Diet Doctor Podcast #32 — Jen Unwin
Welcome to the Diet Doctor podcast
with Dr. Bret Scher.
Today my guest is Jen Unwin.
Jen is a clinical health psychologist
with the National Health Service in England
and also runs a group coaching program
with her husband David Unwin
where they focus on low-carb nutrition.
Now Jen is an expert at dealing with people
with chronic health conditions
and helping them have hope
and I think that’s one of the big messages
of this interview;
that she really finds instilling people
with the message of hope helps success.
And we talk about
a lot of the challenges people face,
because let’s face it,
life doesn’t go on a straight line.
Behavior change is hard,
nutritional change is hard
but it certainly can be done.
And we just have to be able to prepare
for what the challenges may be
and understand how to overcome them
and keep coming back
to the message of hope.
And I think that’s the big take-home
from this interview with Jen Unwin.
She doesn’t have products to sell,
she doesn’t have websites to visit,
but you can see her on Twitter
and she just has
a wonderful message to spread.
So I hope you will enjoy this interview
and if you want see the transcripts
or see any of our prior podcast episode,
you can find us at DietDoctor.com.
Enjoy the interview.
Jen Unwin think you so much for joining me
on the Diet Doctor podcast today.
Well here we are, at Low Carb Denver
and you gave a wonderful talk
with your husband.
And the teamwork sort of
between you two
even though you don’t work
in the same office,
the concept of the teamwork doing the
medical side and doing the behavioral side
of just behavior change/dietary change.
Give us a little bit of your background
and tell us how you got into this
working with people
with health problems
and helping them
with their behavior changes?
So I’m trained as a clinical psychologist
but I specialized in helping people
who’ve got long-term health conditions.
So that’s something I’ve done in the NHS
for the last 32 or 33 years now.
And I’ve got a particular interest
in the role of hope
and trying kind of
to enhance people’s hopefulness
for the effect that they can have
in their own lunch really
to improve their well-being
and the quality of life
even in the face of conditions
that they endure.
As we know, these days there are lots
of people living for many, many years
with chronic pain or diabetes
or other disabilities
that maybe limit their lives in some way
or challenge their quality of life
and that for many, many people
make daily life a struggle.
So I suppose what I’ve dedicated myself to
is understanding how to help people
to live well
and to have some sort of hope and
positivity in their lives.
So the way that I’ve kind of tried
to think about that
is drawing a lot of influence
from the positive psychology literature,
which I find fascinating which is about
the role of things like hope and optimism
and being goal-focused and what difference
that can make to people
and then how to sort of have
those conversations with people
in a way that’s helpful and empowering.
And I use an approach called
solution-focused that comes from–
historically kind of began in the States
actually as a form of family therapy
in a place called Milwaukee and it’s been
around for quite some time now.
And it’s used in education and social care
as a form of therapy,
as a kind of conversation
which focuses relentlessly on the person
and their own personal goals
and their own personal strengths
and so on
to enable them to do that, to move
in a direction which is right for them
and is more hopeful and positive for them.
So that’s kind of quite a long answer.
It’s a good answer.
I like how you talk about hope and positivity
because it’s clear that
when you have a medical condition
that weighs on you every day
that you seem like you can’t escape,
whether it’s chronic pain,
whether it’s depression, whether it’s obesity
or trying to manage blood sugars or
something and you are not seeing progress
hope is really the first to go.
And far too often people
just throw their hands up in the air.
And part of the problem is the message
sometimes they are getting from doctors too.
Is it your fault?
You know, you just need to be better
and to have the willpower.
So I can see our hope will disappear.
So how do you–?
What’s the first interaction like when
somebody is sort of in despair
and kind of feels like there is no hope?
How do you get them
to start to see the light?
I know there’s probably
a lot of answers to that
but if you have like a take-home message
for people about that?
Yeah, so my first question
when I meet someone,
apart from kind of the niceties,
is always, “What are your best hopes
for us working together?
If you look back in six months-time
and you think well, I am so glad
I went to that appointment…
Because obviously people have lost hope.
Not many people want to come
and see a psychologist really.
