The Diet that Changed my Life – Part 1

Glynis BarberDiet & Nutrition Leave a Comment


Last summer I went to see nutritionist Fleur Borrelli little knowing that she would make changes to the way I eat and the way I exercise that would have a very profound effect on my life. I would lose inches, as well as just under a stone/12lbs in weight, drop a dress size, gain lean muscle, have vastly improved energy levels, feel motivated and positive while still eating a good amount of food.

In the last 6 months I have renovated my house, launched this website, filmed 4 television shows, brought out a Yoga DVD, gone on QVC, as well as doing my usual mothering/domestic duties and honestly believe that it’s due to the incredible increase of energy I now have. Even when Business Woman CartoonI over indulge (which trust me does happen), my weight remains steady instead of yo-yoing up and down.

The irony is that I went into all this very reluctantly. I didn’t even go and see Fleur for this reason. I went on the recommendation of an osteopath as I had quite a bit of unexplained joint pain. He suggested I go to find out if there was anything else going on other than simple mechanical injury. I wasn’t keen. Nutritionists always tell you what not to eat and always start by telling you to cut out wheat, don’t they? The osteopath said that Fleur was very scientific and that he rated her highly. So with a modicum of enthusiasm and a healthy dose of scepticism I went along. And surprise, surprise, she began to make changes to my diet immediately. Except that she was cunning. She saw my reluctance and she broke me in slowly. Keep the wine she said, have a little of what you like etc and the process began. Slowly at first but now 8 months on, I am an enthusiastic convert. It took awhile to adapt to the concepts, both physically and mentally, that are very different to what we have been led to believe is the right way to eat. Once I got over my initial reluctance, I decided to really go for it and for the first few months adhered to the regime as much as possible. Now I’m much more relaxed and less stringent but the results continue to improve for me.

Fleur studies Clinical Psychoneuroimmunology and works at the University of London. She views her treatment as part preventative and part regenerative medicine. Her approach is based on new developments in the fields of psychology, neurology, endocrinology, immunology and even anthropology. Some of these new concepts are making their way out into books and the media. However, we don’t believe any of them contain the full and clear information of the most up to date and scientific information.

We want to do a book and share this with everyone. And we are starting here on Ageless. Over a number of articles we will share the fundamentals of this way of living both from Fleurs’ scientific viewpoint and my personal journal on it.

The story begins here……

Fleur – Why the need to diet?

CavemanAt some point in our lives, most of us will have been on a diet.  Some of us will have spent hundreds and thousands of pounds on the many diet books, diet pills, diet services, meal replacements and other ‘miracle cures’ that there are on the market.  According to research from the US, the diet industry is making huge profits from promoting products that don’t work.  Only five per cent of those who lose weight actually manage to keep it off!  Instead, they are wreaking havoc with our appetites, with our mental and physical health and with our pockets!

So why are we having to diet in the first place?  The answer has to lie with our evolutionary history.  Technically we are still back in the Stone Age era! This is because our genes only adapt to their surroundings incredibly slowly – about zero point five per cent in a million years!  Genetically we are still hunter gatherers living in a modern world with modern stressors, food choices that they would never have  dreamed of and very little need to do a tremendous amount of physical activity.

Exercise or the lack of it must play a huge role in our expanding waistlines.  It has been part of our human history since we were able to stand up.  As hunter gatherers we moved around a lot, pursuing prey and foraging for food.  We would often cover distances of up to forty kilometres per day, practising what is known as ‘persistence hunting’.  Persistence hunting is a technique using running and tracking to pursue the animal to the point of exhaustion and is still employed by hunter-gatherer populations today.

Hunter gatherers certainly would not have been able to sit and eat a good breakfast before setting out on their quest.  So how would they have had the energy to cover those huge distances?  They would almost certainly have done this on an empty stomach.  For us this is really difficult to imagine as often going without food for two or three hours can send our blood sugar levels spiralling down – let alone running a marathon in that time. We are told to combat these lulls in energy by eating little and often.  How on earth did they do it without having a quick cereal bar halfway through?

The truth is that we are programmed for survival. As long as we are moving around, we really can manage for quite a few hours without needing to eat. We can learn to eat so well that we don’t have to feel hungry. We also have systems in place to provide glucose which is our main energy source without having to rely on food when we exercise which is something a stone age person would not have been able to do anyway.  The body can potentially make glucose from substances in the body, it just is not being trained anymore to do so.

The problem is that food is all around and our lives are becoming more and more sedentary.  Unlike our ancestors, we eat first because we are hungry and then we set about our daily routines.  We are completely unaware that we have the power to change our habits and we can become lean mean fighting machines!

In the coming weeks, I will talk about the following:

  • how our food habits have changed
  • whether there are any diets on the market that have any validity
  • how we can train our bodies to be more resourceful
  • what and how we need to be fit and healthy
  • what kind of exercise we need to be doing and
  •  how we can eat well without being chained to diet regimes that are not doing us any good.

Fleur Borrelli, BSc Nut Med, MBANT.

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