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BEAT WINTER BLOAT | FIGHT FESTIVE ANXIETY | GET GREAT GUNS JASMINE HEMSLEY EXCLUSIVE RECIPES

THE

DECEMBER 2017 | £3.99

PARTY SEASON!

STRONG, HOT & SEXY

ISSUE

MENTAL HEALTH LAID BARE 23 WOMEN SHARE THEIR EMPOWERING STORIES

127 HEALTHY HACKS TO KEEP YOU ON TRACK UNTIL 2018

STRESS-BUSTING SUPER HERBS

TORCH FAT FAST

‘I’ve learnt to be proud of my body’

SIX TOP-TO-TOE WORKOUTS

CRAZY IN LOVE

WHEN ROMANCE BECOMES AN ADDICTION WH BEAUTY AWARDS WINNERS REVEALED

GYM TO BAR BRAIDS

WHATEVER YOUR HAIR TYPE… SORTED!

Oh golly, it’s Mollie!


Claire Sanderson / Editor Follow me on Instagram @ClaireSanderson

This month I’m...

Hanging out with… Gemma Atkinson. The Strictly star joined me on a panel at Women’s Health’s first Fit Night Out. Her sensible approach to training was refreshing and inspiring.

Lusting after... These Fallen Star hoop earrings and matching necklace from trendy jewellery brand Sophie Lis.

Working out in… LNDR. I can’t get enough of this Londonbased brand. The leggings are so flattering – available at activeinstyle.com.

PHOTOGRAPHY: IAN HARRISON

A

s 2017 draws to a close, I’m thrilled – and flabbergasted in all honesty – with what the last 12 months has brought. If ever there was proof that anything is possible when you put your mind to it, you’ll find it right here: being editor of Women’s Health has been my dream job since it launched in spring 2012 and, during late nights slogging away at other publications, I’d tell colleagues that one day I’d be at the helm of the team that creates the UK’s best health magazine. I’m not entirely sure I believed those words myself at the time, but that dream has come true. I take the responsibility of heading up this brand very seriously. Your wellness is a serious topic and I ensure every feature has been thoroughly researched and that we present balanced arguments and theories. It’s my absolute priority. We all have ambitions and hopes for our lives, strive to do our best and make the most of what we have but, just as physical health issues can get in the way, our mental health can create hurdles, too. My life, like most, isn’t easy; it’s tough, a constant challenge – but I know I’m lucky to have it, just as I’m lucky to finally know how to manage my physical and mental health. It isn’t this way

for everyone. As part of our Mind issue, we speak to 22 inspiring women on pages 108 to 117 about their experiences of mental illness. You’ll find my own story in there, too. It’s vital that we start talking more openly about mental health conditions, without stigma, shame or judgement. It isn’t a sign of weakness – it’s an issue that affects millions of us and is growing all the time, something we all need to work to understand in order to support and heal. Preserving your mental health could be anything from ensuring you take a break from your phone every evening, to practising mindfulness, to seeking medical help when things begin to affect your everyday life and your relationships. As we wrap up 2017, there’s plenty of inspiration on these 156 pages. Expert advice on how to navigate festive anxiety, do-anywhere workouts to carry with you wherever Christmas may take you, and healthy recipes to see you into next year. And, lest I forget, a brilliant interview with Strictly star Mollie King. Nothing embodies the build-up to Christmas more to me than watching Strictly. I’m a mega fan. Finally, my dedicated team and I want to thank you. Without you, Women’s Health wouldn’t exist. You inspire us every day with your determination to reach your optimum, your honesty in telling us exactly what you think, and the support you show us at WH live events such as Fit Night Out, along with some of the loveliest comments on our social posts. This is the supportive, inclusive, motivational community that Women’s Health is all about. Let’s make next year our best yet. Eat well, train safe, be positive – and fingers crossed the rest will follow. Until 2018…

NEVER MISS AN ISSUE Get WH delivered direct to your door every month or choose to download it to your mobile or tablet. Go to p150 for our latest subscription offer.

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Managing Director, Rodale Alun Williams

Editor Claire Sanderson Acting Deputy Editor Victoria Joy

Creative Director Adam Gerrard

Workflow Director Kris Pace

Managing Editor/ Picture Editor Emily Murphy

WORDS Features Editor Nikki Osman

Health & Beauty Editor Amelia Jean Jones

Chief Sub Editor Victoria Rudland

Features Writer Roisín Dervish-O’Kane

Deputy Chief Sub Editor James Brown

Editorial Assistant/Junior Writer Florence Mitchell

VISUALS Deputy Art Editor Nathalie Gimson

Designer George Hilton

FASHION Fashion Director Charlie Lambros

DIGITAL

Fashion Assistant Polly Bartlett

Deputy Digital Editor Francesca Menato

Digital Editor Amy Hopkinson

THE FACES FROM THE ISSUE

THE SKINCARE EXPERT

THE PSYCHOLOGIST

THE TRAINER

Dermatologist Dr Anjali Mahto joins our judging panel for the WH Beauty Awards on p119

On p108, psychologist Niyc Pidgeon speaks candidly as part of our mental heath special

Rob Smyth, former rugby player and founder of fitness studio UN1T, helps you fight festive flab on p73

Favourite winter break? Snowboarding in France or Austria – I caught the bug in my twenties. Relaxation technique? I do some HIIT or yoga. They may sound like opposite ends of the spectrum, but working out both body and mind totally calms me.

Positive mantra? ‘Alone we have power, together we’re a force.’ Festive foods? I love the tangerine and the apple at the bottom of my Christmas stocking. But I steer clear of eggnog – what even is that?!

My sports training taught me… To be a team player and work for the person next to you as much as yourself. Confidence booster? You can only have one thought at any given time – so make sure it’s positive.

WITH THANKS TO Co-conspirators: Olivia Godon, Alice Head, Natalie Lukaitis, Josie Phillipps, Alice Priestley, Jodie Shepherd

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CLIENT DIVISION Managing Director, Health and Fitness Alun Williams Managing Director, Beauty Jacqui Cave Managing Director, Fashion and Luxury Jacqueline Euwe Director of Sport and Health Andrea Sullivan Director of Travel Denise Degroot Director of Motors Jim Chaudry Client Director, Personal Finance Jacquie Duckworth Client Direct Director, Health and Sport Natasha Bailey Client Direct Director, Fashion and Beauty Emma Barnes AGENCY DIVISION Chief Agency Officer Jane Wolfson Agency Director, Print Vanessa Wiles (0207 339 4405) Head of Business Management Lucy Porter (0207 439 5276) Luxury Business Manager Rosalie Atkinson-Willes (0207 439 5615) Hearst Direct Manager, Classified Lucy Penny (0203 728 6247) CONSUMER SALES AND MARKETING Marketing and Circulation Director Reid Holland Head of Consumer Sales and Marketing Matt Blaize-Smith Head of Subscriptions Marketing Justine Boucher Subscriptions Marketing Manager Vicky Chandler Subscriptions Marketing Executive Victoria Greenwood Digital Marketing Director Seema Kumari COMMUNICATIONS Director of Communications Lisa Quinn Head of PR Fay Jennings Journalist enquiries media@hearst.co.uk

SHOWS AND EVENTS Director of Events and Sponsorship, Hearst Live Victoria Archbold Events Executive, Hearst Live Jenni Whale (0207 312 4190) PRODUCTION Production Manager Roger Bilsland Ad Production Controller Jonathan Stuart (0207 439 5290) Chief Operating Officer Claire Blunt HR Director Surinder Simmons Acting Head of Editorial Operations Sophie Wilkinson Chief Digital Officer Paul Cassar Chief Operations Director Clare Gorman Director, Hearst Brand Services Judith Secombe Hearst Rodale Limited Joint Board of Directors President and CEO, Hearst Magazines UK James Wildman Executive Vice President, General Counsel, Chief Administrative Officer Paul McGinley Rodale International Rodale Inc, 33 East Minor Street, Emmaus, Pennsylvania 18098, USA Executive Director, Business Development and Global Licensing Kevin LaBonge Director, Business Development and Global Licensing Angela Kim Director, Global Marketing Tara Swansen Global Development and Marketing Coordinator Erica Mazzucato Editorial Director, Men’s Health, Women’s Health and Runner’s World Laura Ongaro Editorial Director, Prevention, Runner’s World, Bicycling and Books Veronika Taylor Associate Editor Samantha Quisgard International Editorial and Content Coordinator Natanya van Heerden

Women’s Health is published in the UK by Hearst-Rodale Limited, a joint venture by Hearst Magazines UK, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Hearst Corporation, and Rodale International, a division of Rodale Inc. Women’s Health is a trademark of, and is used under licence from, Rodale Inc. Hearst Rodale Ltd, 72 Broadwick Street, London W1F 9EP. Company number: 00519122. Editorial team tel: 020 7339 4466. Women’s Health (ISSN 2049-2243). Copyright © 2017. All rights reserved. Women’s Health is printed and bound by Southernprint Ltd. 17-21 Factory Road, Upton Ind. Estate, Poole, Dorset BH16 5SN. Distribution by Comag. Published 11 times a year. Conditions apply. Women’s Health does not consider unsolicited material for publication and will not return it if submitted. Hearst Magazines Environmental Statement All paper used to make this magazine is from sustainable sources in Scandinavia and we encourage our suppliers to join an accredited green scheme. Magazines are now fully recyclable. By recycling, you can reduce waste and add to the 5.5 million tonnes of paper recycled by the UK paper industry each year. Before you recycle your magazine, ensure you remove all plastic wrapping, free gifts and samples. If you are unable to join a recycling scheme, why not pass your magazine on to a local hospital or charity? Women’s Health is a member of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (which regulates the UK’s magazine and newspaper industry). We abide by the Editors’ Code of Practice and are committed to upholding the highest standards of journalism. If you think that we have not met those standards and want to make a complaint, please contact complaints@hearst.co.uk or visit hearst.co. uk/hearst-magazines-uk-complaints-procedure. If we are unable to resolve your complaint, or if you would like more information about IPSO or the Editors’ Code, contact IPSO on 0300 123 2220 or visit ipso.co.uk

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INTERVIEWS: FLORENCE MITCHELL

Chief Brand Officer, Luxury, Beauty and Health Duncan Chater Executive Assistant to Chief Brand Officer and Managing Director, Rodale Natasha Mann Head of Marketing Jane Shackleton


MOLLIE KING COVER PHOTOGRAPHY: DANIEL NADEL. SET BUILD: EMMA WINTER. HAIR: AARON CARLO AT FRANK AGENCY. MAKE-UP: CELENA HANCOCK USING BOBBI BROWN. STYLING: CHARLIE LAMBROS. MOLLIE WEARS: (ON THE COVER) BIKINI TOP, ARABELLA LONDON; BOTTOMS, BUFFALO AT SWIMWEAR365.CO.UK. (ON THIS PAGE AND THE COLLECTOR’S EDITION) CROP TOP, BERSHKA; BOTTOMS, KIINI; SHOES, OFFICE; CUFFS, GEORG JENSEN; BANGLES, NEW LOOK. JESINTA FRANKLIN COVER PHOTOGRAPHY: RICHARD FREEMAN

December 2017

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Mollie King The Saturdays star and Strictly contender on her worst vices, being a workaholic and what she’d most like to change about her body

KNOW HOW 19 IF YOU DO ONE THING THIS MONTH... 20 WELL WORTH IT? Sorting the science from the bull 22 ASK ANYTHING Are spin classes bad for your back? 25 FOOD FOR THOUGHT Can you eat away a hangover? 27 TECHNIQUE SCHOOL It’s all about the tricep dip 29 DOES IT ACTUALLY WORK? Transcendental meditation 31 FIT KIT HERO The ultimate high-tech jacket 33 SKIN CLINIC Dr Johanna Ward 34 WHAT HAPPENS WHEN... ...you binge at Christmas? 37 ALICE LIVEING ON… Deadlift variations

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December 2017

EAT SMART

GOOD LOOKS

47 BRAIN FOOD Can you really eat yourself smart? The science says yes

89 DO THE TWIST Pretty party braids that’ll take you from gym to bar

52 MEET THE SUPER HERBS Oh, you haven’t heard of adaptogens? Well, listen up

96 WH TESTS We trial the best of the new lash boosters

55 FOUR WAYS WITH… Up your quinoa game

98 PARTY FEET Still wearing stilettos to your Christmas parties? Sigh. When will you learn?

59 THE CALORIE CUT How to carve the fat from your Boxing Day pie

101 STYLISH SANTA Our ultimate Christmas gift guide – for when they (or you) have been very, very good

STRONG MIND 63 FRENZY ALL THE WAY Sick of all things Santa? Here’s how to survive December 68 HAVE A BAWL The science of sobbing. Why it’s good to let it all out

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107 #WHSTYLESPY Steal the best looks from Insta

FEATURES

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108 STRENGTH IN NUMBERS 23 inspirational women on their battles with mental health

BEST BODY

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119 WH BEAUTY AWARDS The experts have chosen – we bring you the beauty A-list

73 CHRISTMAS FITNESS Think you can’t maintain your goals over the holiday season? Think again

132 WINTER WELLNESS Jasmine Hemsley shares her favourite Ayurvedic recipes from her brand new book

80 BRAIN TRAINING Exercise that boosts your mind as well as your body

138 HOOKED ON A FEELING Are you addicted to love?

83 FAT BURNER’S DIARY How one reader lost 5½st and rebuilt her self-esteem

147 WELL TRAVELLED Relaxing breaks to recharge body and mind

84 ONE-PIECE WORKOUT Push yourself with parallettes 87 WELLTH OF KNOWLEDGE The feel-good secrets of Paola Di Lanzo

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154 MY WEEK ON A PLATE PilatesPT founder Hollie Grant

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T H E H E A LT H N E WS TO U S E N OW THE

ISSUE

IF YOU DO ONE THING THIS MONTH…

WORDS: FLORENCE MITCHELL. ILLUSTRATION: PETER CROWTHER

Have a word with yourself Promise you’ll give us a chance before you roll your eyes and turn the page – it’s worth it, we swear. A study by Michigan State University has found that speaking to yourself in the third person can help control your emotional responses to negative feelings. Monitoring blood flow in the brain, researchers observed less cognitive activity when a participant – let’s call her Cathy – talked about negative emotions in the third person (‘why does Cathy feel so upset?’) compared with traditional self-reflection (‘why do I feel so upset?’). Their findings suggest that referring to yourself in the third person allows you to assess problems from a more detached perspective, just like giving advice to a friend. We’re not saying it won’t feel mega weird to begin with – but science says it’s worth a try, which is good enough for, well, Cathy. Figure of fun

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Well worth it? Want to know which bandwagons to jump on this month – and the ones you should swerve at all costs? Let us point you in the right direction...

ALL OVER IT… Eating LEAFY GREENS to counter cognitive ageing Those kale smoothies and green eggs are doing more than putting your dishwasher through its paces – they’re keeping your mind young, too. Lutein, a nutrient found in leafy greens like spinach and kale, as well as avocados and eggs, is key to keeping your cognitive abilities sharp as you age. Researchers* found study participants with higher lutein levels had neural responses more in line with those younger than them than with their peers. Be sure to inform the next person who brunch-shames you for spending as much on eggs florentine as you do on rent.

Chilling out for MORE SEX That take-no-prisoners attitude might work in the boardroom, but new research suggests it could be to blame for a drought in the bedroom. A team from Florida State University studied the sex lives of heterosexual couples and found that when women had ‘easy-going’ attitudes and were generally ‘curious about life’, the couple were likely to enjoy sex more often. The bloke’s personality, however, had little effect on the findings. Good to know that a little less stress can lead to a lot more yes.

THE JURY’S OUT… Getting a cab to SAVE TIME You could get the bus, but there’s always a taxi. Forgot to buy food? Deliveroo will do. Guilt be gone because, according to recent research*, people who use time-saving services like taking a cab, getting dinner delivered or hiring a cleaner are generally happier than those who don’t. But before you outsource your entire to-do list, spend too much money on time-saving tasks and your happiness levels are likely to drop, thanks to feelings of lost control. Some life admin you’ll just have to grin and bear.

LIKE, DON’T BOTHER… Playing MIND GAMES to sharpen your brain Warning: topping up the in-laws’ Christmas stockings with a sudoku book, while an easy win for you, is unlikely to deliver any brain gains. Testing your mental mettle with mind games doesn’t actually improve cognitive function in the way that researchers first thought, according to a new report from the Global Council on Brain Health. It turns out that learning a skill, playing an instrument or gardening are much more effective at keeping those cogs turning. Now to perfect wrapping a trowel.

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WORDS: FLORENCE MITCHELL. PHOTOGRAPHY: GETTY IMAGES; ALAMY. *SOURCES: UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS; PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES

Sweating daily for BETTER BONES Going hard during the week so you and your sweat glands can take it easy at weekends? We hear you, but hear this: putting your feet up for a whole rest day could be bad for your bones. Exercising daily has been linked with better bone health in women, report researchers from the University of Exeter. No need to panic – the study showed that one or two minutes of high-intensity exercise is all it takes to reap the skeletal rewards. Channelling Usain Bolt while you dash for the bus should do the trick.


Hop to it

THE BIG QUESTION Is it really trickier to get back in shape after having kids? When your body creates and carries an entire human, it’s obviously going to go through some serious changes. But does that mean your figure is a whole different ball game for good? According to Sarah Lindsay, former Olympian and founder of Roar Fitness (roarfitness.com), getting lean isn’t more challenging post-pregnancy than before and, if you’re breastfeeding, you can burn through an extra 300-500 calories per day. ‘Just after giving birth, your oestrogen levels are low, so you naturally lose more weight,’ says Lindsay. ‘But once you’ve stopped breastfeeding, levels will return to normal.’ If you were in good shape before your pregnancy – and maintained a pregnancyfriendly fitness regime – your body is well prepped to return to form. Most women find the biggest difference is that it’s not as easy to make time for workouts or to channel the energy needed to exercise. Other inevitable lifestyle changes can also hinder your gains. If you’re not sleeping as much, for example, your metabolism will be slower. Lindsay’s advice? Chill out and do what you can when you can. More importantly, don’t worry about what others are doing. Chest press can wait – time spent enjoying your children can’t.

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‘ASKING FOR A FRIEND’

I’m taller than my boyfriend. How can I help him get over it? Spend five minutes swiping through potential suitors on Bumble and it’s quite clear that using height to determine the measure of a man has gone too far. But you don’t need us to tell you that dating app cache doesn’t always translate to IRL strengths. Still, body ideals and the stresses of falling short exist for both sexes, so be respectful of that – don’t just tell your fella to ‘man up’. We’re not advocating pandering here, but perhaps try to avoid airing amorous thoughts about the Peter Crouches and Dwayne Johnsons of this world. Praising the likes of Mark Wahlberg and Cillian Murphy (5ft 8in and 5ft 9in respectively) might be more aligned with your cause. But really, the best path is not to make a big deal out of it. So what if he can’t reach the top shelf at Tesco? He’s your guy for other reasons, so compliment him on those, and hopefully he’ll get the picture, too.

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WORDS: ROISÍN DERVISH-O’KANE; FLORENCE MITCHELL. PHOTOGRAPHY: ALAMY *SOURCE: NEUROPSYCHOBIOLOGY

Can blue light make winter feel less depressing?

Yes, actually – or so suggests new research. In one study, Danish scientists noted that starting the day with bright bluish-white light can alleviate depression as effectively as prescription medication. A separate study* found that people hospitalised with depression recovered quicker if their room was sunny. Serious results – so what’s going on? ‘Internal clocks run slightly longer than 24 hours and require a daily dose of blue morning light to help them sync up with our 24-hour environment,’ explains Dr Vikki Revell from the University of Surrey. ‘In winter, without natural blue light, your body clock is pushed back, so a lot of people have trouble getting up and struggle with a lower mood than usual.’ The good news? When it’s absent naturally, you can still benefit from a wash of blue light via artificial means, such as Lumie’s new, portable Vitamin L SAD light (£75, lumie. com). If good lighting can help with hospital-grade mental illness, just imagine its impact on your morning zombie vibes.

Beat the blues

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Spin classes leave my back sore. Are they bad for you? Nope – but it might be worth thinking about your technique. ‘Riding in the traditional cycling position – leaning forward while sitting down – puts pressure on your lumbar spine,’ says Naomi White, instructor at London’s Boom Cycle. ‘Ask your instructor to raise the seat to your hip height so you don’t hyperextend your back to reach the handlebars.’ Speaking of which, the bars should be just above seat height and a forearm’s length away from

your body (so your fingertips are just touching the edge of the bars). Tight muscles in your lower back can lead to pain, too. ‘Hip flexors are susceptible to shortening and tightening if you sit at a desk all day – and riding has the same effect,’ says White. The fix? Stretch properly before and after – and some lowintensity, flexibility-enhancing exercise elsewhere in your sched won’t hurt. Pushing hard at the expense of form (straight arms, engaged core, chest forward) is a mug’s game: if you’re so exhausted that you’re all rounded back and hunched shoulders, ease up.

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THE EXPERT Laura Tilt, registered dietitian and founder of Tilt Nutrition (tiltnutrition.co.uk)

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

YOUR POST-PARTY NUTRITION GUIDE

Can I eat away a hangover with healthy food?

BEFORE BED Marmite on toast will replenish B vitamins and raise your blood sugar, and a pint of water is non-negotiable.

Cursing last night’s G&Ts, margaritas and the inevitable sambuca shots? Dietitian Laura Tilt may be able to help limit the damage

AS TOLD TO NIKKI OSMAN. PHOTOGRAPHY: GETTY IMAGES

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hat rhymes with December? Hangover. Well, sort of – give or take a bit of poetic licence. But, when you wake up with a cracker crown tangled in your hair and a hazy recollection of dancing on the bar Coyote Ugly-style, is the classic bacon butty really the best hangover cure on offer? Hangovers are multi-faceted; they’re mainly caused by toxic acetaldehyde, which is a byproduct of alcohol breakdown. It’s down to your liver to turn acetaldehyde into acetate – a less toxic compound – but this takes an hour per unit. Blame the magic combo of acetaldehyde, alcohol chemicals, dehydration and a lack of sleep that leaves you feeling distinctly un-magic. So what can you do? First, tackle the dehydration. It’s no fluke that your toilet trips increase with the number of espresso martinis you drink – alcohol blocks vasopressin, the hormone that helps you retain water. Drinking plenty of fluids the morning after goes without saying, but sip, rather than gulp, to avoid aggravating nausea. Water is fine, but isotonic sports drinks are better, as the electrolytes and sugars will replenish your fluids more effectively. If you do feel nauseous, try a ginger citrus tea. A 2010 study from Toho University, Japan, found that a liquid concoction of citrus peel, ginger and brown sugar relieves alcoholinduced nausea and vomiting – though it’s worth noting that the participants were given the remedy before boozing. That’s the sore head and dodgy stomach dealt with, but drink also lowers blood sugar, which can leave you feeling shaky and lethargic. If you’re up to solids, eggs are a top choice – they contain cysteine, an amino acid that helps your liver metabolise acetaldehyde. Scramble over toast to raise blood glucose levels.

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You may have noticed no mention of greasy fry-ups. Why not? Because there’s no convincing evidence to suggest fat does anything to help a hangover. According to the Alcohol Hangover Research Group, any positive effect is more likely to be garnered from the carbs in bread and beans, served alongside your rashers and sausages – which help increase blood sugar back to healthy levels. When it comes to fat, try eating it before you drink, as it reduces the rate at which alcohol enters the bloodstream – suddenly, a bacon bap becomes your pre-game preference. Win. Really, though, the only genuine way to treat a hangover is prevention, so aim to alternate every alcoholic drink with water. You’ll be glad you did.

BREAKFAST Drink Berocca (or similar) for more B vitamins and hydration and eat porridge, as the oats contain cysteine, which helps break down alcohol.

LUNCH Eggs on toast with avocado. Eggs also contain cysteine, and the fats in avocado are anti-inflammatory. Plus, the flesh will boost, yep, B vitamins.

DINNER Leafy green veg and the antiinflammatory fats in salmon may slow prostaglandin production – hormones linked with hangover severity.

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AMP UP THE BURN

2 Keep your head in line with your spine – don’t let it drop

Master the basics, then go next-level with these killer upgrades

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4

5

Relax your shoulders and keep your back straight

Keep your arms shoulder-width apart and point your fingers forwards

Lower until your elbows are at 90°, then push back up

ONE-LEGGED TRICEP DIP Get into your starting position, then, engaging your core, raise your left leg off the ground. Do eight reps then repeat on the other leg. Oof.

1 Position your legs straight out in front of you and your bum close to the bench

TECHNIQUE SCHOOL

Tricep dip WORDS: MICHELLE OCTOBER. PHOTOGRAPHY: IGOR POLZENHAGEN

Dip it low, bring it up slow… Master this move for enviable arms. Just add one sleeveless dress

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here’s no getting around it – you can curl and curl until your biceps make you look like the love child of Jessica Biel and the Hulk, but for seriously lean arm muscles, you need to show your triceps a little love. For a sculpted, toned look – no flexing necessary – look no further than the tricep dip. Because the muscles remain contracted throughout the entire move, it’s one of the most effective exercises around. ‘This is a multi-joint move, so your shoulder and back muscles will also be activated,’ explains biokineticist Angie Lander. Winner.

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Plus, Lander adds, ‘it’s a body weight exercise, which means the load you need to lift is your own weight’. It also means that you can do tricep dips anywhere – use the side of your bed or the back of a chair – which is perfect if your festive plans leave you without access to a gym (while you’re at it, see page 73 for more on-the-go seasonal workout ideas). The secret to success is to make sure each rep is slow and controlled for total muscle activation.

SIGNS YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG You’re not going low enough When your elbows are at 90°, that’s a full dip. But go any further and you’ll risk injury. You’re rounding your chest Keep your chest pushed up and open. Rounding your chest or shoulders is a sign you’re leaning too far forward. You’re going too fast Going too quickly prevents your muscles being activated. If you’re not feeling it through your chest and triceps, then it’s not working.

