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Episode 196:
Show Notes 


In Episode 196 of the Real Health and Weight Loss podcast, hosts Dr Mary Barson and Dr Lucy Burns delve into the topic of navigating Easter celebrations while maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Acknowledging the social pressures and abundance of sugary treats during Easter, they provide practical tips and strategies for making mindful food choices and staying on track with health goals.

Navigating Easter: Dr Mary and Dr Lucy acknowledge the challenges that Easter presents, including social expectations to indulge in sugary treats like hot cross buns and chocolate eggs.

Mindful Eating: They emphasise the significance of being mindful of food choices during Easter celebrations, particularly for those who are new to their health journey or following a low-carb diet.

Planning Ahead: The hosts encourage listeners to plan ahead by eating balanced meals before Easter gatherings and bringing their own low-carb options to ensure they have suitable choices available.

Reframing Indulgences: Instead of viewing Easter as a time to overindulge, Dr Mary and Dr Lucy suggest reframing it as an opportunity to enjoy special treats in moderation while staying mindful of overall health goals.

Fluffy: Dr Mary and Dr Lucy describe "Fluffy" as the carb-craving monster that awakens when individuals consume sugar or highly processed carbohydrates. Fluffy's three heads symbolise the intensified cravings that emerge after consuming these foods.

Self-Reflection: They discuss the importance of self-reflection and learning from any slip-ups or lapses in dietary choices, emphasising the role of self-compassion in making positive changes.

Returning to Routine: After Easter, they recommend returning to a balanced eating routine, focusing on nourishing meals and staying consistent with healthy habits to overcome any temporary setbacks.

Dr Mary and Dr Lucy remind listeners that Easter can be navigated successfully with mindful planning, self-reflection, and a compassionate approach to self-care. By implementing these strategies, individuals can enjoy the festivities while staying true to their health journey and long-term well-being.

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Episode 196: 


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

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

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

Dr Mary Barson (0:23) Hello lovely friend, Dr Mary here and I am joined by the fabulous blonde, Dr Lucy, my lovely lovely colleague. How are you today, gorgeous one?

Dr Lucy Burns (0:32)  I'm very well thanks, Miss. Very well gearing up for Easter. Looking forward to a few days away. I hear you're off camping.

Dr Mary Barson  (0:40)  I have, yes. That's kind of what Easter means to me. I know that it's a religious festival for many people and that's fabulous. In our family it means yep, a trip away, going to go camping in Gippsland, which will be good fun.

Dr Lucy Burns (0:56)  Beautiful, beautiful, always good to get out with a bit of nature and decompress and if you can, what's the word - unplug - that's the word when you have a little bit of time away from social media in particular. 

Dr Mary Barson  (1:13)  Yes, it's very good for your brain.

Dr Lucy Burns (1:16)  So I thought we'd talk this week about Easter because I know, you know, people get worried about it and particularly if people are perhaps newly on their journey, is that a word newly, if they're newcomers to particularly their low carb real food journey, or they've sort of, you know, reached that point where they've decided to do something about their health and maybe you know, they've only started a couple of weeks ago and I guess for some of those people, there will be people who are in our 12 Week Mind Body Rebalance. And you know, they started their journey mid-February, so it's not that long into it and Easter can feel like a gigantic mountain to climb. 

Dr Mary Barson  (1:59)  It can be a gigantic high-carb mountain of hot cross buns and easter eggs and expectations to indulge in large quantities of sugar and starch and a whole lot of social pressure to do that as well with lots of shiny chocolate Easter eggs and chocolate bunnies gazing at you every time you go to the supermarket smelling toasted hot cross buns at work all the time. Yes, it can be a tricky time to navigate. Indeed.

Dr Lucy Burns (2:33)  Yeah, it's interesting. It can be but I don't find it tricky anymore, which is not to sort of toot my own trumpet, although maybe I will, I used to. So Easter used to be and again, this is probably because I was a sort of a sugar addict. It was like, a socially acceptable time to scuff yourself. So it was socially acceptable to eat piles of chocolate. So I was able to do it without going– Oh, good, I do this every day but now I can get away with it, which was sort of my mindset was like, yeah, it's alright though because everyone else is doing it. So I don't need to worry.

