Episode 66 Summary

  • About Monique - as a mother of 5, Monique maintained an extremely busy lifestyle, including maintaining a 5 acre property, working full time, keeping in contact with family and friends and being on boards and committees.
  • Monique's health - Monique tried many diets, calorie counted and enjoyed fitness and physical challenges challenges, but found nothing stuck.
  • Changing course - in 2014 at the age of 50 Monique quit her full time job to undertake a PhD with the aim of transitioning to be a full time academic.
  • A traumatic experience in January combined with entering menopause really shook Monique's world. She was overweight and overwhlemed, pre-diabetic, suffering intense joint pain and reflux, as well social anxiety and decreasing self-esteem.
  • Physical improvements - she began exercising 6 times per week and became physically stronger and more able, however she did not lose any weight, in fact she became heavier.    
  • A chance encounter - whilst donating blood, Monique bumped into a nurse who had undergone a radical transformation by taking part in the 12 Week Mind Body Rebalance Program, which inspired Monique to sign up for the next program intake.
  • Reclaiming her health - Monique has transformed herself from overweight and overwhelmed to in control and full, both physically and mentally.

The doors to the 12 Week Mind Body Rebalance are now open and close Feb 4th. To join visit https://www.rlmedicine.com/12WMBR

Show notes:


From Overweight and Overwhelmed to in Control and Full of Health


Dr Mary Barson: Hello, my lovely listeners. I'm Dr Mary Barson.


Dr Lucy Burns: And I'm Dr Lucy Burns. Welcome to this episode of Real Health and Weight Loss. Good morning, lovely listeners. It's Dr Lucy here again. And this week, I am super excited to introduce to you a really special guest. One of our, I guess, valued members who did the 12 Week Mind Body Rebalance last year, and has the most fabulous story to tell. So I just wanted to introduce her to you all. Her name is Monique. Welcome Monique to the podcast.


Monique: Thanks, Dr Lucy. I'm very excited to be here to share my story with you today. And with your listeners of course.


Dr Lucy Burns: Of course. Well, I'm super happy that you agreed to come on it, because I think your story, so many women will relate to it. And there's lots of things that are in there that perhaps people, I guess a few myths in some ways that I would like to dispel about women in general and things that happen to them. So what I'd love if you feel comfortable, to start from the start and just tell us your story.


Monique: Okay, I reckon I can probably do that. So I'm in my late 50s now, I certainly don't feel it, I might just say that. I've been married for over 30 years. I've got five children, and they all did heaps of things when they were kids. And I was the supermom. I did everything. I cooked, I cleaned, I washed, I shopped, I ran their calendars, ran mine. Lived on five acres, I maintained that including a pool. I you know, make sure I made time to keep in touch with my friends. I did a bit of sewing, I used to make quilts, don't now. A couple of times a year I'd drive from regional New South Wales to Melbourne. I'd have all my kids in the car, usually just me and the kids on our own. We had a great time, visit my family down there. I was on boards and committees for things I was interested in, music and art and that sort of stuff. And I was even in a book club for a while. It was a very social book club, but meant you had to do it. And I worked full time. They say you want something done, give it to a busy person. Well, I was that person, I was always working, I was always doing. And then after I had my fifth child just because I wasn't really busy enough, I then studied. I'd always wanted to get a university degree. I'd finished actually in year 10. I'd done a TAFE certificate after that in management. But so with my uni degree, I said that's it. So doing part time distance education as it was then online, I got my Bachelor's degree. Then I got a Grad cert. And then I did my Master's degree. Because that's not quite enough to do I decided later on I'd do my PhD but that's another part of the story. One of the other things I squeezed into my 45 odd years of my life, I went to Everest base camp, which was an amazing thing.


Dr Lucy Burns: Yes. Unbelievable. Unbelievable. And this is the thing, isn't it? Like you know, I don't know if you've ever done the Clifton Strengths but there's, you know, various traits that people have. And I reckon in yours, there will be one achiever.


Monique: It's funny that you don't necessarily set out to achieve. A lot of people say “Oh, I've always wanted to do this“. But base camp was more a friend said to me, “Well, I'm going with a group, would you like to come“? And at first I went, oh, I couldn't do that. I couldn't leave all my kids and all my stuff. And so I actually took four weeks off work, first time I've ever done that in my life and went to base camp with this friend and this group. It was phenomenal.


Dr Lucy Burns: Ah, that sounds amazing. So as you were busy, you know, achieving all the things, what what was going on with your health?


