Episode 122 Summary
You don't have to wait until you're in smaller clothes to feel good about yourself- Berating or hating yourself will not lead to happiness. Most people were not happy with themselves even when they weighed less in the past. The belief that being a certain height, shape, shoe size makes us acceptable is false. We do not believe in weight loss for acceptance, you are already acceptable.
Diet culture can be harmful to both physical and mental health - We believe that diet culture is harmful because it promotes a narrow and unrealistic standard of beauty and creates a negative relationship with food and body image. This often leads to disordered eating patterns, body shaming, and low self-esteem. Diet culture also perpetuates the idea that certain foods are "good" or "bad," which can lead to feelings of guilt and shame around eating.
We are opposed to calorie restriction because it is a cornerstone of diet culture and harmful to physical and psychological health- Diet culture promotes the idea that thinness equates to health and worthiness and encourages individuals to restrict their calorie intake in order to achieve this ideal. However, calorie restriction can lead to disordered eating patterns, increase preoccupation with food, and negatively impact your body. This can lead to serious physical and mental health consequences, such as malnutrition, binge eating, and body dysmorphia as well as slowing your metabolism leading to yo-yo dieting. We advocate for a more holistic approach to health that prioritises low carb real food, paying attention to your satiety signals, self-care, and body positivity.
Permanent weight loss is more than just following a meal plan - We believe that weight loss is a complex issue that goes beyond simply following a meal plan. Factors such as genetics, hormones, psychological health, and stress levels all play a role in an individual's weight and must be considered. Simply restricting calories or following a specific diet may provide temporary results, but it does not address the underlying issues that contribute to weight gain. Instead we need to work on building health habits and incorporating mindset management for sustainable change.
Recipe books with serving sizes can be misleading - Serving sizes in recipe books should only be used as a general guide because everyone's nutritional needs are unique and depend on factors such as age, gender, weight, height, activity level, and metabolism. By only using recipe serving sizes as a general guide, instead of a rule, individuals can better understand their own personal needs and make adjustments accordingly. Additionally, relying solely on recipe serving sizes can lead to an obsession with exact portion control and a preoccupation with calories, which can be harmful to both physical and psychological health.
Empowerment comes from reconnecting with your own body's hunger and satiety signals - You can find empowerment by focusing on self-care practices that prioritize physical, mental and emotional well-being, rather than solely focusing on achieving a certain body weight or shape. Practice listening to your body's hunger and fullness cues which often become clearer when we eat low carb real food. Avoid comparing yourself to others.
At Real Life Medicine, we believe in promoting self-acceptance, self-compassion and self-love as we work to achieve a healthier relationship with food and the body - By incorporating a whole, healthy low-carb diet, individuals can achieve food freedom, resulting in improved health, increased energy, and natural weight loss as a positive side effect.
The 12WMBR provides a holistic approach to health and wellness that addresses not just physical factors, but also mental and emotional aspects - The program aims to help people find empowerment and create lasting changes in their relationship with food and their bodies, rather than following a restrictive meal plan for temporary weight loss. This approach is designed to promote overall health and well-being, rather than just focusing on the numbers on the scale.
Join the 12 Week Mind Body Rebalance today
Episode 122 - What's the point of weight loss?
Dr Mary Barson: (0:11)
Hello, my lovely listeners. I'm Dr. Mary Barson.
Dr Lucy Burns: (0:23) And I'm Dr. Lucy Burns. Welcome to this episode of Real Health and Weight Loss. Good morning gorgeous ones. It's Dr. Lucy here. And today I am of course joined by the beautiful, effervescent, highly competent, wonderful, Dr. Mary. Let's chat today about one of our favourite topics of weight loss.
Dr Mary Barson: (0:44) It is a favourite topic, there are so many facets to weight loss. The more I think about weight loss, the more I dive into this world, the more and more layers and layers open up like this never ending, like lotus flowers, all of these layers to what at the surface might seem really simple.
Dr Lucy Burns: (1:09) And in fact, people make it simple by saying just go and lose weight. And I mean, everybody does. Doctors do. Doctors are great at it. It's like, “Oh, Mrs. Blah, blah, you know, you've got some blood pressure. Well, if you just lost some weight, you know, you can probably be fine”. And it's like, ooh.
Dr Mary Barson: (1:26) Why didn't I think of that? Yeah!
Dr Lucy Burns: (1:29) Yeah. And I would love to know how many people have ever heard that phrase, if you just, or if you just lost some weight or the alternate one is, “Have you thought about losing some weight?” Every second of every day.
