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Meet our amazing In-Syncer Emma

Meet our amazing In-Syncer Emma

Meet our In-Syncer Emma who has been with us since the beginning and is a fantastic contributor to our facebook group.  Emma lives in Cirencester where she looks after her family, her two dogs and the family business.

What does your typical day look like?

I have been very active since I was at school and exercise is a great stress reliever for me.  I have two fox red Labradors and usually start my day very early by taking them out for a walk.  Then when I can, I am off to the gym to do a spin class or a swim.

Do you do this on an empty stomach?

Typically I won’t eat until 11 or 12 and this way of life really suits me.  People think I am crazy not to eat before this but it is a pattern that works for me.  I often get asked what my secret is, particularly by the trainers in the gym, and I tell them that the In-Sync lifestyle is all about the management of meals around your exercise routine.

How easy is it to prepare your first meal of the day when you come in from the gym and you must be ravenous?

I eat a lot of salads and they are easy to prepare –  I really focus on making rainbow salads with colourful vegetables including peppers and I will tend to have avocado.  With my salad I usually have eggs and I make a dressing with olive oil and apple cider vinegar. I also eat lots of fish and bake it in the oven in parchment paper to prevent it from drying out. The beauty of cooking fish in this way is that I add lots of garlic, ginger, spring onion, broccoli, fresh herbs  etc and it creates such a lovely aroma.  I am lucky because I am able to spend some of my time down in Salcombe in Devon where I can get access to lots of fresh fish.

How has keeping In-Sync benefited you?

I recently had a health check and was delighted to find my cholesterol had come down and my blood pressure was absolutely fine.  The In-Sync Diet could not have come at a better time for me as I was in my forties and starting to find it more difficult to stay in shape despite all my exercise.  I had always been very active but I was beginning to lose my grip on my weight.  Now I feel more toned and healthy and it has become a way of life.

The In-Sync lifestyle has given me a real focus that I can take with me through to the next stage of my life and I hope to share this knowledge with my children because it really does work.

How should we be drinking water

How should we be drinking water

 We tend to drink when we are thirsty but we also use the intake of fluids to punctuate the day and create rest breaks or time out of our busy lives.  In terms of adequate hydration, many of us have been told that we need to be getting through eight glasses of water per day.  Others of us rely on carrying a water bottle to be able to take sips at a regular basis.  But is there any scientific basis for this drinking behaviour?  Should we be constantly taking in fluid and regular intervals? To answer this question let’s look at what thirst is all about.

Explaining thirst

Thirst is really about the thickness of the blood. If the blood is too thick then the brain will create a thirsty feeling.  But if the blood is not thick enough then we do not have the inclination to drink.  This is all because the brain will do everything it can to prevent the loss of salt or sodium.  The more we drink the more sodium we lose and this is not an ideal situation.  We tend to think of salt as a dangerous substance but actually we cannot live without it and our ability to fight infections depends on it so we need to maintain a certain amount in the body for homeostasis or balance.

This alone seems to suggest that we should listen to the dictates of thirst rather than always having a drink by our side.  The human body is beautifully designed to let us know when we need to drink.  And when we first get that thirsty feeling we are probably only around 2% dehydrated anyway and this is not a problem.

How does the brain know when the body needs more fluid

When we lose around 10-20% of our blood volume, certain cells in the brain start to shrink and this produces the thirst trigger.  At this point the best thing we can do is to drink sufficient to properly satiate and the thirsty feeling will disappear.

If we don’t drink enough then the body can take water out of the bones to maintain water balance.  A second problem is that if we are thirsty and do not drink then the thirsty feeling disappears.  This is because the brain cannot allow the continuous shrinking of neurones as this could cause brain damage.  80% of all headaches are caused by this problem, particularly after a night on the town.   And sometimes we can even mistake thirst for hunger and we eat instead of drink.  Our set point for water balance gradually lowers and cells become dehydrated.

