Episode 90 Summary:
- It’s Doctor Lucy’s birthday and to celebrate she is sharing with us deep insights and wisdom on how to celebrate special events on a low carb real food lifestyle.
- Know your worth! When we cultivate self-love and believe that we deserve good things it makes it easy to reject cheap, nasty processed foods full of sugars and seed oils, that aren’t helpful for our health. Knowing our worth helps us to say no to the rubbishy supermarket “treats” that may have previously tempted us in the tearoom. Dr Lucy relates these cheap, nasty foods to thin, shapeless cheap exercise tights that are see through and unflattering and reminds us that we are worth the tights with comfortable, good quality fabric that makes us feel amazing when we wear them, and we are worth the beautiful handbag that complements your outfit, rather than a cheap green shopping bag. Think of your health as a similar investment.
- At Real Life Medicine we understand that people value autonomy. Dr Lucy offers three different suggestions on how we might choose to celebrate a special occasion.
- 1) Stay on your plan. Take the focus off of the food. Choose to continue with your low carb real food way of eating. Enjoy the company of friends and loved ones without waking up your sugar craving monster, “Fluffy”. Dr Lucy prefers to stay on plan.
- 2) Choose to serve low carb versions of typical celebration foods. For some people this can be a great option which allows them to enjoy their celebration, but for others this may require additional planning to recover from. Sometimes any sweet foods at all can wake up “Fluffy”. Once Fluffy is awake we must be mindful to eat low carb real foods packed with good proteins and fats until Fluffy is back asleep again. Do not attempt to fast when your sugar cravings are awakened.
- 3) Choose to go off plan for the event and have strategies in place to recover afterwards. As above, be prepared for sugar and carb cravings to be awakened by the resulting spike of insulin. You may feel extra hungry and it’s ok to eat as many green list foods as you need to as you recover from the hormonal changes. Don’t attempt to fast or punish yourself, but instead nourish yourself with low carb real foods.
- Your body is not the bin!! It’s absolutely fine to throw away leftover low carb desserts or unhelpful foods, after a special event. Your body is not the bin, and if you are eating unhelpful foods just so that they are not thrown away, you are treating yourself like a bin.
- Be aware of the stories in your head. A celebration doesn’t have to be a sugar bender. We are very heavily influenced by advertising and media. Remember, you’re the boss. It’s your birthday and if you don’t want to serve your guests heavily processed chemical junk food then that’s ok!
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 gorgeous ones. It's Dr. Lucy here. And today, I'm actually hosting the podcast by myself. It's a first for real life medicine. Normally, I'm obviously joined by the beautiful Dr. Mary, or I'm interviewing a very fancy guest. But, today, I thought I would host a show by myself because for me, it's one of my special days. And whilst it's not my birthday today, the time in which this goes to air it is! So today is my birthday!
So, I thought this was a beautiful opportunity to be discussing something that we like to call celebration eating. It's a really interesting topic. Because there's many, like we would say, in Australia, many ways to skin a cat. There's many ways to approach this, and you lovelies, you are the boss of you. So, there is no right and wrong. And I think in health nutrition, and in fact, in lots of topics in general, it's really easy to be extremist. And the thing about being an extremist is you don't have to consider any other option. You just have a thought, a belief, an ideology, and you stick to that no matter what. And interestingly, in our culture, extremism is quite popular. And we see this in, you know, particularly nutrition wars, as we like to call them, which will, you know, the obvious extremes would be the vegans versus the carnivores. You know, opposite ends of the eating spectrum. And as you know, Real Life Medicine, we are actually omnivores. We like meat and vegetables. And that's not very, it's not very sexy, it doesn't create controversy.
So, celebration eating, I'm going to give you a couple of options on how to approach it. And you get to choose what is best for you. Because at the end of the day, as you know, we are always telling people that weight loss is more than a meal plan. Weight loss, it's not about a prescription for and when I mean prescription, I'm not talking about medication - I'm talking about prescriptive advice, where you know, you do what someone else tells you to do. Because we can all do that for a little while, but at the end of the day, humans like autonomy, they like to be the boss of themselves. And eventually what they'll do is just stop listening to whoever is bossing them around. So here's a couple of ways that I manage celebration eating.
