Episode 145:

Show Notes 


Changing the name:
Dr Lucy and Dr Mary open this informative and entertaining episode by announcing they are changing the name of their popular “No Sugar Challenge” to the “Low Carb Real Food Challenge” as:

  • Some people feel uncomfortable with the term "no sugar" as it triggers thoughts of scarcity, missing out, and unhelpful perfectionism.
  • The new name reflects Real Life Medicine’s philosophy of embracing an abundance mindset and focusing on the delicious real foods that can be eaten to restore health.
  • The concept of the challenge remains the same, but the new name emphasises the focus on delicious, healthy foods instead of simply avoiding sugar.

Compassionate Scientist:
Dr Lucy loves Dr Mary’s phrase “be your own compassionate scientist” as it promotes the idea that you can examine and evaluate the way your body and brain respond when you are trying to lose weight and gain health. Mindset is key when trying new and hard things. You can cultivate and move your mindset in helpful directions, but first you need to understand what your beliefs and assumptions are. The premise of the 7 day Challenge is to give it a go, and do your best. While you are doing this, you examine your thoughts, examine your feelings. Find out what works for you and what doesn’t work for you. These are all steps on the pathway moving forward.

The stories in our head:
Dr Mary and Dr Lucy dive into why we have stories in our heads and how helpful it is when you can step aside and observe them when the play button in your head is activated by certain words or expectations. Many of us have ingrained stories around diet culture and deprivation, believing that scarcity and suffering are signs you are doing well on your weight loss journey. What people hear may not be what the message actually is: 7 days of experimenting with real food means 7 days of experimenting with real food - it does not mean “from this day forward I can never eat ice cream again!” but many people will hear that message instead. Although your stories are compelling, that does not make them true. We all have untrue thoughts and you don’t need to believe all of your stories.

Negative thought patterns that our brains produce:
Dr Lucy illustrates how the brain can twist a small positive into a dramatic negative when she gives an example of people who say "I haven't lost any weight" when if asked further they will say “Well only a tiny bit.” The doctors expand on the many reasons a person’s stories can lead to them making an initial statement which is then proven false by their second statement.

Behaviour Change:
Resilience, determination and practice are so important in behaviour change and learning new skills. Eating real food is a new skill for many people. We need to learn how to eat again and develop self awareness around the stories we tell ourselves about food. We have lost skills and confidence in ourselves to know what we should eat and we’ve outsourced responsibility to meal plans, meal services, prescription medication and other people. Regaining self awareness takes practice and patience and we should not be discouraged if we do not see immediate results.

The 7 day Low Carb Real Food Challenge:
A supportive opportunity to help you break up with processed foods
Trusted advice from doctors, free of industry bias
The guidelines are straightforward
The recipes are super easy
The support is amazing!

Click here to join the 7 day Low Carb Real Food Challenge

Episode 145:



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


Both: (0:20) Real Health and Weight Loss!


Dr Lucy Burns: (0:51)  Good morning gorgeous ones. It's Dr Lucy here and I am of course joined by the effervescent, the ever wonderful, the everlasting, not sure if she's everlasting, but the wonderful Dr Mary. Hello, good. Just one. How are you this morning?


Dr Mary Barson: (0:39)  Oh, much better now. Thank you. Thank you very much. I’d like to think that something of mine will be, if not everlasting, at least perhaps long lasting. Gotta think about that one.


Dr Lucy Burns: (0:51)   Yes, indeed. Well, your legacy, the legacy that is Dr Mary Barson, Crusader for Health.


Dr Mary Barson: (0:57)  That's right. That's it. That's it as we forge this grassroots movement, you know, we want the whole world to be well, we want the whole world to have beautifully balanced physiology, and well managed psychology so that everybody, everybody can be well. Okay, so I'll be perfectly happy if everybody gets well, that would be great.


Dr Lucy Burns: (1:18)  Excellent. Now, one of the things we wanted to talk about in this session, our very popular, No Sugar Challenge is having a name change. And we are changing it from the Seven Day No Sugar Challenge to the Seven Day Low Carb Real Food Challenge. And I thought we'd chat about the reasons why.


