Episode 166:

Show Notes 

Today’s engaging episode revolves around embracing ageing, understanding the concept of anti-ageing, and focusing on optimal ageing as a more positive approach. We question the idea of anti-ageing, as it implies defying a natural process, and instead, we champion the concept of ageing optimally by making the most of each phase.

The shifts in hormones during menopause in women, particularly oestrogen decline, affects muscle protection, insulin sensitivity, and mood. These changes are natural and should be addressed through strategies that support healthy ageing. 

Practical approaches for healthy ageing starts  with optimising nutrition, particularly by increasing protein intake and minimising carbohydrates. Stress management techniques are a means to reduce cortisol levels, improving overall health and well-being; and adequate and restorative sleep is a powerful tool for supporting the body's functions and energy levels.

The 12 Week Mind Body Rebalance Program is designed to empower women to reclaim their health and achieve sustainable weight loss. The program focuses on small, manageable steps that lead to meaningful transformations. By nurturing and nourishing the body through balanced nutrition and self-care, members experience improvements in energy levels and overall health.

We delight in witnessing individuals thrive and transform and our approach isn't just about losing weight; it's about embracing a healthier, more vibrant life.


The 12 Week Mind Body Rebalance

Episode 166: 


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) Good morning, gorgeous listeners. It is Dr Lucy here from Real Life Medicine, and I'm joined by the ever-wonderful but even better today for a very special reason. Dr Mary Barson, Happy birthday to you 🎶 

Dr Mary Barson  (0:42)  Thank you very much! If anyone out there is as geeky as I am. And I hope that there are a few geeky people out there. You would know that today, I am turning the answer to the life universe and everything. I am 42!  Very satisfying number for a sci-fi geek like me. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy reference their people. I'm 42! I'm 42 today, I feel great. I feel 42 and fabulous!

Dr Lucy Burns  (1:13)  And you know what, 42 It's like twice 21.

Dr Mary Barson  (1:17)  I know, it's like my second 21st birthday! I reckon I feel as good as I did when I was 21. Plus, the bonus of having a lot less to sort of,  general angst as well. Yeah, second 21st birthday feeling fabulous. And much less adolescent angst. Yes, good. It's good. I feel like right.

Dr Lucy Burns  (1:38)  I know. And you know, it's interesting because aging, getting older, I mean, you have to do it. The only option is don't get old or die. Like they're the two choices. So we've got this big thing in our society that getting older is somehow to be feared or to be avoided. In fact, there's that whole phrase anti-aging, and I kind of think, wow, it's interesting, isn't it? Literally, anti-aging is dead. That is the only way to not age is to die. I guess we can accelerate our aging process by some of the things that we do. But I kind of just think what, why can't we just embrace the little phrases sort of optimal aging?

Dr Mary Barson  (2:27)  Totally fine with it. And I really do. I feel you know, physically as well, as I think I ever have. I've got lots of energy. I don't have pain. I just I feel really good. And it's sort of like a slightly strange, from an esoteric point of view. I sort of think 42, part of me thinks that sounds really old, but I don't feel old. And also, yeah, absolutely. If I have to choose between, you know, dying or ageing, I choose option two, please!

Dr Lucy Burns  (3:04)  Absolutely. Option two all the way. And I think, you know, there's a couple of things that I was thinking about this aging hoo-ha. And I mean, it has been particularly for women, a long-held societal belief that being old as a woman is somehow wrong. In fact it's a slur, “Oh, you silly old woman.”  You know, the old woman line is, “Oh, my god, stop being such an old woman.” It's like, wow, it's interesting. Older men somehow don't get that same. You know, older men are often considered experienced or wise. And I mean, also look at the President of the United States. I think he's 78 off the top of my head, whereas the 78-year-old woman is often considered old and feeble.

Dr Mary Barson  (3:54)  And that, yeah, he had the sexy dadbod. You know, that that's the thing. I'd say that I'm a proud owner of a sexy mumbod, but I'd say I definitely don't have the sake of a fitness model. But you know, I reckon I've got the female equivalent of a dadbod. And I'm doing this body of mine is getting out and proud in summer. I can tell you what, not now because it's freezing, but later on, absolutely.