You probably choose to do that,
you know, you make yourself vulnerable
and you don’t know
what the person is going to be like,
what they’re going to ask you…
So I always say, “Oh, you’ve come today.
“Obviously you are hoping for something
to be different or better.
Tell me about that.
And that’s always
the first really detailed exploration
which is around… if they can…
I mean sometimes I see
even a real struggle for people…
that they’ve got so low and hopeless
that there is a real struggle to think about
what might be different
and what might be better
because they’ve lost the sense that there is
much possibility of that.
Or they are probably never taking
the time to think
about what success would look like,
because they’ve given up on it.
So just asking them the question to visualize
what their success would look like
and explain it to you
is probably a tough job for them.
Now some people take that immediately
and can tell you quite clearly
so that’s kind of a proportion of people.
But others say there are other people
who really struggle with,
so you have to spend quite a lot of time.
And even sometimes the first and even
the second appointment
might be around
the sensitive kind of exploration
of what better might look
like for them.
And trying to get– I think what you said
was really important…
was almost like a visualization
of what that might look like.
And that’s a really powerful thing.
Once people start to be able to imagine that
in their minds
and picture some kind of sense of better
or sort of preferred future,
that’s when the magic begins really…
When somebody can picture that
in their minds.
And also sort of the inner critic
that so many of us have,
like I am just not good enough,
I just can’t do it in, I’m not strong enough,
I mean do you have to have people sort of
address and attack their inner critic as well?
Yes, so I think as human beings
we are kind of–
I always say to people
we are sort of prone to notice
the negative or the threats in a situation.
And that’s why we are here, because our
ancestors were really good, you know,
looking out for threats or negative stuff.
So we’re kind of prone to that
and yes as we’ve said,
people get very dispirited,
people will be very critical and they notice
all the things that they can’t do any more,
the things that are causing them more pain,
they will tend to focus on that.
That’s human nature.
So the approach that I take
is really through the kind of questions
that you are asking people,
is directing their attention to other things,
shining the light on other things
and trying to train them to do that.
And you do that through the kind
of questions that you ask.
So, sensitively asking, when did you have
even a slightly less bad day
or tell me about a time
when just for even a few minutes
you weren’t thinking about the pain?
So you have to ask very sensitively
because people are suffering
and you have to acknowledge that…
But tiny glimpses, if you like, I often say,
like in a grey sky…
are there any times when there’s just
the tiniest little bit of blue?
Tell me about that.
Let’s kind of unpack that.
When they had a slightly better day
and they tell you about it,
what made the difference, what was
going on that was different that day
and trying to be a real kind of a detective.
I bet you notice a change
in their behavior,
maybe even how they are sitting,
or their facial expressions…
I bet you notice a change
when they do that.
You are absolutely right.
You know, people will sit up
or they will kind of smile.
And also is the practitioner.
You are really watching out
for those tiny signs yourself.
And that’s the other thing,
shining the light on that.
So I often say to people, I ask them about
their slightly better day,
I’ll give you an example
of a slightly better day…
People often say things like,
“The grandchildren came around
“and you know, that made me laugh
because I got distracted by–
They were messing about something
and that was really nice and…”
And I say, “I notice you smiling…
you are smiling when you talk about that.
Your eyes light up
when you talk about that.”
And you can really dig down into that
and emphasize it
and kind of shine a light on the things
that are exceptions
to the rule of everyday
as suffering 100% of the time.
There is a lot of talk
nowadays of finding your “why”
or finding your meaning
and it’s become almost a sort
of a grab-bag term
that people just like to throw around,
but there’s a reason it’s popular,
because connecting to a goal,
especially at times of difficulty
can be very powerful to help motivate you
and a lot of times it is.
The joy of the grandkids
or just being able to exercise more,
spend time where you can concentrate
on your loved ones
and not worrying about
your own problems.
I mean whatever the goal may be, I think
connecting with they can be so powerful.
So do you help people sort of find that
I guess you have little tips you give people
of how to reconnect with the goal
and how to reconnect with the “why”.
Yeah, again you’re absolutely right.
If you can understand the person’s values
or the things that are important to them
and often that comes out
in these kinds of conversations.
So again using that example
I might then reflect to the person,
“It sounds like family
is really important to you.”