The importance of water channels

Water needs to be actively transported into your cells through water channels known as aguaporins.  These same channels also transport glucose, water and fat i.e. life saving substances that you need to survive.  If there is a disturbance with this delicate system then your metabolic system is also disturbed.

Your metabolic system is the one which utilizes glucose and fat to produce energy for your cells to function. It is therefore the system that allows you to lose weight by burning fat. This is difficult to achieve if your cells are dehydrated.  And so for every litre of water you lose from the body, you can compensate with storing 1 kilo of fat.  In other words, when water goes out of the cell, the cell produces fat.

This can occur if you don’t drink enough fluid but also if you don’t intake water according to the dictates of thirst.  On our 6 Step Plan we address this issue in one of our four pillars of health – Drink.


The healthy approach to a low carb high fat diet (LCHF)

The healthy approach to a low carb high fat diet (LCHF)

There is a huge amount of research that suggests eating low carb high fat diet has benefits beyond simply weight loss and fat burn by pushing you into ketosis.  Ketosis is a healthy state that we reach when fat is converted into ketones in the liver that can be used as an energy source during periods when the intake of carbohydrate is low.  But the problem is that often people are cutting out vital plant foods for fear of not being able to reach ketosis. In this article we explore the reasons why a high plant food diet is so important and how you can eat plenty of them and still successfully follow a high fat low carb programme.

High Fibre

It is common knowledge that high intakes of fibre have been linked to many health benefits.  Regular bowel movements, good bowel health, lower cholesterol levels and healthy blood sugar levels are examples of these. And the risk of succumbing to more serious conditions such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes are all lowered as long as you are having plenty of fibre in your diet.  The beauty of fibre is that we as humans cannot break it down, but our invaluable gut microbes can.  They actually feed on the fibre we cannot eat and if they do not get enough they starve and our digestive systems suffer.

Gut Microbes

Our gut microbes form part of our immune system and protect against disease by producing anti-bacterial and anti-viral substances.  But if our diets lack the plant food fibre we need to keep us well we can encourage the growth of non-beneficial bacteria which will survive by consuming the mucosal layer of our gut.  This mucosal layer is home to a host of immune cells that also protect our gut and the rest of our body from unwanted invaders.  Damage to our gut can result in the development of disease such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) as well as leaky gut.

It is possible to follow The In-Sync Diet which is high in plants foods and be on a LCHF diet by following these rules:

  • Eat plenty of leaves but having a salad with your meal each day.
  • Gradually add new vegetables into your diet so your system gets slowly acclimatized and you are not trying to force things too soon.
  • Vary your vegetables as much as possible to increase the diversity of your good bacteria.
  • Aim to eat as seasonally as possible to get your plant foods as soon as they have been picked.
  • Try to have at least two to three mugs of vegetables per day.
  • Cut out the root veg if you want to keep your carbs low.
  • If you are eating three meals per day, make sure you are having vegetables at each of them.
  • Fresh herbs and spices can all contribute to your plant food intake.
  • Drink plenty of water.


The benefits of a low carb higher fat diet

The benefits of a low carb higher fat diet

Calorie counting is a low carb/low fat/ low protein approach to counter weight gain that does not work at all because not all calories are created equal. And so, contrary to what we’ve been told for years, consuming fat provides an important fuel for the body and having a high carbohydrate diet may actually stop us from burning fat.

As time goes by, we are seeing more and more that the low fat recommendations have not affected our waistlines in a positive way. Obesity is on the increase and is drastically affecting our health.  And it is becoming clear that the main reason for this could be not eating too much fat, but eating too little —and too much carbohydrate.

Fat stores in your body

Fat can exist in many forms and is stored around your body in different ways and places. For example, it can be found beneath the skin and this is known as adipose tissue or around the organs and this is called visceral fat.  Visceral fat is the most dangerous type of fat because if allowed to accumulate, it can attract the immune system producing inflammation.  Inflammation that gets out of control is at the root of most chronic disease.  And what is frightening is that you might not even be aware it is there.

