One of Australia's Most Popular Podcasts with Hundreds of 5 Star Reviews

Grab your FREE Ebook copy now!

Have you struggled to lose weight and keep it off?

Start your journey to boost metabolism and transform your body into a fat-burning powerhouse.

Episode 201:
Show Notes 


In Episode 201 of the Real Health and Weight Loss podcast, Dr Mary Barson and Dr Lucy Burns engage in a candid discussion about "Why Clothes Shopping Is So Hard." Drawing from their professional expertise as doctors and weight management specialists, they offer profound insights and personal anecdotes to illuminate the complex nature of societal expectations and personal well-being.

Roots of Body Image: Reflecting on their formative years, Dr Lucy and Dr Mary unpack the societal influences that shaped their perceptions of beauty and self-worth. They recount the prevalence of idealised body types portrayed in media, such as the "heroin chic" trend of the '90s and the supermodel phenomenon of the '80s.

Dismantling Diet Culture: Both hosts share their journeys of liberation from the confines of diet culture, emphasising the need to decouple self-worth from physical appearance. Despite their intellectual rejection of societal norms, they acknowledge the persistent internalised judgments and insecurities that linger.

Holistic Health Perspective: While acknowledging the importance of physical health markers like weight and body composition, Dr Mary and Dr Lucy advocate for a more nuanced understanding of well-being. They highlight the significance of internal health indicators such as insulin sensitivity, liver function, and overall vitality in determining true health.

Embracing Body Positivity: The hosts delve into the evolution of the body positivity movement and its impact on challenging narrow beauty standards. They encourage listeners to cultivate self-love and acceptance, irrespective of external judgments or societal pressures.

Fostering Female Solidarity: Dr Mary and Dr Lucy address the phenomenon of women judging other women based on appearance, emphasising the importance of empathy and support within female communities. They call for a collective effort to dismantle harmful stereotypes and foster mutual respect and understanding.

In closing, Dr Mary and Dr Lucy underscore the importance of prioritising internal health, self-compassion, and authenticity in the pursuit of well-being. They emphasise the concept of being "HOTIs" (Healthy On The Inside), encouraging listeners to focus on nurturing their internal vitality and embracing their unique beauty. As they bid farewell, they urge listeners to celebrate their bodies, cherish their health, and strive for a life imbued with vitality, joy, and meaningful connections. With a playful nod to their mantra of "Blah to Huzzah," they remind listeners that the journey from feeling uninspired to vibrant is within reach, inviting them to embrace the transformative power of self-love and holistic wellness.

Join the waitlist for the 12 Week Mind Body Rebalance and snaffle up extra bonuses when you sign up: www.rlmedicine.com/12WMBR

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

Episode 201: 


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 Lucy Burns (0:23)  Hello, lovely friend, Dr Mary here joined by the fabulous Dr Lucy Burns. Dr Lucy, tell me how are you today?

Dr Lucy Burns (0:32)  Well Miss, as you know, we had a big day yesterday. So it was one of those jobs that was on our list, it was a big job and it feels good. Like it's you feel satisfied when you do it, but gee, was a big effort. So lovely friends, Mary and I yesterday, we went shopping, which is not something that we normally do, we're not big shoppers, but we need to update some of the images on our website and sort of bring them into 2024 and not 2019, and so we needed a little wardrobe update.

Dr Mary Barson (1:08)  It was a big day. Shopping for clothes is something I very rarely do, I certainly need to do it more often than I do, if I'm honest. It's not a task that I relish and there are a few reasons for that. Part of it is I don't overly value, fashion. I don't think anything wrong with fashion but I don't overly value it. But part of it also is the story in my head from you know, years of conditioning by society, years of body dissatisfaction. It's still there and it just it makes it a bit of an arduous task trying on things and I know that we both felt that in our own different ways. But luckily, we're both in much healthier states of mind at the moment about our bodies and our bodies are much healthier than they have been in the past as well. So, Lucy, you could share a little bit of your story around your relationship with how you look?

