Episode 184:
Show Notes 


In this podcast segment, Dr Lucy Burns and Dr Mary Barson discuss their thoughts on the New Year, reflecting on their chosen words for the year – "Quality" for Dr Mary and "Transform" for Dr Lucy. They explore the concept of clean slates, emphasising the importance of not waiting for the perfect time to make positive changes in one's life.

Dr Lucy shares a personal example of overcoming procrastination and making a commitment to regular swimming for the benefits it brings, especially to her mood. Dr Mary introduces the idea of gamification, using small rewards and habit tracking to reinforce positive habits.

They encourage listeners to embrace the concept of transformation, not just in health but in various aspects of life, emphasising that it doesn't require perfection but intentional efforts and progress. The hosts also discuss the power of intentionality and the need to act on intentions to achieve real transformation.

Towards the end, they provide practical tips for those looking to transform in 2024, focusing on the importance of real food, prioritising protein, and making intentional choices. They highlight the 4 Week Body Rebalance program as a resource for those seeking guidance and support in their health transformation journey. 

Ready to transform your health in 2024? Join our 4 Week Body Rebalance program today! Visit www.rlmedicine.com/4wbr to kickstart your journey to better health.

Episode 184: 


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 Lucy Burns (0:23) Hello, lovely friends, Dr Mary here and happy New Year! And I am joined by lovely Dr Lucy, Happy New Year to you Dr Lucy! Disclaimer, we are actually recording this before the New Year but you are listening to this on the second of January or sometime after that in 2024. Lovely Dr Lucy, how are you in this cultural clean slate that we are now in?

Dr Lucy Burns  (0:52)  Indeed, indeed, I am wonderful! I'm wonderful! It's been interesting because there's quite a bit of me that kept thinking I was in 2024 early because we, you know, have been doing some planning and as part of planning days you think about 2024. What are we going to be doing? And one of the questions that I was asked many times recently is you know, do you have a word for 2024? So, I did have a word for 2023, which was LIVE. And part of that was I wanted to make sure I lived my life not sit on the sidelines. And I think for a lot of people sitting on the sidelines, is what a lot of people do for multiple reasons for me, you know, part of it is I have, you know, most of you all know, now I've significant disability. Mobility is tricky. Walking is something, I don't do stairs that are impossible. And so for a lot of things I've looked, and I've gone, I haven't done or participated in things because it felt a bit hard. And I realised that actually a story in my head, and that, in fact, with just some modification, it's a bit easier. But the thing we know for humans is that being involved and participating in life, rather than watching on the sidelines is what brings us fulfilment, and fulfilled humans are happy humans. So I do know, I'm sort of having my own little monologue here. But I do know that for a lot of our people that work with us, one of the things that we encourage is to stop sitting on the sidelines. So it's a long way around to ask about what is our word for 2024. But it's interesting because I think it's helpful, it's a helpful way just to frame, you know, your thoughts about the year ahead. So Miss, have you thought about a word yet? Have you got one? 

Dr Mary Barson  (2:56)  I do, and actually, I think we see we've got the same word, but for slightly different reasons. Last year, my word was COURAGEOUS. So I was having a whole lot of personal challenges in December 2022. And needed to know some things I needed to overcome, that I'm having different personal challenges in December 2023. But yeah, so my word for 2023 was courageous. So I needed to step into, I needed to make some tough choices and to step into new roles with coach, things like ours, with my family life, with lots of things. And this year, it's now quality. And my word for this year is QUALITY. For me, it means a few things, but mostly it means it's a savouring of the really good moments. And it also is it's kind of a less but better. It's taking to focus on the things that are really important to me my work purpose and time with my kids, and really narrowing down on my contextual priorities in life, which are probably my health, my work and you know, helping people be healthy and my children, they are my three priorities and just focusing on quality, not quantity. How about you gorgeous ones?

Dr Lucy Burns  (4:33)  Well, I agree quantity, quality. Quantity quality is super important. And again, it's a great word because you can put it through all aspects of your life. And you know, for us, we have always spoken a lot about food quality. And so you know, that marries well, with, you know, I guess some of the fundamentals of Real Life Medicine. It's about quality. But interestingly, I've also been toying with the idea of using the word TRANSFORM. And part of it is, again, two things that it helps, you know, our job at Real Life Medicine is to help people transform their health in particular. But it's a great word in that it gives you the opportunity to change something, so something's not working for you. You can transform it. So it can be anything. It can be friendships, relationships, work, food, your health, or the way you think. Honestly, that's actually amazing if you can change the way you think about things to a way that is helpful, then that is like gold. So in some ways, it's about you know, both combining those things. So yes, we want quality, but we might need to make a transformation to get that quality. And you can, you can only do that by becoming intentional, and that's a third word. 

