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Episode 193:
Show Notes 


In their discussion, Dr Lucy and Dr Mary delve into the complexities of toxic diet culture, shedding light on its multifaceted impact on individuals' physical and mental well-being. They highlight three key components of toxic diet culture:

  1. Thinness as a Measure of Worth
    Dr Lucy elucidates how society often equates thinness with beauty, success, and self-worth, perpetuating harmful stereotypes and unrealistic body standards. This narrow definition of beauty not only marginalises individuals who do not conform to these standards but also fosters a culture of body shaming and self-loathing.
  2. Calorie Restriction and Weight Loss
    The conversation touches upon the prevailing belief that weight loss can only be achieved through strict calorie restriction and monitoring. Dr Mary reflects on her past adherence to this ideology, emphasising its limitations and potential harm. She acknowledges the flawed nature of the calorie-centric approach, stressing the need for a more nuanced understanding of metabolism and hormonal regulation in the context of weight management.
  3. Promotion of Ultra-Processed Foods
    Dr Lucy underscores the pervasive influence of the diet industry, which often promotes ultra-processed foods marketed as "healthy" or "low-calorie" alternatives. She critiques the deceptive marketing tactics employed by these companies, which prioritise profit over genuine health outcomes. Such foods, laden with artificial additives and empty calories, contribute to nutritional deficiencies and undermine long-term health goals.

Furthermore, Dr Mary shares her personal journey of grappling with toxic diet culture, both as a victim and a survivor. As a medical professional, she acknowledges her past adherence to conventional weight loss methods and the subsequent realisation of their inadequacy. Her experience underscores the need for healthcare practitioners to adopt a more holistic approach to health, one that prioritises overall well-being over arbitrary weight loss targets.

In conclusion, Dr Lucy and Dr Mary advocate for a paradigm shift in our approach to health and body image. They call for the rejection of toxic diet culture in favour of a more compassionate and inclusive perspective—one that celebrates diversity promotes self-acceptance, and prioritises sustainable health practices. This entails moving away from rigid beauty standards and simplistic weight loss solutions towards a more nuanced understanding of individual health needs and aspirations.

Click here to check out Dr Lucy’s blog called Self Love and Whippets.

For more information about Real Life Medicine and our programs and special offers: www.rlmedicine.com

Episode 193: 


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. As International Women's Day is coming up, I am joined by the fabulous woman, Dr Lucy, how are you going, Dr Lucy?

Dr Lucy Burns (0:34)  I am super, Dr Miss, absolutely super! I have just returned back from a gorgeous trip to Rainbow Beach, which is one of my happy places and I think even the name Rainbow Beach sounds happy. I mean, I just think of that echo beach far away in time. And I feel heavy. And it's such a beautiful part of the world. We're so lucky to go there. So nope, I'm very, very good. What about you? 

Dr Mary Barson  (1:03)  I'm good I am slightly limiting the strange weather. So you know, I'm slightly jealous of you being going up to Rainbow Beach where the weather is warm, that would be lovely. But I'm good. And I'm thinking about all things. Women, as International Women's Day is coming up. It's coming up on March 8th, and this podcast will be released a couple of days before then. And there are so many things we could talk about with women's health. But I think a great topic to discuss is toxic diet culture, and what the toxic diet culture does to us, what it does to women, and how you know, we might not even really know that we are necessarily embroiled in it. But how to bring awareness to that and how to break up with toxic diet culture? 

Dr Lucy Burns (2:01)  Yes, absolutely. So I think the first thing is to think about, well, what is toxic diet culture? And I mean, we describe it at its essence, it's weight loss at any cost. So it doesn't matter what you do, as long as you lose weight, then that's good, apparently. So you can distil it down a bit further. And there are three sort of aspects that we talk quite a lot about that I think form diet culture. So the first thing is that your worth, as a human is solely determined by your weight, or what you look like. So your size, the size of your body, determines your worth, and as a woman, it had to be small. So you, the smaller you were, the thinner you were, the more diminutive you were, the more petite you were, the better you were. So that was, that's the first aspect and that's fine, slightly hijacked by the messaging that the thinner you are, the healthier you are. So there's sort of a little side issue there. The second aspect is that the only way to lose weight is to eat less food. So the only way to eat less food is to count your calories. So calorie counting, calorie restriction, meal plans, and portion sizes are all bathed in that. And I think we should talk a bit about the science around that. And then the third aspect is the introduction of ultra-processed food companies into diet land, with their health products, shakes, and bars, all designed to help you lose weight effortlessly with ease. And you know, again, we will talk further about that.