Dr Lucy Burns (2:20)  Yeah, absolutely. So I've got concurrent stories going. The first story is, I've completely ditched diet culture. I'm not part of that movement anymore. I've let it go. I'm not interested. I know that my worth is not tied to the number of the scales, yada yada yada. Which then comes to kind of a crashing halt when yesterday, I'm trying on clothes going —Oh my God, look, I've got a bit of a potbelly. Oh my god, I think my bum looks big in this. Oh my god, I think no, this is not flattering. And I realised even though my logical brain, which I guess we would call the parent brain. My logical brain is very much on board with you know, your worth is not determined by the size of your waistband. My still very deep probably died traumatised emotional brain has to work very hard to move past to that. So yeah, so that it was confronting yesterday because again, yeah, like you. I mean, I like clothes, I wear the colour I wear, you know, like a bit of fright, all of those sorts of things. I'm not very trendy, as you know, don't think about whatever's on trend at the moment. But I also realised that I don't even necessarily know how to style clothes to make them look the best. That's something I've just got no idea about.

Dr Mary Barson (3:49)  Yeah, it's a skill set that I don't have either. No.

Dr Lucy Burns (3:53)  The other interesting thing I learned yesterday and this is I mean it's bizarre. So downlights which is what most lights have these days. Downlights are very what you would call you know unflattering as in the shadows they create bring a false picture. So it actually shows you in a light that is not what you look like in a dressing room, which I just from a practical you know and I guess strategic point of view these days. I cannot understand why a clothing store that is trying to sell you something has lighting, which is guaranteed to make you look worse than you actually do.

Dr Mary Barson (4:45)  I've got nothing for that one either. I don't know.

Dr Lucy Burns (4:49)  What about you, Miss? What was your story?

Dr Mary Barson (4:53)  So my story yesterday, it was similar to yours. I'm a HOTI. I'm a HOTI. I'm a HOTI. Healthy on the inside. I don't have, this kind of perfect, you know, aesthetically slim body that I have always believed was required if you wanted to be, you know, attractive if you always wanted to be perfect, and I have a pretty deeply ingrained story in my head and about this. Yeah, I grew up in the 90s, in the 90s, do you remember that's a terrible word that shouldn't even be used. I don't want to repeat it but I'm sort of started this so I'm going to– heroin chic. You know, those models that were really really thin? 

Dr Lucy Burns (5:43)  And that was idolised? Yeah. Like waifs? 

Dr Mary Barson (5:46)  Yes, yes and I'm sure some of them can be healthy. I'm not body-shaming anybody, right now. I'm impatiently against body shaming. But it is not necessarily a healthy ideal, particularly for those young girls. I grew up reading Girlfriend magazine, and my older sisters had Cleo and Cosmopolitan and all of the women in there had this particular really slim body type. And I didn't I actually, I had polycystic ovarian syndrome, I started gaining weight pretty young, because of my PCOS, and was overweight as a child overweight as an adolescent, overweight in my early adult years. And so there was a huge incongruence between what I thought I needed to be and what I actually was, and this golf was just filled with shame, absolute just shame, by even would feel shame that I was ashamed. You know, I didn't want to be ashamed, but I was and you know, I really felt like to be acceptable, I had to be thin, and it wasn't. And then I go out and buy some clothes as an adult. Looking at my not perfectly thin body, but a healthy body and all of this stuff collides in my brain, as I'm there in the, I now understand very unflattering lights, the change room. Yeah, that's right, putting on the size 14, jeans going, geez, that should be size 10 and I'm just listening to this voice in my head going really, should I buy? Should I buy it or I shouldn't? But it's there. It's there and it's unpleasant. It's uncomfortable and it's interesting. 