Dr Mary Barson: (1:44) Yes, gaslighting, gaslighting by doctors, by community and a healthy dollop of victim blaming is one of those very important layers to weight loss. All right, so Dr. Lucy, you and I spend a lot of time thinking and talking about weight loss, about empowering people to lose weight. And I would say that we are not your average weight loss doctors. We've got, I think, somewhat unique opinions on weight loss. And if not unique, I would certainly say very well rounded, very holistic and very health focused, instead of weight focused. Tell us your take on weight loss.
Dr Lucy Burns: (2:49) Oh absolutely Mares, it's one of my favourite topics because it's very polarising. And for good reason. The word weight loss is actually wrong. Like it's not even true, what we're actually trying to describe. It's actually fat loss. Like, again, if you're just losing weight, that’s basically looking at the number on the scales. And the idea is it has to be lower than it was previously. That's weight loss. You weigh less than you used to. However, it really, I would love it to be called fat loss, but it just doesn't seem to be taking off. What has happened, though, is that you and I both look at weight loss as a means to becoming healthy. And in fact, it would be the other way around. We look at becoming healthy as a means to losing weight. Whereas lots of other places, programs, plans, all of those things. The focus is entirely on losing weight to be smaller. Like it's all about and you'll hear that, you'll see the messaging, it's all about, “Imagine how you'll feel when you can slip into a slinky dress” or “Imagine how you feel when you're wearing your bathers, confidently”. Bathers are a swimming costume for those of us who speak different dialects of English. “Imagine how you will feel..” and it's all about this being thinner or smaller and that's all it is.
Dr Mary Barson: (4:25) “Nothing tastes as good as thin feels.”
Dr Lucy Burns: (4:28) Absolutely. And the thing about these imaginings, they do, they ask you to visualise, is that they're very tantalising. Like they really, you do, you start to imagine how you'll feel in the smaller clothes. But here's the thing, you don't have to wait until you're in the smaller clothes to feel good about yourself. And in fact, we would say that you need to start that first. That you cannot berate yourself thin and you cannot hate yourself well. If you're waiting to arrive at this thin point, you'll be, you'll be sorely disappointed. Because, and you know, and I can hear, I can already hear people going, “No, no, no, I won't. I'll feel so much better about myself when I'm thinner”. And it's like, okay, all right, let's play that game.
When you were 20, or 15, or 17, most of us weighed less than we do now. And were we happy with ourselves? And I certainly wasn't, that's, you know, if you've listened to the last couple of episodes, that's when I started my dieting career because I thought I was too heavy, too big, too fat, too something. And so many of us will look back on photos and go, “Ah, I wish I was, it's thin now as I was then”. So we're never satisfied. And that's not our fault. That's because we've been led to believe that unless we are a certain height, shape, shoe size, whatever it is, that we're somehow unacceptable. So I would say that we do not believe in weight loss so that you are acceptable. You are already acceptable.
Dr Mary Barson: (6:19) I have disliked my body when it's been heavier and disliked my body when it's been lighter. I don't dislike my body anymore. We want people to love themselves, or at least learn to like themselves prior to loving yourself. Because not only is this a nicer place to live your life, it also literally helps you get and stay physically well. It's a really important part of the process to physical health and to well rounded wellness. That is what we want for people. And weight loss is a beautiful side effect to great physical health and well rounded wellness, but the reason we want people to be well is so that you can do the best that you can with this one precious life, for this one trip that you get on this earth, we want you to do the most with it. We want you to be able to chase your dreams and, and not be shackled by food addiction. Not be shackled by metabolic disease. To be able to break free from those chains, and just live your best life. And if you're living your best life, you know, in a heavier body than perhaps society might deem ideal, it doesn't really matter, as long as you're living your life in the healthiest body that you can create.
Dr Lucy Burns: (7:48) Absolutely, and I just totally love that, because you don't need to be a perfect size eight or two if you're American, or zero or whatever it is. And in fact, there is plenty of evidence now to say that they're being too thin. We already know this, but being too thin is harmful. And we see that plenty of illness comes from people not looking after themselves at the other extreme, so you know, they don't eat enough. They don't sleep enough. They smoke to avoid food. They drink 200 cups of coffee to avoid food. So there is plenty of evidence that avoiding food is harmful to our health. So for us, we really look at going, okay. All right, so we accept that there are people out there and I'm actually going to say there are plenty of people out there for whom losing weight would end up resulting in them having greater capacity to live their life, on their terms. So greater capacity for their physical health, greater capacity for their mental health, for multiple reasons. And you know, we talk a lot about physiology and there are undeniably physiological changes that happen as we gain more and more weight. So we can reverse those. And it's about not, not weight loss at any cost.