STABILITY BALL DIPS This time, rest your heels on top of a stability ball. Keep your legs straight and – using your core to stabilise – dip as normal. Do eight to 10 reps. PARALLEL-BAR DIPS Hoist yourself up on to parallel bars, making sure you keep your shoulders down, core tight and knees bent. Lower yourself until your arms are at 90°, then push back up. This one is tough, so aim for five reps. A resistance band under your heels (hold each end in your hands as you grip the bars) adds an extra burn.

AVOID IF… You have any shoulder or wrist injuries.

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THE GUINEA PIG Roisín Dervish-O’Kane, WH’s Features Writer

DOES IT WORK IN REAL LIFE?

Transcendental meditation It’s sitting silently, but not as you know it. We task a WH staffer to learn the mysterious method some of the world’s most creative minds swear by

PHOTOGRAPHY: GETTY IMAGES. *SOURCE: INTELLIGENCE

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he first rule of transcendental meditation is that you can’t talk about transcendental meditation. What I can tell you is that it’s 3pm on a Monday and I’m in the basement of a London clinic, silently repeating a mantra to myself. I’m not allowed to divulge this mantra, such is the mysterious world of TM. Brought to the West from India in the late 1950s by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, TM claims to improve your physical, emotional and spiritual life, helping you become ‘the sort of person you’ve always wanted to be, but never known how to be’, my teacher David Hughes tells me. Ellen DeGeneres raves about it; Oprah’s a fan, too. So how do you get from sitting on a chair and silently repeating a word you don’t understand for 20 minutes twice a day to superhuman functioning? According to TM advocates, the technique allows the mind to settle down to experience a state of ‘coherence’ wherein different areas of the brain start to work in harmony. One Taiwanese study* found that those who did TM twice daily for six to 12 months improved their cognitive abilities compared with those who spent the same amount of time napping. But why all the mystery? Or is it more a case of exclusivity? You can only be taught TM over four 90-minute sessions, a privilege

for which you can expect to pay £400-£600. As for that silent mantra, it’s a word in Sanskrit rather than a positive phrase or some such – and I’m sworn to secrecy lest TM be ‘diluted’. Suffice to say, I approach TM with a healthy dose of cynicism. But by the end of my first appointment, my mantra is rolling through my mind with ease; by session two I feel able to block out any random thoughts; by three I feel myself sinking into the sofa and my fingers start to tingle. So what’s going on?

‘Slowing your breathing slows muscle activity, and your brainwaves move into the alpha range,’ says Dr Norman Rosenthal, a psychiatrist who’s written two books on TM. ‘This is the reflective, calm range, where your brain starts working collaboratively,’ he adds. Hence the promise of big ideas. It’s relaxing, yes, but you’re unlikely to have a bright idea in that 20-minute window; the impact lies in the effects of regular practice. A month on, I’m still waiting for that light bulb moment. It’s more like a dimmer switch, brightening my mind in ways that I hadn’t anticipated. I’m more decisive; I’m listening to my gut; I’m caring less about the opinions of others. Small fry, perhaps, but to a chronic people-pleaser like me, this is big. True to Hughes’ word, they’re qualities I’ve always aspired to, but that have long eluded me. Whether it’s down to TM or the holiday I took after my final session, I’m not sure. But in lieu of a life poolside, I’ll stick with it.

THE VERDICT Cognitive abilities Quick results Value for money Long-term solution OVERALL SCORE

THE

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Optional thumb holes in the extralong sleeve house thumbs and give a streamlined sleeve shape

Strategically placed stretch mesh inserts at the front, chest and upper back allow for enhanced breathability

FIT KIT HERO

The Aphrodite jacket

WORDS: POLLY BARTLETT. PHOTOGRAPHY: PAVEL DORNAK AT HEARST STUDIOS

It just goes to show that TV presenter and WH fave Amanda Byram is just as pro at creating activewear as she is at looking hawt in it. And we’re calling sell-out on this Aphrodite jacket from her new collection as soon as it hits the shelves. As a fitness fanatic (she runs, boxes, spins and loves a spot of Pilates), Amanda has designed each item in the range using all the tech necessary to do the job while still feeling comfortable – think ergonomic panel shapes, ventilating mesh inserts and performance-wicking nylon. Oh, and did we mention leggings that don’t go see-through when you’re squatting? Gold dust. ‘What better way to identify as a strong, beautiful, kick-ass woman than wearing fantastic athleisure gear?’ Consider your sentiments echoed, Amanda. Jacket, £79, available exclusively at Selfridges

THE MICRO TREND

Feel-good

JEWELLERY For those impossible to buy for (there’s always at least one), these shiny little delights are a fail-safe choice

womenshealthmag.co.uk

CATMEFFAN.COM, £85

MANTRA JEWELLERY, £55

Made from eco-silver, this Wearing your heart on ‘namaste’ necklace will your sleeve is so last year. lighten up dark winter days. Around your neck is so now.

DAISY LONDON X ELLIE GOULDING, £59

MISSOMA LONDON, £165

The singer is helping the WWF fight climate change with this bracelet. We love.

In need of motivation? Amazonite stone is said to boost willpower.

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SKIN CLINIC

Dr Johanna Ward Laying bare the skincare habits of an anti-ageing pro Age: 40 Job: Cosmetic doctor and skin specialist Skin issue: Ageing Aim: Radiant skin into my forties and beyond

AM There’s nothing better than a good cleanse to refresh your post-sleep skin. ZO Offects Hydrating Cleanser (£32, zo-skinhealth.co.uk) removes dead skin cells, oil, dirt and pollution, plus it’s rich in hyaluronic acid so doesn’t dry the dermis out.

Next, I use an oil-free broad-spectrum SPF like Image Skincare Prevention+ Daily Matte Moisturizer Oil-Free SPF 32+ (£46, vwskincare.co.uk) because, while I want sun protection, I don’t want to pay for it with a breakout.

True anti-ageing starts at a cellular level, so skin cells need to be nourished from within. Taking ZENii Skin Health and Radiance supplements (£75, zenii.co.uk) with a glass of water tops up my intake of skin-healthy nutrients.

Retinol is a potent tool in my anti-ageing arsenal. I love NeoStrata Skin Active Retinol + NAG Complex (£55, dermacaredirect.co.uk) because the vitamin is dripfed into skin, so it doesn’t cause any irritation when used three times a week.

Once you reach 40, your skin needs nourishing every day to stay looking healthy. I apply ZENii Micronutrient Repair Night Cream (£75, zenii.co.uk) because it uses a kind of retinol that’s gentle enough to use every day to top up a stronger product.

The skin around the eyes is thin so requires special care. SkinCeuticals A.G.E. Eye Complex (£81.90, skinceuticals.co.uk) prevents sugar in the blood damaging the skin’s support structure via glycation. Blueberries help fight dark circles, too.

AS TOLD TO AMELIA JEAN JONES

PM

FOR AN INSTANT SKIN PEP...

I’LL MAKE AN APPOINTMENT FOR...

MY SKIN IMPROVED AFTER...

BEFORE A SPECIAL EVENT...

THE ONE THING I SWEAR BY IS...

I use Murad Age Reform Hydro-Glow Aqua Peel Mask (£40, John Lewis) to replace moisturising hyaluronic acid levels, which deplete with age.

A deep tissue massage. It relaxes my body and mind and is the only thing that helps me forget about my overflowing inbox.

I reduced the amount of sugar I consume. It can trigger breakouts and inflammation and accelerate the natural ageing process.

I have a Hydrafacial (£95, theskinclinic. org.uk). It helps drain excess lymph fluid, which can leave my face looking puffy.

Exercise. It’s hugely beneficial for longterm skin health, so I do weights, yoga and spin every week without fail.

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WHAT HAPPENS WHEN…

Who ate all the pies?

You eat too much? Perhaps the real magic of Christmas is its ability to render rational humans incapable of stopping at just the six mince pies. But what are all those extra mouthfuls actually doing to your body?

FOOD BABY Overindulgence got you looking – and feeling – a bit rounder? The ballooning waistline is likely temporary. ‘The average adult stomach can hold two litres of food but can expand by up to four times its size,’ says Dr Megan Rossi, research associate at King’s College London. ‘Food leaves your stomach after two hours but a big meal can take up to four to move into your small intestine.’

STAND TALL Fight the urge to find the nearest sofa and set up camp. Lying down will put pressure on your stomach and could cause stomach acid to rise up to your oesophagus, triggering heartburn. Try to stay upright until that full feeling has subsided – at least half an hour.

Six roasties deep and you still can’t put the fork down? That’s where leptin comes in. ‘Known as the satiety hormone, leptin is produced by the body’s fat cells and carried by the bloodstream into the brain, where it sends a signal to the hypothalamus that you’re no longer hungry,’ says Dr Rossi. Don’t wait for your waistband to start cutting in – when your brain says stop, listen.

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SICK AND TIRED The reason you’re drowsy before pudding? ‘To aid digestion after a big dinner, blood rushes to the stomach, which can cause fatigue. This should go within two hours,’ says Dr Rossi. The hormones that aid digestion can also influence melatonin (the sleepy hormone) and the happy hormone serotonin.

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DON’T SWEAT You might feel tempted to sweat out those excess calories, but it’s likely to make you feel worse. ‘Fatty foods take a while to break down, so you’ll need to wait longer than usual to exercise after eating,’ warns Dr Rossi. ‘Listen to your body, but I’d suggest sticking to a walk.’ Permission to wander in a winter wonderland.

womenshealthmag.co.uk

WORDS: FLORENCE MITCHELL. PHOTOGRAPHY: GETTY IMAGES FOLLOW MEGAN @THEGUTHEALTHDOCTOR

STOP SIGN


THE EXPERT Alice Liveing, personal trainer at Third Space, London, author and Instagram star (@aliceliveing)

Alice Liveing on…

DEADLIFT VARIATIONS

A pro at lifting? Or scared of a barbell? Third Space PT Alice Liveing on what’s to be gained from switching up your deadlift

F ILLUSTRATIONS: LIZZY THOMAS ILLUSTRATION (LIZZYTHOMAS.COM). PHOTOGRAPHY: BETH CRUTCHFIELD AT HEARST STUDIOS

ew exercise moves come close to the deadlift in terms of what it can offer and how it can work your body, so it’s no surprise that I try to incorporate it into the programmes of nearly every client I work with. Performing deadlifts as part of your regular workouts will strengthen your posterior (glutes and hamstrings), increase core stability, activate your glutes and boost strength and power. The premise of the basic move is a hip hinge, which is a vital part of everyday movement, but it’s incredibly important to make sure

that you’re executing this in the most safe and stable way possible. Always aim for a neutral spine (a flat, straight line from the back of your head all the way down to your bum) and make sure the majority of the movement is coming from the hips moving forwards and backwards while the knees remain soft. As with any new lift, it’s really important to start very light and get used to the pattern of the movements before you think about adding load. If you’re unsure, or something doesn’t feel quite right, ask for help or get someone to film you doing it so you can see where you might be going wrong. Don’t push on regardless.

THE WORKOUT Keep the rep range low with deadlifts and only increase weight if you can maintain form. Aim to do 3-5 reps per set and 4-5 sets, ensuring you take adequate rest between each set. All moves target your back, legs and glutes

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TRAP BAR DEADLIFT Best for: Beginners (a) Step up into the centre of the bar and hold a handle on each side. With a neutral spine and tucked chin, sit back and bend your knees, keeping them in line with ankles. (b) To lift, drive your hips forwards, pushing down through your heels. Pause at the top, then slowly return to the start position.

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TRADITIONAL DEADLIFT Best for: Advanced lifters (a) Stand with your feet hip-width apart, shins touching the bar. Bend down, keeping your spine neutral, until your hands meet the bar. (b) Squeeze your lat muscles and feel the weight in your heels. Keep the tension and, in one movement, pull the bar up and extend your legs. Hold for a second before lowering.

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SUMO DEADLIFT Best for: The mobility-impaired (a) With feet wider than hip-width apart, turn your toes outwards. (b) Get your shins touching the bar before you bend down, engage your lats and pull up to standing in one swift movement. Lower back down, keeping your spine neutral.

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ROMANIAN DEADLIFT Best for: Advanced lifters (a) Hold the bar with it touching your thighs. Feet hip-width apart and toes pointing forwards, keep your knees soft, but don’t bend them. Hinge forward, keeping your chin tucked in and core engaged. (b) Tense your hamstrings and drive back up to the starting position, maintaining a neutral spine.

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From The Saturdays to Saturday night telly, Mollie King talks to Women’s Health about her bum woes, being single and how smoothies helped build that Strictly body WORDS STEPHEN UNWIN

PHOTOGRAPHY DANIEL NADEL STYLING CHARLIE LAMBROS

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in the biggest show on telly, but probably is. From The Saturdays to Saturday night telly, she’s a light entertainment show’s dream, all lithe and camera-ready and crazypopular on social, so much so that Strictly bosses were actually badgering her for ages. ‘Oh, they’ve been asking me for a couple of years, but it was never the right time. But,’ she’s keen to point out, ‘this is professional dancing. Everyone’s like, “Oh, you’ve got so much experience performing,” which of course I do, but I’ve never done anything like this. I’ve never had training. I’ve never been to stage school.’ But let’s look at the positives here. She might come out of the show even fitter than she went in. ‘Fingers crossed!’ (Insert really big laugh.) Back to those hang-ups. Mollie’s got a list longer than all our arms of the bits she doesn’t like and would like to improve or replace. We know, we know, some of us don’t have violins small enough to cope, but she’s not being disingenuous. ‘There are bits that I would like to… okay,

‘I’D LIKE MORE BOOTY BUT I KNOW I’LL ALWAYS HAVE A TOMBOY SHAPE’ whether it’s on the beach or whether it’s by the pool. But I just think, don’t let it hold you back. Just go for it!’ While we’re getting the tea towels printed and you’re cutting and pasting and posting the above to your social feeds, Mollie’s talking me through the days leading up to a cover photo shoot, one where all and sundry get to see you in your bra and pants. ‘I’ve been so busy with Strictly that it really crept up on me. Then I was like, “Oh my gosh, it’s in two days’ time!”’ Mollie never swears, by the way. Not ever. Not even when my own potty mouth gives her carte blanche to do so. ‘So yesterday I got up and panicked and thought, “Sit-ups! I need to do sit-ups.” So I’m in my kitchen and I get my mat out, and my dog was walking around thinking, “What the hell is Mum doing?”’ Talking of Strictly, by the time you’re reading this, Mollie may or may not still be

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pretty much every part of my body I’d like to improve. I would love to do more sport to get fit. I need to work on my obliques to try to nip in my tummy. But I do think you get to a point where you have to accept yourself and say, “This is my figure, and I could work on it, but I’m never going to drastically change it.” I’d like more booty, but I’m always going to have a tomboy shape. I’m never going to be Nicki Minaj.’ I tell her that’s probably for the best. ‘I think it might be, yeah!’ (Laughs.)

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MOLLIE WEARS: (PREVIOUS PAGE) BODYSUIT, VARLEY; SHOES, OFFICE; CUFFS, GEORG JENSEN; BANGLES, NEW LOOK. (OPPOSITE) BIKINI TOP, BILLABONG; BOTTOMS, KIINI; JEWELLERY, AS BEFORE

re you really going to sit there eating a chocolate bar with a side order of popcorn during a Women’s Health interview?’ I ask Mollie King, all dewy of skin and blonde of hair and flat of stomach as I go in for a handful of her sweet ’n’ salty. Mollie laughs, swallows, then laughs some more. We’re in a studio bigger than your average archipelago in London’s King’s Cross, down some alley that, 10 years ago, you probably wouldn’t want to walk down. Some of the crew have been here for hours, building one of the most intricate sets WH has ever attempted – a labyrinth of mirrors upon mirrors divided by mirrors – and we’re somewhere on the scale of calm to carnage. Every now and then, a cute dog with tight curls makes a cameo, because every shoot should have one. And everyone on set has been instructed to wear black because… oh, something to do with light and reflections and physics. Ask Siri. The only one not obliging is Mollie. And the dog. ‘Oh my gosh, I could see it from every. Single. Angle!’ she gasps. The singer’s talking about her bum, or at least I hope she is. There must be a good 10 people watching said bum, from all angles. ‘You try not being self-conscious in that situation,’ she insists. ‘It would be weird if I wasn’t, right?’ Downright crazy. Mollie’s

laughing through all of this, by the way, and her laugh’s bigger than Santa’s, high on proffered sherry. Goofier than most very pretty girls allow themselves to be, her body language is giving me the thumbs up and she does that very clever thing that celebrities do – says nice things about her interviewer, which gets me every time. So I reciprocate, as it’s only polite. ‘So, you’re on the cover of Women’s Health because you’re a good person who looks gorgeous. Discuss.’ That laugh again. Then: ‘Oh my gosh, do you think so? Thank you! But I don’t feel like that at all. Well, the gorgeous thing anyway. I’m just so proud to be on the cover again. I can’t quite believe it.’ [Mollie graced our cover in our first year of publication, 2012]. There now follows Mollie King’s WH cover acceptance speech, in full. ‘I would just like to inspire women to go for it, really go for it. Everyone has hang-ups, but you just have to be proud of how you look and accept who you are, and if I can try to make women feel more confident in themselves, then that’s incredible. Because, trust me, I’ve got things on that cover I’m not happy with. And I think we all do,


MOLLIE KING


MOLLIE WEARS: (THIS PAGE) CROP TOP, BERSHKA; BOTTOMS, KIINI; JEWELLERY, AS BEFORE. (OPPOSITE) SPORTS BRA, PE NATION; BIKINI BOTTOMS, AS BEFORE; SHOES, AS BEFORE

Check our site for Mollie’s exclusive festive workout. Do it daily to keep balanced this season womenshealthmag. co.uk/mollieking


MOLLIE KING

‘But I treat myself to a gorgeous smoothie afterwards – there’s a place right under my gym. And then I’ll go home and have some fish or a nice stir-fry. I tend to rotate the same meals. It’s terrible, isn’t it?’ As vices go, it’s hardly a matter for the police. But there’s more. ‘My real weakness is a curry. I normally have whatever the house curry is, which my friends think is a bit weird. I love the naan and the poppadoms. I could just live on poppadoms! I always just scoop up the curry with them.’ I ask her if she’s ever woken up in the morning with her sheets covered in masala sauce. ‘Well (insert laugh), I tend to eat in the living room. But I’m sure if I ate in bed then that would be the case.’ Then I ask if she’s a party animal, because there’s only so much wholesome you can take on an empty stomach. ‘No, I’m really not. And I’m not a huge drinker. But it means that if I want to have a good time, I can quite quickly get off my…’ And she doesn’t finish this sentence, possibly because her momma taught her better than that, or possibly because she’s never actually been off her… ‘I might have a glass of prosecco or a gin and tonic. I’m

‘I LOVE BEING IN LOVE, BUT I DON’T FEEL LIKE I REALLY NEED SOMEONE’ Mollie’s quite handy with the fitness lingo. She has a personal trainer (Tyrone Brennand) and a Strictly dancing partner (AJ Pritchard). Throw in a penchant for pushing herself to her limits and you’ve got quite the firecracker. ‘I really enjoy working out, and I love that time to just focus on myself – otherwise I’d just be working. I’m a workaholic. I find it hard to switch off. And I’m quite competitive. She’s got a nifty routine worked out. ‘I try to go to the gym at least three times a week – two of those times with Tyrone. I’ll do 10 minutes’ warm-up on the stepper, then a mix of circuits, skipping and boxing. And burpees. I hate burpees. If it wasn’t for Tyrone, there wouldn’t be any burpees! ‘But I am very good at the other stuff. Star jumps, circuits and squats. And a lot of abs, which I dread. But that burn afterwards is worth it. I do get a really tight IT band, though, so I have to do a lot of rolling out.’ See, told you she knows all the right words.

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not really a wine drinker. I just don’t want that red mouth thing that goes with that. That’s just so awful, isn’t it? And do you know what? This is going to sound so lame. I don’t think I’ve ever had a hangover.’ So I tell Mollie that being a pop star is wasted on her. And she kind of agrees. ‘I know. Is that really boring? I’ve felt super tired, but I’ve never had that “I can’t remember what happened” thing.’ You may have noticed that I haven’t yet mentioned David Gandy. You know, probably the most famous male model of the last couple of decades – and Mollie’s ex. I was tempted a thousand times – or at least half a dozen – to bring him up. Something along the lines of, ‘Did going out with a

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supermodel turn you into a nervous wreck?’ But then I decided Mollie’s better than that, and so am I. As crazy as it sounds, none of us is defined by our partner, let alone our exes. It would be a bit like still asking Jen about Brad or Madonna about Guy or Henry VIII about Anne Boleyn. That doesn’t mean Mollie dodges questions about her love life, it’s just that it turns out it’s about as flat as those poppadoms. ‘It’s not very exciting, to be honest. No, it’s not very eventful.’ I ask her if she’s ‘putting it about’. ‘I don’t know,’ she says, perhaps not understanding the question. ‘Maybe I’m not on the lookout. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong!’ Maybe she’s, heaven forbid, utterly content without a boyfriend? ‘Maybe that is the reason. I don’t feel like, “Oh, I need somebody,” but I obviously would love somebody. And I love being in love. I literally love being in love. I’m so romantic. I’m such a girly girl.’ I suggest that perhaps her expectations are too high. ‘Possibly, possibly. I just want that feeling of being so in love. I don’t want to be in one of those couples where you feel like, “Are we really into each other?”’ I broach the 30 thing, which became Mollie’s thing in June. I wonder just where on the scale she sits from ‘fear spiral’ to ‘not giving a rat’s bottom’. She’s veering towards the latter. ‘I watch far too much Sex And The City for that!’ (A whole bunch of naughty laughs here.) ‘And they’re all over 30 and having the time of their lives. I’m like, “Okay, if Carrie Bradshaw can have that lifestyle, I’ve nothing to worry about.” I mean, I definitely want children, 100%, so I feel that’s probably the only thing that I tie into age.’ Mollie’s wholesomeness is off the scale. She’s sunshine, lollipops, the whiskers on those kittens. Her role models are ‘my parents. So cheesy, sorry!’ and she wants to move into fashion, like Victoria Beckham (‘I met her and she was so nice’). Her life is aspirational rather than unachievable, which makes her the quintessential poster girl for our times. ‘Just go out there and love what it is that you’ve got,’ is her parting gift, as her blackedout MPV swishes into view to whisk her off to Elstree Studios for some dancin’. I choose to take her advice, in all the right ways.

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MOLLIE KING

ILLUSTRATIONS: LIZZY THOMAS ILLUSTRATIONS, (LIZZYTHOMAS.COM). SET BUILD: EMMA WINTER. MAKE-UP: CELENA HANCOCK USING BOBBI BROWN. HAIR: AARON CARLO AT FRANK AGENCY. MOLLIE WEARS: BODYSUIT, WOLFORD; JEWELLERY, AS BEFORE; SHOES, AS BEFORE

There’s no heavy lifting required in Ms King’s fit-body regime. Her resistance workout uses zero added weight but gets maximum results. Start with 15 minutes of skipping to warm up the body, then do the circuit all the way through, rest for one minute and repeat three times. Time to lighten up

THE TRAINER Tyrone Brennand (@bethefittest) Personal trainer, yoga instructor and founder of personal training agency Be The Fittest (bethefittest.co.uk)

1. WIDE SUMO SQUAT Do: 15 reps Targets: Glutes, quads (a) Stand with your feet wider than hip-width apart, toes slightly turned out, then squat low, ass to grass, with your heels on the floor and back straight. (b) Press through your heels back to standing, squeezing your glutes at the top of the move. Go fast enough to keep your heart rate up.

2. PRESS-UP Do: 10 reps Targets: Triceps, pecs (a) Assume a high plank with your hands wider than your shoulders. Keeping your bum and abs engaged, bend your elbows, keeping them tucked into your sides as you lower. (b) Push the floor away with your hands to go back to the top of the movement. That’s going to hurt tomorrow.

3. CRUNCH Do: 20 reps Targets: Core, abs (a) Lie flat on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the ground and hands either side of your head. Push the small of your back into the floor to isolate your abs. (b) Roll your shoulders about 10cm off the floor, contracting your abs. Hold for a breath and gently lower to the starting position.

4. SQUAT JUMP Do: 15 reps Targets: Cardio, glutes, hamstrings, quads (a) Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, arms at your sides, then squat until your knees are bent at a 90° angle. (b) Swing your arms overhead and jump as high as you can, landing gently with bent knees and sinking back into a squat to go again.

5. PLANK PRESS-UP Do: 10 reps per arm Targets: Abs, deltoids (a) Start in a forearm plank with your core engaged. Lift your right hand and place the palm on the floor, then repeat with the left to end in a high plank. (b) Reverse the movement to return to your starting forearm plank position. Try to keep your hips still throughout the exercise.

6. LYING DOWN LEG RAISE Do: 15 reps Targets: Hips, core (a) Lie on your back with your hands under your glutes to maintain the natural curve of the spine. Lift your legs to the ceiling, toes pointed. (b) Slowly lower your legs, keeping them straight, and stop at the point when your back starts to arch. That’s one done. Now repeat.

7. GLUTE KICKBACK AND PULSE Do: 20 reps per leg Targets: Glutes, hamstrings (a) Get on your hands and knees, keeping your back flat. Extend your right leg back, with the knee bent and sole of the foot facing upwards. (b) Pulse the leg up and down 10 times, then return the leg to the starting position and repeat on the other side.

8. TRICEP DIP Do: 15 reps Targets: Triceps, biceps (a) Sit on the edge of a bench or step with your legs out straight and feet on the floor. Grip the edge and scoot forward until your bum is in front of the seat. (b) Bend your elbows and lower your hips until your upper arms are parallel to the floor, then push back up and go again.

9. SIT-UP AND TWIST Do: 20 reps Targets: Core, obliques (a) Lie on your back and put your hands either side of your head. Breathe in and engage your core. (b) Slowly lift your upper body off the floor, extend your left arm and twist through your torso to touch the floor next to your right leg. Untwist and repeat on the other side.

