to men with resting heart rates of about 50 beats per minute (bpm) over the course of the research.
Measure your heart rate – in other words, your pulse – in a quiet moment: the best place to do this is just outside the outermost tendon of your wrist.
Count the number of pulses per minute – measure them a few times, then record the average score in the wellness journal. If you followed our fitness program I would expect it to drop over the course of 30 days.
Next, weigh yourself and calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI) – use the calculator on the NHS website. If you are overweight (BMI over 30) try to get into the overweight category (BMI 25-29.9). or if you are overweight, aim for healthy reach.
With recipes from the Fast 800 Easy – the new book that Clare and I wrote and that the Mail will serialize exclusively as part of our Eat To Beat Disease series starting January 9 – you can assume you’re in your 30s sure to lose a stone. Tag health kick.
Finally, measure your waistline – the fat in and around your stomach is bad for you, even if you are not otherwise obviously overweight.
Ideally, your waist should be less than half your height (so if you are 6 feet tall, your waist should be less than 36 inches). You can expect to lose about half an inch around your waist for every pound you lose.
There are other measurements, like your blood sugar level, the quality of your sleep, and your blood pressure, that I’ll cover in my series.
■ Achievable and realistic: There is no point deciding whether to walk a few miles if you are currently sedentary. Still, I love setting ambitious goals so that I try harder.
■ On time: Give your goals a deadline. “I’m going to lose weight” isn’t as powerful a motivator as, “I’m going to try to lose at least 10 pounds and 2 pounds off my waist in the next 30 days.” Even when it comes to improving fitness or your sleep pattern, 30 days is long enough to see real changes.
So enjoy the festive season. As Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, who starts the new series of The Mail today, says, you don’t have to deny yourself any pleasure. But get ready for our 30-day health kick for the new year for a leaner, healthier and happier life!
The bacteria we ALL want in 2021
Like everyone else, I long for a return to normal, and so I sincerely hope that Covid-19 vaccines will prove to be as safe and effective when rolled out on a large scale in 2021 as they have been in recent studies.
I expect other Covid vaccines will be added to those now available and I believe we could have the virus on the run by early next summer.
But we also need to remember that not all microbes are our enemies. I expect a lot more research in 2021 that shows the multiple benefits of caring for our gut microbiome, the 100 trillion microbes that live in our digestive systems.
Recent studies have shown that not only do they play an important role in improving our sleep and boosting immunity (more on both in my Eat To Beat Disease series in two weeks), but they also have a huge impact on our mental health .
For example, researchers from Paris recently identified gut microbes that act as powerful, natural antidepressants. So I’ll be eating more microbe-rich fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut.
I also plan to drink a lot less alcohol in 2021. Although I have never drank heavily, my two months of total abstinence taught me that the main thing I should do is stick to water.
It may sound boring, but believe me, it makes me much better around society.
Happy New Year!