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Athlete Turned Bariatric Psychologist On
Resilience & Willingness


Athlete Turned Bariatric Psychologist On
Resilience & Willingness

Felicity Cohen: Hello, I’m Felicity Cohen. I’m so excited to introduce you to my Wellness Warriors podcast. For over 20 years, I’ve been a passionate advocate for helping thousands of Australians find solutions to treating obesity and health-related complications. Through surgical intervention and holistic managed care.

My podcast is dedicated to all the people past, present, and future who have helped shape my journey and continue to inspire me to work consistently to achieve a healthier Australia in both adults and future generations. I hope you enjoy it. Welcome to my Weight Loss Warriors podcast. My next guest is psychologist, Warren Artz.

Welcome Warren. So Warren has actually been working at WeightLoss Solutions Australia for close on 14 years and has become very specialised in the area of bariatric psychology. It’s so fascinating because what I’ve been able to see over the last 14 years is the change in perception around the role of the psychologist. In this environment, the multidisciplinary team is everything to me and to our patients in terms of what we aim to achieve in patient success, in their results.

And long-term outcomes is so dependent on having an incredible multidisciplinary team. And Warren’s been an amazing integral part of that for such a long time. So today, I thought it would be fabulous to get some insight, not just into the role of the bariatric psychologist and how it’s evolved over the last 14 years, but an incredible journey for Warren 14 years of working here and life here at WeightLoss Solutions Australia.

So first of all you started your life in South Africa. Spent 13 years in the United States. And at that stage where you were playing professional sport, you were a soccer player. Tell us a little bit about your journey and how you first actually ended up arriving in Australia?

Warren Artz: Yeah, sure. Thanks for having me Felicity.

it. Yeah, look, I left South Africa in the early nineties. I had an opportunity to go play soccer abroad, and then kind of, sort of went to America via the United Kingdom. So I had an opportunity to go there first. And so sort of soccer was my first love and you know, I’d always sort of anticipated making at least a small short career.

And so I ended up going to the United States in 1991 and stayed there for 13 years. So while I was in the US I initially got offered a scholarship to one of the universities there and managed to start a course in psychology. And so that was my initial introduction to psychology because,

you know, obviously playing soccer, I had to select something that I wanted to study and have an interest in the psychology, always interested me the most, and it’s a fascinating subject to study. It’s probably more fascinating to study than it is to actually practice, to be honest, but it’s still in both circumstances, you know, certainly enlightening for me as a, as a career.

But you know, the opportunity to play soccer sort of continued all the way through until about late 1999 when our plane went over to New Zealand. So I went from America over to New Zealand and spent some time playing over there. And then ended up coaching in California, Southern California for about four years.

So towards the end of my soccer career. So I sort of had to stop playing quite early because of a rather bad knee injury. So, but in that time I obviously I’d studied, I’d done my bachelor’s degree and master’s degree at the university of Southern Mississippi. And so I had an opportunity to at least go into the field of psychology.

And so moving here in 2003 to Australia in 2003 I simply had to go through the normal requirements as you do. And you sort of transfer all your qualifications over to another country and particularly to Australia, and that is to get the equivalent exams done or the equivalent qualifications. So I spent some time doing that while when we first moved up to Australia.

And I was given an opportunity pretty much as soon as I got out of university. I studied, I did a thesis and an honors at Bond University, and that gave me an opportunity to get registered with AHPRA and with Medicare. And and that kind of was my introduction to psychology and you know, as a profession and a good, an opportunity to work with the bariatric clinic.

And it happens to be this, this bariatric clinic. And as you know, and have you mentioned that I’ve been here for 14 years and it’s a, it’s been a wonderful 14 years and probably couldn’t have asked for a better start to my career. And one of the reasons I’m still here, I love the people that I work with and I love this clinic and and it’s very nice to see.

The journey that patients go through and then I still remain motivated to work in this industry.