You know, we say tentatively
but probably that interaction is telling you
when they tell you that their grandchildren
have kind of made them have
a slightly better day.
Yeah, family is really important.
And exploring those kinds of values
and as you say goals
can also lead into, you know,
how can you get more of that in your life,
how can you use maybe
the reduced energy that you have
because people with chronic conditions
often have a much less energy
to spend during the day
and they often feel that they have
to spend it on things they should do
like their jobs
and you know, the kind of things
that don’t bring much joy to their lives.
So I try to encourage them
to notice the times when
they are living their values if you like
and do more of that.
Yeah, that’s a good point.
They are probably not going to get a lot
of this at a general doctor’s appointment
that they are seeing for their pain medicines
or for their diabetes medicines.
The system just isn’t built for that
here in United States
and I assume in England as well.
So it really takes someone like you,
someone with that expertise,
with the time, with the caring and the
knowledge to kind of bring it out of them.
Is that the case?
Well, I would say kind of yes and no.
So maybe somebody
with that specialist skill and training
might be the right person for somebody
if they’ve got very, very low
and depressed and hopeless,
maybe that’s the right thing to do.
But I also think as you saw as we did
in the kind of demonstration
that you can incorporate these ideas
into very brief encounters
even in a hospital where you’re making
you can incorporate some of these ideas
into those very brief encounters
if you have that kind of mindset yourself
where you are asking people
those sorts of questions.
I think you can and David does it
in his 10 minute appointments.
I think if you’ve got extended contact
yeah, maybe it’s only 10 minutes
but that may be every week
or you know, in a hospital setting
you can then build up quite a good rapport
I guess that’s a great point.
You can think of it
as like an hour appointment
of sitting down and going through
all the different things that your feeling
and your goals and your challenges,
or if you only have
a 10-minute appointment
simply asking, “Tell me something good
tell me a victory you had
or a time you felt great.”
Just that one question – it could take
30 seconds or a minute,
but just that one question
can make a big difference, right?
Or tell me about, you know,
the proudest achievement in your life
or anything like that
that’s going to improve somebody’s sense
of confidence about their own abilities
which they’ve often lost, haven’t they?
Exploring how people got
through difficult times.
You know, they may be telling you
about a very difficult experience.
You know, a question like,
“How did you get through that?
“How did you do that?
Did any good come out of that and all?”
Those kinds of questions.
Right, reminding them that
they’ve overcome challenges before.
They’ve done it before
and they can do it again.
And so you mentioned before
about setting goals,
because achieving goals can be a very
powerful positive influence.
And we talk about long-term goals
and short-term goals.
So how do you help people kind
of framework their goal-setting
to have that positive feedback?
And not sort of get bogged down in the,
“I haven’t lost my £50,
my pain isn’t completely gone yet”,
and thinking about the negative,
but rather turn them
to the positives of goal success.
So we talked about in the first
or the first conversation with somebody
establishing what better would look like
and then I usually get
into a sense of scaling that.
So I present it as, we’ve talked about
that your best hopes would be around–
you know, maybe that our maybe having
more energy to play with the grandchildren,
maybe have a goal of taking them
on holiday or something,
whatever it is for that individual…
if that was your 10 out of 10,
that absolutely would be brilliant for you
and not to have 10 where actually
absolutely none of that thing exists
or it feels completely impossible…
where are you now?
And nine times out of 10
people don’t say zero actually.
Nine times out of 10 people would say,
“I did spend an hour with the grandchildren.
“I was able to play a game of snap with
them or something
and you know,
maybe I am a two or a three.”
And that again already gives people
a sense of progress.
They’re not at zero.
That’s a different case.
If they say zero
you kind of go down a different road.
But two or three, okay,
that’s really interesting.
Maybe if you were
a three and a half.
Tell me about that.
What would that look like?
They say, I don’t know,
I’d take them to the park.
They will come up
with something themselves.
The fact that they’ve come up
with it themselves means it’s kind of doable
because they’ve generated it themselves
you already know
that they’re contemplating
that they could actually do that.
So you have to say to the person,
“Go and do that” or “What is the next step?”
It’s not about the means if you like,
it’s just asking, “What would that look like?”