Monique: Generally up and down as I had my children you know, and I'd put on weight with children and take it off again and things like that. Food wise, I always felt we were really good eaters, you know, we ate vegetables. Mom and Dad brought us up on you know, meat and three veg, good old food. So I sort of did that with my kids, but I gave them rice. I gave them pasta and things, five kids you've got to feed them with something. And we had a really relaxed style. We would eat dinner at the tea table, but we you know, we just like, what do we have today? Okay, we'll have that. I felt we ate well, though. I really did. It's an interesting concept when you look at what people eat on the program.


Dr Lucy Burns: Yep. Yes, absolutely. And I mean, everybody is conditioned to believe that particularly Weet-Bix are healthy you know.


Monique: I thought so.


Dr Lucy Burns: Would have to be the number one thing, yeah. I thought so. We all think so, you know. Aussie kids are Weet-Bix kids. But yes, and so what was happening with you then over time?


Monique: So just constantly busy doing things for, for the people that needed them done, whether that was work or children or whatever, and I just sort of let myself float along with whatever. You know, like if I went shopping for food and things like that, I would just like go, oh, my husband likes that. And my kids like that, or you know, and I'd put the things in the trolley, or that's, you know what we'll have for tea. But I'd get home and I'd be unpacking it all and I'd think, oh, you know, I've got the kids biscuits, and I've got my husband chocolate, and I've got all the things that they love. And I didn't really sort of buy anything particularly for me. I just wouldn't do that. It was, you just didn't think about you. I'd fill my calendar up with all the work things, the kid things and all that. And if I got time to myself, it would be like, Ooh, let's have a cup of tea.


Dr Lucy Burns: Yeah, yeah.


Monique: And at work, you know, I would work, I'm a very dedicated worker, like many of us people who do lots of things. You know, often I'd go to work and I'd just get right into it. I'd often skip lunch, just drink tea, you know. I better have a break, I'd go make a cup of tea, come back and drink it. If I didn't know what I wanted to have at lunchtime in the morning before I left, I wouldn't make anything because I'm lazy.


Dr Lucy Burns: Not lazy, not lazy. And this is a really interesting point. Because so often women will say, oh, I just didn't do it, I was a bit lazy. Listen to what you do in your day. You are the antithesis of lazy.


Monique: True, I would make my kids lunches and I'd think, oh, I don't know what I'm going to feel like at lunchtime, so I just wouldn't make anything. And then I'd go and just spend this day working and at the break time I would go, I can't be bothered to go and get something. It's too cold. It's too hard. It's too far. So you know, I would just not. I'd have a cup of tea. And that would be it. And then I'd go home in the afternoon and I'd have afternoon tea with the kids. And that would always be a special treat. Like for me, it would be special. We'd eat fruit or whatever. But probably not really the sort of thing I should have eaten when I didn't eat anything all day.


Dr Lucy Burns: Yeah, yeah. So not a lot of protein in that, in that first bit.


Monique: I don't think I actually knew what protein was back then.


Dr Lucy Burns: Perfectly fine. A lot of people don't. But now you know.


Monique: Now I know, that's right. But one thing I did notice, and I sort of, it was one of those things that came to my consciousness after a long time. When I try to be good and eat the right thing you know, like I shouldn't have this thing, I better eat an apple, that's better for me. So I'd go and eat the apple. And then I'd say I'm still hungry, I'm still not satisfied. Maybe cheese and Jatz is not too bad. So I'd go and have cheese and Jatz. And I'd still be thinking, that's just not what I wanted. I'll go and have a piece of bread with butter and Vege, my favourite food as a child. And I'd go and slather the butter on and put the Vege on, oh yum. And I would eat one of those and I'd go, that's what I wanted. Now I'd better have another one. So I should have just gone and eaten what I wanted in the first place. Would have saved me eating all those other things.


Dr Lucy Burns: Well, particularly if we look, and this is what happens I think, a lot of people with particularly fruit, they might actually be hungry, like properly hungry, and fruit has no fat and no protein, so it doesn't satisfy that hunger. Whereas, you know, even bread, butter and Vegemite. There's a little bit of certainly fat in it, possibly not a lot of protein. But it may be that that you know, that's also a trap that people fall into is trying to satisfy hunger. It's like with salad. You know, people go, “I hate salad“. Yeah well, if traditional salad is just sort of vegetables and balsamic vinegar, because we don't want to put fat on it. Yeah, we're always hungry again.


Monique: That's very true. I would find if I ate an apple, I'd actually be hungrier. My stomach would be going, what are you doing to me? I'd feel worse. So I'd often watch people eating all these fruit salads and think, what is that doing for you? How can that make you full?


