Episode 160:

Show Notes 


In this episode of the Real Health and Weight Loss podcast, Dr Mary Barson delves into the recent thought provoking debate ignited by Taryn Brumfitt, 2023 Australian of the Year and body positive advocate. The discussion revolves around the question of whether doctors should discuss weight during routine consultations, and whether this is a necessity of health care or a taboo topic. 

Dr Mary emphasises the importance of body positivity and self love, at any size and at any capacity. She shares her personal journey of overcoming years of body hatred and learning to accept and appreciate her body, regardless of its size or shape. Her experience fuels her belief that everyone deserves to feel worthy, loved, and accepted, independent of their appearance. She advocates for a shift in societal attitudes towards self acceptance and emphasises the importance of nurturing both the body and mind.

The conversation then shifts towards the concept of metabolic health. Dr Mary highlights the need to prioritise metabolic balance over societal pressures related to aesthetics. She believes that focusing on energy, vitality, and overall health is crucial. Dr Mary explains that weight is a symptom of metabolic imbalance in many cases. While acknowledging that some individuals can be healthy at any size, she emphasises the importance of addressing metabolic issues that may be associated with weight in order to prevent chronic diseases.

While recognising the potential barriers and challenges that discussing weight with patients can present, Dr Mary argues for respectful and compassionate conversations between doctors and patients. She acknowledges that doctors genuinely care about their patients' health and should approach weight related discussions in a patient centred manner. By providing individuals with information about their specific risks and nurturing their minds and bodies, doctors can guide patients towards better metabolic health and overall well being, and are best placed to do this.

Overall, Dr Mary encourages a shift in societal conversations surrounding health and weight. She advocates for a holistic approach that encompasses self acceptance, metabolic healing, and respectful patient centred care.

How to stop Night Time Snacking:


Episode 160:


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 Mary Barson: (0:23) Hello lovely listeners, Dr Mary here with this episode of Real Health and Weight Loss. Weight Loss. Is weight loss a dirty word? 

Our fabulous Australian of the Year, body positivity advocate Taryn Brumfitt, has recently been in the media calling for GP’s, general practitioners or family physicians in Australia, to avoid discussing patients weight during standard consultations. And she describes weight bias as the last remaining legal form of discrimination. I don't actually entirely disagree with her. Not at all. But I also very much don't completely agree either. I think that this is a potentially dangerous over generalisation to say that doctors shouldn't talk about weight. And I'd love to dive into this topic a bit more. In fact, I'm very fired up and I really, really want to dive into this. As a self styled weight loss doctor I feel this is an incredibly important topic. And even as a weight loss doctor myself, sometimes I hear that title, weight loss doctor and I'm like, Oh, I hope that doesn't come across the way that it sounds. Really, I'm a health doctor. That's what I want for people. I want people to be healthy. And I know that losing weight can be a part of that. And I'd like to dive into this a little bit more. 

First of all, I love body positivity. I can't tell you how much I love the idea of body positivity. I frickin love it. Having been a professional body hater most of my life I can't tell you how much I love this idea. It is really only in recent years that I have learned to not hate my body. I was a chubby kid, you know. And I now know that this is largely due to the fact that I had polycystic ovarian syndrome. So when I was about eight, nine, you know, like grade three, grade four, grade five, I really started to gain some weight. And I was teased, definitely. I had well meaning adults who tried to help me to lose weight. And the advice that I was given wasn't great. And the tactics that we tried weren't great. It was all around calorie restriction. And there was some inherent shaming that went along with that. And I really learnt that I wasn't acceptable because I was chubby, and it was horrible. And then this dark cloud just lived with me throughout my life. It didn't matter how successful I was in other realms, I always felt self conscious. I always felt this shame. Look, I didn't develop an eating disorder for which I'm really grateful. But you know, lots of people do when there is this body shame around and I hate the body shame. It was really only in recent years that I broke free. 

But I love this idea that you can love yourself right now. Right now, no matter what size body you're in. You are worthy of self love, and self acceptance and happiness and joy. You are worthy of love from others. You are allowed to feel sexy, you're allowed to explore your sensuality, you're allowed to enjoy your physicality, you're allowed to enjoy your body and appreciate your body no matter what it looks like. Your body is a vehicle, it's not meant to be this ornament. And only recently have I learned that I can love my body for what it does and accept it for what it can't do and definitely accept it for how it looks right now, in this very moment. You, all of you, are worthy of self love and self acceptance. You do not need to achieve some specific weight goal in order to love yourself. Absolutely not. Absolutely not. And at the same time, I am really pro health. It is my passion to help people reclaim their health. And by health I mean energy, vitality, metabolic health. Improving your health span, that is how many years you get in this precious life where you are healthy. And your lifespan - you know increasing the amount of years that you get to spend in this precious life. This is what I want for people. And the issue with weight. I don't give two hoots about aesthetics. I don't care. But what I do care about is health and weight.

