Struggling to lose weight? 

Working with a weight loss nutritionist can be the difference between long term weight loss success and repeated failure and yo-yo dieting.

Holistic Nutrition

Eating a healthy diet plays a huge role in weight management. However, what is your definition of a healthy diet?  We are all built differently so what worked for your friend, family member or neighbour may not work for you.  Many weight loss programs focus on calorie counting for weight loss, but weight loss is so much more than energy in versus energy out. Our bodies are incredibly complex and there are many factors that can affect our ability to lose weight.

I take a holistic approach with my clients – looking at a person as a whole when recommending the appropriate weight loss plan for them. Clinical experience has taught me there may be roadblocks in the way of a person achieving their ideal goal weight. Here are some of the factors I look at in my weight loss clients:

Hormonal weight gain

Hormone imbalances are a major factor in weight gain. Hormones such as leptin, insulin, estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, thyroid, cortisol and growth hormone all play a role in weight maintenance. A breakdown in communication between hormones will result in a myriad of symptoms, including weight gain. I like to call these interactions a hormone spider’s web – if one side of the web is pulled too much then the whole web gets pulled out of shape. The symptoms of hormone dysfunction are far reaching – stubborn weight gain included!

Stress and Weight Gain

Cortisol, our stress hormone, or what I call the ‘master hormone’, can alter our carbohydrate and fat metabolism, our appetite and our eating habits to influence gaining (or losing) weight.

If you are a comfort eater, a stressful day will have you heading for the sugary/fatty foods to help you feel better. Long term stress may lead to steadily higher cortisol levels, which ensures that blood sugar stays at optimal level to deal with the stressor. This usually means increased sugar cravings. Stress management is an integral part of any weight loss program.

Thyroid Underactive Weight Loss

The thyroid’s main function is energy metabolism and temperature regulation. Thyroid disorders such as hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can have a big impact on your body’s ability to maintain an ideal weight. Hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid) causes a decreased metabolic rate, which can lead to a real struggle to lose weight or maintain a normal weight. Hyperthyroidism (over-active thyroid), on the other hand, causes an increased metabolic rate which leads to weight loss. If I suspect thyroid dysfunction I make sure that all aspects of thyroid health are explored with very comprehensive blood and urine testing.

Perimenopause Weight Gain

If the hormone roller coaster hadn’t started before, it starts here! From perimenopause through into menopause, women find their bodies changing in quite dramatic ways – one of these ways is weight gain which refuses to go away. Falling oestrogen levels and the effect of other hormones in our spider’s web lead to difficulties in maintaining a normal weight, especially in the abdominal area. This is very common but that doesn’t mean that it is normal.  With the appropriate diet and lifestyle changes you can sail through perimenopause and menopause. As a weight loss nutritionist and perimenopausal women I have all of the experience you need for weight loss success.


Weight Loss Nutritionist and Mindset Coach

When it comes to weight loss mindset is everything. Food has a strong link to our culture, emotions and experiences. There may be issues holding you back from weight loss success such as emotional and stress eating, an inability to make desired changes due to perceived work and family pressure or incredibly ingrained dysfunctional habits which have been lurking around for decades. Working on mindset is a very important part of any weight loss program, and I spend a considerable amount of time coaching every client around habit change.

Liver Cleansing Diet

A healthy liver is an important factor in good health and achieving a healthy weight. The liver is an amazing organ responsible for breaking down fats, aiding in digestion, the absorption of nutrients, and cleansing and detoxifying our body. However, it can become easily overloaded with excess toxin exposure (both environmental and food), alcohol, drugs and a high sugar diet. If the liver becomes sluggish then it has a profound effect on the whole body, including the digestive system, and can make weight loss a challenge. Have you ever stopped drinking alcohol for a month and notice the kgs drop off? This is partly due to less calories consumed but is also due to the liver having the time and ability to deal with excess fat instead of trying to detox your body from the constant assault of alcohol. Symptoms of a stressed liver include joint inflammation, autoimmune conditions, frequent colds and infections, chemical sensitivities, allergies, hormone imbalances, bad breath, skin rashes, digestive symptoms, etc. As a weight loss nutritionist, the health of the liver has to be taken into account when compiling a weight loss program.