So traditional celebrations, you know, would basically, in my old, perhaps life, a celebration was my brain’s opportunity to go off plan in a very justifiable way. And basically what it was, it was my brain going, it's my birthday, I can do what I want. I'm going on a holiday, I can do what I want. It's Christmas, I can do what I want. And that's absolutely true. Except it didn't serve me well, that plan, because I can do what I want meant I would be eating all the sugar available to me. And that, for me, just unleashed my sugar cravings for potentially weeks, sometimes months afterwards. So in my neck of the woods, in my brain, I prefer to just eat as I normally would, for a celebration. So the celebration, in my mind, is not about the food, it's always about something else. So in my mind, the celebration might be getting together with my family or my friends. It might be the fact that I don't actually have to cook. It might be the idea that I get to go out to dinner at a fancy restaurant. So the environment is lovely. The cutlery is lovely. The decor is lovely. I have somebody who comes to ask me what I want, which is always nice. I have someone who takes my plate away for me, and I have someone who goes and cleans all my dishes. That for me is part of my celebration. For me, it is no longer helpful for me to be eating sugary rubbish. And it's so interesting because I'm sure for you guys, and this happens certainly at my workplace.
If it's somebody's birthday, in the tea room, there will be some sort of processed sugary garbage. And it's usually something that's bought, maybe from a big supermarket. And so it'll be their kind of, you know, birthday cake version, which probably costs like five bucks. And it's basically filled with sugar and seed oils. And so for me, that's not something I would like to celebrate with. I don't like to celebrate with cheap, shitty, nasty, chemical laden, rubbish. If I was going to celebrate, then it would have to be with something that is very, very good quality, because we are worth more than cheap and nasty.
So interestingly, I was talking about this with one of our coaching calls. And I was talking about the idea that in our society these days, we do love a bargain. And our brain will tell us, “Oh, my God, how cheap is this!”, you know, insert sugary food, often donuts, cakes, you know, whatever it is. But here's the thing, as a wonderful human, you are worth more than cheap and nasty. So I was giving them the example, and you may all relate buying a pair of leggings. So leggings, you know, there's those skin tight sort of activewear, if you buy really cheap leggings, you'll find that the quality of them is reasonably poor. And so, as they spread across your skin, they're often see-through. You might be able to see your undies line. You can certainly see, you know, perhaps some dimpling in your skin. They're really just, they just don't look that good. Whereas if you were to buy a better quality pair of leggings, that might be more expensive. The look is completely different. You can't see your undies through them, they're not stretched tight. They look good. So now in my head, whenever I see something that's cheap and nasty, I'm reminded of those really nasty leggings.
I also have the same idea with shopping bags. So we can talk about a bag. And you know, the green shopping bag. It's pretty cheap. Like they're about $1. They’re very functional, they hold things. But would you turn up to a fancy restaurant, a wedding, a fancy function, go out to dinner with your green shopping bag as your handbag? Probably not. You're probably more likely to have invested some more money than $1 into a bag that maybe complements your outfit or, you know, has something that's useful to you, that's not just a $1 shopping bag. So whenever your brain starts thinking about the cost of food, ask yourself, “Am I worth more than a $1 shopping bag?” Is this product, which is often called food but honestly it is probably more like a chemical cocktail. Is this actually the equivalent of the cheap, nasty leggings? Is it the equivalent of the green shopping bag? Am I worth investing in good quality food for myself? And it is tricky. It is tricky because we've been conditioned to look for the cheapest, to look for savings. The savings? Are you actually saving or not?
So again, this is another little concept of looking at the way I like to think about health is that it's actually an investment. So if it costs us some more money, say to buy a punnet of strawberries, which might be more expensive at the moment. Or it costs you more money to buy a punnet of blackberries compared to you know, three Mars bars. One Mars bar, your brain might go, “Why would I buy, why would I spend $3 on blackberries when I can buy a Mars bar for $1?” Because it's an investment. It's an investment in your health. And at the end of the day, if we don't invest in ourselves now. We will pay the price later. And that's, there's just no getting away from that. Much like investing in getting your car regularly serviced, so that the wheels don't drop off when you're driving along the freeway, and then you have to pay a tow truck person to drag your car off, get the out of hours somebody or other and you're stuck on the side of the road. Our health is just the same. We have to invest, and the ingredients that you put into your body matter, they really do.