Dr Lucy Burns (7:29)  Indeed, indeed. And I guess for us, you know, we're in the health and weight loss space. So my brain is going if I'm not perfectly thin, are people you know, maybe our clients, our customers, our followers, they're going to judge me, am I going to be judged? And you know, the answer, I think, maybe some people will and the next level for me is to go– Well, I can't do anything about that. I have no influence over other people's opinion of me and I think it's that great saying where you know what other people think of you is actually none of your business, which took me a little while to get my head around. But yeah, it is because there are people who will judge me, or judge us. But again, I think well, they're probably coming from the same place that you and I came from, when we grew up where your weight was tied to your worth. And a couple of things have sort of been woven into this story about weight, or you know, you know, fatness, whatever, whatever, whatever we want to call it. And there are two one is that you're not attractive, unless you're thin. And I think that actually is just a bit of BS, like a lot of BS, so I can move past that one. We also know that you don't need to be thin to be healthy and in fact, there are plenty of thin, unhealthy people. You don't need to be aesthetically perfect to be healthy. In fact, we do know that carrying a bit of body fat is actually healthy for us for multiple reasons, which we can chat about in a minute. So it's normal, it helps us it's protective. It's as women good for our bones, good for our muscles. But then sort of comes this little tipping point where things start to go a bit awry. And again, driven by our metabolic hormones, which is I guess why we love, love, love, love the phrase healthy on the inside. Because in order to be healthy on the outside, actually it's an inside job, you have to be healthy on the inside first.

Dr Mary Barson (9:50)  I can remember a traumatic memory that I have is when I would have been about 16 years old and I was on music camp, playing the violin in the orchestra and I was away on this really fun camp with all of the other orchestra and band members and choir members and I was interested in boys, you know, didn't have a boyfriend, but it was all that sort of exciting, interesting possibility that you want when you're that age. And when you really want to fit in that remember, we're just hours in the common room chatting to some boys and some girls and this quite short boy, I didn't really know him or particularly like him very well. He was reading, like an FM magazine, a men's sports magazine. And they're all these pictures of these aesthetically beautiful touched-up photoshopped models on there. And he just looked at me, and he goes - Agh! Why can't you look like this? How I remember being so mortally wounded. I know really awful. Sorry, that was a very toxic, toxic encounter. From someone who I hope has come down and is now a delightful human, I can only hope that they are. Nobody is their best, you know, in early adolescence, usually, but that really hunts me down. And I do remember feeling. I think I've got a fear at that time. And the fear probably was around, yes, I'm not acceptable. I'm not going to be attractive, you know, all of these sort of interesting boys around me that I'm just learning about and ever going to want me. A whole lot of stories really embedded in my brain with that encounter and with countless others. This is the that one was particularly pertinent, really stuck in my head that we have a story. Yeah, the beautiful thing about stories, is we don't have to keep them and we don't have to believe them. So I have had this story that I need to be, you know, a beautiful size 10 to be attractive to be wanted to be worthy. And here I am size 14 healthy, does that mean that I'm okay? Now strong, yes that's right, and strong, you know, pretty fast. getting faster. I'm training for a 10k I'm getting there. Yeah, you know, strong, clever, fast, energised healthy, you know, beautiful liver functions, excellent insulin results and moves in blood pressure, all of these fabulous things. So the story that I'm actually wonderful as that you know, a healthy, strong woman in her 40s. That's another story that's there. The other story has never completely gone away. So there is still that chatter that goes on. I found that a useful way to deal with that chatter as I’m there putting on my jeans, size 14 and going well, these actually look pretty nice, yeah, but they’re size 14. Just to notice it and to kind of lean in and just let that little chatter that I dont know, it's either coming from that toxic 14-year-old boy or maybe it's coming from the inner 16-year-old girl, just to let it know that I'm okay, it's alright. Thank you for your concern, but I don't need you right now. For me that is helpful. It means that I can enjoy buying pretty new things without feeling that I'm unworthy and I don't deserve to have them.