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Eat Smart T H E L AT E S T N U T R I T I O N A L K N O W - H O W TO H E L P YO U L O O K A N D F E E L G R E AT

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EAT yourself CLEVER Neuro-nutrition – eating for your brain – is the latest plate-based plan gaining momentum WORDS KATE WILLS

PHOTO MANIPULATION COLIN BEAGLEY

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1

The number of grams of brain mass you lose every year after the age of 20. Don’t worry, though, the average brain weighs around 1.4kg – just make sure to look after what you have left. Now, pass the berries.

W

e all like to think we got the brains in the family. Still bringing up that test mark you got in year 10 French? Oui. Make a point of letting everyone know when you get a question right on University Challenge? Affirmative. But if you feel in need of a boost upstairs, clever cuisine could be key. Eating for the brain – or neuro-nutrition, to give it its proper moniker – is a new area of interest for researchers keen to get to the bottom of the mind/food connection, which is precisely why you’ll be seeing a mountain of books on the subject hit the shelves this winter. Consider this advance notice to start stocking your store cupboard for a supercharged cerebrum.

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DOES MY BRAIN LOOK BIG IN THIS? Neuro-nutrition is a growing field of research that looks into the ways in which food affects how we humans think, feel and age. ‘The brain consumes an immense amount of energy in comparison with the rest of your body – around 25% of total energy expenditure,’ says Dr Caroline Leaf, a cognitive neuroscientist and author of Think & Eat Yourself Smart (£11.99, Baker Books). ‘Therefore, it makes sense that the transfer of energy from the foods you eat to neurons in the brain has a big impact, not only on its function, but on how you behave. Clearly, there are huge implications to this – not only regarding what we feed growing minds in school, but what you put on your plate every day.’

So can you actually eat yourself clever? Let’s talk about fat for a minute, and how good it is as fuel for your brain cells. ‘The brain is your fattiest organ, at around 60% fat,’ says Dr Leaf. ‘Omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs), found in foods like oily fish, kiwis and walnuts, are the building blocks of brain cells and are integral to how fast a signal travels between them.’ It’s why stringing a sentence together becomes difficult when you’re a few days into a low-fat diet. ‘Oily fish is an exceptional source of a particular omega-3 that is critical for brain function – docosahexaenoic acid (DHA),’

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E AT SM A RT Connect four

for optimum brain health. And egg-white omelettes won’t cut it – you need to be eating the yolk as well. ‘Egg yolk is one of the richest sources of choline,’ says Dr Fergusson. ‘As well as being a phospholipid, choline helps produce the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is needed to pass messages from the brain to your nerves and muscles.’

HUNGRY HUNGRY HIPPOCAMPUS

GOOD EGGS adds Dr Leaf. ‘In fact, low levels of DHA have even been linked with depression, premature brain ageing and Alzheimer’s.’ Not only is omega-3 vital to your brain’s health, upping your intake can improve your focus, too. One study* found that school children given an omega-3 supplement performed better at reading and spelling than those who were given a placebo. If you want to stay alert in 4pm meetings, take note: according to Dr Leaf, eating more omega-3-rich foods like herring, salmon and mackerel can boost your attention span within just a few days.

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But brain food goes beyond omega-3s to ‘intelligent fats’ – aka phospholipids. ‘Keeping the brain’s structure in good condition is key to improving memory, cognition, focus and concentration,’ explains food psychologist Dr Christy Fergusson. ‘Phospholipids help to develop the cell walls of neurons so that they can regulate nutrients coming in and waste going out, and also support signal-transmitting chemicals, known as neurotransmitters.’ Sign us up. ‘Lecithin and choline are phospholipids that are found in sunflower seeds, egg yolks and peanuts. Eggs are a particularly good source because they also contain citicoline, which increases blood flow to the brain.’ According to Dr Fergusson, we should be eating between two and six eggs a week

Boost existing brain cells – done. Now to create new ones. Until recently, it was just the stuff of science fiction, but scientists now know that we can create new neurons. And doing so will do more than boost your cognitive function. Producing new neurons can also improve your mood and your memory capacity and hinder the mental decline associated with ageing. ‘There’s a growing body of research indicating that consuming certain foods and avoiding others might allow the brain to stop degenerating and maybe even grow new cells (neurogenesis) as we grow older,’ explains Dr Gary Wenk, neuroscientist and author of Your Brain On Food. ‘There’s some interesting new research into neurogenesis in mice, which suggests that what we eat and when we eat it might be crucial to new neuron growth. In general, it seems that restricting your maximum calorie intake (2,000 a day for women) by 20-30% and practising intermittent fasting (switching between periods of eating and fasting) can encourage neurogenesis. We don’t know exactly why yet, but we think it has to do with ghrelin – the hunger hormone – and how it interacts with the brain.’

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A recent study by Swansea University found that mice injected with ghrelin improved their mental ability by 40% and made 30% more brain cell connections. Don’t start calorie cutting for a brain boost, though – restricting calories by 20% means consuming around 1,600 for a woman. ‘New brain cells can take a few weeks to start working, so people shouldn’t expect fasting to produce immediate effects on their brainpower,’ warns Dr Wenk.

RADICAL THINKING You may feel you’re too young to be worrying about brain ageing, but neuro-nutrition can help future-proof your brain for later life. ‘Anti-inflammatory foods high in flavonoids are crucial to protect the brain from the effects of free radicals and stop cells from dying,’ explains Dr Wenk. ‘Flavonoids protect neurons in the hippocampus, induce blood flow to this area of the brain and also play a role in improvements in numerous cognitive skills, including memory, learning and decisionmaking,’ says Dr Wenk. Look for cinnamon and turmeric, or brightly coloured fruit, like raspberries and blueberries – and (oh, happy day) red wine and dark chocolate are filled with flavonoids too. While you need a wide variety of vitamins and minerals to keep your synapses firing, it’s those magical B vitamins (think B for brain) you need to eat to prevent cognitive decline. A study from the University of Oxford confirmed that folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12 work together to reduce brain atrophy, improve brain function, and dramatically reduce

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shrinkage in the part of the brain most affected by Alzheimer’s. Pork and peanuts are both high in thiamine (vitamin B1), while dark green vegetables like broccoli and spinach are high in folate.

BRAIN DRAIN

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Mind games

BRAIN FUEL Get wise to the food and drink you should be consuming to boost your brainpower

BEST ALLROUNDER: BERRIES Berries contain resveratrol which has been shown to enhance brain connectivity and cognitive function, and can also increase neuroplasticity.

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BEST FOR MEMORY: HOT CHOCOLATE A study at Harvard Medical School found that drinking two cups a day boosted students’ scores on a memory test. Remember that.

BEST FOR A BIG DAY AT WORK: WALNUTS A study by UCLA found that eating just 13g of walnuts a day improves recall, reaction time and ability to learn new tasks. That’s a Waldorf salad for you, then.

BEST FOR WARDING OFF DISEASE: CAFFEINE Harvard research found that one to three cups of coffee a day can reduce your risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. Drink up.

BEST FOR A QUICK FIX: COCONUT OIL Adults with mild cognitive impairment showed significant improvement in memory recall within 90 minutes of consuming coconut oil*. Slick.

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PHOTOGRAPHY: GETTY IMAGES. *SOURCES: NUTRITION AND HEALTH; NEUROBIOLOGY OF AGING

Chowing down on brain fodder is all well and good, but with a growing body of research on brain cell zappers, it’s just as important to think about eats to avoid. ‘A diet that’s high in refined sugar and processed food has been found to damage your memory and capacity for learning,’ says psychologist Dr Jane McCarthy. ‘A recent study found that rats fed fructose syrup showed significant impairment in their cognitive abilities and they struggled to find their way out of a maze.’ And make sure you check those labels carefully. Artificial ingredients – particularly the sweetener aspartame, found in many diet fizzy drinks – can play havoc with your normal brain function. ‘Depression, anxiety and panic attacks are known potential side effects of aspartame consumption,’ says Dr McCarthy. ‘Other additives, such as artificial colourings or E numbers, are also known to cause heightened mood swings, so try to choose foods that are as unprocessed as possible.’ The good news is, even if you’ve spent decades scoffing processed foods and OD-ing on refined sugar, according to Dr Wenk, it’s never too late to start feeding your mind. ‘Neuroplasticity – the brain’s ability to form new neural connections throughout life – is a remarkable thing,’ he says. ‘The brain is very receptive to changes in diet, no matter what age you start.’ See, you are a smart cookie.


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MEET THE Adaptogens are paving the way in multi-functional fodder. But can you tell your gotu kola from your Siberian ginseng? WORDS HELEN FOSTER

ILLUSTRATION MDI DIGITAL

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ray tell, what is a winter soup without parsley to garnish, before the sprig is cast aside? And it’s surely indisputable that dill is the underrated star of the egg mayonnaise sandwich. Our point is, herbs rarely get the appreciation they deserve, especially considering that a particular group of them – adaptogens – are superheroes at helping your body and mind tackle whatever BS life is throwing your way. Raising you up when you feel flatter than a discarded can of Diet Coke and chilling you out when your stress levels reach

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Gordon Ramsay peak; adaptogenic herbs are thought to cause cells to alter their response to stress so you produce more protective compounds called heat shock proteins. The good news is, while you might not realise it, you’re likely to have dipped your toe into the adaptogen game. Had a turmeric latte? A matcha ice cream? Of course you have, we’ve seen your socials. Here, Rachel Landon, author of Superherbs (£12.99, Piatkus), reveals the simplest ways to supercharge your spice rack. |

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PHOTOGRAPHY: ALAMY, GETTY IMAGES. *SOURCES: EVIDENCE-BASED COMPLEMENTARY AND ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE; NEPAL MEDICAL COLLEGE JOURNAL; INDIAN JOURNAL OF PSYCHOLOGICAL MEDICINE †NEALSYARDREMEDIES.COM

GINGER

WHAT IS IT? A rhizome – a stem that grows underground WHERE IS IT FOUND? Southeast Asia BEST FOR: Boosting digestion. ‘Ginger is a sialagogue herb, which means it makes you salivate, helping you to break down food in this first stage of digestion, which is often missed when you’re eating on the go,’ says Landon. And that’s not all this lovely little root is good for. One study* found that ginger extract boosts attention span and cognitive function, making it a potential brain tonic, too. HOW TO TAKE IT: Blitz in a smoothie: juice three apples, two sticks of celery, some parsley and a thumbsized piece of ginger.

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The number of different chemical components found in ginger root, all of which combine to make it a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory ingredient. Pass the ginger nuts.

GOTU KOLA

WHAT IS IT? A plant and member of the parsley family WHERE IS IT FOUND? India, China and Malaysia BEST FOR: Easing anxiety. ‘Gotu kola has a soothing effect on the nervous system, relaxing the body – especially the brain when it’s in overdrive – but without having a sedative effect,’ says Landon. Plus, research* found that it may be useful in the treatment of anxiety disorder. HOW TO TAKE IT: Drink it in a tea. Try a dose of tincture, like Neal’s Yard Remedies Gotu Kola Single Herbal Tincture (£15, Neal’s Yard Remedies†).

NETTLE

WHAT IS IT? A stinger you’re probably all too familiar with WHERE IS IT FOUND? Asia, North America – and your nearest green space BEST FOR: When you’re feeling burnt out. ‘Nettle’s cleansing constituents support the whole body, but especially the nervous system,’ says Landon. Stress-busting aside, it’s packed with iron, vitamin C and calcium. HOW TO TAKE IT: Try it as a side dish. Don some gloves to pick your leaves and wash them in cold water. Heat 1 tbsp coconut oil in a frying pan with chopped garlic. Cook the nettle leaves in the pan until they wilt. Season and add a squeeze of lemon. They won’t sting when eaten, promise.

LIQUORICE

WHAT IS IT? A perennial plant in the pea and bean family  WHERE IS IT FOUND? Southeast Europe, Russia, Asia BEST FOR: Balance. ‘Feelings of fatigue and low libido can often be due to adrenal exhaustion,’ says Landon. ‘The active constituents of liquorice contain glycosides, which have a supporting and nourishing effect on the endocrine system, especially the adrenals. All sorts of reasons to give it a go. HOW TO TAKE IT: Swerve the Allsorts and buy liquorice root (£1, Neal’s Yard Remedies). Landon suggests a liquorice and dandelion tea.

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ASHWAGANDHA

SIBERIAN GINSENG

WHAT IS IT? A thorny, creeping plant WHERE IS IT FOUND? East Asia, China and Russia BEST FOR: When you’re feeling overwhelmed. ‘I recommend it to students, shift workers and anyone who’s burning the candle at both ends,’ says Landon. ‘It contains eleutherosides, as well as vitamin E and beta-carotene, which are strong antioxidants.’ HOW TO TAKE IT: Consider a ginseng tonic your new G&T. Mix with nettle leaves and camomile flowers, then add to a pot of hot water and allow to infuse. Drink up and keep adding boiling water throughout the day.

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WHAT IS IT? A woody shrub and member of the nightshade family WHERE IS IT FOUND? Warmer climes like the Med, Africa and India BEST FOR: Boosting energy levels. ‘It supports the body when you’re feeling a lack of enthusiasm for life,’ says Landon. One study* also found that it reduced the cortisol levels of participants suffering from chronic stress. It’s Sanskrit for ‘smell of the horse’ – in reference to its, erm, unique aroma.  HOW TO TAKE IT: Mix ashwagandha powder (£3.50, Neal’s Yard Remedies) with nut butter and desiccated coconut, then spread it on toast.

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THE EXPERT Anna Halliday, founder of Hally’s (hallyslondon.com)

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RED QUINOA PORRIDGE

PESTO QUINOA SALAD

Quinoa You realise pairing quinoa with soggy leftover veg and calling it lunch is a travesty, yeah? Hail the grain’s versatility with these recipes from Anna Halliday of healthy London cafe Hally’s

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SALMON AND QUINOA FRITTERS

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SPICED POPPED QUINOA BARS

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LUNCH PESTO QUINOA SALAD cals 597 | sat fat 6.2g | sugar 2.3g | serves 1

INGREDIENTS 50g pine nuts • 80g basil • 50g Parmesan, grated • 2 garlic cloves, sliced • 3 tbsp olive oil • 60g white quinoa • 100g sprouting broccoli • 100g frozen broad beans • 25g mixed sunflower and pumpkin seeds • ½ avocado METHOD 1. First up, the dressing. Blend the pine nuts, basil, Parmesan and garlic in a processor and pulse until smooth. Then add the olive oil and blend again.

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Quinoa’s high protein-tocarb ratio makes it a pro at regulating blood sugar levels. It’s probably why the grain is so popular with diabetics – oh, and NASA astronauts, who reportedly take quinoa with them on flights of the space variety.

A 100g serving of cooked quinoa makes up 11% of your recommended daily dietary fibre intake. Fill up on this and you’ll not only feel satisfied for longer, but it will help keep things regular in the bowel department, too.

SNACK SPICED POPPED QUINOA BARS cals 356 | sat fat 15.7g | sugar 14.5g | makes 6

INGREDIENTS 3 tbsp coconut oil • 3 tbsp smooth almond butter • 3 tbsp maple syrup • 1 tsp vanilla extract • 45g popped quinoa • 90g dried cranberries • 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds • 1 tbsp sunflower seeds • 1 tbsp pecans For the topping: 45g dark chocolate • 1 tbsp coconut oil METHOD 1. Melt the coconut oil in a pan over a low heat, then add the almond butter, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Mix well. 2. Put the quinoa, cranberries, pumpkin and sunflower seeds

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METHOD 1. Cook the quinoa as before and set aside. Pour the almond milk into a saucepan, bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add the oats and cook until soft, gently stirring – it should take about 5 mins.

If the milk reduces too much, add a splash of water. 2. Grate the apple and put to one side, then pop the almonds in a small frying pan and toast them on a low heat until lightly coloured. 3. Once the quinoa and oats are ready, combine in a bowl. Top with the cinnamon, grated apple, yoghurt, almonds and blueberries. Grub’s up.

Whether enjoyed in a bowl or a burger, here’s why it pays to be keen on quinoa

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INGREDIENTS 30g red quinoa • 30ml almond milk • 30g rolled oats • ½ apple • 1 tbsp flaked almonds • ½ tsp cinnamon • 1 tbsp coconut yoghurt • handful of blueberries

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and pecans in a bowl. Pour in the coconut oil mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until everything is coated. 3. Line a small tin with greaseproof paper, then pour in the mixture and even out the surface with a wooden spoon. It should be about 3-4cm thick. Put in the freezer to set for at least 2 hrs. 4. Melt the chocolate and the coconut oil for the topping in a bain-marie and drizzle over the hardened quinoa mixture, then store in the fridge or freezer until you fancy one. Slice the mixture into bars with a sharp knife and get stuck in. Nom.

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A complete protein, quinoa contains all nine essential amino acids – boasting much more lysine than most grains. And with more than four times the iron and double the magnesium of couscous, it’s a no-brainer for meat-eaters and veggies alike.

DINNER SALMON AND QUINOA FRITTERS cals 637 | sat fat 8g | sugar 6.2g | serves 1

INGREDIENTS 130g salmon fillet • 1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for frying • 25g quinoa, cooked • 3 parsley sprigs, chopped • 1 spring onion, sliced • 1 tsp mayonnaise • 1 tsp mustard • pinch of smoked paprika • squeeze of lemon • 1 egg For the salad: 1 beetroot, cooked and sliced • ¼ cucumber, sliced • handful of watercress • squeeze of lemon METHOD 1. Preheat the oven to 170°C. Drizzle the salmon with olive oil, season, then roast for

8 mins. Remove from the oven and flake with a fork. 2. Combine the salad ingredients in a bowl, mix well and season. 3. In another bowl, combine the salmon, quinoa, parsley, spring onion, mayo, mustard, paprika and lemon juice, then season. 4. In a third bowl (apologies, dishwasher), whisk the egg and add 2 tsp to the salmon mixture. 5. Get your hands dirty to mould the mixture into 5cm fritters. You should be able to make four. 6. Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan and fry the fritters on each side until golden. Dish up with the salad and dig in.

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*THE LEFTOVER PESTO CAN BE KEPT IN THE FRIDGE FOR ONE WEEK. WORDS: OLIVIA GODON. PHOTOGRAPHY: BETH CRUTCHFIELD AT HEARST STUDIOS, ALAMY

GRAIN GAINS

2. Put the quinoa in a pan with two parts water to one part quinoa, bring to the boil, then simmer for 15 mins or until most of the liquid has been absorbed. 3. Steam the broccoli for 2 mins, then pop in a bowl of iced water. 4. Boil the broad beans for 4 mins. Meanwhile, toss the seeds into a frying pan and fry until they pop. 5. Cube the avocado, then drain the broccoli and cut into pieces. 6. Once the quinoa is cooked, combine all the ingredients in a bowl, add 1 tbsp of the pesto dressing and mix well*.

BREAKFAST RED QUINOA PORRIDGE cals 390 | sat fat 2.4g | sugar 12g | serves 1


THE EXPERT Rob Hobson, one of the UK’s foremost nutritionists and co-author of The Detox Kitchen Bible (robhobson.co.uk)

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Boxing Day pie Behold, a delicious way to use up leftovers that won’t leave you comatose till the New Year

Original leftovers pie Key ingredients: Turkey • Puff pastry • Bacon Cals: 798 Sat fat: 16g

WORDS: OLIVIA GODON; ROISÍN DERVISH-O’KANE. PHOTOGRAPHY: BETH CRUTCHFIELD AT HEARST STUDIOS. FOOD STYLING: REBECCA WOOD AT STYLE DEPARTMENT

Lite leftovers pie Key ingredients: Turkey • Sweet potato • Brussels sprouts

Cals: 481 Sat fat: 7.7g

PUFF OFF The puff pastry atop this dish sends the sat fat content soaring to 16g – 80% of your RDA – per slice. Yeesh. Scientists are debating the role sat fat plays in heart health, but it’s a no-brainer that eating pastry laden with the stuff will do your waistline no favours.

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CARROT TOP Refashion the pie lid from sweet potato and root veg. Animal research* suggests that adding sweet spuds to a high-fat diet (’tis the season) could reduce the overall amount of weight gained. Bonus points for digestionstimulating fibre, too.

GREEN PARTY Throw leftover broccoli and sprouts into your Boxing Day creation and you’ll add two serious sources of alphalipoic acid – an antioxidant shown in research* to increase insulin sensitivity, which is essential for staying trim.

TRIM THE FAT Switch from full- to low-fat crème fraiche to do away with 300 calories and a chunk of sat fat. Plus, research* shows that people who habitually eat lowrather than full-fat dairy are less likely to feel exhausted, sad or anxious. Happy days.

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LOSING STREAK Strip out the bacon and you could quell your rapacious festive appetite. German scientists found that high-sodium foods intensify hunger, leading you to eat more than you want or need. Not ideal when the cheeseboard beckons.

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GET THE RECIPE

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The percentage of your RDA of vitamin A you’ll get from 100g of boiled sweet potatoes. That’ll help keep away those winter bugs you always pick up the second you finish work for Christmas.

CALS 481 | SAT FAT 7.7g | SUGAR 8.6g | SERVES 6

METHOD 1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Crush the potatoes in a large bowl with the back of a wooden spoon. 2. Chop the carrots and parsnips into small pieces, thinly slice the greens, then add most of the veg to the bowl with the potatoes. Combine and crush to create a chunky mash – leaving a few to decorate the pie at the end.

3. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan. Add a third of the onion and cook for 5 mins until soft. Add the mash to the pan with a splash of water and cook for a further 5 mins. Take off the heat and set aside. 4. Place the rest of the olive oil in a separate pan, throw in the leeks and remaining onions and fry for 5 mins until soft. Add the turkey and cook for another 5 mins. 5. Coat the mixture with flour. Pour in the chicken stock and crème fraiche, then season. Stir and reduce the heat – simmer for about 10 mins until it thickens slightly. 6. Transfer the mixture to a baking dish and spread the mash over the top, topping with the remaining veg. Bake for 20 mins until the topping becomes crispy. Serve with a dollop of festive cheer.

WHAT A DISH Want to sample the UK’s healthy-ish pies minus any kitchen labour? Coming right up FOR PASTRY PURISTS The skinny pie at Square Pie, Birmingham With a shortcrust pastry top but no base, this lean option contains 50% less fat than Square Pie’s usual dishes and has less than 550 calories. Perfect with sweet potato mash.

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FOR ADVENTUROUS TASTE BUDS Malaysian chicken pie at Pie & Ale, Manchester These pie masters do keep the pastry lid on top, but they balance things out by packing their bakes with nutritious protein-rich fillings.

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FOR FILLING FANS Roots Manoova at Pieminister, Bristol Veggie pies without pastry: more fun than they sound. This gluten-free pie pairs roasted veg with a quinoa hot pot. Get a side of peas with chilli. Some (and we mean us) like it hot.

FOR DISCERNING VEGANS Mushroom and pepper bake at The Pie Maker, Edinburgh With a dedicated selection of vegan and vegetarian options, this place is a must for plant-palates. Fragrant spices add a real kick to this veg-packed pie.

FOR SOMETHING FISHY Baby fish pie at Battersea Pie Station, London When you fancy a light bite, these pie connoisseurs serve up small pastryencased treats filled with fresh, nutritious fillings such as cod, prawn and salmon. Quite a catch.

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*SOURCES: THE JOURNAL OF FOOD SCIENCE; BIOCHEMICAL AND BIOPHYSICAL RESEARCHCOMMUNICATIONS; SOCIAL PSYCHIATRY AND PSYCHIATRIC EPIDEMIOLOGY

INGREDIENTS 1kg leftover potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, Brussels sprouts and greens • 2 tbsp olive oil • 3 onions, diced • 4 leeks, sliced • 800g turkey meat, shredded • 2 tbsp plain flour • 600ml chicken stock • 300ml low-fat crème fraiche • sea salt and black pepper


P O S I T I V E ST E P S TO A H E A LT H I E R O U T LO O K

How to

CHRISTMAS-PROOF your brain

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, right? Oh behave, there’s nothing quite like Christmas to send contentment levels plummeting. But read on – there’s help to swerve festive frazzle WORDS LIZZIE POOK PHOTOGRAPHY KAT PISIOLEK

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ll should be merry and bright. So why is there a tinsel-shaped knot of dread in the pit of your stomach? That right there is what we’re calling festive anxiety. It rears its ugly head in late November, somewhere between trying to create a Christmas that’s more perfect than the John Lewis ad, cramming in some festive face time with your entire contacts book and dropping more than your annual gym membership on presents for everyone from your BFF to Brenda in accounts. If you’re already brainstorming ways to escape Christmas entirely, you need to figure out a plan. Here’s how to Yuletide-proof your mind through to New Year, and beyond.

PERFECT MONTH SYNDROME (PMS) There’s nothing like the calendar changing  from 30 November to 1 December to turn the Grinchiest of Scrooges among us into Buddy the elf, running around trying to make sure this Christmas is the most perfect yet. So what gives? Unsurprisingly, the problem isn’t Christmas, it’s us. ‘You tend to look back on the Christmases of your childhood through rose-tinted spectacles,’ says Sally Brown, a therapist who specialises in anxiety (therapythatworks.co.uk). ‘So when you grow up, you go into a frenzy of organisation and spending in a bid to create that ‘special time’. But you’re trying to recreate something that never really existed; it was never perfect – in reality, there were tantrums, tears and disappointments.’ So how can you get over this contrived need for perfection and learn to enjoy Christmas for what it is – a thoroughly imperfect time with occasional pockets of joy. ‘Stop trying to have the Christmas you think you should be having and start doing it your own way,’ suggests Nicky Lidbetter, CEO of Anxiety UK. ‘Just because some people like to spend the day cooking, drinking and seeing family doesn’t mean you have to.’ If you want to get up at 5am, go and do a park run, banish presents completely

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and have sashimi for Christmas dinner, that’s your call. Ditch the cardboard cutout Christmas in favour of new traditions and you might find you enjoy it a whole lot more. ‘The irony is that what makes it a special time of year is that feeling of connection and goodwill,’ adds Brown. ‘And that’s something you can’t buy.’ Amen to that.