Dr Mary Barson: (1:39)  Yes, that's right. Why are we branding it from the No Sugar Challenge to the Low Carb Real Food Challenge?


Dr Lucy Burns: (1:46)  And it's interesting because we did originally, we surveyed an audience and came up with the top five responses to this question. But we did do a little survey and ask people what they'd like the challenge to be called. And that's what it came up with. But what's happened, you know, I love one of your phrases. Mares, which is “the compassionate scientist.” And everything we do at Real Life Medicine is an experiment. And it is always to be looked at with curiosity and openness, and always working out if whatever we're doing, could we do it better. So we're having a new name change as part of that.


Dr Mary Barson: (2:24)  Interestingly, some people got quite uncomfortable with the term, no sugar, it seemed to trigger thoughts of scarcity, of missing out, of deprivation, in some people, thoughts of unhelpful perfectionism, if they weren't able to do it perfectly, that it wasn't necessarily a helpful term. So it tended to focus on, you know, the scarcity of the “what you can't have,” versus the beautiful, wonderful abundance of what you are having and what you are moving towards. And we realised that this was a little bit out of line with our philosophy. As we do not embrace a scarcity mindset, we definitely embrace an abundance mindset, that there is enough! There is enough for us all to have what we need, enough for us all to be well, someone else's success does not take away from mine. And so embrace in abundance, embracing possibility over, you know, scarcity and failure, we have decided to change the name to the Low Carb Real Food Challenge.


Dr Lucy Burns: (3:40) Indeed, indeed. So it is, you know, at its roots, it is the same concept. 


Dr Mary Barson: (3:47)  It’s the same, it's the same.


Dr Lucy Burns: (3:50)  But there will be a slight change. You know, this is one of the things about people's beautiful brains, we are all different. So for some people it was very clear, they liked that boundary. It is: this is what we're doing, these are the rules. I like, I'm not having sugar for seven days. Excellent. I know exactly what I'm doing. And that makes me happy. That was some people's stories. Other people's stories were right, so I'm not going to be eating sugar from Monday to Monday, I better eat as much as I can before it. And so they were finding that really, they're going into this with a whole heap of sugar on board, all their sugar burning enzymes upregulated their brain, you know, dopamine receptors in their brain are at maximum. And so they're starting at really behind the eight ball. And so often then coming in with a physiology that is actually going to set them up to potentially be unsuccessful. If we're defining success as not eating sugar for seven days, again, that's that's up for debate.


Dr Mary Barson: (4:49) Definitely.


Dr Lucy Burns: (4:51)  And so rather than going into that, we thought,  Well, why don't we try this? So we're calling it the Low Carb Real Food Challenge. And again, it's the focus being on all the amazing, delicious foods that you can eat, that will help you restore your health.


Dr Mary Barson: (5:12)  Yes, and they are plentiful and they're delicious and focusing on the beautiful healthy changes that can start to happen when you embrace real food. And in particular, the low carbohydrate versions of real food. It's a very different spin on the mindset of it. And as we know, mindset is key. And mindset is not discipline, we're not talking about you having to sort of flagellate yourself, you know, to do it absolutely perfectly. Mindset is really, it's the set of beliefs and attitudes and assumptions and thoughts that we have, that we can change. And we can cultivate and move in more helpful directions. And when you cultivate a helpful mindset, you can effortlessly, or at least much more easily, work towards your goals when you're learning to work with your beautiful brain and not against it.


Dr Lucy Burns: (6:17)  Yes, absolutely. And it's, it's interesting, because we love the idea that examining your thoughts, examining your feelings is part of this whole process. You can't just go, Right, you know, I want to lose some weight and reclaim my health. And I'm just going to follow this meal plan. And that's the end of it. We're way too complicated for that.


Dr Mary Barson: (6:39)  Yeah, that totally, totally. That's right, it's, we're not going to give you a simple action based do this. Instead, we are going to encourage you to be your own scientist. So the whole premise of the Seven Day Low Carb Real Food Challenge is that you give it a go, and that you do your best. And as you are giving a go and doing your best, you then examine how you feel, and also how you’re going. And you treat it as an experiment. And as you treat things with an experiment, you can find out what works for you. What doesn't work for you. And it helps you move forward.