Dr Lucy Burns  (4:20)  Yeah, absolutely! And this, I mean, this just encompasses your beautiful phrase: if your body is not an ornament, it is the vehicle to your dreams. And as a vehicle, we want it to be aging optimally. We want it to be functioning optimally. And we want to maximise its capacity and all the things that it can do.

Dr Mary Barson  (4:47)  Yes, that is what we want for everybody. And beautiful Lucy, last night you gave a wonderful masterclass on menopause and how to navigate menopause for optimal health. It was fantastic! We had hundreds and hundreds of beautiful humans come along. And I would love for you, now in this podcast, to tell all of our beautiful listeners to tell us how we can live our very best life through menopause and beyond.

Dr Lucy Burns  (5:23)  Absolutely! So, I mean, we know that with all normal aging processes, there are changes that happen. For women, the changes can happen around, obviously hormonal things like pregnancy, in fact, every single month, when you're menstruating, there are changes, but you know, pregnancy and all of those all have significant changes to our body. And then I guess menopause is the end of that reproductive era. And there's another significant change that happens then. And we know with hormones, you know how we were talking about, we're not bags of calories, we're definitely not buckets of calories, we are certainly buckets of hormones, though. And it's all of our hormonal processes, they all affect each other. And I think you've coined that phrase before - our body is really very much like an orchestra. And so if one aspect of the orchestra, if the strings become too loud, the body doesn't quite sound right. It's just not quite in tune. So we definitely want to keep an eye on things, because over time, one of the most significant things that we know, that we don't talk a lot about, is that we all reduce muscle mass. And again, that was fine when we calculated it at 50, you know, hundreds of years ago, we don't calculate at 50 anymore. In fact, we don't even calculate at 60 or 70, or 80. But we're now living 90, there are plenty of well functioning 90 something-year-olds. And over time as medicine, modern medicine continues to improve, we will extend that lifespan. But what we want for our people, what we want for you, is to extend your health span and how you feel. Because it really, who wants to live forever? Well, not forever, but who wants to live for a long time but be frail and not functioning? So this is what we covered a bit in the masterclass: as our body changes, particularly as our muscle mass decreases, a whole heap of other things happen. So, the decreasing muscle mass, I guess one of the follow on from that is, the muscle being a metabolic organ is that we all naturally increase our insulin levels over time. And it's like, is this significant or not? Well, it depends on where you're starting. So if you're starting and a base of insulin resistance in your early 30s and 40s, and as you get older, it is going to get worse, significantly worse. Menopause brings on its own special circumstances around that because estrogen is like an insulin moderator. So when we have estrogen on board, it does protect us. It protects our muscles, and it makes our cells sensitive to insulin, which is great. It's nice to have that. But we also know that estrogen declines. It stops menopause, and suddenly, you basically have your estrogen. And so we then have to go - oh okay, so we've halved our estrogen, which means our muscles are now not protected. Our insulin is now more sensitive. Our brain, also protected by beautiful estrogen, is now more prone to stress and more reactive. Estrogen is a lovely mood stabiliser. So now we've got higher cortisol. So we end up with this situation where we've got high cortisol, high insulin, low estrogen, low muscle, and our metabolism basically slows down.

Dr Mary Barson  (9:24)  That's like the baaaad news! That sounds baaaad. None of the opposite of yet. Let's all age really well, have boundless energy and live our best life for as long as we possibly can. But I have met lots and lots of women, in particular, who could relate to feeling blah in that menopausal, peri-menopausal period.

Dr Lucy Burns  (9:51)  Yeah, absolutely. And I think the biggest change that happens is because there is this reasonably rapid decline in estrogen. We have a reasonably rapid increase in our insulin resistance. We can't access our fuel stores. You know, people hear us talk about this all the time, fuel. You know your energy when people talk about energy, “I've got no energy.” What they're talking about is I don't have any fuel. Again, I think we've got this slight disconnect between what does tired fatigue is and what it literally mean. And you know, you can all probably relate when your muscles feel tired, when your brain feels tired. And really what it's saying is that it's running out of fuel, that it can't access its fuel, it's used all the fuel up, various iterations of that.

