Episode 150: Show Notes
Fibromyalgia - a very real condition: In recent years, medical professionals have started to recognize fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome as real conditions with real symptoms, rather than dismissing them as imagined or exaggerated. This is a significant shift from the tendency of medicine to dump conditions it doesn't understand back on the patient. With a better understanding of these conditions, doctors are finding that there are things that can be done to improve mitochondrial function, which can lead to significant improvements in symptoms. One such approach is the use of ketones, which are anti-inflammatory and can help to calm an overactive nervous system. This is similar to adding oxygen to a fire, making it burn even brighter. This shift in thinking around fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome is providing hope and real solutions for those who struggle with these conditions.
Shame and blame: The stigma surrounding weight and health can be incredibly damaging. Despite visiting doctors for unrelated health concerns, many of us are advised to lose weight as a solution. However, the advice given is often unhelpful and insensitive, such as being told to “use a smaller plate.” Medical professionals asking an overweight person if they “have ever thought about losing weight?” is a common and spectacularly unhelpful question many patients hear. Every overweight person has indeed had that thought, and often it can be all they think about. Dr Lucy’s advice to medical professionals is that unless they are prepared to spend time with the patient and provide some evidence-based solutions, particularly low carb solutions, it is best to just not bring up the subject of weight.
Holes and snowballs: The "all or nothing" mindset is so detrimental to personal progress, as it often leads to self-sabotage and an inability to bounce back from small setbacks. The analogy of digging a hole helps illustrate this point: one biscuit may be a small hole that's easily filled, but a whole packet of biscuits is a bigger hole that's much harder to climb out of. By drawing a line in the sand and acknowledging that one mistake isn't the end of the world, you can avoid the snowball effect of negative thoughts and keep moving forward towards your goals.
To hear Carla Veith-Carter speak at Low Carb Road Show Hobart:
Carla’s Instagram:Buy your tickets to Low Carb Road Show Hobart to hear Carla in person!
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: (0:23) Good morning gorgeous ones. How are you today? I'm hoping that it's a beautiful Friday no matter where you are. And if you're not listening on a Friday, well, again, I hope it's a lovely day. This morning, I am interviewing a fabulous, another ,seriously, I cannot tell you the talent that is speaking at the Low Carb Road Show. But I am interviewing another beautiful guest who I'm sure you will love. Her name is Carla Veith-Carter, and she is a Low Carb coach and has a background in psychology. So I can't wait to hear about her journey. And Carla, welcome to the podcast.
Carla Veith-Carter: (0:56) Thank you for that lovely introduction Dr Lucy. That's made me feel all tingly and happy inside.
Dr Lucy Burns: (1:02) Oh, wonderful. Well, you know, we aim to, we aim for tingling round here. It's usually unless it's sort of just related to your hands. It's usually a good sign. So gorgeous one, I would love to hear your journey into the low carb world. Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you've arrived at the place that you are.
Carla Veith-Carter: (1:20) Sure. So basically, I think looking back that I've had insulin resistance and metabolic problems for most of my life. But of course at the time, I didn't realise it. And I always struggled with weight as a teenager and onwards. I had polycystic ovaries, which I didn't realise was related at the time to insulin resistance. But I had a lot of things going on. I studied nutrition, I think I was really passionate about it. And I think part of the reason I was passionate about it was because I wanted to find out, you know, what I could do for myself as well and how everything worked. And the thing is that when you study nutrition, you know, you don't actually learn the really crucial things about metabolism that I wanted to know and understand. So it was later down the track that I actually discovered low carb, I actually got fibromyalgia. And I got to a weight that was really unhealthy. And I felt really horrible in my body. And I'd already tried sugar free. And I was already aware that sugar wasn't good for you. But then as time went on, I started researching more into low carb, and then eventually keto. And it was just absolutely revolutionary for me. Low Carb was amazing. But keto was like low carb on steroids. It was just incredible. And I think that's because of the fibromyalgia. And that doesn't mean that it has to be for everyone. But certainly for me it was something that made a massive difference to my life, and I'm functioning at levels beyond that I can even compare to, you know, five years ago before I started this journey.