Skinny Fat

So just because you may look slim, it does not necessarily mean you are low in body fat.  This is why more attention is being given to the dangers of being ‘skinny fat’ i.e. seemingly looking  thin on the outside but actually having too much fat on the inside, in the abdominal cavity where your organs reside. And it is becoming increasingly clear that this can be caused by eating too many refined carbs such as pasta and bread as well as sugary soft drinks and processed foods.

Fat Burn

Many people find it difficult to burn fat.  This means they tend to lose lean muscle instead when on a diet.  And because muscle burns fat, losing it makes it harder for them to get the results they really want.

The secret to being able to get rid of visceral fat is to eat a low carbohydrate, higher healthy fat diet such as The In-Sync Diet 6 Step Plan. You will find you feel so much more satisfied when you are eating the right kind of fats.  And they will help you to shift more easily into burning fat because they can curb food cravings and the need to eat too often.

Becoming an efficient fat burner

Being more efficient at burning fat will really help you to shift unwanted weight around the middle.  The In-Sync Diet also introduces you to different types of exercise that will guarantee your success.

By eating a low carbohydrate diet, higher healthy fat diet, not only can your visceral fat reduce but you will feel so much more energy too.  Your body can respond quickly to this method of eating and the health benefits can last a lifetime.

A fit body is not just for the beach

A fit body is not just for the beach

A fit body is for life, not just the beach.  If you have ever embarked on a dramatic weight loss diet to prepare for your beach holiday, you will know how difficult it is to keep that weight off.  Once you are away, you allow yourself to indulge. When you come back you find that the weight has come creeping back.  It feels completely unfair but when you look at what happens to your body on a ‘get skinny quickly’ programme, you will understand a fit body is for life, not just the beach.

Crash diets

Many people believe the way to lose weight is through crash dieting. Crash dieting means that you go on a low-calorie diet for a short period of time to shed weight.  A low calorie diet is one where you reduce the amount of calories you eat on a daily basis so your body is forced to breakdown tissue – muscle or fat – to provide your body with the energy it needs.  There are a number of problems associated with this ‘get slim quick’ method of shifting the pounds.  So here is The In-Sync Diet’s advice on how to have a fit body for life:

  1. Don’t crash diet if you want to stay slim and toned in the long term.  Often people want a quick fix where weight loss is concerned.  They drastically reduce their calories and as a result, lose muscle instead. This is because it is easier when energy is in short supply to use muscle as an energy source.  But really you want to keep hold of as you can because it will keep you burning fat long after your holiday.
  2. The smallest changes can make the biggest difference. Gradual changes over time can ensure that rather than yo-yo dieting, you are able to achieve sustainable fat burn over a number of months if you wish.
  3. Losing weight by making extreme changes to your normal diet will cause your metabolism to drop. Contrary to what many people think, your metabolism is not something you are born with that never changes. Eating well at mealtimes and exercising are both things that will keep your metabolism high.  But strict dieting will eventually cause it to drop because your brain wants to make sure there is still lots of energy coming into your body.
  4. Eating a thousand calories of broccoli is not the same as eating 1000 calories of ice cream. There are a number of vitamins and minerals you need to get from your food each day to keep feeling well and full of vitality as well as able to burn fat so focus on the foods that give you the most nourishment.
  5. Ditch the calorie counting. Calorie counting does not work and forces you to have an unnatural relationship with the food you are eating.
  6. If you don’t use muscle you lose it. The In-Sync Diet incorporates different types of exercise into a fat burn programme to make sure that you stay fit and healthy long after your holiday is over.
How to live longer and have more energy

How to live longer and have more energy

Whilst genes can load the gun when it comes to your health, lifestyle pulls the trigger. It is never too  late to make a few simple changes to your daily habits that can mean that you live a longer, healthier  life.

