Episode 97 Summary

  • In 2018 Louise Roberts was carrying an extra 35 kilos and was a type 2 diabetic. Her blood sugar wasn’t well managed and she was on the verge of needing insulin. 
  • Louise found a dietician who introduced her to the concept of keto and convinced her to try it to manage her type 2 diabetes. With his help she was able to lose 35 kilos and improve her HbA1c from 14, down to 5. Which is normal. She was able to achieve this without medication, using only diet changes.
  • Louise commenced work as manager of an aged care facility just as the Covid-19 outbreak began. This was an incredibly stressful role and she began to crave sugar, went off keto and regained all of her lost weight, and more. Her blood sugars and blood pressure spiked dangerously. Her blood pressure was 210/110 and her HbA1c was 17. Louise was extremely unwell, both physically and mentally.
  • At this point Louise began to feel hopeless and despondent, and had almost resigned herself to medication when a flash of inspiration drove her to swallow her pride and seek help again. This time, for what she realised was sugar addiction. 
  • Louise joined a few Facebook groups but felt uncomfortable in many of them with their emphasis on “dirty” keto. Then she found Real Life Medicine and signed up for the 12 week program. 
  • Louise noticed that she wasn’t losing weight as easily as before, but found her answers following a talk from the doctors on cortisol, our stress hormone. She made a positive choice to seek help and support for her mental health issues from a counsellor. She began to feel better and the weight began to drop off again. Her blood pressure and her blood sugar improved. 
  • Louise continues to work with her counsellor to manage her stress and sugar addiction.  She found such value and acceptance in the 12WMBR for management of her sugar addiction that she chose to return for the valued support of the community and Dr Lucy Burns and Dr Mary Barson. 
  • Louise has gained confidence in herself and her choices. She has left behind the self-loathing that she felt in the past and she has been dealing with her stress in helpful ways using techniques such as journaling, practising patience and persistence and using positive visualisation. 
  • Louise is now metabolically healthy with a normal HbA1c of 5.4 and her blood pressure is normal too, at 120/80. Her new doctor can barely believe she was a type 2 diabetic based on her excellent blood test results. 
  • If you’d like to learn more and live your best, healthiest life like Louise, make your health a priority and join the next round of the 12 week Mind Body Rebalance. This is the last round for 2022 so sign up now before enrolment closes. The course commences on the 3rd of September.
Sign up for the next round of the 12 Week Mind Body Rebalance now!

Show notes:

Have you ever lost weight and regained it all?


Dr Mary Barson: (0:11) Hello, my lovely listeners. I'm Dr. Mary Barson.


Dr Lucy Burns: (0:15) And I'm Dr. Lucy Burns. Welcome to this episode of Real Health and Weight Loss. Good morning gorgeous ones, it's Dr Lucy here today and I have the most beautiful guest to share her story with you. She has done our 12 week Mind Body Rebalance and as you know if you're listening to this episode today, or even in the next few days, the doors are open for the next round of the 12 week Mind Body Rebalance, which is starting September the third. But what we love to share with you is some of the people who have gone through the program, because really, their stories are the things that bring us joy and the reason that Mary and I continue to do these. So this morning, I would love to introduce to you a beautiful woman called Louise, who lives in the Northern Highlands of Australia. And I would love to welcome her to the podcast. Welcome, Louise!


Louise Roberts: (1:16) Good morning Lucy.


Dr Lucy Burns: (1:19) So we have very much enjoyed having Louise as part of our program. She's often sharing stories about her baby alpacas that are bored, and there's little flurries of snow while other members are basking in sunshine. It has been just a complete joy. Lou, can you tell us a little bit about your story, because you've got a really fabulous and interesting story that I think a lot of our listeners would be able to relate to.


Louise Roberts: (1:45) Okay, well, in 2018, I was 35 kilos heavier than what I am now and on the verge of needing insulin because I developed type two diabetes. And by luck or by chance I came across a dietitian who said, “Don't go on insulin. Let's try keto”. And I'd heard of paleo, but hadn't heard of keto. So, with his help, I went on to keto and over a period of about eight or nine months, as we were going around Australia in our caravan, I lost all the weight. My blood sugars, the HbA1c, that had been riding up around fourteen had come down to five, and I was on no medication and I had reversed it out. So I was very, very excited by that. But one of the things that I had really not paid much attention to was this underlying sugar addiction. 


