Episode 123 Summary
Growing up in Australia, we know that showing confidence and self-love is often seen as unacceptable - This is true, particularly for girls and women. Harsh insults such as "She loves herself, she’s got tickets on herself" or "She's up herself" can harm our confidence and have long-lasting impacts on our beliefs about ourselves and our health. At Real Life Medicine, we believe that self-love is crucial for good health. Self-love enables us to make healthy choices that nourish our bodies and to care for our well-being.
Dr. Lucy has a great analogy about self-care and whippets to illustrate this point - She compares taking care of ourselves to taking care of a pet, such as a dog. In this analogy a woman has been busy. She has been feeding her dog cheap food and doesn’t take it for walks. She notices that the dog is limping, so she takes it to the vet. The vet suggests that the dog is lethargic, has a dull coat, and has arthritis and that better care is needed. The woman then starts feeding the dog high-quality food, gently increasing its activity levels, and nurturing it with love and kindness. Over time, the dog's coat becomes shiny, its eyes bright, and it moves well and is happy. In the same way we can kindly nurture ourselves back to good health. We don’t berate the dog for not being a whippet, we love the dog for who it is and take care of it and what it needs in a kind, not punitive way. This is exactly how we should treat ourselves.
Nourishing your body with nutritious food, engaging in physical activity you enjoy, and using techniques such as fasting are all part of self-care - However, it's important to use these techniques in a healthy way. There's a big difference between using fasting as a form of punishment and using it as a healthy choice and a way to balance your metabolic hormones.
Setting boundaries is also an important aspect of self-care - Even if the idea of self-love is challenging, it's essential to focus on the actions we take to care for ourselves. For example, you wouldn't let your dog eat all of its food at once, so portioning its food is an important part of its care. Similarly, setting boundaries for ourselves is an essential aspect of self-love.
At Real Life Medicine, we support the "I am Enough" movement - This movement promotes positive body image and self-esteem and encourages individuals to develop a healthy relationship with their bodies and themselves. The movement challenges societal standards of beauty and encourages people to focus on their own well-being rather than comparing themselves to others.
Dr. Lucy Burns grew up as a tall girl who was often referred to as "big," which she associated with being "fat." - She took measures to be smaller, such as wearing smaller shoes, to fit in with those around her. Dr Mary was harshly compared at a young age to bikini models in a magazine. She felt shame and that her self-worth must be tied up in what she looks like. Many of us have similar stories, but it's essential to let them go and write new, helpful stories for ourselves.
Instead of focusing on our shortcomings, it's better to focus on the parts of ourselves that we like and are happy with. Our thoughts often minimize our good features and amplify our shortcomings, so it's essential to reverse that pattern. For example, Dr. Lucy likes her teeth, and Dr. Mary Barson likes her green eye color and eyelashes. We can also view our health as an asset and take steps to care for it. Self-love means taking care of our assets and looking after our health, which is our most important asset. Small actions such as flossing, getting eye check-ups, eating low-carb real food, prioritizing sleep, practicing meditation, and managing stress all contribute to protecting our assets.
Dr Mary and Dr Lucy have made a beautiful nurturing hypnotherapy recording for you all as a wonderful gift, this Valentine’s Day. It’s absolutely free. To receive it, please visit www.rlmedicine.com/nurture.
Click here for the free beautiful nurturing hypnotherapy recording
Episode 123 - Love yourself on Valentine's
Dr Mary Barson: (0:11) Hello, my lovely listeners. I'm Dr. Mary Barson.
Dr Lucy Burns: (0:15) And I'm Dr. Lucy Burns. Welcome to this episode of Real Health and Weight Loss. Good morning gorgeous ones. Ah, I am here with the most wonderful person, Dr. Mary, who I just love, love, love. And I think it's important to say on Valentine's how much I love her. Welcome, gorgeous girl.
Dr Mary Barson: (0:41) Hello, my dear friend, Dr. Lucy. I love you too. I do. And I also hope that you are loving yourself this Valentine's Day.
Dr Lucy Burns: (0:55) Well, certainly with your prompting, I am, I am. And I thought this would be a wonderful topic for us to be talking about on Valentine's Day. Because for lots of us self love, loving yourself, those two phrases feel a bit eurgh. Like in fact, even now, even though I'm accepting that this is important, I have this little, just a funny little feeling going up my spine about that phrase. So I thought it would be great to talk about that today and just help our little brains move into accepting that this is a really important concept.