Dr Lucy Burns: Yeah, I know. And same with the green smoothie that's just basically vegetables and maybe some fruit all mushed up there.  It's just volume that fills you up short term.


Monique: Yeah.


Dr Lucy Burns: But I mean, you've always been pretty, from the stories that you've told me very kind of aware of your health. Fit, doing exercise, gym, a gym goer?


Monique: Well, I like to think of myself as a gym goer. I do need to be more of a gym goer than I often am. So I was pretty busy with kids so me trying to fit in exercise for me you know, doing that thing for me was really hard. It was like, which little gap could I squish that into? And that was back in the day before 24 hours gyms.


Dr Lucy Burns: Yes, yeah.


Monique: Not that I've ever been to a gym outside normal hours anyway.


Dr Lucy Burns: I know.


Monique: So, and I'm also, I'm not particularly sporty. But, you know, I had five kids, I'd take them to their sports and stuff like that. I loved, love being in the garden. I'd take the kids out to the pool and swim out there. I do things like going to the city's lake, local big fun run sort of thing. I tend to walk because I don't really run. I'd go to the gym. After I had my third child, I was much heavier than I had ever been before. And I thought, oh gosh, I wonder if I can ever get back to what I used to be in my olden days. So I went to the gym. I got a personal trainer, I worked so hard. And I got back there. I was like, oh my God, this was fantastic. You know, so sort of after about, oh, I guess one year, I stopped going, because I like, I was back to it. And yeah, hello, how long did that last? But I loved going to the gym. I love personal training sessions. But I found I needed that connection and I guess that accountability to make me keep going. But the other thing I do, I joined challenges.


Dr Lucy Burns: Oh, okay.


Monique: You know, I'm an achiever.


Dr Lucy Burns: Yes.


Monique: So I'd go in the great cycle challenge, or the push up or squat challenges. I'd walk for brain cancer research. I do workplace step challenges. You know, if Strava was doing a challenge the running app, I might go in one of those, you know. I'd set myself a challenge, and had to achieve that. And then I'd go back to my olden ways, you know. I didn't keep doing my squats every day?


Dr Lucy Burns: Well, again, I think it's tricky, because sometimes what you know, particularly if you're a little like me, a little bit competitive, you set yourself up to win the challenge and you go all in. And it goes back to that thing that I often talk about, the all or nothing concept. So you're all in, you're winning the squats, you're absolutely you know, up there, you're getting all the gold medals. Hooray. And then that's the end of that. You know, again, if you can do a challenge every month, then I suppose it's helpful and a sustainable thing. But this has been something that is, you know, as you know, I've talked a lot about and one of the concepts we teach a lot is that the idea is actually not to to be the winner. It is actually to create a habit that is sustainable that you can do ongoing. And to do that it has to be something that it is not ridiculous.


Monique: Yeah. Look, I tried diets and things like that as well. I mean, I did do things like the couch to 5k, which builds you up. And again I achieved, I could run around our lake, which is about 6k. And that was really good, yeah. But then I sort of, ah I've done that. I don't know why I give up like that. But with diets and stuff, I'd tried all sorts of stuff, like from Mike Mosley's five two fasting.  But I just couldn't commit and I'd feel so sick. I'd be really hungry. I'd feel sick. So then I'd eat. I calorie counted. That was the other thing with the app My Fitness Pal, like only 1200 calories a day, which was like plenty, but I'd eat whatever I wanted to get to 1200.


Dr Lucy Burns: Yes, yeah.


Monique: I wanted, you know two glasses of wine. It only left me 600 left. And that could be two pieces of bread. That was my day. I wasn't always naughty, though.


Dr Lucy Burns: No, no, no. I think this is part of the thing, isn't it with calorie counting, is that you're just focusing on, you don't focus on nutrition or satiety, or any of the things that your body actually needs? It's really just a number.


Monique: It is and that's right. I know, you can check all the macros and stuff like that in the back. But that's like getting a bit too hard for the average Joe. But you're right, I was not thinking of the quality.


Dr Lucy Burns: No, no, no. But again that's, it's not our fault. We you know, we're not necessarily taught that. And in fact, what we're taught in diet culture is that the Holy Grail is thindom and you get there, however the way you get there is irrelevant. You just have to get there.


Monique: Yeah.


Dr Lucy Burns: And so we do these things that are sometimes brutal, really hard yakka. But we do it in the quest of thinness. And you think it doesn't matter because I'm going to get there and then I'll feel really good. And then you get there and it's either impossible to maintain it or life just gets in the way, you know. You get busy. One of your five kids need something, I mean heaven forbid.