Felicity Cohen: It’s an incredible industry and it’s evolved so much over the 14 years that you’ve been a part of this team. Interesting to sort of look at all of those changes in terms of how we’ve evolved our patient model, what we do with patients, how we work with them.

The lifestyle modification program in general has really grown so much. My next question though is really about. What do you think has shaped the way you practice from your own personal experience? So I know you’ve had your own health concerns, your own pretty serious kind of issues that you’ve had to conquer firstly, to become a soccer player.

And secondly, to to cope, manage and better you know, support yourself in terms of how you work and function every day. So, what from your own personal experience, do you bring to the table when you’re consulting and working with patients?

Warren Artz: Yeah, look you know, I had certainly had my own health issues growing up, you know, I was, I was, I was born deaf.

So I always struggled with hearing loss and I was very fortunate to have a good team of know good parents, first of all, and you know very willing and giving parents and loving parents. And they gave me an opportunity, obviously. Get some hearing with some specialist doctors in South Africa when I was about two or three years of age.

So they managed to, I had a treasure of the ear canal, which is basically a closure of the ear canal, ear canal is not open. So there’s no way for the sound to get to the middle ear. And so over time as I got a little bit older, they were able to drill those canals open that would allow me to get, you know, obviously to get some sound through there.

But naturally I went through, you know, the difficulty of you know, trying to maintain my education at a young age and obviously, you know, going through special needs classes and, and all that to get to a point where, you know, I could function just like everybody else. But I always had a persistence about me even at a young age to go into mainstream education and not to be held back or to be labeled as somebody who, you know, was incompetent for that, for that matter.

So so yeah, so, you know, I sort of pushed the issue a bit, then I eventually got my way and got into mainstream education. I think by the time I was probably 10 or 12 maybe 13. So, and that sort of gave me a bit of confidence, you know, in myself to believe that, you know, if I put my mind to something and, you know, I’m determined to come out at the end of it, that, you know, I will find my way eventually.

And, you know, and so that sort of gave me that experience to kind of also then tackle my next issue, which was obviously playing soccer because when I was about seven, unfortunately I got hit by a car pretty badly. So broke both my legs and lost my left kneecap in the process. So without a left knee cap at that young age, that’s obviously quite difficult, but I, I just started playing soccer and, you know as a six year old, seven year old.

And so and I absolutely loved it, you know, talked to my parents about how much I love my soccer. And there was, you know, there was nothing more important to me. At that age and all the way through, even once I recovered and you know, went through rehab, you know, and that probably took a few years as well.

But I eventually got myself to a point where I could get back on the field and I could compete. And I managed that all the way until I got to the end of high school. And unfortunately I had to have another operation on the knee and and at that stage, you know, I’d lost a lot of muscle in the leg.

And so it became quite difficult to maintain any sort of the highest standard of training. But you know, again, persisted and I pushed through because I loved the game. And and I pushed through as much as I can. I did all the rehab that I needed to do and, and I managed to go and play top level in South Africa in the national league.

And and obviously as I said before you know, managed to get over to the UK and then the USA for 13 years and New Zealand and and then to Australia and I spent a bit of time even playing here in Australia as well in the local premier league. But you know, it also had a pretty tough experience going through the military because back in those days, we had to do two years of conscription services.

Yeah, part of our citizenship requirements. And so basically I did two years in the South African air force. And you know, just kind of leaning back to that sort of persistence to sort of push through barriers. You know, they, they did tell me that when I was called up to the military, that I didn’t have to go through the, the general standardised military training that everybody goes through.

And that I could quite easily be given an office job, you know pushing paperwork around and and I flat out refused to, I think it was called the K three. So you’re either K one or K three, K one would mean that you would go out into the field and you would do everything that everybody else does and be military trained and ready and fire weapons and all that, all the rest.

