Joyful Movement

Joyful Movement

17 January 2020

In the Non-diet approach "exercise" is called different things. One of the names I love is "Joyful Movement". This encapsulates the idea that we can find activities that we love, that make our bodies feel alive, energised, vital. Often people feel that to lose weight they must exercise, do XXX calories per day at the gym, coupled with restricting food calories. But in most cases these regimes leave them feeling exhausted, depleted and demotivated because all their hard work is not translating to weight loss on the scales.

Many clients say to me - "I'm eating XX calories and exercising XX hours per day, yet haven't lost weight (or have only lost XX kgs)" or "I regained it straight away once I went on holidays/ over the weekend when I had family over/went back to normal eating...

This is because the bodies natural response to severe restriction of calories is to go into starvation mode - that is - to slow down all bodily process to conserve energy.

Hair stops growing, finger nails stop growing, you won't make neurotransmitters so you won't be in a good mood, your energy will be low because your body will give the little energy you have to keeping your heart muscle pumping (after all - we want it to keep pumping and it goes non-stop regardless of us choosing what activities we do. i.e. We can choose to walk around, but we may not have much energy for our leg muscles to walk around - yet our heart still has to keep pumping - our body will direct energy to our heart preferentially and not to our leg muscles).

Our brain needs a constant supply of glucose (around 120g per day just to function), so if we don't get this from the diet, we will start to make glucose - but we make glucose from protein, and we usually make glucose from stored muscle. We can only eat so much protein per day, so weight loss often comes from muscle loss - which really is the last thing we want to lose, because after we break the diet we now have less muscle (AKA, metabolically active tissue or, the tissue in our body that burns energy), so we end up having a slower metabolic rate. It is one of the main reasons we put on weight quickly after the end of a diet (and often more).

Severe calorie restriction sends messages to our thyroid that we are in "starvation" so we start producing less thyroid hormone - slowing down our metabolic rate as well - we may not end up with clinical hypothyroidism, but we definitely slow down our thyroids. This completely makes sense from a survival perspective - through the ages we've experienced so many famines and as a species we would have been wiped out had we not been able to slow down our metabolisms somehow. It's just not helpful for us now!

The non-diet approach is an approach that teaches normalised eating. It is definitely supportive of weight loss - but in a gentle, realistic and sustainable way.

Sadly the biggest risk factor for developing an eating disorder is dieting, and the most common eating disorder is Binge Eating Disorder. At the heart of Binge Eating Disorder lies dietary restriction. I truly believe that if we are going to seriously, genuinely and compassionately help people with weight issues (that may also include eating disorders) we need to be honest about a number of things:

* Weight stigma in our society

* Acknowledge our own weight biases

* really understand that dieting is detrimental - no matter how you look at a diet - whether it be fasting, restricting a food group, cutting out whole food groups, limiting foods after certain times, counting calories/points/macronutrients.... A diet is a diet is a diet...!!

* start to think about the problem differently (Einstein: definition of insanity - "doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results")


How Can We Help Kids Feel Safe During Bushfires?

How Can We Help Kids Feel Safe During Bushfires?

10 January 2020

With numerous bushfires still burning across the country, our stress levels as a community are high. Even those of us not in immediate danger are upset about what’s happened and worried about what lies ahead.

Our kids are not immune to this. 

As adults, it can be hard to know how to keep our children feeling safe when there’s danger around them. We can’t just pretend it’s not happening, but what can we do or say that will actually help?

Normalise: Let children know that any anxiety they’re feeling about the bushfires is understandable and a normal response. When there’s a threat, their amygdala kicks in, and that means it’s working as it should be.

Empathise: Your kids might be a bit clingier than usual, they might have big reactions to things or need extra help with things like getting to sleep. Even though you’re probably managing some hard feelings yourself, try and meet them with understanding. Acknowledge the bad things that are happening and how your kids are feeling about them.

Empower them: Help your kids to understand where the fires are in your region by showing them fire maps, visiting the government websites for guidance together, and developing your escape plan together. Not knowing what is happening is scary, having (age-appropriate) information is empowering. Just like adults, kids will be a bit less worried if they feel prepared.