Monique: That's right. Oh, there's a birthday party. Goodness you have plenty of those with five kids.


Dr Lucy Burns: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.


Monique: And it's all there in front of you.


Dr Lucy Burns: So fast forward a few years and where did you find yourself?


Monique: Oh, so fast forward a few years, I sort of a big, big change in my life and my last child was old enough to look after herself almost. But in 2014, so she wasn't quite old enough by then, she was in her early teens. I decided I'd quit my full time job. I'd worked since I was 16 years old. Full time since I was 16, straight out of school straight into that job. So I decided that I'd become an academic. I worked at a university so I just wanted to move over the other side of the hill, as they say in university terms. So the only way to do that was to get my PhD, you know because I needed another degree. I had a few, but I didn't have that. So I turned 50. I submitted my resignation. I achieved a scholarship for studies. I was like, yes, maybe I can do this. I felt I was really ready for big change, you know, and it was a huge decision. Five kids and a husband, and they were all still at home I might add.  But you know, the best laid plans. In January, I had a really traumatic experience that just really brought home to me all the things that had been going on in my personal life for a long time that I'd been pushing down and keeping at the background, because I had so much to do, and I had a facade, I guess I had to keep up for my kids and around my friends and my workplace. And it just all came crumbling down on me. And I sort of think, you know, when I think back on it, how unstable these foundations that I thought I had under me, really, really were. And then as if that wasn't bad enough menopause. Oh, hello. And now maybe one triggered the other, I don't really know. Because it's always such an individual thing that lovely menopause. So here I was with, honestly, a physical response to trauma, and then menopause. So I'm having hot flashes every day, every night. I was just like, I didn't know whether I had mood swings or not, because I didn't know what normal was. It was just crazy, crazy stuff. And you know, I just realised this year, which is a few years after 2014, that I'd become entirely lost. I really didn't know who I was, or what I was, where I was. I had so much self doubt, even though I kept putting myself out there and trying the things and doing new things and you know, presenting the presentations and doing all of that. I was really, really super insecure about pretty well, every decision that I made and everything I thought of. Even though I went ahead and made the decision, it was like walking on a tightrope, having to put your foot one step in front of the other all the time, but never knowing if you're just about to fall off it. Because that could be what happened next. This sort of last couple of years, I've realised that I actually have been quite depressed and had really what I didn't realise, escalating social anxiety. You know I'm quite social, but I would get so freaked out in myself about having to go somewhere. I'd say to people, I'd love to go to that, that'd be super. And I meant it. And then as the time got closer, I would just be oh, an excuse. Is a kid sick, oh, no, I haven't finished cooking tea. There would always be something and so many times, I would send a message to the friend and say that I just can't get there tonight. It was really, really something that I didn't see around myself at the time. So I was committing all my energies to things that would make me sort of important for something, not looking after me at all. Absolutely not knowing myself in any way. So that I could say, oh, you're this type of person or you're that type of person. I really had no idea.


Dr Lucy Burns: I think sometimes this, I mean this happens a lot and a lot in the medical profession is that when we get filled with doubt, we can go, oh well, once I have this next qualification, then I'll feel okay. Once I've achieved this next level of something or other then I won't, then the doubt will be gone. And that same happens with conversely, with people going you know, trying to drop weight. They think once I've dropped 10 kilos, then I'll feel okay. Once I've dropped 15 kilos, then I'll feel okay. The thing that has to happen is you have to start to feel okay, first.


Monique: Yes, yes. And again, in hindsight, you can sort of see that. I know that all I was doing was just trying to get through, not at all thinking about what was going on. But even at the time I was actually, I was pretty thin. I was only like size eight or 10. I was really thin and looking and feeling you know that I looked amazing, but I obviously didn't feel in myself amazing. When all these things happened, I didn't just fall apart and cry in the corner. Life goes on. You have to keep moving. I had to keep it together. I think at the time I might I'd have had one of my children overseas so I couldn't like fall apart and let her know what was going on because what would she do? She's so far away. So what I did then, the changes in me were much more insidious than one day walking down the hall and going, oh, who's that? It was just like, I didn't even notice. And I stacked on the weight. And well, again, I've never been a big person, but much bigger than the me I like to see.


Dr Lucy Burns: Yeah, absolutely.