Dr Mary Barson  (6:09)  I love intentionality

Dr Lucy Burns  (6:11)  Which of course, brings us up to New Year's.

Dr Mary Barson  (6:16)  I love it! So what's your word? Is it transform? Is that intentional? What’s your word?

Dr Lucy Burns  (6:20)  I don't know. I don't know. I am going to make intentional transformation to improve the quality of my life.

Dr Mary Barson  (6:29)  As beautiful as it's the same sentence. I'll allow it. It is.

Dr Lucy Burns  (6:33)  It is. And of course, I'm sure I'm sure lots of our listeners have been thinking about this, because you know, it's it is New Year. Human, you mentioned it in the interim is that the clean slate. So we know humans love a clean slate. It's this idea that you can start again. You can start again so you can start. And it's often you know, the next day, or Monday, 

Dr Mary Barson  (7:02)  Monday, or next week, next month. Yeah.

Dr Lucy Burns  (7:07)  And New Year is the you know, like the ultimate clean slate.

Dr Mary Barson  (7:10)  Absolutely. A clean slate, this idea of clean slates is both it can be helpful and harmful. You know, if you know, on Friday night, you have a piece of pizza, and you're like – ah, stuffed it, I've stuffed my diet, air quotes to use that potentially unhelpful word, oh, well, doesn't matter. I'll just eat the whole pizza and then I'll start to get on Monday. You know, that's potentially unhelpful. Whereas you don't need to wait for Monday. You don't need to wait for anything to get back on track. At any moment, you can put the unhelpful pizza away. If it is unhelpful for you at any moment, you can choose the next helpful action, you can transform and choose that transformative action at any time. And waiting for clean slates can be unhelpful. However, they can also be really helpful. If you create your own clean slate, you can do it at any time, you can just decide right now here, this moment, it's a clean slate. And also, since we are at the start of 2024. It's really useful, we've got this sort of cultural, as well as this big sort of literal, you know, calendar, clean slate, we just we've just you know, we've got out the wet cloth, and we have completely wiped the blackboard clean, and we can start again. And it's a lovely time to start again. And it makes people really reflective. What do we want this year to be for ourselves? And it is a great time to really think about what you want for your life, for your health, for your weight, for yourself this year. How do you want to transform in 2024? And it's quite time to think about it. As I'm sure many of you know, just broad-sweeping New Year's resolutions as standalone wishing, wishing wishy-washy statements aren't necessarily helpful. Something that you say with a glass of champagne in your hand, you know, at four past 12 on the first of January. Not necessarily helpful, but instead you know making a New Year's intention a New Year's goal and putting some real gumption and much less sexy but can still be fun and it also has really important planning behind it.

Dr Lucy Burns  (9:39)  Absolutely, absolutely. And there are lots of ways in which you can do that. And I love this concept that you don't need to wait for a clean slate but if one happens to come your way, then leverage the hell out of it. So that's what New Year's is clean slate leverage it, you don't need to wait. But given it's here, it's arrived. Let's go for it. And there are lots of ways in which we can make intentions. But if we want them to happen, then we need to act on those intentions and so they need to be purposeful.

Dr Mary Barson  (10:18)  They do. What we give our attention to is, you know, what will actually change our attention. And our intention is the most precious commodity that we have. 

Dr Lucy Burns  (10:29)  Yep, absolutely. And it's really interesting. As humans, we can be our best friends and our worst enemies. But what we will often do if we have made an intention or a goal, and we haven't necessarily achieved it, yet, what we will often do is pretend that we didn't make it. So if we pretend we didn't make it, we haven't failed. But I'll give you just a little example. And this is, lots of you know, I do swimming, I like, do I like swimming? I tell myself, I like swimming. And I do like swimming once I've done it. I like it. It's easy when the conditions are perfect. So you know, if it's a lovely sunny day, the pools are warm, it's easy. That's the easy bit. But of course, I live in Melbourne, those days are not that often, and they're not consistent. So I have to move past the idea of waiting for the perfect time. And it's interesting because my brain keeps going back to that trap. It keeps saying– Ah, just wait because it'll be a bit warmer this afternoon. Or it might be a bit sunnier, it would be so much more fun when it's sunny or warmer, more pleasant– all of those things. And the interesting thing I've realised is that when I do that the chances of me actually completing the swim are much lower. Because it gets to the end of the turn, I just haven't done it. So this happened yesterday. In fact, it was gray outside, I kept waiting, waiting, waiting got to about seven o'clock, or something else happened. And suddenly, it was nine o'clock at night. And I'm thinking– well, I'm not even gonna go out in the dark. So I didn't go. So this morning. I just got up early and went, and now it's done. And you feel so much better when you've done it early. But I haven't got crossed with myself or beat myself up for not doing yesterday's swim. It was more of a reflection. Isn't it interesting that when I delay or procrastinate or decide I'll do it later? Sometimes I'll do it but quite often I won't. And so therefore, it's easier for me to just do it first thing, then I know it's done.