And and, and K three would mean that you were basically put into an office. In an administrative type role and you didn’t have to do any of that. And yeah, and I just said I don’t really want to be classified as somebody who’s remarkably different. I’d like to do what everybody else is doing.

And I’d like to do all the military training, including the basic training and all the hard work that everybody else does. And again, that sort of gave me the confidence cause I came out of that and you know, unscathed and, you know, I had the experience that everybody else was having, especially my, my close friends.

So I wouldn’t take any of that back, but it’s certainly sort of given me some insights in, you know, to the world of psychology in that, you know, for, from a therapist point of view, because, you know, I, I believe that, you know, people are capable of amazing things. Human beings are incredibly resilient.

They just have to find that resilience and they have to find a way to, once they found it to nurture it. And and so I think, you know, my experiences have certainly paved the way for me as a psychologist. And and my, my theory is I believe in everybody and I believe everybody has that capacity.

And sometimes it might mean something as small as going to talk to somebody like myself so that we can share those experiences. Then perhaps look a little bit deeper into what’s going to work for that particular person.

Felicity Cohen: That is just the most incredible story and very powerful testimony to your incredible resilience and the mindset and mind over matter and your willingness and drive to achieve no matter what adversity you had to face over many years.

So just amazing. It’s really outstanding and astounding. And I think, you know, it’s so powerful for, for patients to learn and to hear how those experiences have led you towards probably a lot of how you think and feel and relate to your patient population every day. Even without even, even subconsciously because they shape, we’re all, you know, subject to our own personal experiences, shape how we behave, act and respond to others every day.

And I just think what an incredible story. And how valuable that is to bring into this patient population to really teach people that they can strive to achieve anything they want to achieve.

Warren Artz: Absolutely. I think it’s very important to not feel that you know, you’re a victim of the circumstances that, you know, you’ve been brought up in or, you know, that have been, you know impaled upon you.

So, you know, it’s really sort of looking at, you know, what you can do to pull yourself out of that mess and to, you know, in the realm of positive psychology, you know, be driven towards something. And I think that always helps. And I think that’s, what’s nice about the you know, the population of people that are struggling with their weight.

They did downside almost all of them want to do something about it. And so they already have that mindset to get started. Cause they’ve got an issue that is holding them back and you know, but they are willing and more than capable of getting themselves out of it. And so as I said before, you know, it’s just, I think sometimes they need people around them to also believe in them.

And I think it makes a big difference.

Felicity Cohen: What do you think is some of the common denominators that you see in the patient population that you’re treating on a daily basis that lead them to the point where they’re requiring the support of an entire team on their journey to achieve great outcomes with bariatric surgery?

Warren Artz: Yeah, look common denominators are, you know, rarely things around, you know, difficulties with, in their relationship with food. What it represents. I think all in all, when you look at the people that we see here in the clinic, they’ve lost their way to some degree, you know, they’ve been led on many paths in the past with regards to their weight, you know lots of conventional methods and diets and,

you know, exercise programs and they’re all with good intentions, but I think you know, perhaps the message is not clear in terms of what’s expected of them. And so I think one of the things that I find, particularly helpful for patients in my delivery is psychoeducation around weight loss and why it’s so difficult.

And, and. And why they put weight on, in the first place. And, you know, the difficulty is not only with losing the weight, but keeping that weight off. So having a sort of understanding around the physiological impact of, of weight loss and repeated weight loss and weight regain, for example, you know, it certainly helps them to sort of grasp, you know, where they are and, and you know, where they potentially can go with the right advice and support and guidance.

So so psychoeducation for me is a very big one because it really sort of it kind of in a way makes them feel that, you know, this is not their fault. You know, it’s, it’s probably more of a misguided journey if you would. And you know, we’re all looking for answers and we’re all looking for some sort of solution to the problem.

And so both the emotional connection to food and the psychoeducation. Those are two big things and sort of the emotional connection to food is quite an interesting one because as I explained to people that, that emotional connection is enhanced over time. So it’s not something that just happens overnight.

