Where Did My Motivation Go? Reflections on major social change and isolation

As a health professional operating throughout the covid-19 pandemic, I had the chance to make some interesting and perplexing observations of both myself and my clients. I found the advent of social isolation and restrictions a fascinating study in human behaviour. For example: How many people have done the opposite to what they thought they would do, given more time away from work and other people’s influences, especially with health goals? How many have reverted to old habits or even established new ones that didn’t exist before e.g. having a sneaky drink every night to unwind or eating foods that they would normally avoid? From my observations, I would say the answer is ‘oodles of people’. One of the consequences we have seen is a surge of weight gain in the population, we even cheekily refer to it as the dreaded ‘covid-kilos.’ These reflections are not a judgement, but simply a prompt for further questions on why this is the case for so many people.

On pondering these questions, I have come up with two likely explanations:

  1. The lack of opportunity to forward plan and set goals undermines our capacity to stay focussed and on track. When our ‘goal posts’ are taken away, it begs the questions what do we aim for? What is the point if there is no measurable outcome or achievement to gauge the end point? Also, and possibly most importantly, why do it if I don’t need to, who will hold me accountable, who will even see me or notice? This leaves us with the proverbial ‘if a tree falls in the forest’ scenario, if there is no one there to perceive what has happened, it makes us question whether it really matters what choices we make for ourselves.
  2. Stress overrides all. The biological process of our stress response can have us going into survival mode for self-preservation and the protection of loved ones. The choices we make under these circumstances are often far different from ones that we would make in a privileged situation where we are purely aiming for optimal health. Furthermore, the psychological and mindset obstacles that exist within us will inevitably trip us up and hijack our efforts under stressful circumstances, if left unaddressed.

In an earlier blog, I outlined the many obstacles to weight loss. As we have noticed the ‘covid-kilos’ creep on, I thought it was a great time to expand the discussion on the psychological and mindset obstacles.

“Self-limiting thoughts, catastrophic thinking, emotional or situational triggers, lack of accurate education and lack of support to implement solutions are all very real obstacles to weight loss.”1,2

Self -limiting thoughts, could also be described as self-sabotage and putting mental restrictions around what you think you can achieve. Some examples of internal stories that people tell them themselves could be that: you are “destined to fail”, you “haven’t been able to maintain motivation before”, “nothing has worked in the past”, your health “is too complex”, you are “too far gone” or “in the too hard basket”, you are “not worthwhile focussing on”, you “do not have the time / resources / will to focus on your own health” and the story of “nurturer” who is so busy focussing on supporting everyone else rather than themselves.

Catastrophic thinking is the old chestnut that everyone has likely experienced, whereby if you make a poor choice for your own health, you’ll continue doing it (and worse) because you figure that you’ve ‘blown it’ anyway. This thought process might sound something like, “I have mucked up already, might as well make the most out of it and write off the rest of the day” (or week…or month). This catastrophic thinking could be in relation to food choices, but also other habits including alcohol consumption, smoking and other recreational drugs.

Emotional or situational triggers can often correlate with eating problems. Note that when I say ‘eating problems’ this includes eating disorders like bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa, but also includes disordered eating behaviours like deliberately skipping meals, lack of control over eating, binge eating, emotionally compensating with food and obsessive thoughts around food and exercise.3 Common triggers might be boredom, sadness, perceived stress, hormonal mood changes, certain times of the day, financial stress, family stress, trauma related stress, non-supportive people, but also social pressures like wanting to fit in with the group during celebrations, gatherings or eating times. People that have diagnosable mental health disorders, such as anxiety, depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and addiction disorders are likely to have additional challenges in implementing weight loss strategies.4,5 World renowned researcher, author and public speaker Doctor Pamela Peeke (MD) has stated that women that have had perceived trauma in their past have a 90% increased risk of an addictive eating pattern6,7 This is an extraordinary and compelling statement to contemplate. It is also backed by research studies that show people who present with disordered eating report a history of traumatic event/s in 80- 98% of cases8,9 , the likelihood of an eating disorder in adulthood also increases with the number of traumas a young person is exposed to.10 We seriously need to consider the impact of sexual abuse, physical abuse and/or the abuse of a close role model when assessing the difficulties and obstacles to achieving optimum health in both women and men. Also, to not discount the death of a significant person, dysfunctional family environments involving drug abuse, incarcerations, separation and divorce in people’s histories as a driving factor for dysfunctional eating behaviours. None of these traumatic events are easily overcome or dismissed. Self-destructive eating behaviours may only be the tip of the iceberg, symptomatic of a more significant underlying cause, requiring much greater support and acknowledgement than just the implementation lifestyle changes.11

If some of these psychological and mindset obstacles are starting to ring a bell for you, maybe it is worth considering that there is more to your issues than meets the eye. The psychological barriers are the ones that we often must overcome and keep working on over a lifetime to maintain any positive results that we have gained and not keep rebounding into old negative habits. Over my twenty plus years of being a Naturopath with a special and personal interest in weight maintenance, I have observed that the psychological aspects of people have been key contributors in compounding weight issues.

So how do we set health goals in the context of stress, lingering restrictions and future uncertainty? Sometimes it is just by putting one foot in front of the other and making some short-term goals as they appear, however small they are. Additionally, by inviting some routine back into life using gateway behaviours like exercising and establishing regular sleeping, eating and relaxation times, you would be opening up the pathway for better health outcomes. It is useful to support that process as needed with detailed professional advice and coaching, and of course mental and emotional assistance by health professionals that are qualified to do so. Getting the additional professional support that you require is a key to success because it:

  • provides a way to gain clear information and guidelines, plus external acknowledgement, accountability and feedback for you to define your particular issues and aims
  • helps to monitor your progress in achieving short-term and longer-term goals through standardised assessments
  • helps refer you to other services that are more specialised for your needs
  • helps you to reassess your goals along the way using realistic timeframes, so you can continue to do well.

