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In 1972 I launched my very first slimming class. Click here to read how it all began.


The other evening I was invited to a fundraising dinner and I found myself sitting next to a psychiatrist. Both he and I had been asked to speak about healthy living – Dr. Latif on mental health and me on diet and fitness. It turned out to be a fascinating experience as my medical dinner companion was keen to tell me about the exciting research that was now emerging, showing real evidence that eating healthily can seriously benefit our mental health.

I told him about the remarkable results Mary and I had experienced with Leicestershire Police after volunteers from their workforce had followed our 28-Day Immunity Plan challenge. The point I wanted to make was that the ‘Wellness Rating’ of the 37 participants at the start of the 28 days had been recorded at an average of 4/10 and at the end of the 28 days it was 9/10! He was delighted and astonished to hear of such a dramatic turnaround in such a short period of time and agreed that there must be some connection to the research he was learning about.

The more we chatted the more we could see the obvious benefits that making those simple changes in lifestyle could make, and how quickly it could turn around someone’s mental and physical health. I knew there were some of our volunteers who had admitted that their mental health was really concerning them and that going on the 28-Day Challenge had ‘saved their life’. Very encouraging.

When Mary and I wrote the book our focus was simply to help us all to boost our immunity but the more we learned from the 100+ volunteers who have now followed The 28-Day Immunity Plan as part of the Police initiative, the greater our understanding that we have, without realising it, unlocked a very special formula, and that is very exciting.

We must all acknowledge that there are many things over which we have no control, for instance, what is happening in the world, a devastating illness diagnosis or the rising cost of living. However, we can control what we eat and how active we are.  We all need every bit of motivation we can muster to encourage us to make sensible choices when it comes to food and activity so hearing that eating healthily can also help our mental health is brilliant. We already know that exercise is proven to help in the treatment of depression and that it can also help stave off dementia, so these positive messages must surely encourage us to stop making excuses and eat more healthily and get moving!

Here are some videos that you might find helpful: The Mental Health Benefits of ExerciseMental Health & Exercise or go to the Introduction to The 28-Day Immunity Plan page and click on any of the videos to learn more.

Recipe of the Week

Serves 1. (For two or more portions, duplicate main ingredients)
Per serving (excluding rice): 276 calories, 2.4g fat
Per serving (including rice): 432 calories, 3.4g fat
Prep time 10 mins
Cook time 12 mins

1 chicken breast, chopped
½ red and ½ green pepper, deseeded and chopped into bite-sized squares
4 button mushrooms, halved
2 sticks of celery, chopped
½ red onion, coarsely chopped.
1 clove of garlic, crushed
A little fresh ginger, grated.
1 tsp honey
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp chilli and garlic dipping sauce
Fresh coriander
55g (dry weight) basmati rice
1 vegetable stock cube
Black pepper, freshly ground
Rapeseed oil Spray


  1. Place the vegetable stock cube with water in a saucepan and bring to the boil.
  2. Add the rice to the boiling water and cook for 12 minutes,
  1. Heat a non-stick frying pan and spray with rapeseed oil, add some freshly ground black pepper. When the pan is hot, add the crushed garlic and the chopped chicken and fry until almost cooked.
  2. Add the chopped red onion, peppers, celery, mushrooms and toss with the chicken. Do not over-cook the vegetables.
  3. Add the grated ginger with the honey, soy sauce and fresh coriander and mix well. Serve immediately. Serve with soy sauce if required.
For more recipes click here to visit the website
Following last week's recipe for Coronation Chicken Salad, the ingredients for which included half a sliced mango, one of our readers, Margaret, contacted me to say 

"I have a mango slicer which is great. You just centre it over the stone and press down then you can hedgehog the flesh and your mango is done.  I think mine is Oxo Good Grips and was probably bought from Lakeland.   Love the recipe."
Having never heard of a mango slicer I had a quick look online and there are loads of similar gadgets out there. Thanks, Margaret.

Fun, Facts & Fitness from Mary Morris MSc.