Dr Mary Barson  (3:54)  And I love how you described yourself. We have described yourself in the past as not a victim of diet culture, although you definitely were but a survivor. And I too am a survivor of toxic diet culture. And I do internally cringe when I think about this topic because not only am I a survivor of toxic diet culture, but I was completely embroiled in this world of calorie restriction and guilt and shame and all this yuckiness. As a doctor early on in my career, I was a perpetrator of toxic diet culture because I believed the messages around it's just calories. It's all calorie restriction just eat less just move more and this advice was failing me. I was unable to lose weight with these messages. And of course, it was a failing my beautiful patients early on in my career, but I still believed it. I still believed it. And it's we had the wrong map. We just had the wrong map, Lucy. 

Dr Lucy Burns (4:57)  Yeah, absolutely. And I think there are two things, one, and we have known about this for such a long time, but the knowledge around our metabolic hormones is much newer. So I think whilst we knew, and I will talk about the Minnesota semi-starvation study in a minute, whilst we knew that science, the calorie restriction, calorie reduction model is flawed, we actually had nothing else for a long time. So it was like, yeah, that doesn't work. But what else what you know, it has to like it was like, again, that set cognitive dissidence, it doesn't work. But there's no other explanation, so it must work. And so we just kept flogging a dead horse. But we now know that there are lots of things about the human body that have only been discovered literally in the last 20 years. And I'm quite sure, there will be more things to still discover into the future. So again, whenever anybody comes up with this my way or the highway, you have to do it this way. The idea is often, particularly if it's a sole aspect, a singular thing, the single thing you need to do to lose weight is this, and if you're not doing this, whatever this is, then you're wrong. If you hear that message from anybody, run as fast as you can. 

Dr Mary Barson  (6:20)  Absolutely! Let's dive into calories now. And Lucy, you explain this so well, why calorie counting is not the end or bail, in fact, why it's not really anything. 