Monique: I was a 14/16 instead of an 8/10. So for me, that was just not me. But I hurt everywhere. I had a sore knees, I couldn't really walk up and down stairs. And my house is up three steps. So every time I wanted to come in and out, I mean three's not many. But still, every time I wanted to come in and out that was painful. Down the ramp at the back, that was painful. And I climbed to Mount Everest with these knees, same ones. I had headaches, I had back pain. I couldn't think. Here I am doing my PhD and I can't think. I had reflux. I had low iron. Oh, look, I was just falling apart. I was a total mess. And if anything happened, not that I'd cry. But I couldn't cope with it. I would just like, it made me withdraw even more than what I was doing before. And the most physical thing aside from weight, my fingernails, which are beautiful. I always have gorgeous fingernails, lovely and strong. They started splitting and peeling apart and I'm like what's going on? Obviously, my life was a wreck. And I still worked, still did stuff. I was even told I was pre diabetic and I nearly fell over. I'm like what?


Dr Lucy Burns: So you're really, what you're epitomising here is this concept we talk about of being overweight and overwhelmed.


Monique: Hmm, yes.


Dr Lucy Burns: So much going on, so much. And working out how the hell did I get here?


Monique: Yeah, how did I get here? And what on earth can I do now? And I can tell you what I did.


Dr Lucy Burns: Oh, pray tell.


Monique: First thing I did was, because was this is a couple of years ago, the knees, I just had to do something. So I went to a physio and I went back to the gym. I thought you've got to get strong.


Dr Lucy Burns: Yes, correct.


Monique: It doesn't matter where your weight is, you've got to have strength in your body to be able to move comfortably. So I did that. Like by now the knee problem, my whole right side was an issue. So we started working on that. And I'd see my PT, the amazing Jeannie. That's her real name. I'd see her twice a week and I'd do little challenges and stuff like that. I would do whatever she told me pretty much. And everything I did with her was great fun, except for burpees, which I hate. And sometimes they were really testing, especially burpees, which I hate. And she kept giving them to me. Anyway, I still hate them. There's some things we don't like. And then with COVID of course in 2020, I had Jeannie Zoom into my lounge room every week, twice a week. She'd Zoom into my lounge room, I'd do my HIIT classes with her there. And that gave me all these skills that I could use whenever I wanted. So that was fantastic. And because knees was my issue I'd ride, so I got a little trainer, bring my bike inside and I'd ride. And I could feel that I was getting stronger. And I noticed you know, I could do things, like those stairs didn't hurt as much. So by about May 2021 I was doing at least 30 minutes exercise every day, six out of seven days. And physically, I felt better. My mind, still not quite there. But in my tummy I still felt blergy. So I thought oh, I'm going to give up bread. You know, bread. It's always the problem, isn't it? I'd be bloated and I'd be windy and just generally felt blerghy. So I gave up bread. Nothing changed. With nearly three years with Jeannie no weight changed. All this exercise I've just described. No weight went down. I actually got heavier steadily. I ended up being 78 kilos. And through most of my life. I'd been 60 ish. I'm not particularly tall. So I wasn't big, but you know, I was big.


Dr Lucy Burns: Yeah, it's 30% above your baseline level.


Monique: Oh, good on you with your maths.


Dr Lucy Burns: Yeah, look at me go.


Monique: Just like that.


Dr Lucy Burns: Yeah.


Monique: And like, I don't eat chocolate and desserts and I was active, you know. I'm like what? I'm looking at myself going, what can I do? What else can I do? I think we'd even started eating Hello Fresh and that was an interesting experience for me because I'm like, oh, this is all good healthy food look how fantastic this is. I picked the low calorie option. I'd cook it, it'd be beautiful food. But I found out later that if you choose, like they suggest three meals for you, or whatever you've chosen. If you choose those, yes, you're on the low calorie. But if you don't. If you change and pick from anything else on the list, it won't be the diet type that you've selected.


Dr Lucy Burns: Yes. We just did a blog post on why weight loss is more than a meal plan. I'll link that to the show notes for any listeners. But you're absolutely right. Just following somebody else's meal plan is often unhelpful, because if there's something on it that you don't like, and you swap it out, or you go out for dinner, then all of a sudden, the meal plan is not the meal plan.


Monique: Yeah, yeah. And I look, I didn't realise that's what happened so maybe that was my error. But when I found out I thought, oh, gee, I'm glad I'm not a vegetarian and getting all these meat meals put in front of me.


Dr Lucy Burns: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.


Monique: Because that would be the worst.


Dr Lucy Burns: Yeah.