And nine times out of 10 they do usually
go away and do that thing.
Not always, but quite often.
And because you’ve not said to go and do it
if they come back and they haven’t done it
is not a failure.
So you’re never setting someone up
because if they come back
and they have done it that’s fine,
but they might say, “I didn’t do that
but we did–
People go away
and have complicated lives,
so I think the trouble
with setting specific goals
is that sometimes
people can’t achieve them.
Yeah, I like the idea of having them
come up with the idea,
framing it in a positive way and that gives
them the idea to go out and do that.
I think that is a good approach.
And then when you see them
the next time
you can say, “What’s gone well
since we last met?”
So what’s better?
And people start
with something negative actually
but usually will come up with something
that has been better
or they may have done the thing
that they said that they were noticing.
And you can say,
“10 out of 10 is where you’ve been.
“Last time we met you were at two and a half.
“What would you give
yourself today and why?
And what else is going well?
What else have you noticed?”
Now one of the big interventions
that we talk a lot about with lifestyle
change is nutrition.
There is a whole lot to lifestyle change
but nutrition is a big part of it
and in this community specifically
the low carb lifestyle
which we’ve seen
have so many potential benefits.
But is not always so easy for people, is it?
I mean in the keto community,
in the low-carb community,
you hear a lot about success,
you hear a lot about people
but there’s a pretty large subset
that struggles for different reasons.
So tell us what you think some
of the biggest struggles you’ve heard are?
And then we can maybe talk about some
strategies to get past that.
But what are some of the biggest struggles
or the reasons why they’re not succeeding
the way they want?
So in the group that we run together,
David and myself at his practice
and the conversations
that we’ve had there,
I think we’re coming to think
that the biggest struggle is the addictive
nature of sugar and carbohydrate.
And I think that’s a really big topic
and that people can often do really well
in the beginning
and they get it
and they have great success
and then for whatever reason
they slip up
and then the struggle
is to sort of get back on track.
So I would say that’s probably the biggest
reason for the struggle or for setbacks
and then we try
and never frame that as a failure,
but just as like, “Okay, interesting”…
What were the kind of circumstances
of coming off track?
If they want to get back on track…
“You might handle that differently
next time… would you have a different plan?
How are you going to get back on track? “
And I’m sure some of the most common
reason for people slipping up
can frequently be increased stress,
a job change or a death in the family,
or someone is sick, or some sort
of an internal stressor
where then you turn to that addiction
of food and carbs and sugar for comfort.
Absolutely and I think people
have to forgive themselves for that.
I think there is another whole layout and
people are very self-critical about that
and that’s certainly going
to add to the stress.
It’s easier said than done,
but acknowledging that most people
are going to fall off the wagon at some point
and sometimes big things
are going on in life
and you have to prioritize–
and sometimes that’s the priority.
And I think that’s a good point.
When I work with people I want a layout
from the beginning;
“Look, you’re not going to be perfect.
there are going to be setbacks.”
So getting in their minds, like you said,
it’s not a failure when it happens.
It’s almost sort of an expected occurrence
but to learn from it.
So I like what you said, “How would you
do it differently next time?”
Not, why did you do that?
Why did that happen?
And also reminding people,
“How did you feel
“when you were really kind of in the zone
“or when you were really happy with
how your kind of nutrition was going?
What did you notice about yourself?”
And they go like, “I was energetic,
I was sleeping well, felt good.”
So again reminding people
of when they’ve been at their best
and try to get back to that.
How did you do it last time?
How did you do it in the first place?
How did you get
in that good place for you?
And to prepare for the same thing
to happen again,
because if something happens once
chances are it’s going to happen again.
And how would it be different?
So even like a really bad night sleep.
I think we’ve all had that
and carb craving the next day and–
And there’s evidence for that,
that it really does make people eat more
the following day.
Right, the leptin, ghrelin,
the hormones of, “I’m full”, or “I’m hungry”
are all thrown off.
And that kind of help people,
and you can say that the science will tell you
that that’s going to happen.
Well, it’s not your fault, it’s the science.
It’s your body hormones.
It’s your physiology, that’s a really
big thing I think about the whole–
the self-blame thing about the addiction.