SMALL-TALK TERROR Having to make nice over an Iceland King Prawn Ring can strike dread into the most sociable of butterflies. Coming up against boring, awkward conversations, whether that’s as your partner’s plus-one or with your own family, is mandatory at this time of year. ‘It might sound ridiculous, but try rehearsing the party in your mind beforehand,’ suggests Chloe Brotheridge, author of The Anxiety Solution. ‘Part of social anxiety stems from imagining that things will go wrong – making awkward small talk with that colleague you’ve never clicked with or forgetting the name of a friend of a friend. Rehearse different scenarios, plan some conversation openers and make a note of any topics that make you feel uncomfortable.’ Or particular people to avoid, for that matter. Yes, you might feel like a fun-sponge having to prep for a party, but research suggests that when we go into something expecting it to go well, it’s more likely to be a success.

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‘NO ONE POSTS PICTURES OF CRAP PRESENTS OR BLOATED STOMACHS’

The other reason for those pre-party nerves is the sheer volume of events in your diary. ‘Anxiety has a cumulative effect – it’s like water dripping into a glass. If you don’t empty it regularly, it’ll overflow,’ says Brown. ‘It’s essential to incorporate some element of relaxation where possible and build in breaks from socialising.’ Block out at least two slots each week over the party season for dedicated R&R – make one a weeknight and the other time at the weekend. Expect to feel a bit of FOMO if you have to miss the odd do, but a date with the sofa can feel like pressing the reset button, putting you back on

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1.3

The number, in millions, of Britons who flee the UK festivities faster than you can say, ‘More sprouts, please.’ The most popular destinations are Spain, France and the United States.

Mind the wrap

sparkling form for the next gathering. ‘If you really can’t say no to an invite, take a tip from legendary US Vogue editor Anna Wintour and never stay at any party for more than 20 minutes,’ Brown adds. ‘If that sounds too drastic, make up your own rules – maybe you leave by 10pm or only have two drinks.’ You can still have fun, but without over-egging the, erm, eggnog. Repeat after us: it’s just mulled wine and nibbles.

MESSAGING MADNESS From the onslaught of messages trying to organise ‘The Girls’ Christmas Lunch’ to feeling deep envy at the colour scheme of your boss’s Christmas tree, the social media admin that the end of the year demands is exhausting. But it isn’t just exhausting.

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A recent study published in the journal Computers In Human Behavior found a strong link between juggling multiple social platforms and feelings of depression and anxiety among young adults. And if you’ve ever felt your entire Facebook feed is having way more fun than you, it turns out that’s a thing, too. Computer scientists at Indiana University have dubbed that specific feeling of inadequacy the ‘Happiness Paradox’. ‘Social media can induce anxiety at any time, but with the increase in posts at this time of year, Christmas serves to exacerbate it,’ says Brown. ‘Don’t lose yourself in scrolling. Stay aware and try to monitor how it’s making you feel. If it gets too much, log off for a day or two.’ Also remind yourself that what you’re looking at is a curated

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version of events. Nobody posts the crap presents, the bloated stomach, the sobbing in the toilets or the afternoons spent watching repeats of Come Dine With Me wishing they’d booked those flights abroad when they had the chance. Here’s an idea: turn off your feeds when you clock off work for the year: that’s real festive spirit.

FAMILY VALUES Whether that squabble is fuelled by Articulate or something stronger, consider a festive family feud as much of a tradition as blasting out Mariah Carey on repeat. ‘No matter how much your life has moved on and you’ve changed as a person, there’s a family dynamic that descends at Christmas that feels frozen in time,’ says Brown. ‘If you’re returning to the family home, the odds of changing that dynamic are stacked against you because it’s full of environmental cues – from the decorations to where

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S T R ON G MIND Lighten up

AVOID AN ANXIOUS ADVENT Keep calm and carry on at Christmas

Routine and structure are tonics for an anxious mind. Get up at the same time as normal, have regular meals and pretend it’s business as usual.

LOVE ACTUALLY ISN’T ALL AROUND There’s nothing like, oh, just about every festive flick to amplify the fact that you’re single or less than loved-up. If that won’t do it, those probing questions from Uncle Creepy on whether you’ve found that special someone will be enough to make you want to clear out the booze cupboard alone. ‘The overwhelming message we’re fed is that it’s a time of year for families, couples and groups of friends. It isn’t true, but facing Christmas without a partner or your loved ones can exacerbate feelings of loneliness,’ says Brown. ‘If you know being among certain people is going to leave you feeling worse about yourself, don’t be afraid to set a limit on your time with them in

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‘A SENSE OF HUMOUR HELPS TO DEFLECT PRYING UNCLES’ order to protect your sanity and wellbeing. And make sure you get together with good friends soon after to emotionally ‘detox’ – I have one group of single friends who plan a gathering every year between Christmas and New Year specifically to share their single-shaming horror stories.’ If you’re not spending Christmas in the way society (or Uncle Creepy) expects, have to work, or can’t be with your loved ones, don’t sweat it. Brown suggests marking the end of the year in your own way. ‘Create your own mini ritual that’s yours and yours alone. And instead of dwelling on what you’re missing out on, focus your attention on the year ahead. What do you want to achieve? How do you want future you to be? What would you like to be different this time next year?’ Quality time to yourself to focus on your health and wellbeing and free rein to play Now That’s What I Call Christmas on repeat while wearing novelty socks and seeing off the box of Celebrations? Sounds pretty good to us.

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Spend a day saying ‘no’. If you don’t want to schlep across town to another Christmas market, don’t. Plan your free time and spend it how you want.

Try to stick to your normal exercise routine. It’s the closest we’ve got to a magic bullet for managing mood. Sticking to it will give you a sense of control.

Have a digital detox. Yup, log off and switch off, even if it’s just for 25 Dec. Not knowing the exact state of everyone else’s sprouts will do you no harm.

It’s good to talk. Phone a friend or call a helpline such as Anxiety UK (0844 477 5774). Your worries might sound silly in your head, but your feelings are legitimate.

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PHOTOGRAPHY: WITH THANKS TO HEARST STUDIOS

everyone sits at the table – that trigger memories and stir up feelings. It almost acts like a time machine, transporting you emotionally backwards to childhood.’ If the same arguments are cropping up every year, it’s time to start doing things differently. ‘Enjoying Christmas somewhere more neutral instantly changes the dynamic. Bringing a friend can help too – a human buffer to encourage everyone to be on their best behaviour. Pause and breathe before you rise to the bait and get embroiled in years-old tensions. And humour is your best defence, followed by not getting too drunk.’


S T R ON G MIND

THE

ISSUE

B AW L ER Be a

Turns out sobbing is a science. As research reveals the mood-boosting benefits of bawling, WH finds out why there’s more to crying than meets the eye…

WORDS JENNY EVERETT & NIKKI OSMAN

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W PHOTOGRAPHY: GETTY IMAGES. *SOURCES: CURRENT DIRECTIONS IN PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCE; MOTIVATION AND EMOTION

hen was the last time you had a good cry? And we’re not talking a solitary tear running down your cheek at a soppy advert we’re talking runny-nosed, blotchy-faced, final scene of The Notebook bawling. If you have to pause for thought, it’s probably been too long, because, according to new research, crying is a bona fide strategy for lifting your mood.

A recent study, published in the journal Motivation And Emotion, examined both the immediate and delayed effect of crying on mood by monitoring participants while they watched two emotionally charged films. As expected, the moods of the weepers dipped in the minutes after the credits rolled but, 90 minutes later, they reported better moods than before they started watching. Meanwhile, the moods of the steely noncriers didn’t change. So, if you’ve ever had that cleansing feeling that comes once the tissue box is empty and your tears are dry, you’re not alone. According to clinical psychologist Dr Ad Vingerhoets of Tilburg University in the Netherlands, around 50% of people report feeling happier post-cry.

WHY SO SAD? To figure out why that is, it’s handy to understand what actually goes on in your body when you cry. ‘Emotional tears originate from the lacrimal gland, located above the eyes,’ say Dr Vingerhoets. ‘They are

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triggered by certain nerves, especially parasympathetic nerves, that originate from the limbic system in the brain, which controls emotions.’ And if you’re wondering why you well up over a soppy advert while the bloke next to you on the sofa has zero emotional reaction, there’s a reason for that, too – and it isn’t because he’s a robot. ‘People often assume that female sex hormones are responsible for the fact that adult women cry more often than adult males,’ says Dr Vingerhoets. ‘But there is actually stronger evidence that male sex hormones (in particular, testosterone) have an inhibiting influence on crying. Prolactin (a bonding hormone) might also lower the female crying threshold. More research is required, but it could explain why some women are likely to weep after giving birth, and why some cry when they orgasm.’ Crying while you come? Sure.

HAVING A BAWL So why does this physiological reaction, so often triggered by negative emotions, actually end up making you feel good? Beyond the idea of purging your body of pent-up emotions, researchers have been trying to find a

5.3

The number of times the average woman cries each month, compared with just 1.3 times for men.

scientific explanation for that sense of catharsis for decades. One researcher – biochemist Dr William Frey – claimed to have discovered the answer when his study found that, while nonemotional tears (you know, from chopped onions, strong winds and the like) were 98% water, the emotional kind contained stress hormones, meaning that crying purged them from the body. But not everyone is convinced. ‘The amount of stress hormones in tears is negligible,’ says Dr Vingerhoets. ‘Also, saliva contains stress hormones, too, but we don’t expect to feel better after drooling.’ The science of sobbing is made all the more difficult to decipher when you consider that making someone cry in a lab is just as likely to leave them feeling embarrassed as it is cleansed. In a 2008 study*, researchers pointed out that the mere fact that participants were weeping in front of strangers, and being filmed, inevitably led to negative

CRY ME A RIVER Mood-boosting aside, crying can also be good for you from a social point of view. Early humans used tears to let others know they were in distress and to encourage people to help them. That still holds true for us non-cave folk – one study* found that people felt more empathy when looking at a photo of a crying face than they did when looking at the same picture with the tears digitally removed. Why? Well, it’s the oxytocin again. It’s another bonding hormone, and it makes you feel closer to the person whose shoulder you’ve been sobbing on. ‘How bystanders react to your cry is a major determinant of how you will feel after a crying episode,’ Dr Vingerhoets adds. ‘When someone reacts with comfort

STRESS HORMONES ARE CONTAINED IN SOME TEARS feelings, which were likely to neutralise any mood-boosting benefits. Dr Asmir Gračanin, who authored the sad film study, thinks the reason crying makes you feel better is simply because feelings of sadness don’t last forever, and feeling ‘normal’ post-cry tricks you into thinking you feel better than you did before. But Dr Vingerhoets isn’t so sure. ‘Crying could also be linked to the stimulation of the production of oxytocin. But until now, no studies have focused solely on this issue.’

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December 2017

and understanding, it’s obviously a different story than when they react with anger or ridicule. This suggests that it isn’t the crying that makes you feel better necessarily, but rather the reactions of others.’ In Japan, some people have taken the theory of ‘tears as social lubricant’ one step further by founding crying clubs. The phenomenon – known as ‘ruikatsu’ (tear-seeking) – involves adults coming together to watch tear-jerking films and cry en masse as a way of relieving stress. So, next time you get the squad over for a weepy film night, you can consider yourself bang on trend.

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H E A LT H A N D FIT N E S S T R I C K S T H AT WO R K FRO M T H E I N S I D E O U T

Your festive fitness plan Give yourself a chance of maintaining your goals, wherever you are this Christmas

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THE TRAINER Niko Algieri, founder and trainer at Equilibrium (weareequilibrium.com)

BE S T BODY

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t’s a time of giving. But a sackful of presents, a tin of Quality Street and watching Die Hard for the third time in as many days might be taking away from your hard-earned exercise achievements. Let’s face it: the town you return to at Christmas might not have the fitness facilities you’re used to. And even if you’re spending the festive season on home turf, the cold, the dark and limited opening times can overpower good intentions. ‘Maximising training efficiency during this period is crucial because exercise frequency is lower than normal,’ says Andy Vincent, elite trainer at London’s Third Space. ‘Maintenance is an acceptable goal because of the extra calories you’re likely to eat.’ Got it? Do each of these 30-min workouts once a week. Do three circuits per session for each, resting for 2 mins in between. Focus on the targeted area to maximise effects. Ready? Go ho ho!

YOU’LL NEED

Women’s Health Weighted Skipping Rope, £11.99

Women’s Health Suspension Trainer, £11.99

Women’s Health 6kg Dumbbells, £21.99

All available at argos.co.uk Plus a treadmill and bench at your local gym

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OUTDOORS

Raise your heart rate to warm up and beat the cold, then keep it there to burn calories

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LUNGE WITH TWIST Do: 10 reps per side Targets: Obliques, glutes, quads (a) With your suspension trainer round a tree, hold the handles and lean your torso forwards, with muscles engaged. (b) Lunge back with your left leg, lowering the knee so it’s just above the floor. Put your right arm out to the side, twisting your torso the same way.

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SQUAT WITH Y-RAISE Do: 20 reps Targets: Shoulders, back (a) Facing the trainer, grab the handles and squat down, sitting back and allowing it to take your weight. (b) Explosively drive up, spreading your arms as you rise, keeping them straight to target your shoulders. Then reverse the movement to return to a squat.

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JUMP SQUAT Do: 20 reps Targets: Glutes, hamstrings, cardio (a) Holding the handles and facing your anchor point, feet hip-width apart, drop into a squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor. (b) Spring out of your squat and jump off the floor, landing lightly on the balls of your feet and going into a squat.

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PIKE

JACKKNIFE

SUSPENDED BURPEE

Do: 20 reps Targets: Shoulders, back (a) This one might take a few attempts at first. Adopt a press-up position with both feet in the stirrups. (b) Keeping your legs straight, raise your bum to the ceiling, letting your head drop down between your arms. Then straighten out to the starting position. Keep that core engaged.

Do: 20 reps Targets: Core, shoulders (a) Start in a press-up position with your feet in the stirrups, facing away from the anchor point. (b) Keeping your hips still, tuck your knees into your chest, then straighten to return to the starting position. Remember those abs.

Do: 10 reps per leg Targets: Core, glutes, cardio (a) Stand facing away from the anchor, with your left foot in the stirrup. (b) Lower your hands to the floor and jump back, ending in a plank with your legs suspended off the floor. Do a press-up, then jump your foot back in to stand and hop.

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THE TRAINER Alejandra Chávez, fitness and nutrition coach at BodyBoss (bodyboss.com)

AT HOME

Whether at yours or a relative’s, use your body weight and gravity to add resistance in the absence of expert kit or studio space

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PISTOL SQUAT Do: 10 reps per leg Targets: Glutes, quads, hamstrings (a) Facing the anchor point, hold the handles and lean backwards, raising your left leg a few inches off the floor. (b) Squat on your right leg, tensing your core to prevent any wobbling, then fire back up to standing without putting your foot on the floor.

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WALKING LUNGE WITH KNEE LIFT

REVERSE BUTTERFLY KICK

DOWNWARD DOG VS PRESS-UP

Do: 15 reps per leg Targets: Glutes, quads (a) Start standing with feet together, then lift your left leg so your thigh is at a 90° angle to the floor before striding it out in front. (b) As your left foot hits the floor, bend the right leg until your left thigh is parallel to the floor. Push back off the right foot to standing and repeat on the other side.

Do: 25 reps per leg Targets: Hamstrings, glutes (a) Lie on your belly and rest your head on your forearms, then squeeze your glutes and lift your legs off the floor with your thighs touching. (b) Lift one leg higher until your thigh peels away from the mat. Lower your raised leg as the other comes up.

Do: 40 reps Targets: Back, triceps, biceps, abs (a) Start in downward dog with your hands and feet glued to the floor, chest pulling towards your thighs and your hips high. (b) Bending at the elbows, lower your head and chest towards the floor then press back up.

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LOW ROW

RUNNING STEP-UP

Do: 20 reps Target: Triceps, biceps, core (a) Lie underneath the trainer and pull yourself off the ground with the handles. (b) Keeping your elbows tucked in, pull yourself up until your fists are by the sides of your torso. Then slowly return to the starting position.

Do: 25 reps per leg Targets: Glutes (a) Stand in front of a raised surface, then put your left foot on it and push off to quickly lift the rest of your body up, raising the right thigh to a 90° angle. (b) Step back down to the ground with the right leg and repeat on the other side. Then keep going.

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PLANK LEG LIFT

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SQUAT AND SIDE KICK Do: 15 reps per leg Targets: Glutes, obliques (a) Stand with your feet parallel, shoulder-width apart, with your fists clenched in front of your chest for balance. Lower into a squat. (b) Straightening the legs, rise back up, lifting the left leg to the side, squeezing the right glute and reverse into a squat. Work the other side.

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Do: 15 reps per leg Targets: Core, glutes, hamstrings, quads (a) Get into a forearm plank with your elbows beneath your shoulders. Your body should form a straight line from your neck to your ankles. (b) From that position, brace your core and lift your right foot off the floor, hold for a second, then replace and repeat with the left.

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STEP JUMP

SKIPPING

Do: 30 reps Targets: Quads, hamstrings, glutes (a) Stand in front of a step and lower into a quarter squat, hingeing back at the hips to engage the glutes. (b) Forcefully thrust your hip forwards, swinging your arms, and push through your feet to propel yourself on to the step before stepping back down to the floor.

Do: 1 min Targets: Cardio (a) You remember those days: holding each end of the skipping rope, stand with the rope behind you. (b) Swing the rope forwards overhead and jump as it passes under your feet. Alternate legs as a variation. Child’s play.

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THE TRAINER Andy Vincent, personal trainer at Third Space (thirdspace.london)

BE S T BODY

IN A SPIT & SAWDUST GYM

There might only be the most basic gym near your nan’s but don’t let that stop a good workout

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BARBELL HIP BRIDGE

LOADED DEADBUG

Do: 20 reps Targets: Glutes (a) Sit on the floor with a bench behind you and a weighted barbell over your legs. Roll the bar so it’s directly over your hips and lean back so your shoulder blades rest on the bench. (b) Drive through your feet, pushing up your hips (shoulders and feet supporting you). Squeezing your glutes, extend as high as possible. Hold for 5 secs then slowly lower.

Do: 10 per leg Targets: Abs (a) Holding a 6kg dumbbell, lie on your back with your arms skywards and legs raised and bent at 90°. (b) Slowly lower your arms behind you as you extend your left leg out in front on the exhale, then gently return to the starting position and repeat, this time extending the right leg. Lower the weight if your back arches off the floor.

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KNEELING SHOULDER PRESS Do: 10 reps on each side Targets: Shoulders, triceps (a) Kneel on your left knee, holding a dumbbell in each hand in front of your shoulders, palms facing each other. Tuck your pelvis under and keep your core tight. (b) Push the dumbbells overhead, turning the wrists so the palms face forwards. Then reverse to the starting position.

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Do: 10 reps per leg Targets: Glutes, quads, hamstrings (a) Stand holding a dumbbell in each hand, then step forwards into a lunge on your left leg. Hold for 3 secs, then push off your left leg to return to the starting position. (b) Repeat but step behind into a backwards lunge. That’s one rep.

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GOBLET SQUAT Do: 20 reps Targets: Hip flexors, quads, lats, calves, glutes, hamstrings (a) Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold your dumbbells together in front of your chest, elbows down. (b) Push your hips back and bend your knees to lower into a squat, elbows brushing the insides of your knees. Hold for 3 secs then push yourself back up. That’s one rep.

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FORWARD AND BACKWARD LUNGE

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FLOOR DUMBBELL PRESS INTO FLY Do: 10 reps Targets: Chest, triceps, shoulders (a) Lie on your back with your arms skywards, palms facing forwards with a dumbbell in each hand. Bend your elbows to the fkoor, then press back up. (b) Turn the dumbbells so your palms are facing each other, then lower the weights out wide without touching the floor. Reverse to finish the rep.

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RENEGADE ROW Do: 10 reps Targets: Abs, shoulders (a) With a dumbbell in each hand, start in a plank position, keeping your pelvis as stable as possible. Row your right arm back without twisting your shoulders, keeping your elbows tucked in to engage your lats. End with your fist by your hip, then lower the dumbbell back to the floor. (b) Repeat on the other side, then do a press-up.

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SINGLE-LEG ROMANIAN DEADLIFT Do: 10 reps per leg Targets: Core, hamstrings (a) Holding a dumbbell in your right hand, balance on your left leg, keeping the knee slightly bent and your back straight. (b) Hinge forwards at the hips, swinging your right leg up and back, keeping the right arm straight so the dumbbell is directly in front of the left leg. Hold for 3 secs then return to the starting position.

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PYRAMID SPRINT FINISH 10 secs on, 20 secs’ rest WARM-UP: Do a 5-min zero-incline jog SPRINTS: Set the incline to 4-7% between 7-12km/h. Sprint on the hill, then jump on to the sides so you’re standing still during the rest period. 10 secs on, 20 secs’ rest 20 secs on, 20 secs’ rest 30 secs on, 20 secs’ rest Increase the pace by 1-2km/h and repeat.

20 secs on, 20 secs’ rest 30 secs on, 20 secs’ rest Up the pace by another 1-2km/h and repeat. 10 secs on, 20 secs’ rest 20 secs on, 20 secs’ rest 30 secs on, 20 secs’ rest COOL DOWN: Do a 3-min jog to allow your heart rate return to normal. Aaaaaand… rest.

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WORDS: AMELIA JEAN JONES. DIGITAL MANIPULATION: COLIN BEAGLEY. PHOTOGRAPHY: GETTY IMAGES. ILLUSTRATIONS: LIZZY THOMAS (LIZZYTHOMAS.COM)

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THE

BRAIN ISSUE

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The number, in thousands, of people worldwide who are following the DeRose Method – a combination of breathing, yoga and Pilates designed to calm the body and open the mind.

training

You squat for your bum and plank for your core – now, emerging research and new classes are showing these same moves could both boost your brainpower and calm a racing mind

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peak to any seasoned fitness fan and they’ll no doubt reel off the manner in which they prefer to put the different parts of their body through their paces. Ab blast, 60-minute arms, glutes Tuesday (no? Just us?). Or, the Shangri-La of fitness: the full body workout. But while the more traditional sessions ensure your muscular and cardiovascular systems get a good going-over, there’s every likelihood there’s one body part you’re not actively trying to shape up – your noggin. New research published in Brain Plasticity shows the positive neurological effects of exercise go beyond post-workout endorphins; that while your aim might be six-packs and pull-ups, the most consistent effects of aerobic exercise are better mood, less stress and enhanced memory and intelligence. ‘Aerobic exercise is proven to protect the brain from damage and produce brand new cells in the hippocampus, thepart of the brain that deals with memory and emotions, which commonly becomes damaged due to age and disease,’ says Dr Wendy A. Suzuki, the author of the study and professor of neural science and psychology at the Center for Neural Science at New York University.

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HeadStrong at Equinox in London is a full-body workout focusing on strength, cardio and regeneration, which it claims promotes mindfulness and the brain’s ability to repair itself, as well as torching calories. ‘A big part of the HeadStrong concept is encouraging the release of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which occurs naturally in the brain and encourages cell growth,’ says Michael Gervais, a senior manager at Equinox. But what sets this apart from 45 minutes on the treadmill? ‘Two factors stimulate the release of BDNF: intensity, which can be measured by heart rate, and complexity of routine. The willpower section is the most intense part of the class where we intend to push you past your thresholds by confusing mind and body,’ says Gervais. ‘Your body has a safety net when you’re working out to prevent you going too far and harming yourself by completely emptying your energy tank – it’s known as the central governor theory. But, generally, the danger is all in your mind, and you can

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safely push further than you realise. Our trick is not to tell you how long you have to do the exercise. When you don’t know how long a set of burpees or a plank will last, this confusion helps override your instinct, so you can exercise more than you’re used to by using the prefrontal cortex or “willpower” part of the brain.’ ‘Exercise that challenges you mentally is proven to create new motor pathways in the brain,’ says Dr Suzuki. ‘Increased levels of BDNF in the prefrontal cortex boost focus and attention.’ In fact, a study by the US Air Force Research Laboratory revealed that agility training, which requires you to change direction or speed at short notice, can improve your cognitive performance by stimulating richer connections in the brain.

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BE S T BODY A weight off your mind

is method to this on-the-mat madness after all. Indeed, according to The Journal Of Clinical And Diagnostic Research, changing the way you breathe can kick-start your nervous system, which slows your heart rate and increases gland activity, helping you feel calmer and more balanced after a workout. More and more classes are eschewing the go hard or go home mentality in favour of blending fitness moves and mental exercises. ‘We don’t want people to leave our classes pumped full of adrenaline and stress hormones like cortisol, so we combine high-intensity training with mindfulness practice,’ says Alison Hatcher of Studio One in Islington, where The Method helps their clients balance their mood and alleviate the stress levels that most of us accept as part of the way we live our lives today. So, is there any truth in the mindfulness aspect of your workout boosting your brain? Research in Frontiers Of Human Neuroscience says yes. Focusing on bodily sensations, such as ‘how does my calf muscle feel?’ during a body scan (where you check in and notice sensations in each body part) can increase general concentration levels by strengthening the way the brain processes information. ‘It’s called the

‘BREATHE IN’ Not sure how to breathe for benefits? Follow founder and instructor at DeRose Method Soho Paulo Pacifici’s guide to getting more from the air around you

FOR BEGINNERS Breathe through your nostrils with your hands on your abdomen. Feel it move out when you inhale and in as you exhale.