Dr Lucy Burns: (7:26)  Absolutely. And really understanding, again, this thing that you know what, what comes up for you? So, you know, for a lot of our people that who were finding they were, and I’m using air quotes, triggered, by the words, no sugar. It's interesting to note that. You go, Isn't that interesting that that phrase makes my brain want to rebel? Or, Isn't it interesting that that phrase gives me feelings of deprivation? Or, Isn't it interesting that as soon as I, I was going along really well, and then as soon as I couldn't have something, or I was told by somebody else I couldn't have it, I wanted to have? And you look at you go, Hmm, isn't that interesting? And then you can can come back to, Wonder where that comes from? That for me is why, where does that come from?


Dr Mary Barson: (8:18)  It comes from the stories in our head. And we have these stories in our head for a reason. And it could be because of diet culture, you know where it was, the way to lose weight was to have short, sharp periods of intense deprivation where you suffered, and your suffering was a sign of you doing well. It was working because you were hungry, and you were missing out and it was hard, therefore you were doing it properly. But of course, not sustainable, not psychologically, and definitely not physiologically. And so people can sort of say you can never ever, not that we do, but sometimes that is occasionally what people hear. “You can never ever, ever have cookie dough ice cream ever again.” And people might be like, pfft you can't tell me what to do. Stuff that! I'm going to eat all the chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream in this shop. Yes, because we don't tell people that they can’t have chocolate cookie dough ice cream. Definitely not. Instead, we suggest reasons why. You could examine for yourself why it may or may not be helpful to do so.


Dr Lucy Burns: (9:30)  Yes, what works, what doesn't work? Because our brain loves to go into the future. Does that mean I can never ever ever have it again? Oh, I don't want to do that. So therefore I'll have it now. And it's like, hmm. That's so funny. It's a story. It's very compelling. And if you don't know your stories, if you haven't taken the time to learn them, then you can't change them. And the changing of the stories is what makes this doable and easy in the long run. 


Dr Mary Barson: (10:00) It is entirely possible to change the stories in our head. We humans, all of us, we all have untrue thoughts. We all have, it’s a technical term in psychology called cognitive distortions, which is a fun thing to say.


Dr Lucy Burns: (10:16) It makes us sound smart. 


Dr Mary Barson: (10:18) It does. I like to casually say things that make me sound smart. So we've all got these cognitive distortions, and we are big ones, little ones. And we, we, our brains will sprout them all the time. And we do this to make sense of the world. That's what we do as humans. This is what we do. We create stories to make sense of our internal and external world. But that doesn't mean that our stories are true.


Dr Lucy Burns: (10:44)  No, I often think it's a bit like the join the dot books, you know, where you had to go to the next bit. And if you couldn't find it, you’d just make up a line.


Dr Mary Barson: (10:55)  Yes!


Dr Mary Barson: (11:03) You don't need to believe the stories in your head. And you can change them. And it starts with awareness. And acceptance of the fact that not everything that your brain tells you is true.


Dr Lucy Burns: (11:13) 

I know, which is kind of hard for us to to think about. But it's really interesting. And this is like a super common story that I see. And I saw it all the time when people would come into the clinic. I’d go, How are you going? And they’d go, I'm really annoyed. Oh, what's happening? I haven't lost any weight. And I’d go, Really? Oh only a couple of kilos. Isn't that interesting? So hang on. I haven't lost any weight. That's the story. And then you go, eally? and then they go, Only a couple of kilos. So therefore the first sentence is untrue, as proven by the second sentence, which is “only a couple of kilos.” What the sentence actually is, is that, I haven't lost as much weight as I wished I had, or, I haven't lost as much weight as I think I should have lost, or, I haven't lost as much weight because I've not doing the things that I know would be helpful. Like there's a whole, there's actually a whole heap of some sentences in there. But instead it goes, I haven't lost any weight.


Dr Mary Barson: (12:17)  That classic cognitive distortion. That mental filtering of, you just totally disqualify the positive aspects. You don't even think of them, they don't exist. And you've put a spotlight on the negative. And it is one way in which our brains lie to us.