Dr Lucy Burns (13:20)  Yes, yes, exactly. It's interesting, isn't it? It was interesting, you know, you're talking about growing up with Heroin Chick and I did too, but I'm a bit, you know, a bit over 10 years older than us. So I grew up in the 80s and Elle McPherson was out and all of them, you know, Claudia Shifa, all of the very tall very long-legged supermodels they were called. And I mean, Elle was known as The Body. Like that was her name. The Body. Nobody's calling her brains. No one's calling her the healthy liver.

Dr Mary Barson (14:01)  The successful businesswoman. 

Dr Lucy Burns (14:03)  No, no and she's smart. She's a smart woman but nobody knows her for that. They just know her as The Body and constantly, it's all just the body, this The Body that. And so when you're growing up as an adolescent, it's no wonder that you internalise a lot of that and even when you think you don't, it's still there. It's, you know, when we talk about hypnotherapy in our programs, and people often ask, how often should I do it? And it's like, well, the more you hear the message, the more your brain will rewire. So the more you hear this, that you're valuable or attractive if you're thin, then the more you will believe that. So I think that it is helpful these days again, and we've spoken about this that the body positivity movement is very helpful. You can absolutely be attractive in a bigger body. You can absolutely be worthy in a bigger body, you don't need to be a stick, the slightly murky waters that come are just where does health fits in that. And that's, I guess where we come into play, we firmly believe that you don't need to be a stick to be healthy. It's harder for your body to be happy, not your mind, but your body. If there is, you know, a lot of excessive fat storage to you know, just put it bluntly, because usually, that's an indicator that there's something going on underneath. So it usually indicates that there's insulin resistance going on, which usually indicates that there's probably some fatty liver. That's not, it's not necessarily for everybody. But it would be a much more common theme and we know that things like, you know, joints, it's harder for joints to last a long time if they're having to manage with, you know, with a larger body. That's not to say that the thin person is healthy either. And that's not to say that thin people's joints don't wear out either. They absolutely do and in fact, for a lot of people with thin resins joints worn out because you know, they're some sort of marathon runner, and they're running 1000s of kilometres a year, they wear their joints out. So it's really interesting to think about the moral story behind health and weight.

Dr Mary Barson (16:38)  It is somehow morally superior if you fit into a narrow body range category. The other takes a few turns, you know, these woods are a little dark and a little tumultuous as you're navigating this terrain of body positivity, weight loss, health and wellness, and finding the right path with you without getting caught up in toxic traps along the way, I think, you know, it takes work and perhaps a bit of guidance, there's an art to it. But how I feel is that you can love yourself, no matter what. Respect yourself, no matter what. Know that you're worthy of love and respect no matter what, and be healthy and work towards being healthy. And certainly, weight loss is a piece of the health puzzle, there's really no getting around that. But that doesn't mean that there's no moral value attached to that. One way or the other it's just a simple, true fact and what we want for people is to be healthy. And that then the other side to this, If you do want to lose weight, if you want aesthetic weight loss, that doesn't make you bad, that doesn't mean that you know, you're letting little 14-year-old boys in your brain boss you around. That's not that that is you're allowed to work whatever you want. But being true to yourself loving and respecting yourself is key.

Dr Lucy Burns (18:07)  Yeah, yeah. And thinking about why you want that. Again, it's like, you know, it's like grey hair for women. So you know, I think most blokes get grey hair, and it just goes great. A few blokes dye their hair, but the majority of people I think don't. Whereas for women, it's the other way. Everybody, I won't say everybody gets grey hair. The majority of people develop grey hair over their lifetime and everyone has an opinion on how long you should allow that process to happen. And some people embrace it earlier than others and some people associate the grey hair with, you know, letting yourself go or, or something. It's very strange. Again, I think at the end of the day, women can do whatever they want. You are the boss of you. One of the tricky things in our society is that women judge women, as well. So men, judge women, you've got you know, 14-year-old boys judging young girls, but women do it too. Women judge women, and it's truly unhelpful as to our gender and I think it's again, it's a condition to think, we're conditioned to do it. We're conditioned to kind of create a hierarchy and see where we fit in this hierarchy. That's part of normal, I guess, collective humanity, you know, from tribal living. But it's not necessary and it's not always helpful. 