(3:01) So I went back to work. I took on a new job. That was a very stressful job. It was when COVID had just started and I was looking after an aged care facility, so it was very difficult. As my stress levels went up, so did my craving for sugar and I had absolutely no control over it. I was very harsh on myself as I was starting to put weight on and I managed to put on those 35 kilos plus a bit more in the space of a year. So, at the end of this year, I was feeling very unwell. So I went to the doctor and I had a blood pressure of 210 on 110 and my HbA1c had got up to 17 and my blood sugar was 20


Dr Lucy Burns: (4:07)  Oh gosh, no wonder you were feeling unwell Louise.


Louise Roberts: (4:10)  I had protein in my wee. So I was very unwell both mentally and physically. So I thought, “I don't think I can do keto anymore, just put me on medication”. They wanted to put me back onto insulin to try and get it down. Then I went to bed and overnight had a big dream and woke up the next morning and said “No. I can do this, but I need a bit of help.” So I had to swallow hard. I contacted this dietician and said “I'm really sorry”. I was so apologetic. “But I've stacked it all back on again and I'm going to need help”. Well, he could help to a point and then a girlfriend said “I'm sure there are Facebook groups on this stuff”. So I joined another one and they were helpful, but they kept talking about dirty keto. And I thought, “I don’t think it's good just to keep eating that kind of food”. And then I heard you, you did a talk to them. And then I found Real Life Medicine and my life changed. 


(5:28) What was really interesting though, I had this expectation of myself, because I'd done it before, that it would all fall off really easily and quickly, like it did the first time. Well, it didn't. The first six to eight weeks, I lost maybe one or two kilos and I'm thinking, “Oh, hang on, hang on what's going on here?”. So then I was in Woolies and this man accidentally pushed his trolley into me and I turned around, and I gave him an absolute mouthful, and I'm not like that at all. And then proceeded to have a panic attack, which I had never had in my life. And I thought, “What's going on?” And then, I can't remember now, if it was you, or Dr. Mary. Somebody gave a talk on cortisol levels and I had all this mental health stuff going on. So I thought, I need more help. 


(6:33) To use your description of hiding behind the tree where I thought I could just do it on my own. I couldn't, I needed help. So I went and had some counseling and she was excellent. I'm still seeing her, but she diagnosed me with that complex stress disorder. Once we started to work through some of that, plus, really importantly, the exercise and the low carb, suddenly, I started to lose weight. So, it wasn't as fast as the first time but I wasn't really worried because I had faith in the program. I had you guys backing me up, plus all the lovely people that are on the Facebook page and by then, I decided I would do the 12 week course in my last year. And I learned so much through there, and really learned about these cortisol levels. So it's taken me nearly a year, this time. And it's because it trickles and then it stops and then it'll go with great gusto. So I’m at the weight that even though the scale says I’m at an overweight BMI, which is just rubbish, I feel really good at the weight I’m at. 


(7:58) Then I decided I was just worried that I knew I hadn't really dealt with the sugar addiction, and I needed to - with the help of my counsellor - look at it through an addiction lens rather than just food. I mean, they're intertwined. I really enjoyed your sugar addiction talk that you did. And then I thought, “Okay, I really am addicted to sugar”. So with the help of the counsellor, I would push it right back into my childhood. Like we all did, you fall over, you get a lolly, and off you go. I've been a sugar addict my whole life and I was worried that I might put the weight back on that I hadn't really tackled it head on. So I did the 12 week course again, and got more confidence in myself. And then I thought, “No. I need to progress this further,” and have since joined the momentum program.


Dr Lucy Burns: (9:01)  The inner circle. Yes, absolutely. So do you know what I love? So there's a couple of things that I think that I would love to highlight. The first thing was that, the first time you did it, you were traveling around in a caravan. So, you know, not in a stressful situation. Not running an aged care facility in COVID, for example, which would have to be one of the most stressful jobs of all time. And so when we don't have that external stress, yes, the weight just comes off. And I know that because we've been conditioned to believe about calories and energy in, energy out that we can't quite believe that stress could do that. Surely, surely it's not that important. And you've just demonstrated in real life exactly why it is important.