Dr Mary Barson  (3:09)  I used to find it so I could not regulate chocolate in particular milk chocolate or white chocolate. Absolutely, I'd scarf lots of it. I had strange strange notions about Easter. Many years ago, my eldest daughter was a toddler and despite my best efforts, she just got a stupid amount of chocolate and just continues to get a stupid amount of chocolate from my extended family and I took it off here thinking I don't want my child to eat this, but they didn't throw it out either and I just over the next few weeks just ate this enormous amount of chocolate and really did my health a disservice but it seemed a perfectly reasonable thing to do. So I now do not find Easter particularly difficult. I can understand though, the allure of those Easter foods, the allure of well, this is a day to indulge. The allure of this is a day just to have a big blow-up. It's Easter, it's fine, it's Easter, and it can be even socially unacceptable to not indulge in large quantities of starchy and sugary foods at Easter, which is tricky for a lot of people. It's navigatable but it needs to have a plan and you know we are up against it. The marketing juggernauts have taken hold of these religious festivals and have turned them into you know processed food nirvana.

Dr Lucy Burns (4:37)  Yeah in fact you’re absolutely right. It is a processed food festival. So it's the PFF. So, the humble in this case not so humble hot cross bun which is like you know, the ultimate in-process food these days because whilst the hot cross bun again didn't have humble beginnings is now one of the main players in supermarkets and the hot cross bun is not innocent. Like it's not an innocent bystander, it is highly processed and the thing that is tricky about it for us mere mortals to navigate is that the toasting of it, you know, presents an aroma. But the softness of these buns like these aren't hard, hard things to chew. They're easy, they're so soft, that you can move them down really quickly like they don't need any chewing, you can almost just inhale them. And when you look at the list of eleventy billion ingredients, that's the reason they're considered what is ultra-processed food. So ultra-processed food is food that uses a number of ingredients for which you are unlikely to find in your kitchen cupboard. So it was funny, I was having a little chat with one of my very sassy kids who was saying –Oh, well, you know, it's sort of when there's more than five ingredients. So she goes what so and she holds up some salad that's got five things in it. Okay. No, not those five, five ingredients that are you know, things like wheat starch is an ingredient or maltodextrin is an ingredient, or soy lecithin as an ingredient, none of those actually ingredients, whereas this salad.

Dr Mary Barson  (6:31)  That's right. That's right.

Dr Lucy Burns (6:35)  Sassy pants. Five things in it.

Dr Mary Barson  (6:40)  I get particularly concerned when the nutritional panel degrades into just numbers as well. They're not even telling you what they are. They're just sort of got the numbers of the sweetener or the additive with preservatives.

Dr Lucy Burns (6:50)  Yeah, yes. Yes. Sweetness 965. Yeah, absolutely and the colour, the colours that are listed. Yeah, you're absolutely right. So now again, as you know, you guys are all the bosses of you. So you can do whatever you want. No, I'm done makes no difference to me what you choose to do on Easter zero difference at all, makes no difference to Dr Mary, what you do on Easter zero difference. What you need to decide and I think what is helpful is to think about a plan that you're happy with. So that at the end of Easter, you decide that you know what, I'm happy with this plan and I'm glad I did it. And you know, again, one of our big things that Real Life Medicine is we have a little saying we want people to wake up with no regrets. So if you choose to have easter eggs on Easter Sunday, you're the boss of you do whatever you want. If you choose not to have easter eggs on Sunday and you might want to have a little plan on how you're going to navigate that. Because, you know locking yourself in the wardrobe isn't a good plan.

Dr Mary Barson  (7:51)  Probably not. No, while everyone's running around during the Easter egg hunt. That's it. Yes.

Dr Lucy Burns (7:58)  Or you may decide to sort of go middle of the road and have something that perhaps he wouldn't have ordinarily, but not necessarily go out and eat eleventy billion hot cross buns and two kilos of easter eggs.

Dr Mary Barson  (8:09)  Yes, yeah. All right. So lovely Lucy, let's say that I am someone who finds it ordinarily pretty difficult to say no to some milk chocolate. Maybe I'm pretty new to my low-carb journey or, you know, maybe I'm someone who normally strongly controls my environment so that there's this food that's hard for me to regulate isn't around and then I'm off to, you know my auntie Solmaz place and there are just easter eggs everywhere. There are children hyped up on sugar running around everywhere, people have thrusting easter eggs in my face saying here eats and what do you mean, you're not going to eat it? It's Easter have some Easter eggs, and have some hot cross buns. What could be some ideas for me to formulate my plan to navigate that? 

Dr Lucy Burns (8:59)  Yeah, absolutely. So there are lots of ways. So the first thing I would always say to people is, and I used to do this in diet land, I would save up my calories for an occasion like this. So I would rock up to someone's house starving. I cannot tell you the number of 21st birthdays I went to, where I hadn't eaten all day, because I was saving my calories for that night. So I always think it's much easier to make healthful or helpful decisions if you're not starving. So it doesn't mean you have to go and eat all your food before you go and therefore you don't need anything. But going somewhere not hungry means that you're basing then your decision on emotional rather than physiological needs. So that's the first thing again, you can choose to do that or not do that. 