It is such good news to hear that new research into healthy eating is proving to help those with mental health issues.  For decades we have known that exercise has a significant effect on how we feel, improving mood and relieving stress, but to now hear that a good diet (independent of whether you exercise or not) will work wonders on how you are mentally, is comforting to know. It encompasses everything we stand for on both our website and in this Newsletter every week.

Healthy Eating and Your Mental Health

Everything contained in The 28-Day Immunity Plan incorporates the most up-to-date information we have from this active field of research.  There is still a lot to learn about how food affects our mood but the message is clear. Foods high in Omega 3 fatty acids are excellent brain food and can be found in oily fish and flax and chia seeds. We should be eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, and avoiding highly processed foods that are high in trans-fats such as those found in biscuits and cakes. So the next time you are in the supermarket bear this in mind and spend lots of time in the right aisles and never take a wrong turning!

Exercise and Mental Health

Exercise is such a great way to lift your mood and improve your ability to deal with stress.  Every time you exercise, your brain produces endorphins - the body's feel-good hormones - improving energy levels and a sense of well-being.

When I set off on one of my proper walks (and by 'proper' I mean when I am using it as an exercise session rather than just going for a stroll to the shops) within the first 10 minutes my knees are saying they would prefer me to go back home and my neck feels like my head is too heavy to carry it. But after 10 minutes all that disappears!  Now isn't that clever!  Once my body has warmed up and I get into the swing of it, the enjoyment begins.

But all of that is no match for what it does for my mental health, particularly if I am out walking with a group of others as well, constantly chatting and sharing experiences that, without doubt, may help us manage our difficult times more easily.  A problem shared is a problem halved, as the saying goes. I return feeling more energised and able to cope with whatever life throws at me.

Your Gut and Mental Health

Finally, there is more and more evidence that our mental health is affected significantly by the contents of our gut, and scientists are going so far as to say that your gut is a kind of second brain!

It is now recognised that there is a direct link between our psychology and immunology.  For a long time, we have thought that the mind can affect our ability to get well if we are ill, as having negative thoughts can bring our immunity down and delay our recovery, while positive thinking can work wonders.

So, failure to channel our thoughts and emotions in the right direction can not only cause our mood to plummet but our immunity too.  Fascinating stuff.  And it feels as if this is just the tip of the iceberg!  This is an area of research I personally find fascinating and I will always update you when new information becomes available.  The pandemic was a big wake-up call for all of us and we need our immunity to be the best it can be.  Take another look at Chapters 2 and 3 from The 28-Day Immunity Plan to check on how to have the healthiest gut. 

For those of you who would like to know more about this exciting field of research I would like to direct you to an excellent text book called 'Immunity – the Science of Staying Well' by Dr Jenna Macciochi.  It won't suit everybody but if you have a background in research and study yourself, I think it is worth a look.

This Week's Fitness Challenge

  1. Apart from your daily 30+ minute walks try to take a longer hike in the countryside this week. Choose your day for the best type of weather... dry, but not too hot, and feel your mood lift as you notice everything about the start of Spring.  All is fresh and new and believe me, it will lift your spirits!
  2. Commit to 3 strength sessions again this week.  You won't always be keen to do it but just see what it does to your mood and self-esteem when you have finished! Choose from this selection:
    Standing Band Workout    Floor Weights Workout 
    The Back Workout    Advanced Whole Body Strength Programme
  3. Take time for a proper session of relaxation that includes slow controlled movements using breathing techniques.  This can be one of our Pilates routines or the Stretch Programme.  Always choose activities that you know you enjoy!
Did you know...

It was World Asthma Day on Tuesday. Asthma is a condition in which your airways narrow and swell and may produce extra mucus. This can make breathing difficult and trigger coughing, a whistling sound (wheezing) when you breathe out, and shortness of breath. For some people, asthma is a minor nuisance and for others can be a major health issue. If you, or anyone you meet, has an asthma attack here are some simple actions to take:

For further information go to Asthma+Lung UK

And finally...

We have a wonderful opportunity to live life to the full and live longer, healthier and happier. It is up to us to make the decision to put our ‘let’s do it’ hat on and step into action. After all, it will help our mental health as well as our body so what have we got to lose?

Have a great week.

With love and best wishes,

Rosemary Conley CBE DL


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