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Episode 202:
Show Notes 


In this episode of the Real Health and Weight Loss podcast, Dr Mary Barson is joined by Judy McKay, who shares her inspiring journey of reclaiming her health and losing weight as an older woman. Judy's story is a testament to the power of resilience, self-discovery, and the importance of addressing both physical and mental health in achieving lasting well-being.

Judy's Journey:
Judy recounts her lifelong struggle with weight, beginning in her youth and persisting through various career paths and life changes. Despite feeling like an imposter and battling feelings of shame and lack of confidence, Judy continued to pursue her passions, eventually retiring after a long career in the tertiary sector.

Health Awakening:
After retiring, Judy realised the need to take control of her weight for her health and well-being. Discovering low-carb eating through resources like Diet Doctor, she embarked on a journey of physical and mental transformation. However, she found that the real challenge lay in addressing the psychological and emotional aspects of her relationship with food.

Community Support and Mindset Shift:
Although Judy initially found support in online communities, she struggled when those communities dissolved. Finding a supportive community with Real Life Medicine, she underwent a mindset shift, focusing less on the number on the scale and more on self-acceptance and positive self-talk through the 12 Week Mind Body Rebalance program.

Physical Transformation and Advice for Others:
Through her lifestyle changes, including weight loss, increased physical activity, and reduced arthritis pain, Judy experienced significant improvements in her physical health. She encourages others to start by honestly assessing their physical and emotional well-being, setting achievable goals, and celebrating progress along the way.

Judy's Recommendation:
Judy strongly recommends joining the 12 Week Mind Body Rebalance program offered by Real Life Medicine, as well as adopting a low-carb lifestyle. She emphasises the importance of community support, mindset work, and personalised guidance in achieving long-term health and weight loss goals.

Judy's story serves as an inspiration to individuals of all ages who may be struggling with weight and health issues. Her journey highlights the importance of resilience, self-discovery, and finding supportive communities in achieving lasting well-being. As Judy continues on her path of self-improvement and empowerment, she reminds us that it's never too late to prioritise our health and reclaim our lives.

Join the waitlist for the 12 Week Mind Body Rebalance and snaffle up extra bonuses when you sign up:

For more information about Real Life Medicine and our programs and special offers:

Episode 202: 


Dr Mary Barson (0:04) Hello, my lovely friends. I am Dr Mary Barson.

Dr Lucy Burns (0:09) And I'm Dr Lucy Burns. We are doctors and weight management and metabolic health experts.

Both (0:16) And this is the Real Health and Weight Loss podcast!

Dr Mary Barson (0:23) Hello lovely friends, Dr Mary here and today I am joined by a very special guest, we have got the wonderful Judy McKay here with us, who is currently doing our 12 Week Mind Body Rebalance, and has an amazing story to tell. Judy describes herself as an “older woman”, and has here to share a story in her own words about how it's never too late to lose weight and to reclaim your health. Thank you so much for joining us today, Judy, how are you?

Judy McKay (0:56)  I'm very well, I'm very very well and delighted to be here, to be able to share my story and hopefully help other people.

Dr Mary Barson (1:07)  Wonderful! So tell us a bit about your health journey, the problems that you faced, and how you've learned to overcome them. 