Dr Mary Barson: (1:32) It is really important. I believe that the fastest way to good health is to love yourself well. And culturally, as an Australian woman, self love feels a bit weird. You know, growing up, certainly in our culture, and I think many cultures around the world, it wasn't really okay to, it was considered bragging if you discussed your accomplishments, you needed to be pretty quiet about the things that you're good at, particularly as a girl, particularly as a woman. And if you didn't, people would say in a derogatory way, “Ugh, she loves herself”, or “She's got tickets on herself!” Like this was a really bad thing. And this still haunts me to this day. And I think it's a really unhelpful story.
Dr Lucy Burns: (2:27) I totally agree, you, it's like you're not allowed to be too much. You know, if you're, as a confident female, that would be the thing. “Oh, God, she loves herself.” Or as a girl who or a woman who perhaps takes care of herself and spends some time, you know, on her appearance. Again, people go, “Oh, my God, look at her. She's so up herself”. That was another phrase. And it's really, it's conditioning. It was rarely, if a confident, bloke, confident boy, confident man, he didn't have tickets, he was just confident. “Isn't it good! He's so confident.” But a woman was like, oooh. People felt threatened by confident females. And again, that's conditioning.
Dr Mary Barson: (3:17) And it has a really harmful legacy. Because I see lots of beautiful women now who fundamentally don't believe that they deserve to be healthy, that they don't deserve to put themselves first or to invest time and energy in their health, because it's not okay to love yourself. Whereas I actually think not only is it okay, it's vital to love yourself. And Dr. Lucy, I would love to spend some time today, talking about, you know what self love is and how we can all start moving towards loving ourselves well.
Dr Lucy Burns: (4:00) Ah, absolutely. And look, most of you lovelies know that I love a good analogy. I love a good story. And I love a good story that involves dogs. So I wrote a blog post a couple of years ago called Self Love and Whippets. But I will tell you the story now so that you don't actually have to read it. So Self Love and Whippets story goes like this, you know there's a lady and she's got a dog. She's been really busy, you know, busy at work, busy running around with the kids. She's taken a few shortcuts on looking after her dog, maybe bought it some sort of pre packaged, processed food that is cheap at the supermarket and hasn't had time to walk it and she notices that the dog is limping a bit. So she takes the dog off to the vet and you know the vet looks at her and he goes “Oh you know your dog’s okay, but he's not really thriving. His coat’s a bit dull, his eyes are a bit dull, his skin’s a bit flaky. And he's got a little bit of arthritis in this front leg. Which is why he’s limping. And look, he's probably a bit overweight, you know, it's probably time to just take a little, you know better care of the dog.” And the woman, of course, feels a bit guilty as women do. But she goes, alright, okay, so she starts to make looking after the dog a priority. And so on the way home, she does a bit of research and buys the dog some good quality food. And she knows she can't even find the lead. It's been that long since you've walked the dog. So she buys him a new lead and a new collar. And she starts off just taking him for a little gentle walk down to the end of her driveway and back because he's a bit limpy. And you know, we don't need to flog him. And she notices that over a couple of weeks when she's doing this every single day that the dog starts moving more freely. His coat starts to glow, his eyes are sparkling again, his skin's better. Yeah. And he's lost a little bit of weight along the way. And she also notices that he can walk further. And so he is so excited to be going out on this walk as you can imagine dogs are and over a couple of weeks, you know, turns into a couple of months. And this dog now runs down the driveway, goes to the park. He's leaping around the park, he's catching the Frisbee. He's the happiest, most thriving dog ever. And she goes back to the vet because you know, they had to have a three month checkup and the vet’s going, “Oh, my God, look yes this dog has had a transformation, he’s beautiful, look at how healthy he is!” and the dog’s happy and the woman's happy. And everyone's really pleased with the result. And you know, he didn't need any medication for his joints. And you know, a very, very happy, healthy dog.
(6:37) Now, the reason that this dog was able to thrive was because the woman loved it and looked after it. She never once wished that this dog with something else. I wish my dog wasn't overweight. I wish my dog was just a whippet that would just be thin without me having to do anything. But that's a lot of the time what we hope for as humans. We look at our bodies, and we look at them with disgust and hatred, wishing that we were somehow transformed into thinness. Because that is apparently a marker of beauty in our society. Which you know, Dr. Mary and I vehemently disagree with. But trying to recognise that you can transform your health, yes, you'll lose a few kilos along the way. And we do know that many of our beautiful followers, listeners, members, have significant weight to lose. And that's fine. They do it no, not by hating themselves, or wishing they were different. But by accepting who they are, and recognising that there are steps they need to do to change what they're doing. And the result. The side effect if you like, yeah, will be weight loss, but most importantly will be better health.