Weight. Weight is a symptom. Being overweight is a symptom of metabolic imbalance for most people. It is absolutely true. Some people can be in an extra body and be perfectly metabolically well.  Absolutely. And that's what I want for people. In fact, I'm one of those people. Honestly I am. I am not bodily perfect. I'm not. And I have to be mindful of the little demon on my shoulder saying that I'm not allowed to stand up in public and talk about metabolic health. Because I've got a little bit of a sticky outie belly and you know, jiggly thighs and all of these things. I am not some fitness model. But I am metabolically healthy, I truly am. I am strong, I've got fantastic sugar control, beautiful liver enzymes, my insulin is nice and low. I'm metabolically well, even though bits of me jiggle. And I am totally okay and loving on the bits of me that jiggle. So for my beautiful patients and my beautiful community out there that we engage with at Real Life Medicine, what we want for you is metabolic health. And being overweight, particularly being significantly overweight, is a symptom of metabolic imbalance. But the weight is the tip of the iceberg. In fact, it's probably the thing that I care about the least to be perfectly honest. I'm far more interested in people's blood pressure, and blood sugar. Their levels of inflammation, their comfort, their joint pain, absence of joint pain, their risk of heart disease and strokes. And just how they feel. How much energy, how much vitality people have, this is what I want. And what I want is for people to heal their metabolic health, so that they can break free from chronic disease. So that they can live as long as they can and as healthy as they can, in the best way that they can. So they can use their beautiful body as a vehicle to chase their dreams rather than being shackled with chronic disease. And the thing is, when you focus on metabolic health first, then weight loss happens as this happy side effect. Weight loss as a happy side effect. And I love that. 

But also it is okay if you want to lose weight. That doesn't mean you're buying into toxic diet culture. If you want to lose weight and you have a weight loss goal, that's absolutely cool too. You're allowed to. You want to be able to tie your shoes easily, you want to be able to fit in an aeroplane seat. Even if you just want to get back into those nice jeans that you bought, you're allowed to. That is perfectly okay. And as long as we don't engage in this toxic ideology of weight loss at any cost. Metabolic health first, weight loss second, and that beautiful people is how I would approach these conversations. And as a doctor, I absolutely feel that doctors can and should discuss weight with their patients, because it helps them. It helps people live their best life as long as it's done respectfully. So as someone who has definitely been in the obese category earlier, I hate body shaming. And I will not stand for it. And I think that I can understand what perhaps the fabulous Taryn Brumfitt was talking about. 

If you're someone in a heavier body and you've got an infected toenail. And you really just want to go to the doctor and deal with this infected toenail. But you're afraid that if you go in there, the doctors gonna say, Well, the reason you've got an infected toenail is because you're overweight, then it might be a barrier. And maybe you just won't go and see the doctor about your infected toenail. And will get worse and worse and worse. And I think that this is honestly a barrier for people. I've got people in my family who are in heavier bodies and feel the same way. And that is unhelpful. If you’re just going to waggle your finger at someone and say, You’ve got to lose weight, that's not helpful. I've never met a doctor who didn't actually genuinely care about the health of their patients. I haven't. Especially you know, in the realm of GP’s, we're mostly a pretty nice bunch of people. None of us are perfect, but we do care. We really do care

And it could be that perhaps the conversations aren't approached in the absolute best way. That might be the situation. However I would say that by and large, doctors are well placed to help people. To help people reclaim their health. It is absolutely important that weight loss, and I don't even really care about weight loss, I just like to say metabolic health, insulin resistance, repairing insulin resistance, is discussed in a way to let people know that this is really important. That if you've got insulin resistance and high insulin, this is a really significant issue that could rob you of your health and years of your life. That insulin resistance is associated with heart disease and strokes and dementia. And neuro inflammatory conditions and polycystic ovarian syndrome and liver disease, and essentially dying younger and being more unwell than we need to be. But it needs to be done in what we call patient centred way. With an emphasis on the person. Emphasis on nourishing and nurturing the body and mind. 

So gorgeous people I'd love you to have a little reflection. What are your thoughts on this topic? Do you think that doctors should avoid discussing weight? Or is it okay for doctors to do this? I think it's really important that at a whole society level, we recognise that all people are worthy, and all people deserve good health care. And that all people deserve to have the knowledge about their individual risk. And that perhaps people don't know that if they've got high insulin they're at risk of all of these metabolic diseases and metabolic consequences. And I think that people deserve to have a respectful conversation about that. And conversations around health and weight management can be difficult. They require nuance, and they require compassion. But that doesn't mean that we shouldn't have them. So maybe the answer is for as a society, that we have more grassroots movements where we place the emphasis on health, and much less emphasis on weight. 