Dr Mary Barson (19:41) Yes. So that is another thing you can work on in your own mind when you catch yourself charging other women, you know, for the size or shape of their bodies, be aware of it and just question it. Because when you find that you are easy, it's easy for you to do that to other women, then it's going to be so easy if you do that to yourself. The reason I think that that's a problem is because the self-judgment and this self-criticism is such a monumental, like a criminal waste of energy, I believe. That life can't just be so much lighter, happier, and indeed healthier if you can let it go. Just let it go. Let it go for everyone. And you know, just love yourself as you are. Enjoy this glorious body that you have, enjoy what it can do, you know, marvel at everybody else's glorious bodies and what they could do. And we're all just beautiful humans with this miraculous, miraculous thing called life with these amazing bodies that move us around and can do super cool stuff. And one of the super cool stuff that our bodies can do is to go down to Charleston and decorate ourselves with pretty fashions. That's pretty cool. I can also go for a run today. That's pretty cool. Our bodies can do cool things. And we should honour them and love them and nourish them and nurture them but don't judge them. Your body. Your body does a lot for you. And I reckon we just need to be kinder to them.

Dr Lucy Burns (21:19)  Yeah, absolutely. And I mean, as we talk a lot about healthiness it's not about thinness. It's you know, there's plenty of wiggle room or I made a little joke before about wobble room.

Dr Mary Barson (21:32)  There's a bit of wobble room. 

Dr Lucy Burns (21:35)  Yeah, the wobble room is normal and healthy. You don't have to be a stick. So we just need to keep mindful of that and when we find ourselves changing the word weight loss for health, they're not as I said, there's sometimes some parallels but they're not always the same thing. So gorgeous ones, we want you to be HOTIs. We are HOTIs - Healthy On The Inside. We just had T-shirts made we'll be showing them soon. healthy on the inside T-shirts. It is truly what we embrace as part of a feeling good and the whole point of being a hottie is two reasons one for future you so that you can live out this glorious life that the last third of your life can be lived in a way that is easy without pain without medications without suffering, but also actually for current you because when you're healthy on the inside, you have energy, you're not tired. You are not bloated, you do not feel blah.

Dr Mary Barson (22:40)  Nobody wants to feel blah, blah is bad. 

Dr Lucy Burns (22:44)  No, we want to feel huzzah. So Blah to Huzzah is exactly what we want for you. Alright, gorgeous ones. Take good care of yourself this week, and we'll be back very shortly. Bye for now!

Dr Mary Barson (23:00)  Bye beautiful HOTIs!

Dr Lucy Burns (23:05The 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.

DISCLAIMER: This Podcast and any information, advice, opinions or statements within it do not constitute medical, health care or other professional advice, and are provided for general information purposes only. All care is taken in the preparation of the information in this Podcast.  Real Life Medicine does not make any representations or give any warranties about its accuracy, reliability, completeness or suitability for any particular purpose. This Podcast and any information, advice, opinions or statements within it are not to be used as a substitute for professional medical, psychology, psychiatric or other mental health care. Real Life Medicine recommends you seek  the advice of your doctor or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Inform your doctor of any changes you may make to your lifestyle and discuss these with your doctor. Do not disregard medical advice or delay visiting a medical professional because of something you hear in this Podcast. To the extent permissible by law Real Life Medicine will not be liable for any expenses, losses, damages (including indirect or consequential damages) or costs which might be incurred as a result of the information being inaccurate or incomplete in any way and for any reason. No part of this Podcast can be reproduced, redistributed, published, copied or duplicated in any form without the prior permission of Real Life Medicine.