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Rosemary Conley CBE

Whether it is windy, raining or just a bit frosty, as we say ‘goodbye’ to January, we can now look forward to warm sunny days and wearing our lighter-weight summer clothes. But the big question is - will they fit?

Now is the perfect time to shed a few lbs ahead of Spring-time, and with the days becoming longer we can step out for our morning walk a little earlier which is a great way to set us up for the day ahead – mentally and physically.

It was in March last year that Mary and I were invited to launch our first Wellness Challenge with Leicestershire Police.  The Challenge was based on The 28-Day Immunity Plan, a book that Mary and I wrote together in 2020. After the volunteer team had followed the Plan for four weeks, the results were remarkable. In fact, it was so successful that they launched Challenge Team 2 last September and just two weeks ago we launched Team 3 on their road to increased wellbeing.

Last Monday, two weeks into the Challenge, Mary and I had a catchup with Team 3 to see how they were all doing and the team were buzzing. When Laura told us that she had lost 12.5lbs in two weeks we asked her how she’d done it? “By sticking to the eating plan exactly - not cheating once - and doing lots of exercise” was her response. And that says it all. There is no magic formula to weight loss – we just have to eat healthily but a bit less, and we need to exercise more! If you do, you are bound to see success.

In creating The 28-Day Immunity Plan, Mary and I invested our years of experience into making this new eating and exercise plan wholly achievable. We know that it is clinically proven that if we lose a significant amount of weight quickly (say in 28 days) we are much more motivated to carry on. And that is exactly what we have found with these Police Challenges. So far, we have found that when the teams get to the end of their 28 days, they ask if they can carry on, not just because they have lost weight but because they feel so good – sleeping better, enjoying more energy and generally feeling happier.

You can learn more about The 28-Day Immunity Plan in the Boosting Immunity section of our website which also includes Mary demonstrating the workouts from the book in real-time. Alternatively, you may like to buy the book. You can find the paperback in our shop or if you prefer an ebook you can find it on Amazon. You may also find some useful guidance and information on our Nutrition & Weight-loss page.

Recipe of the Week

This is a delicious soup that is full of immunity boosting ingredients. Because the garlic is roasted it gives a gentler flavour, however, it does need a little forward planning as the garlic takes 45 minutes to roast in a hot oven. To save fuel, roast it whilst the oven is being used to cook something else. The roast garlic will keep in a refrigerator wrapped in tin foil for 4-5 days. Suitable for freezing
Serves four
Per serving: 85 calories, 1.7g fat
Prep time 10 minutes (assuming garlic roasted in advance)
Cook time 20 minutes
1 whole head of garlic
450g (2 Red Portion Pots®) frozen petit pois
1 medium onion, chopped
8 fresh mint leaves
600ml vegetable stock (use a vegetable stock pot or cube)
1 tsp live yogurt for serving
freshly ground black pepper
How to roast the garlic:
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C, 400°F, Gas Mark 6.
  2. Remove the outer skin from the garlic bulb and slice off the top.
  3. Place the garlic bulb on a square of foil and wrap around to form a parcel. Place in the oven for 45 minutes until soft. Set aside to cool.
How to make the soup:
  1. Place the peas and chopped onion and stock pot/cube in a large saucepan and barely cover with boiling water. Boil for 15 minutes. Pour into a liquidiser or food processor and purée until smooth.
  2. Squeeze out the garlic purée from the roasted bulb and add to the food processor with the mint and the remaining vegetable stock and blend again until smooth. Return to the saucepan and reheat. Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper.
  3. Just before serving, stir in the yogurt.
Cook’s tip: This soup freezes well, just don't add the yogurt until ready to serve.
For more recipes click here to visit the website

Fun, Facts & Fitness from Mary Morris MSc.

If some weight loss is what you are keen to achieve (and at this time of year I suspect most of us would like to drop a few pounds) then let's find a way to help you.  My role here, I believe, is to inspire you to spend extra calories (energy expenditure) with extra exercise that means you lose the weight more quickly and easily than you ever thought possible!

If you try losing weight just by cutting right back on your food alone (energy intake) and find yourself hardly having eaten a morsel for about 3 days, you will inevitably find that you cannot possibly sustain it without going off the rails and then eating all the wrong things - again!  So, let's take the sensible approach. 