Dr Mary Barson  (12:55)  Yes. So what that story there is that you have set yourself up with this goal, which is you know, regular swimming. Well, no, that's the process. The goal is all the fabulous benefits that you get from regular swimming, you know, the increase, the metabolic health and mitochondrial health, the mood benefits, all those wonderful things as what you want. And the tool is the regular swimming. If you don't mind me just, you know, dissecting you you're no no, no attention to Lucy. And so yeah, regular swimming is how you get there. And so that's what you want to do. Yeah, I could just imagine Lucy there with her glass of champagne that, you know, for past midnight, on New Year's Day, I'm gonna swim every day, I know that it's gonna be good for me. But rather than just leave it there, you're actually doing it. But the first hurdle when you know, because even in January, in Melbourne, in the morning, your pool is cold. Even with solar heating, it's gonna be cold, because the sun hasn't had time to heat it up, such as it is in Melbourne. And rather than just giving up at first. Well, I didn't do it because it's cold and it's hard. And I don't want to just let yourself feel defeated or run and hide. You actually just examined that with a bit of a lens of curiosity, rather than self judgement. You looked at it with curiosity. I imagined a good smattering of self-compassion as well. And you just noticed, okay, look, if I just don't do this in the morning, then I'm not going to do it. So how about we just try to end it in the morning? And that works better for you. And so you are applying your mindset skills, you're implying your intention and you're figuring out a way to do the thing that is going to get you to your goal, figuring out how you can fit it into your life, imperfectly and progressing, progressing imperfectly, because that's the only way you're gonna get there is imperfectly. Yeah, that's beautiful. That's what we have to do with everything. Absolutely.

Dr Lucy Burns  (14:56)  And I think the thing that is the most helpful for me is to bring the benefit of the process. And as you know, the benefits of movement or exercise are enormous. But the one benefit that is the closest is my mood. So I feel so much better, not just because, you know, I'm patting myself on the back because I've done my job, you know, the thing I said I'd do, it's not about that, it's actually the, the exercise makes me feel better. Particularly in my mood, it is a noticeable benefit, not just to me, but to other people who had feedback. So it was a little bit like the food. So initially, you know, my, my ability to go on a diet, because y'all know, I was a dieting queen was all about becoming thin and losing weight and feeling acceptable. Now, I've brought the benefit, because again, you know, it honestly doesn't matter for good health, whether you start today or tomorrow, so our brand will guys will then just start tomorrow. But what I've brought back, the benefit that is much closer to the action is my brain chatter. My brain chatter goes when I eat real food, particularly high protein, decent, but not over the top amount of fat because too much honestly, too much fat actually makes me feel a bit sick. But just, you know, just the right amount that stops brain chatter, I'm so happy about that. I don't have to think too far into the future to get the benefit of the process.

Dr Mary Barson  (16:47)  That's a beautiful way to work with our human brains because our brains are pretty good at dismissing long-term benefits and wanting the short-term benefit, we're just hardwired that way we really want the short term, you know, we want the short term comfort or the short term pleasure. From an evolutionary standpoint, those are the things that help keep us alive. And our brains are very happy to overlook or to try and, and weasel our way out of having to think about the long-term benefit. So if you can make the long-term goal, somehow bring the long-term goal into the short term. And that's fabulous. One way to do this, and I do this with my diary all the time, my ever-present diary is I make myself star charts, kind of star charts, habit tracking. And it sounds childish, but it works,  it's a little way in which he can do that. So if there's something that I have that I want to do that I find a little bit tricky, like, I want to clean out one drawer of the spare room, you know, I could just ignore the spare room, it really makes no difference to my day to day life. But I have a goal of really sorting it out and turning it into like a dance studio for my daughter. And that's only going to happen if I cleared out. So one drawer a day. And if I just coloured a little I did that drawer sounds juvenile. But I actually do get a small little kick out of it. It's enough. It's enough of a dopamine here for me to go okay, yes, go me, pat on the back, go Dr Mary. And then tomorrow, I'll probably also clean out another drawer. It's also small enough, that I've shrunk the change down to it's actually something that I will actually do.