Dr Mary Barson  (10:40)  So imagine we've got a beautiful woman called Jennifer, and she's navigating this time, this perimenopausal time and is feeling overwhelmed. She's got work, she's got the kids, she's sleeping terribly, waking up all the time feeling irritable, feeling stressed, snapping at people. Family life is suffering under the snappiness. So kids are probably also teenage and hormonal and snapping back. She's exhausted, she's stressed, she's overwhelmed. So we'll fan-bloody-tastic Dr Mary and Dr Lucy, I'm losing muscle mass because of my issue, and that's really helpful, great, wonderful. I've got no time and energy. Yeah, just throw that on there. What would we say to beautiful Jennifer because, Oh man, there are so many gorgeous Jennifer's out there!

Dr Lucy Burns  (11:31)  Yes, there are and they're living in a house that is basically one hormonal shitstorm. You've got teenage acne and menopausal hot flushes, never between should meet. So what we would say to Jennifer is that we know, I know. I am a menopausal woman, I know. I know exactly how it feels, and it feels rubbish. And you kind of down in amongst the weeds, and it's hard to sometimes see your way forward. And every suggestion feels like just another job. The thing that we do, and this is the really tricky part, is that some of the mechanisms that we use to cope with these changes are not actually super helpful. And what I mean by that is things like, and again, there's no judgment here, I did exactly the same, but it's using coffee as a stimulant and a fuel source. So, I have a lot of alliteration, so I had Lucy loves lattes and lollies. And that was my mechanism to get me through the day because I was running out of fuel in the afternoons. So there we go back a snake's couple of lattes, and off, I'd run for another hour or two. And the tricky thing with that is that, that amount of sugar actually, ultimately decreases access to your fuel stores. The caffeine actually increases your cortisol, which is part of the problem in the first place. We then sit down at the end of the night, and all we want to do is have a glass of wine on the couch, watching endless hours of Netflix and not talking to anybody. I never wanted to go to bed. Going to bed meant getting up the next day and starting the whole rubbish cycle again. But the thing is, you can't say to somebody, “oh, we'll just stop your coffee, stop your Lolly, stop your wine’, without giving them the things that you need to do instead.

Dr Mary Barson  (13:33)  Yes, I could imagine that Jennifer's out there saying, 'You're not taking away my sugar, and my wine, and my five daily lattes because that's what I'm running. I'm running on coffee and hope.'

Dr Lucy Burns  (13:46)  Yeah, do not take this way, understandably. And you know, you can't, and it doesn't work. What happens is we give people the tools they need. So they introduce those, and all of a sudden, they don't need the latte, the lollies, the wine that are needed. And so therefore, not having it is easy, but just taking it away. That's not a solution.

Dr Mary Barson  (14:13)  No, no. You want to fix the actual underlying issues. I should clarify that if you want to have some coffee and wine, that's okay, too. We're talking about not needing it. Wanting it is fine. So, yes, it can be easy. It can be easy when you know how. So beautiful Lucy, what are some beautiful things we help people with? That's easy, that can really fix their fuel problem.

Dr Lucy Burns  (14:38)  So, I guess the summary-- as we get older, our metabolic rate slows. Lots of science to support that, we know that. Okay, so what we want to do is, therefore, counter that and boost our metabolism. You know, really optimise our metabolism so that we can live a life with plenty of energy, with clear thinking, so that we don't feel stressed, anxious, and worried, so that we've got the energy to do the things that we love doing, and we do that. Look, there are four main levers that I would look. There are a few little side levers, but we'll stick with four now. So the four levers, we look at our nutrition, can we look at our food, in particular, really optimising protein, minimising carbohydrates, doesn't have to be keto, doesn't have to be high protein, but what we want to do is we really want to optimise the amount of protein. Most people, particularly women, were taught to have the salad. Men are for meat, women are taught to upsell, and most women are undereating their protein. So protein, we are putting in some doable practical strategies to reduce cortisol. So, if we can reduce our cortisol levels, then the flow on from that is profound. You know, and there's lots of things that you can do to reduce cortisol. I think that's the thing people think it has to be meditating on a rock. Meditation is one tool, but it is certainly not the only one. And I think again, what happens is people think that you have to meditate for a long time and you have to do it all the time. And honestly, the power of small steps is so profound that you just start with like, one stingy, minute. There are lots of tools to optimise to manage that cortisol level. Sleep, again, sleep is your absolute superpower. We take it for granted. In general, we do. We don't prioritise it. You can feel like it's not that important. But honestly, if there was a pill or potion, an injectable that gave you the things that sleep gives you. Well, basically, as you and I'd be retired, we wouldn't need it. Everybody would be just clamouring for this. So, I know there are barriers to sleep. I know, it's not as simple as just going to bed. But it can be easy if you're given the right tools. And that's what we love providing people, people with actual tools that will help them sleep, not potions. Again, not pills and potions. I mean, pills and potions are happening. We're doctors, they have their role because they do. But then they don't address the root cause. And then building muscle is your metabolic organ. And again, you can build muscle, it's just not you don't have to go and lift 100-kilo weights, but really using your body. Okay, the thing about the muscle, right, is that you do that movement and the exercise that comes down the track. You don't need to start with that.