Dr Lucy Burns: (12:35) Yeah, I know. It always feels it always feels jarring when you go, Our brains lie to us. Your brain goes, What? Really?


Dr Mary Barson: (12:41) Yeah, no I’m not, I’m not lying. I'm not not true. I just want to say that our brains don't do this, because out of some sense of malevolence. Absolutely not. Our brains do this because they're trying to make sense of the world. And they're trying to keep us safe, you know, safe, comfortable, warm, fed, all of these things, accepted by our peers, all of these things that we're always constantly trying to do. But it does mean that we can come up with some thoughts and some beliefs that, when we try to evidence test them, we find that well, actually, they're not really holding up. And when you try and evidence test your thoughts, the main thing you need to ask yourself is, is this helpful or unhelpful? You got some, you know, cognitive distortions going on that are actually you know, really helpful and helping you live your life, well, you know that that's fine. That's great. But it's when they’re unhelpful, and they're getting in your way and preventing you from achieving your goals. Then it's the time to just very gently, very kindly, and with lots of love, self love, that's another thing that can be quite jarring. Self love, and patience, challenge, those unhelpful thoughts. You know, practice makes better. This is not something that people will be able to immediately do straightaway. But with practice, you can get better at being aware, when your brain is throwing up some potentially untrue, unhelpful things, and learn to challenge them.


Dr Lucy Burns: (14:09)  Yes. And look, you know, this, I think is part of resilience, grit, determination, all the things that we often need in order to do some behaviour change. And, you know, as a classic example, the other day, I was fixing up some parts of our website. And, you know, I was trying to make it a bit fancier and a bit more user friendly. And as part of that, I had to learn some HTML coding. Now, I've never, I've never done coding. I'm not a coder. I don't know anything about code. And so I painstakingly watched, I bought a course how to do it. And I literally painstakingly watched it. Do a bit, go and do another bit, do a bit, go and ugh that hasn't worked. Why hasn't that worked? I'll go back, find out. And seriously by the end of it, I think oh my god, this is so hard. This is so exhausting. And there was a part of my brain that wanted to have a little tantrum, bit of a dummy spit and go, stuff it, this isn't working. And then the other part of my brain, so that would have been my amygdala, stuff it, this isn't working. And then my beautiful prefrontal cortex goes, it's because you're learning, you're learning. And when you're learning, you suck at it. And only, the only way to stop sucking at this is to practice. And then you will get good at it. And you will stop, this will stop being so hard. And you will stop being so frustrated, and you will learn, and suddenly you'll be suddenly, suddenly over the course of 10 years, you'll be a coding genius.


Dr Mary Barson: (15:44)  You'll be an overnight success in 10 years time. 


Dr Lucy Burns: (15:47)  Indeed. But you know, again, I've got two options, I can go, I suck at this, this is no good, I'm not going to do it. That's, I mean, that's an option. And you know, and I could say, I suck at this, I'm no good, I'm not gonna do it, I'm gonna pay someone else to do it. I suck at this, I'm not doing it, the websites just gonna look crap forever, okay. I mean, they're all options, or the one I've chosen is, I do suck at this, I'm gonna learn, I will persist, and I'm gonna nail this bugger.


Dr Mary Barson: (16:13)  That's right. You set those goals! That's confidence. That's how you create confidence. You push yourself out of your comfort zone, where you're uncomfortable, and you have a go, and you fail, and you have a go, and you fail again, and then after a while you get better at it. And that that's where confidence comes from. Confidence isn't something that you just sort of, you can magically drink, like some sort of Harry Potter elixir. You create it and you cultivate it.


Dr Lucy Burns: (16:47)  And you know, part of my frustration with this, is it’s taking so long, so that's my brain going, Oh, my God, this is taking so long. Yeah, it does. Anything, anything that you're learning, unless you somehow have magical coding talents, which I don't, it's going to take some time to learn it. It's a new language. And so nobody, you know, can go from having no Italian to learning Italian overnight. It takes time.


Dr Mary Barson: (17:13)  

Yep, very few people could.


