Dr Mary Barson with guest Elly McLean, a holistic nutritionist, delves into the nuanced topic of weight loss, considering it in the context of overall health and well-being. They challenge the prevailing notion that weight loss should be pursued at any cost and instead emphasise a holistic approach. They explore the idea that excess weight can be a symptom of underlying issues, such as improper lifestyle habits, nutrient deficiencies, and hormonal imbalances.
Elly contributes valuable insights into the complexities of weight loss and the importance of adopting a strategic and personalised approach. She highlights that societal pressures, particularly from social media, often oversimplify weight management by focusing solely on diet and exercise.
Dr Mary and Elly advocate for a balanced perspective, encouraging individuals to prioritise health over unrealistic aesthetic goals. They address the Health at Every Size movement, acknowledging its heterogeneity and emphasising that health should be the ultimate goal, irrespective of body size.
Towards the end of the episode, Dr Mary mentions the revamped 4 Week Body Rebalance program at www.rlmedicine.com/4wbr, which is designed to guide individuals in achieving metabolic healing and sustainable, healthy weight loss. This program aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the underlying causes of excess weight and offers practical solutions for improving metabolic health.
Overall, the episode provides a thoughtful exploration of the complexities surrounding weight loss, encouraging listeners to approach the journey with a focus on holistic well-being and health.
If you want to learn more about Elly and her work, you can connect with her on Instagram at @nutritionelly and visit her website at www.nutritionelly.com. For those interested in working with Elly, you can find more information at www.nutritionelly.com/workwithme
Dr Mary Barson (0:04) Hello, my lovely friends. I'm Dr Mary Barson.
Dr Lucy Burns (0:09) And I'm Dr Lucy Burns. We are doctors and weight management and metabolic health experts.
Both (0:16) And this is the Real Health and Weight Loss podcast!
Dr Mary Barson (0:21) Hello, lovely listeners, Dr Mary here. And today I am joined by the fabulous nutritionist Elly McLean. We have had her on the podcast before and we're extremely happy to have her again today. Elly is a holistic nutritionist who specialises in healthy holistic weight loss. And she's here today to talk to us about weight loss. So Elly, thank you so much for coming here today, as someone who is interested in weight loss, in healthy weight loss, what are your thoughts on pursuing weight loss for weight loss' sake? Or where do you put weight loss in this whole health metabolic health holistic framework?
Elly McLean (1:07) Well, first of all, can we come to this statement like healthier anyway? Because it's something that bugs me. The reality is, is that there will become a point where excess weight and excess body fat are unhealthy and are going to compromise somebody's longevity and, and also their quality of life. Do we need to get so fixated on weight loss that we try and achieve it at any cost? Absolutely not, which I know you will stand by and say. So what I always come back to is that weight is a symptom, if somebody is carrying excess weight, they are overweight or obese, it will be a reflection of something that's going on under the hood, something that needs to be taken care of. And they might not, may not know exactly what that is. But it is a reflection. It's a warning light on the dashboard that something. Something has gone awry or amiss. And we need to address that. Don't get me wrong, there are people that can get fixated on losing weight for the sake of a certain aesthetic and looking a certain way. And that's a really tricky space to work in as a practitioner. Because there's that moral sort of quandary of like, well, I know this person has a goal around losing weight, and I don't want them to go to someone else who's going to, you know, support them in, you know, becoming underweight. But I also can't handle my heart saying that I'm helping them to become healthier if I help, you know, help them to lose weight. So fundamentally, I want to help people be healthy and if carrying excess weight is the warning light to them that they're not healthy, then, yeah, we need to treat that excess weight. But really, to treat the weight, we have to treat the underlying contributor to the excess weight.
Dr Mary Barson (2:54) Yes, and we talk a lot about that in this podcast. But I'd love you to expand on, you know, what are those underlying contributors that we need to address if we want people to lose weight healthily?
Elly McLean (3:08) Well, social media would have us believe that the only reason somebody would ever be overweight is because they eat too much and exercise too little. Most people listening to this show would likely have experienced that, exercising more, eating less and trying to purely focus on that negative energy balance doesn't always work. And so we have to get a little more strategic, we have to be smarter about how we approach losing weight. And that's when we've got a look at what underlying causes could be, don't get me wrong, energy imbalance could be a driver for someone's excess weight. But chances are there are a host of other things that could be contributing to somebody's excess weight. And these are things that we can pretty quickly figure out usually through an initial consultation or through some simple pathology, you know, so underlying causes of carrying excess weight that don't involve eating too much and not exercising enough are potentially simple things like eating at the wrong times, not sleeping enough, not taking care of stress levels. It could be slightly more progressed pathology like nutrient deficiencies in particular things like iron deficiency, B 12 deficiency, it could be hormone imbalances, so thyroid hormone imbalances, blood sugar controlling hormone imbalances, like insulin, excess hyperinsulinemia, or insulin resistance are all sort of the same thing. Or reproductive hormone imbalances as well. So things like estrogen excess may make it hard for somebody to burn body fat effectively. So I have just made it sound really simple, but there are a host of things that could be holding somebody back from achieving a healthy weight.