Dr Mary Barson: (7:57) I love that story. Yep, we don't all need to be whippets to be worthy.
Dr Lucy Burns: (8:04) Absolutely.
Dr Mary Barson: (8:05) No matter where we are with our health, no matter what size our bodies are, right now, in this moment, we are worthy. You, beautiful listener are worthy of good health, and self love. And if the idea of loving yourself is just icky and too difficult to embrace right now, that's fine, that's fine, you can give yourself time to step into that space. It is always what we do that matters most. And I have this framework in my mind about how we get well, how we balance our metabolism, how we heal the underlying cause of metabolic disease, of which, you know, being overweight or obese can be a symptom of metabolic disease, and how we can manage our beautiful minds so that we stay well. And I think of it as nourishing and nurturing. And the parallels between pet care are excellent because those of us who have pets or perhaps you could also extend this to children is, you know, we want the best for our beautiful fluffy ones and children. We want them to be healthy, we want them to be happy. And we nourish them with food and we nurture them as well. And this is what we should do to ourselves.
(9:31) So you are worthy of health, and how you can step into the health and the self love is to nourish your body, nourish your body with really good food, good fuel. For me eating is wonderful, delicious, enjoyable and an act of self love. I nourish my body with delicious real food. And because I have got insulin resistance, because I've got polycystic ovarian syndrome I'm in remission, but it's still there in my genetics. I nourish my body with low carbohydrate, real food. It's amazing. It's delicious. It serves me, it keeps me well. That's the nourishing component. I also need to nurture myself because it's not all about food, definitely not. Actually, the nurturing is even more important. This is like, you know, the actual, it's the self parenting if you like, and I nurture my mind, by being kind to myself. I nurture myself by essentially self parenting. So I put in, you know, boundaries. I'm firm, but fair with myself. I put in boundaries around, you know, what I do, and I don't do, in a really loving and kind way. And I look at my thoughts, I analyse them with self kindness, and I'm able to question my thoughts. And by unlocking the stories in my head, that drive me to want the ice cream, chips, chocolate, sugar, all of those unhelpful foods, by kindly analysing them, meeting myself with kindness, I'm able to nurture my mind, back to that beautiful nourishment. And this combination of nourish and nurture really helps me stay on track.
(11:16) And I also nurture my body in a kind and loving way with movement. I think that moving my body is a lovely thing to do to nurture it. And for me, also, intermittent fasting is a beautiful act of nurturing. I never, ever use fasting as a punishment. I never say oh my lord, I ate that tub of Ben and Jerry's, I better fast tomorrow to make up for it. Absolutely not. That is quite a toxic thought mistake. I think. Instead, for me, intermittent fasting is about giving my body a rest, about allowing all of these beautiful healing mechanisms to turn on, about letting my body flick naturally into the fasted state, when all of these beautiful changes happen in my metabolism, which are really, really healthy. And when I balance the fasted state with the fed state, when I go and eat my beautiful meals, it optimises my healing and my nourishment. All of this requires self parenting, self love, nourishing and nurturing.
Dr Lucy Burns: (12:27) I totally love that. I love that completely. And I, I think you're absolutely right. Things like fasting, I mean fasting is an action. And sometimes people go, “Oh, it's cruel, it's punishing.” But it all depends on the motivation behind it. So if you're doing it as a punishment for what you ate, you know, you’re right! But if you're doing it as an act of self, and self love again, here we go. As I'm saying it, there's a little bit of vomit coming up in my mouth, that phrase just still, even as a person who constantly practices that it feels urgh! But even if we used that word acceptance, maybe if the self love word feels too hard, but it is this idea. It's like, if you've got a pet, of which I have several billion pets, I don't just give them free access to their food cupboard. You know, they'd just gorge themselves. So there are some loving limits put on the access to their food. And I'm going to just put in a little slight bit of controversy here. For people who are often worried about food wastage, lots of people will give their leftover food to their dog. And this is a slight deviation, but actually your dog's not the bin either. So there's lots of stuff that we're feeding our dogs that are not that helpful or healthful for the dog. Maybe we'll get a vet on the podcast one day to chat about that. But it is again, it's his idea that you can be firm, firm with your pet. There are guidelines and boundaries that we have for our dog. We don't just let them roam free around the street. We don't just say to the dog, “Oh, off you go take yourself for a walk”. Like we've got parenting if you like that we do for a pet and we need to do the same thing for ourselves. But we do it in a beautiful light loving kind way. You can have kind nurturing boundaries that are not punitive and ridiculous. And when I say ridiculous, the ridiculousness comes from the talk you accompany those boundaries with, you know, if you're saying to yourself, well, you can only eat between the hours of 12 and six because you're a fat disgusting pig. That's not helpful. But if you're saying to yourself, oh you go, you go Mares. You say because you'll have a beautiful kind one.