WORDS: AMELIA JEAN JONES. PHOTOGRAPHY: JOBE LAWRENSON

‘AEROBIC EXERCISE IS PROVEN TO PROTECT THE BRAIN FROM DAMAGE’ But this shift from exercising for mind as well as body isn’t all about surprise sweat drills. The DeRose Method is a holistic practice that draws on breathing, asanas and meditation in order to boost concentration and maintain mental balance. While some postures may feel familiar to yogis, Paulo Pacifici, founder of the DeRose Method studio in London’s Soho, argues that classes deliver much more than sun salutations; the Brazilian movement is more about sustained focus on the body’s actions and strength in every movement. ‘The techniques we use increase oxygenrich blood flow to the brain,’ says Pacifici – which, says science, is associated with better attention and mental focus.’ So there

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FOR LOW MOOD AND ENERGY In a seated position, inhale and exhale rapidly and noisily, strongly contracting your abdomen as you inhale (it will automatically move outwards). Each breath should take one second. Do three 30-second cycles to feel results.

signal-to-noise ratio,’ says Gervais. ‘This level of concentration helps you drown out background noise so you learn to recognise what’s most important during and outside a workout.’ Until there’s a nationwide collective jump on to the mindful fitness bandwagon, what can the average exerciser do? Dr Suzuki’s prescription is simple: increase your heart rate on a regular basis – her study showed that this can make a difference both immediately and in the long run – and follow this with breath work and a body scan within each workout that you do. ‘I’d recommend doing this once a week if you don’t currently exercise regularly, and up to three sessions per week if you’re a more seasoned and regular exerciser.’ It’s time to use your head.

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FOR STRESS OR SLEEPLESSNESS Lie on your back and inhale deeply through your nostrils, expanding your abdomen as you do so. Count to three, hold your breath for six seconds, and exhale for a count of nine, allowing your tummy to deflate. Keep going for five minutes.

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FAT BURNER’S DIARY

BE S T BODY THEN

‘Exercise helped me beat my food issues’ After years of yo-yo dieting, Emily Asserati, 24, a marketing coordinator from Surrey, regained her health and self-esteem through healthy choices

t Bef o re 18s

HOW The relationship ended when I went to university. Larger than my peers, I couldn’t ignore how sad the extra weight was making me feel. I tried traditional diet programmes but I didn’t have the willpower to stick to them. Instead, I made small improvements like cutting down on sugary treats and fatty meals. I also joined a weekly dance class at the gym. After two and a half years, I’d dropped to 15st 8lbs, but struggled to shift more. In September 2016, a PT friend offered to help me train. While the motivation he provided was great, it was his nutritional advice that made the biggest difference to my lifestyle.

AS TOLD TO FLORENCE MITCHELL. PHOTOGRAPHY: TOM WATKINS. HAIR AND MAKE-UP: AMI PENFOLD AND CASSIE STEWARD AT LHA REPRESENTS. STYLING: POLLY BARTLETT. WITH THANKS TO THIRD SPACE, LONDON

WEIGHT TO GO FIT KIT H&M’s black leggings are great basics.

NOW

LAZY DAY SOLUTION Aiming to log 10,000 steps on my Fitbit gets me off the sofa.

FITSPO Iskra Lawrence’s curves are beautiful.

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I’d always been a ‘big’ kid, but when I hit secondary school, the pressure to lose my puppy fat became toxic. I’d throw away my packed lunch and ignore the tummy rumbles, then ask my mum for chicken and rice for dinner – only to leave the rice and nibble reluctantly at the rest. Struggling to manage the calorie deficit, I’d end up bingeing on sugar the next day. My desire to diet was so extreme, I even tried dangerous appetite-suppressing pills. I spent my teenage years in a stressful relationship and turned to food for comfort. Calorific takeaways and sugary snacks meant that, aged 19 and 5ft 9in, I was 18st and a size 20.

After 12st 6lbs |

These days, I know how to make good food choices and I’m aware of how much sugar is in my old faves, like a Starbucks frappuccino, which makes them easier to avoid. Now, a typical day will be Greek yoghurt with nuts for breakfast, a tuna niçoise salad for lunch, carrot sticks and hummus as a snack and courgetti stir-fry for dinner. I train six times a week, combining cardio with weights and machines. If I’m meeting friends, I suggest a walk before brunch rather than sitting in a cafe. I’ve found a way to make being active part of my daily life – the buzz is amazing.

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THE EXPERT Rob Smyth, founder of London conditioning studio UN1T (un1t.com)

ONE-PIECE WORKOUT

Parallettes

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pend this month hitting the bars by all means (those Christmas parties won’t attend themselves) but why not switch it up a little by turning your attention to a different set of bars – those that’ll provide bona fide fitness gains instead of festive cheer? Hey, it’s all about balance. Parallettes are favoured by gymnasts to build strength, particularly across the upper body. ‘They allow you to challenge your body without putting too much strain on your joints,’ says Rob Smyth, owner of London conditioning studio UN1T. If you’re new to gymnastics or calisthenics, these moves might take a while to get to grips with, but you will get there – and once you’ve mastered them, you’ll be leaner and stronger and boast better muscle definition than ever before.

FYI

1. Perform as a circuit, resting for 30 secs between each move and 2 mins after a full circuit. Repeat 5 times. 2. Form is important; if you can’t do part (b) with good posture, perfect part (a) until you can.

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SHOOT THROUGH Targets: Shoulders and triceps Do: 12 reps

THE ‘L’ SIT Targets: Abs, arms and core Do: 12 reps

(a) Sit between the parallettes with your legs out in front, knees bent. Grip the middle of each bar and straighten your arms to lift your bum – and legs – off the ground. Be sure not to raise your shoulders. (b) Straighten your legs and hold for 3 secs before bending your legs back in. That’s one rep. Repeat, keeping your body off the ground throughout.

(a) Start in a high plank, holding the middle of each parallette bar directly under your shoulders. (b) Using upper-body strength, tuck your knees into your chest, then swing them through the parallettes without touching the ground. Too tricky? Bend your knees and walk through to the next position instead. You want to end up in a reverse plank, looking up to the ceiling with your hands still on the bars. Reverse the move to return to the starting position.

womenshealthmag.co.uk

WORDS: NIAMH SHACKLETON. PHOTOGRAPHY: BETH CRUTCHFIELD AT HEARST STUDIOS. HAIR AND MAKE-UP: CHARLOTTE GASKELL AT LHA REPRESENTS. MODEL: ANNABELLE BREAKENRIDGE AT W MODELS. LOCATION WITH THANKS TO JJ LOCATIONS

No need to cast fitness goals aside when you’re making merry. Small, lightweight and great for boosting upper-body strength and definition, parallettes should be top of your Christmas list


BE S T BODY

BAR NONE Get your own Men’s Health parallettes £32.99 at argos.co.uk

PRESS-UP Targets: Chest and shoulders Do: 10-12 reps

(a) Start in plank position with arms fully extended and hands gripping the bars directly under your shoulders. Lower your body by bending your elbows, keeping them tucked into your sides. Make sure to keep your body in one straight line – don’t let your bum or hips rise. (b) Pause once your chest is parallel with the top of the bars, then press yourself back up. Wonderful work.

HANDSTAND Targets: Shoulders, back and arms Do: Hold for 30 secs

(a) Begin with your hands on the parallettes and your body crouched behind the bars. Bring your left knee towards your left elbow, then do the same with the right, lifting your feet off the ground. You need to be suspended in mid-air with only your hands on the parallettes. (b) Feeling confident? Tuck your head and lift your bum into the air. When you feel stable, extend your legs so you’re in a full handstand. If you need some support, do the move against a wall.

DIP Targets: Triceps Do: 10-12 reps

(a) Sit between the parallettes with your legs straight out in front. Grip each bar and straighten your arms to lift your body off the ground, leaving your heels on the floor. (b) Bend your arms to lower your body down, keeping your elbows pointing backwards and upper arms close to your ribs. When your bum is near the floor, push back up to the starting position.

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STATS Job: Fitness entrepreneur Age: 46 Wind-down secret: Family dinners Fitness MO: Hitting the barre

BE S T BODY MY FOOD

WORDS: GEMMA CALVERT. PHOTOGRAPHY: JEFF ETTRIDGE. PAOLA WEARS: TOP AND BOTTOMS, BOTH VARLEY; TRAINERS, ADIDAS

Growing up, my parents owned Italian restaurants, so I was raised on fresh Mediterranean produce – always cooked from scratch. I eat a similar diet now: breakfast is a veggie-packed omelette or scrambled eggs with avocado, although if I’m on the run, I’ll blend a scoop of Neat Nutrition protein powder (£34, neatnutrition.com) with greens and berries into a smoothie. Lunch is a brightly coloured salad with tofu, then a handful of dried nuts and fruit as an afternoon snack. I eat dinner with my husband and three children every evening – something like harissa chicken with roasted butternut squash or spaghetti marinara.

MY FACE

WELLTH OF KNOWLEDGE

Paola Di Lanzo The founder of Paola’s BodyBarre on her hybrid workout, her beauty staples and looking on the bright side

womenshealthmag.co.uk

I know what I like when it comes to skincare. I use Bamford Cleansing Balm (£55, bamford.co.uk), Elemis Pro Collagen Eye Renewal Serum (£43, Debenhams) and Elemis Pro Collagen Marine Cream (£82, elemis.co.uk) daily. I’m a creature of habit when it comes to my make-up, too. Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser SPF 20 (£34, House of Fraser), Becca Under Eye Brightening Corrector (£22, cultbeauty. com) and Frog Prince Cream Blush by Lipstick Queen (£22, Space NK) are my daily go-tos. I never wear mascara when I’m working out – instead I rely on Swiss Clinic Eyelash Enhancer Serum (£79, swissclinic.co.uk) – it doubled the length of my lashes in six weeks.

MY FITNESS I’m one of those high-energy people who need to exercise every day. I’ve always trained hard, but before discovering Pilates in 2002, I mainly lifted heavy and did a lot of aerobics. After my first session on the mat, I knew I loved elements of traditional Pilates, but it wasn’t intense enough for me, so I developed my own method, which combines high-intensity cardiovascular training with Pilates, ballet barre conditioning, functional training and even elements of yoga. These days, I combine my signature classes with reformer and bootcamp Pilates, and it’s transformed my body shape from a muscular size 12 to a lean size eight. I’d like to do more yoga, though. I’m fairly flexible but high-intensity training leaves my muscles tight and in need of a good stretch. There are few better feelings than settling into a restorative pose in a gentle yin yoga class and feeling my body let go.

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MY FOCUS When I developed arthritis in my feet four years ago, I feared my career was over. But it hasn’t stopped me, thanks largely to the go-getting work ethic I’ve inherited from my 80-year-old father. I’m so lucky to do what I love, but managing a fitness company and being a mum of three means life gets stressful. Working out helps me stay balanced, as does leaving my phone in a different room between 5.30pm and 9pm until my kids are in bed. Work emails can wait. I didn’t used to be this strict about work/life balance, but I re-evaluated after my mum died. She’d suffered with depression for years before falling ill, and losing her made me realise life’s too short to sweat the small stuff. To see the full class schedule and prices, visit paolasbodybarre.com or email info@paolasbodybarre.com

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o b t ar m y

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SIMPLE CHANGES , GORGEOUS RESU LTS

Heart set on letting your hair down? Then put it up. There’s nothing like a good plait (or two) to navigate you through a gym session and on to the office Christmas party via a full day at your desk AMELIA JEAN JONES ELISABETH HOFF STYLING CHARLIE LAMBROS

WORDS

PHOTOGRAPHY

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TWICE AS NICE Styled by: Clo & Flo* Ask for: Dutch French braids Best for: Thick hair

MODEL WEARS: (PREVIOUS PAGE) EARRINGS, PANDORA; JACKET, URBAN OUTFITTERS. (THIS PAGE) EARRINGS, PANDORA; JUMPER, TOPSHOP. (OPPOSITE) EARRINGS, PANDORA; BLOUSE, PERSEVERANCE LONDON

Whatever your hair length, reps and sets are far easier to nail when your hair’s away from your face – these two braids make sure of it while removing the weight of your hair from around the cheekbones to make the most of your features. The progression from Dutch to fishtail plaits creates shape and texture (much needed in long tresses) and showcases voluminous, thick hair. Try this look on second-day hair: forgoing that wash means each hair shaft is coated with a fine layer of natural oils to keep flyaways at bay. Spritz roots with dry shampoo to absorb any sweat and keep it fresh.


G O OD L O OK S

CROWNING GLORY Styled by: The Braid Bar* Ask for: Claudia 2.0 braid Best for: Fine hair Crown braids are naturally more delicate and smaller in diameter so work better for the follically challenged. This clever creation uses two classic French braids to provide visible lift (and fake volume and body) on the crown. Doubling the braid back on itself takes hair off sweaty necks as well as hiding patchy partings. Work a small amount of volumising product through strands before styling to plump. Post-workout, tease small strands around the face to soften the frame.

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For step-by-step videos to create each style check out womenshealthmag. co.uk/gymbraids

TOP NOTCH

If you’re forever fighting to keep your hair out of your eyes as you plank or keep a ponytail in without a mullet-type fallout, this one’s for you. A single French braid taken across the centre of your head will not only make your face look slimmer but also make the rest of your hair appear longer. Lightly tong or crimp and mist the loose lengths with texturising spray after showering and you’re good to go.

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MODEL WEARS: (THIS PAGE) EARRINGS, J CREW; JACKET, ZARA. (OPPOSITE) EARRINGS, PANDORA; JUMPER, TOPSHOP

Styled by: Duck & Dry* Try: The gym-togin braid Best for: Long or shorter hair


IN A TWIST Styled by: Hershesons* Ask for: The Goddess Best for: Curly hair Sleek, styled braids are perfect for manes that need taming. The small braid closest to the ear takes care of ďŹ ne baby hairs while the larger braids towards the middle of the crown keep frizz at bay, with two buns clearing your neck of any wayward curls. A spritz of hairspray and you have a style that keeps the hair under control but creates texture and body for when you want to party.


Get the look

Invisibobble Slim (£6, Topshop) Just when you thought it couldn't be improved, this classic has been streamlined to be more discreet – without sacrificing how much hair it can hold. Genius.

Superdrug Ombré Coloured Grips (£2.49, Superdrug) Perfect for ombré or highlighted hair that needs to get a grip – literally.

Fudge Professional Dry Shampoo (£11.95, fudgeprofessional.com) Fed up of dusty roots? Made with tapioca starch and silicone instead of talc, this absorbs grease and boosts volume. Winner.

Redken Clean Maniac Micellar Shampoo (£9.55, redken.co.uk) Feel fresher without washing after the gym with a micellar cleanser that neutralises the smell of sweat, urban pollution and smoke.

Philip Kingsley Vented Grooming Brush (£18.50, philipkingsley.co.uk) The cushioned bristles apply pressure without damaging the hair and the round ends grip without tangling.

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Color Wow Style on Steroids Performance Enhancing Texture + Finishing Spray (£20, colorwow.com) Micro-mineral particles add the grit and grab that finer hair lacks and elastifying ingredients add bounce. Crispy and stiff updos, begone.

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GHD Contour Professional Crimper (£95, ghdhair.com) Using brand-new ceramic heat technology and multi-dimensional plates, these GHDs can add a twist, crimped panels or texture to lengths and updos.

Aveda Texture Tonic (£21, aveda.co.uk) With magnesium sulphate ions bigger than regular salt-spray particles, this adds texture without mopping away moisture.

Kérastase Fusio-Dose Homelab (£44, kérastase.co.uk) Four boosters and four concentrates make for 16 at-home treatments to give your locks a lift, no matter how bad the hair day.

Phil Smith Be Gorgeous Get A Grip No Slip Patterned Hair Grips (£2.50, Sainsbury’s) Graphic-design hair grips to turn your hair into a work of art that stays put for longer.

Palmer’s Coconut Oil Weightless Shine Dry Oil Mist (£6.99, Superdrug) This lightweight strengthening spray nourishes hair with eight natural oils including kukui, amla and maracuja – and no nasties.

Sachajuan Curl Treatment (£23, Net-a-Porter) Full of award-winning softening algae complex, plus wheat proteins for smoother styling, this does the job now and rehydrates and repairs by morning.

womenshealthmag.co.uk

MAKE-UP: GIGI HAMMOND AT FRANK AGENCY USING NARS. MODEL: EMILY SMITH AT STORM MODELS *CLOANDFLO.COM; THEBRAIDBAR.CO.UK; DUCKANDDRY.COM; HERSHESONS.COM

G O OD L O OK S


Lasting

LASH BOOSTERS If you can’t fake a flutter during party season, when can you? WH gets lashed to see which peeper-perfecting options are worth a closer look

T

is better to have mascara smudged across your face than to have no lash definition at all. Debatable. What you really need are lashes with serious staying power, whether that’s falsies that stay put through next-level training at the gym, treatments that make your own natural lashes curl like a good bicep or quickapplication products that deliver enough glam whatever the guest list or dress code. Well, allow us to do the hard work for you, so you don’t splash your festive bonus on empty promises...

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BEST FOR A NATURAL LOOK BEST FOR DITCHING THE CURLERS NOUVEAU LASHES LVL LASH LIFT FROM £45 Experience Results Value for money Tested by: Amelia Jean Jones, Health and Beauty Editor They say: A relaxing 45-minute eyes-closed treatment that tints and straightens your lashes upwards at the root to create the look of naturally longer, thicker and lifted eyelashes – no mascara required. Amelia says: This was a little uncomfortable – akin to trapping your eyelid in a bulldog clip – but it was more squeamishness than pain. Less than an hour in, my lashes looked about twice as long and lifted my entire face, making me look younger and more energised: as if that 3am binge on Stranger Things never happened.

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REVITALASH ADVANCED EYELASH CONDITIONER £104 Experience Results Value for money Tested by: Nikki Osman, Features Editor They say: Formulated to tackle the effects of eyelash ageing and stress (yes, it’s a thing), just paint the clear liquid on to the base of your lashes. The botanical formula – rich in green tea, ginseng and hair-loving biotin – protects from external damage to help dry, brittle lashes grow stronger and longer. Nikki says: A product that will eventually eliminate the need for mascara sounds too good to be true. My lashes instantly felt more conditioned and healthier and, call it wishful thinking but, a few weeks in and they already look more impressive. Roll on week eight.

womenshealthmag.co.uk


G O OD L O OK S

BEST FOR INSTANT DRAMA

WORDS: AMELIA JEAN JONES. PHOTOGRAPHY: GRAHAM WALSER AT HEARST STUDIOS

BEST FOR NO-SMUDGE LENGTHENING REVLON MEGA MULTIPLIER MASCARA £9.99 Experience Results Value for money Tested by: Florence Mitchell, Editorial Assistant/Junior Writer They say: The breakthrough formula is packed with two unique microfibres – one triangular and one heartshaped – to coat each lash with 360° realistic and buildable volume. The base has all the benefits of waterproof mascara without the need to scrub or use harsh chemicals to remove. Florence says: I’m a make-up minimalist and found this a bit tricky to apply. But after using a lash comb to smooth the product along my lashes, they looked more impressive without overwhelming my pale colouring.

womenshealthmag.co.uk

EYLURE THE LUXE COLLECTION – BAUBLE £9.95

BEST FOR SURVIVING SWEAT SESSIONS

Experience Results Value for money

BLINK BROW BAR SEMI PERMANENT LASHES £150

Tested by: Jodie Shepherd, WH contributor They say: A full, velvety lash soft enough to be worn all day. Each lash is made from a glossy silk-effect fibre, tapered to make it look like the real deal. Jodie says: While I’m a falsies aficionado, I did find these rather fiddly to apply. The glue seemed to take longer than normal to go tacky, but once the lashes were on, the compliments started rolling in. My lashes looked full, soft and sexy but bumped against my glasses because of the excessive length. They may not be totally practical, but they’re awesome for party season.

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Experience Results Value for money Tested by: Claire Sanderson, Editor They say: Lie back for a relaxing couple of hours with lash technicians who apply individual extensions to suit your face and the look you want. Take good care of them and they will remain top notch for up to six weeks. Claire says: Naturally blonde lashes mean I’m on a constant quest to find the holy grail of definition without too much application time. Hallelujah. Despite sun, sea and lashings of SPF, these stayed put on a two-week beach hol and stood the test of training at home.

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PHOTOGRAPHY PAVEL DORNAK

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1 £189, Kurt Geiger 2 £80, Reebok at Urban Outfitters 3 £195, Stine Goya 4 £38, V by Very 5 £139, Carvela

womenshealthmag.co.uk

WORDS: POLLY BARTLETT PHOTOGRAPHY: WITH THANKS TO HEARST STUDIOS

If four-inch heels aren’t your jam, suffering them while you prop up the bar in conversation with your boss (or worse, your assistant) at festive drinks is more than painful. So ditch the stilettos and wear trusty sneaks instead – the key is to bag a pair glitzy enough for gym-to-party


The gift that keeps on giving? Wellness, of course. Spread some fitness cheer this Christmas with gifts that’ll keep (you and) your loved ones kitted out for a balanced lifestyle all year long EDIT CHARLIE LAMBROS AND POLLY BARTLETT TYPE LUKE LUCAS

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YOUR WISH LIST

Because let’s face it, they’re never going to get it right. For me? How did you know? 1 Ortigia Sandalo body oil, £35, Harvey Nichols 2 Socks, £12.78, stance.com 3 The Universe Has Your Back, set of 52 motivational cards, £14.99, Amazon 4 Tinted lip balms, £9.99 each, Lanolips 5 Candles, £80 each, Tom Dixon at Selfridges 6 Coffee cup, £21.99, Joco at Amazon 7 Training gloves, £23, Nike at JD Sports 8 Blender, £650, Vitamix 9 4kg weights, £60 for a pair, liftingpretty.co.uk 10 Olympus Pen E-PL8 camera, £549, John Lewis 11 The Happy Kitchen, £14.99, Amazon 12 Sleep mask, £70, holisticsilk.com 13 Hat, £15, M&S 14 Sweatshirt, £70, ontherisestore.com 15 Sunglasses, £143, Ray-Ban 16 Eyeshadow palette, £55, Bobbi Brown 17 Kettle, £399, Dolce & Gabbana x Smeg 18 Water bottle, £150, S’well x Swarovski at Selfridges 19 Kitchen utensils set, £36, Kate Spade at John Lewis 20 Headphones, £249, Monster Diamondz at Selfridges 21 111Skin Gold Brightening Facial Treatment Mask, £85, Net-a-Porter 22 Boxing gloves, £69, fashercise.com 23 OMG! No Whey protein powder, £34, inthekin.com 24 Slippers, £110, Ugg 25 Lumie Aromatherapy Bodyclock, £129.99, Amazon 26 Leggings, £112, Koral 27 Trainers, £140, Athletic Propulsion Labs at Harvey Nichols 28 Lamp, £375, French Connection 29 Apple Watch, £329, Apple 30 Succulent, £12, Sainsbury’s 31 Gabrielle Eau De Parfum 50ml, £79, Chanel 32 Bang & Olufsen speaker, £199, Amazon 33 Backpack, £135, shopfactandfiction.com 34 Bath oils, £15, Neom 35 Bracelet, £50, Pandora 36 Sports bra, £86, Koral

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FOR YOUR DAD, BROTHER, BOYFRIEND Slick accessories for the stylish men in your life – and the ones who need a bit of encouragement, too

1 Beats Pill wireless speaker, £179.95, Beats by Dre 2 Scarf, £32.95, Birkenstock 3 Crosley record player, £89, Urban Outfitters 4 Watch, £329, Diesel 5 Stoer Vitamin Power Mask, £35, Harvey Nichols 6 Quilted duffel bag, £39.90, Benetton 7 Wireless headphones, £370, Master & Dynamic 8 Dumbbell cufflinks, £150, tateossian.com 9 Trainers, £114.95, Nike 10 AnCnoc single malt whisky, £45.99, Amazon 11 Chopping board, £45, Selfridges 12 Reeves acrylic paints set, £18.99, Amazon 13 Blender, £149.99, Smeg 14 Parka, £625, Woolrich 15 The Handbook Of Style by Esquire, £12.65, Amazon 16 Journal, £21, Kikki.K 17 Cafetière gift set, £300, Tom Dixon at Selfridges 18 Jacket, £75, Asics 19 Dunhill Icon Racing Eau De Parfum for Men (100ml), £84, Harrods 20 Electric toothbrush, £120, Bruzzoni at Selfridges 21 Camera, £250, Leica at Harrods 22 Socks, £9.95, Happy Socks 23 Men’s Health 16kg kettlebell, £28.99, Argos 24 Diffuser, £65, Tom Dixon at Selfridges 25 Shoes, £875, Moncler 26 Water bottle, £48, theactiveman.com 27 Trousers, £70, J Crew x New Balance

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Gift ideas to keep children active and entertained while you play with your presents 1 Skateboard, £59.99, pennyskateboards.co.uk 2 Wellies, £36, Hunter 3 Bat and ball set, £20, Sunnylife at Selfridges 4 Sony Walkman NW-A30, £180, Amazon 5 Mittens, £11; hat, £14, Jojo Maman Bebe 6 Watch, £38, Swatch 7 Raincoat, £73, Petit Bateau 8 Slippers, £22, Boden 9 Hat, £16, The Little White Company 10 Eye mask, £5, Next 11 Roller skates, from £59.99, Rookie Rollerskates at skatehut.co.uk 12 Skittles set, £7, Wilko 13 Seed kits, £12 each, museumoflondonshop.co.uk 14 Hoody, £81; trousers, £62, Diesel at Harrods 15 Scooter, £79.95, Amazon 16 Yoga Babies, £9.99, Amazon 17 Sony Bluetooth speaker, £59, Amazon 18 Polaroid camera, £175, Urban Outfitters 19 Trainers, £29.99, Mango Kids 20 Bag, £60, Zatchels 21 Bedtime Routine Set, £24, Bloom & Blossom 22 Crackers, £18, Asos 23 Biscuits, £35, biscuiteers.com 24 Water bottle, £30, mybkr.co.uk 25 Trainers, £18, River Island 26 Jacket, £100, Tommy Hilfiger 27 Unstoppable Me! £9.99, Amazon 28 Cushion, £35, Amara

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SECRET SANTA: £15 AND UNDER Cheap and cheerful stocking fillers for your colleagues. The ones you like, at least

1 The Affirmations Colouring Book, £9.99, Amazon 2 Salted Caramel Brownie scented candle, £4, Primark 3 Passport cover, £14, Oliver Bonas 4 Kissa Matcha Tea Trio, £15, Harrods 5 The London Wellness Guide, £14.99, Asos 6 Coasters, £4.95 each, Liberty 7 Salad servers, £9.99, H&M 8 Zodiac mug, £8, M&S 9 Hat, £7, George at Asda 10 Super Seeds And Spice Set, £12, Next 11 Protein Pancake Mix, £12.99, strippd-uk.com 12 Grapefruit & Neroli Bath Marbles, £6, Oliver Bonas 13 Resistance band, £12, Bodyism 14 Cocktail shaker, £9.50, Sainsbury’s Home 15 Inspiration rocks, £10, Kikki.K 16 Phone cover, £7.99, TK Maxx 17 Jujube Crisps, Fruit and Hickory Nut jars, £12.99, abakusfoods.com 18 Notebook, £4, Paperchase 19 Luggage tag and passport cover, £10, F&F at Tesco 20 Water bottles, £15 each, Outdoor Lights at Selfridges 21 Candles, £10, Next 22 Bronnley England roll-on fragrances, £10 each, Boots 23 Wild Rose Beauty Balm, £12.50, Neal’s Yard Remedies 24 Antler bottle stoppers, £4, M&Co 25 Decoration, £5, Primark 26 Pick Me Up Coffee Scrub, £9.99, opitat.co.uk 27 Socks, £9.99, Mango 28 Jewellery holder, £3, Tiger 29 Read This If You Want To Be Instagram Famous, £9.99, Oliver Bonas 30 Earrings, £12, River Island 31 Hair bands, £12, Oliver Bonas 32 Tumblers, £5 for two, Primark 33 Herbal teas, £11.99 each, The Niche Co at Selfridges

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# WHSTYLESPY

G O OD L O OK S

Party outfits Multiple shindigs scheduled, but new year payday is oh so far away. Don’t sweat it – these stylish bods have perfected the day-to-night Christmas do outfit without committing financial self-sabotage. Take note

ALL THAT GLITTERS

@THEFRUGALITY FOLLOWERS: 143K LIKES FOR THIS LOOK: 3,245

Skirt, £60, Asos

Reckon sequins are best left at kids’ parties? Think again. Party-ready trainers and a slogan tee stop a statement skirt looking OTT.