Judy McKay (1:18)  Mary, I was conscious at a very early age that I was overweight, I was fat. My nickname in the family was put in and it was very friendly and not said in a nasty way, I don't think, but it was something that I became very conscious of. And particularly when I went off to high school, I think a lot of girls were getting very aware of their bodies and we were all subjected to all the imagery that is around us as to how you're supposed to look and how you're supposed to be. I felt like I was really large even in high school. What shocks me now is when I look back at some of the photographs, I was probably slightly overweight, but I certainly wasn't huge and yet I felt it. And it got worse and worse and worse and I think by the time I finished uni and went off to work, I lacked confidence in my own abilities. I certainly felt terrible about my body, very ashamed of the way I was and I was a very shy person so this just compounded everything. I also was the sort of person who had no idea what sort of career I wanted to pursue. This was sort of the early 70s by now and it was you know, Germaine Greer was my hero. And I thought I had to have a career but I just didn't know what are you. And after graduating, my first job actually was at what was called the Commonwealth Rehabilitation Center, where I was assessing people to see who had really horrific injuries often in the workplace, to see whether or not they were suitable to go into clerical administer administrative sort of jobs. And I was there I enjoyed it, I learned a lot, and it was way out of my comfort zone in many respects. I then decided to travel to England. The best job I had in my life was managing a bookshop in beautiful leafy Richmond on the outskirts of London and I could sort of indulge my passion to read when I wasn't, you know, serving customers and ordering stuff. I came back to Australia after a couple of years and fell into teaching English as a second language because I've done a degree in linguistics. I pursued that for a long time. I love the experience of working with new migrants to this country. You know, it was very, very enriching to hear their stories. But I also didn't feel like it was taking me anyway. So in the early 1990s, I went back to study and I did a business degree specialising in Information Systems Management. And I was offered a place in the PhD program after I did my PhD and off we went. But all the time, I felt like an imposter. I thought, I don't know any of this stuff. I'm not good with technology. I'm too fat to be any use, you know. And those sorts of feelings just crippled me and crippled me throughout my life, I have to say. And let's fast forward I retired, I think about 2018, after 28 odd years in the tertiary sector, getting more and more disillusioned with, you know, what was the corporatisation of universities. And I remember, when I retired, I sort of slept for about three months, I was just exhausted. I think I'd been in a very stressful job. I think I had no idea. I was so tired and I was sitting outside one day wrapped up in a quilt, having a cup of coffee. And I thought, what is it that's troubling me? And how do I move myself forward? Because this is, you know, I don't want to spend my retirement asleep. And I sort of thought of, of all these things and basically, I thought, the only one that I have control over is my weight. I can do something about this. And I sort of started Googling and found low carb. And I sort of thought, Okay, what the hell is a carb and so I sort of started muddling around and trying to find a few recipes. But in the process, I discovered Diet Doctor and I was a bit cynical, I thought, Diet Doctor, you know, I don't like the sound of this. Actually, they said, two weeks free trial, no credit cards needed, we'll give you all the recipes, we'll give you a little bit of information, and see how you go. Well day two, I signed up because I thought this food was fantastic and I think I lost about 64 kilos over the period of two years. It was great. The recipes were fantastic. But once you get the idea of eating low carb, it wasn't the recipes that mattered and what I think I really benefited from was a very supportive Facebook group. Very supportive, very positive. And, you know, we used to talk about all sorts of things, a lot of them had nothing to do with weight or health, but it was fun. Then Diet Doctor decided they were closing down the Facebook group, and they were going to create their own community inside their website, which they did, but it never quite worked all that well. And then they said, Well, we're closing a community down and I have to say I felt a rift because all these people that I chatted to for two or three years, and we'd always said if I ever get to Germany, and let's meet up and have a coffee and this sort of stuff. They were gone. And so I started thinking, I need a community and I tried joining another group in America, but it was primarily cooking and although I don't really want to have 58 recipes for how to celebrate Thanksgiving, you know, I don't need, you know, 10 recipes for Christmas. So I started really looking for something else. And I have to say about that time, I realised it wasn't so much my eating. That was the problem. It was my head and I think that this is a really important side of it. Yes, I've always been reading, you know, during the journey, I've been reading a lot about nutrition about keto, low-carb diets. But what I was really needing was work on my head, the inner voices that were constantly saying, You're not good enough, you know, you're not worthy, you'll never be able to lose weight. And I should say that when I got down and when I lost that weight originally, I thought this is just I'm done, you know, I'm finished. I'm on top of Mount Everest and about then Diet Doctor said to us, we don't think you're eating enough protein. We've been looking at the literature and there's a lot of evidence that particularly older women need more protein. So they said, you know, why not try a higher protein version? Well, I did. And almost immediately I started feeling hungry again. And everybody was saying oh yes, we all did. Don't worry, it goes away after a couple of weeks. Well, mine didn't and here am I standing at the top of Mount Everest looking down and thinking this is a very steep hill and I can feel myself sliding down the hill a bit. I was sort of nervous and there was a very quiet panic started, you know after I put on a couple of kilos wondering –ah this is the end of it. So, you know, I wasn't happy with the group, you know, the American group and I started thinking I needed a group in Australia. They're talking about foods that are accessible in my local supermarkets. I need a group that's going to help me deal with a lot of the psychological and emotional aspects of eating. I read Chris Van Pelican’s book on ultra-processed people, and I thought –Oh, Lord, what are we doing to ourselves? But I also started realising that a lot of these sorts of protein shakes and egg white powders and this that and the other were, in fact, processed. And I actually contemplated sending myself emails saying –Look, are all the protein structures affected by turning them into powders and so on? 