While motivation and focus may have waned across the board recently, now is the time to reflect, take stock and edge towards a healthier version of yourself. Remembering to be kind to yourself and seek help through that process.

Written by Emily Grieger – Naturopath.


1.Fuemmeler BF, Dedert E, McClernon FJ, Beckham JC. Adverse childhood events are associated with obesity and disordered eating: results from a U.S. population-based survey of young adults. J Trauma Stress. 2009;22(4):329-333.

2.Kelley CP, Sbrocco G, Sbrocco T. Behavioural modification for the management of obesity. Primary Care. 2016;43(1):159-175.

3.Grieger E. Obstacles to Weight Loss. Des Lardner’s Organic Natural Health Clinic. 2020 Mar 4. https://deslardnerorganic.com.au/obstacles-to-weight-loss/

4.Rajan T, Menon V. Psychiatric disorders and obesity: A review of association studies. J Postgrad Med. 2017;63(3):182-190.

5.Grieger E. Obstacles to Weight Loss. Des Lardner’s Organic Natural Health Clinic. 2020 Mar 4. https://deslardnerorganic.com.au/obstacles-to-weight-loss/

6.Peeke P. Obesity: Science and Challenges. Presentation at the 2018 International Congress of Natural Medicine, Pullman and Mercure Melbourne, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia. 2018 Jun 9.

7.Mason SM, Flint AJ, Field AE, Austin SB, Rich-Edwards JW. Abuse victimization in childhood or adolescence and risk of food addiction in adult women. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2013;21(12):E775-E781.

8.Mitchell KS, Mazzeo SE, Schlesinger MR, Brewerton TD, Smith BN. Comorbidity of partial and subthreshold ptsd among men and women with eating disorders in the national comorbidity survey-replication study. Int J Eat Disord. 2012;45(3):307-315.

9.Tagay S, Schlottbohm E, Reyes-Rodriguez ML, Repic N, Senf W. Eating disorders, trauma, PTSD, and psychosocial resources. Eat Disord. 2014;22(1):33-49.

10.Hemingsson E, Johansson K, Reynisdottir S. Effects of childhood abuse on adult obesity: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Obes Rev. 2014 Nov;15(11):882-93.

11.Breland JY, Donalson R, Dinh JV, Maguen S. Trauma exposure and disordered eating: A qualitative study. Women Health. 2018;58(2):160-174.

5 Tips For A Better Night’s Sleep And Faster Recovery During a Cold or Flu…


No. 1. Try a CPAP Humidifier

When you have a cold, the air blown into your nostrils by your CPAP machine can be unbearable.

A heated humidifier helps relieve dryness and congestion by heating the water in your machine. Even without a cold, your CPAP therapy may be enhanced by using a heated humidifier. Many CPAP machines now come with a built-in humidifier. You can also use humidifiers that attach to your machine or a stand-alone humidifier in your room may provide relief.


No. 2. Use a Full-Face Mask

Using a nasal mask during a cold may be uncomfortable. Especially if your nose is blocked, you’re more likely to breathe through your mouth which will affect your CPAP therapy.

A full face mask allows you to breathe through either your nose or mouth and is more comfortable during a cold compared to a nasal mask or nasal pillows.

If you suffer from allergies or regular colds having the option of a full-face mask is worth the investment.

Important to know also when to replace your mask and this is generally 6 to 12 months and headgear just as often, there are 5 signs to tell when your CPAP mask needs replacing:

  1. Not feeling as refreshed as you would normally or your therapy results are decreasing;
  2. The mask’s seal, which covers your nose and mouth, is originally clear and strong however with regular use becomes discoloured and does not provide a sufficient seal.
  3. Waking up with a dry mouth sometimes can be a sign that your mask needs replacing as air leaks cause a fluctuation in the mask’s air pressure and your mouth opens to compensate.
  4. If the mask becomes loose, because of overtightening and the pressure may leave temporary grooves or irritation on your skin.
  5. If the elastic is torn, worn out or lost shape which occurs overtime due to sweating, movement, tightening and cleaning. Replace your mask.




No. 3. Change Your Sleeping Position

Raise your head with extra pillows or a wedge pillow will assist you greatly especially if you have postnasal drip that can build up and make your throat sore. If it’s comfortable to do so, try sleeping on your side if your nose is blocked.

Sinus pressure improves when your head is higher than your body.


No. 4. Try Decongestants or Nasal Sprays

Cold and flu tablets or nasal sprays can help keep your nasal passages clear.

There are lots of over the counter cold and flu tablets. Make sure your symptoms match what is listed on the box.

It’s best to ask your GP/pharmacist about the right medication to relieve your symptoms. Here at Des Lardner’s Organic we can also provide a range of products that may assist.




No. 5. Change Your Air Pressure

You may need additional air pressure as part of your CPAP therapy if you have a blocked nose.

An easy way to do this is to use an auto-adjusting CPAP machine.

Traditional CPAP machines blow a single flow of air whereas an auto CPAP machine uses algorithms to blow pressure at automatically regulated intervals.

Auto CPAP machines only blow the minimum pressure needed to keep your airway open while you sleep.

 If you suffer from colds regularly or you have seasonal allergies it may be worth investing in an auto CPAP machine for a more comfortable night’s sleep.

You may be tempted to take a break from CPAP when you have a cold. The good news is that you don’t have to. Following these simple tips not only helps you endure your CPAP therapy with a cold, it will also help you recover more quickly. Remember to clean your CPAP machine thoroughly during and after your cold.

If you require assistance during this phase don’t hesitate to call Sleep Therapist, Julie Rees or Des Lardner, on ph: 03 53 827 766.


