Athlete Turned Bariatric Psychologist On
Resilience & Willingness
Warren Artz has experienced many physical and mental setbacks growing up, from being born deaf and two broken legs due to a car accident. He was able to overcome being perceived as somebody who was different and pushed past those boundaries, eventually playing top-level soccer around the world. It’s from his own personal experiences that he has become the remarkable psychologist he is today, approaching treatment to patients through psychoeducation.
Warren has helped over four and a half thousand people in his 14-year career as a bariatric psychologist at WeightLoss Solutions Australia. In this episode, Warren shares his extensive knowledge when it comes to treating patients suffering from overweight and obesity. He explains the importance of resilience and commitment pre and post weight loss surgery, and how the mindset has changed over the years when it comes to acceptance and willingness to see a psychologist for support to be the best version of themselves.
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1:48 – Warren was born in South Africa. As a young boy, he played soccer, eventually playing top-level when moved to the United Kingdom. In 1991 he ended up in the United States where he got a scholarship and decided to study psychology and got his bachelor’s and master degree at the University of Southern Mississippi. After suffering from a knee injury, Warren eventually moved to Australia where he started his career as a bariatric psychologist.
5:20 – He shares his own personal struggles that inspired him to become a psychologist. He was born deaf and as a persistent child, Warren was able to work hard out of special needs classes and join mainstream education by his early teens, determined not to be held back. Unfortunately, he was hit by a car as a child, resulting in two broken legs and the loss of his left knee cap. He had to have a second operation in High school, and due to the lack of muscle from his injury, Warren had to work harder and eventually played top-level soccer in the South African national league.
9:36 – When Warren had to partake for two years in the military due to citizenship requirements in South Africa, he joined the Air Force where they offered him an office job because of his injury. He was determined not to be classified as somebody who was remarkably different and pushed through military training which gave him the confidence that he could get through anything. This experience also gave him insights into psychology and how resilient human beings are.
13:04 – We discuss some of the mental struggles when it comes to people suffering from overweight and obesity. A common issue is around the unclear message of what is expected from them when trying numerous diets and exercise programs. Warren’s approach to physiology focuses on psychoeducation around weight loss and why it’s so difficult to not only lose weight but to keep it off, he notes how patients need people around them that also believe in them which makes a big difference.
18:08 – Warren explains how critical the first 12 to 18 months are post weight loss surgery to make some concrete changes in a patients lifestyle because weight loss alone will not make you happier. It ranges from sleeping better, reducing alcohol intake, avoiding preservatives and processed foods, as well as regaining those healthy habits like creative pursuits and exercise. It’s an important time for a patient as they have the motivation post weight loss surgery after seeing the weight drop off.
23:15 – Fourteen years as a bariatric psychologist, Warren has helped over four and a half thousand people. One of his most inspiring cases was with a gentleman who didn’t necessarily have an abundance of excess weight or health-related issues but came in with the enthusiasm to learn more about what he needed to do to improve his longevity and the commitment to do so.
27:39 – Warren’s approach to psychology has evolved over the years. He remembers a time when you would just assess a patient on a clinical scale, often resulting in potentially losing them. Now he approaches his patients in a therapeutic way by establishing a healthy relationship to get to know them and vice versa to build that trust.
31:09 – Warren shares his love for swimming and how important it is to find an activity that works with your capabilities. As a psychologist, he talks to people every day and finds that time for himself when he’s in the water. Noting that you should find something that is not only good for you physically but also mentally.
34:06 – For someone in their fifties, Warren reminds us that age shouldn’t limit us and that there are many options for one to partake in physical activities. He believes in setting your own goals and finding what works best for you.
36:30 – As a dedicated father, Warren shares his approach to parenting. Most important to him is being open and listening, so you can give your kids the confidence to confide in you. He also talks about understanding compromise in a household structure and leading by example.
38:27 – Wellness for Warren means to be both physically and mentally healthy as they are both equally important. He discusses how easy it is to take medication for mental issues when a lot of these problems can be solved with physical activity. For him, it’s about understanding the correlation between the two as one can’t live without the other.