Judy McKay (10:42)  But anyway, it was around them, that I came across Real Life Medicine and I think you were advertising a 7 Day Sugar Reset sometime last December. And I thought –Okay, let's see what happens because you seem to me to be talking a lot about emotional issues, which was really, really important to me, did the 7 Day Reset. And I thought, Okay, this is, I think, really promising. I'm going to join. So this is the 12 Week Reset and this has been very interesting. 12 weeks for me, I found it quite tough, you know, the pace is, there's a lot of material and help and resources provided. But what I realised is that I've got to stop fixating on what I weigh, and start focusing a lot more on what I'm saying to myself, all day long. And in that regard, I think the activities we've done in the coaching sessions, the meditations, the hypnosis, I think are just fantastic. And that's what I think has helped me so much. So here we are getting to the end, of course, yes, my weight has gone down a little bit. But I think what I now feel is confident and empowered that I can keep going that I can stop bashing myself up, and that I can view success differently. And I'm in an age when you start getting seriously worried about dementia, Alzheimer's, and all these things that are coming up on you. An amateur opinion is that when we talk about dementia as being type three diabetes, there's something in that I think there's increasing evidence coming up that diet is quite implicated in some of these sorts of neurodegenerative diseases around the place. And so I'm determined I need to stay strong, I need to stay upright, I need to stay healthy. If I want to avoid, you know, a nasty, old day.

Dr Mary Barson (13:12)  I love that is such a powerful story and your words, beautiful Judy, you've described yourself as an older woman and you mentioned before that, you know, it's never too late. That's like a message that you want to get out there. Could you tell us a little bit more about hond low carb, you found a supportive community, and then that supportive community went away. And then you found another supportive community here with Real Life Medicine. You've gone through this mindset change through the 12 Week Mind Body Rebalance you're feeling now, you know, you've done so well, you found and can you describe how you are feeling now both mentally and physically? Like now compared to when you started, you know, a few months ago, what's been that change for you? 

Judy McKay (14:00)  Will physically I feel great. I'm now averaging about 14,000 steps a day, I know these metrics are sort of a bit rubbery, but I'm walking a lot. I do aqua aerobics. I have joined an online over 55 exercise program and I love the fact that I'm stronger. I'm lucky to live on acreage up in the Macedon Ranges and you know the the nightmare of brush cutting you know I've got a creek that runs through and brush cutting that keeping it sort of relatively snake free or and I used to really struggle to do it. In fact, I usually paid someone else to now I'm out there with the brush cutter and flying through it and you know that's a really, really great feeling. But the mental side is what I'm noticing. It's a funny thing to say this because I've only once not fallen asleep during the hypnosis, the meditations, which, but so to say, I feel like they're really helping me, it's kind of odd if I, you know, haven't actually been present when they well awake while they're playing.

Dr Mary Barson (15:18)  Yeah, the medical hypnoses that are included in all our programs are a really powerful mindset tool and they absolutely do work if you fall asleep while listening to them. Indeed, that's a lovely way to help people fall asleep. And they still definitely work, even if you're asleep. 