Probiotics and Immunity

Up to 70% of your immune system is located within your gut, therefore taking probiotics can directly influence your immune system and strengthen your defenses against cold and flu.

Studies show probiotics confer protection against bacterial, viral and pathogenic infections in a number of ways:

  • By managing inflammation,
  • By directly killing or neutralising pathogens,
  • By managing the overgrowth of pathogenics or opportunistic bacteria by competing for space,
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus (NCFM®) strain interacts with specific immune cells which help to module the immune response,
  • Bifidobacterium animalis ssp lactis (HN019™) and Lactobacillus rhamnosus (HN001™) both improve natural killer cell activity; natural killer cells recognise and kill the cells in someone’s body that have been infected by viruses or tumours.
  • Bifidobacterium animalis ssp lactis (HN019™), Lactobacillus rhamnosus (HN001™) and Bifidobacterium lactis (Bi-07) improve the activity of phagocytes, such as neutrophils and monocytes, which are like Pac-Man and protect the body by engulfing bacteria and dead or dying cells.

Not all probiotics are the same.

Probiotics have long names to identify exactly what type of organism is in your supplement. The first name is called the genus of the bacterium, and is most commonly Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium. The second name is called the species (e.g. acidophilus), the species narrows down the bacterium class but clinically doesn’t give you enough information. The most important part of the name is the strain; the letters and/or numbers at the end of the name (e.g. NCFM®). This tells us exactly which probiotic was used in clinical studies, and ensures you have that exact same strain in your supplement to mimic a similar treatment outcome. Probiotics can help to manage a number of different conditions such as allergies, mood, diarrhoea, constipation, leaky gut, cardiovascular disease and infections. Therefore, it is essential that you choose the correct strain for you and the health condition you are aiming to treat.

In combination with a strain-specific probiotic we recommend a plant-based diet. Plant-based diets containing a large variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grain fibres every day ensures you are consuming a diverse range of prebiotic foods to feed your probiotics and support a healthy microbiome. Other microbiome enhancing foods include cultured and fermented foods such as yoghurt, kombucha, sauerkraut and kefir. In a consultation we may also prescribe the additional prebiotic herbal medicines high in polysaccharides like Slippery Elm, Guar Gum, Astragalus and Codonopsis.

To find out which strain-specific probiotic supplement is right for you to support your immune system this Winter, contact our staff or book a personal consultation with one of our qualified practitioners.


Written by Ebony Jordan, Naturopath



Move your body, Calm your mind – Part 2

So how did you go? Was it easy to delve through the clutter of your life and decide what you want moving forward?

One way that we have been doing this at Evoke Kinesiology is through movement and meditation. Two groups of people have joined forces and every day they are active in some way and take time to meditate. Each person has an accountability partner and what has been born is something so beautiful. A group of people – bettering themselves. No judgement, no pressure, just commitment to themselves and THEIR one precious life.

These groups were created to encourage and support people in being the best version of themselves. Because to make the best decisions for our lives – we need to be the best version of ourselves. And we cannot be the best version of ourselves when we are living life for others, not moving, living in mind chaos and are knee deep in addictions, conflict and unhealthy habits.

It’s simple. Our minds don’t work properly if we don’t look after our bodies that house them! So we need to do habitual practices that support our mental and physical health – which in turn will support all other aspects of our lives.

And in the groups the results have been astounding.

‘I’m making time for me’

‘I feel whole again’

‘I can breathe again’

‘I consider myself as a person’

‘I feel safe to be me’

‘I feel connected’

‘It’s ok to be vulnerable’

‘I deserve to love my life’

‘My body loves to move – and my head loves me more for loving my body too’

‘I unconditionally matter’.


Wow. And these are your everyday people you see walking down the street. That had lost that they too were important.

It’s allowed everyone to decide what they are taking with them in their backpacks.

‘No more ‘busyness’’

‘The importance of taking ‘time out for me’

‘Connecting to others’

‘Saying no’

An understanding in the strength of having a community of raw, honest, genuine and true people

‘A decision to leave the ‘fixing’ and ‘dragging’ of others behind’

‘I’m slowing my mind post Corona’

‘Put effort into making REAL friendships’


At the beginning, these practices brought up all sorts of fears, judgements and excuses. But each person kept delving, kept moving, kept meditating. Because they trusted that it was the road to being the best version of themselves. The countless academic papers and research on the positive benefits of movement and meditation can’t all be wrong? Can they?

And when you work on yourself, some cool stuff will happen. Some people around you will be inspired and jump on board, others will drift off into the distance – because they don’t vibe with you anymore, and others will find their way into your life and birth relationships you could never have dreamt of. But it will all feel right, and it will flow. The ‘heaviness’ and torment out of decisions will go.

We are souls in a human body. We have to look after our human body. It is a vehicle for movement. It is the key to a healthy mind.

So please. Do what you have to do to ensure a healthy mind and body. Spend the money you need to spend. Take the time you need to take. Because I assure you – you will find a reward no greater than that of a life lived for you. That is probably one of the most important aspects of mental health – looking after you.

Arnna Pickering

Move your body, Calm your mind – Part 1

Move your body, Calm your mind – Part 1

Last week I wrote about Self Sabotage and provided some suggestions of how you can support others going through this. But what about you? What do you need?

On April 16, I wrote a post on my Facebook business page (Evoke Kinesiology) asking everyone to take time to stop, think and decide what they want to take into their world post – Corona. Have a read:

And now we sit. And we wait.

In a portal.

Where we get to decide.

We get to decide what we take with us. Into our new life post virus.

We entered this portal with so much baggage. Unhelpful, life hindering, mentally draining baggage.