Dr Lucy Burns (6:33)  Indeed, we will talk all about the Minnesota Semi-Starvation study. So I mean, it's an interesting concept. And I think there's like everything, there's a few facets, a few layers. So the first layer is the concept that you are only worthy if you're thin. So the body positivity movement is, and again, I think there are people out there who think that all body positivity does is to glorify obesity, and so they're very scathing of it. But in fact, it's really at its heart, it's an acceptance that your body and to coin or to use your beautiful phrase Miss, your body is not an ornament. It's the vehicle that carries you around. So accepting that your body and in fact, I'm going to link it at the end of this. I wrote a blog on this a long time ago now called Self Love and Whippets, probably needs to be renamed. But it really does come to the heart of accepting that we don't all need to look like Elle McPherson, or whoever is the current supermodel of the day. But certainly, when I was growing up, she was the It girl. And if you know, everyone was aspiring to be like Elle. So that's the first layer. The second layer then is the tools that we were taught to try and look like Elle which were, first of all, low fat, and calorie counting.That were it, low-fat calorie counting, the message being that fat makes you fat and that calories matter. And didn't matter what your calories were as long as you were under your calories, then you would be fine. The weird thing is, we know that this is rubbish. And we've known this for such a long time, right back in the late 50s, with a study done by Ancel Keys called the Minnesota Semi Starvation study. Now we have talked about this in the past, but just to revisit it. The concept was to try and assess the effects of semi-starvation. So not quite starvation, but essentially war time diets are war time food rations on how does that affect society. So what he did was got a bunch of and they were men. So step one, only men in this study, not a female study, he got men who were at normal body weight, and then put them on a diet that was  3000 calories. So the pre-war sort of whatever people ate pre-war and then during the war when there were rations, these men went on to a 1500 calorie a day diet. So as a dieter, when I'm hearing 3000 calories a day, my mind's going– Oh my God, that's such a lot of food. What on earth were they eating? But that's the standard amount of food men need to run their bodies, fuel their bodies, these blokes anyway, back then, and it would have been not processed food because it was you know, pre World War Two, there wasn't a lot of processed food around. And then in the semi-starvation study, they went to 1500 calories a day. Now again, I'm thinking 1500, that's hardly starving. Like honestly, that's, that's buckets of calories. Because I’ve done 600 a day or 800 a day, or certainly 1000. If I wanted to go on a diet, I'd usually go up to 1000 calories. So the thing that they did though with these blokes is though, it was a largely carbohydrate-based diet because that was cheap. And again, this is war time, so they were mimicking war. And what the aim was, was to see the effects of this calorie reduction, and to try, and I'm not even sure why they wanted to get to this point. But the aim was to get the bloke to lose a quarter of their body weight. So they started off with 1500 calories and yes, of course, they will lose weight, because that's what happens when you have your calories, which is why people go well, therefore, we need to go on a low-calorie diet, because it works. But a couple of things happened. So physiologically, if all you need to do is reduce your calories. And the logic behind it is that if you reduce your calories by 1000 calories per day, you will lose a kilogram of body fat per week. This is where all this myth comes from, which is all done based on some maths around the number of grams in a kilo of fat versus the number of calories versus all of these things. It's completely forward logic, because what if that were the case, and everybody would lose exactly the same amount of weight over exactly the same amount of time and people don't. And so then people are blamed or people think they cheated or they didn't do it properly. But what we do know in these blokes is that yet they started getting different results. And over time, they had to continue reducing their calories and they had to continue in order for them to meet these weight loss targets. And some of these blokes got down to eating 400 calories a day in order to meet that weight loss target. So the reason for that is that physiologically, their metabolic rate slowed and what that meant in practical terms was their heart rate slowed, the rate at which they grew, their fingernails slowed, the body temperature dropped, their cell turnover slowed. So things like if they scratch themselves, wounds took longer to heal, the body was trying to conserve its expenditure because it recognised there wasn't enough coming in. So you know, these blokes like practically they started wearing jumpers in summer, and just they were cold and tired and miserable. But psychologically, what happened was they became obsessed with food and started doing things like talking about food, talking about what they're going to do when the experiment was open over talking about what meals they were going to have. They started holding cookbooks, they would have like clubs, talking about recipes. And all of these things, which in my brain, I'm going– I did that. I did that exact thing. The idea was that when the diet was over, I would have a list of all the foods I wanted to eat. And I had this list of all the things I would reward myself with when I'd got to my goal wage, which was all food related. Because I became obsessed with thinking about food. I remember dreaming, I was dreaming I dreamt about pavlova, I had a dream one night about some sort of, my mum used to make these sausages like a sausage roll with cheese. And I dreamt about that one night it was just nuts. So we know that when you restrict calories significantly in people, this is what will happen. And yet, this is the advice that people still give, they still give it. 

Dr Mary Barson  (14:07)  And people will die on this hill and that weight loss is all about calorie reduction and restriction. And that's the way forward. But why does this perpetuate a toxic culture?

Dr Lucy Burns (14:22)  So, again, as I mentioned, I think two things one, no human is the same. So people do have different physiological responses to calorie reduction. So the idea being that if you're not losing the same weight as the, you know, in this case, the experiment the bloke next door, then you're cheating, which is the phrase that people use, you're cheating, you're, you're not sticking to it. You're not doing what I told you. You are supposed to do this amount of food and you must be eating more than that. Because you're not doing what the mass say should happen. So that's the first thing which makes people I feel well, first of all, feel guilty, because what if during that whole week, they had, you know, a quarter of a sandwich? Well, that's the reason you're not losing any weight. It's because you buggered it up, it's your fault. Or the other thing is that people will go–Well, you need to exercise more then because you're not moving enough, you must be just lying around like a sloth. And honestly, these blokes were so tired, they kind of did a bit. But that's your body's survival mechanism coming in, you're not lazy. It's your physiological response. And so it's toxic, because we deny our body's physiological responses, and use them as ways to shame and guilt people into doing things like you're lazy, you're lying around, you're hungry. Oh, what a bad person you are for being hungry. How greedy, are you? God, yeah, hungry, again, you just ate, 200 calories. You know, it's. So there's lots of toxicity in that. And then, I think the third layer to all of this. So the first layer being the, you know, you're only worthy if you're thin. The second layer being the only way to lose weight is to calorie restrict. And the third player in this is the processed food industry, that has come up with a weight loss solution for everybody, which is in the form of, you know, processed shakes, bars, supplements, that are all, you know, supposed to help us and don't.