So back to celebrating. So one of your options is you can be like me and just stay on your plan. The other option that you can do is you could choose a low carb, you know thing to celebrate. So maybe you don't eat a lot of low carb desserts. And maybe you've decided that actually, for your celebration, you're going to make a low carb chocolate cake or something equivalent. And that is perfectly fine to do. The caveat being that for some people, low carb foods that are sweetened, will still wake up their cravings. So you've just got to be mindful of that. And if that is the case, then you plan for it.
And what we always say, at Real Life Medicine is if you've woken up your sugar cravings, then you, you know, again, we've often been conditioned that we've eaten a whole lot of food that the next day we're going to fast. Well, it's unlikely to be helpful to do that. Because what happens is that you have woken up your sugar cravings, we’ve potentially had an insulin release, we are physiologically potentially a bit different the next day. And so I always go, you know what, the next day I'm actually going to focus on having some extra food. I'm going to have extra protein and fat. Because, I want to keep my sugar cravings at bay. It doesn't matter how much I eat the next day. As long as it's green list food, then that will put Fluffy back to sleep. And I'm sure that you'll remember if you haven’t listened to my podcasts in the past or read our blog: Fluffy. Fluffy is how we describe sugar cravings. So Fluffy is the three headed dog in JK Rowling's Harry Potter. And Fluffy is sound asleep when the music is playing. So in my life, my Fluffy is sound asleep when I'm eating beautiful low carb, nutritious food and plenty of protein. Fluffy wakes up for me with any sweet stuff, even low carb sweet stuff. But, that's okay. Because then what you do is you put Fluffy back to sleep and how do we put him back to sleep? No sugar. Plenty of fat. Plenty of protein. And then a few days later, if you wanted to, that's when you could, you know, reintroduce your fasting protocol, if that's what you're doing. So that's your second option. Yes, you know, have a cake, some food to celebrate. And you can make it a low carb option.
Your third thing is you can just do what you've always done. Care. Remember, you're the boss of you, you get to decide. So if you go out to a fancy restaurant, and there is some dessert that your brain goes, oh my god, that's amazing. I just want to have it, well, then you can have it, you're the boss of you. Again, a bit like the low carb desserts, the caveat being you need to understand that it may for some people wake up their sugar cravings. And then you're gonna have to manage the following days.
The things to be mindful around any celebratory eating are potential stories that your brain can put forward. So, I always ask myself, What is the story in my head? Again, for me, the story in my head used to be that celebrations were a very, very socially acceptable justification for me to have my air quotes. You can't see them but I'm doing them air quotes, drug food, because for me sugar is a highly addictive food. Anything in it, and I’m wolfing it all down. And I don't do it for pleasure. It just becomes stuffing it in. And I know that there is controversy in, you know, nutritional worlds about whether sugar addiction is real. But I can tell you for me it is I have tried the idea of Oh, don't limit it. Just have it when you really feel like it. Well, you know what? I seem to really feel like it every day. And that for me became unsustainable. People that say to you, you know what, everything in moderation. Don't deny yourself anything. If you do that, you'll just want more. That's actually not true. When I have not had sugar for a time, and now it's considerable, at the start, absolutely, when you're stopping sugar your brain will have a tantrum, it will arc up, you'll have dopamine receptors yelling out for you to have it. You've got gut bacteria that are relying on this sugar. You've got a whole heap of physiological processes that are acting up. But once you get through that period, they all down regulate. The gut bacteria die off, the dopamine receptors downregulate, and life is quiet again. It is so good. So for me, I don't want to have sugar for my birthday. I don't need it. It doesn't help me. I'm very happy, celebrating my birthday in a way that works for me. And that my lovely friends, is what you can do for you. No rules, no right and wrong, but work out what works for you. And here, I'll be turning 54 this year. So I've had plenty of birthdays to experiment. And I now know what works for me. So Christmas, and again, Christmas is another celebration. And we talk a lot about Christmas closer to Christmas. At Christmas time I did make low carb desserts. But a couple of things happened: one, I made way too much, way too much. And again, that's probably just some old programming there about, you know, more is better. But what I also did was I threw it out the next day. And this is something to be really mindful of. If you've got low carb cake in your fridge and you find that you're eating it every day. That's probably not going to help you long term. It is all right to throw stuff out. I know that it's hard because we've been conditioned not to waste food. Food wastage is a sin almost compared to murder. Not really. But you can understand it. And we have been conditioned for years and years to eat everything on our plate that we don't want to waste food. Children starving in Africa or India. But you know what? What a lot of us do is we eat the food to stop wasting it. We're not hungry. We don't need it. But we eat it so that when because that means we're not wasting it right? Except my lovely friends and you've heard me say this before your body is not the bin. If you're eating it, just to stop wastage. It's still wastage. You don't need it. You don't even want it. It is all right to throw it out. It's alright, to give it away. It's alright just to get rid of it. There's nothing wrong with that. You're not a bad person because you threw the rest of the low carb chocolate cake in the bin. Okay, if that's helpful to you, and it is to me, then that's what I'll do. My body is not the bin.