Monique: So at least for me, it was just like, was it again, low calorie or not? That's what I was still following, low calorie. So the change, what happened for me? I've always been a blood donor until my low iron, they'd keep sending me away. And I'd like, this is so frustrating. Another thing that just really hit my self esteem, they don't even want my blood. So I found out I could donate plasma still, even with lower iron. So whilst I did address the iron issue, I switched to plasma. So I go and do a donation every fortnight. In July 2021, I went in and I saw one of the nurses there came down the hall walking towards me. I've seen her lots. I said, I can't believe how much you've changed. She looked amazing. And she said she felt great. She said best she's ever felt. And that's when she told me about you Dr Lucy and Dr Mary, and these two lovely doctors down in Melbourne, blah, blah. Tell me about them. So she had done the 12 week Mind Body Rebalance that eventually I did, during the January and she said it just changed her life. She felt better all over. She had less pain. She also had knees. She'd lost kilos, so much so that she actually had to buy new work clothes. She said they were just falling straight off her. So while I was donating, with my one free hand I Googled Real Life Medicine and read what it was all about. And I think I went home and joined the next one that day. It was like, I'm not even going to look at how much that is because I can see what that did for this other friend of mine. And I want that. So I joined the 12 Week Program. But I stopped carbs almost straightaway. I just thought, why am I waiting?


Dr Lucy Burns: Yes, yes. I love that. Because you know we often have people that go, “Oh I've just got to finish all the carbs in sight and then I'll start with a clean slate.“ And it's like, ah, but you, yeah, great mindset. Great mindset. You just went nup, well I'm one starting now. Beautiful.


Monique: Well, yeah, why wait till tomorrow what you can do today? And I know that that's something that you girls have said. Don't wait till tomorrow. Let's just do it.


Dr Lucy Burns: Yeah. Best time to start with 10 years ago. Second best time is now


Monique: Oh, I reckon I could have started 30 years ago and probably feel good all that time. I don't even want to think about that. But yeah, I got everything out and I sorted some things, like I'd keep those for visitors. I guess, I put a whole lot of stuff in a box and I rang up a friend who's got young children, I felt a little bit bad. But I said, look if you guys eat this stuff, please take it off my hands because I'm not going to eat it. And they did, which was good. So then I went to the deli for the first time really to buy something other than just bacon, though of course I bought bacon. And I bought some nice like roast beef and some salamis and things like that, which I've never really eaten. And a couple of cheeses, because I thought well, I've got to be able to eat something that I like to get me going. If I'm not going to eat all this stuff, that's what I'm going to do. But the other thing I said to myself, is I'm actually going to stop at lunchtime and eat food. Real food. I'm gonna eat real food. So I had for all of August, I ate bacon and eggs with spinach and cherry tomatoes all cooked in the one pan for lunch every day. And I did the cryptic crossword. My mum sends those up for me from the Melbourne Age. And I did not snack at my desk. I had a little sign that said: no snacks eat a meal.


Dr Lucy Burns: Oh, wonderful. Yes. Wonderful.


Monique: And it worked.


Dr Lucy Burns: Yes, yeah.


Monique: And I used to drink Diet Coke to make me feel better in the tummy. Just was one of those things I just started. I don't touch that. I'll just have, the most exciting it gets is soda water at dinner time. Unless I am having a glass of wine but that's, that's not food, but it's just different. And we, we just sort of cut everything out. My partner, he tries to do the right thing, but he's just not as good as me. In regard to, he does like chocolate. So I've never been, I'll eat it, but I'm not partial. He likes chips and things like that. I'm still working on him. I'll get him there eventually. But unfortunately, he's got his own card. So he's allowed to go the shops.


Dr Lucy Burns: Of course, he's the boss of him, as we always say,


Monique: That's right. He is the boss of him. But certainly, whatever I make, he loves the fact that if nobody here wants to cook dinner, he can make bacon and eggs and I'll be happy.


Dr Lucy Burns:  Absolutely. So if I make a little summary of what you've just been telling us, that your health reached a crisis point, you were inflamed, you had sore knees, going up and down stairs was a problem for you know, we're talking an extra Everest climber here. And everything ached and you felt like rubbish and you had brain fog. And you went to the gym. And we do know that exercise is super helpful, like strength training. As you know, we're often banging on about that. And it was good, but not enough. And you're not a junk food eater, so you were eating pretty much you know, what the food pyramid would be. And your weight didn't change. In fact, you got heavier, with some of it maybe muscle. I know that's what our listeners will be thinking and that that may be true. But you certainly didn't lose any weight.