Be aware of what they’re seeing and hearing: While it’s good for kids to have some information about what’s happening, it’s better if you can manage how they get this. TV news and radio reports are probably going to be overwhelming, upsetting and unhelpful. Remember, they’re made for adults, with our understanding of context and perspective.

Help them take action: Even little things like writing notes and drawing pictures for families impacted by the fires, supporting a request for practical assistance or coming up with a way of raising funds will help your children channel their feelings into something positive and productive.

Be their safe place: Most importantly of all, you can help your children by being their safe place. You don’t have to pretend that you’re unaffected by it all, but it’s good if you can let them know that you’re always available to comfort and reassure them regardless. Tell them they’re not alone, you’re in this together and you have a plan.

We hope this helps you and the children around you. To those who have already experienced losses of lives, homes and community in these fires, our thoughts are with you and we’re holding space for you and what you’re going through. From our families to yours, our sincerest condolences. 

Credits - Parent TV and Neurochild Community


Welcome to 2020!

Welcome to 2020!

3 January 2020


And so it is 2020..


Welcome to the first Collective blog for 2020. (As a side note, can you believe it is 2020?! Where did the last 20 years go?! Back when we were worrying about Y2K, and as per our recent post, dreaming of flying Jetson’s cars!)


We have quite a few new followers on our social media, so I thought the New Year might be a good time to introduce myself and tell you a little bit more about the Collective. My name is Tanya, and I have been a Psychologist in Dubbo for what feels like a lifetime now (especially when I am realising it is 2020 already!) The Collective first started in 2016 as a small group of women in allied health who were passionate about improving access to services in Dubbo and the West, and making sure rural families could access collaborative multi-disciplinary services in the same way city families could (without all that travel!) Fast forward 4 years and the Collective has evolved in many ways, but still has the same core values at heart. Reflecting back on the last 4 years, I cannot wait to see what 2020 has in store for the Collective..


New years tend to symbolise fresh starts, new goals, new opportunities, and renewed energy to tackle all of the above. If your social media looks anything like mine, it has been filled with people reflecting on their 2019 (as well as their past decade), and setting their goals and resolutions for a fresh start in 2020. It sounds as though 2019 has been a big year for a lot of people! Seeing all of these posts has had us reflecting at the Collective. Like most, there have been plenty of ups and downs, but we are trying to focus on what we can be grateful for as we wrap up the decade.


A lot of people in the country have had a very tough end to 2019, and a very tough start to 2020. Hundreds of people around the country have lost their homes, their properties, and even their lives. Firefighters have spent months battling the most intense bushfire conditions our country has ever seen. Our farmers continue to battle the worst drought conditions ever seen, without an end in sight. It saddens me to see the way these events are leading to stories that focus on blame and accusations. If there was ever a time to band together and show kindness, isn’t it now?


On a much more positive note, it has been amazing to see the way rural communities have been uniting during the drought, and the support being shown by our city friends. Campaigns like #buyfromthebush have brought a smile to many faces. There have been powerful collaborations between a number of rural women that have highlighted the resilience of many despite these relentless conditions. Let’s hope this can continue in 2020 (also – please rain!)


For us at the Collective, 2020 is also signifying a fresh start, and bringing with it loads of enthusiasm and energy. We have some pretty exciting things in store this year, including some fairly major changes to the services and programs we have on offer. We can’t wait to share more.


Until then, Happy New Year. Here’s to a happy, healthy, and productive 2020 (with just a little bit of sparkle).


x Tanya



What are we aiming for with Intuitive Eating?

What are we aiming for with Intuitive Eating?

27 December 2019

What do we aim for with Intuitive Eating?

Many people come to me hoping to lose weight - but is that actually what they really want?

I often ask my clients - "Do you want to lose weight and keep worrying about what you eat and what you weigh OR do you want to improve your relationship with food, stop worrying about food, weight and body and eventually be at peace?"