Dr Mary Barson  (18:05)  Yes. And that becomes so much easier when the food, the sleep and the mind are in the right place, then the movement wanting to move just naturally happens, which is what we see with our beautiful Jennifers and all Jennifer-like people out there.

Dr Lucy Burns  (18:22)  I know. I know. And that's a bit, I think that we love seeing we see people go from the Jennifers who are overwhelmed, who feel like they're running on a treadmill or hamster wheel. They're buying takeaway because they've run out of time to order food, get their shopping delivered, or even go to the supermarket. Or they go to the supermarket and stand there and think, "Oh my god, what the hell are we going to eat?” And so they just grab a lasagna. So we see it all the time. And we see them move from that to this next phase where they're cooking most nights, but it's easy. It's not hard cooking. You're not there slaving over. You're not cooking 45 meals to cater for your family's whims. You know, just being able to provide people with easy, family-friendly, quick, cheap, delicious meals. That actually, you know, food is medicine. That's okay.

Dr Mary Barson  (19:19)  You know Lucy, as I've been reflecting as we're gearing up for this next 12 Week Mind Body Rebalance that starting September 2nd, just looking back that now over 1000 beautiful people have done our 12 Week Mind Body Rebalance, I think It's 1081 people exactly, which is pretty exciting. Just reflecting on this, like it feels such a wonderful privilege to be able to do this, to help people easily reclaim their health. And as people easily learn how to reclaim their health by managing their food, sleep, and mind. Weight loss happens as the sort of happy side effect, and weight Loss for us is important, and people are allowed to want it. And it's perfectly fine to want it and to work towards it. And it's definitely doable. And it can be easy. But to me, it is honestly this happy side effect of everything else getting into a better balance of us just improving our health and healthspan so that we can age better, so that I can feel as fabulous now in 10 years, 20 years, 30 years, as I do right now, on my 42nd birthday.

Dr Lucy Burns  (20:29)  Yes, yes. In fact, we may have a podcast on your 84th birthday.

Dr Mary Barson  (20:33)  Let's do it, lock it in!

Dr Lucy Burns  (20:37)  And beautiful listeners, you know that I'm 55. So I will be 97. recording a podcast with Dr Mary, who is going to be banging on about how fabulous she feels that 84.

Dr Mary Barson  (20:51)  Yeah, that's right—my second 42nd birthday. 

Dr Lucy Burns  (20:55)  Because you have managed your mind, you manage your foods, you sleep beautifully. You've got muscle, and you'll be thriving. Yes!

Dr Mary Barson  (21:03)  Gorgeous ones. Our 12 Week Mind Body rebalance starts September 2nd.

Dr Lucy Burns  (21:08)  Yeah. Which is in three days! 

Dr Mary Barson  (21:11) It is absolutely yes. 

Dr Lucy Burns  (21:13)  It starts on Saturday, and that's in about four days from now. If you're listening to this on the day it comes out. We are super excited. It is a beautiful privilege, as you said Miss. The other thing, I was reflecting on this, we have had 1080-something people go through and nobody, or maybe I've got rose-colored glasses here, but I'm gonna say, nobody has got to the end and ever said to us, “Gee, that was a waste of time. What a crock.” Nobody. Nobody has said that. And for that. I just think, nice!

Dr Mary Barson  (21:47)  Ah, we get the most beautiful feedback! It fills my heart with joy, the beautiful transformations we see for people both inside and out as they go through this wonderful 12-week program with us. We are in there with you, doing it with you, like almost literally but not quite literally, holding your hand through every step of the process. We help you make it easy and, doable and long lasting.