And I am fascinated. I’ve been getting out there in the community and trying to glean people's opinions on this. And there are lots of opinions out there. And one thing that I have come across, certainly in the medical community, is that it sparked some beautiful discussions around how we can best help people. So I have absolutely no anger at all that this topic has been brought to the media and brought to the forefront. I think it's absolutely fantastic. And I really commend Taryn Brumfitt for doing this. Because I think that as a society, we really do need to change the conversations around health and weight in multiple ways. I think we need to throw out the stigma of being overweight. We're in this strange situation where we have a cultural obsession with thinness. Blah. I absolutely hate that. And but we also have this really toxic food environment where we are getting processed, high carb, highly refined, highly inflammatory, processed foods, shoved down our throats and shoved down our children's throats, that is driving this epidemic of insulin resistance. And a symptom of insulin resistance is being overweight. So we've got this epidemic of insulin resistance, this cultural obsession with being thin. We've got people saying we need to love ourselves no matter what. Absolutely, yes. People saying that we shouldn't talk about weight. I don't quite agree with that. 

How do we move forward as a society? Well, for me what I'm going to do in my little corner, and I encourage you to decide what you're going to do in your corner. For me, I am all about grassroots movements. Moving forward with empowering people to nourish their bodies with real food. Because when you nourish your body with real food, you naturally get your body into a nice healthy balance. And as part of that healthy balance, you will and can get weight loss. Wonderful sustainable weight loss. And weight loss is not a bad thing to want. Absolutely not. It can improve your movement in many ways, your quality of life. It's totally cool to want weight loss and you get weight loss through metabolic healing. And you get metabolic healing through nourishing your body with real food, and really loving on your body with real food. Learning to break up with processed food. A very important part of that is nurturing your beautiful mind. Self love and self compassion is an integral part of learning to nurture your beautiful mind. You nourish your body, you nurture your mind. And this allows you to get well, improve your physical and mental health and live your best possible life. 

So me, that's where I sit. I’m in this grassroots movement, changing the conversations around health, changing the conversations around weight. There's definitely lots of work to be done here and lots of different corners in which people should be doing their work. And Taryn Brumfitt is in her corner. And I love it. I'm in this corner, and I love it. And we can all choose the corners that we work in. 

Gorgeous ones, the Fabulous Dr Lucy is having her birthday tomorrow. On the 19th of July the fabulous Dr Lucy is going to be another fabulous year older. I wish her an extremely happy birthday. And to celebrate Lucy's birthday, we've decided to have a special Lucy's Birthday Bonus. A special birthday present but for our community. Our very popular How To Stop Nighttime Snacking course normally sells for $97. For the next 10 days, we are having a flash sale and we're selling it for $47. So head over to our website, www.rlmedicine.com and check it out. All the details will be there and also you can click the link in the show notes. This fabulous How To Stop Nighttime Snacking program is all about managing your beautiful mind to better serve your beautiful body. It is all about the psychology and the physiology. 

We get so many messages from people, so many DMS and emails and Facebook messages from our beautiful people who want help with night time snacking. With eating after dinner. It’s often the time where people find it hardest to engage in the helpful things , the things that they know will be helpful for their body, for their mind, for their health goals for their future. And the thing is, with pretty simple techniques and tweaks and just learning how your beautiful mind works, you can absolutely overcome night time eating and allow you to really supercharge your health, wellness and weight loss journey. So check it out. This course is fabulous. It's got a wonderful online program with wonderful videos. It's got handouts, it's got a hypnosis, a fantastic transformative hypnosis. It gives you everything you need to really transform your night time and evening routines so that you are someone who is totally in control and staying on track. Living your absolute best life, living life according to your values and in line with your goals and it's wonderful. A beautiful doctor-led program. Do check that out wwwrlmedicine.com/nighttime. The link is in the show notes. And Happy Birthday Dr Lucy!

Dr Lucy Burns: (18:46) So my lovely listeners, that ends this episode of Real Health and Weight Loss. I'm Dr Lucy Burns…

Dr Mary Barson: (18:53)  and I'm Dr Mary Barson. We’re from Real Life Medicine. To contact us, please visit rlmedicine.com

Dr Lucy Burns: (19:05)  And until next time…

Both: (19:07) Thanks for listening!

Dr Lucy Burns: (19:09) 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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