Monique: No. Well, I can sort of tell yes, muscle did increase, because with my PT she'd do like befores and afters and things like that. So she could always see how much fat was on there. I don't remember the numbers. They don't stay in my head. But my beautiful PT Jeannie had gone away in June. She was doing a big Australia trip, like many people have been lucky enough to do. She came back in November. And while she was away, I'd worked with another PT. But we'd just done the same stuff. The only other thing I changed was to go on the Real Life Medicine.


Dr Lucy Burns: 12 Week Mind Body Rebalance.


Monique: 12 Week Mind Body Rebalance, that's right. So the only thing I had changed is that I'd started that 12 Week Mind Body Rebalance. And when she came back end of November, she nearly fell over. I had to reassure her it wasn't the other PT. I said, it's not. It is eating the right things. I come to the gym, just like I'd always done, maybe my extra 30 minutes is in between. And she knew. We, she and I, had worked really hard for three years and never made a change like that. And it was the Rebalance Program that made the difference.


Dr Lucy Burns: It's so, I mean, we talk as you know, we talk 95% mindset, because if you haven't got your mindset right, it doesn't matter what program you've got, it's not going to work. But then the food is so important. Because you know, as a woman who's pre-diabetic, you were highly insulin resistant, just like me, just like Dr Mary. So eating carbs, like whether they're simple, you know, people go, oh they're good carbs. Doesn't matter if they're good carbs. The end of the day flour is just savoury sugar. It's exactly the same. Your body doesn't know whether that glucose is coming from a Mars bar or from a bread roll. It's the same thing.


Monique: I hadn't thought of it that way. Hmm, not at all.


Dr Lucy Burns: Yeah.


Monique: And you're right. You're right. The positive mindset is so important and setting good habits. I found, especially when I was studying, and I had to finish my PhD. I submitted at the end of November so I'm really stoked about that. But I set up each day a really strong little routine. And my feet had hit the floor at like, 6:15. I'd be up, I'd do my exercise. If you don't do it first thing, you're bloody not going to do it in my in my life anyway. So I have to do it first thing. I'd put my feet on the floor. I'd say I'm feeling well. I'm feeling ready to do it. And you know, I'm not tired or whatever even if I'd had a late night. I wouldn't let that morning voice stop me. I was just like nope, that's it. I'd go down, splash my face with freezing cold water in winter. It's freezing where I live in winter. Straight from the tap and then I just go and get into it. And I've made my own space where I can go and that's got you know, my candles and my things in it, so I can feel really good about myself in there and do my own things, whether it's reading, sleeping, meditating, whatever.


Dr Lucy Burns: When did you set this little space up?


Monique: In about June. I just thought I really need to have a space of my own. This is sort of the mental health thing as well trying to get my head back to me and learning a bit more about me and what I was going to do. And I'm not one of those gurus or anything, I don't do that. I'm pretty.


Dr Lucy Burns: No, that's alright. No, no, no.


Monique: A pretty sensible down to earth person, but you do need to spend some time on you at some point in your life.


Dr Lucy Burns: Absolutely. And I think this you know, again, what you're highlighting is the thing that women do. We are not, I know every now and then we'll call ourselves lazy. We are not lazy. I don't know a lazy woman. But I do know that what we will do is, we'll get everybody else's jobs done or their thing, their needs met. So they get the cream of the coffee and we get the dregs at the bottom. And so then when you're working on the dregs, you kind of think God, why is it so hard, why am I so hopeless? And you start to really, you know, if you give yourself the dregs, you feel like the dregs and then you become the dregs. And the only way to stop being the dregs is to actually become the cream. And it doesn't mean that you have to be the cream all the time. And I think sometimes women are worried that they're getting, they'll be selfish, if they say no to other people. And you know, it's the last thing we want to be. But I can tell you now, there's nobody I know who's been dregs, who then becomes selfish. It's just not in our nature. But we do have to give ourselves, be at the top sometimes.


Monique: That's right, you know that permission to put yourself first and learning to say no. Because what we want to have others do as well is learn to say no too. You know, we need to be able to hear no, which we are able to do, but we need to be able to say it ourselves and say, I don't need to do that. I don't need to eat that. I don't wish to go there. Tonight is not the night for that or whatever it is that you you're saying no to. You've got to be able to say it because other people go around saying no, left, right and centre. Why don't women do it as much as they should?


Dr Lucy Burns: Because they're worried, you know. Again, it's that thing well you know, people think I'm selfish, people think I'm this, people think I'm that. When really at the end of the day, we're all, we are amazing, amazing beings. As you said we're generous, we are blooming high achieving, and sometimes we just lose our way.