(9:18) So I was telling a little story the other day that if we wanted to use weight loss as an analogy to saving money… So let's say you come up with an aim. You want to, you know, people will always do this, “What's your weight loss goal?” “Oh, I want to lose, you know, 40 pounds,” or “I want to lose 15 kilos''. Okay, same. So you might have a savings goal. I want to save $10,000. Oh, that's lovely. Awesome. And so if you're purely focused on the goal of saving $10,000 and you don't care how you do it, you could be tempted to steal money from a shop. You could be tempted to rip off an old lady, one of my favourite sayings. You could be tempted to start an internet scam. If all your goal is, is to save the 10 grand, then you don't care how you do it.
(10:09) And it can be the same for weight loss, where people, all they're interested in is a goal, and they don't care how they do it. But I can tell you, the process matters. It absolutely matters. Because if you don't care how you do it, you can actually do your body irreparable harm to your metabolic rate by “dieting”, and I'm using the air quotes and I know, you can't see them, in a way that is harmful. And punitive. And, you know, involves enormous amounts of deprivation. And it doesn't have to be like that, like it absolutely doesn't.
Dr Mary Barson: (10:50) Yeah diet culture, it can damage your body, and it can also damage your brain, it can be really psychologically traumatic when you're caught in a diet roller coaster, restricting your caloric intake, losing weight at the expense of your metabolic rate, then having your metabolic rate lowered so that when you go back to eating a normal amount of food, you put all the weight back on plus more and being caught in this hideous yo-yo, is damaging to your mind, body and spirit. So it isn't safe. And we do not, do not comply with the weight loss at any cost philosophy.
Dr Lucy Burns: (11:31) Absolutely not. And I mean, you just mentioned calorie, calorie restriction it makes, you know, there is a big difference between forced calorie restriction i.e. I'm doing a 800 calorie a day diet, for example, compared to the natural calorie deficit that can occur, once you learn to really tune into your hunger and satiety. So, some people will say to us, oh, well, I am eating less calories because, you know, I'm now not hungry. It's like, oh, hooray. That just happened. That's just, celebrate that. That's wonderful. It's not forced, like when you forced calorie, Oh God, I have done this so many times where I've actually been hungry, like physiologically hungry, hungry, I've run out of points or calories, or whatever it was, I was counting for the day. And it's like, I've got nothing, I can't do anything. So my brain is, my brain wants me to eat because it's literally saying, “You need fuel Lucy”, and I'm going, “Oh, but I can't”. So you know, I went to bed. Like, what else can I do? I went to bed at six o'clock, because I couldn't think of anything else to do. Because some external meal plan told me that I was only allowed to have this amount of food.
Dr Mary Barson: (12:50) Permanent weight loss is much more than a meal plan. We get a lot of people wanting us to give them meal plans, done for you meal plans. Why don't we?
Dr Lucy Burns: (13:01) Because well, here's the hilarious thing, right? Like even recipe books, like we do provide lots of recipes that are not written by us, because we're not chefs. But a beautiful company, Thermo Foodie and The Chef, provide recipe books, which we say you can use as a guide. And the reason that you use them as a guide is that most recipes have serving sizes. Now, here's the thing, how does the serving size work when you're looking at a person who might be 20 years old, five foot two, and weighs 45 kilos, or a person who's 45, weighs 100 kilos, and is a bricklayer and has a physical job, versus someone who's 60 works at a desk, five foot 11, weighs 100 pounds. I think it might be a bit small, maybe they weigh 150 pounds. How do all of those, how, what's their serving size? So how do serving sizes actually work? They don't, they're a guide. But this is where, again, we've given away our agency, we've become so out of touch with our own physiology, our own hunger cues, our own satiety signaling that we don't know how much to eat. We literally don't, and everyone goes, “I need to reduce my portion sizes”. Interesting, isn't it? That's been the focus. And you think, Hmm, what's going on there? What do you mean?
(14:39) You know, we spend a lot of time and it's really scary. I'm going to say it can be a bit scary for some people at first because the usual diet plan involves a shopping list and meal plan and they know what to expect. And brains love to know that, brains do love to know what's coming up. It feels safe if you know the plan. And we go to people, you know what? I mean, there are a couple of meal plans available for those people who really aren't quite ready to let go of the training wheels, and that's fine. But the idea is that you get to go to a place that is so empowering, because suddenly you reconnect with your own body and your mind. And you learn to trust yourself again. Trust your signaling. And you learn to know yourself well, so that you know what foods and there are certain foods that will override that natural signaling that we have. And those foods for the majority of them are processed foods. Some of them aren't, because, you know, for me, it is blimin’ nuts. But if I take nuts out of the picture, the majority of them are processed foods or even low carb, but sweetened foods can override our natural signalling.