Dr Mary Barson: (14:48) Compared to, “Today, I'm going to eat between the hours of 12 and six because it is going to be a beautiful rest for my body. I'm going to turn on all of these beautiful healthy healing metabolic pathways, it is going to be a wonderful act of self care. Sure, it might be a bit challenging, I might feel a bit of hunger, I think I can do it. If for some reason it's not working, and I don't feel like it's going well then no worries, I can just break the fast and try again later. But fasting is an act of self care. And that's what I'm going to do today.”
Dr Lucy Burns: (15:23) Yes, I love that. I love that. Completely different. And as you all know, beautiful people you cannot hate yourself thin. So if you find your self talk, just tune into it. If you find that you're always calling yourself stupid, or hopeless, or ugly, or fat, or any of those words that we've often been conditioned, then just gently notice them, again, you don't need to berate yourself for doing them. Because that's the other thing when people go, “Oh my god, I'm so mean to myself, I'm so friggin hopeless”. So it's just another opportunity to be mean to yourself. Actually, just notice them. And, and the thing about these is that it's often conditioning. Again, conditioning because just as we've heard, you know, in childhood, the slur was “Oh they love themselves, they've got tickets on themselves”. The other judgmental slurs that people used were ”Oh my God, they're so fat, they're so ugly, they're so blah, blah”. So it's okay to recognise that these thoughts are in your mind. You're not your thoughts. A thought is just a connection between two nerve cells. When it's repeated many times in your mind, it becomes a fairly, you know, fixed thought, but you can change your thoughts at any time.
Dr Mary Barson: (16:37) Yes, I can remember, as a teenager on music camp - music has always been a big part of my life - we're in the common room at this camp. And some boys were reading some, you know, men's magazines, you know, kind of very, like low grade pornography, books that weren't entirely inappropriate for teenage kids, but they certainly shouldn't have had them at music camp, and all of these bikini models in these provocative poses. And these boys then just turning and looking at me, as I was literally sitting there tuning my violin going, “God, why can't you look like that?” And I felt the shame, you know, here I was, you know, working on unimportant things like, you know, my violin playing skills, when really what I needed to do was to be this, this gorgeous, fake tanned bikini model. And that's, that is literally what I thought even now, I can still feel that kind of, that flash of shame is still there. And I thought that way for a long time. And I certainly have been exceedingly good at hating my body for a long time. But I don't anymore. I absolutely don't. I have changed my thoughts by thinking the thought over and over again, that I am bloody fantastic. Just the way I am. You think that thought long enough and it becomes real, becomes your belief.
Dr Lucy Burns: (18:07) Absolutely. I just love that Mares. You are right. You are bloody fantastic. I do love that “I'm enough” movement. Again. It's tricky. The “I am enough" sentence on its own doesn't quite make sense to me, because nobody actually just walks around going, I'm enough. But I like the bit that you can actually put something in before it. I'm good enough. I'm beautiful enough. I'm happy enough. I'm lovely enough. I think that that can be a good step as well to you know, if you can't sort of bring yourself to go I love myself. It's interesting, because I completely relate to what you're saying. I was always a tall girl at school. So I was the tallest in my year forever, and was always in the middle at the back. And for most of my growing up childhood, I was told I was a big girl. “Oh, you're a big girl.” And I guess I probably was, I was bigger than the other girls. But certainly in Australia big was also a euphemism for fat. And so my brain just heard I'm a fat girl. Up until not that long ago. I just thought I'm just one of those fat girls. And it's really interesting how that shaped then what I needed to do in order for what I thought was to be acceptable to my colleagues, peers, cohort, boys, all of those people which was to obviously be smaller, because big was unacceptable. Even to the point and I think I may have mentioned this, I've certainly talked to you about it Mares, that I would cram my feet into smaller shoes. Because I'm tall, have big feet. Makes sense. But you know, in my mind, a size nine and a half shoe. I'm actually a 10 was very unacceptable, and an eight and a half was much more acceptable. So I just crammed the feet into and, I would then go and buy some sort of leather stretcher. Ridiculous things, you know, like, all of these things to fit into some shoe companies decision on the size of female feet should be.