Louise Roberts: (9:48)  Yeah. Well, I'm really excited now because my latest HbA1c was 5.4 which is great!


Dr Lucy Burns: (9:58)  Ah and that's normal!! Whereas, gosh, when it was 14, I mean that is at the severe end of type two diabetes. That's not just “a smidge of sugar” as people like to call it. You were really unwell with diabetes and now your blood sugar levels, and your haemoglobin A1c more importantly, is normal.


Louise Roberts: (10:20) And my blood pressure, without any medications, dropped to 120 on 80.


Dr Lucy Burns: (10:26)  Yes, yes. So that's normal as well. So you've been able to improve your health without needing medications by changing. Changing a couple of things though, it's not just what you eat. 


Louise Roberts: (10:38) Oh, no! 


Dr Lucy Burns: (10:39) But it's actually changing this whole mind.


Louise Roberts: (10:43) I’ve been journaling, I really enjoy the journaling. And I've finally found the recipe that works for me. And my recipe is that I have to walk every day and take my dog with me, my big German Shepherd. She takes me, and I do hypnosis or meditation every morning. I journal, I eat low carb and if I stay within that, I feel really well.


Dr Lucy Burns: (11:15)  Yes, yes, yes. Which is the whole aim. Everything we do in our life, is to try and feel better and this is the sneaky, sort of allure of sugar and processed carbohydrates. We eat them because we try to feel better in the moment. And you know, we're conditioned to believe they will make us feel better. And paradoxically, they actually do in the very short term, because of that dopamine effect. 


Louise Roberts: (11:45) Yeah. 


Dr Lucy Burns: (11:47) But as all addictions, all addictions are really just attempts to self soothe distress.


Louise Roberts: (11:52) I do have every so often, what I call my “wobbly days”.


Dr Lucy Burns: (12:00) Of course, because you're a human.


Louise Roberts: (12:03) I wake up and then I think, “Awww..” I don't go so much anymore as, “Poor me”. But now I know when I have those days, that's just me. I just need to be looking after myself that day. And you know, by lunch, it's normally passed. Or by the next day, it has passed, I don’t get worried or upset by it anymore. And it just comes on!


Dr Lucy Burns: (12:28)  Yeah. And I think probably if you've had periods where you've been distressed, that when you first have that sort of little sniff of a lower mood or a sniff of anxiety, we get worried that we're going to suddenly plunge into the vortex of doom. That felt like such a terrible time that you obviously don't want to go there again.


Louise Roberts: (12:48)  Well, it was, it was horrendous. Really, I had stopped going outside. I just wanted to hide. It was just, “Oh my God, I've done it again! Look at the size of me! I'm back up to size 18-20! I can't believe I've done this to myself!” And I was just full of, hmm, self-hatred is too strong and I certainly wasn't suicidal, but I thought, “Well, if this kills me, that's it”.


Dr Lucy Burns: (13:19)  Yeah, so yeah, self loathing might be a term maybe.. 


Louise Roberts: (13:23) That would be a better one.


Dr Lucy Burns: (13:27)   Yeah. And it's complex. We feel guilty, we feel ashamed, we feel hopeless, useless. They're often the words that we'll use to ourselves, and sometimes ‘cross’ that we've done it. And we all understand why you feel like that but at the end of the day, it becomes a really unhelpful narrative to keep replaying in our brain.


Louise Roberts: (13:52)  Yep, and when I realised that I knew that I needed another level of help, another person on my team. And so it's been really helpful with the sugar addiction.


Dr Lucy Burns: (14:05) Wonderful! 


Louise Roberts: (14:06) And I just can't say enough how much your group and your program are just really down to earth and very helpful.