Dr Mary Barson: (16:00) You can get to a beautiful, empowered place where you're eating lovely, delicious, healthy, whole foods. You're not depriving yourself, you're not hungry, you're healing your body, you're healing your metabolism, you're getting well, getting empowered, getting more energy, and you are losing fat. And it is achievable for everybody. With the right tools and the right mindset management, you can find this wonderful, as we call it, food freedom. And when you've got food freedom, it's good for your brain, and it's good for your body. And weight loss is happening. But weight loss is not the focus, well, at least it's not weight loss at any cost being the focus. This is our take on weight loss, it is holistic health. Health, in your mind, in your body, in your spirit, driven by low carb, real food driven by the food that we eat, our diet, for want of a better word is the driver and our mind, that's like the vehicle, the low carb, real food is the vehicle and our mind is the driver and learning how to drive this vehicle in a beautiful healthy way, results in weight loss. But it's almost a side note.
(17:32) I actually personally am far more interested in other metrics. So much so that I actually quite frequently forget to weigh my patients that come to me for weight loss, because I can be so over the toppidly excited by the fact that their fatty liver has gone away, and that their HBA1C is normalised and their diabetes is in remission, and that they're feeling really good. And for the first time in their life, they're no longer obsessing over food, and they're no longer drinking wine to excess to numb, you know, the emotional pain of something, all of these beautiful things are happening. And yes, losing weight. And that's great. But I'm far more excited by everything else that is going on for them.
Dr Lucy Burns: (18:14) Oh, I know, I know. It is super exciting. And I think you know people, at the end of the day, when you eat real food, when you are able to work through the other reasons why you may have eaten in the past, particularly, you know, we spent a lot of time talking about emotional eating, eating to numb, eating to soothe, eating to celebrate, eating to manage emotions. When you get to a place of peace in your mind with that, you feel better. As you know, we chat to lots of our members and people doing our 12 Week Mind Body Rebalance, we chat to them all the time. And for so many of them, oh you know I'll often say, “So you know, what prompted you to join in the end?” They'll often say, “I was just sick and tired of being sick and tired”. And the amount of energy people experience when they're not on the sugar roller coaster. They're not getting the highs, they’re not getting the lows. They just have this beautiful steady supply of fuel that is coming from their stored fat. It's just, it's so wonderful to see that then they're living their lives again.
Dr Mary Barson: (19:26) Yep. Yep, empowered to be well and chase their dreams.
Dr Lucy Burns: (19:33) Absolutely. So lovelies of course you know we've mentioned about our 12 Week Mind Body Rebalance. It starts on the 11th of February is our kickoff day, we start with a welcome party. It is a fantastic program. It has content every week. You get a new set of videos which you can watch at your own pace. They're easy, they're bite sized, you can listen to them on your walk, you can listen to them in the car, or you can sit down and watch them if that's your preferred method. We have a live coaching call every week. In fact, we have two to accommodate our two time zones, because gorgeous Americans who are listening, we have a large following from North America, we actually have a large following from Europe and England as well. So hello to all of you. And so I guess we have an international flavour. So we do offer two time slots for our coaching calls. They're all of course recorded, so if you did miss one, because you had something way more exciting than listening to Dr. Mary or myself, you can watch the recording. And each week, we have a hypnosis that goes because we know that look, advertising works because it repeats the message over and over and over again until buried deep into your subconscious. hypnosis works the same way. The more you listen to them, the more they're in there, and they will counter industry messaging that is trying to take you off your path. So it is truly a holistic program. It includes, as I said, dozens of recipe books and meal plans for those people that do want them at the start. And I guess for us what we give you, we give you your power back, we give you agency, you become the drivers of your all terrain vehicle that will keep you on your path of good health, with a sprinkling of weight loss.
Dr Mary Barson: (21:27) Exactly. So if you'd like more information about our 12 Week Mind Body Rebalance program to head over to our website, www.rlmedicine.com and you will find our program there.
Dr Lucy Burns: (21:44) Absolutely. And if you can't remember it, the links in the show notes below. So gorgeous ones have a beautiful week. And we'll see you next week with more episodes of Real Health and Weight Loss.
Dr Mary Barson: (21:55) Bye beautiful ones.
Dr Lucy Burns: (22:03) So my lovely listeners that ends this episode of Real Health and Weight Loss. I'm Dr. Lucy Burns,
Dr Mary Barson: (22:11) And I'm Dr. Mary Barson, we’re from Real Life Medicine. To contact us, please visit www.rlmedicine.com.
Dr Lucy Burns: (22:21) And until next time, thanks for listening. The information shared on the Real Health and Weight Loss podcast, including show notes and links provides general information only. It is not a substitute, nor is it intended to provide individualised medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, nor can it be construed as such. Please consult your doctor for any medical concerns.