It’s something that is enhanced over time and it may stem from, you know, early experiences in childhood with weight problems and sort of messages conveyed from loved ones and parents, you know, that again, all with good intentions, but probably lack the appropriate delivery in that sense.

And so you know, what I’ve found is over time as patients struggle with their weight, they tend to, their self-efficacy tends to deteriorate that’s their self-worth since it deteriorate because they start to lose grasp on the things that they either once enjoyed or they see other people doing quite easily without any difficulties.

And as those things diminish it’s normal for a human being to still look for some sort of attachment some sort of pleasure. And unfortunately that pleasure tends to be enhanced through food. So, you know, as the other things drop-off, the relationship with food becomes more important to them. And so that strong emotional connection to food is something that’s a very common denominator.

And, and certainly, as I said before, you know, the the psychoeducation is something that I find a lot of them sort of tend to have a misunderstanding in terms of where they are, how they’ve got there and you know, and how they can really actually solve this part.

Felicity Cohen: Absolutely agree. And I think for so many of our patients and for all of us, at some point in time that we’re all comfort eaters, boredom eaters, stress eaters, all of these emotional kind of factors that contribute to why we choose to behave in a certain way.

And I think you know, one of the value opportunities for you is to help people build better resilience and new strategies around how to deal with those moments when they’re 5 and 10 years out from their surgical interventions. What are some of the strategies that you might look at to help someone who’s been a, a comfort, boredom, emotional stress eater?

How do they kind of learn to overcome that when they’re maybe 10 years post-surgery?

Warren Artz: So you’re talking about after surgery?

Felicity Cohen: Absolutely, yeah.

Warren Artz: Well, look, I certainly think that, you know, when it comes to surgery, for example surgery gives patients a remarkable opportunity in the first 12 months, particularly after surgery, sort of, you can probably guess sort of 12 to 18 months almost there, you know, surgery gives them, that what we call a honeymoon period in those first 12 to 18 months

to make some real concrete changes to their lifestyle. And so what I always talk to people about is, you know, lifestyle changes, don’t only incorporate eating better and doing some exercise. Now, lifestyle changes include, you know, things sleeping better. You know, obviously a reduction in alcohol intake, you know, preservatives and processed foods.

Those are just some of the things, but also about what you bring back into your life. So you know, habits that have been long lost, you know, good habits, of course, you know creative pursuits you know activity, adventurous pursuits, you know, things that like I said, exercises, games and sports and, you know you know, generally all activities, anything that’s sort of has fallen by the wayside, you know, re-introducing those things or bringing in new ones is what I sort of advocate is that,

a real lifestyle change. That’s kind of like trying to get patients to mention it in a year or 18 months after surgery, if somebody sees them for the first time, they’re almost unrecognisable. You know, they look different, they dress different, they smile differently, you know, they have an element of energy about them and you know, they’re doing different things.

So you know that they’re not the same person that that person would have met, say 18 months before. And so looking at that you know, if the lifestyle change sort of incorporates so many different things. So what I sort of try educate to patients is that, you know, in those first 12 months after surgery, that’s probably the best opportunity you’re going to have to make some wholesale changes to your lifestyle, to incorporate these things, because you’ve got something really motivating happening, and that is you’re losing weight.

And so, and you know, the weight loss is not the be-all and end-all of it. It’s a very important part of it, but it’s really what weight loss does is it’s, it’s an opportunity more than anything else, because weight loss is not going to guarantee that you are happier once you’ve lost all your weight and it’s not going to

guarantee that you’re eating the right foods and it’s not going to guarantee that you’re doing the right exercise, for example. So it gives, but it gives you an opportunity. And you’ve got to take advantage of that opportunity. So in those first 12 to 18 months, when you’ve got very effective portion control and appetite control, because of the type of surgeries that we offer, you know, you’ve got surgeries that are to a large degree, giving patients both the portion control, which can, you know, sort of around 75 to 80% but they’re also getting significant appetite control.