Dr Lucy Burns: (2:54) Yeah, I think that's amazing. And I think that's probably, it's a common story that we hear. And it's interesting. I mean, gosh, fibromyalgia in itself. I mean, that's, that's a whole podcast, but the gaslighting from the medical community around people with fibromyalgia has just been horrendous. And I think that a lot of it is about, you know, we didn't and probably still don't know, the pathogenesis, which is just a fancy way for saying the cause of fibro. And so it just became this sort of, Oh it's a bit hard, we don't know how to fix it, so we'll just call them the difficult patient. And then that sets up this whole roller coaster of people trying to get help and improve their lives. So, you know, I hope that didn't happen to you, but maybe it did?
Carla Veith-Carter: (3:41) Yeah. So actually, the first time I ever heard the word fibromyalgia was in the neurologists office, and I literally, I'd had a session and as I was leaving, I was literally walking out the door. And he said, I could probably diagnose you with fibromyalgia, but what would be the point? And I walked out thinking, what on earth? you know, and so anyway, six months later, you know, went back to the GP, nothing's improving. They sent me back to the same guy. And he did a whole bunch more tests. And then he said, Well, okay, I'm now going to give you the label, you know, here you go. You've got fibromyalgia. And I said, Okay, well, what does that mean? What can I do about it? And he said, Oh, well, you know, exercise is meant to help and there's a medication you could take, I think it was Lyrica. And I said, Look, I'm only going to take a medication if it's going to be life changing. I'm not willing to take medication just because you think that's kind of something you should give me like, I really want a solution. You know, I want the root cause and so he said, No, you know what, the medication’s not really that great anyway, there's pretty much nothing you can do. Like he just left me totally empty handed with like, you know, You're stuffed. Nothing. So I just think that that sort of situation is probably very common and people are just left feeling that they have to fend for themselves and do their own research.
Dr Lucy Burns: (5:01) Absolutely. And I think, you know, again, there's many conditions that fall into this too hard basket with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome being another one. And what we're now realising, of course, is that these are actually real, you know, I'm using air quotes, which people won't be able to see, because this is, you know, audio, but real conditions, and they have real symptoms. And it's not just people, you know, making stuff up, like, that's just the thing that is very, very common in medicine is when when we don't have a solution, we don't understand it, we tend to just dump it back on the patient and say, Well, you know, there's nothing you can do about it. Here you go. And now we're realising actually, there's a whole heap of things you can do about it. And we're getting closer to understanding the reason. And, you know, I think one of the themes that is going to be running through the Low Carb Road Show, and certainly one of Dr Mary's talks is going to be about our mighty mitochondria. And we now realise that, you know, there are things we can do to improve mitochondrial function which improve a lot of these conditions that you know, for which medicine had no answer.
Carla Veith-Carter: (6:12) Absolutely. And I think as well, one of the reasons, and this is something I'm going to talk about when I'm talking about the differences between low carb and keto, on the Low Carb Road Show, is that with fibromyalgia, I think one of the reasons that I noticed such a big difference between low carb and keto was the ketones themselves are anti inflammatory. And they can also help to dampen an overactive nervous system. So you know, those two things, they sort of, using your analogy of the fat being the logs on the fire, I feel like when you add ketones, it's almost like someone's breathing oxygen on to the fire. And you know, the ketone, and the fire goes even brighter. And for someone like me, that's really important.
Dr Lucy Burns: (6:57) Ah, absolutely. And in fact, we did a little extension, just a couple of weeks ago, on one of our podcast episodes, where we talked about improving mitochondrial function is like cleaning out your fireplace. So if you never clean it out, and the mitochondria full of soot, that can't function properly. And when you clean it out and improve your mitochondrial function, then you can. Your fuel will burn properly, which, burning fuel is what gives you your energy, which makes you feel good.