Dr Lucy Burns: (14:14)  Yes! Well, as you know, and again, this is part of our mantra, and I guess part of what we call it our business, Real Life Medicine, because both Mary and I are certainly very real and very imperfect and I have no qualms sharing that because I think for lots of lots of people, they’ll only share the highlight reel, and they don't ever share that things aren't perfect. And therefore, everyone is comparing themselves to an illusion and that's unhelpful. So, we always want to make sure that comparison itself is often quite unhelpful, but when you're comparing yourself to something that's not real, that's even harder.


Louise Roberts: (14:58) Well, the the thing that it has taught me is persistence and patience and I was sharing my funny story with you about this spinning and I wanted to bring a skein of wool that I've just..


Dr Lucy Burns: (15:15)  Ah, yes!. If you would share that story with the listeners, they would love to hear it because it is a wonderful analogy.


Louise Roberts: (15:21) So I decided that with our alpacas, everybody has to contribute to the little farm that we're on, so I would learn how to spin the fleece when it comes off. So typical of me, I launched in headfirst, not really, thinking, “Oh, yes, I can do this”. Well, your foot has got to do one thing and your hands have got to do something else and I was all thumbs. It was just terrible. And my husband had to rescue the spinning wheel from being thrown out the window because I thought, “This is just.. I can't do this! This is just ridiculous!” and getting really angry and upset with it. Anyway, I thought, “Oh, this is silly”. So I went down in the paddock and was playing with one of our baby alpacas. She comes up for a cuddle all the time. And all of a sudden, I thought, “Oh my golly, gosh, it's a spinning wheel. It's not… You're not gonna die! What is this reaction?” And for the first time in a long time, I was actually able to laugh at myself, and not take it too seriously. And I thought, “You know what, I think I can do this”. And then as I was playing with Jovi the alpaca, I could visualise myself using this spinning machine. And sure enough, I didn't that afternoon, but the next morning when I got up, I was still a bit clumsy, but all of a sudden, it was working. So it was persistence.


Dr Lucy Burns: (17:00)  Absolutely. And you know I love it. I love pulling out a few little gold nuggets from that story. Two things. One, it is normal for humans, adult humans when we find something hard, and in fact, little, little baby humans as well. When we find something hard, to kind of rail against it a bit and resist and start telling it “This is stupid. I'm not doing this! It's ridiculous”. That's very normal behaviour. It is. Also what you've demonstrated, though, is kind of pushing through that resistance and actually continuing and doing that persistence. But the third thing I love, that I hadn't been aware of, was that you used visualisation, as a technique to be able to, again, push through that resistance and show that you can actually do things that are initially hard.


Louise Roberts: (17:48)  Yeah. It was really helpful to do that and I draw on that quite often when I'm finding it hard. We were out for dinner the other night, and before I went, I visualised that I would have a really nice meal without carbs and it just all went the way it was supposed to.


Dr Lucy Burns: (18:11)  Yes. Yes. Yes! Yes! Like 100 times yes!! Because what you're describing there, is you're leaning into your life with low carb and recognising that is still fun, that it's still good. Whereas what lots of people will do is if there's a meal, or a function coming up, they perseverate on it. “How am I going to do this? It's going to be hard. I don't know what I'm going to do, I'm going to be spending all this time resisting. It's going to be terrible”. And so in fact, they're visualising their distress or their resistance in the event whereas you're visualising your success at the event.


Louise Roberts: (18:45)  Yeah. That's a skill that I'm still developing, but very, very powerful for me.


Dr Lucy Burns: (18:52)  Ah, that's so wonderful! So, lovely listeners, if you're looking for another technique to help you through things like sugar addiction, it is imagining yourself in the situation, where you have achieved what you want to achieve. Now, if that is not eating the cakes or the pastries or whatever, you just imagine yourself doing that, not talking to yourself about how hard it's going to be and what are you going to do and how difficult it will be. If we think it's going to be difficult, our brain will look for that because that's what it thinks you want.


Louise Roberts: (19:25) Yeah, definitely. Definitely. ,


Dr Lucy Burns: (19:29)  Ah wonderful. Louise, if you had an opportunity to talk to anyone who might be on the fence about joining the 12 week Mind Body Rebalance and I feel like I'm asking a bit of a leading question, but, what would you say?