The removal of a part of the stomach is responsible for producing hormones associated with appetite, cravings, and hunger. So in those first 12 months, you know, you, you know, 12 to 14 months generally before those hormones start to sort of reinvigorate, if you would, you know, it’s a great opportunity for them to make some wholesale changes and to kind of look at what can I now,

given that I don’t have, it’s a stronger connection to food. Cause the cravings are somewhat subdued. The appetite is subdued. So I now have a void and I can, I need to fill that void with something. So, you know, when we talk about what’s happening 10 years later, that’s probably a little bit too, too much of a stretch because obviously so much can happen in the 10 period.

You know, but so it’s very important that we focus on those first 12 to 18 months, you know, where they are in 10 years time, we’ll probably have a lot to do with how they obviously adjust in those first 12 to 18 months. So to me, it’s really sort of looking at that and say, okay, well, if we’re going to leave a void here by eliminating or trying to eliminate the strong relationship with food, particularly the unhealthy ones.

Then we need to look at well, what are the important things that we want to replace it with? And there’s never going to be an, a better opportunity where number one, you’re motivated because you’re losing weight and number two, you’ve got a great sense of control over both your portions and your appetite.

Felicity Cohen: Thank you so much. If you can think about one patient that stands out to you in over the last 14 years, someone who’s that you can pull out of your pull out of the cabinet who, who in your mind is a real standout patient who you’ve really felt has just achieved so much that they’ve empowered you in some way?

Warren Artz: That’s a hard one because I have so many patients and I, I think I’ve seen four and a half thousand patients in my time. So it’s a very difficult one to answer because they all have such unique qualities. And you know I think. One that comes to mind you know, is the gentleman, we’ll call him Bill, you know, for argument’s sake.

Because the gentleman who’s done exceptionally well. And I think one of the things I like about Bill is that he’s come in with a range of health issues, you know, treating type two diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol. Not sleeping well, he didn’t have sleep apnea, but he certainly wasn’t sleeping well.

He’s probably surviving on, you know, on average four to five hours of sleep a night, and now Bill had some pretty unhealthy habits and not a very healthy relationship with food. And so the thing that I liked in working with Bill is he’s kind of really taken it upon himself to actually come to all his

follow up appointments, you know, face-to-face wherever he possibly can. And not missing by telephone. I think he’s been very committed. And certainly the initial weight loss has helped him and given him some motivation in that sense. But Bill is somebody who, you know, he comes into the consultation process with a bit of enthusiasm, you know, he’s, it’s almost like you get a sense that he’s yet to learn.

And I think that’s probably the right attitude for patients to have, you know, I think if you come in here thinking that, you know, you pretty much know everything because you’ve been on 20 diets in your lifetime and you’ve done them more than once, you know, then ultimately you’re going to probably become stuck.

And so it’s important to kind of, you know, look at your, look at the consultation process as an educational one something where you have an opportunity to learn a little bit more about your journey, what you’re doing, right, what you’re potentially doing wrong. And you know, and, and just where your boundaries are, because that’s really what I’ve thought about.

It’s kind of exploring those boundaries and, and using those consultations as an opportunity to really sort of take that next step to ultimately changing your lifestyle. Permanently and forever. So, so, you know, Bill’s, Bill’s one of those patients and to be fair, Bill wasn’t somebody who was carrying 60 kilos of excess weight.

I think he only had 25, maybe 30 kilos of excess weight, you know, but he’s in his sixties and he’s, you know, he’s sort of at that age where, you know, longevity is important and, you know, good health is important, you know, he’s got grandkids and obviously children as well. And so, so those sorts of things, it’s nice to have somebody at that age you know, with that sort of enthusiasm to learn more about what he needs to do and just how everybody here at the clinic can help him.

And so for me, he’s the one that stands out.