Dr Lucy Burns: (17:17)  But it’s almost learning how to eat again. Again, it's a skill that we've, you know, at times outsourced to meal plans, to meal services, to scripts, to other people, all of those things, you know, other people telling us what we should or shouldn't eat. We've lost that confidence in ourselves to know, and we've lost that ability to trust what we're doing is right. And we've lost that ability to really be able to develop, as you talked about earlier Mares, that self awareness on the stories.


Dr Mary Barson: (17:52) Yes, that's right. And if the first time you attempt to bring some awareness to the stories in your head, and it feels weird, and then you find yourself that you know, you're still you're still falling down the paths of those same unhelpful thoughts, despite you wanting to not do it. Remember that this takes practice. This is a skill and it does get better with practice, but it isn't something that you're going to immediately be a complete mind ninja at.


Dr Lucy Burns: (18:22)  No, no, but it certainly does. It does, it really, really, really does become easy, you know, to the point where this, and I know, this recording will come out after Easter, but before Easter, I suddenly remembered, I was doing the 8am Lives in our Facebook group and I suddenly remembered it was Easter in two days, and I hadn't even spoken about how to navigate Easter. Because for me, it is just a non event. I couldn't care less about the Easter eggs any more. That's not to say that I never used to. And in fact, I used to care a lot about them, an awful lot. And I used to buy a lot. And I'd buy them for my kid, all my kids, all two of them. I bought enough to feed like 100 kids. And my biggest thing would be, Wow, so hang on. So you know somehow I'd go to the supermarket on Easter Monday to get all the discounted ones. So again, all of those things, as I now, it is such a low priority for me. I forgot even Easter existed. I mean, you know, I didn't forget exactly it existed but you know what I mean? And I think it's really helpful to know that you can change your beautiful brain to be from a person who was obsessed with chocolate, with bargains, with buying three for $5, all of those things. You can change to become one that actually forgets easter eggs even exist.


Dr Mary Barson: (19:57)  And possibly, possibly, you can undergo this transition in less time than it takes an intelligent doctor to learn HTML code.


Dr Lucy Burns: (20:10)  Maybe. So gorgeous ones, we would of course, love for you to join the Low Carb Real Food Challenge. If you have done the Seven Day No Sugar Challenge in the past, you're obviously welcome to come back. It's no extra cost. You'll see though that it is rebranded. So if you're wondering what's going on, it's the same thing. We still have a mini course that we take people through. So that's pre recorded, we still have all the recipes that are still low, all low carb, we still have our three groups for the family. So the Navy, the Lime and the Aqua, depending on how, how much of a challenge you want to do. Again, you know, this is it, you're the boss of you, you get to decide. And we do all of this and it's 7 days all for $7.


Dr Mary Barson: (20:54)  With a hypnosis.


Dr Lucy Burns: (20:57) Oh, yes, of course. A beautiful hypnosis, a Low Carb Real Food hypnosis. And we do all of this, and two master classes. Oh my God, there's so much value. It's ridiculous. Two master classes, one from Mary, one from me. And it starts, this round starts May the 20th. Now, if you're on the waitlist for our 12 Week Mind Body Rebalance, which starts the following week, we will have an opening for that. If you're on the waitlist, you'll get an email about it and you get this seven day starter starter challenge. You get that as part of it. So you know, again, this is really all about just embracing what is helpful to you. Shining the spotlight on that, rather than shining the spotlight on the things that are unhelpful.


Dr Mary Barson: (21:47) 

And change, change is possible. We see it every day.


Dr Lucy Burns: (21:54)  

Absolutely. Alright gorgeous ones. We will see you next week. Bye for now.


Dr Lucy Burns: (22:05) So my lovely listeners, that ends this episode of Real Health and Weight Loss. I'm Dr Lucy Burns…


Dr Mary Barson: (22:12)  and I'm Dr Mary Barson. We’re from Real Life Medicine. To contact us, please visit rlmedicine.com


Dr Lucy Burns: (22:23)  And until next time…


Both: (22:25) Thanks for listening!


Dr Lucy Burns: (22:27) 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.

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