The world was going too fast.
The “busyness”
The lost connection with our inner sanctum – within our homes.
External happiness and Internal anguish.
Always “doing” and forgetting to “be”.
Old programming and new “must haves”
Ineffective communication. Anger and fear in our voice.
Ancestral trauma and Mental illness.
Physical illness and Stress. Oh so much stress.
Toxic relationships and Emotional manipulation.
Procrastination. So much procrastination. Avoidance and. Disconnection.
Life dissatisfaction.

We forgot what really mattered. Became clouded with our own crap.

For some – it feels like their world is imploding. For others – it’s a chance to stop. Either way we are being called to sort our crap.

What an amazing opportunity.

So now beautiful human you get to choose what’s going into your backpack? What are you taking forward?

Are you going to keep communicating the same as you’ve always done? Even though it ends in frustration, tears and pain? Or are you going to finally work through why you have this as your automated setting?

What toxic relationships do you need to lovingly say goodbye too?
What relationships do you need to embrace and been thankful every day for?
Which friends have shown their true colours and been with you through this challenging time? Is there room for them?
What family patterns/trauma are you ready to rid yourself of?
What passion do you keep putting off? Is it time to reconnect?
What are your new and heart felt priorities for you and your little family?

We get a chance amazing souls – to start again. Walk through to our new normal with fresh eyes and a fresh start.

So sit in this portal with purpose. Break down your walls. Deal with your crap. And just like Dora, pack your bag with what matters most and how you want to this one precious life to be.”


So how did you go? Did you feel uncomfortable whilst reading any of that? Did any thing or person pop into your mind as you read the reflection questions?

Through this pandemic we have been gifted a golden opportunity to slow and work out what we want moving forward.

Time to: De-schedule. Delve. Decide.

Wipe the calendar clean. Sit in the clutter of our lives. And decide what we want to take with us.

Next week, I’ll share with you what we have been doing at Evoke Kinesiology to help determine what we want moving forward. But in the meantime – sit down with a pen and paper and answer the questions above. What do YOU want for you? No one else. Not your family, not your kids – Just you. Remember – if we base our life on doing life solely for others – we breed resentment.

So go on. Sit. Delve. And Decide.

Self Sabotage part 2

Talking about it – Part 2

Last week I started to touch on the notion of Self Sabotage, the recurring patterns that stop you from living your best life. If you haven’t read it, pop back and check it out before reading on! It will make a lot more sense!

So think about your own life. Is there a recurring pattern that you keep falling into? That doesn’t help you, but is more powerful than your own health, wellness and happiness? Maybe you have a rouge self sabotage program floating around.

You see, in the past this program or sabotage somewhat protected you. It turned on your survival instinct and was rooted into your mind as what you had to do to survive that situation and any similar in the future. So time and time again when you are ‘triggered’ by a similar emotion or situation – your body goes automatically into that program again. Helpful or not, it’s just what happens.

Let’s say you were a young boy, age 7. Life at home was tough, your Dad abused alcohol as did his own Father and would yell each night at you and your siblings. One day you went to school and your teacher asked you why you were sad. So you told her about your father and his behaviour at home.  The teacher visited your parents to have a talk- she was concerned for your safety. That evening your Father hit you, yelled and locked you outside – from that point on, your young mind decided that it was a survival need for you to never speak about your feelings to anyone, ever again. So, naturally as you age, you don’t speak of your feelings. When people ask you to share how you feel, you freeze up, and whilst this isn’t the most appropriate response now, the sabotage program is strong and it stops you from responding. Your relationships fail because of your inability to talk. And in some cases, it’s not that you don’t want to speak – it’s that you feel paralysed and you cannot.

And unfortunately, the world is full of people just like this. For whatever reason they don’t feel safe to express how they feel. In some cases the thought of reaching out is more painful than the thought of checking out. And checking out happens in many forms – addictions including drug and alcohol, scrolling, social media, food, exercise; relationship infidelity; avoidance of communication; workaholics; making money; co-dependent relationships; emotional projection; blame and lack of responsibility. And the irreversible form of checking out – suicide and death.

So, how does knowing this help us encourage people to seek help?

It gives us awareness and understanding.

For some, like me, I find speaking out easy, but for others – it is the most challenging thing around.

So this is what you can do to help others feel comfortable to seek help; because I can most probably guarantee they have some sort of sabotage program floating around in their mind that creates paralysing fear towards speaking out:

  • Make the environment safe. When people do express any emotion – whether it good or bad, listen. Don’t judge and definitely don’t fix. They don’t want to feel even more broken than they are. They have never felt listened too. Please just listen. The more you listen, the more they will feel confident to keep sharing their emotions. Eventually this may lead to them asking for support.
  • Build them up. People with strong sabotage programs, already have a long list of self-deprecating thoughts and actions. They don’t need us to add to it. Focus on their strengths – there are a lot of them. Ignore the negatives (unless it is dangerous to yourself or others, then please do what you need to do to distance yourself).
  • Work on your own stuff. We all have ‘stuff’ to work on. Recognise your own self-sabotaging behaviours. If you can, understand the emotions that lead to that behaviour and where that behaviour may have come from in your past. If you find this challenging, it may be helpful to get support from a therapist. Aim to work on you, so you can lead a better life – and who knows you may inspire others to follow.
  • It’s not your story, it’s theirs. Stay in the passenger seat, you cannot fix, you cannot drive. This is their journey.
  • Worried? If you at all worried about their own personal safety, or the safety of others – please contact 000 for support. Do not hesitate on this. I have called countless ambulances throughout my personal and professional careers, and not once has the person turned around and been annoyed with me for doing so.

Managing sabotage programs is but one way we can help ourselves and others live the life we desire and deserve. So right now, instead of thinking who else might ‘need’ this – do some self reflection – what sabotage programs may you have? And most importantly, what are you going to do about them?