So my lovelies, celebratory eating. It doesn't have to be an extravaganza, a bender. I know there's a lot of talk about food that brings people together. And again that's been hijacked by you know, if I watch ads on telly, food brings people together. The ad that comes to mind is KFC where there was some giant bucket of chicken that was celebrating Mother's Day. And it was saying, you know, give Mum the day off. It's like really? It's a lot of BS you know! And you know cultures and food, you know, they can all coexist together. You can certainly bring your family together with food. But just think about the type of food. It can certainly be beautiful, nutritious, tasty, delicious food. It can be followed - doesn't have to be a processed cake. Okay, it could be followed by beautiful you know, again, you might want to do berries and cream and then people go oh but you know, we have berries and cream every day. Doesn't matter. Does it? Does it actually matter? Still the same thing. You might pop it in a fancy bowl, you might have a fancy, you know whipped cream that you put on top. You might, you know, you can do that. There's nothing - there's no rules. You could even get the berries whip the cream through it, semi freeze it and call it ice cream. You can do whatever you want. It doesn't have to be this “recipe”. And when I use “recipe” again more air quotes, the recipe that “celebrating” means processed sugary shit. It doesn't have to be that. And I think the other thing I would just be mindful of thinking about is that your brain will often correlate junk food with fun. And again, it's advertising. Advertising, marketing. There's always some fun. There's some sort of, you know, coloured confetti popping out. And so your brain says, “If you don't partake in this, then you're no fun”. Well, again, I call BS on that, because I spend quite a lot of my life having fun. And it doesn't involve eating cheap, nasty, sugar laden, chemical junk. It just doesn't. So just ask your brain, mirror, ask yourself, what are the stories my brain is telling me?
If my brain is saying that if I don't provide cake for my guests, then I'm a bad host. Again, that's a bit of BS. You're the boss. It's your birthday, and you're hosting, you get to decide. It's so interesting. Again, this idea that we have to provide something for our guests and that something has to have sugar or carbs in it. You can provide your guests with very fancy homemade seed crackers and a beautiful quality cheese. There's nothing wrong with that. You can certainly provide your guests with some fruit. And I know people go oh my god fruit, you know, it's full of sugar. It does have sugar in it, absolutely. But it also comes with fibre. And it provides a much lower glucose and insulin response, then, you know, chocolate cake. So again, you're the boss of you, you get to decide.
But the way I do it, is I stay on my plan. I rarely deviate. You know, I don't never deviate. But it's something that I spend a lot of time reflecting on. If I have deviated it is usually some sort of stressful event where my brain went offline for a bit. And I will use my self-reflection, learning and compassion to work out what I did and why I did it. That's separate. But for my birthday tonight, I already know I'm not going to be eating cake. I don't need it. We'll probably have Indian takeaway, which is one of our favourite things to have. And I will just have the curries I don't bother with the rice or the samosas or the naan bread. I just have the curry and I enjoy the taste. I enjoy the flavour. I enjoy the fact that somebody has made it for me. So, my lovelies, that's what I would be thinking for you, celebratory eating. It's not a given to go off plan. You don't have to, if you want to think about the way you build and plan your post celebratory eating.
And just before I finish lovelies, I'd like to remind you that we have got our night-time eating course. And for a lot of the things that you learn in that course you can apply to any situation including celebratory eating. The course is super, it's got a hypnosis in it. It's got plenty of learnings. If you don't have the sugar addiction video that's also in it. And up until the end of today. I guess there's a tribute for my birthday. The course is on special. It's normally $97 It's for $47. The link is in the show notes. Or you can head over to our website at https://www.rlmedicine.com/ Have a beautiful, beautiful week, lovelies and I will see you next week. And I have a special guest who will chat with us about all things real health and weight loss.
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/ And until next time, thanks for listening.
Dr Lucy Burns: 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.
For more information about our course, “How To End Night Time Eating”, visit https://www.rlmedicine.com/nighttime