Learning from those who live longest

In Okinawa in Japan, where there are a high number of centenarians, women and men maintain an  extremely active lifestyle and may work until they are well into their 90’s. And in Northern Japan  whilst the men are in the fields or at sea, it is typically the older women who maintain the weaving  tradition that has survived as a cottage industry because of their hard work and dedication.  Both sexes are considered to be excellent examples of what it is to ‘age successfully’ because they  tend to avoid disease and disability, they maintain a high level of physical and cognitive function and they sustain an engagement in social and productive activities.

Set yourself goals

So you may be considering retirement but there is no reason why you need to sit back in your chair  and remove yourself from the world around you. Now is your time to set goals and become the  world-beating champion you have always wanted to be.

Keep fit with mini-workouts

Mini workouts are important throughout the day, whether it is running for the bus legging it up the stairs – you need to maintain a high level of activity. Don’t think just because you go to the gym three times a week that this can compensate for being sedentary the rest of the time because it won’t. And staying active within a club has the added bonus of being able to connect with other like-minded people who have the same goals as you.

Switch to nutrient-dense delicious meals at set times

Caloric restriction is another practice that is a guaranteed anti-ageing intervention. Dietary restriction produces changes in gene expression that can help prevent many diseases associated with getting older such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. But just because dramatically reducing your calories has been shown to extend lifespan it this does not mean you need to embark on a low-calorie diet for an extended period of time. Instead it is far better to reduce your meal frequency to two or three meals per day and ensure you are eating a nutrient dense diet rich in healthy protein, fats and carbohydrates from vegetables.

Make sure you’re getting your anti-oxidents

A nutrient dense diet will ensure you are consuming foods rich in antioxidants to help combat free radical damage that is implicated in the age-related chronic disease process. Health protective anti-oxidants can successfully delay disease and dysfunction and help you to maintain function well into your old age. And let’s not forget, it is so much easier slow down ageing than it is to treat disease and nutrient dense foods are your best medicine.

Evolutionary eating

The In-Sync Diet promotes evolutionary eating based on traditional foods that have an anti-inflammatory effect. We offer a plant-based diet rich in healthy protein and fats that are important as you age to ward off conditions associated with inflammation and will improve your energy levels and mood too. All in all, by eating nutrient dense diet, keeping mobile and taking part in social activities, you can retain your vitality and independence well into your senior years.

The Beer Belly Diet: How to Lose Visceral Fat

The Beer Belly Diet: How to Lose Visceral Fat

A ‘beer belly’ is the term given to the accumulation of excessive fat around the middle that men seem to be more prone to. While beer is definitely a contributing factor, it is not the only reason why some men can gain those unwanted spare tyres.

What is visceral fat?

As we get older, the metabolism can slow down and we become more sedentary. Rather than burning fat we become more prone to accumulation of fat around the midriff and this is known as visceral fat. Visceral fat is deep fat below the skin in the abdominal space where vital organs such as your liver, pancreas and kidneys reside.

Is visceral fat dangerous?

Visceral fat is also known as ‘dangerous fat’ because it can cause chronic inflammation. This happens when the fat cells in your abdominal cavity get too full and start to spill their contents attacking your immune system. Chronic inflammation is at the root of many chronic diseases such as type II diabetes, cancer, autoimmune disease and cardiovascular disease.
Not only that, fat can start to accumulate in other organs of the body too. A beer belly could be a sign that you are beginning to collect fat in your liver and even in your heart. When organs contain too much fat, they are not able to function properly. A layer of fat around the heart is believed to be a contributing factor in the narrowing of arteries. You may therefore have symptoms of heart disease if you have high visceral fat but not even realise it.

Does beer cause a beer belly?

Most alcoholic drinks, bar spirits, can cause unwanted weight gain around the middle because of their high sugar content. By the same token, so can foods that are high in sugar or starchy carbs. These include sugary desserts, cakes and pastries, pasta and potatoes. A diet high in sugar coupled with a sedentary job means that the appearance of the dreaded beer belly can be almost inevitable.