Dr Mary Barson (5:06) Yeah, absolutely. I think that there are really important nuances, we need to put around the health at every size movement. And now it's a heterogenous group like it's not everybody who is, you know, agrees with Hayes has exactly the same viewpoint. And I'm not suggesting that they do. But this general idea that our weight doesn't matter and that we need to, we can just ignore it and focus entirely on other health parameters. And also an aspect of health at any size movement is that you can't change your weight anyway. So it's unethical to tell people that they should, I think that that misses a really important point, that it isn't necessarily the weight so much as what is underneath it. But excess weight can be both a cause and a consequence of whatever that unbalance is that's making people unhealthy. And addressing it in a way that promotes health and longevity, better energy and better mental health and better self-esteem and all of these things is a great thing to do. So weight loss itself isn't a dirty word. And people who want to help people lose weight, like you like me, we're not, you know, out there fat shaming people by any stretch. But we do want people to be the healthiest versions. And sometimes weight loss is a part of that. And I'd also say that if you want to lose weight, like if you just have a weight loss goal you're allowed to that doesn't mean you're buying into toxic diet culture, if you want to lose weight to be healthier, or you want to lose weight, to you know, fit back into your jeans, you're allowed to. Like there is definitely a way to be completely healthy, and want that. But similarly, you can be healthy, healthy and being a heavier body as well. But it is, it's the health, it's the health, the health is what we want.
Elly McLean (6:54) Going back to the healthier anyway, movement. I posted about it last or said something about it last year. And I felt like – oh my god, I was going to be hated on by the whole social media for saying that the statement, you know, could not be true. And I said instead like we can be lovable any weight. So it's not to say that somebody who is carrying extra weight or overweight is, is not as lovable as somebody who is not carrying extra weight. But fundamentally, we know that the risk of cancers, metabolic disease and a whole host of other conditions go up when there is overweight or obesity. So those things need to be addressed. And it's not saying that those people are any less than anybody else. But there are consequences of carrying that extra weight just like you said.
Dr Mary Barson (7:45) And absolutely, you don't need to achieve some weight loss goal to be yet to be worthy and wonderful. And to deserve to be happy and everything going on. I look like a fitness model. And I don't think I ever will. But I'm healthy. And I don't need to be aesthetically beautiful, to be worthy and happy and strong and to live my absolute best life. And also, I used to be obese and not being obese now does make my life easier and better and healthier. It really does.
Elly McLean (8:16) Yeah, yep. And for those people who want to lose weight without being overweight or obese, there isn't anything wrong with that. And I will get clients who just want to lose a couple of kilos because they do want to fit back into the pants. So they were able to wear last season that they can't wear this season. And similar to you know, those people that are overweight or obese needing to lose weight or come back to health. So if somebody is carrying a few extra kilos or really wants to lose that weight, and we've done everything, and we know that they are healthy, like insulin levels are great, their thyroids working perfectly, they're eating at great times, they're exercising, they've got wonderful appetite control, they're healthy, they're sleeping, well. We've got a regular menstrual cycle if they're, you know, a female or assigned female at birth. If all of those things are really wonderful, in a wonderful place, and they are eating well of course, and they can't lose those final kilos. That's when I say how important is it for you to lose these final kilos because we have to come back to being healthy if you have to start taking on unhealthy practices and leave health behind you to achieve that few kilos of weight loss. Do we need to reconsider why you need to lose those few kilos of weight? That often comes up for me in practice as well.
Dr Mary Barson (9:41) I love that and exploring that. And what kind of things do you find when people start exploring that like I'm really healthy, but I'm not reaching some particular ideal? What kind of conclusions do you get?
Elly McLean (9:55) For a lot of women in particular, it's going back to an old or comparing ourselves to an older version of ourselves. You know, they're 45, they continue coming back to this 25-year-old version of themselves, for example, and they use that as their barometer their marker. And that is really the audience that has the most troubled disassociating from the younger version of themselves. Our bodies change, and thoroughly expect to go back to the way we were when we were 25. And that's okay. So I say that would be the cohort that had the biggest issue with wanting to be a weight that is just not attainable. If health is also a priority.
Dr Mary Barson (10:45) Yes, yes. I love that. And I think health should always be the priority because when you're healthy, everything else becomes possible and so much easier. Ah, I do love it. So yes, health first, and weight is a perfectly reasonable and wonderful thing. The weight loss is a perfectly reasonable and wonderful thing to want. If you do beautiful people like yourself, Elly, and of course me and Lucy can help you get there. So just let us know again, Elly, if people want to find you, what's the best way to do that?
Elly McLean (11:22) So I'm active on social media primarily on Instagram, I haven't progressed to TikTok yet, so @nutritionelly as well. And then my website is www.nutritionelly.com, where there are lots of resources to access recipes, articles, and ebooks. And then of course, if somebody wants to work with me, they can read about the options of working with me one-on-one on my website as well.
Dr Mary Barson (11:47) Thank you so much. You are a fabulous clinician, a fabulous nutritionist and a wonderful person. Thank you so much for sharing your expertise, and your beautiful viewpoints today. We really appreciate it.
Elly McLean (11:59) Thanks, Mary. I appreciate it too.
Dr Mary Barson (12:01) So fabulous listeners, weight loss at any cost, through punitive measures calorie counting restriction, through being really unkind to yourself, it's not a good way to go. Definitely not at all, like weight loss with the priority on health, that is a fabulous, fabulous way to go. And we have got a four-week program called 4 Week Body Rebalance, which gives you everything you need to learn how to rebalance your body to get that metabolic healing, which addresses the actual cause, like the physical underlying cause of excess weight gain. If you can heal that and rebalance that, then beautiful people, you can get weight loss, healthily, you can improve your metabolic health, increase your metabolism, improve your energy, and get weight loss as a happy side effect. And we have revamped our 4 Week Program. It's got everything you need in there over four weeks. You can find it on our website, www.rlmedicine.com/4wbr, the link will be in the show notes as well. Thank you so much for joining us this week, and you'll hear us again next week. See yeah!
Dr Lucy Burns: (13:28) 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.