Judy McKay (15:40)  For example I always remember the day when I walked into the kitchen, and I was thinking, you know, it's kind of, you know, snack time, what's in the fridge? And then I suddenly thought, no, no, I actually am not hungry. So let's go and do something else not eat. And I remember sitting there thinking –Oh, my god, yeah, it's the first time I think I've ever said to myself, I'm not hungry and that was, you know, kind of, if I could do backflips, I would have been a couple of backflips, you know, it was a really big moment. 

Dr Mary Barson (16:16)  It is an extraordinary part of metabolic healing with real food that the feeling of constant hunger just goes away. And you know, your hunger signals are just normalised. It's so freeing, I can remember are very similar experience that I've had myself. And we hear that all the time with our beautiful people.

Judy McKay (16:38)  One of the things that's happened is that I have realised, society kind of tells us to eat at certain times and I obviously think that's really unhelpful because I've come to the conclusion that I've got to wait when I'm hungry and not because it's breakfast time, or lunchtime, or, or dinner time. And, you know, I think when I was working, that would have been harder, because, you know, your life is sort of organised around the fact that you'll eat lunch somewhere around 12, one o'clock, and, you know, the whole organisation sort of operates along those lines. And yet, if you're not hungry, I would really challenge you should be eating at all. In the early days, when I'd been losing weight, I'd been meticulous about planning out a week's menu and shopping to that meal plan. So I always knew that if you know, I had down here, spaghetti bolognese or something for dinner, I had the stuff in the fridge. And I've actually stopped doing that and that's for me dangerous because that's when you open the fridge door and then go what do I have? Well, I might just have a bit of this. And if I start gracing, then I graze for hours until it's dinnertime, for example. So I think I went back to planning meals and knowing that when I did feel hungry around lunchtime, the stuff was in the fridge, it was either already cooked and just needed reheating or at least it was there. And that for me was also I think helped me get a handle on snacking because I'm a great snacker. It was um, the reason I was laughing about my sweatshirt sprinkles positivity, I think it was, that you and Lucy are relentlessly positive, and I mean that in an absolutely complimentary way throughout all your interactions with us, 

Dr Mary Barson (18:43)  Dr Lucy and I are very positive and I can see your shirt. I love it, it says sprinkle positivity, it's really fantastic. We really are very positive for an important reason. It's not just our personalities, but being able to love yourself and learning to love and accept yourself just as you are is a really important part of health and weight loss and not only does it make your life better, but it also quite literally helps you get well faster and lose the weight faster.

Judy McKay (19:16)  I think during the 7 Day Reset I said at the end of it I felt a little bit uncomfortable when you were saying gorgeous people and lovely Judy and you know and it was kind of a bit like a cat where you're brushing the fur up the wrong way. You know those little voices saying I'm not gorgeous you know, I'm obese, you know, I'm all and all this sort of stuff. And I've come to realise actually it's much more like stroking the cat sphere in the right direction that we are lovely people. We are okay and we have to accept ourselves as okay. But I also think we've got a responsibility to actually eat well. So it's impossible for me to know whether, you know, eating well has helped my mood, which I think it has. Also, the inputs from the program, the 12 week program have, I think, also helped me to get my brain in better shape. I regard myself as a work in progress. I don't think I will probably ever be able to say, that's me done, you know, I'm fixed. I never need to sort of think about this anymore. But I at least feel I have a much better apparatus in place a structure that I can fall back on, if I feel like things are starting to slide in some way. And that, for me, is huge, is really huge.

Dr Mary Barson (20:54)  And I think it's both. Absolutely it's the food and nourishing your body well, as well as the mindset skills and the hypnosis, which completely work if you fall asleep, by the way, that definitely still works really well. Yeah. I love that you said you're a work in progress because I think that we are all a work in progress and I love what you said about that right now, you're okay, all of us are perfect, just as we are, and lovable and worthy and we can still work on improving our health.

Judy McKay (21:31)  Yeah, absolutely. So my blood pressure is not problematic and it was, you know, my arthritis, the pain has decreased enormously, it's unbelievable. And of course, getting that pain under control enabled me to do a lot more exercise and so on. So I think, you know, the benefits have been huge. But if I never lose another gram and basically stay where I am, that's okay. It's fine and life is good, you know, life has changed. 

