Our colleague at The Putney Clinic of Physical Therapy, Fleur Borrelli (Nutritional Therapist), has collaborated with actress Glynis Barber on a new book called The In-Sync Diet. The diet is an evolutionary approach to weight management, incorporating all the secrets of your ancestors to help you to burn fat and stay lean and toned. Whilst most diets focus on what to eat, The In-Sync Diet is unique in that it also looks at when not to eat (to get rid of tiredness and fatigue) and goes beyond simply recommending eating less and exercising more.
Glynis had been a keen advocate of natural health and wellness for many years before she approached Fleur for nutritional advice. Using an evolutionary approach to nutrition, Fleur made changes to Glynis' diet and lifestyle that revolutionised her thinking and The In-Sync Diet was born. The book was featured in the Mail on Sunday on the 18th April. Below is the full interview between Glynis Barber and Isobel James.
So Glynis, how have you barely aged in 30 years? By avoiding water, skipping breakfast - and not succumbing to the nip-tuck knife, insists the Dempsey and Makepeace star
By Isobel James, published in The Mail on Sunday (18 April 2015)
Perched on a hotel sofa barely inches from Glynis Barber, I am trying, as covertly as possible, to scrutinise her rather lovely face. All peachy skin and thick, glossy locks, she also looks trim and toned in skinny jeans.
It's difficult to believe that in the next few months, the actress – remembered by many as the glacially beautiful half of ITV"s 1980s detective duo Dempsey And Makepeace – will be collecting her bus pass. From where I'm sitting, she looks barely a day over 40.
It is impossible, frankly, not to wonder whether Mother Nature has been given a, shall we say, little helping hand. There is no "pillow face" here or unnaturally shaped eyebrows (a telltale sign). So has she and would she?
It's a question that Glynis answers diplomatically. "I am a bit surgery-phobic – I am a total coward," she insists. "I don't judge anyone for doing it – people have to do what's right for them. But for me a healthy lifestyle is the key."
It's hard to argue with that sentiment. And this, indeed, is why we are meeting. For the past two years, under the tutelage of nutritional therapist Fleur Borrelli, Glynis has changed what and how she eats – and in the process, she says, transformed her health and her figure.
She tore up her rulebook too: out went breakfast – instead she has just two large meals a day. Out, too, went wholegrains and she even stopped sipping water in the day, something she once swore by to stay hydrated and stave off hunger.
So convinced is she that what Fleur taught her is the key to long-lasting health and wellbeing that she has co-written a book with her, The In-Sync Diet, in which she shares their discoveries, backed up, she says, by credible new research.
"I had no idea that when I met Fleur I would drop a stone in weight and a dress size, gain lean muscle, and have vastly improved energy levels, all while turning upside down the things I previously believed in," Glynis says. "But that's what has happened and it's why I wanted to share it with a wider audience."
Ironically, Glynis once thought herself the last person to need a lifestyle reboot. Always fit, she went organic in her late 20s at a time when it was barely heard of. "This was the 1980s, so everyone thought I was mad, although it made complete sense to me," she recalls. "My view was it was silly to put chemicals in your body that don't need to be there, but that was forward-thinking at the time. It was me, Prince Charles and some hippies. But I stuck to it."
Glynis, married to her Dempsey And Makepeace co-star Michael Brandon, has enjoyed a busy career in theatre and TV, but two years ago started to develop unexplained joint pain and was advised by her osteopath to see Fleur. "I was actually pretty resistant at first as I thought the one thing I know is how to eat properly," she explains. But Fleur thought differently. "One by one, she busted a lot of the myths that were a cornerstone of my diet."
First to face scrutiny was Glynis's fondness for wholegrains. "I was surprised as I knew about processed grains, but I thought wholewheat was fine, until Fleur explained that it creates inflammation in the gut. She told me to cut them out."
It meant a gluten-free diet – not easy for a self-confessed 'breadaholic'. Pasta was also jettisoned, replaced by protein and vegetables. "At first I thought, 'I can't do this' " she explains. "But now I don't miss them at all. I eat salmon, eggs, nuts, organic turkey and salads."
And it was not just what she ate but when that Fleur also changed. Glynis ate little and often in the belief it kept her blood sugar levels regulated. But Fleur told her that cutting out breakfast altogether and eating two large meals a day was a better way of regulating her metabolism.
This is backed up by new research into intermittent fasting, which shows that better weight control can be achieved with long periods without eating – popularised by the 5:2 diets, in which you consume very few calories for two days of the week and eat a normal, balanced diet the rest of the time. Some studies have found the same benefits – which also include lower cholesterol and blood pressure – might be gained by daily 'fasts' achieved by eating dinner then nothing else until lunch the next day.
Then came what Glynis drank. "I was one of those people who walked around clutching a water bottle and sipping at it throughout the day," she says. "But new research shows that drinking little and often actually doesn't help the cells replenish properly. It's far better to drink a large glass of water when you're thirsty."
Initially cynical, Glynis says she was amazed by how easy it was to adapt. "What I was trying to overturn were the habits of a lifetime and I thought it would be incredibly hard, but it honestly took a matter of weeks. It's not set in stone either. If I want the odd blowout or I really fancy breakfast, then I have it."
Aided by her regular cardio and hot yoga sessions, she believes she is in better shape than she was 20 years ago. "I have always been fit, but I used to get incredibly tired. Now I am bursting with energy."
And, Glynis insists, she is less likely to scrutinise herself. "I actually feel less vain now than I did in my youth. I'm very comfortable in my skin and I'm really not hung up on age at all. You can't do anything about your chronological age, but how you age is up to you."
The In-Sync Dietby Glynis Barber and Fleur Borrelli
Published by Autharium.
Available in all good bookshops. RRP £14.99.
Also available to purchase on Amazon and Kindle