I think it’s really– it does really help
people to label it
for some people to label it
as an addiction
so that they can say,
“This stuff is affecting my brain.”
I often say to people is,
how do we learn to ride a bike?
We fall off a lot, don’t we?
You learn to balance by falling one side
and then falling the other side.
Learning a new skill is about wobbling.
Right, great analogy.
I think David showed that graph
where the guy learned three times
and the third time did much better
and each time the oscillations
were slightly less.
So you know yet people may fall off
but I think if they can remember how well
they felt when they were doing it
and how they did it the first time
then get back on again and–
One of the other interesting things is just
the environment that you are in.
So it can be relatively easy to control
your home environment
or it can be relatively difficult
if you have kids and a significant other
who maybe aren’t
on the same program as you.
What kind of advice can you give people
to help with the home environment
to make it as risk-free as possible and–?
That’s a really good point.
–as tempting-free as possible.
is a really big one, isn’t it?
Because we know that willpower
is “exhaustible”, isn’t it?
So you get home at the end of the day,
if you had a long day at work,
and all your intentions are to go to cook
yourself this healthy dinner
and then sitting on the counter
a packet of crisps
or something someone else left there.
It’s so difficult you know when you’re tired
to kind of stick to the stuff.
So I always say to people it’s about building
those good habits
and engineering the environment, yeah.
So if you can, put stuff out of sight.
So if other people in the house
want to have it,
can you have your own cupboard
and only go in that cupboard?
Can you have your own shelf on the fridge
so that you are kind of training yourself
to have those new habits really.
So if you tend to overeat certain things
even if they might be the kinds of things
that you are allowed to eat,
like we often overeat nuts or cheese,
and maybe don’t want to…
Because quite a lot of good food
is about packaging things up
in smaller packets,
so even if you buy things in bulk then
transfer them into smaller pots.
Nuts, you can put them
in the little click boxes in portions
because it sounds like such a tiny thing
but actually psychologically you will eat less
if you are doing that
than if you’ve just got the giant packet.
They’ve done quite a few studies on that
with popcorn mostly,
but you know that people, if they have
a giant bucket, they eat much more.
Oh goodness… salted macadamia nuts,
if there’s a big bag of them, I’m in trouble.
We all have things that actually
we can’t moderate.
And that is the other thing I say to people
like, you know, that’s unique to you.
So if that’s the thing
that you can’t moderate,
well you’ve got a choice there
of maybe not buying it.
Yeah, we are on the same…
peanut butter, I can’t moderate it,
so we just don’t buy it,
we don’t have it in the house.
Have other things.
So engineering the environment,
thinking about preparation,
taking things to work rather than being
tempted to go to the canteen if there’s–
Some canteens obviously you’re going
to find would have good options,
but some places I guess is not going to be
much that you want to eat.
Work is a whole another environment
because there you have a lot less control.
At home you can tell your family,
you can set things up,
you’re going to somewhat control
but at work, you may have
to give up all control
and there is going to be candy jars and
there’s going to be cake in the break room
and there’s going to be chips everywhere.
Cake pushes yeah.
There’s nearly always some cupcake
baking person in the office
who is bringing things in.
And I think that’s another challenge.
We often talk about how you might–
you can even maybe do some role-plays
to practice how you might politely
turn down cake.
I think people socially feel quite awkward
saying no to someone who’s made them,
you know, a special cupcake or something,
the kind of taking it out of politeness.
And so trying to think how you can have
those conversations with people
in a way that you feel comfortable with.
And do you want to put that politeness
above your own health?
Yeah, all of these things are challenges.
I think all of us are still
on a learning journey.
We’ve been doing this
for six or seven years ourselves
and I think it’s still a challenge.
I like the idea of role-play
because it could be in your whole life
you’ve never said no to somebody offering
you a sweet or offering you a treat.
So when it happens you could be
very uncomfortable to do that.
So having had the experience beforehand
in sort of a safe environment
where we you can practice that
I think that’s a great idea.
And you can come up
with little phases like so…
if people offer me a sweet from a bag,
I say I’m trying to give them up
or something like that.
And when they say,
“Oh, don’t you like cake?”
I say, “I love cake, but it doesn’t love me.”