Dr Mary Barson (22:10)  What would you say out there to women who are perhaps worried about their health as they are getting older? People who perhaps feel, you know, despondent and traumatised about their weight and their health, as you did? What advice, you're an absolute legend, what you have done for your health, what advice would you give those women out there? And they who are listening, they really do listen to this podcast.

Judy McKay (22:37)  I'd say to them, look, I believe you really can change your life. I regard low carb as a way of living, not a way of eating and I think the change is uncomfortable for a lot of people. It certainly was for me, initially, it was very uncomfortable. They talked about abstainers or moderators, I cannot have stuff in the house and not eat it. So if there's nuts in the cupboards, I'm there. I'm just like a proverbial squirrel, I eat them. If I buy a bar of chocolate, you know, 85% chocolate, say, Oh, this is okay, I will eat the whole lot. First of all, you got to really be honest and say to yourself, do I need to abstain from certain things? Or can I manage to eat them moderately? Now I'm lucky I was on my own when I did it. I just came out of a long relationship and so I didn't have to worry about kids or partners or anybody else, you know, perhaps not wanting to do the same thing. But I also think is really easy to actually base your meal around low carb and perhaps cook one side for people who want or won't eat low carb. You can do it and I'd say to people never give up on yourself and think there's nothing that I can do about my weight, about my health. You can and there are people who have had sort of worse health problems than I did who have actually made remarkable changes. I was lucky not to be diabetic, I guess. But how good would it be for everybody who's diabetic out there if they could reverse or at least get much better control over their type two diabetes? We know now that we can, you know, and I get very upset with people who are critical of what I'm doing, I think sort of the green jealous man sort of sit start sitting on people's shoulder when they see that you're healthy and you've lost weight and you're sort of bursting with enthusiasm for life

Dr Mary Barson (25:15)  And brush cutting your own rady grass. 

Judy McKay (25:19)  And you're doing all these, all these things that I'd never thought were possible. I mean, let's be honest. So I think sometimes there's a jealous reaction around others. I think you can only do so much to help people. But they've actually got to be the ones that do the hard yards to change.

Dr Mary Barson (25:40)  Yeah, you can't control other people. 

Judy McKay (25:44)  No, you cannot, you cannot and the other thing I would say to older women is do not go shopping in a supermarket when you're hungry.

Dr Mary Barson (25:51)  Love that advice.

Judy McKay (25:54)  Don't ever do it and they always say stick to the perimeter of a supermarket, where you know, the fresh meats and fruits and seafood. But for God's sake, stop when you get to that wall of ice cream and fish fingers and chromed this and, you know, piles and everything else don't go to that bin. But yes, stick to the perimeters and I think the other thing I've learned is don't eat in the car, you've really got to stop eating in the car. Because it is amazing how much you can shove all down, you know, sitting at traffic lights and things like that.

Dr Mary Barson (26:32)  Thank you so much for sharing your journey, your wonderful inspiring story. Fantastic advice too. That’s some really, really some absolutely gold in there for your lived experience. I love the way that you have gone through this whole transformation of not just losing weight, but also improving your blood pressure, your arthritis your health really healthy on the inside, as well as your mindset and your self-acceptance and that you're just really strong. And that image of you brush cutting, you know, the long grass by the creeks on the nest and rageous is gonna stick with me. It's absolutely enchanting, and I love it. Yeah. Is there any final words you'd like to say as we wrap this up? Yeah. What would you say to people out there who are thinking about taking that first step towards healing their bodies? What would you say to people who may be on the fence about the 12 Week Mind Body Rebalance or are taking the plunge into you know, a low-carb, real food lifestyle? What would you say to them?