SUIT UP

WINTER BERRY

@MILLIEMACKINTOSH FOLLOWERS: 1.3M LIKES FOR THIS LOOK: 5,912

@LIVPURVIS FOLLOWERS: 155K LIKES FOR THIS LOOK: 4,453K

Trousers, £95, millie-mackintosh.com

Dress, £89, & Other Stories

Nothing says festive like deep berry hues. This loose-fitting number is perfect if you’ve overdone it at the buffet.

EXACT MATCH

Top, £16.99, inlovewithfashion.com Jacket, £135, millie-mackintosh.com

WORDS: POLLY BARTLETT

If you’re not one for a festive frock, go for a bold suit. Swap trainers for stilettos for an effortless day-tonight look.

Shoes, £49.99, Zara

Trainers, £169, Ash

EXACT MATCH

womenshealthmag.co.uk

Bag, £35.99, Mango

EXACT MATCH

Shoes, £68, Office

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THE

ISSUE

WHAT DO ALL THESE WOMEN HAVE IN COMMON? AS TOLD TO ROISÍN DERVISH-O’KANE

PHOTOGRAPHY IAN HARRISON


Each and every one has overcome – or still wrestles with – mental illness, from the debilitating dread of anxiety to the blindsiding flashbacks of post-traumatic stress disorder. So, as we come to the close of a year in which mental health hit the headlines for all the right, and wrong, reasons, we hear from the women who’ve been there. Some of the stories on these pages aren’t easy to read, but it is vital that you do

Take a quick glance around your workplace, spin studio or brunch table. What do you see? We’d put money on your eyes falling upon a bunch of women bossing life; women who inspire and empower you; women who make it all look easy. Statistically, one in four of these women are experiencing a mental illness. 2017 was the year a member of the royal family caused the national stiff upper lip to tremble with his candid admission of seeking counselling to help with grief; millions more shared their stories both online and off; and the Government pledged an extra £1.3 billion of annual investment in mental health services by 2021. But hold the national back pat. A study* published on World Mental Health Day in October found that 85% of UK workers thought there was still a stigma attached to mental health in the workplace. And figures from the National Centre of Social Research show that a fifth of the 5,000 people surveyed believed mental illness was brought on by a ‘lack of self-discipline and willpower’. For all our progress, when it comes to mental health, we still haven’t got it right. The stories that fill these pages paint very different pictures of the female experience of mental illness; and our 23 interviewees speak with a candour usually reserved for their nearest and dearest. If one thing unites these stories, it isn’t a lack of grit, drive and strength; it’s an abundance of the stuff. So over to them, the women who’ve been there.


MELANIE BALL 26, CHARITY WORKER

39, EDITOR, WOMEN’S HEALTH ‘It’s taken me years to speak about my depression without shame’ ‘My illness first took hold in the summer of 2004. At 26, I was a successful national newspaper journalist and had just bought my first flat in London. I was reporting on news stories all over the world, but behind closed doors, my mental health was deteriorating. It started with me sobbing uncontrollably on my sofa. When I wasn’t crying, I existed in a fog of nothingness, unable to feel happy, sad or anything in between. It felt like small weights were attached to my cheeks, stopping me smiling. As autumn approached, I began to fantasise about crashing my car into a wall so I wouldn’t have to get up each morning and pretend everything was okay. I became paranoid, convinced everyone was whispering about me. As terrible as it was, the paranoia may well have saved my life – it stopped me from taking an overdose as I was sure the pharmacist would know why I wanted the tablets. After friends persuaded me to visit my GP, I was referred to a specialist who said I needed to be hospitalised, immediately. I refused. But after another week of suicidal thoughts, in early November, I checked into a private psychiatric hospital where I remained for seven weeks.

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I was diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety, put on a cocktail of drugs and had intensive daily therapy. The following August, I was deemed well enough to reduce and ultimately come off my medication, and I had to go back into hospital for a further four weeks to detox safely from such powerful drugs. I’d always been into fitness, so I began exploring the impact exercise and nutrition can have on mental health. I haven’t taken medication since. I still have low periods, sometimes they go on for days, but nothing like 2004. I’ve since had two children, with no post-natal depression, despite being flagged as high-risk. I’m fit, healthy and happy. I’m also fortunate I had access to private healthcare. If I hadn’t, the consequences could have been tragic. It’s taken me years to speak openly, and without shame, about my depression. When I was diagnosed, I read Depressive Illness: The Curse Of The Strong by Dr Tim Cantopher. He says that those who want to excel are most vulnerable to depression. So why should I be embarrassed about being one of society’s most determined?’ Instagram @clairesanderson

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VOGUE WILLIAMS 32, TV PRESENTER ‘Anxiety no longer stops me from feeling good’ ‘It was two years ago, when details of my divorce were making the news, that my anxiety became unbearable. My fists were permanently clenched, and holding so much tension in my body was exhausting. I was shooting gritty documentaries for Irish TV and I needed a sharp brain – but mine was sluggish and forgetful. When filming was over, I went on a fitness retreat with the aim of giving my body a reset. But two days in, I was desperate to get away. Unable to perform at work or find joy in fitness, I knew things had gone too far. Back in London, my doctor diagnosed anxiety and prescribed beta blockers. I didn’t want to take them. But she reassured me, explaining that the small pink pills wouldn’t change my mood, only ease the physical symptoms like my stomach cramps, grinding teeth and racing heartbeat. And for the six months I took them, they did the job. Now, I manage without, but I visit or call my therapist fortnightly. And when I do wake up with that familiar sense of dread, I go for a run with my dog, Winston, which helps to prevent my anxiety spiralling out of control. My boyfriend, Spencer [Matthews, 28, of Made In Chelsea] knows I struggle, but rather than making a big deal out of it, he’ll make me laugh. Working out what keeps me mentally healthy is a work in progress. But anxiety no longer stops me from doing the things that make me happy.’ Everything: Beauty. Style. Fitness. Life by Vogue Williams (£19.99, Hachette Ireland)

womenshealthmag.co.uk

FRANKIE’S HAIR AND MAKE-UP: MALIN COLEMAN

CLAIRE SANDERSON

‘I spent my teens seeking language to describe the intense pain I felt. And for a long time, I thought I would find it in a psychiatric diagnosis. But at 18, told by my psychiatrist that I had ‘emotionally unstable personality disorder’ I felt more confused than relieved. Now, I choose not to use that stigma-laden label. It suggests someone who’s out of control, who can’t be managed. And that’s not fair. I work for a mental health charity. I was discharged from out-patient mental health services last year and I’m no longer on medication. Instead, I look beyond Western medicine to understand and manage my emotions, seeking help from spiritual and Celtic shamanic traditions. I rarely feel the need to define myself to others. When I do, I self-describe as someone who has experienced complex trauma. I had an extremely difficult childhood and reacted accordingly and I have no use for a diagnosis that appears to blame my “malfunctioning” brain.’ Mel delivers training for Rethink Mental Illness; rethink.org


STRENGTH IN NUMBERS

FRANKIE BRIDGE 28, PRESENTER & INFLUENCER ‘I need to take my medication just like someone with asthma needs theirs’ ‘As a child, I was prone to overthinking, but I thought it was just my personality. It wasn’t until an intense period of touring with The Saturdays in 2011 that I broke down to my doctor. When he used the words ‘depression’ and ‘anxiety’, I didn’t want to hear them – he might as well have called me crazy. I started therapy but, a year in, when I hadn’t noticed much of a difference, my therapist suggested I start taking antidepressants. I was putting everything into trying to convince everyone I was fine. Before entering a room, I’d take a deep breath and say to myself: “How would Frankie from The Saturdays behave?” I’d be louder, bubblier, happier.  Then one day, in October 2011, I found myself sobbing uncontrollably when my boyfriend [now husband], Wayne, bought the wrong yoghurt. I felt sure it meant he didn’t know who I was. I’d found the man I wanted to have children with, but I felt like I couldn’t become a mum until I was well. On my doctor’s advice, I went into hospital. I had visions of padded rooms and locked doors, but I felt at home there. Chatting to other men and women on my ward, I realised I wasn’t alone. But that four-week spell as a patient was no magic cure – there’s no such thing. Desperate to get back to performing, I pushed myself too hard and ended up having a panic attack in rehearsals. My bandmates were frightened but it taught me how important it is to open up about my mental health to those around me. When I fell pregnant in 2013, I wanted to come off my medication. But my doctor said, “You won’t be able to be a mum to your newborn child if you’re in hospital.” He was right and I continued taking them through pregnancy. I have treatmentresistant depression and I need to take medication to rebalance my brain chemistry – just like someone with asthma needs theirs. I haven’t had a panic attack for a year. Yes, I still have bad days but they don’t last as long as they used to.’ Instagram @francescabridge

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BRIDGET MINAMORE 28, WRITER ‘Our mental and physical health are intimately connected’ ‘Between October and March every year, I used to feel as if someone had cut a nerve between my mind and my body. I would sleep for 10 hours, yet struggle to get out of bed. Reading was difficult and writing even more so. My brain was clear, but it was almost as if it had lost the power to direct my body to act out my thoughts. I’ve learned to manage the mindinvading anxiety I’ve dealt with since my teens. But year after year, I just accepted the annual exhausted disconnect from my body. That is, until last autumn, when my GP said what I was experiencing could be symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) – a form of depression. She suggested my West African heritage could mean I was deficient in vitamin D (though, since then, NHS guidelines have been updated and doctors now recommend everyone supplement with vitamin D in winter). Within two weeks, I felt like myself. Yes, I still got tired. Yes, waking up to grey skies rather than sunshine outside my window wasn’t ideal. But I felt well. One year on, winter no longer fills me with dread, and I actually feel at home in my body. The experience taught me a valuable lesson: you don’t have mental and physical health, you have a mind that sits within your body. And you need to look after both.’ Bridget’s pamphlet of poetry, Titanic (Outspoken), is out now

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POPPY JAMAN 41, CEO, MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AID ROISÍN DERVISH-O’KANE 26, WH FEATURES WRITER

‘There was no word for depression in my community ’ ‘The morning I found myself sobbing on my kitchen floor, surrounded by the contents of a pint of semi-skimmed, I knew something was seriously wrong. I’m a third-generation BritishBangladeshi Muslim and I grew up in a deprived part of Portsmouth. At Mental Health First Aid, we talk about people’s stress reserves being linked to the stability of their upbringing. I know now that my exposure to racism and poverty left me more vulnerable to developing a mental illness. Before having my first daughter at 20, I’d always seen myself as a positive person. In a routine appointment with my health visitor, she interrupted my questions about my daughter’s wellbeing with one of her own: ‘Poppy, she’s fine – but are you okay?’ I broke down in tears and within the hour a doctor was explaining depression to me; prescribing antidepressants and referring me to a therapist. Though I was relieved my dark filter on life had a name, recovery was hard. There was no word for depression in my community – only an understanding of madness – and there was no Bengali medical literature to help. My family was confused and worried I’d end up psychotic. Two decades on, I’ve learned that knowing your triggers and asking for help are two examples of strength. So, on MHFA courses, we train people to spot the early warning signs of mental illness and start those key conversations. When I spot mine – no appetite; avoiding friends – I book myself in for six therapy sessions. We don’t just experience mental health when we have crippling episodes of mental illness. It’s there all the time and everyone deserves access to the tools that can help them to maintain theirs.’ Mental Health First Aid; mhfaengland.org

‘A hand on my shoulder during a panic attack; a knock on my bedroom door when I’ve hidden away for days; breezy chat interrupting the negative thoughts looping through my mind. Depression and anxiety taught me one key lesson: learn who your allies are and keep them close.’ Instagram @roisin. dervishokane

KERLLEN MACIEL 41, BLOGGER ‘Cradling my newborn daughter, I sobbed. I should have been surrounded by loved ones – the norm in Brazil, where I’m from – but I had moved to Wales with my husband, who worked away. I felt alone. A health visitor urged me to join a mum and baby group to help my symptoms: what she called “baby blues”. I was sceptical as I couldn’t leave the house. But there, I found community – it’s vital for good mental health.’ Instagram @healthyfitmum

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STRENGTH IN NUMBERS

PHOTOGRAPH OF NIYC: BRY PENNEY

HABIBA KHANOM 24, JOURNALIST ‘Before I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (another term for emotionally unstable personality disorder) two years ago, I thought that unmanageable emotions were just part of who I was. I’d been treated for an eating disorder – which I still struggle with – but BPD was different. With anorexia, my inner perfectionist gets satisfaction from controlling my size and weight, but BPD is about how others relate to me, something that’s impossible to control. BPD is at its most destructive in personal relationships. I rarely let myself get close to people, but when I do, things can get extreme. In the past, I’ve resorted to obsessive messaging and emotional blackmail – even suicide threats – to keep partners and friends. Antidepressants and antipsychotic medication help, as do skills I’ve learned in relationship therapy. I imagine these thoughts will always be swimming in my mind – I just know to make sure I limit their airtime.’ Twitter @Ha_bi_ba

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NIYC PIDGEON 30, PSYCHOLOGIST ‘I refuse to limit my life because of the trauma I went through’ ‘In May 2012, I was raped in a taxi by a man I’d met the night before. I was in Spain on holiday with friends, going to the airport to fly home. When we arrived at the airport, the man who, along with

DODIE CLARK 22, YOUTUBE MUSICIAN ‘I felt I was looking down at my body – rather than being in it’ ‘“It’s dangerous to diagnose someone so young with a mental health problem.” Those words from my doctor in 2014 validated the message in my mind: you’re not really feeling this pain; you’re inventing it. I spent the next two

the taxi driver, turned out to be part of a criminal gang, hauled my bag out of the boot as if nothing had happened. Back home, I told nobody – talking about it would only make it real. Instead, I threw myself into work and finishing my master’s in positive psychology. Years later, I had my first flashback. The Spanish mountain, the blue sky, the music on the radio. I felt it all over again. Unable to cope, my dad convinced me to get help. I would have had to wait 12 weeks for an NHS counselling appointment, so I turned to Rape Crisis. I saw a specialist counsellor, who told me I was experiencing symptoms of rape trauma syndrome, a form of PTSD. After 10 months of weekly sessions and daily meditation, I began to feel stronger. Now, my coaching business takes me all over the world. I feel anxious hailing a taxi, but I refuse to limit my life because of fear. Knowing that I’ve overcome something so traumatic makes me feel unstoppable – and determined to help other women find their strength.’ Now Is Your Chance: A 30-Day Guide To Living Your Happiest Life by Niyc Pidgeon (£10.99, Hay House)

years slipping in and out of depressive episodes. But when the intense lows subsided, I had this sense that I could never open my eyes wide enough to see the world properly; it was as if I was drunk. I’d come home from a holiday with no memory of it, and I had a sensation of looking down at my own body, rather than being in it. I’d lose whole days wondering who I was. Life went on; I wrote songs, I vlogged for over a million subscribers, I ended an emotionally abusive relationship. Then, last year, I broke down. I spent days in bed. Moving my body felt pointless, because my malfunctioning brain would still have to come with me. I needed an explanation – and one that didn’t dismiss my feelings. A new GP explained that, in addition to severe depression, I had depersonalisation disorder – periods of detachment from your body and thoughts. Antidepressants only took away my ability to feel an emotion. Instead, I surround myself with friends – on and offline. They never fail to remind me who I am.’ Secrets For The Mad: Obsessions, Confessions And Life Lessons by Dodie Clark (£16.99, Penguin)

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BRYONY GORDON 37, JOURNALIST ‘Running 26 miles wasn’t as difficult as getting out of bed’ ‘Some people describe themselves as “a bit OCD”. I won’t have it. You either have OCD or you don’t. I have a type known as Pure O. This means that, rather than outward manifestations, my brain is vulnerable to distressing thoughts like: ‘I’ve left the oven on and am going to burn my house down.’ I’ve had mania and depressive episodes and genuinely believed that I was a serial killer – but I’ve never had the meticulously ordered sock drawer people always talk about. I’ve experienced symptoms since I was 12 and was diagnosed at 17. But instead of dealing with it, my mental illness became a magnet for unhealthy coping mechanisms – bulimia, booze, cocaine, unsuitable men. In January 2015, I was struggling with depression after the birth of my daughter. Fed up with keeping quiet, I wrote about my mental health in my Daily Telegraph column. Lots of readers got in touch to say they hoped mine would be the last generation to suffer in silence. A 78-year-old said I was the first person she had ever opened up to. Inspired, I launched the support group #mentalhealthmates and even ran a marathon. Crossing the finish line felt like a privilege; as did interviewing Prince Harry about having counselling after his mother’s death. Talking about mental health is the only way forward.’ Mad Girl: A Happy Life With A Mixed-Up Mind by Bryony Gordon (£6.49, Headline)

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EMILY REYNOLDS 26, AUTHOR

‘I used to spend my life in pursuit of stimulation, which is common for people like me who are bipolar. Whether I was binge eating, downing wine before work or snorting MDMA, I was desperate to push down the emptiness. During one of my worst episodes, I was coming home from work to a rubbish-strewn flat and drinking myself to sleep. No wonder my manic self – who filled her life with drinks and deadlines and no-strings sex – felt like the fun, real me. Not only did those episodes cause damage, they were hard to empathise with. We all feel sad from time to time but, from the outside, my mania just looked like shitty behaviour. I’ve experienced psychotic episodes too; never voices in my head – it’s more banal than that, like a neverending dial tone. Occasionally, I have delusions, like when I was convinced someone had broken into my flat. They’re distressing – but I’m never a threat to anyone. But other people don’t know this. And they won’t, if we don’t start talking about conditions that are more difficult to grasp, such as psychosis, schizophrenia and personality disorders. Without understanding my condition, I wouldn’t be where I am now: indefinitely sober, in therapy and stable enough to think about eating vegetables and doing yoga. Being well is boring – and it feels good.’ A Beginner’s Guide To Losing Your Mind by Emily Reynolds (£14.99, Yellow Kite)

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KATIE PIPER 34, PHILANTHROPIST ‘Each of us has a little pocket of light but you have to look for it’ ‘When my post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was at its height (after the 2008 sulphuric acid attack that left Katie scarred and blind in one eye), I was so isolated I didn’t want to leave my parents’ house. It took my mum dropping me off at church to help me get what I needed at that time: connection with others, free from judgment. I’d found my safe space – but it will be different for everyone. Nine years on, I am so much more than what happened to me. I’m a mother and a businesswoman; I run a charity

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that supports others overcoming adversity; and, most importantly, I’m happy. But I want people to understand how difficult a process getting well has been, so that they might look on their own recovery with a little more kindness. I’m not going to tell you: “I had PTSD and anxiety and depression but now everything is great.” People don’t go through traumatic events and just become emotionally strong. I still have difficult days when I lose hours to anxiety, feeling my throat swell and my mind race with paranoid thoughts. But – thanks in part to ongoing therapy – they’re happening less and less. Mindset is important – but it’s not realistic to expect people to simply replace ‘bad’ thoughts with good ones. I’m a positive person, but someone telling me to just “cheer up” when I’m struggling won’t help.

I focus on building resilience – which to me means having a sense that, yes, sometimes things aren’t going to be okay, but accepting that. Journaling regularly helps me understand my triggers, and an evening run is brilliant for clearing the day’s crap from my mind. But no one thing – book, podcast, online community, fitness or healthy meal plan – alone is going to make anyone strong and happy. They all help, sure, but taking responsibility for your recovery is the most important thing. My advice? Look for that little pocket of light in the darkness. It could be a supportive person, a mantra, or even the feeling you get when you’re working up a sweat. It’ll be there somewhere – you just have to look for it.’ Katie Piper tours in the spring with her live show What’s In My Head; katiepiperandyou.co.uk

womenshealthmag.co.uk

KATIE’S HAIR: MIKEY KARDASHIAN. MAKE-UP: TOBY SALVIETTO

‘My mania just came across as shitty behaviour’


OTHER INTERVIEWEES’ HAIR AND MAKE-UP: CELINE NONON AND MORGAN DEFRE AT TERRI MANDUCA; CASSIE STEWARD AT LHA REPRESENTS. *SOURCE: DEVELOPING PEOPLE GLOBALLY

STRENGTH IN NUMBERS

MANDY STEVENS 46, NHS DIRECTOR ‘I went from managing nurses to being a suicidal patient’

TRACEY CROUCH MP 42, SPORTS MINISTER AND MP FOR CHATHAM AND AYLESFORD ‘I want to be someone who laughs when things are funny and cries when things are sad’

womenshealthmag.co.uk

‘On the day I was admitted to an acute psychiatric ward, I showered, put on my suit and drove to a 9am meeting in London to advise an NHS executive team on how they could improve quality. Never mind that my doctor had diagnosed me with depression 10 days earlier and I was on the verge of ending my life. I had a job to do. After the meeting, I walked to my car and just fell apart. Something told me if I started the car, I’d wind up dead. Sobbing in the driver’s seat, I called my local crisis response team, who asked me to come into hospital for a couple of nights. I knew staff on the ward would recognise a senior NHS director crying uncontrollably, unable to speak or walk, but I was past caring. I thought I’d be in hospital for two or three days. I ended up staying for three months. For the first four weeks, my mind hummed over how I could kill myself, and I came close to suicide many times. It is testament to the attentiveness of the staff that I didn’t. I was lucky enough to be cared for in one of the two mental health NHS Trusts in England ranked outstanding

by the Care Quality Commission. Had I been admitted elsewhere, I might not have had such a high level of care. When I was discharged, the extreme anxiety I felt made me a prisoner in my own home for another three months. A long career in mental health taught me that people do get better. But not everyone knows that. People kill themselves because they believe they will never recover, and that’s why the culture of silence around mental illness is so dangerous. It’s why, on one of my darkest days, I took a picture of myself. I wanted to document how desperate I felt, so that when I did eventually feel better, I could post it online to prove that recovery is possible. That picture and story have since been shared over a million times. Almost a year on, I feel like myself again and 100% recovered. I’m back working; I’m laughing with the friends who gave unwavering support; and I’m sharing my story with every NHS director of nursing. Depression feels unbearable. But recovery is possible.’ Twitter @mandystevens22

‘“You’re supposed to be a brave politician, but you can’t even look after yourself.” As I sat in the cold bathwater one late December evening, crying, this is the thought that looped through my mind. I’d responded to the break-up of a relationship a few months earlier by throwing myself into work. And despite playing sport all my life, as my anxiety levels rose, I stopped turning up to my boxercise class. Fridays filled me with dread, and when the Christmas holidays rolled around, and Parliament went into recess, the lack of structure was on another level. Left alone with my thoughts, depression hit – hard. A doctor confirmed the diagnosis, prescribed antidepressants and suggested I seek out talking therapy. But I told no one. Nobody could know that I’d failed. I returned to work and, once my medication kicked in, I rediscovered the motivation to get back in the gym. Difficult weekends were saved by the girls’ football team I coached. By spring, I felt much better, but my

GP insisted I stay on medication until I put some additional support in place. When he mentioned mindfulness, I didn’t think it would be for me. But, determined to get better, I went along to a Mindfulness For MPs course. I left my first session confused, my mind too jumpy to settle, but by my third, something started to click. I then made time to meditate daily, and an awareness of my surroundings and breathing pattern now comes naturally. With hindsight, I can see that going through that time has shown me the balance I need. I allow myself to work hard, without sacrificing the time for workouts or mindful moments. It is this that keeps me strong, without having to develop the thick skin we MPs are always told we need. I want to be someone who laughs when things are funny and cries when things are sad. If that means absorbing some of the raw emotion of those in my constituency, that’s okay. I’ve developed the tools I need to be there for them, my family and for myself.’