Felicity Cohen: I love that. You know, that having the enthusiasm, the positive attitude, the willingness and the drive to not just work with the team, but to learn from the team and to actually use all of that. To, to achieve so much more in his own life. And that’s what we strive for, that we really want patients to connect, to engage, to learn and to be empowered more than anything by a team of bariatric health professionals.

And I think that’s really critical here that you’re not just a psychologist. You’re a specialized bariatric psychologist. Who’s focused on this space for now, 14 years. And what patients have the opportunity to learn and to gain from that exposure to working with you is, is actually phenomenal. And I know that I’ve personally seen a huge transition in patient acceptability and understanding of how they can connect and work with a psychologist.

Whereas, you know, when I first started 21 years ago, the mindset was I do I have to pass a test? Why do I have to see a psychologist? And I think now that acceptance and willingness to work with a professional who can really support guide and teach someone to be the best version of themselves is really so critical in our system.

Warren Artz: Absolutely.

Because look, if you look back over the years, you know, initially there was this sort of that push globally, you know, to assess patients more than anything, you know, that was the initial, that was the priority was to assess the patient and, you know, and so when I initially looked at that model, I thought, well, you know, if we’re just assessing the patient you know, we’re kind of losing out potentially on the opportunity to establish a very healthy relationship with the patient because we need that therapeutic rapport.

We need that healthy relationship between patient and therapist to be able to, you know bring about change. And so that is the single most important factor in any form of psychology in any sort of treatment module. So it was very important for me to, when I looked at this and I thought, well, you know, It’s fine for us to assess patients, but really at the end of the day, we’re not turning many away and we shouldn’t be, you know, our goal is we should be trying to find a way to help anybody and everybody.

And so, yeah, so I changed the model over time and I thought, you know, it’s better that we really pushed the model to more a therapeutic one. So a more of a care model, then a clinical model. So even though both are important, you know, you’ll find that the care model is far more valuable in this patient population than the clinical one, because we’re not dealing predominantly with people with major psychiatric psychological disorders.

And even if we are, you know, we need to put ourselves in a position to help them as much as we can. And so the therapeutic model for me works better and it’s something that I’ve really sort of leant more towards over the years. And I think that also helps patients to feel a bit more comfortable about what the psychology process entails, because it’s really not a test.

It’s, it’s an opportunity for me to get to know you and vice versa. And for me to learn as much as I can about how you got here and where you’re going, what your goals are and what your aspirations are, and trying to work with you to achieve those things. And so, you know, it’s no different to, you know, I talk about this all the time and we have our you know, open nights and information seminars, and it’s no different to helping a top level sports person at the top of their game.

And it’s a for me, you know, I can relate to that sort of model a lot, because, you know, having been a sportsman myself over the years, you know so it’s just lends itself to that top sportsmen, you know, still needs help regardless of how good they are technically and tactically, you know, they still need to focus on what’s up here.

And, you know so a big part of their success, you know, is mental. And so it’s very important to kind of help patients understand that that’s the correlation. The correlation is more to a sports psychologist rather than a clinical psychologist.

Felicity Cohen: Thank you. So in the practice, all of the staff here and all of the allied health team, everybody on the, on the team here, we all establish our own personal goals, as well as our business goals for the year.

What is one of your personal goals this year? I know you love swimming. Have you got an event in mind?

Warren Artz: Yeah. Look you know, as you can imagine, you know, with my injuries and you know, my limitations, you know, I kind of look at what really interests me and what sort of really lends itself to my capabilities.

And so I love the water, you know, I always have. And I love my swimming. As much as my mother will tell me, you know, that I shouldn’t be swimming because I’m not supposed to get a lot of water in my ears. But, you know, I do, I love my swimming and I enjoy ocean swimming. So I enjoy competing in the ocean races.