Take Care




Self Sabotage

Arnna Pickering

A born and bred Mallee girl, Arnna has worked within the health industry since she was 15 years old. With a Science, Nursing and Public Health background – Arnna specialised in child and youth mental health for ten years before becoming a Kinesiologist and opening her own practice, Evoke Kinesiology, after the birth of her son. As a Kinesiologist, Arnna guides you, in a non-intrusive way, to identify and help you work through all that is stopping you from living the life you want – from pain, to emotions and more. Arnna is real, raw and honest and is committed to taking the stigma out of mental health.

Talking about it – Part 1

For me, one of the biggest barriers towards people willingly talking about mental health – is the term itself.

In your mind say the two phrases ‘mental health’ and ‘physical health’. What do you feel when you say them both? What are your thoughts?

For the majority – the following exists:

Physical Health – is just that. Health and wellness for your physical body. It isn’t either good nor bad. It just is. These words don’t evoke any fear, anxiety or stigma.

But Mental Health – this phrase can be quite polarising. Still, today, the term mental gets attached to other words like ‘psycho’ and ‘mad’; and it is also used as a label for emotional outbursts – ‘oh my goodness, she just went mental’.


Maybe it’s because people can still recall the mental asylums that existed until the mid 1990’s. Places where those with mental illnesses were cared for. On the large, they weren’t warming and inviting environments and have been depicted in media as ‘clinical, cold and ghastly places, with corridors full of screaming and moaning inpatients’. Not at all a positive picture huh?

So for me, it makes sense that one of the reasons people avoid the topic of ‘mental health’ – is because of the stigma attached.

Now, couple that with the archaic cultural and societal belief that if you show any mental and/or emotional vulnerability then you must be weak and soft and not able to ‘handle’ life.

So, see why we have a boiling pot of mental ‘un’wellness.

Now be a bloke, it’s even harder for them. Because ‘boys don’t cry’, ‘just suck it up’ and ‘stop being a sook’. Get the drift?

Mental health is hard for people to talk about it. And there are many reasons why.

Whilst the ad campaigns, the ambassadors and the not for profit organisations are doing a phenomenal job in encouraging people to speak out – it just doesn’t seem to be reaching everyone.


Because sometimes, those people that need mental health support have internal programming that stops them from accessing it. Maybe they’ve been told as a young person ‘we don’t talk about family stuff out of the family’, or they’ve witnessed their Mother being taken away to hospital because she ‘lost her mind’, or the gender roles within their family have dictated that ‘at all costs you provide the income’. Additionally, there may be ancestral trauma, frozen emotions, sub-personalities, adrenal stress, co-dependency and let’s not forget fear; paralyzing fear.

The reason why someone won’t speak is very rarely because they are lazy – it’s because the fear of speaking out is greater than any perceived benefit gained from talking. And in Kinesiology terms, this is what is known as self sabotage: when despite the path that you need to take for your own health and wellness being crystal clear – you do the complete opposite – and it keeps happening time and time again. People sabotage themselves and their lives daily. And mostly without knowing. It can happen in all aspects of your life – from eating to relationships, communication and exercise – not just in regards to seeking help.

Want to know more about this – pop back next week for Part 2!

Obstacles to Weight Loss


The struggle is real for those grappling with weight issues. If I could have a penny for every time some ‘normal weight’ but well-meaning person has said “it’s simple to lose weight, all you have to do is eat a balanced diet and exercise”, well I’d be a millionaire by now. The reality is that it is not as simple as that for many people and there are so many obstacles to weight loss. Some of these obstacles are well known and others not so much. My motivation for writing about this topic is personal, in that I’d like to see that the myths and stigmas about weight management are dispelled. Additionally, I think that even commonly held knowledge about the topic requires some rethinking. For example, I don’t believe that the solution to weight loss is as simple as calorie restriction and this is confirmed by current research.1  I’d like to open the subject for discussion in the hope that it may help to offset the misunderstanding and judgement that being overweight is ‘your own fault’ and solely your responsibility to fix. This unhealthy and inaccurate mindset can become a deeply held belief in the psyche of those who are overweight that they are ‘guilty’, ‘lazy’, ‘helpless’ and ‘lack self-control’. These thoughts can become a soul-destroying, negative thought pattern that is absolutely counterproductive to the process of finding optimum wellbeing.2 There are such a variety of factors working against those individuals, internally and externally, many of which they have very little chance of controlling, especially if they do not have someone to help them identify and understand their own particular obstacles to weight loss.

Over my 22 years of practice I have heard so many people’s stories where they genuinely have tried so many methods for losing excess body weight without lasting success. In fact, some of the most self-disciplined and fit people I know carry extra weight and struggle with maintaining it. Unfortunately, this is a difficult for those without this predicament to accept and understand. When you stop to consider how complex this all is, it is no wonder that there is so much confusion around the topic.

If you are not yet convinced on the complexity of this problem, some key issues that can be obstacles to weight loss include, but are not limited to:

