Have you made any New Year’s resolutions yet? Here are some tried and true ideas that I’ve implemented into my life to help me be happier, healthier, and more fulfilled in 2022. 

You can try a keto diet 

Public Health England’s 2021 survey revealed that almost half the population gained around half a stone, or just over three kilograms during the pandemic.

How can you get rid of all those Covid kilos! I gained some weight over the autumn, moving into the obese category. (My BMI was 24, for the longest time, but now it is 25,).

I tried a new approach to slim down for Christmas: a short-term ‘keto’ diet — where you cut your consumption of carbs to less than 50g a day, while eating plenty of healthy fats, such as olive oil, oily fish and nuts, plus lots of veg. The Fast 800 Keto is based on this approach.

Public Health England’s 2021 survey revealed that almost half the population gained around half a stone, or just over three kilograms during the pandemic.

Reduce your carb intake to a minimum. Your body converts fat stored in your liver into ketones that it uses for fuel.

This is because ketones can suppress hunger. According to a Norwegian study, ketones suppress hunger.

During the 12-day run up to Christmas, I stuck to my low-calorie keto diet and lost 9 lb (4 kg) — reducing my BMI to 24 and taking an inch off my waist. 

Brighter years ahead

The future is bright and there are plenty of reasons to be hopeful. Not only do we, finally, have Covid on the run, but the resulting developments in vaccine technology will also improve our ability to fight other infectious diseases, and even boost our immune system’s ability to fight cancers.

Our greater knowledge of the immune system should lead to significant improvements in allergy treatment. In a few months’ time, parents who have children with severe peanut allergies will, for the first time, be able to access a life-changing new drug, called Palforzia, free on the NHS.

The drug dampens the body’s reaction to peanuts, which, in turn, reduces the risk that the child will have a severe, even fatal, reaction if accidentally exposed. This is great news.

 

Set exercise alarms 

If, like me, you struggle to find the time and inclination for lengthy workouts, why not try ‘exercise snacking’? Instead of spending endless hours in the gym, try adding more activity to your day.

A study published in the Journal Of Applied Physiology found that if you are able to get out of your chair once every thirty minutes and perform a few squats (or a brisk walking, some press-ups, or just walk up the stairs a few time each day), it can have a significant impact on your physical health.

My computer is a large part of my time, so every thirty minutes I set an alarm to remind myself to walk.

My daily exercise routine includes a few 20-minute walks, as well as The 7 Minute Workout. It’s a free app that combines resistance exercises (to build muscle) with an aerobic workout (to strengthen the lungs) and involves a mix of activities, such as press-ups, lunges and tricep dips. 

Rewire your brain 

It is possible to see the positive side of things. A 2019 Boston University School of Medicine study found that optimists live on average seven years longer than pessimistic ones. And they are more likely to achieve ‘exceptional longevity’, i.e. They can live to the age of 85 and beyond.

A University of Illinois study found that people who are optimistic tend to have better sleep quality. It could also be that people who are optimistic look for solutions to their problems rather than worrying about them, which can disrupt sleep.

To cultivate an optimistic outlook, you can stop listening to yourself and focus instead on the positive things in your life. It is possible to rewire your brain by doing this, as evidenced by research.

Buy Pot Plants

If you love the great outdoors, you’ll know that walking in a wood or field makes you feel calmer. A 2019 study at Exeter University, involving more than 20,000 people, found those who spend at least two hours a week in nature reported better physical and mental health than those who don’t.

Besides reducing stress and blood pressure, looking at trees can also improve your mood. Plants produce phytoncides which are chemicals that boost the immune system.

If you can’t get outside very often, I recommend bringing nature into your home by buying pot plants. They can soothe the soul and remove harmful toxins.

If you can’t get outside very often, I recommend bringing nature into your home by buying pot plants

If you can’t get outside very often, I recommend bringing nature into your home by buying pot plants

STOP LOOOKING

You can look and feel younger if you don’t slouch like I am. Slouching will make you look older and cause lower back pain.

You can improve your posture by changing how you sit. Avoid leaning on your chair’s back. You might consider buying a chair without a back. These chairs can make the posture muscles of your spine work more difficult.

Another option is to buy a posture belt, which is made up of several straps that cross your shoulders and connect at the end with a belt.

It digs into my shoulders when I slouch and prompts me to get them up. 

Sing it! 

You can sing with a chorus or solo in the shower. There is plenty of evidence to show that singing a song can lower stress levels, increase blood pressure, and reduce your chronic pain.

Singing gives us a ‘high’ because it boosts levels of endocannabinoids, cannabis-like chemicals that your body naturally produces.

A study that I conducted at Nottingham University, 2018, showed singing produces a 48% increase in this chemical. For me, it works. 

Eliminate junk food 

Junk food can be bad for your brain and waistline. This causes chronic inflammation that can contribute to both heart disease and cancer as well depression, anxiety, and possibly memory loss.

Ohio State University published a study in October that showed rats given junk food for 4 weeks caused an inflammation in their brains, and early signs of memory loss.

Junk food is bad for our waistlines and our brains. It leads to chronic inflammation, which contributes to heart disease and cancer, and also to depression, anxiety and, potentially, memory loss

Junk food can be bad for your brain and waistline. This causes chronic inflammation that can contribute to both heart disease and cancer as well depression, anxiety, and possibly memory loss.

Standing on one leg 

Balance is vital, especially as we get older. The second leading cause of accidental deaths worldwide is falling, right after traffic accidents. My balance is improved by standing straight up while brushing my teeth. After 30 seconds on my left foot, I move to my right leg and continue the process.

This also means that I brush my teeth well! 

More hugging 

One of the things I’ve found hard about the past two years is that I have become much more wary about hugging friends and family. There is a fear that I may give my mom Covid if I hug my mother. This is unlikely, since we’re both triple-jabbed. We also don’t go to bars and clubs very often.

But I also know how a long, loving hug can be beneficial for both of us. Studies show regular 20-second hugs can reduce stress and lower blood pressure, while also boosting levels of the ‘cuddle hormone’, oxytocin.

A 2019 study found cuddling a dog also boosts oxytocin, in the owner — and in the dog.