So I think you can do it
in a humorous way
or you can just be upfront with people
and say, you know, you’re really trying hard
for health reasons or trying to lose weight
and I think people are sympathetic
with that, aren’t they?
Sometimes I recommend people actually
have like a signed contract
that they have their family signed,
or maybe a coworker sign it,
sometimes people think it’s a little cheesy
and over-the-top but it can be really helpful
because then people understand
we are coming from ahead of time
and then hopefully
they will stop offering you the cake
because they know what goals are
and what you’re trying to accomplish.
I think that’s a really good idea.
Or even to have a conversation
and say, you know, I’m really trying
to achieve this for myself.
It’s really important for me.
Help me by, you know,
don’t offer me that stuff.
Asking for people’s help
I think people are–
On the whole we all want people
to be happy and support our colleagues.
And what about people who just have
the psychological barrier
to, “I just love bread.
I just love pasta I just can give it up.”
But yet they have had
some success with low-carb,
but they keep falling back because it’s just
kind of a core of who they think they are.
How do you help them get over that?
It’s difficult, it’s really difficult.
I think going back to, you know,
what their ultimate goals are.
So it’s having that kind of motivation
for a sort of future goal
where maybe we can get over that hump
of trying to give something up.
I think explaining about addiction,
I think that that’s important.
The other thing is about what else
have they got in their lives that they love
that isn’t food related.
So that is always a conversation
I have with people.
Because if there’s a food addiction issue
we know that that hijacks the dopamine
pathways and other neurotransmitters.
And dopamine really
strongly links with motivation,
but what it does is it makes you just
motivated for that one thing,
you are getting all your reward from food.
So let’s name that and let’s think
where else you might get rewards
or kind of pleasurable brain experiences.
So what hobbies or, you know–
physical activity is actually a big one.
Not necessarily for weight loss
but to enhance people’s mental health
and I think that has a really powerful effect
if you just get people even walking.
We know, all the science is there,
for mental health and exercise.
And to get those kind
of good endorphins going.
What hobbies have they maybe given up
either due to their size or pain or whatever?
But what kind of things might they enjoy,
social connectedness, you know,
all of those things are other ways
of getting that good feeling.
Right, if you’re taking something away
that they’re used to
getting that dopamine rush
or that good feeling,
you can’t just take it away
and expect success
without replacing it with something else,
hopefully something healthier.
Yeah, building up and again moving
towards that kind of life that they want.
Are there other struggles
you see people go through,
other sort of common themes that come up
that you address with people?
The kind of struggles and the kind
of perennial questions we get in the group
would be exactly as you say, like at work
what do I take if I’m travelling?
How do I deal with that?
And it’s all about planning…
Yeah, the addiction side of things,
falling off the wagon.
What else does the group talk about?
I guess those are probably
the big ones I would say.
And then as you see in progress,
as you see them have hope,
I mean I assume you just see
a tremendous amount of success.
Yeah and the group is lovely.
And the other thing is celebrating success
obviously as you go along.
So you saw the photo
of the lady with the jeans
so we often encourage people
who’ve had either noticed something
about their health, their well-being
or they’ve reached their goal.
We encourage them to share that
because it inspires other people.
There is nothing so inspirational than seeing
someone else who you identify with
who lives in your community
who might be the same age as you,
you know, doing amazingly.
And quite a few people in the group have
been doing it for five or six years now,
so one or two people are still losing weight
after all that time
or who have lost really
a significant amount, six or seven stone,
and they are occasionally bringing their
photos to show the new people
who always are obviously blown away.
And for that person to be the example,
to be the shining example of success,
that must just lift them up.
So hopeful for the people coming in
but so fantastic for them as well,
because then that becomes part of their
kind of own view of themselves,
as a success, as an inspiration
to other people, you know,
they can see how far they’ve come.
I know there can be a lot of goals but
weight loss frequently is one of the big goals.
And weight loss rarely goes
in a straight line.
There are ups and downs
and ebbs and flows.
So let’s talk about stalls;
people like to talk about stalls.
“I was doing great and then
I stalled on my weight loss,
I started to gain a few pounds.”