Dr Mary Barson  (16:47)  Yes, and set us up for failure and failure and failure, which then leads that cycle, that vicious cycle of guilt, and shame. And also think like victimisation, you know, people who have fallen victim to the process, food industry, victim to diet culture, they are stigmatised, and it's a really, really horrible, toxic culture that has developed across the globe. And it's not just a female issue. However, it really does affect women particularly badly. Because women are targeted by diet foods. Women have traditionally been under a lot of pressure to be beautiful, to be desirable to conform to these particular norms. And I know this happens to men too. I do. But there is an increased intensity in the way that women experience pressure to look a certain way.

Dr Lucy Burns (17:54)  Yeah. And I think there are two things going on here. In the past, when women were, again, more traditional roles. So women were the homemakers, we weren't smart, we weren't financially independent, we, you know, weren't prized on how we looked. That was it. Obviously, you know, with the wave of feminism and equal opportunities and those sorts of things that has changed a little bit. Well, a lot. And the focus on aesthetics is still there. It's probably now spread over your right to men now. And men are marketed. There's no doubt about it. I mean, you know, the man shake has started off as a man's product. But women have been judged for such a long time, solely on their appearance. 

Dr Mary Barson  (18:45)  Yes, yes. And that that still happens. There is still a cognitive bias that I think it's been sort of imprinted in all of us that we do judge people on their appearance, and we judge women just that little bit more harshly as a species. And so women are more primed to be victimised and traumatised by a toxic diet culture.

Dr Lucy Burns (19:10)  Yeah, absolutely. And, yeah, and so the underlying premise is that you need to go on this diet so that you'll lose weight, so that you'll be thin, so that you'll be acceptable. But that's the sort of summary of it. And it's interesting because our listeners will know what is the name of our podcast, it's called Real Health and Weight Loss. We have spent time sitting with this and even now, from time to time we're a bit uncomfortable about it because we firmly believe that we are the antithesis of a toxic diet culture. And that there is a role for weight loss as health but that comes packaged very differently to weight loss as part of a diet.

Dr Mary Barson  (20:06)  Yep. We reject dieting, we reject diet culture and instead have this health first, health is the priority. Health is what we want for everyone. And that for some people and actually many people, a part of getting healthier is weight loss. And that is going to make their lives healthier, easier, improve the way that their beautiful bodies move around in this, you know, one precious life that we get. And that weightless is really important for their metabolic health. But it's not the only thing that we want from people. In fact, it's quite low down on our priority. It's not that it isn't there, but it is there. And also we tell people, it's okay to want to lose weight like it's your body, you're allowed to do that. Because there is this big backlash, I think against toxic diet culture, which in many ways is good. But it can almost go the other way. If you are concerned about your weight, or you have a weight loss goal, then you're buying into this, you're just you're a victim, you're buying into this toxic diet culture, and that you're not allowed to want to lose weight. And I'd argue that perhaps the pendulum has swung too far because health and being metabolically healthy for a lot of people does include weight loss, but it's metabolic health that is first, second and third. It's improving your quality of life, your energy, your mental clarity, and your longevity, it's enjoying your life better. And weight loss is a sort of coming along for the ride.