  • Carbohydrate intolerance / Insulin resistance – this may be experienced as fluctuating blood sugar and hunger levels, sleepiness after eating, weight gain particularly around the waistline, fatigue especially while exercising.3
  • High stress / Cortisol imbalance – this may present as feeling anxious or ‘on edge’, having higher blood pressure and poorer sleep.4
  • Poor thyroid gland function – some symptoms of low thyroid function include thinning hair and eyebrows, intolerance to cold, low libido, poor concentration, weight gain, difficulty losing weight despite efforts to do so, fatigue, dry skin and constipation.5
  • Female or male hormonal changes and imbalances – some instances when hormonal changes will negatively affect weight loss efforts include: testosterone deficiency in men and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.6,7
  • Poor sleep – long term poor sleep patterns can change the way your body uses sugars (decreases insulin sensitivity), can increase stress hormones and disrupt the Leptin cycle (important for appetite control)8,9
  • Toxicity – some types of chemical exposures have been linked with obesity and hormone disruption, they are collectively named “Obesogens”. Some examples of obesogens include: Persistent organic pollutants (chemical that have been used in agriculture such as organochlorine pesticides, DDT and PCBs), plastics and plasticisers (BisphenolA, phthalates) and flame retardants (Polybrominated diphenylethers) and there are many more.10
  • Gut and/or liver dysfunction – The liver is the organ that processes fats, waste products, toxins and therefore is critical for effective fat regulation. The state of your microbiome (gut bacteria and microflora) can influence your body weight. For instance, the presence of certain gut bacteria may influence what food choices you make, as shown in recent studies! A good variety of gut bacteria can improve insulin sensitivity, whereas low diversity has been linked to conditions like metabolic syndrome which is often characterised by excess body fat.11,12,13,14
  • Inflammatory conditions and processes – inflammation can occur generally, as well as in specific areas of the body. If inflammation is ongoing, it can lead to changes that impact body weight regulation. This would include conditions like osteoarthritis, metabolic syndrome, autoimmune conditions, type 2 diabetes and thyroiditis.15,16
  • Genetic factors – there have been certain gene variants that have been associated with an increased risk of being overweight or obese. There are also epigenetic factors (i.e. gene changes that have happened after conception and over the lifespan) that can modify genes to make a person more prone to weight issues.17
  • Physiological differences – there is an increasing amount of research evidence to indicate that there is a mechanism in many overweight individuals to preserve their own fat mass i.e. your body recognises a certain weight to be your ‘norm’ and will alter your responses to keep it there. This physiological mechanism will keep individuals at a high ‘set point’ for their weight and slow or stop them from losing extra body fat.18,19,20

We also must be aware that there are multiple psychological and mindset obstacles to weight loss. Self-limiting thoughts, catastrophic thinking, emotional or situational triggers, lack of accurate education and lack of support to implement solutions are all very real obstacles to weight loss.21 People that have diagnosable mental health disorders, such as anxiety, depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and addiction disorders are likely to have additional challenges in implementing weight loss strategies.22,23

Moving passed your obstacles can be tricky business, but the first step in this process is to find out what they are! It is important if you identify with any of the issues above that you get accurately assessed by your doctor and healthcare professionals. They will be able to guide you towards investigations and tests that may need to be performed for a proper diagnosis. Importantly, they will take into account your results, symptoms and health history and be able to interpret all of that information for you. Naturopaths may suggest further functional tests, alongside your medical assessment by your doctor. It is essential to get the help you require for identifying your weight loss obstacles and then to use that information to come up with a plan to address these obstacles. You may be suggested to consider specific prescription medications, dietary and lifestyle changes. It is useful to support that process as needed with detailed nutritional advice, herbal medicines, coaching, ongoing monitoring and emotional support. A key to success is having a plan with goals and time frames in mind, implementing these changes as you can, getting the additional professional support that you require for your specific obstacles and reassessing your goals as you reach them. Remember that there is no quick fix solution that will last a lifetime! In identifying your own obstacles to weight loss, there is an opportunity to seek individualised advice and to find realistic ways to get to your health goals.

written by Emily Grieger – Naturopath.

  1. Schwartz MW, Seeley RJ, Zeltser LM, Drewnowski A, Ravussin E, Redman LM, et al. Obesity pathogenesis: an Endocrine Society Scientific Statement.Endocr Rev. 2017 Aug 1;38(4):267-296.
  2. Hunger JM, Major B, Blodorn A, Miller CT. Weighed down by stigma: how weight-based social identity threat contributes to weight gain and poor health. Sc Personal Psychol Compass. 2015;9(6):255-268.
  3. Volek J. The Cardiometabolic benefits of a low carbohydrate/ketogenic eating plan. The 2015 International Congress on Natural Medicine. Melbourne, 06/06/2015.
  4. Ferris HA, Kahn CR. New mechanisms of glucocorticoid-induced insulin resistance: make no bones about it. J Clin Invest. 2012 Nov;122(11):3854-7.
  5. De Lange P, Cioffi F, Silvestri E, Moreno M, Goglia F, Lanni A. (Healthy) ageing: focus on iodothyronines. Int J Mol Sci. 2013 Jul 4;14(7):13873-92.
  6. Huhtaniemi IT. Andropause-lessons from the European Male Ageing Study. Ann Endocrinol (Paris). 2014 May;75(2):128-31.
  7. Peeke,P. Obesity: Science and Challenges. The 2018 International Congress on Natural Medicine, Day 1. Metagenics. 2018 June 9;1:127.
  8. Brady EM, Bodicoat DH, Hall AP, Khunti K, Yates T, Edwardson C, et al. Sleep duration, obesity and insulin resistance in a multi-ethnic UK population at high risk of diabetes. Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2018 May;139:195-202.
  9. Taheri S, Lin L, Austin D, Young T, Mignot E. Short sleep duration is associated with reduced leptin, elevated ghrelin, and increased body mass index. PLoS Med. 2004 Dec;1(3):e62.
  10. Darbre PD. Endocrine Disruptors and Obesity. Current Obesity Reports. 2017;6(1):18-27.
  11. Volk BM, et al. Effects of step-wise increases in dietary carbohydrates on circulating saturated Fatty Acids and palmitoleic Acid in adults with metabolic syndrome. PLoS One. 2014 Nov21;9(11):e113605.
  12. Alcock J, Maley CC, Aktipis CA. Is eating behaviour manipulated by the gastrointestinal microbiota? Evolutionary pressures and potential mechanisms. Bioessays. 2014 Oct;36(10):940-9.
  13. Suez J, et al. Artificial sweeteners induce glucose intolerance by altering the gut microbiota. Nature. 2014 Oct9;514(7521):181-6.
  14. Andreasen AS, et al. Effects of Lactobacillus acidopholus NCFM on insulin sensitivity and the systemic inflammatory response in human subjects. Br J Nutr. 2010 Dec;104(12):1831-8.
  15. Hotamisligil GS. Inflammation and metabolic disorders. Nature. 2006 Dec14;444(7121):860-7.
  16. Kim JA, Montagnani M, Koh KK, Quon MJ. Reciprocal relationships between insulin resistance and endothelial dysfunction: molecular and pathophysiological mechanisms. Circulation. 2006 Apr 18;113(15):1888-904.
  17. Den Hoed M, Loos RJF. In: Bray GA, Bouchard C, Boca Raton FL eds. Handbook of Obesity. CRC Press. 2014;1(3rd ed):105-119.
  18. Schwartz et al. Ibid.
  19. Speakman JR, Levitsky DA, Allison DB, Bray MS, de Castro JM, Clegg DJ, et al. Set points, settling points and some alternative models: theoretical options to understand how genes and environments combine to regulate body adiposity. Dis Model Mech. 2011 Nov;4(6):733-45.
  20. Rosenbaum M, Leibel RL. Brain reorganization following weight loss. Nestle Nutr Inst Workshop Ser. 2012;73:1-20.
  21. Kelley CP, Sbrocco G, Sbrocco T. Behavioural modification for the management of obesity. Primary Care. 2016;43(1):159-175.
  22. Rajan T, Menon V. Psychiatric disorders and obesity: A review of association studies. J Postgrad Med. 2017;63(3):182-190.
  23. Hemingsson E, Johansson K, Reynisdottir S. Effects of childhood abuse on adult obesity: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Obes Rev. 2014 Nov;15(11):882-93.