What goes through your brain
as sort of a checklist
to help this person figure out why they
stalled and how they get past their stall?
That’s right and usually it’s about thinking
about… have things been creepy?
Like we were saying about the nuts and
the cheese and those kinds of things,
have they actually been drifted–?
Carb drift is another thing, isn’t it?
The little things that are creeping
in like maybe the old biscuits at work,
that kind of thing.
The other thing I think that David often
brings in is the time restricted eating idea.
People really get that because it explains
a lot about physiology to the patients
and the idea of trying
to keep insulin low
and not needing to eat breakfast
and there’s all the evidence now
for the kind of window eating.
So I think that can be a kind of a second
phase for people
who want to get used to the idea
of the whole nutrition side,
then they can start reducing the window.
But also David always
is really against snacking
because again that can creep up.
So I think if you can base your daily routine
and not kind of an endless grazing…
again there’s evidence of that
because of the insulin side.
And snacking frequently is more
of a psychological issue
than our biological hunger issue.
Feeling a bit where, you know,
you kind of fancy a treat…
We have all been kind of trained
into the snacking thing.
Sometimes it still blows my mind
how far this is from
the sort of conventional wisdom
that we all grow up with,
which is, you know,
eat little and often, eat low-fat.
I’m sure that takes
quite a bit of education too
just for people to understand
that what they’ve heard
and what they’ve been taught for decades
actually isn’t necessarily
the right path to success.
And there’s an emotional response
to that I think.
I had one myself which was–
I can’t believe all those decades
of kind of struggling to do that and–
There was this speaker yesterday
who said about blaming themselves
for not being successful in that
whilst being successful
in other areas of your life, you know,
and having like a whole area
that was a struggle the whole time.
Well, you know, when you find out
you didn’t really need to struggle,
there was a response to that
and having had family members
who definitely would have benefited
I know for sure that my mother
would have been so much more well
because we have basically
the same sort of physiology.
Kind of, you, there is an emotional response
and people have that
as well in the group.
So how many people do you work with
at once in your group?
The numbers are kind of creeping up
over the years
because we never say
people can’t come back.
And they often bring–
what we like is for people to bring
a family member if they wish to.
So maybe the person is just the shopping
and the cooking
and we often find that they obviously
are losing weight
as well as other members of family,
neighbors and so on.
So some people often brings with them
so we definitely need a bigger room.
The standing room only is– some
of the groups we’ve had
were, you know, 20 to 30 people.
Started off as only a few.
But we are still getting
a good interaction as well
and people are sharing success,
asking questions, sharing recipes.
I’ve got a little Facebook group
for them as well.
I’m sure that shows
the power of community,
the belonging to the group,
having other people to share the experience,
share the struggle, share the successes.
I mean I’m sure that goes a long way
for lifting hope like you were saying.
Yeah, definitely and, you know, the fact
that people are still engaged after six years
is a great sign
that they are finding it helpful.
I think the long-term support is important,
either through online communities
like Diet Doctor
or through finding a local group
or just doing it with someone else.
I think that that does really help.
Right, it’s not like just a six-month thing
and then all the challenges go away.
It doesn’t work that way;
the challenges continue for years but–
Once a sugar addict,
always a sugar addict.
You know, it’s only like the same struggles
people have with drug and alcohol.
Those are lifelong struggles,
but there are
ways to keep on the bicycle.
Right and it’s great to see
the long-term success
so I’m sure you must feel very, very full
and very joyful
to see all the success
that you’re helping people to have.
It’s really uplifting
to see the differences.
I’m sure you feel the same,
you know, to see the difference
it makes in people’s life.
Someone who has been
and taking lots of medication
and feeling unwell
to then see them, you know,
jogging around town
and really enjoying their life.
Yeah, that’s special.
Thank you for joining me today,
I love the message of hope
and the message of success
and how we can put that out to people
to show them that yes, this can be done
and yes, you can do and here is how.
-It’s a wonderful message.
If people want to learn more about you
where can you direct them
to hear more about your thoughts
and what you’re working on?
I guess the other videos…
There’s a bit of stuff
on diabetes.co.uk as well.
Thank you again for joining me;
it’s been a great conversation.
Thank you, I enjoyed it.