The beer belly diet: 5 tips for losing visceral fat

Here are our top five tips for how to lose visceral fat and restore your abs once more:

  • Evaluate your alcohol consumption
    You may need to rethink your tipple of choice for a while and move away from the beer to something less sugary. If you chose a spirit such as vodka, be careful what you mix it with as mixers can be too sugary themselves. Instead go for a squirt of lime juice and soda.
  • Ditch the grains
    Take out grains from your diet because they are prone to causing inflammation and increase your vegetable intake instead. Vegetables are nutrient dense carbohydrates that will support your waistline too.
  • Set meal times
    Aim to get some gaps in between your meals because that is when you will be burning fat.
  • Drink when you’re thirsty
    Make sure you hydrate well when you are thirsty and not before. That way your cells will hydrate more, function better and be less likely to store fat.
  • Keep active
    Don’t allow yourself to sit for too long. Set an alarm to take a break from your desk every forty five minutes.

The In-Sync Diet uses an evolutionary approach to weight management – perfect for getting rid of your beer belly. It incorporates all the secrets of your ancestors to help you to burn fat and stay lean and toned. By following our 9.5 week programme, you can start to feel fantastic, get heart-healthy and maximise fat burning without counting calories.

Find out more and start your plan today.

How to lose weight on holiday

How to lose weight on holiday

You have been working hard getting bikini-ready by losing weight and you don’t want to succumb to bad habits whilst you are away or come back with an extra tyre around your middle. The good news is there is plenty you can do to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle and still enjoy your hard earned holiday.

If you’re worried about un-doing all your pre-holiday hard work, try our 8 ways to lose weight on holiday

  1. Don’t be tempted by airport snacks
    Airports and ferries can mean spending long interminable hours waiting around until you reach your destination. And there is often little to do but to snack on whatever catches your eye. Rather than eating little and often it is better to save yourself for a good slap-up meal that leaves you satisfied and you can sit and properly enjoy. Then don’t eat again until you arrive.
  2. Keep Hydrated
    Make sure you stay well hydrated if you are spending time in the hot sun, particularly if you have been partaking of the local brew the night before. Drink plenty of water when you first wake up and again when you feel a thirst coming on. Your body will therefore be able to maintain its vital functioning and you will be less likely to accumulate unwanted fat.
  3. Save alcohol as a special treat
    Drinking alcohol in the hot sun will dehydrate you and make you tired. Chances are it will also cause unwanted weight gain too. Aim to only drink alcohol with your evening meal. Alternatively if you do have that glass of rose during the day, have plenty of water before and afterwards.
  4. Get exploring
    Spend the most part of your day being active and try to avoid being rooted to the spot on your sun lounger for too long. Walk as much as you can and take the stairs rather than the lift. Hire a bike and take a tour of the local area and put on your dancing shoes in the evening.
  5. Keep an eye on your meals
    No need to avoid the hotel buffet, just reduce your meals to three or possibly two per day. You might get up and have a good breakfast and then not need to eat until you have dinner in the evening. Alternatively have a lighter breakfast and lunch and enjoy a more substantial meal in the evening.
  6. Don’t dodge full-fat
    Contrary to what you may have been told, eating plenty of healthy fat can be very useful to help you manage your weight. Go for a full-fat yoghurt at breakfast, enjoy an olive oil dressing on your salad at lunch and eat your evening vegetables Mediterranean-style gently cooked in olive oil in the evening.
  7. Treat yourself once in a while
    Don’t feel you need to deny yourself because that can lead to uncontrolled eating. Make sensible food choices at mealtimes, opting for the seasonal dishes that are on offer. If you do fancy a treat, just include it as part of your meal once per day.
  8. Try the local cuisine
    Enjoy what the local cuisine has to offer by trying their salads, vegetables and seafood. Avoid fast food options and sugary drinks including cocktails and spirit mixers.