Dr Lucy Burns (21:41)  Yeah, absolutely. And you most certainly do not have to be thin to be worthy. And you don't have to be thin to even be healthy. Like it's not about, you know, the BMI is 21. Therefore, they're healthy, like, the BMI could be 21, because they smoke three packets of cigarettes a day in order to avoid eating to maintain the BMI of 21. So, therefore, it's not the sole parameter on which you can judge health. And we certainly know that particularly in that, you know, what's considered the overweight, early obese, and they're just numbers, they're just a scale a number that somebody's determined. We know there are plenty of people in that, in that bracket, who are perfectly healthy. They don't need to lose weight for health, but they don't. So when people go, you need to lose weight to get healthy. Not everybody does. But we do know that they are at the extreme ends of the BMI. And then again, that number is arbitrary, but there is a point at which people are more likely to have metabolic dysfunction. But we also know that there are people within normal BMI with metabolic disorders. 

Dr Mary Barson  (22:59)  That's right. That's right. I want to get personal here. I'm, I'm one of those people. So I haven't weighed myself in a while. But I think when I last weighed myself, my BMI was just above 25. So I mean that technically in that overweight category using BMI, I'm a size 14 Australian, but I'm healthy. And I have been significantly more overweight. And now at this weight post-baby, all these things are going on for me, but I'm metabolically well, you know, I've got fantastic blood sugar and low insulin and a really healthy liver. You know, I'm strong and I'm fit and I can get through the day and I feel good. And what I am, is I am healthy on the inside. I'm an H O T I a complete hottie. And that is what we work for everybody else. We want people to be hotties healthy on the inside, where it counts. As I'm not immune to all of these messages, I do have that little demon on my shoulder that will tell me because you know, I jiggle slightly as I'm running along the beach, that, you know, I'm less than and I'm not worthy. Those voices are there because they're, they're deeply embedded, I think in us culturally, but I am able to recognise them and let them stand down and just give them a little hug and say it's okay, I don't need you right now. I'm on the beach, and I'm fabulous. That they are there and especially recently with a video that was on Facebook of me talking about a webinar that was coming up and just the angle of the camera like a little like my chin was just a little bit big. We've got these messages on that Facebook ad that Facebook sort of video, you know, people asking me what was my BMI, you know, and in fairing that I didn't have a, I wasn't allowed to talk about weight loss because I didn't look like Elle Macpherson and it was hurtful. I was able to, you know, I was able to you know control my response to those my internal response to those voices. But those messages were there. And that's toxic diet culture, you know that that it is pervasive.

Dr Lucy Burns (25:03)  Totally totally, because there are still plenty of people. And if you know, as most of us are on these days Facebook or Instagram, once you start looking at a, you know, a site, and probably if you watch any of our sites, you'll have other people's weight loss sites come up and the majority of people are still talking about calories. And you know, there will be people that will tell you, it doesn't matter what you eat as long as you're in calorie deficit, and they'll compare products, and they'll give you the low-calorie version of a product. But I mean, it's so simple that it seems so obvious, but it's so wrong. Because here's a newsflash when you eat, and the calories are counted basically on macronutrients, so they're looking at the, you know, the ratio of the protein, fat and carbohydrates, calculate the calorie of the product and the weight of the product based on that. We know that fat has a calorie caloric value of nine calories per gram of fat, and protein and carbohydrates roughly four calories per gram. But here's the thing, when you eat whole food, you don't necessarily absorb all the calories in that product. For multiple reasons, we know this to be true. So, you know, at its very basic level, have you ever pooped out corn?

Dr Mary Barson  (26:35)  Nuts, pooped out anything. Because poop is the digested food. A few other things are happening there. But that's largely what it is. Yes, yeah.

Dr Lucy Burns (26:46)  So if you haven't digested it, there isn't you haven't broken it down, you haven't absorbed the calories like it hasn't the calories, the caloric effect of that hasn't occurred.

Dr Mary Barson  (26:59)  It could be useful to actually sort of mention what a calorie is in scientific terms. Because when you actually break it down, understand what we mean by that, the whole notion of counting calories in foods does become sort of, you know, somewhat hilarious is it is the unit of energy that is required in certain tightly controlled scientific, sort of experimental circumstances is the amount of energy required to heat a kilogram of water by one-degree celsius. But we’re not a kilogram of water that needs to be heated by one degree celsius.