You know, I think as you get older and, you know, you know, I’m sort of over 50 now, it’s, I’m sort of getting to that stage where, you know, I don’t really have a lot of contact options. So for me, it’s really about, you know, using the non-contact option for swimming and ocean paddling and those sort of things that I’m trying to get.

And I do play a bit of golf every now and again, but swimming is just really in recent times. It’s really excited me because it’s given me something to train for. It’s given me a purpose to get up every morning. My kids swim as well. So, you know, when they’re at the pool, I’m able to kind of join them, so I’m spending time with them, even though we’re not talking, we’re in the same pool at the same time, so to speak.

But that’s really something that I just feel I can continue to challenge myself with. And so, you know swimming is definitely something I’m very excited about and I’ll be competing in the Coolangatta Classic, I think they call it, which will be in April. And I’m still contemplating whether to do the Gold Coast marathon swim which is a 21km from Coolangatta to Surfers Paradise.

Although I’ll be very unlikely that I’ll, I’ll swim that on my own. I’ll probably do that in a group of two, or at least a group of four. So yeah, so I the swimming is definitely something for me. And yeah, it keeps me fit and, you know, I feel better when I come to work and, you know, and I think that’s, again, one of those things I like to share with people is that, you know, high levels of cardiovascular exercise really do go a long way to stabilizing your mood, giving you a sense of enthusiasm and drive, conscious drive.

And I think, you know, that’s one thing I’ve definitely found from swimming that, you know, it’s probably been missing since I stopped playing soccer 20 years ago.

Felicity Cohen: I love that. And I really feel like that is part of how you live your life on purpose, but it translates to how you perform at work as well, because feeling better, being healthier, looking after yourself, but also striving towards goals.

And it’s not about age or setting boundaries for yourself or limitations. It’s about continuing to set new goals. So I think that’s just fabulous. And I think that I relate to that because I feel I’m also quite similar, constantly setting new goals for myself. And, you know, the raising the bar consistently, I think, is something that we continue to do as we age and age well.

Warren Artz: Yeah.

And I think people kind of lose sight of the fact that, you know, there are age relevant competitions, you know, for all of us, you know, so I don’t have to swim against the 25 year olds that I’m never going to compete against them, you know, but if I’m watching a little bit of competition for that sake, you know, there is a category for me and the other fifties, you know, fifties to 50 fives or fifties to sixties for example, you know?

So there’s, there’s always something for everybody, you know, there’s an over fifties tennis club somewhere in the country, you know, there’s another forties running club, you know? So there’s, there’s over thirties soccer and there’s over thirty fives soccer and there’s over forty fives soccer, you know? So there’s lots of options.

I think people sort of you know, especially if they haven’t done anything for a long time, kind of lose sight of the fact that, you know, there’s so many options and you don’t have to limit yourself and you certainly don’t have to feel like you’ve got to compete with the best, you know, it’s about setting your own goals and really finding what works for you.

You know? So the swimming sort of works on many levels for me because, you know, as you can imagine, I’ve talked to people every day as part of my job. So it’s, for me, I don’t have to talk to anybody. So I get to swim in the Atlantic by myself and block myself off from the rest of the world and not have to have a conversation with anybody for at least an hour every morning or at least, you know, three, four mornings a week.

So it kind of, again, there’s a lends itself to what is important. Not only interesting to me, but what is important to me in terms of, you know, that’s my solitary time.

Felicity Cohen: It’s also being really mindful and switching off from technology because you can’t take your phone with you when you’re in the water, you know, and I love that time away from technology being mindful and having that downtime for you, I think is really valuable.

And I can imagine what really, really set you up for that day when you’re talking, empowering, listening, and educating, all day long, it’s a lot.

Warren Artz: Yeah, definitely. Definitely.

Felicity Cohen: So I know one of your other passions, we’ve talked about purpose, passion being, you’re an amazing parent and a very dedicated father.

What’s one of your top parenting tips in terms of how to keep your kids healthy well, and living in an age where technology dominates?