Dr Mary Barson: (20:17) Yes, these years of stories are there, beautiful woman. And it's okay that they're there. And now, as you have done, you excellent human, realise that these stories, we have them for a reason. But they're not helpful and we don't need them anymore. And we can let them go. And we can write new stories for us, right here, right now, that are helpful, and empower us to just make the most of this extremely precious life that we have, and not waste time worrying about how we look in a bikini, and what size our shoes are and be healthy, absolutely. Work towards good health, because that is maximising your precious life, but not worry about how you look.
Dr Lucy Burns: (21:05) I know. I know. So now I look back and think, “Oh my god”. So I think for lots of people, one of the things that we will suggest is if you can't quite bring yourself to that, you know, loving yourself entirely, because I know people will go but I still hate my legs, okay, then what we do is we really focus on the bits that you, that you're happy with, that you find acceptable. Start with that. That's a good starting point. Because again, think about our brains. Our brains love focusing on our shortcomings, and minimising our wonderful features, you know, good features. So why don't we reverse that and focus on our, you know, beautiful points. And overtime, we just minimise what we consider to be our shortcomings and remember, you're the boss of you so you get to decide what your shortcomings are, not what some bloody girlie magazine for pubescent boys decides.
Dr Mary Barson: (22:07) I like my green eye colour and my eyelashes. A lot. What about you, Lucy? What do you like?
Dr Lucy Burns: (22:15) Actually love my teeth. So…
Dr Mary Barson: (22:17) You have excellent teeth.
Dr Lucy Burns: (22:18) I do have excellent teeth. I've been very lucky. They're managed, you know, to just form in a way that didn't need any braces or anything which is beautiful. But they're also very functional. As loving my teeth, that means I can care for them. It doesn't take very long. But I do like to brush them. Part of loving my teeth means that I'm now a little more proactive with flossing. That was something I never did. In fact, I would just, as I'm walking to the bathroom, my thought would be I hate flossing. Ah god, I hate flossing. Why would anybody floss? I'm not gonna say I spent a lot of time, like maybe four or five thoughts fleeted in about it until I just hmmm, flossing takes an extra 30 seconds and will help me look after my thing. An asset. Help me look after my asset, which is my teeth. And I think if we look at our health as an asset. And it's valuable. Extremely valuable. It's so valuable. Then we go okay, well, I need to look after this valuable asset.
Dr Mary Barson: (23:17) I love it. Good. Was thinking, what do I do to look after my eyes? Just all the things?
Dr Lucy Burns: (23:24) Yeah, well, you go get them checked.
Dr Mary Barson: (23:26) I do. I do. Yep.
Dr Lucy Burns: (23:27) And again, that's a good thing, it is part of self care, isn't it? Self care is not always fun. It's like going to appointments, sometimes it’s boring. But you know, we will have to do that because we're grownups.
Dr Mary Barson: (23:40) Now beautiful people. We've got a fabulous, we've we've made, we've designed a lovely hypnosis for you guys. A guided hypnosis that you can download that will help you both nourish and nurture your body.
Dr Lucy Burns: (24:00) Absolutely. And you know, we use hypnosis a lot. It is incredibly powerful. But lots of people are a bit fearful of it. Understandably, you don't want to be, you know, clucking like a chicken on a stage. It's different. It's not that, this is obviously done by us. And we will want to give you a little taste of the goodness that comes from hypnosis so you can download this beautiful hypnosis. We will send it to your inbox, just go to www.rlmedicine.com/nurture and on this gorgeous Valentine's Day just spend a few minutes loving on yourself. You’re blooming beautiful, worthy, and fabulous people.
Dr Mary Barson: (24:44) Goodbye beautiful humans. Love yourself these Valentine's Day
Dr Lucy Burns: (24:55) So my lovely listeners that ends this episode of Real Health and Weight Loss. I'm Dr. Lucy Burns.
Dr Mary Barson: (25:03) And I'm Dr. Mary Barson. We’re from Real Life Medicine. To contact us, please visit www.rlmedicine.com.
Dr Lucy Burns: (25:13) 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