Dr Lucy Burns (27:39)  Yeah, yeah, I know. And they, yeah, the contraption this, this experiment took place in his quarter a calorimeter. And we're not calorimeters, we have no calorie receptors. I'm not like a five foot nine calorimeter, with blond hair, you're not, you know, brunette, whatever, you are five foot seven calorimeter. We're just not. So we are dynamic hormonal beings with you know, fuel and you know, we've got that great diagram that talks about how we access our food, how our metabolic system works, and it's complex. But yet, on these sites, on these you know, influencers, you'll see them promoting two things, two things that grind my gears. One is a low-calorie food option. The second one that is I just think such disinformation, high protein breakfast options, for example, try my high protein chocolate mousse dessert, and I go– oh, and again, it goes you know, only such and such calories with 45 grams of protein, I think –Oh, I dont get it, so then when I look at it, the protein it's in, it is not real food, it's not a whole food, it is a powder. So it's a processed supplement from a factory that is broken down into its finest form that's then added to this thing. It is just homemade processed food. All of these homemade ultra-processed foods pretending to be a helpful recipe.

Dr Mary Barson  (29:18)  And why is this processed diet food whether it's homemade, or whether it's bars or shakes bought from home delivery or in the supermarket, why is this processed diet food a problem? And why does it keep people trapped?

Dr Lucy Burns (29:34)  Yeah, so our food integrity matters. So the structure of our food, the cellular structure of the plant, the meat, that egg whatever it is that we're eating is really important in the way we digest it. When we take that structure out and reduce the food to its simple proportions, so you know if you take the way protein out of milk. And, first of all, in order to do that, you have to go to a factory, you then put it through a whole heap of processes. It's then refined, and you know, often flavoured chemicalised, powdered, all sorts of things, and then stuck in a jar or plastic packet and shipped around the world that has a completely different effect on our hormonal metabolic hormones to eating the whey protein as part of a whole product. So if you eat whey protein as part of cheese, it has a completely different effect. If you eat whey protein, you know, powdered shake, or add it to these supposedly healthy breakfast dessert options. Now, again, it's not to shame anybody who uses whey protein, there's no problem. Like you do you, you can do it absolutely because you're the boss of you. But what we always want people to know is that you make decisions with the full information available to you. And process food companies are, they love giving you disinformation. And I reckon the classic that most people would relate to here is Up and Go. So as a reminder, Up and Go is a tetra pack, so a little square pack of breakfast as a breakfast kind of meal replacement tea thing. And when you look at what's in it, it's got a whole heap of processed ingredients, including, you know, oils, vegetable oils, canola oil, sunflower oil, it's got emulsifiers, it's got gums, it's got what we like to call chemically created fibre. And yet, they used to sell this with the tagline, as you know, the same amount of fibre as a bowl of WeetBix. The implication being that this product is the same as having a bowl of WeetBix. Now, as you know, when I'm not eating a bowl of WeetBix, because the cups are a bit high, but in general, you know, out of processed food products mix is probably the least worst.

Dr Mary Barson  (32:15)  It's the health halo that the the marketers will put on these highly processed foods that traps us. If you want to break up with this toxic diet culture, and I told the women and men out there, what steps can you take, lovely Lucy?