The 28-Day Immunity Plan was created to give you that balanced approach.  A good and healthy intake of calories combined with an exercise programme that burns those calories off, so you end up in calorie deficit which results in a very satisfying weight loss. 

That's the plan - but as we all know, the best-laid plans... etc etc etc!

Here are some sensible tips...

  • If you have tried to lose weight in the past and succeeded (to any degree) then you will have learnt something about yourself that will help you when you try again.  For example, if you have lost a stone in the past and then went on to give yourself such a BIG pat on the back that you went back to your old ways, (resulting in you putting some or all of it back on again) remember that, and don't do it again this time!  In other words, make changes that stick.
  • Think of your exercise as using up fuel (the food you eat).  It is exactly the same as putting fuel in your car to make it work.  Now, if you take your car up a steep incline you have to press your foot harder on the accelerator to get it up the hill, using a lot more petrol.  Exactly the same happens in your body.  Going uphill uses more fuel and hence a load more calories!  Great news for fat burning!
  • Mix the intensity of your exercise.  Use the PRE scale (Perceived Rate of Exertion):
    • 1-3    Sedentary to a gentle stroll
    • 4-6    Walking with some pace but you can hold a conversation
    • 7-9    Working so hard for a short time so you cannot speak a whole sentence! (Interval training)

      The further up the scale you go you are guaranteed to be spending more calories.  My weekly challenge to you often involves going up stairs as quickly as possible 3-5 times consecutively - that scores PRE 8 which is really motivating!
  • To seriously increase your rate of weight loss you also need strength exercises.  That builds muscle and muscle burns significantly more calories than fat… 3 times more! The Strength & Toning Exercises on the website ensure that all the largest muscles in the body are made stronger and more dense and therefore more calorie-hungry.  Just 20 minutes 3-4 times a week will do the job nicely.
  •  All of us start with a great plan and then go 'off the plan' for all sorts of reasons. So find the parts of the plan that work for you and then commit to keeping up with that 'bit'.  By making a ‘plan’ you are forming a new habit which then leads to a healthier lifestyle which at the very least may prevent further weight gain.

This Week's Fitness Challenge

You have 2 options this week:
An OUTDOOR CHALLENGE or an INDOOR CHALLENGE. At this time of year the weather is often not good enough to venture out so I am reducing your opportunity to make excuses!
  1.  As usual, walk every day for 30 minutes but this week, if weight loss is what you want, you must achieve a minimum of 6000 steps per day.  Studies have shown that 6000 is a big contributor to weight loss.  (Many of us struggle to reach 10,000 every day so this can take some of the pressure off.)   Remember, an early morning walk before breakfast aids greater fat loss.
  2.  Find a hill on 3 of your daily walks and go up and down it 3 times consecutively, if possible.  That will put your foot on the accelerator!
  3.  Find a park bench/tree/wall or similar to lean against and do 2 lots of 10 standing press-ups.  That's your major upper-body muscles taken care of!
  1.  Every day play 4 consecutive tracks of really up-tempo music and dance around the biggest area in your house! You can ask your Smart Speaker (eg Alexa) to play what you like! Doing that for 16 minutes will certainly burn significant calories.
  2. Try selecting a programme from our site 3 times this week including both cardiovascular work from the Aerobic Exercise section (you can play some music you like while you do it) and Strength Exercises like the Standing Weights Workout or the Floor Weights Workout.
  3.  Do a Pilates workout from the website twice this week, at a level to suit you,  either Introducing Pilates or Intermediate Pilates. A new more advanced Pilates workout is coming soon for those who are at that level.
Tip of the Week

We love hearing from our loyal Newsletter readers with your kind remarks and ideas. Last week Patricia sent in this brilliant idea for storing our home-made soup:
‘I have been making your lovely soups and then, with the excess, I put it into a plastic soup mug with a lid and pop it into the freezer.  I have a few of the mugs from B&M  (they only cost £1).  This makes it so easy when rushing off to work - just grab one out of the freezer with a slice of bread, then microwave it when it's lunchtime.  The mug has a little vent on the top to let out steam so prevents any mess in the microwave. It really works.’

And finally...

There is no magic formula to losing weight – we just have to eat less and move more – and if we make wise choices and make the effort to exercise, we can transform our health and wellbeing so that we can live longer, live healthier and live happier.

Have a great week!

With love and best wishes,

Rosemary Conley CBE DL


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