Interestingly nearly everyone - actually I'd say everyone - chooses the 2nd option. But the way to reach the 2nd option is through learning to listen to your body, hear what it wants to eat, when it wants to eat, how much it wants to eat - and give it to it. And that is learning to eat Intuitively. It is not obeying a diet plan given to you by someone else, or taken from a book, or printed off the internet - because how on earth can anyone except you know what YOUR BODY needs or wants on any one day.

My role as an Intuitive eating counsellor is to help you trust your choices and to trust that what you are hearing from your body is OK. I also help you block out the noise from diet culture and analyse that all those messages from the multi-trillion dollar industry are just designed to keep making you feel miserable - so you keep buying their products, so THEY keep making money.

And this is where NOT WEIGHING is a vital part of the process. To be a truly non-diet dietitian - any weighing initiated and supported by me is counter productive to the process because it not only reinforces the idea that who you are as a person is not good enough right now as you are, but it reinforces the idea that weight loss is a behaviour and you can control weight loss. You can't!!! It also can encourage you to restrict your eating and nudge you back into dieting behaviours and not LISTEN to your body again, when what we're trying to do is get you to listen to your body. If you get on any scales - I don't care what - BIA, body comp, fancy scales that measure fat, muscle, water - whatever - they all encourage you to focus on the wrong thing - your body/body shape/body fat/body weight, rather than behaviours that are helpful to improving your health. Weighing encourages people to restrict food to lose weight, rather than eat food to nourish their body - and ultimately results in bingeing and usually weight gain - so is ultimately counter-productive.

It can take multiple months before people see "measurable" progress with Intuitive eating - usually 3-4 months before clothes feel loser - because the first few months are about trusting that all food is available whenever you want it, and discovering what foods you actually really like. But after that phase is over then my clients settle in to enjoying the foods they really like and their bodies start to find the shape and weight they are meant to be. They find new energy they didn't have before, and they start to want to do exercise/movement.

It is slow-ish, but it's a life-long sustainable approach. And because the body isn’t forced to lose weight, one’s self-esteem isn’t tied to reaching and then staying at a random or arbitrary number that you, me, another health practitioner or some equation has suggested you should be.

That's not to say that exciting changes don't start straight away. Clients often come back after their first session and say "I can't believe I spent SO MUCH TIME thinking and worrying about what I should eat!" This is because they are now listening to their bodies and eating what their bodies want them to eat - and ironically it's not chocolate, chips, lollies, cake, doughnuts.... But rather - (some real examples) - a ham and cheese sandwich, sushi, rice paper rolls, corn and a Thai chicken curry. I've had to talk through with people how these foods are not "bad", but how their internalised "food rules" have made them view them as "bad" and has consequently made them think these foods are dangerous.

So when it comes to Christmas - It's just another day, with party food. And we can eat a bit and feel satisfied and know that all that food will be available tomorrow, the next day, next week, next month if we so desire it. The desire to gorge is gone because we allow ourselves this food without guilt, without shame, without remorse... It's just food.

It's not good, bad or otherwise...

Because since when did food have a moral value?


Christmas Craft

Christmas Craft

13 December 2019

It’s that time of year to bring out our creative spirit and create cute Christmas craft for our children to enjoy.

Craft is a weekly activity within my household, although within the festive season I love to expose my children to a variety of creative art activities to get them excited for Christmas. AND why not expose them to a variety of educational opportunities; developing their colours, shapes, following instructions, listening skills, developing their vocabulary and most importantly having fun and developing social relationships.

It is also perfect opportunity to provide lots of opportunities to practice speech sounds and/or vocabulary development 🎅

Paper Cup Christmas Tree!

All you need is:
🎄Green paper cups
🎄Gold glitter paper
🎄Star paper punch
🎄Buttons, pompoms, beads, or sequins
🎄Craft glue or hot glue
🎄Ornament string
🎄Thumbtack and/or knitting needle
🎄Jingle bells (medium)

This little paper cup Christmas tree is a perfect handmade Christmas ornament for home or the classroom.

Check out the below link for step by step instructions on how to create some fun Christmas craft 😊

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