Dr Lucy Burns (32:32)  So the first thing is to recognise that simple calorie reduction, will give you a short-term weight loss. And to pretend it doesn't, again is folly. So we're all about giving you proper advice, so you can make a decision for yourself. So we will, you will definitely lose some kilos. But it comes at a cost and that cost is to your metabolism and the only way if you're using pure calorie restriction as your tool, the only way to maintain that weight loss is to continually reduce your calories over time and time and time. So step one is to recognise that that's an option. But there's a cost. So, therefore, you get to decide if you don't want to do that option. Then you go– what are my other options, and your other options, and the way we like to describe it is to learn about what food choices are helpful for you. So for us, we recognise that the majority of people who have, I say this found themselves overweight, despite years of dieting, because that's what happened to me. And you just I suddenly thought kind of just fatter than ever. How's this happened when I've spent my whole life trying to lose weight? No wonder you feel like a failure. But it's so you just find yourself in this place. And yeah, again, I'd developed like most people, lots of women particularly postmenopausal women, but insulin resistant. And so, you know, we know that the most helpful foods for that are low carb, real food first, so real food and then lower carbohydrate versions of that. And so, you know, you can make choices around that. That gaslighting trap that I reckon happens is the idea that you should be able to eat anything in small portions. Because the food is not designed for that. It's designed to be hyper-palatable over consumed. It's designed to give your brain the most dopamine and it's designed for quick, easy absorption by your body. So I didn't know this until recently, but just as a side note, Pringles, I’m not actually, I don't eat chips or crisps or whatever people call them. But a chip, you know, I thought the chip was just like sliced potato that was fried. But Pringle is not actually that it’s boiled potatoes that have been mushed up, and then reconstituted into the shape of a Pringle. So that it is light like it's got that curve so that it lies across your tongue so that you get maximum calm, brain exploding. Which is why then people want to keep eating them, which is why you don't just have one Pringle and stop, which is why they even proudly promote Pringles, once you pop, you can't stop. So we've got there on one hand versus people going on don't demonise anything, you should be able to just have everything in moderation, don't restrict because once you restrict your want more and more. So where do we fall in that path? So Miss, I think we actually navigate that pretty well and I reckon maybe you could explain how we do that.

Dr Mary Barson  (36:06)  It's about changing your your food story. So no foods are bad. There's nothing morally wrong. If you choose to eat Pringles all day, every day and wash it down with Coke and Tim Tams that's not a moral failing, it's just that it's probably not helpful. It's not helpful to your health goals. So instead of taking the morality, the shame, the guilt that you should, you shouldn't, can I, can't I out of it and instead of looking at what is helpful to my body, how can I nourish my body? How can I love my body? And real food is the best way to do that. And yes, if you've got a, you know, you want to improve your metabolic health, then real food that's naturally lower in sugar and starches is going to be more helpful. And these foods are delicious, and then nourishing. And when you eat them, lots of beautiful healthy changes cascade through your body cascade throughout your entire life. So it's helpful versus unhelpful, and you can change your food story, you can even change your you know, your whole body story, you know, treat your body as a beautiful vehicle that you want to nourish and strengthen and nurture, rather than something you need to sort of punish and starve and flog into looking better or fitting some particular mould or ideal. Your body. It's you, it's yours. And you can love it, nourish it, heal it and move it and use it as is beautiful, miraculous vehicle to live your life. And this vehicle runs better on real food.

Dr Lucy Burns (37:47)  Absolutely, absolutely. And I think that that is the key is recognising that noticing, though, again, lovelies, you may have been victims of diet culture for a long, long time. And it's hard sometimes to let go of that. And recognise that, you know, for long-lasting weight loss, we don't want a yo-yo like, you know, yo-yoing is exhausting, the roller coaster, the up down the up down, it's tedious, at best and actually harmful to our health at worst. So the first step is when we move to a real food diet is also breaking up with the scales, because quite often, what happens initially is within gaining perhaps gaining, we do something and our immediate desire is to lose weight because that's what we've been conditioned. But sometimes the first step is actually to stop the game. So you kind of start healing that metabolism, balancing those hormones. And I know when people go– Oh, he'll metabolism and balance hormones, that sounds woo-woo. It's actually not, it is allowing that insulin levels to drop, allowing your leptin levels to reestablish developing some skills around your mindset. And then what happens is that you’re turning the ship around, and so that over time as your metabolism improves, the weight loss just comes along for the ride. You don't need to chase it. It just comes with you. 

Dr Mary Barson  (39:25)  Yes. With health first.

Dr Lucy Burns (39:26)  Absolutely. So lovelies, Happy International Women's Day coming up for all of you. Anybody you know we see you. Here we know we know the stories we've experienced the stories. We know the fear, we know the shame, we know the guilt, and what we want is for you to break free of those shackles. And if loving your body feels like a bridge too far, we start with acceptance and recognising that caring for it, for our body and our minds is paramount to our well-being, health and so we can thrive in this world.

Dr Mary Barson  (40:07)  Lovely. See you later gorgeous one.

Dr Lucy Burns (40:10)  All right gorgeous ones. See you next week.

Dr Lucy Burns: (40:16) 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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