Carla Veith-Carter: (7:24) Absolutely. And one of the biggest changes for me has been energy. I mean, I used to just be, I used to feel like my legs were like, lead, like I could hardly, you know, lift them up to walk, you know, like, I just felt like so drained. And the difference is, is unbelievable, you know, I've sort of gone from barely functioning to, you know, really able to run a business and look after kids, including one with a disability and you know, all the other things that come with life and, you know, and manage to do it and still, you know, get sleep and function relatively well.
Dr Lucy Burns: (8:00) Yeah, which I love. I love. So how did you find low carb, then? So you'd been in this neurologists office. He basically said, Yeah, you know, see ya, nothing we can do. Your brain has interpreted that as, I'm stuffed. Now what? So then what did you do?
Carla Veith-Carter: (8:15) Well, to be honest, I didn't find low carb because of my fibromyalgia. It was actually, I actually just got to a point where I was so uncomfortable in my body, that I really wanted to lose weight. That was actually my top goal at that point. Even though I kind of had given up a bit, I kind of had sort of thought, Well, God, if the doctor doesn't have any answers, then, you know, I'm not sure what can I do? But one thing I can do is lose weight, you know, and that will make me feel better. So because I had been already sugar free for many years, once you start reading the literature about sugar free, because sugar is obviously carbohydrates, you then kind of end up reading about low carb as an extension of that. So I sort of had done a bit of reading about that as a weight loss tool. And so I kind of I really felt strongly that that that was going to work for me, like I felt sort of more hope than I had for a while because as you know, you know, you go through your life doing old low fat, low calorie stuff, and it's all a whole roller coaster and it's terrible. And you know, you think you're never gonna keep it off. But once I kind of read about low carb, I really felt that that really gelled with me. So I took it very, very seriously and not just from what I ate, but also from a psychological perspective. I really set myself up. I wrote letters to myself about what I was going to achieve and how I was going to do it and how I was going to reward myself and what would it look like if I was succeeding. And what would it look like if I needed help and what would that help be and you know, really, and I meditated constantly and I just did a whole lot of mind work as well. And so once I kind of got into that low carb, my other symptoms did definitely improve. But then, of course, once you get into low carb, then you know, when you're looking online or you reading articles or whatever, then you end up looking at keto, because that's kind of the next sort of step. So I sort of went sugar free, low carb, keto. And then the more I read about keto, the more I started thinking, wow, now this is where it could really make my fibro, you know, go to the next stage of remission, I guess. I don't feel like I'm cured. I'm certainly not, I have my moments. But, you know, certainly I just yeah, the reading I did kind of made me think, Okay, well, maybe that's worth it for me to kind of step it up. And so, yeah, I tried it. And it was unbelievable. In a relatively short amount of time, my pain decreased, my energy increased, my sleep improved, I lost more weight, I, you know, like, it just just seemed to snowball all the benefits, you know, and it's funny, you know, even now, years later, I sort of sometimes think to myself, Oh, there's something I haven't had for a while, or I just suddenly realise, you know, like, because when you have so many things going on in your life, sometimes when they go away, you don't actually realise until you think about it, oh, suddenly I'm not allergic to this, that and the other anymore, suddenly the dogs not making me sneeze, suddenly you know, that pain I have my fingers gone, you know, just all these things just kept accumulating, I just kept thinking of all these extra things that were better. And it was just yeah, as I say, life changing.
Dr Lucy Burns: (11:24) And you know what Carla? Your story will resonate with so many people, because for lots of people, and myself included, you start because you want to lose weight, you know, and again, for many reasons, sometimes it's, you know, we're just conditioned that we need to be thin. And, you know, as you now know, I just think that's a whole raft of bullshit there. But for a lot of us, and part of me was that I needed to be as lean as I could, without compromising my health, because my muscles can't carry me around in a heavy frame. And same with you, if you've got fibro, we know that excess, particularly abdominal fat is inflammatory. It makes inflammatory cells. And if you've got an inflammatory condition, whether it's fibromyalgia, or now we know lipoedema, in particular, and a very common condition suffered by many women, or, you know, any inflammatory condition is going to be improved with reduction of abdominal fat.