Dr Lucy Burns  (18:38)   Ah, absolutely. And you know, this is a well-known technique. I mean, we were joking about it, but it's called gamification. And they do it in all lots of things. So, you know, video games, for example, apps that encourage you to go back to it every day, which may or may not be helpful. So sometimes that can be something like, you know, it's a timer meditation app, that will also do you know, they give you a streak. How many days have you gone in a row? All of those things, the Wordle, how many days in a row have you done? So this gamification leverages our brain to use whatever tools we can to make the thing that you want to do, easy.

Dr Mary Barson  (19:28)  So gorgeous humans, beautiful Lucy. What have you got to say to our beautiful people out there who want to transform more in 2024? And maybe they've got some New Year's resolutions. How can they turn their New Year's resolutions into perhaps slightly less sexy but far more powerful and far more meaningful New Year's intentions to actually turn their resolutions into real transformations? What are our best tips? How can they actually get some skin in the game? What was it actual steps like attack?

Dr Lucy Burns  (20:01)  I think step one, start. Don't wait for the perfect time. The perfect time doesn't exist and it doesn't need to be perfect anyway. So just crack on and start. People going, what am I starting? Again, there are lots of ways that you can start, you know, Miss, and we're doing a series on this next week looking at back to basics. But we want to really just look at low carb, real food. The reason real food is so important is because of food architecture, food is how humans are supposed to get their nutrition, their nutrients, and their energy is done by eating food. That food in its whole form is so much better for us like infinitesimally better than the processed version of similar stuff. I saw the other day, somebody making protein bars, and I'm thinking about protein bars, I wonder what's in them. A whole heap of processed garbage, I just eat some food, eat some food, there's nothing wrong with food, food is good for us. So eating real food is step one, if you are insulin resistant, and unfortunately, a large proportion of our society these days is insulin resistant, then that food needs to be or it's helpful, if it's a low carb, you can therefore reduce your insulin resistance and more about that next week. So real food, prioritise your protein, low carb, a little bit of fat, add some flavour, that's the food side of things. That's the summary. If you're looking for some more in-depth, knowledge on that, or some easy, you know, recipes and all that sort of jazz, that's what we go into in the 4 Week Body Rebalance, specifically called that because it's a way to leverage the quality of your hormones and transform them with intention.

Dr Mary Barson  (22:04)  Absolutely!

Dr Lucy Burns  (22:08)  And you can do that, absolutely, you can do that. So again, we'll drop a link in the show notes. But you can just go to our website, it's on the front page, www.rlmedicine.com. And it'll be there. And you can get started now. Absolutely get started now.

Dr Mary Barson  (22:24)  We can all transform more in 2024. Absolutely. And real food is so powerful.

Dr Lucy Burns  (22:30)  So incredible. So incredible, so underestimated, so incredible. So yeah, I know, I know, like a miracle. It is a miracle. Because, you know, we were talking to one of our beautiful members recently, who has had the most phenomenal transformation of her metabolic hormones, improved her hemoglobin A1C, which is a diabetes measure, by something that a medication or a drug could only aspire to, there is no way that a drug can do this. And I know there are a few good drugs out there. But it cannot do what this lady has done. And it's by changing her food. Not by adding in more pills.

Dr Mary Barson  (23:17)  Yes, food is it is the most powerful medicine we have or one of the most insidious poisons. And I think with this cultural cleanse site, it's a great time to stop poisoning ourselves, and to start nourishing ourselves instead, gorgeous people.

Dr Lucy Burns  (23:40)  Indeed, indeed. And if you are following on from last week's remember, we give you permission to throw the junk into the bin. You do not need to eat it to get rid of it. Your body is not the bean, just chuck it out.

Dr Mary Barson  (23:58)  And will transform more in 2024 I'm gonna keep saying that.

Dr Lucy Burns  (23:40) Indeed, indeed, dead. It's like a mantra. I love it. Good. All right, beautiful. Dr Mary, have the most wonderful, wonderful day and I will talk to you next week. Bye bye, everybody. Bye now. 

Dr Lucy Burns: (24:15) 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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