Monique: Yeah, I agree. I think that's, that's what happened with me for sure. And I see other people around me, I think, yeah, we let's, let's work on us. We need to work on us. And my sisters, my friends, you know, we can all work on us a little better. Because we have dedicated our lives to our children and our partners and our work. Why? It doesn't give us very much back.


Dr Lucy Burns: Yeah, and sometimes I think it's we have maybe our self worth little, you know, fragile. And so we think that by working hard, that will make us feel us. It might for a little bit and then then you lose it again. And then you've got to go and do the next thing to get that self worth. And being able to actually just be comfortable in your own skin with your own self, doing your own thing is like amazing. Amazing.


Monique: That's right.


Dr Lucy Burns: So I know that our listeners obviously can't see you, but I can and I can tell you now Monique looks so well. And if you said, I'd forgotten how old she was, but if I'm looking at her now there's no way she looks like she's in her her late 50s. You look about 45. Like it's amazing. You look so vibrant and healthy. Her skin looks beautiful. She's wearing this fantastic t shirt, which has got choose happiness in about seven different rainbow colours. And I think, you know, you are now embodying what it must feel like to have literally reclaimed your health.


Monique: Absolutely. And what in eight months or not even that, six months including the program. Just my mindset has changed and that wouldn't have happened before. You know with diets and PT and all that it's never changed, never changed like this before. I just feel much better in me and I go out the door with a spring in my step which is weird. And I don't think of my age at all. Really, I just think I actually do feel like I'm in my 40s.


Dr Lucy Burns: Yeah.


Monique: Which is great, because I'm going to tell everyone that's how old I am now.


Dr Lucy Burns : Absolutely, yeah. No one would blink an eyelid, No one would blink an eyelid, I can tell you. So yes, from overweight and overwhelmed to in control and full of health. That's one of our lovely mantras and you my love have completely smashed that goal. So I'm super proud of you. And I just think that, you just, you just look so healthy. I mean, that's all I can say. It's coming through the screen, it's like glowing.


Monique: Oh, thank you, thank you. And I mean being part of the Inner Circle Momentum too is something that I'm excited to get into, because I'm not studying at the moment, just working. But I just, I'm looking forward to what there has to offer just to keep this going. I thought, oh should I,  shouldn't I, I thought no, no, I will do that this year and and just make sure it's embedded. Because for me it's too easy to stop at the end of the 12 week or the eight week or whatever short program it is. I do need to keep being reminded until it's really embedded as something that is me and not just something that I've done.


Dr Lucy Burns: Yes. And I think that's you know, when Mary and I were coming up with a name for the 12 Week Program we purposely did not call it a challenge. Because a challenge implies there's an end. And at the end of the day we know that, you know losing weight is one thing but it doesn't end. It doesn't stop. It doesn't even stop when you get to your goal. You know good health. And really I think we, you know we're coming up with little phrases all over the place. But you know, my current one is that weight loss is a personal development program. It really is learning about yourself, learning your triggers learning what, you know what works for you, what doesn't work for you. And it's actually a wonderful journey of self discovery.


Monique: It is. I agree. And you're always on that journey.


Dr Lucy Burns: Absolutely. Absolutely. Well my love, thank you so much for sharing your story with our listeners. I'm sure they will relate to many aspects of it. And you know, as I said, you truly are a superstar and we're very, very proud of you.


Monique: Thank you so much. And I thank both you Dr Lucy and Dr Mary and all of the others who've been on the program and input to the different sessions. It's just been wonderful and your other podcasts I've listened to they're really great and so many really amazing stories from so many of your participants and your ladies. And your gents.


Dr Lucy Burns: Yes, I know we do. And you know, as we always say, Mary and I, we're the luckiest doctors in the world. We have a fantastic job. So it's wonderful. All right, lovely listeners. Well, that brings this week's podcast to a close and I look forward to chatting with you next week. Have a wonderful, wonderful week, and we'll see you soon. Bye for now. The doors to the 12 Week Mind Body Rebalance are now open. The program starts February the fifth. And there are bonuses available, finishing Wednesday, February the second. So lovelies, quick sticks, and we'll see you on the inside. Bye for now. So my lovely listeners that ends this episode of Real Health and Weight Loss. I'm Dr Lucy Burns.


Dr Mary Barson: And I'm Dr Mary Barson. We're from Real Life Medicine. To contact us please visit https://www.rlmedicine.com


Dr Lucy Burns: And until next time, thanks for listening. 


The doors to the 12 Week Mind Body Rebalance are now open. For more information and to join visit https://www.rlmedicine.com/12WMBR


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