Dr Mary Barson  (9:50)  So be like having brekkie with some protein in it. For example. 

Dr Lucy Burns (9:53)  Yeah, yeah, yeah. So on the day if you're going out for Easter lunch, well then that morning, maybe you have a couple of scrambled eggs. So Three scrambled eggs or something like that, because maybe you don't normally eat brekkie. But you'd have your three eggs and I can tell you pretty full going there, again still means that you can have some food, you don't need to be sitting in the corner not eating, but you're not as likely to then wolf down everything in sight. The second thing you can do is take something that is suitable for you. So you know, there's, again, there's millions of fantastic low-carb foods. So again, if you know you can make low-carb salads, you can make incredible curries as buckets of things. But if it's desserts are sort of Eastery things, then one of the options is to make and I'm going to do this on the cooking show, which will come out actually the same time as this. So there's interesting on my cooking show. So today, I'm going to make some chocolates called Chocolate Barck. And look, you know, the short version is that you melt some dark chocolate, and you stir some slivered almonds through it and some freeze-dried raspberries and then you let it cool and then you break it up. And uh, you know, how fancy is that, like, so fancy. And you have that and that, you know, again, it's not something I eat every day. But that to me would be like– wow, that's fancy, it's pretty easy to regulate. And honestly, even if you did eat the whole lot, there's way less sugar in 100 grams of that than in 100 grams of Cadbury milk chocolate. 

Dr Mary Barson  (11:31)  Love it. Yep, turn up without being hungry. Bring your own food. And it could bring your own fancy, lovely, low carb to 30 foods if you want to. This is great. What if, for whatever reason, I know, this is against this fictional Mary, it's not really something I imagined that I would do. But I just would get overwhelmed. You know, something, there's an emotional, my ex-boyfriend turns up and at this party and I wasn't expecting to see him and then I just, you know, I'm embarrassed and awkward and then decide that a good way to soothe these really uncomfortable feelings would be to eat a whole lot of caramilk easter eggs. And so I had these great intentions but Easter came along and I wasn't able to follow through with my great intentions. Hopefully, that wouldn't happen with a good plan and good mindset skills. But what would you say to someone who's perhaps had a bit of what they might call a blowout, an unplanned blowout? 

Dr Lucy Burns (12:33) Yeah. So fictional Mary's hit a pothole in the road, good health and I've entered her vehicle. So I mean, this can happen to anybody and it does happen to anybody. And so, you know, we have a framework for everything when you hit potholes, and we use the framework of the SLC. So SLC stands for Slip Lapse or Creep. So a slip is when a bit like that so you've had, you know, you weren't planning to go off your plan, but for some reason, you've had a slip and you've made a decision that you weren't planning to make and you ate a block of caramilk. A lapse is when you actually decide it's Easter, I'm going to eat, I'm going to have a block of caramilk I dont care it’s fine. And creep as much more subtle. So creep is where you're going along really well and you just over time, start to introduce something. So it might be that you have a gin and tonic on a Friday night. Then you might have the gin and tonic on a Friday and a Saturday night. Then suddenly you're going the weekend starts on a Thursday and finishes on a Sunday. And so the you know, there's just been some bracket creep. So that's SLC and we treat all of these with another SLC, which is always self-reflection, learning and you do it with compassion. The thing that we are not taught to do in general is self-reflect because it feels painful and we usually what we want to do is just bury it in a hole because we're full of shame for making this you know, gigantic one mistake and everyone will brush it off and go oh, never mind, tomorrow's another day start again. And in fact, you don't get to examine anything about it. So I think you can certainly employ the SLC. But practically, what we also recommend is following the day after a bit of a vendor is that you go back to your basics of three meals a day, using the framework, the real food framework, protein veggies, fat and flavour because we want again, people who have heard this before we'll know who we're talking about when we talk about Fluffy, Fluffy will be out. So Miss, would you like to explain to perhaps some of our newer listeners who who Fluffy is. 