Warren Artz: Compromise. And I think listening to your kids, definitely, you know, listen to what they have to say, you know, even though we’re obviously older and wiser and you know, we’ve been there , I still think it’s important to listen to your kids because if we shut them off, then when it’s really really important, they’re not going to come to us and talk to us about those important things.

You know that there’s, the more challenging things, you know, that they inevitably are going to go through in their teens and as young adults, I certainly think, you know, having a good listening ear, even though I don’t really have two good listeners, I’ve got one, but I use it very well. So I mean, a good listening ear and just being open to that that opportunity for your kids to, you know, bring things up with you and to really sort of watch their body language and, you know and be there.

And as I said before, so compromise. So just sort of compromising a bit of know, with regard to the structure that you expect in the household. And you’ve got any sort of systematic processes in place, you know, that you want the kids to follow, you know, sometimes it does take a little bit of compromise.

And I think one of the things that I found that’s particularly helpful and certainly helps me as parents is, you know, sometimes I just need to lead the way, you know, so I may expect my son to wash the dishes every night as part of his chore. But, you know, if he doesn’t get up and do it, it doesn’t mean that he gets away with it.

You know, I’m happy to show the way and I’m happy for him to see me showing the way, because that will inevitably help him down the track as well. Not so much that doing things for the kids all the time, it’s just leading the way and showing the way.

Felicity Cohen: Thank you. My final question. And before I get to that, I’d just like to say what an incredible journey.

Thank you so much for sharing today on the Wellness Warriors podcast, your personal journey and all that you contribute to our patient population. I can’t say how much I believe that our patients are the most fortunate patients in any clinic environment to have the support guidance, education from you, Warren.

And I think, you know, we’re very, you know, for want of a slightly overused word, I think we are so blessed to have you here as part of the team and the patients have that opportunity to benefit from your interaction on a daily basis, so wow. How incredible and how lucky we are. So my final question that I like to ask all of our Wellness Warriors guests is tell me a little bit about what is your recipe for wellness?

What does wellness mean to you?

Warren Artz: So many things. Look wellness for me really means both physical and mental health. You know, I think it’s both of those things and neither is more important than the other. They’re both equally important. And I think, you know, if one is lacking, then certainly we’ll find that the other one will be lacking too.

And so I think really sort of splitting your goals into two and you know, but also understanding the correlation between being physically healthy and what that means to your mental health. So we look at the amount of people who rely on antidepressants, for example anxilient for anxiety, you know, a lot of their problems can be solved through some high intensity exercise strength and conditioning.

And refocus and sometimes that’s all, it, it’s just a bit of a refocus to actually be going in a different direction. And sometimes we need to do a U-turn and we just need to change direction because obviously the way we’re going is not the right way. And so I think a combination of both, mental and physical health is very, very important.

And so if you are struggling with mental health issues, then you need to look and see, well, is there a correlation between my lack of activity or lack of physical health, rather than walking into the GPs office and saying, I’m not feeling right or I’m feeling down or I’ve got anxiety, you know? And that may mean you still needs to go to the GPs office, but maybe not get a tablet.

It may mean that, you know, that’s an opportunity for you to go talk to somebody who can help you through and refocus and change direction, you know, find a different fork in the road, so to speak. So those two things probably are very, very important and I don’t think one can live without the other.

Felicity Cohen: I absolutely agree.

And thank you so much, please join me in thanking Warren Artz, what an incredible guest to have on our Wellness Warriors podcast.

Warren Artz: Pleasure.

Felicity Cohen: Thank you.

Warren Artz: Pleasure. My pleasure anytime.

Felicity Cohen: Thank you for joining the Wellness Warriors podcast. It’s been a pleasure to have you online with us. If you enjoy the series, please leave your review, subscribe and follow.

And we look forward to sharing many more stories with you in the future.

Nutritionist & Dietitian

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Chealse Hawk

Nutrion Leader Coach

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