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GRACE VICTORY 27, VLOGGER ‘I was 12 when I was first called fat. It stung and, combined with a childhood growing up around drugs and emotional abuse, it was enough to trigger an eating disorder. I’d starve myself; then binge; then throw up. The cycle was addictive. Despite this, I set up a successful YouTube channel about body image: The Ugly Face Of Beauty (now called Grace F Victory). By 2011, people were telling me I was inspirational. But when the camera wasn’t rolling, I was self-harming and sometimes felt too low to shower. I felt like a fraud, so I decided to speak out about the body image issues that haunted me. The response made me realise I wasn’t alone. My audience and regular therapy have been invaluable, and I’m determined to help others. I want to pass on the message that 12-year-old Grace needed to hear: you are good enough.’ graciefrancesca.com

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NATASHA DEVON MBE

MICHELLE DEWBERRY

36, CAMPAIGNER

38, BUSINESSWOMAN

‘Take action – we’ve got a long way to go’

‘I have to work hard at being happy’ ‘Most people won’t understand what it’s like to want to die. I do. Now that I feel well, saying those words feels alien. I grew up with a violent father and I thought it normal for my stomach to churn with fear. I self-harmed as a teen, and when I was 17, my older sister died. For the first time, I considered suicide because I wanted to be with her. But the thought of Mum having to bury two daughters stopped me. I put pressure on myself to live for both of us. I was a successful businesswoman by 23 – I only applied to The Apprentice in 2006 to prove my dad wrong and have an experience my sister couldn’t. But instead of celebrating, I had an identity crisis. I’d achieved my goal but had no idea what to live for. It was the start of a dark time. I was lucky to have enough savings to take some time out but, years later, after the end of a toxic relationship, I turned up at my mum’s house and said I couldn’t live with the pain any more. I had weekly check-ins with my GP, more therapy and antidepressants. My friend moved in with me, too, because I was too high a suicide risk to be alone. I did get better, but I’ve had suicidal thoughts since that episode. I’m now conscious of my thoughts and endeavour to be positive. Now I work with people who are suicidal and I ask them: ‘Do you want to end your life or end your current circumstances?’ It might be long, hard and challenging, but circumstances can change.’ michelledewberry.com

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‘Working as an advocate for young people’s mental health, I give talks to students at schools and universities. By 2016, I’d worked with over 75,000 young people and I was named a mental health

ROSIE BURNHAM 24, STUDENT ‘Every mile I run, I overcome a small part of my pain’ ‘I’m a survivor. But it’s hard to remember that when I’ve been face-down on a hospital bed with a team of nurses attempting to sedate me. That’s what happens when I’m in a hospital and I experience a

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tsar by the Department of Education. But after I spoke out against their policies, I was sacked. The ensuing media storm pushed me over the edge. The anxiety I thought I’d dealt with in my early twenties resurfaced. The day I had a panic attack lying on my bed, I knew it was time to seek help again. With hindsight, I can see that the days when my anxiety left me housebound have actually made me better at my job. They reminded me just how brutal mental illness can be. In the 18 months since, my recovery has involved a lot of trial and error. But with the help of a counsellor, I’m back to a place of relative balance. NHS provisions for mental health aren’t poor simply because of a lack of awareness – Government spending cuts play a part, too. So now we’re talking, I want to encourage everyone to get their voice heard. Sign that petition; write to your MP; go on a protest. We’ve all started something – and it will take all of us to keep pushing forward.’ A Beginner’s Guide To Being Mental: An A-Z by Natasha Devon (Bluebird) is out on 31 May

visceral, full-body flashback to the abuse I suffered, aged 13, at a co-ed boarding school. I relive being raped, burned by cigarettes and washing blood off in the bath while my attackers looked on. I stopped eating and, after losing 10kg, I was pulled out of school. But the mental and physical scars continued to haunt me. Aged 15, I was diagnosed with PTSD. Therapy helped; antipsychotic medication didn’t. I’ve been treated in standard outpatient units. I’ve also been sectioned and spent subsequent days in an empty white room. Despite everything I’ve been through, I’m determined not to be a victim of my attackers, or of our healthcare system – though I believe it’s totally ill-equipped to support those who have experienced acute trauma. Instead of waiting around to receive the care I need, I lace up my trainers and run. I’m doing three marathons in the next 12 months. Each one represents one of my attackers – who have never been brought to justice – and every mile I run, I’ll overcome a small part of my pain.’ rosieburnham.com

CLAIRE EASTHAM 30, AUTHOR ‘Social anxiety is a bully. She tells me I’m an embarrassment; that I should hide rather than seek out the things I want from the world. I had my first panic attack at school. My symptoms lessened at university but came back with a vengeance when I got a job in publishing. Raised to think whining gets you nowhere, I kept quiet – until I pushed myself to breaking point. Within minutes of explaining my symptoms to my GP, he diagnosed social anxiety disorder. I was signed off work, put on antidepressants, and given CBT to disrupt the negative thoughts. I thought asking for help meant I’d lose everything. But it changed my life for the better. Colleagues were happy to have me back; friends rallied round; and the man I’d feared would run a mile married me.’ We’re All Mad Here: The No-Nonsense Guide To Living With Social Anxiety by Claire Eastham (£12.99, Jessica Kingsley)

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DAISY BUCHANAN 32, AUTHOR

JADA SEZER 29, MODEL AND ACTIVIST ‘Taking care of my mind is not something I’ll keep quiet’ ‘Studying psychology and psychotherapy at university, I had a textbook knowledge about the mechanics of mental health. But it’s only in the last year that I’ve understood my own. When my father died four years ago, I pushed myself to achieve in my studies and at work to distract from the pain. When a long-term relationship broke down, the anxiety I’d been trying to outrun for years finally caught up with me. As a blogger and campaigner, my job was all about connecting with people at events, but some days I was too afraid to leave the house. It took a friend inviting me to a hot yoga class to turn things around. When the hour was up, I looked a mess, but felt lighter than I had done in weeks. I went back the next day – and the next. Something clicked in my brain and body; I realised how much exercise meant to me, and it’s been a vital part of my toolkit since. It’s been more than a year since I walked into that yoga class, and I finally feel ready to open up about my journey. I regularly give talks to young people about mental health, and I’ve never wanted my personal story to outweigh the tools I’m teaching them. But I asked myself: why am I going to keep my story hidden? I’ve learned first-hand how to take care of my mind and that’s not something to keep quiet about.’ Jada is an ambassador for Young Minds UK; youngminds.org.uk

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‘“You’re okay. And that’s okay.” When I realised this in the shower a few months ago, I spent the next hour on my bed in a damp towel, having a happy cry. I’d read these words before. But for the first time, I actually believed them. For someone whose anxiety disorder is made worse by low self-esteem, this was huge. School bullies’ taunts about my weight and an innate sense of shame around my body contributed to a lifelong quest for validation. I went on to achieve ‘A’ grades, national bylines and even landed my dream job. But instead of pausing to pat myself on the back, the pressure left me experiencing daily panic attacks. Getting well has been a messy, unpredictable journey with no neat solutions. A low daily dose of an antidepressant helps; fortnightly therapy sessions are essential. Leaving London for Margate, I’ve found swimming. Moving through the water, I’m able to work through the noise in my mind.’ How To Be A Grown-Up by Daisy Buchanan (£14.99, Headline)

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The

STARS of the BEAUTY WORLD

The right products can elicit audible gasps and double takes, so why waste your cash on anything but the best? WH’s judges have whittled down thousands of serums, spritzes and powders for our annual Beauty Awards to bring you the most innovative must-have products PHOTOGRAPHY MITCH PAYNE

PAPER ARTIST ISOBEL BARBER

MEET THE JUDGES CLAIRE SANDERSON Editor of Women’s Health, with a passion for products that truly work

GABRIELA PEACOCK Modelturnednutritional therapist and founder of GP Nutrition

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GABRIELA DANIELS Programme director of science, London College of Fashion

DEBBIE THOMAS Skincare and laser specialist with A-list clients including Jourdan Dunn

KARINE JACKSON Hairstylist and president of the Fellowship for British Hairdressing

JO FAIRLEY Leading beauty writer and co-author of The Ultimate Natural Beauty Bible

ANJALI MAHTO Consultant dermatologist and British Skin Foundation spokesperson

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SAM AZZI BRYANT GLASSER Internationally Awardrenowned winning master make-up artist perfumer and who’s worked founder of The for Burberry Perfumer’s and Dior Story

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AMELIA JEAN JONES Health and Beauty Editor at Women’s Health and self-confessed SPF obsessive

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BEAUTY AWARDS

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Skin-saving products to protect and illuminate 1. BEST FAKE TANNER St. Tropez Self Tan Express Bronzing Face Sheet Mask (£8, Selfridges) ‘Enriched with plumping hyaluronic acid, this is the easiest way to tan your face without dehydration.’ AJJ

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2. BEST FACE SUNSCREEN Natura Bissé Diamond White Oil-Free Brilliant Sun Protection SPF50 PA+++, (£81, Harrods) ‘A heavy-duty protective layer with a subtle touch of skinperfecting colour.’ DT

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3. OUTSTANDING INNOVATION: SUN Dr Russo SPF30 Sun Protective Day Cleanser Sunscreen (£48, drrussoskincare.com) ‘Forget complicated routines – washing your face with protection is the future.’ AJJ

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4. BEST BODY SUNSCREEN Ultrasun Tan Activator Body SPF30 (£28, M&S) ‘High-level protection combined with a tanning activator – sun worshippers: rejoice!’ DT

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HAIR

The mane event to wash away bad hair days for good

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5. BEST HAIR TOOL Wet Brush Pro (£11.99, cultbeauty.com) ‘Glides through wet hair to swiftly and painlessly remove tangles without damaging the hair when it’s at its most vulnerable.’ KJ

6. BEST POST-GYM HAIR PRODUCT Aveda Shampure Thermal Dry Conditioner (£26, aveda.co.uk) ‘Soaks up smells and workout sweat from your hair without drying the scalp.’ CS

7. BEST AT-HOME TREATMENT Davines Naturaltech Renewing Serum Superactive (£47.50, Liberty) ‘A few drops of this invigorating serum in towel-dried hair works miracles on thin, flat locks.’ AJJ

8. OUTSTANDING INNOVATION: HAIR Percy & Reed Perfectly Perfecting Wonder Treatment Oil + (£25, percyandreed.com) ‘Wet or dry, fine or thick, apply to lengths or all over to strengthen and nourish.’ AJJ

9. BEST AT-HOME HAIR COLOUR John Frieda Sheer Blonde Brilliantly Brighter Treatment (£9.99, Boots) ‘This treatment adds a pearlescent quality so your hair naturally catches the light.’ KJ

10. BEST CONDITIONER Pantene Pro-V Repair & Protect Foam Conditioner (£3, Boots) ‘This absorbs into the hair and moisturises from the inside out without leaving a residue.’ AJJ

11. BEST HAIR STYLING PRODUCT Shu Uemura Blow Dry Beautifier (£23.10, lookfantastic.com) ‘This works like a temporary keratin treatment to smooth heat-damaged hair. Fantastic.’ KJ

12. BEST SHAMPOO Herbal Essences Bio:Renew Argan Oil Of Morocco Shampoo (£6, Boots) ‘With no parabens or colourants, this antioxidantinfused formula brings tired, damaged hair back to life.’ CS

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The scents you want in your perfume wardrobe 13. OUTSTANDING INNOVATION: FRAGRANCE Gucci Bloom (£99, Debenhams) ‘Rich notes of tuberose and jasmine blend with soft, powdery honeysuckle. It feels like walking through a thriving garden.’ AG

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14. BEST PRESTIGE FRAGRANCE Narciso Rodriguez Narciso Poudrée (£72, John Lewis) ‘Velvety jasmine, sensual wood and powdery musk – this sexy scent mimics the heat of naked skin.’ AG

15. BEST DESIGNER FRAGRANCE Givenchy Dahlia Divin Nude (£66, Debenhams) ‘Fresh, sweet and sexy. This is my new signature scent. Plus, it’s also longlasting. Definitely a winner.’ CS

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War paint that wins the beauty battle 16. BEST EYESHADOW BareMinerals 5-In-1 BB Advanced Performance Cream Eyeshadow (£19, bareminerals.co.uk) ‘This SPF-enriched and moisture-infused formula is buttery enough to apply with the fingers.’ SB

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17. BEST PRIMER Glamglow Glowstarter Mega Illuminating Moisturizer (£36, glamglow.co.uk) ‘Floods your face with hyaluronic acid, vitamins and antioxidants plus illuminating pearl particles to blur and brighten.’ AM

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18. BEST NAIL ENAMEL Sally Hansen Color Therapy Nail Polish (£8.99, Boots) ‘No base coat required – caring argan oil complex nourishes and improves the condition of nails as it colours.’ AJJ

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19. BEST LIP PRODUCT Dolce & Gabbana Miss Sicily Colour And Care Lipstick (£27, Harrods) ‘Combines the sheer colour of lipstick with the shine of a gloss and the nourishing care of a balm – perfect.’ CS

20. BEST CONCEALER Chanel Palette Essentielle Conceal – Highlight – Colour (£52, chanel.com) ‘A multi make-up offering that fits in your palm – the concealer is so effective it can seamlessly hide rogue pimples or sizeable breakouts.’ AM

21. BEST BROW PRODUCT Blink Brow Bar Top Coat (£18, blinkbrowbar.com) ‘This colourless gel immediately waterproofs, sweat-proofs and smudge-proofs your eyebrow make-up.’ SB

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BEAUTY AWARDS

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22. BEST MASCARA Diorshow Pump’n’ Volume Instant Oversize Volume Squeezable Mascara (£25.50, dior.com) ‘Squeeze the innovative flexible tube to load the brush with the perfect amount of volumising formula.’ CS

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23. BEST MAKE-UP TO WORK OUT IN Murad MattEffect Blotting Perfector (£32, murad.co.uk) ‘The marshmallow powder absorbs oil and sweat without draining the skin of moisture.’ AM

24. BEST BLUSHER/ BRONZER/ HIGHLIGHTER Guerlain Terracotta Light Sheer Bronzing Powder (£33.30, escentual.com) ‘Five shades warmed with subtly mixed golden particles for a delicate, believable bronze.’ SB

25. BEST EYELINER Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Waterproof Liner (£23.50, bobbibrown. co.uk) ‘This precision liner instantly forms a waterproof, sweat-proof and fade-proof film that can stand up to anything.’ AJJ

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26. OUTSTANDING INNOVATION: MAKE-UP IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ SPF50+ Cream (£30, Selfridges) ‘Developed with plastic surgeons to be antiageing, hydrating, brightening and colour-correcting.’ AJJ

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27. BEST FOUNDATION Shiseido Synchro Skin Glow Luminizing Fluid Foundation SPF20 (£34, House Of Fraser) ‘Uses cuttingedge technology to sync with daily changes in your skin’s moisture levels for a glowing complexion.’ CS

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Cleansers, scrubs and creams that mean business 28. BEST BODY OIL/ MOISTURISER/SERUM Sol De Janeiro Brazilian Bum Bum Cream (£18, cultbeauty.com) ‘Contains one of the most potent forms of caffeine to smooth where you need it most and smells amazing.’ CS

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29. BEST POST-GYM BODY CLEANSER Aveeno Daily Moisturising Body Yogurt Wash (£5.26, Boots) ‘Enriched with oatmeal and nutrientrich yogurt to nourish and leave skin soft and cleansed.’ AM

30. BEST BODY TOOL Braun Silk-Épil 9 SkinSpa (£179.99, uk.braun.com) ‘Removes hair as short as a grain of sand, exfoliates and massages to boost blood flow and help prevent dimples.’ AJJ

31. BEST BODY EXFOLIATOR Jo Malone Lime Basil & Mandarin Exfoliating Shower Gel (£30, jomalone.co.uk) ‘Jojoba beads and bamboo stem soften as they slough away dead skin cells.’ CS

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32. OUTSTANDING INNOVATION: BODY Clarins Body Fit (£39, clarins.co.uk) ‘The science is solid. Quince leaf extract encourages fat cells to stay supple and contours your bumpy bits.’ GD

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BEAUTY AWARDS

36. BEST SERUM/OIL Philosophy Time In A Bottle 100% In-Control (£55, John Lewis) ‘Vitamin C and red grape extract help skin repair from ageing that’s already occurred and protect its condition in the future.’ CS

40. BEST FACE EXFOLIATOR Vichy Idéalia Night Peeling (£30, Boots) ‘4% glycolic acid and balancing agents improve skin texture without irritation.’ AM

33. OUTSTANDING INNOVATION: SKIN SkinCeuticals H.A. intensifier (£82.95, skinceuticals.co.uk) ‘Simple yet powerful, this clinically proven hyaluronic heavyweight helps tired skin bounce back and look younger.’ GD

37. BEST EYE PRODUCT Olay Eyes Ultimate Eye Cream (£24.99, olay.co.uk) ‘Not only does this three-in-one brighten, smooth fine lines and reduce puffiness, its peptides and vitamins renew the skin’s surface over time, too.’ DT

41. BEST FACE CLEANSER Estée Lauder Nutritious MicroAlgae Pore Purifying Cleansing Jelly (£21, esteelauder.co.uk) ‘Cold-processed, nutrient-dense algae helps skin glow while it cleanses. I love a multitasker.’ DT

34. BEST FACE GADGET Neutrogena Visibly Clear Light Therapy Acne Mask (£59.99, Boots) ‘As futuristic as it looks, this mask emits blue light to kill acne-causing bacteria and red light to reduce inflammation caused by breakouts.’ AJJ

38. BEST FACE MASK Charlotte Tilbury Instant Magic Facial Dry Sheet Mask (£18, charlottetilbury.com) ‘This no-mess mask has ear loops so you can multitask as you infuse skin with its unique dry vitamin B3, plant cell and peptide magic.’ DT

42. BEST DAY CREAM Dr Sebagh Supreme Day Cream (£145, drsebagh.com) ‘Not only nourishes skin, this also contains melanin to protect against high-energy visible light from computer and phone screens.’ DT

35. BEST NIGHT CREAM Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief (£34, clinique.co.uk) ‘Immediately hydrates, smooths and plumps, then helps skin maintain hydration with micro-molecules of hyaluronic acid, which go deep and attract moisture like a magnet.’ CS

39. BEST NEW BRAND MZ Skin, from £19 ‘The doctor-led effective formulations are clinically tested and results-driven, plus they smell and feel fabulous on your skin.’ AJJ

43. BEST POSTGYM CLEANSER Elemis Gentle Foaming Facial Wash (£28, elemis.com) ‘This satisfying foaming cleanser deposits a fine layer of Amazonian pracaxi oil on to the skin to soften and balance.’ CS

FACE Everything you need for healthy, glowing skin

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THE RETAIL AWARDS

50. BEST UK SPA Kiss The Moon at Middleton Lodge ‘All the luxury and skin-loving benefits of a regular spa but with the added Zen of knowing you’re using 100% natural products with zero compromise.’ AJJ

51. BRAND TO WATCH Buxom (From £10, buxomcosmetics.com) ‘Tingling lip glosses, bold eye pigments and volumising mascaras – this fun new brand is all about making the best of what you’ve got.’ GD

52. BEST IN-STORE BEAUTY TREATMENT Skin Laundry Laser & Light Facial (£60, Liberty) ‘This 15-minute YAG laser and IPL facial leaves skin clearer, tighter and brighter with no recovery time. Perfect for a lunchtime skin fix.’ AJJ

VISIT WOMENSHEALTHMAG. CO.UK/BEAUTYAWARDS FOR THE CHANCE TO WIN ALL OF THE WINNING PRODUCTS* *excluding treatments

NATURAL

It’s all about back-to-basics goodness 44. OUTSTANDING INNOVATION: NATURAL Garnier SkinActive Hydrate + Nourish With Honey Flower Botanical Day Cream (£5.99, Boots) ‘Feeds dry skin with the antioxidant goodness of honey to leave it supple and glowing.’ AJJ

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45. BEST VEGAN BRAND Spongellé (from £6.50, spongelle.co.uk) ‘Just add water to this brand’s body wash-infused buffers to cleanse, nourish and exfoliate – without worrying about animal cruelty.’ GP

46. BEST NATURAL HAIRCARE RANGE Kérastase Aura Botanica (from £21.20, kerastase.co.uk) ‘Contains active ingredients coconut and argan oil, scientifically proven to improve the health of the hair fibre – this is next-level natural haircare.’ GD

47. BEST NATURAL SKINCARE BRAND Sanoflore Laboratoire Bio (From £17.50, feelunique.com) ‘Organic cosmetics are tricky, but this brand has nailed pure, effective and funto-use formulas.’ GD

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48. BEST NATURAL BODY BRAND Soaper Duper (from £5, Tesco) ‘Good for your skin and the planet, this brand’s products are full of natural goodness with no parabens, colourants or other nasties – and the packaging is recyclable.’ JF

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49. BEST NATURAL MAKE-UP BRAND Dr. Hauschka (dr.hauschka.com) ‘When make-up is 100% natural and free from preservatives, it’s no wonder it looks great on even the most sensitive skin.’ AJJ

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Ayurvedic eating is the ancient Eastern philosophy that’s feeding into the Western diet. Exclusively for WH, Jasmine Hemsley shares some favourite recipes from her brand new book WORDS NIKKI OSMAN

PHOTOGRAPHY NICK HOPPER

– air, space, earth, fire and water. Those elements are split into three doshas – kapha, pitta and vata – which are like personality types, but are also ascribed to time of the day, seasons and life stages. ‘The main thing to take from the book, without knowing the doshas or anything else, is to look after your digestive fire,’ Hemsley explains. ‘This is what we in the West refer to as your metabolism. It’s a real emotional centre and it’s so important to take care of it.’ So what does eating for your digestive fire look like? For starters, it’s eating your biggest meal of the day at lunch, when your metabolism is working the hardest. This is also the time to eat animal protein or raw food, both of which are harder to digest. ‘When I first looked into Ayurveda, I thought I could never live this way,’ Hemsley adds. ‘But the beauty of it is it isn’t a diet or a strict set of rules. It’s about listening to your body and following your instincts. I like to think of it as a dance; if you’re feeling like this, you probably need a bit of that.’ Exclusively for WH, she shares five hearty Ayurvedic recipes – and not a pitta bread in sight…

Eating for your dosha. Balancing your elements. Nourishing your digestive fire. What the hell are we talking about? Ayurveda – the ancient Eastern philosophy that’s taking healthy eating by storm (or water, to use the correct element). If you still think pitta is just a type of bread, help is at hand, in the form of Jasmine Hemsley (pictured). No family name has become quite so synonymous with wellness since Jasmine and her sister Melissa published their first best-selling cookbook in 2014. (Recently overheard in the WH office: ‘I’m feeling so Hemsley today.) Now, Jasmine’s flying solo with new book East By West: Simple Ayurvedic Recipes For Ultimate Mind-Body Balance. ‘I discovered Ayurveda 15 years ago on a trip to India,’ she tells WH. ‘Since then, I’ve been absorbing more and more of it. So much of the Hemsley + Hemsley philosophy – eating at certain times of the day, choosing cooked food over raw food – is rooted in Ayurveda.’ First up, the lingo. There are five elements

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FIRE IN YOUR BELLY

cals 443

sat fat 17.5g

sugar 23g

serves 4

Parsnips aren’t only for roasts – they make a beautiful creamy base for spices. Courgettes add a lovely crunch to their sweet heaviness. INGREDIENTS 2 tbsp flaked almonds • 1 tsp cumin seeds • 1 tsp mustard seeds • 1 large onion, finely sliced • 1 large mild green chilli, sliced • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped • 1cm fresh ginger, grated • 1 cinnamon stick • 3 mediumlarge parsnips, peeled and cut into 3cm chunks • 1 tsp ground turmeric • ½ tsp chilli powder • 2 large tomatoes, skinned, deseeded and chopped • 1½ tsp tamarind paste mixed with 1 tbsp boiling water or 1 tbsp prepared tamarind • 250ml water • 2 medium courgettes, cut into chunks • 400ml tin of full-fat coconut milk • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper • 50g chard or spinach leaves, washed • handful of fresh coriander, finely chopped (optional) For the cauliflower ‘rice’: 2 large cauliflowers • 1 tsp ghee or coconut oil • 4 tbsp water • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper METHOD 1. Heat a pan and dry toast the flaked almonds until lightly browned at the edges. Set aside. 2. In a saucepan, toast the cumin and mustard seeds until fragrant. 3. Add the rest of the ingredients – except the green veg and coconut milk – and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for 20 mins. 4. Add the courgettes and coconut milk, and season well with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring until the mixture is simmering again, for a further 15 mins, folding in the spinach or chard 5-10 mins before the end. 5. Meanwhile, remove the cauliflower leaves and the tough end of the stalk. Use a food processor or grater to grate the cauliflower into rice-sized pieces. Melt the ghee in a wide frying pan, add the cauliflower and water and mix. Cover and steam over a medium heat for 4-5 mins until tender but with a little bite. Check after 3-4 mins to make sure there’s still water in the pan to avoid it catching. Season to taste and serve. 6. Plate up the cauliflower rice and serve with a generous portion of the curry. Scatter with the toasted almonds and the fresh coriander as a garnish, if using.

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FIRE IN YOUR BELLY

sat fat 7g

cals 316

sugar 16.8g

serves 2

Rice pudding can divide a room. However, this Ayurvedic version has ignited a new passion for the dish in everyone who’s tried it. Perfect for when it’s cold outside. INGREDIENTS 60g basmati rice • 300ml whole milk, plus extra, warmed, to serve (optional) • 100ml water • ½ tsp ghee • 1 tbsp chopped medjool dates • 10g currants • 10g blanched almonds or cashews, chopped and soaked for 1 hr • 5 cardamom pods (add whole or just use the seeds) • large pinch of ground turmeric • 2½cm fresh ginger, finely chopped For the topping (optional): ½ tsp coconut oil • 1 tsp raw coconut slices • ½ tsp jaggery

METHOD 1. Rinse the rice in a sieve, then drain and place in a saucepan. Add all the other ingredients. 2. Bring the mixture slowly to the boil, stirring occasionally. Simmer for about 20 mins, until the rice is soft and the consistency is thick and creamy. 3. For the optional topping, add the coconut oil, coconut slices and jaggery to a small saucepan over a medium heat. Cook for 1-2 mins, stirring constantly, until lightly golden and crisp. 4. Divide the milk rice into two bowls and add the topping, if using. If you like, top with warm milk. BTW You might find that you feel hot during and after eating this, and expel some gas in due course – these are both good signs, promise.

cals 179

sat fat 2.3g

sugar 2.5g

serves 2

A real back-to-basics recipe – and perfect for using up broccoli stalks. INGREDIENTS 250g broccoli (mostly stalks), chopped • 2 tbsp sliced leek • 240ml water • 8 whole cashews or 1 heaped tbsp sunflower seeds, soaked for 1 hr and drained, or 1 tbsp ghee • ½ tsp sea salt • freshly ground black pepper To serve: extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling • handful of dehusked watermelon seeds (I love the brand Mello) • handful of black sesame seeds METHOD 1. Simmer the veg in the water until tender and bright green. Blend with the soaked cashews, sunflower seeds or ghee, and season with salt and pepper. 2. Serve with plenty of extravirgin olive oil and a generous sprinkling of watermelon seeds and black sesame seeds.