Dr Mary Barson  (15:01)  Yes interstage left, hello Fluffy. So Fluffy is the name we give to the carb-craving creature the carbohydrate, sugar starch-craving monster that exists inside our heads. We've all got one to a certain extent because there are certain circumstances which we will physiologically want to crave carbohydrates, it's just part of being a human. And if you are going along well with your low-carb, real food, one of the most amazing, beautiful things is those carb cravings or sugar cravings they just go away, they just quieten down that little mental chatter of you know, eat the biscuits, eat the biscuits, eat the biscuits, it just goes away. It's lovely. It's freeing, it's so calm, it's so wonderful. One thing that can happen though, is if you do have a bit of sugar or some carbs is that Fluffy can start to awaken and we imagined Fluffy as like the three-headed Cerberus from the Harry Potter franchise. So you know, it's the three-headed dog that Harry Potter, it's guarding the Philosopher's Stone in Greek mythology it's guarding the gates to Hades, and it's asleep. When you're doing you're just you're on a low-carb, real food. You're metabolically healthy Fluffy to sleeping little music is playing all three heads of snoozing away, it's so lovely and calm, eat a little bit sugar a little bit of you know, highly processed starchy foods and then one head wakes up one head of Fluffy is waking up and starts sniffing around wanting more carbs, wanting more carbs and physiologically there is a real biochemical hormonal reason why this happens. Then you might need a bit more than two heads or wake up have a bit more than you've got all three heads of Fluffy is waking up raging around your brain saying feed me, feed me and Fluffy doesn't want the lovely, you know, high protein meal Fluffy wants the sugar and the chips and the starch and the processed foods and it can be pretty uncomfy having these carb craving Fluffy raging around your brain. But you know, fictional Mary who ate all the caramel chocolate to see you know, does she emotionally ate those. One thing that has happened to this fictional Mary is that Fluffy has awoken. And that's okay, as long as you understand what's going on, and you have a few tips and tricks about how you can put that Fluffy back to sleep again.

Dr Lucy Burns (17:23)  Yeah. So I think for again, you know, all your queens out there who've done dieting, you will know that the antidote to overeating is undereating the next day, I say that's rubbish. Because what happens is if you undereat the next day, again, you've got Fluffy awake, he's very, very convincing. And so you're you'll wake up and you'll go– Oh my God, I feel sick. I'm not going to eat today, I'm just going to have a rest. And then you get to tea time and you've polishing off as past Mary has done polishing off on Mirabel's easter eggs. It is way better to go–Alright okay, we do need to put Fluffy back to sleep. He is quieter. When I'm not hungry. He is quieter. When I'm eating protein when I eat my framework of protein, fat veggies, he is quieter. He may not be asleep yet, but he's quieter. So if he's quieter, then I can deal with him, you know, pestering perhaps. And instead of barking like a furious dog, it sort of goes from a bark to a bit of a whimper. And then it doesn't take long a day, two days, maybe three at the most, and he's back asleep and you're going– Oh my God, all that chat, that food chatter it stopped huzzah. 

Dr Mary Barson  (18:43)  And I think that is important to know that it's pretty time-limited. So if you do have a blowout in inverted commas, and the carb cravings come back, it's not like you're back to you know, being in the absolute throes of sugar addiction, carbohydrate addiction, it will go Fluffy will go back to sleep quickly. If you nourish yourself, well just nourish yourself really well and thoughtfully in the few days afterwards.

Dr Lucy Burns (19:06)  Yeah, absolutely. And again, once then, then you get to do the self-reflection. Because it may not be Easter for another year but there will be another occasion where it's a gathering of people or there's some other, you know, a situation where you make a decision that you then wish you didn't make. And so what you get to do when you reflect on this is you get to know yourself. And when you know yourself well, that's when you can make decisions you're happy with because you understand yourself. And you understand yourself in such a beautiful, knowing way, not a berated, you know, hangdog kind of I-don't want-to-know-myself way.

Dr Mary Barson  (19:52)  To become your own friend with self-compassion and self-kindness and understand, you know what's harder for you what's easier for you and you get better at getting better, you get better at getting on track, you get better at staying on the plan, you just get better with practice. It spirals up and up and up and up.

Dr Lucy Burns (20:11)  Yeah, absolutely, you become more consistent. And I think this is the thing that people do need to recognise that so many people get worried they've been, you know, doing their low carb for a while, and then you know, they hit the pothole, and then they can't believe it. I can't believe it. I promised myself this would never happen. I can't believe I've done it. Believe it, it's gonna happen and what we want to do is go– okay, well, we make a plan for it, we get back on our path. And we just keep going and, you know, thinking about the things that led to that decision, because then next time, we might be able to make a different one.

Dr Mary Barson  (20:47)  Yes. health and weight loss it's a self-development journey, and it's beautiful.

Dr Lucy Burns (20:53)  Absolutely. And lovelies, you know, just don't have to be perfect, does have to be consistent.

Dr Mary Barson  (21:01)  Happy Easter, everybody. 

Dr Lucy Burns (21:04)  Oh, yes and with that, it's time for us to bid you farewell. And we will see you next week. 

Dr Mary Barson  (21:09) See you later. 

Dr Lucy Burns (21:10) Bye for now. 

Dr Lucy Burns: (21:14) 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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