The G-O with Keto- Myth Busting the Ketogenic diet

What is the ketogenic diet?


The ketogenic diet, commonly known as ‘keto’, is very-low carbohydrate, high-fat diet that encourages the body to metabolise fat for energy instead of glucose. When prescribing the keto diet to patients we recommend your daily energy intake from food to be consumed in specific ratios in order to achieve a state of fat metabolism, called ketosis. We recommend 50-60% of your daily energy intake (kilojoules) to come fat sources, 30% of your energy to come from proteins, and 10-20% of your energy intake to come from carbohydrates. When converting this to grams, the Standard Australian Diet (SAD) contains approximately 45% carbohydrates which equates to about 229 grams of carbohydrates daily. In comparison to the keto diet, which is restricted to as little as 50 grams of carbohydrates daily- a significant difference.

“Ketone bodies are produced as an alternative fuel source to glucose when sugars and carbohydrates are restricted from the diet. These ketone bodies can be measured via breath, blood or urine as an indicator of fat mobilization.”


This restriction of carbohydrates forces the mitochondria, the engines within your cells, to create energy from fat (in the form of ketone bodies) rather than from carbohydrates (glucose). Once your body begins to run efficiently in this fat burning state, it is called ketosis. The keto diet is one of the only diets that you can immediately scientifically measure if you are successfully achieving your goal- a state of ketosis. Urinary strips, breath tests and blood tests are available that can measure the amount of ketone bodies you are producing, so it is easier to get on track and stay on track than other popular diets. Additionally, ketosis can produce more energy per ketone body than per glucose molecule, therefore people of a keto diet often report feeling more energetic, less fatigued, and they find they feel fuller for longer.

What does the ketogenic diet look like on your plate?


I know what you are thinking, “Wow, 60% fat and 30% protein, that leaves no room for vegetables”. This is not the case. The ratios we use when we talk about the energy intake of each macronutrient doesn’t look the same on your plate…..

Below, is an example of what the keto diet looks like on your plate. Surprisingly, you can fit a large amount of non-starchy vegetables into this diet. The reason for this, is fat sources contain a lot of energy per gram, therefore your fat sources of food will look smaller on your plate, but weigh more. Compared to vegetable sources, which are often very low in energy per gram, particular non-starchy vegetables; non-starchy vegetables are typically watery vegetables grown above the ground, compared to starchy root vegetables grown under the ground. So you can still eat a good amount of vegetables on a keto diet and nutritionally receive more bang for your buck!

Visually your plate should still be made up of at least half non-starchy vegetables, a palm size of protein, and 2 sources of fats in the form of a dressing, sauce, side (like avocado or feta) or oily fish.


A keto diet is high in protein- MYTH

It is a common misconception that the keto diet is high in protein. The diet consists of a moderate amount of protein, approximately 30%, and a high amount of fat 50-60%. Too much protein can cause gut irritation and constipation in some people, and it can sometimes throw a patient out of ketosis. This is because proteins in the body can be converted to glucose for energy. Therefore if a patient overeats, it allows your cellular engines to utilise glucose for energy, rather than fat, pushing you back out of a ketogenic metabolic state.

The ketogenic diet is not safe- MYTH

A common concern our patients have about the ketogenic diet is that restricting an entire macronutrient food group could be unsafe for health. Clinically we have observed the opposite effect. We find that excessive sugar and carbohydrate consumption drives all sorts of inflammatory health conditions such as acne, IBS, anxiety, cardiovascular disease and arthritis. Recent studies have shown the ketogenic diet to be safe, and even beneficial results in the treatment of the following conditions:

  • acne
  • autism and other spectrum disorders
  • autoimmune disorders
  • cancer
  • depression, anxiety and other mood disorders
  • epilepsy
  • metabolic disorders (including polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and type 2 diabetes)
  • neurological and neurodegenerative disorders (including Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease)
  • overweight and obesity

Side effects and complications are uncommon however, constipation, reflux, and dairy intolerance-type symptoms have been known. There is also mixed evidence in those with Type 1 diabetes, and we do not recommend in pregnancy and lactation. We recommend speaking to a health professional before pursuing a keto diet.