Louise Roberts: (19:42) I would say, definitely do it. One of the most powerful things in that program is the no judgement. And it's saying it as it is. And it's at your pace. I think the Facebook support group and your coaching calls are really good. The other powerful message is having that ability to bring a sense of humour into it. There were times, especially in the hypnosis that I felt, they were very, very good, but I felt really sad. And I thought, “Now, why am I feeling sad?” And I thought, “That's because I was just sad about how I had treated myself”. And sometimes you've got to get to that to get over the hurdle. So I've recommended your program to several of my friends, the ones who are ready to listen to it. And to think that I was on the verge of insulin twice! I really was very, very sick that second time through, though, after coming out of that, that position I was in. You can get back. The road might be twisty. And it's so good to have a team working with you.


Dr Lucy Burns: (21:04)  Yes, absolutely. And a lot of people think - and this is so interesting to me - they think they're too far gone. You know, “It's not worth that I'm too far gone. I'm a lost cause”. And I think the story you've just demonstrated is that it's never too late.


Louise Roberts: (21:20)  Well, I was at that point when I put it all back on. I thought “Oh, well. Yeah. Okay, here's the insulin. This is really the downhill road from here”. And just something got inside me and said, “No, come on. Come on”.


Dr Lucy Burns: (21:38)  Absolutely. And you know what, you've got decades ahead of you of  long, healthy living and that fresh mountain air. And now your beautiful, healthy metabolic state.


Louise Roberts: (21:49)  Yeah. Well, the doctor, they're quite funny. We've just recently moved up here and the doctor that I'm seeing up here, had never heard of keto. And was sort of thinking he said, you sure you've got diabetes? To which I just had a real laugh and she said, “Because with these triglycerides, nothing is showing here.”


Dr Lucy Burns: (22:14)  No, absolutely. Ah, Louise, it has been a delight, I absolutely think you will have inspired hundreds of people who are listening to this podcast, because really, your story is just the same as so many people. It takes a few goes sometimes to be ready to recognise the sugar, the addiction, the techniques, and I would always say to people, it is never too late. You can always start again. You can always learn more and one day, there might be just that last piece of the puzzle that drops in and you go, “Ah, here it is”.


Louise Roberts: (22:51)  I was surprised how much I really learned or had forgotten from doing the two twelve week programs.


Dr Lucy Burns: (23:00)  Yeah, absolutely. And you know what, this is why, with our momentum members, this is where we offer them. You get access to the 12 week program as many times as you like, and people sometimes go, “But I've already done it.” Okay. Just keep your mind open. See if you learn anything new, and then suddenly, “Oh my God, I can't believe... Did you say that the first time?” Yeah.


Louise Roberts: (23:21) And I'm going to be doing it with you on the third of September again.


Dr Lucy Burns: (23:26)  Wonderful, wonderful. Well, you will be like the cheer squad cheering all the other people on because you, my love, are now a super experienced person and an absolute superstar.


Louise Roberts: (23:36)  Thank you. Thank you. But I'd like to thank you too. You and your team are very, very, very just excellent.


Dr Lucy Burns: (23:45) Awww. Thank you, darling. Thank  you. Well, I'm just glad we've saved you from the clutches of insulin.


Louise Roberts: (23:48) Yes. 


Dr Lucy Burns: (23:49) And that, as I said, decades ahead of you long healthy happy life.


Louise Roberts: (23:54) Thank you. Thank you. 


Dr Lucy Burns: (23:58) Wonderful! Well, lovely listeners, how inspiring was Louise's story! I would just like to recap that seriously if you do think that you've done it all and then it's come back on again, it's never too late to start again. The doors for the 12 week Mind Body Rebalance close this Friday at midnight, and the link for the sign-up is in our show notes. Have the most wonderful, wonderful day and we will see you next week. Bye for now.


Dr Lucy Burns: (24:32)  So my lovely listeners that ends this episode of Real Health and Weight Loss. I'm Dr. Lucy Burns,


Dr Mary Barson: (24:39) and I'm Dr. Mary Barson. We’re from Real Life Medicine. To contact us, please visit https//www.rlmedicine.com


Dr Lucy Burns: (24:50) And until next time, thanks for listening. 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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