Carla Veith-Carter: (12:23) Absolutely. And, you know, I'd go to the doctor with something that I thought was completely not related to fibromyalgia or weight or anything, you know, I've got a sore knee, you know, and the doctor would say, Well, maybe if you lost some weight. I remember this one time in particular, and I said, Well, how do you think I should do that? You know, and she said, Oh, well just use a smaller plate. I know someone who just reduced their plate size, and they lost all this weight. And I just looked at this naturally thin woman who clearly had never been overweight in her life. And I just thought, Oh, my goodness, you have got no idea.
Dr Lucy Burns: (12:59) No, I know. And look, we do know, you know, for me, I think and I always, you know, whenever I’m talking to medical students, or junior doctors that the sentence, Have you ever thought about losing weight? Don't ever say that. Because for most people who are overweight, it's all they think about. They've tried everything. So unless you're prepared to actually sit with them, and give them some really evidence based, particularly low carb solutions, then don't bring it up, because you just disempower and shame them. And it's unhelpful.
Carla Veith-Carter: (13:36) Absolutely. Absolutely. Yep.
Dr Lucy Burns: (13:41) So Carla, you've got a background in psychology. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Carla Veith-Carter: (13:45) Yes. So before I studied nutrition actually, I studied psychology. And then I did a postgraduate in health psychology. And it was the studying of the health psychology that actually really made me interested in nutrition. Because when you think about health psychology, you know, there's lots of different elements to it. But the one that really resonated with me, was prevention. I really wanted to help people to not be sick in the first place, rather than waiting until they're sick and then saying, Now, what do we do? And so it just seemed to me from everything that I'd learned, that nutrition was the best way to do that. So that's what actually led me then into studying nutrition. So I feel that the combination between the psychology background and nutrition, they just work really, really well together. They support each other. And I don't think that you can ever just talk to someone about weight loss and say, or any sort of dietary change for any reason, and say, This is what you need to do, this is what you need to eat, go away and do it. Because there's so much to unpack, and there's so many different stages of being ready as well. You don't just suddenly find someone who says, Right now overnight, I'm just suddenly ready to do everything that you told me to do. It doesn't work like that. You have to go through phases of where you're contemplating even thinking about changing, and then you're getting information. And then you're, you know, planning and you know what I mean? Like, there's just so many depths. And then once you get there, you then have to unpack, as you do all the time in your work, you know, all of the sabotaging thoughts and the stories in your head, and, you know, all of that stuff, and plus the stress of everyday life, you know, if you don't have some stress reduction techniques that help you to find that space between the the thought and the action, you know, you end up just reaching for that, you know, chocolate biscuit before you even realise that you're doing it. Because you haven't got that ability to step back and to question it and to think about the consequences, you know, so I just, I feel that the combination is a fabulous one, and you guys do it so so well with all of your work.
Dr Lucy Burns: (15:59) Well, I think it's actually imperative. And I think this is, you know, we have a little quip, which is weight loss is more than a meal plan. And, you know, a meal plan is a tool, and it can be helpful. But if that's your only tool, it's never going to work. And, again, it's not our fault that this is, you know, that that's what we've been taught. Lots of us, you probably, me certainly, plenty of our listeners have gone to Weight Watchers or done Jenny Craig or Lite n’ Easy. And that is the main tool. It's a meal plan, whether it's prescriptive, you will eat this, or whether it's points, it's all the same.