Dr Lucy Burns  (22:16)  And you know, I was thinking about this the other day if sometimes I reckon, what happens is people get stuck in the – has to be perfect. And it has to be all done tomorrow. And I was thinking about this even in relation to things like reducing plastic like that, for me, is this eternal quest to reduce the amount of plastic when I look around, and I go, “Oh my god, there's too much. I'm just not doing any of it.” However, we do know that if you start with a little bit, all or something a little bit is better than nothing. So we take this thing that sounds big and hard and make it easy because it's done in little steps, the power of small steps over 12 whole weeks. You know our thinking today, so we've had a few early birds join in, and I have a special little masterclass with them tonight. No, not a masterclass but a coaching call. And I'm thinking I'm going to be with these peeps for three whole months like it's wonderful.

Dr Mary Barson  (23:16)  It really, really is. It is really important for us to not fear the small steps. Small steps are powerful, and small steps actually equate to large, large, fast strides really, really quickly. But small steps are doable, small steps are easy, and small steps are how we get these powerful changes.

Dr Lucy Burns  (23:42)  Yeah, absolutely. And I would always say to people, and especially if you're a menopausal woman, you are like me and have been exposed to a lot of diet culture and a lot of dieting. And it's always been about punishment, restriction, and being strong in the willpower department. And really focusing on the sense of deprivation as a badge of honour, which is actually BS. It doesn't work, it doesn't. I’m here to tell you it doesn't. But there is a way in which you can lose weight if that's what you want to do, in a way that supports, nurtures, and nourishes your body. It doesn't cause long-term harm, for which you will feel good. I was listening to last week's podcast. I don't actually listen to my own podcasts because that sounds a bit really kind of a bit wonky. But I noticed one of the reels on socials and Paul, who was on last week. If you haven't listened to last week's podcast, please go and do it. He lost 54 kilos. He has lost weight before, but when he did it using other methods. He basically stopped because he felt like rubbish. When he did it with the low-carb approach, looking at food as nurturing, nourishing protein, heavy, low-carb food, he felt good. He started feeling good very, very quickly, which is why he's then been able to implement this and lose 54 kilos with really the focus not actually being on the weight loss.

Dr Mary Barson  (25:25)  So gorgeous ones. If you would love to learn more about our beautiful 12 Week Mind Body Rebalance and find out what 1081 other people have loved, then check out the link below in the show notes or you can go to our website www.rlmedicine.com/12wmbr. And all the details are there, beautiful humans.

Dr Lucy Burns  (25:55)  Absolutely. And we can't wait to see you and watch your transformation. That's actually the bit isn't it? And you know, I know we're meant to be finishing, and I'm just waffling on a bit. But you know, the pride you have when you see something or someone succeed, so whether it's your child, whether it's your pet, you know, when you go, ‘Oh my dog, so good!” You know for me it is that beautiful. What's it called? It's freudenfreude. There's that fancy word. It's the opposite of schadenfreude

Dr Lucy Burns  (26:30)  I think it's something like freudenfreude, and it is the joy of other people's joy. So we see that, and we watch them, and we see them change and just go from feeling like they've got no light within to glowing and full of light and vibrancy, and you know, it's worth it.

Dr Mary Barson  (26:54)  That's why we have the best job in the world, Dr Lucy!

Dr Lucy Burns  (26:57)  We do, we do. Alright, gorgeous one, on that note, I have to go and have a little chat with one of our peeps, so I'm excited to meet her, and I will be excited to meet all the new 12-weekers coming in this week.

Dr Mary Barson  (27:11)  Bye gorgeous ones!

 Dr Lucy Burns  (27:12) Bye darlings!

Dr Lucy Burns: (27:19) So my lovely listeners, that ends this episode of Real Health and Weight Loss. I'm Dr Lucy Burns…

Dr Mary Barson: (27:26)  and I'm Dr Mary Barson. We’re from Real Life Medicine. To contact us, please visit rlmedicine.com

Dr Lucy Burns: (27:37)  And until next time…

Both: (27:40) Thanks for listening!

Dr Lucy Burns: (27:41) 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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