Judy McKay (27:40)  I would say to them, go and pick up a piece of paper and a pencil or a pen and start writing down how you feel physically, and emotionally, you don't have to show this piece of paper to anybody. So just be dead honest and put it all down in black and white. I drew a cognitive map, actually. And so I had all these things going off and it was even things like I don't want to see myself in a mirror looking really fat. I don't want to sit in an airplane, you know, feeling like I'm flowing over the sides of the seat and, you know, I don't want to be the one that's got to call the hostess along and say– Can I have an extension belt because I can't do the seat builder. All those sorts of things. I don't want to be really limited in my choice of clothing or, and so I mean, those are the sorts of things I was writing down you know, all these things that I hated about myself and about being overweight. I'd say to people, you know, think of the physical things have you got pain? You know, do any of your joints hurt or do your knees hurt? If you have to get down on the floor, is this a sort of a nightmare scenario where–how the hell am I going to get back up again, I have a robotic vacuum cleaner that always stops under my king-sized bed. It is right in the middle. I have to get down on my hands and knees to hold this wretched thing out and that used to be a nightmare. It was you know, a big pillow under each knee and you know or you know, what can I hold on to to get up? I don't find it that difficult anymore. So write it all down how you feel. Now if you're comfortable with how you feel sitting on the fence, so be it. But if you're not comfortable, then trust the process that you can firstly, get off a lot of prescription medications you're probably on so for example, I was on quite a high-powered prescription painkiller for my arthritis pain. That went, and I now take a couple of Panadol Osteo when I need to, but I'm not having to go to the doctor all the time to get repeat prescriptions. I'm all for blood pressure medications now and so I'd say to people, if you think about what you pay on medications, doctor's visits, all that sort of stuff, actually living low carb is not really that much more expensive. I don't think I think you end up eating less, you don't sort of get tempted to go into junk food takeaway sort of stuff. Yeah. So look at your list, look at what you look like, you know, look at what you feel like and see what it's stopping you from doing. Now, I don't have grandchildren, for example, but can you actually get down on your hands and knees and play with your grandchildren? You know, can you actually carry your own shopping out of the supermarket without needing the trolley to wheel it right to the boot of your car? I realised I did what you were talking about, I think last week when you talked about measuring backwards. Because when I'm on my way up Mount Mount Everest, you know, for sure I slipped I made mistakes, I went back on. But I always used to say look, okay, you've lost 25 kilos, one kilo, going back on is not the end of the world, you've actually achieved a huge amount. And I would always encourage you to set achievable goals. When I started at 133 kilos. I said to myself, I wonder if I could get to 120 kilos, quarterly do that. Wouldn't that be amazing to lose 13 kilos? And when I got there, I thought, I'm here. I've done it now, could I lose another 10 and get to 110? And I did. And then I thought, wow, could I get to 99 you don't have two digits, not three, and I did. So I never set myself a target of more than 10 kilos at a time. So do it in incremental bits and celebrate your achievements. 

Dr Mary Barson (32:36)  Thank you, Judy, so much for joining us today and sharing your powerful story about how, as an older woman, you have lost a significant amount of weight, reversed your high blood pressure, your arthritis and just got really strong so that you can carry your shopping and get your robot vacuum cleaner from under the bed and brush cut your own reedy grass to keep the snakes away. You are an absolute legend and your story is inspiring. And I love your message that it's never too late to lose weight. And you joined us initially with a 7 Day Sugar Free Reset that we ran last year. Well, we've got a new wonderful little challenge starting soon. The Blah to Huzzah - 5 Day Body Reset. It's completely free and you can join by going to our website, and join us for some fantastic courses, recipes, beautiful hypnosis, and everything to get started on your real health and weight loss journey. Thanks again Judy, you are an absolute star. 

Judy McKay (33:51)  Thanks, it's a real pleasure to to be able to share my experiences and I hope that you know if there's one other person out there, male or female, I'm not fussy, who is inspired to really sort of start seriously doing something about the hill. I would be thrilled to bits, you know. 

Dr Mary Barson (34:12)  Absolutely. I'm sure that you have touched many people today. Thank you so much. 

Judy McKay (34:17) Thanks, Mary.

Dr Lucy Burns (34:21)  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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