Carla Veith-Carter: (16:34) You're either on it, or you're off it. It's that mindset of all or nothing. And that was something, I was the queen of all or nothing. And that's something that I really learned on this journey as well is that you really have to question that. And the analogy that I like to use is that you know, when you get to the point that you just say, Oh stuff it, you know, I've eaten one biscuit, I may as well eat the whole packet. And I think to yourself, you imagine, if you dig yourself a small hole, it's relatively easy to fill in. If you dig yourself a big hole, it's a lot harder to fill in. And that's the difference between one biscuit and a whole packet, you know, if you have one and you say, Okay, I'm drawing a line in the sand. You know, I've had one, wasn't on my plan, but it's not the end of the world, I'm just going to keep going, then really, it's a tiniest blip that you don't even really need to think about. But if you eat the whole packet, then you've got all of these you know self sabotaging thoughts in your head and it rollercoasters into this snowball effect, where more often than not, you say, Well, I've eaten the whole packet. Now there's the day gone, there's the week gone, there's the month gone. And before you know it, you know, you just completely,
Dr Lucy Burns: (17:41) You're waiting for New Year's, so you can start on January the first.
Carla Veith-Carter: (17:44) Exactly.
Dr Lucy Burns: (17:48) Yeah. And you know what, though, again, we've been encouraged to do that. That's, you know, the memes that are all around, they weren't called memes in those days. I don't know what they were called, little cartoons of you know, Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we diet. And you know, this idea that you're going to go on a diet on Monday so you've got to quickly eat everything that you're going to miss out on in that diet on Saturday and Sunday.
Carla Veith-Carter: (18:11) Yep. So you’re digging your big hole. Takes a lot longer to fill in.
Dr Lucy Burns: (18:15) Absolutely. We call it filling up your garage. So we have this story that if you're planning to clean out your garage on Monday, you don't go around to all your neighbours and ask for all their junk and fill it up on the weekend, so that you can then spend double or triple the amount of time to empty it.
Carla Veith-Carter: (18:31) Absolutely. And I think you know, there's also, you know, physiological ramifications as well, especially if you're low carb or keto. If you just have one biscuit, you could just go for a long walk and you know, probably burn most of that glucose and it's not really going to affect you. But if you have the whole packet, then suddenly, you know, you're out of ketosis and you know, your cravings come back and you've replenished all your glycogen and you know, it's like it's a massive physiological impact, not just psychological.
Dr Lucy Burns: (18:59) Completely agree could not agree more. Oh Carla, I'm excited for your talk. I reckon it's going to be a ripper. For our listeners, Carla is speaking at Low Carb Hobart. We have superstars speaking there with both Gary and Belinda Fettke, as well as Peter Brukner. And Dr Lizzie Elliot, who's a low carb practitioner down that way. It is going to be a ripper. So even if you don't live in Hobart, I would highly encourage people to consider making the trek down because it is going to be a super, super event. Now, Carla, if people wanted to connect with you, where do they find you?
Carla Veith-Carter: (19:37) So probably my main form of social media is Instagram, and I'm at keto_by_design. You can also email me at [email protected]. I am on Facebook, but to be honest, I'm not really that active on it. I do have a website as well which is just ketobydesign.com.au but probably the best way is Instagram because that's kind of my little, that's my happy spot. I really enjoy Instagram. And it's kind of ironic because I only ever got on Instagram because I had a blog and everyone said, Well, no one's going to know anything about your blog unless you're on social media. So I went on Instagram then fell in love with Instagram and then the blog went by the wayside. Now I just, you know, just do Instagram.
Dr Lucy Burns: (20:20) And we'll have all the notes in the show notes for this episode, but it's keto_by_design. And, yes, please go follow Carla. She has wonderful posts and is again, another low carb gem so very, very happy. Alright, lovely listeners. Again, links for the Low Carb Road Show. Again, you can just go lowcarbroadshow.com and you'll find them all or check it out in the show notes. And I will see you next week with another wonderful Low Carb Road Show guest Take care for now.
Dr Lucy Burns: (20:56) So my lovely listeners, that ends this episode of Real Health and Weight Loss. I'm Dr Lucy Burns…
Dr Mary Barson: (21:04) and I'm Dr Mary Barson. We’re from Real Life Medicine. To contact us, please visit rlmedicine.com
Dr Lucy Burns: (21:14) And until next time…
Both: (21:17) Thanks for listening!
Dr Lucy Burns: (21:19) 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.