Follow our lead and transform your health! SARAH VINE and ANDREW PIERCE road test the Mail’s free new wellness journal
- Sarah Vine decided a years ago to stop blaming everything on thyroid problem
- Journalist said journal shines light into the areas of life that have begun to slip
- Andrew Pierce revealed he will change his diet to combat mid-morning hunger
- Also said he will go to the gym as wants to shed middle-age midriff completely
Live healthier for longer — that’s the aim of the month-long Good Health for Life series of pullouts that kicked off on Saturday with our free Wellness Journal.
The idea is to use the 28-day planner to focus on areas you want to change, be that fitness, diet, getting to bed on time or finding time to relax.
You can then fill in the daily sections to chart your progress.
Over the next four weeks, Mail writers will use the journal to see how it works for them. Here, two top columnists describe what they’re hoping to change . . .
Sarah Vine, pictured, who has a thyroid problem, said there’s something empowering about having to write down what you eat and being honest about how you live
I’ve had a serious thyroid problem most of my life and experienced weight gain, hair loss, depression and innumerable aches and pains as a result, so I have always been rather impatient with people who preach wellness through simple lifestyle changes.
I’ve never had a poor diet, I don’t drink like a fish, I have always exercised regularly — yet I’ve still had to put up with the effects of my chronic condition, namely a propensity to be fat and bald.
Then, a few years ago I decided it was time I stopped blaming everything on my illness — and made a real effort to find areas where I could make improvements.
I took myself off to the Mayr Clinic in Austria and spent a week downing Epsom salts and chewing stale biscuits very slowly. It was hell, but it kick-started the process.
Back home, I took up intermittent fasting — eight hours on, 14 off. I started skipping supper (or just having something very light) and going to bed earlier, on the basis that if I was sleeping, I couldn’t be eating (or drinking). I also took up high-intensity training — short, sharp bursts of weight-bearing exercise, as well as Pilates.
It’s been a long, slow road but it has worked. I’ve lost a lot of weight, I feel much less stressed, I get plenty of sleep and — people tell me — I look better at 52 than I did at 42.
Key to my success has been facing up to the truth. Instead of making excuses for my bad habits (too stressed, busy, tired), I have stared them in the face. I step on the scales daily, not because I am obsessed with my weight, but because it’s useful to know if I’m starting to slide.
Now I am mindful of what and when I eat, because I know I have a tendency to munch late at night. And, yes, going to bed relatively early makes me a bit of a bore on a night out, but I enjoy the benefits so much I genuinely don’t miss staying up.
That’s why I think you will find the Mail’s Wellness Journal so useful. Because if you are serious about slowing the inevitable middle-aged slide into decrepitude, and your chances of living the next few decades to the full, then being honest with yourself about how you really live is vital.
Trust me: there is something really empowering — liberating, even — about having to write down the number of sneaky cigarettes you have smoked, or that extra croissant you hoovered up at breakfast. It’s like cleaning out your fridge, or tidying your cupboards: it shines a light into those areas of your life that have begun to slip.
There is, of course, always room for improvement. This is not a finite process: these changes are ongoing and like everything in life — health, relationships, gardens — if you don’t do the maintenance things quickly get out of hand.
That’s why, over the next few weeks, I shall be joining readers and a few of my colleagues in keeping this wellness journal. Because it doesn’t matter how old or unfit you are: taking back control of your day-to-day choices is crucial if you are to make the most of your health — and, ultimately, your life.
Andrew Pierce, pictured, said he will be changing his diet and going to the gym while using the wellness journal
Having spent a week on a cruise liner, the Wellness Journal could not be more timely. I’ve been the same waist size, 30in, for 20 years.
But a combination of having enjoyed a nautical breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner and not taking enough exercise — despite my best intentions, I made it to the gym only once — made my trousers feel uncomfortable for the first time.
So where to start? I don’t normally drink much in the week, but I feel I have to make up for the excesses of my holiday, so I have decided to go on the wagon until the weekend. Admittedly, I kick-started this new regimen at a very jolly 60th birthday party. At least I shed some of the alcohol-induced calories by gyrating around the dance floor.
As for my diet, normally mid-morning means two digestive biscuits, but I am going to change my breakfast to try to curb these hunger pangs. Instead of my usual toast, I plan to have porridge with blueberries and banana to keep me going until lunchtime.
The rest of my diet may need more variety. For the past few days I have cooked the same supper each night: grilled chicken and broccoli — or, for a real dash of colour, carrots with lots of gravy.
I’ve had a stormy on-off love affair with the gym, but I intend to renew it with vigour. Yesterday I was on the cross-trainer by 8am, only leaving after 40 minutes when the sweat was dripping.
If I can keep this up for four mornings a week, I will be delighted. And having to write down my bedtime, I hope, will help me stick to early nights. I would like to get seven hours’ sleep, but I often get distracted by chores or TV and so don’t get into bed till the small hours. I trust the lack of booze will mean no middle-aged male calls to the WC in the early hours.
I have the focus: I want to shed the middle-age midriff completely. So the daily gym routine is going to become a permanent feature. Bread only at weekends
As for my stress-reducing measures — I had a go with five minutes’ mindfulness, but then the telephone rang and my cat marched in demanding attention.
I’m afraid I don’t think it is going to be for me. I need to relax as much as the next person, but my idea of total relaxation is burying myself in a book or watching another episode of The Crown.
Now I will no longer do them with a large glass of wine. A chamomile tea is the new fix.
Wish me luck.
If you missed the Wellness Journal in Saturday’s Daily Mail, simply go to dailymail. co.uk/wellnessjournal from where you can print off your copy.
Alternatively, send an A4 addressed envelope with affixed stamps to the value of £1.40 to the address below and we will post you a copy.
Claims must be received no later than Sunday, September 15, 2019, and you will receive your journal within 14 working days.
Items are subject to availability and will be dispatched while stocks last (stamped-addressed envelopes will not be returned if the journal is out of stock). Strictly one application per household.
Daily Mail Wellness Journal, 42 Phoenix Court, Hawkins Road, Colchester, CO2 8JY
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