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FEATURES SLUG

cals 192

sat fat 2g

sugar 8.3g

serves 3

This recipe is inspired by the savoury uttapams (thick mini pancakes) I discovered on my first trip to India. INGREDIENTS 80g basmati rice • 40g urad dal • pinch of fenugreek seeds • 360ml water • ¼ tsp salt • 1 tbsp maple syrup • 1 tsp vanilla extract • 1 tsp ground cinnamon, plus extra for sprinkling • 1 tsp ghee or coconut oil, plus more if necessary • 20g raisins • 18 cashews, crushed or roughly chopped METHOD 1. First, make the batter – at least 24 hours before you wish to serve. Rinse the rice and place in a bowl with the urad dal, fenugreek seeds and 180ml water. Cover and leave to soak for 5-6 hours. Drain the mixture and blend in a strong blender with 120ml water and the salt until you get a fine but grainy consistency.

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2. Cover loosely, leaving a gap (you can transfer the mixture to a bowl if you need the blender jar) and allow to ferment for a minimum of 8 hrs in a warm place such as an airing cupboard. This makes enough for 12 pancakes. Now, let’s get cooking. 3. Mix in the remaining 60ml water and the maple syrup, vanilla extract and ground cinnamon. 4. Melt the ghee in a 25cm non-stick frying pan on a medium–high heat. 5. Pour 2 tbsp of the batter into the hot pan, which should spread to a thick 9cm pancake. Working quickly, stud the pancake with 5 raisins, a few crushed cashew pieces and a tiny pinch of cinnamon. Repeat, working your way around the pan in the spaces (you should fit three in your pan). 6. Fry on a low heat until small bubbles appear on the surface, then flip over and cook on the other side until crisp and golden. Remove and repeat until all the batter is used up, adding a little more oil or ghee if needed.

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FIRE IN YOUR BELLY

sat fat 14g

cals 639

sugar 10g

serves 4

This has lots of antioxidant and nutrient-rich veggies to boost brainpower, plus two potent herbs for cognition and memory if you can get your hands on them. INGREDIENTS 1 tbsp ghee • ½ tsp Shankhpushpi powder (optional) • ½ tsp Brahmi powder (optional) • ½ tsp ground turmeric • ¼ tsp asafoetida • ½cm fresh ginger, grated • 1 red chilli,

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finely chopped • sea salt • 200g baby spinach • 4 vine-ripened tomatoes, skinned, deseeded and chopped • 350g broccoli florets • 300g French beans, cut into 2½cm lengths • 115ml double cream or coconut milk • juice of ½ lemon • 50g each of skin-on almonds and walnuts, lightly toasted and roughly chopped • 2 tbsp chopped coriander • cooked basmati rice, to serve METHOD 1. Gently melt the ghee in a frying pan over a low heat and stir in

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the Shankhpushpi and Brahmi powders, if using, with the other ground spices. Add the ginger and chilli along with a pinch of sea salt. Heat and stir for 2 mins over a medium heat. 2. Add the spinach gradually over a medium-high heat and stir until wilted. Add the tomatoes, broccoli and French beans, then place the lid on the pan and simmer for 3-4 mins until the beans and broccoli are still bright in colour but sufficiently tender. 3. Stir through the cream and heat

for a couple of mins. Remove from heat. Add salt to taste if needed. 4. Transfer to a serving dish, drizzle with lemon juice and sprinkle with the almonds, walnuts and fresh coriander. Serve with basmati rice. East By West: Simple Ayurvedic Recipes For Ultimate Mind-Body Balance (£25, Bluebird) is out now

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Addicted

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to LOVE We’re not talking serial bed-hopping – we’re talking a raw, deep and destructive craving for one of the strongest emotions out there. New research is revealing the darker side to love WORDS ALIX O’NEILL

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LOVE AND OTHER DRUGS

our heart is racing, your palms are sweating, you feel dizzy. There are no flashing lights, music or crowds – you’re alone in bed at 3am, stone cold sober, reading a text. From that person. A smile creeps over your face and you feel like your heart could burst right out of your chest. It’s official: you’re in love. If you’ve ever felt those butterflies when you’ve locked eyes, recruited the collective wisdom of your nearest and dearest to decipher the subliminal message of a WhatsApp or felt sick to your stomach when they walk out the door after Sunday snuggles, you’ll have felt the addictive qualities of love. A major review of existing research earlier this year confirmed that being in love can drive people to drastic behaviour in the same way as an addiction to alcohol or drugs; and in much the same way, some are more susceptible to the addiction than others. Sobering news for anyone who’s ever contemplated doing a surprise drop by (but it would be romantic, right?). So what’s the neuroscience behind that neurosis?

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The team at the Oxford University Centre for Neuroethics reviewed 64 studies of love and addiction published between 1956 and 2016 and found an abundance of behavioural, neurochemical and neuroimaging evidence to support the claim that love can be addictive. They specifically identified two sorts. First, there’s a ‘broad’ type, which falls on the same spectrum as conventional love, but with stronger cravings. More concerning is the ‘narrow’ type – the more extreme form of love addiction – which refers to people who feel such strong cravings towards the object of their affections that it influences their behaviour in drastic ways. Researchers linked both types to experiencing an unusually strong reward signal in the brain, driving the person to pursue that experience again. ‘This narrow view counts only the most extreme forms of love as being potentially addictive in nature,’ says Brian Earp, who led the study. ‘Research in this vein focuses on sexual compulsions, toxic or abusive relationships, abnormal attachments and unhealthy tolerance of negative life and relationship outcomes. I think of addiction as being on a wide spectrum. On one end, you’ll find normal appetites for love, and on the other there’s a desire for rewarding substances or behaviours that’s so powerful it becomes dangerous. Being in love is rewarding for most people. It’s only when you behave in ways that are harmful to yourself and others that you begin to have a problem.’  The idea of love as a pathology is nothing new. Biological anthropologist Dr Helen Fisher led one of the first studies to examine the brains of the broken-hearted. In 2013, Dr Fisher and her colleagues scanned the brains of 10 women and five men who had all recently experienced a break-up. They found that when participants looked

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at photos of their former partners, the brain’s reward system was activated – specifically dopamine pathways associated with motivation, ecstasy and longing. Interestingly, regions of the brain associated with cocaine and cigarette addiction were also activated. Dr Fisher thinks that this addictive response is rooted in evolution. ‘It’s my belief that the brain’s circuitry for romantic love evolved millions of years ago to enable our ancestors to focus their mating energy on one person at a time,’ she explains. ‘When you’ve been rejected in love, you’ve lost your love life’s greatest prize, which is a partner to mate with,’ adds Dr Fisher. ‘The brain system probably becomes activated to help you win that person back. This is known as “the protest phase”.’

TAINTED LOVE As reassuring as it is to blame evolution for that drunken voicemail (or six) you left on your ex’s phone, it begs the question: at what point does the odd drunk dial spill over into something more damaging? ‘Any addiction is identified by the chaos, ill health or disruption caused to a person, their family and their working life,’ says Annie Bennett, a psychotherapist specialising in love addiction. ‘A mild obsession won’t have serious consequences and, over time, it will fade – even if it doesn’t feel like it now. But love addicts become lost in the depths of their denial over the reality of that relationship.’  Dr Fisher agrees that love is a natural addiction that can be good or bad for us. ‘A positive addiction is when the person’s love

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AMOUR AND MORE

is reciprocated, non-toxic and appropriate (for example, neither partner is married to someone else); a negative one is when the subject’s feelings are inappropriate, toxic, not reciprocated or formally rejected. Like all addicts, those hooked on love will often go to extremes in search of their next fix – and yes, that can involve doing degrading or dangerous things to win back the object of their affections or find a new partner.’

multiple people at once in case a relationship didn’t work out and, on one occasion, after an argument with a boyfriend who had already broken up with her three times, she resorted to drastic action. ‘He walked out of the house after a row and just never came back,’ she recalls. ‘He ignored my texts for a week, but we had a “share location” function on each other’s phones, so I kept on eye on his movements and, when I saw that he was on his way to his dad’s house, I decided to turn up at the same time. He was certainly shocked to see me. We actually ended up reconciling that time. But it didn’t last. If

destructive relationships and feeling empty or incomplete when alone. ‘People will rarely come to me realising they’re a love addict. They’ll want to work through the end of a relationship and we’ll later uncover that they’ve been in a fantasy over that relationship,’ adds Walton-Flynn. ‘I would say that if a friend tells you you’re acting a bit crazy and you’re able to acknowledge that and take a step back, then that’s really positive. But if your fixation with that person starts to make life unmanageable – you’re no longer eating or sleeping much, you’re using alcohol as a crutch, you’re sleeping around to try to replicate the feeling you got from that person – that’s when it’s time to seek help.’

‘LOVE ADDICTS BECOME LOST IN THE DEPTHS OF THEIR DENIAL’ It’s a familiar scenario for Kate*, 34, a senior marketing executive who’s struggled with love addiction for much of her adult life. ‘People usually define themselves by what they do – they’re a writer, lawyer, mother – I used to define myself as so-andso’s girlfriend,’ she says. She’d often date

CONFESSIONS OF A LOVE ADDICT

Persia Lawson, 31, is a love coach and author of The Inner Fix. She lives in London

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BAD ROMANCE someone who claims to love you can drop you and walk away from you like that, they’re simply not worth pursuing.’ ‘Kate’s persistence is a classic sign of love addiction,’ says Nicky Walton-Flynn, founder of Addiction Therapy London. Other signs include becoming emotionally attached to people without knowing them, having few boundaries, repeatedly returning to painful,

‘Growing up, I always wanted to be in a relationship. As a teenager, I would sleep with my friends’ boyfriends and thought nothing of having one-night stands. I was obsessed with the idea of falling in love, and yet I was terrified of intimacy. Throughout my twenties, my behaviour only became more extreme. It wasn’t until I was sexually abused at the age of 24 that my parents saw for the first time how unhappy I was. I was at my lowest ebb when my dad took me to a yoga retreat in Thailand. I remember coming

The location tracker incident did indeed prompt Kate to seek professional help in the form of therapy. On her therapist’s advice, she broke off all contact with her ex and took a complete hiatus from dating. During her initial withdrawal period, she wore a rubber band on her wrist, which she’d snap any time she felt compelled to contact her ex – she

across a book called Women Who Love Too Much – I opened it at a random page and started reading. It was like everything in my life suddenly made sense. When I was a child, my parents had both used drugs, and the book explained how children who grow up in such environments often go on to have dysfunctional romantic relationships. I’d always told myself that my parents were the ones with the problem, not me. It was the impetus I needed to change for good.  Back home, I started a 12-step therapy programme, and over the

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next 18 months I committed to abstaining from relationships. There was no one else to validate me, and that was so important. Having that time on my own meant that when I met my current boyfriend, in 2015, I approached the relationship differently and I was upfront about my relationship history straight away. We’ve been a couple for two years now and we’re about to travel the world together. Our relationship isn’t perfect (whose is?), but it fills me with hope that, after having gone through so much, I’ve been able to move forward.’

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AMOUR AND MORE

subsequently had psychotherapy to unearth the root cause of her addiction. Kate believes her issues with love stem from witnessing a difficult dynamic between her parents – something many love addicts have in common, according to Bennett. ‘The primary issues that underline love addiction are early infant abandonment and trauma,’ she explains. ‘The capacity to cope with the distress often comes in the form of fantasising. This coping skill increases over time and informs adult relationships, creating a distorted vision of the real person the addict is falling in love with. They then project all their hopes on to that person.’ Most therapists specialising in intimacy disorders agree that talking therapies and visualisations (imagining your life without that person) are the best approach. But many addicts credit ‘going sober’ with breaking the addiction cycle. Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA) is just one of the 12-step programmes that helps those in the throes of intimacy addiction. The organisation is notoriously closeted, but Lauren*, a former member who’s been to more than 40 meetings, reveals the set-up is similar to Alcoholics Anonymous, with regular group meetings and sponsors.  ‘There are people from all walks of life at SLAA meetings,’ she says. ‘There were 20-something women like me, but also stay-at-home dads, businesswomen,

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‘THERE’S MORE PRESSURE THAN EVER TO HAVE THE PERFECT RELATIONSHIP’ grandparents – all races, religions and creeds. This addiction can affect anyone. The only requirement for membership is a desire to be free from sex and love addiction.’ Lauren followed the 12-step programme in a bid to break her cycle of addiction. ‘No one says: “Don’t contact your ex for 30 or 60 days,”’ she adds. ‘You start small. That might mean making the commitment to go an hour without reaching out or looking them up online, and then you build on your progress.’

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Oh yes, then there’s the internet, which can make social media stalkers of us all. Dating sites and apps like nothing better than to remind you that the love of your life could be the next right swipe, and you’re rarely more than a scroll away from yet another smug couple selfie. A number of experts have even claimed that Tinder hijacks the brain’s pleasure centre in the same way as video games – giving a hit of dopamine with every successful match – making serial swiping potentially addictive. Could it be that modern love is turning more of us into love addicts?   ‘There aren’t any more love addicts now than there were a decade ago,’ says WaltonFlynn. ‘But social media certainly presents a Disney-fied version of romance. The result of all this stimulation is that there’s more pressure than ever to have the “perfect” relationship. I encourage my clients to take some time away from social media and certainly dating apps. Like the alcoholic needing to stay out of the pub while in initial recovery, you need to remove the stimulus.’  Now 120 days ‘love sober’, Kate is still in regular therapy, but she’s started going on dates again – only this time, with herself. ‘Ultimately, self-love is the key to breaking the addiction,’ she says. ‘Two weeks ago, I had a Sunday without plans, so I went swimming, had a picnic and sat in the park with just a book and the squirrels for company. I enjoyed it so much that  I’ve just booked a week’s holiday for myself. It will be the first break I’ve ever taken without a man or to pursue a man. It’s a huge deal for me. I just wish it hadn’t taken me so long to get here.’

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PHOTOGRAPHY: ALAMY; GETTY IMAGES. *NAMES HAVE BEEN CHANGED TO PROTECT ANONYMITY

LOVE ME TINDER


FIT NIGHT OUT It’s not often you get over 500 likeminded, passionate women together in one place, but at WH’s first Fit Night Out on 5 October, that’s exactly what happened. London’s Victoria House was the perfect backdrop for a night of celebrity trainers, inspirational speakers and enough healthy refreshments to fuel the excitement and keep you motivated

#FITNIGHTOUT HIGH INTENSITY WORKOUTS Alice Liveing put everyone through their paces with a HIIT session

OUR PANELLISTS WH Editor Claire Sanderson with Louise Thompson, Alice Liveing and Gemma Atkinson

DJ AJ ODUDU AJ Odudu and Jessica Skye were on the decks


WH EVENT

LOW INTENSITY WORKOUTS

OUR PANELLISTS

The Boys of Yoga crew took the level down with a chilled out session

Montana Brown, Dr Hazel Wallace and Amy Hopkinson

BARRY’S BOOTCAMP Faisal and Sonja laid on a hardcore Barry’sinspired workout

BODY CONFIDENCE PANEL SESSION Natalie Campbell, Melissa Hemsley and Jada Sezer took your questions

TECHNIQUE ROOM Learning to lift – Joslyn Thompson Rule, Jayne Lo and Lisa Price showed you how to lift weights properly


REJUVENATING RETREATS FOR BODY AND MIND

PRESS THE RESET BUTTON A change is as good as a rest, but just imagine how peaceful and serene you might feel with these trips that tick both boxes…

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WH Digital Editor Amy Hopkinson zones out in France

WELLNESS RETREAT FEEL ZEN-LIKE AT THIS...

WHAT? Yoga Season Experience WHERE? Evian Resort, Lake Geneva, France WHY? To practise your postures surrounded by breathtaking landscapes HOW MUCH? Three nights from around £1,140

time you’ll be in the spa or restaurant. Do tuck into the sourdough bread before your vegetarian mains: although meals make art out of bulgar wheat, if you aren’t here to lose weight you could feel hungry. What about the treatments? In a word: heaven. Try the Thai massage, the body wrap – which includes acupressure on pulse points – or the lymphatic drainage to help remove blockages. Having them in a beautiful hotel in the Alps makes them so much better and let’s face it, yoga + pamper = one very happy (and chilled) bunny. Is it not a bit weird being in snow resort sans snow? Not a jot. The Alps are a fine reminder that beauty exists outside Instagram, especially when experienced on foot. A mindful hike with the hotel’s trekking team is simply the best way to walk off the kilos of buttered sourdough. You want even more good news? A London to Geneva flight and hotel transfer takes just two and a half hours. No jet lag, no hassle. And breathe.

The Alps in winter you say? Are you mad? Actually, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by modern life, Évian-lesBains is exactly what you need. Squeaky clean, like the water named after it, this spa town on the edge of Lake Geneva is the antidote to 21st century madness. The itinerary at the hotel is designed to get you back in sync with the seasons. Days are slow, with the speed set by how fast you can shuffle along in spa slippers. First, the yoga – is it all day every day? Definitely not. This is a five-star spa hotel. You will start and end your days with a yoga session, learning why the transitions are as important as your #yogagoals, but the rest of the

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COUNTRY GETAWAY RELAX AND RECHARGE ON A...

W H AT ? Daylesford Cottages W H E R E ? The Cotswolds W H Y ? To delight in the best

of the English countryside H OW M U C H ? Stay in a one-bedroom cottage, from £650 for four nights

Can a staycation really feel like an escape? Hell yes. Especially when your sanctuary is nestled in the picturesque Cotswolds and you can bed down in a beautiful cottage packed with original features and sumptuous soft furnishings before wandering to an award-winning spa for luxury treatments on tap. A few nights at Daylesford is akin to being wrapped in a bear hug with someone in an oversized cashmere jumper.

A luxury spa, you say? Well, it’s more like a mini wellness resort. Next to Daylesford’s five converted cottages, the Bamford Haybarn Spa (right), decked out in soothing neutral tones and rustic natural materials, is all about calm. Spend the day in your robe and slippers and ready yourself for utter bliss. Try the De-stress Massage to soothe any leftover workout aches and still even the most non-stop of minds. There’s also the option to add yoga classes, reiki sessions or reflexology treatment for a full ease-down. Isn’t Daylesford known more for its food? Well, yes. You’ll arrive to fresh organic bread, jam and eggs on the counter as well as a bottle of Prosecco in the fridge – and

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WELL TRAVELLED

DIGITAL DETOX

SWITCH OFF IN THE SUNSHINE ON A...

WHAT? Time To Log Off Retreat WHERE? Puglia, Italy WHY? To cut obsessive ties

you get a 10% discount at the farm shop. There’s nothing like a platter of cheeses, pickles, pastries and cakes to promote feelings of relaxation, right? But if you don’t want to cook, go to the cafe, pizza bar or The Wild Rabbit inn

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for dishes such as slow-cooked duck egg with smoked sausage and crispy jacket potato. For pudding, how about Braeburn apple pie with caramel custard ice cream? Yep. Thought so. Country bumpkin is the new city chic.

Tanya Goodin, author of Off: Your Digital Detox For A Better Life (her presence is so gentle she makes David with your devices and chill HOW MUCH? Prices start at Attenborough seem fiery), who’s on hand for the duration £795 for five nights of your five-night stay. There are 11 twin or double rooms So, like, no contact with the in the farmhouse so you’ll be outside world at all? Calm staying with multiple guests, down, we’re not suggesting you all of whom will be in the go off-grid altogether. Yes, you same boat, so the chance to have actual face-to-face do hand over your phone in a conversations is yours for ceremonious purging on the first night (gah!), but the luxury the taking – or just enjoy the feeling of a clear mind farmhouse has a landline to check in with your partner/kids/ without the constant chatter of your socials. mum should you need to. And chances are you’ll be otherwise And the setting is holidayengaged with all the wonderful worthy? If 20 acres of land set in olive, fig and cherry things you can actually enjoy groves and warm Italian after being unplugged from sunshine don’t do it for you, your devices. Try these: cycle rides to local medieval villages, then we wash our hands of you. The farmhouse is yours being taught how to make to call home and you’ll tuck fresh pasta, sketching on the terrace or lounging next to the into delicious plant-based meals cooked from scratch farmhouse’s gorgeous pool. by the chef. Food highlight? I take it there are other The aubergine fritters with humans to talk to? If you’re beetroot hummus are deffo into that kind of thing, sure. worth posting on Instagram. The retreat is hosted by

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WO M E N ’S H E A LT H

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COMBAT DOLLIES Life’s too short for boring gym wear. whether it’s running, boxing or crossfit, Combat Dollies has you covered. For unique, comfortable and silhouette flattening outfits, browse our affordable range online. Stand out whilst working out and get 15% off with code WH15 throughout December and January. combatdollies.co.uk

STYLE EDIT

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GET 20% OFF LOW CALORIE BLISS BALLS WITH PLANT PROTEIN! Channel your inner bake-off with new bliss ball specialist Claudia Bakers Kitchen. Their range of nutrient-rich, make-your-own bliss balls are gluten-free, probiotic, plant-protein rich and just 39 calories per 15g bite. No baking required, recipe included. To celebrate the product launch, you can get 20% off this autumn at ClaudiaBakersKitchen.com/womens-health

LOOK AFTER YOURSELF THIS MONTH

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THE LODESTAR CLINIC The Lodestar Clinic kick-starts your fitness, nutrition and health. Our focused consultations, blood tests, training sessions, lifestyle manual, recipe book and educational videos empower you to become the fitter, leaner and healthier you. Our next programme begins in January 2018. Book your place now at www.thelodestarclinic.com


My week on a plate Hollie Grant, 31, founder of PilatesPT and creator of The Model Method*

7am

Three soft-boiled eggs with spinach

11am

Slice of toast with butter

1.30pm

Chicken breast, borlotti beans and broccoli

4pm

Dark chocolate

TUE

WED

5am

Two slices of toast with almond butter

6.45am

Hazelnut and raisin mini loaf and yoghurt

3pm

Sushi snack box with edamame

7am

4.45am

Corn fritters, poached egg and avocado

Two slices of toast and a banana

11am

6.50am

Cashews and a banana

Muesli and a croissant

1.30pm

2pm

Mackerel with coleslaw and black beans

3.30pm

5pm

THU

Goat’s cheese and beetroot salad

4.45pm

Hazelnut and raisin mini loaf

FRI

7am

Three-egg omelette made with mushrooms, asparagus and cherry tomatoes

10am

Bircher muesli

2pm

Chicken, fish and vegetable canapés and two glasses of rosé

SAT

SUN

10am

10.30am

Bacon sandwich on buttered brown bread

Celeriac rosti, two poached eggs and sriracha sauce

4pm

3pm

Roasted cornfed chicken with roast potatoes, carrots, parsnips, Brussels sprouts and gravy

Comté cheese with onion chutney and garlic crackers

7pm

8pm

Fishcakes with butternut squash and asparagus

Lentil dhal with cauliflower

Chicken schnitzel with aubergine

Spelt risotto with prawns and a beer

Two slices of toast with butter

7pm

A few squares of dark chocolate, rosemary and truffle crisps and a bottle of IPA beer

Cooking from scratch is a really meditative process for me. My fiancé Stuart and I grow vegetables in our garden – I love knowing where my food has come from and what I’m putting on my plate.

I teach in London every Tuesday so my rules go out of the window. In need of an energy boost, I ate a chocolate bar on my way home. I used to be a chocolatier, so sweet treats will always be a part of my diet.

Wednesdays are work-from-home days, so I have time to prepare a hearty breakfast and get to the gym at lunch. I love having fish for lunch because you can cook it under the grill in five minutes.

When I’m up early to train clients, I need to eat every few hours to keep my energy levels up. I don’t fixate on weight and if I want a glass of wine or a beer in the evening I have it. Life’s too short.

Today I was in London for meetings. It might seem like I eat a lot but I train hard and don’t believe in diets. I’ve seen a lot of clients feel negative because of them, so I don’t scrutinise my food.

Stuart and I love meat and we like to have a roast at the weekend, so we’ll buy the best quality meat we can afford. This week, it was a corn-fed chicken. We make it last a couple of meals, using the bones to make a stew.

7pm

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Toffee Crisp

7.30pm

Dark chocolate

7.30pm

8pm

WH nutritionist Eve Kalinik gives her verdict: ‘It’s great that Hollie doesn’t believe in diets and seems to prioritise her enjoyment of food, and I’m happy to see that she rotates the type of grains in her diet, too, as that gives a broader source of nutrients and fibre. She could think about incorporating sourdough, since this provides a fermented type of grain that is good for gut health. She could also include a few more

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Stew made from yesterday’s chicken carcass, then blackberry and apple crumble with cream On Sundays, I like to relax and go to a yoga class. In the evening, the family will head over. Stuart’s grandma always brings her homemade crumble so pudding is non-negotiable.

foods that provide natural sources of beneficial bacteria, which supports optimum digestion and nutrient absorption, but also her immune system when she is on the go. These include unpasteurised cheese, sauerkraut (perhaps alongside her morning eggs), kimchi and miso. I’d recommend she plans for the days she’s busy with clients by making double portions the night before.’

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AS TOLD TO FLORENCE MITCHELL. PHOTOGRAPHY: NASSIMA ROTHACKER; GETTY IMAGES. *THE MODEL METHOD BY HOLLIE GRANT IS AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK (£16.99, PIATKUS)

MON


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