Everyone should be on a keto diet- MYTH

No diet is ‘one-size fits all’. Depending on your constitution, body type and health concerns it may or may not be the right diet for you. There are many factors that may influence how easily an individual’s body enters ketosis. Some of these factors include; individual tolerance of blood sugars, physical activity levels, variations in the body’s ability to metabolise and ulitise ketone bodies for energy, eating windows, and total kilojoule intake. In some cases, we may prescribe additional supplements to assist the ketosis transition such as ketone salt supplementation, medium-chained triglyceride oil (MCT oil), fish oils, glucose and carbohydrate metabolism support, and protein powders. Ask your practitioner for assistance with the ketogenic diet if you are measuring ketone bodies and find you are not entering a state of ketosis.

Eating fat will increase my cholesterol levels- MYTH

Clinically we have observed the opposite effect. We find that highly refined, processed carbohydrates and sugars impact cholesterol levels in a more negative way than a ketogenic diet.  Scientifically and clinically it has been observed that in some individuals their total cholesterol levels may rise temporarily, however, when monitored over time cholesterol levels appear to regulate and reduce to a healthier ratio, becoming more protective for health. Differences may be seen however depending on the food sources one may be consuming their dietary fats from i.e. ‘clean’ or ‘dirty’ food choices.

You can eat as much fat as you want on a keto diet- MYTH

Yes, the keto diet is rich in fats, however it doesn’t give you a license to eat as much bacon, butter and diary as you wish without health consequences. As Naturopaths we see two different styles of the ketogenic diet, of which we consider a ‘Dirty Keto’ and a ‘Clean Keto’ diet. The ‘Dity Keto’ contains a large amount of saturated and trans fats like bacon, animal fat, sausages and dairy. We do not recommend this diet as studies show these foods can clog your arteries causing atherosclerosis, and increase risk of cardiovascular disease such as stroke. We recommend a ‘Clean keto’ which incorporates healthier unsaturated and polyunsaturated fat contains foods like olive oil, avocadoes, rolled flaxseeds, nuts, and oil fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines and mackerel.

If you are considering trying the ketogenic diet for weight loss or other health reasons, we recommend talking to a health professional first such as a general practitioner, naturopath or nutritionist. If you would like to know more information about the ketogenic diet or other weight loss programs we offer at Des Lardner’s Organic, please contact us on (03) 53827766.

Written by Ebony Jordan, Naturopath

Des Lardner’s Organic

  1. Paoli. A et al, 2014, ‘Nutrition and acne: therapeutic potential of ketogenic diets’, Skin, Pharmacology and Physiology.
  2. Freeman JM, Kossoff EH, Hartman AL. The ketogenic diet: one decade later. Pediatrics 2007;119(3);535-543.
  3. Weber. D et al, 2018, ‘Ketogenic diet in cancer therapy’, Aging (Albany NY), 2018; 10:164-165.
  4. Wloderak. D, 2019, ‘Role of Ketogenic Diets in Neurodegenerative Diseases (Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease)’, Nutrients, Vol 11, Issue 1, p 169.
  5. Boison. D, 2017, ‘New insights into the mechanisms of the ketogenic diet’, Current Opinion in Neurology. 30(2): pp 187–192.
  6. Samaha. F et al, 2003, ‘A Low-Carbohydrate as Compared with a Low-Fat Diet in Severe Obesity’, The New England Journal of Medicine, 348, 2074-2081.

Are You Ready For 2020?

Many of our customers are expressing interest in “New Year Resolutions”, such as, keeping well and avoiding illness. The search for “New Year resolutions” is very commendable, so this month I’ll provide a few suggestions. Some of these come from my community talks, which we often title, “How to live to 120”. To which one elderly commented “If I’d known I was going to live this long I would have taken better care of myself”.

In our clinic we stress three major areas. Good diet, good supplements and good exercise. No two persons will need exactly the same solution in each area. However, in general terms everyone should seek the best compromise, to meet their budget, in time, money and energy.

A good diet should include some “superfoods”. Super foods (or functional foods) we’d like everyone to use, every day, include: Green Tea, rolled flaxseeds, garlic, small fish, sea salt, turmeric, beef broth, red berries, yoghurt, apple cider vinegar, chia, quinoa, rice, beans and lentils, vegetables and fruit. On your food pyramid for the day, about 2/3 at least of your food should be vegetables and fruit for most people and 8 glasses of pure water should be included. We stress the need for organic food, and this is cheapest to achieve if you grow your own food, but this depends on your resources, and the size of your back yard. Ask our practitioners for our booklet “Your guide to Wellness” which gives more specific diet details.

Good supplements should be considered that are produced by ethical companies, with ingredients from sustainable sources. Good supplements will be formulated by experts, not by accountants, as so often happens with discount vitamins.

Good exercise should be exercise that’s easy to maintain wherever you are. Exercise should also contain a way to relax and have fun. Exercise shouldn’t be a chore, aim for 30 minutes fun activity most days a week. Some fun activities could include, helping a neighbour, playing with a pet, spending time in nature, playing sport in the park, going to a yoga class, watch a movie with a friend, see a comedy show, read a book, 10 minutes in the sun, or just deep breathing and meditation. All these activities add balance to our lives, reduce stress and achieve wellness. Ask our practitioners about our wellness wheel, which illustrates in diagram form, how to achieve balance in your life. That’s the key to a great New Year Resolution.

Our entire staff team wishes you good health in the New Year of 2020.