Yo-Yo and Crash Diets

Dieting on and off for years may have had serious consequences for the way you store fat and your overall energy metabolism. When a person substantially reduces their caloric intake, they initially lose weight but then reset their metabolic rate to a point where weight loss no longer occurs, even when caloric restriction continues. Many popular diet companies report the amazing results they achieve in the first few months but fail to report the weight gain that many customers suffer after a year or two. It is nearly impossible to eat less than you need on a long-term basis. Hunger is a signal that cannot be permanently ignored! Yo-yo dieting also comes with a psychological cost due to depression and feelings of disappointment and shame when dieting doesn’t work or weight loss cannot be sustained. As a weight loss nutritionist, I work towards a long-term weight management solution for my clients rather than a short-term quick fix.

Sleep Apnoea and Weight Loss

Sleep apnoea and general insomnia leaves a person fatigued and unable to think clearly around issues such as exercise and preparing healthy meals. Sleep apnoea is a condition whereby a person’s airways close frequently during the night which means that their brain is constantly waking them up.  They may not be aware of this occurring, but they are super fatigued during the day due to a lack of good quality sleep.  Sleep apnoea is often triggered by excess fat on the body causing an anatomical issue around the airways, so weight management is a very important part of the remedy. Inadequate sleep decreases leptin (our satiety hormone) and increases ghrelin (our hunger hormone) – in other words, you get hungrier, and your body is less likely to signal to you that you are full! Lack of sleep can also increase sugar cravings and appetite. Working on sleep hygiene, making sure a person gets to bed on time, melatonin supplementation and a breathing aid for those with sleep apnoea can make a huge difference in weight loss success.


Environmental toxins have the ability to alter our DNA so it is more susceptible to obesity – this process is known as epigenetics. These toxins can also disrupt hormones and interfere with synapses that regulate energy metabolism. Measuring toxin exposure and working on efficient detox pathways can very much aid in weight loss success.

Gut healing diet

We are now only starting to realise the importance of our gut bacteria in weight management as well as our overall health. Research has shown that the types of bacteria we have in our gut can determine how well we metabolise food and manage weight. Gut microbiota is all about the mix of bacteria you have in the large intestine – if you have a good mix then you will remain in good health but if you have a bad mix then you may suffer from a myriad of possible diseases. High sugar diets, antibiotics, high red meat consumption and alcohol will all sway your gut bacteria towards a bad mix and may make you more susceptible to weight gain. As a weight loss nutritionist, I always take gut health into account with my weight loss clients.

Obesogenic Environment

It really is no surprise that our populations are becoming more obese as the range of whole, healthy foods on offer is non-existent. Our city centres are full of fast-food chains, pub grub and coffee shop chains. We drive everywhere, and our lives are so automated we barely do any physical work. Improving functional habits and teaching my clients how to work around an environment that is not set up for a healthy weight is an important part of weight management programming.

Medications That Cause Weight Gain

Many medications have side effects such as increased appetite, slowed metabolism or fluid loading. Medications that can lead to weight gain include anti-depressants, mood stabilisers, diabetic drugs, corticosteroids, anti-seizure and migraine medications, beta-blockers and anti-allergy medications. That is quite a list! If you have concerns that your medications may be causing weight gain, talk to your doctor about changing to another type of weaning off them altogether. I am always looking to get my clients off their meds (of course, with their doctor’s assistant and approval).

What Does a Weight Loss Nutritionist Do?

A client comes to see me for weight loss. In my initial consultation, I sit down with them for an hour to find out what is going on in their life. Some of the things I look for:

  1. Day-to-day eating
  2. Hormonal health
  3. Stress levels
  4. Sleep patterns
  5. Menopause status
  6. Dieting history
  7. Toxin exposure
  8. Gut function
  9. Medications

Only after exploring all these areas (and more – everyone has their own special issues), would I make some dietary and lifestyle recommendations.

Weight Management Program

The 12-week online or in-clinic 1-on-1 weight loss program is loaded with practical resources to help you incorporate the changes you need to make. The program includes resources such as recipes, meal plans, fitness videos and information on where to buy recommended products.  You see me one on one so this gives me the opportunity to explore all relevant areas of your health that may be causing weight gain and organise any testing that may be required to get you the answers that you seek. I also provide ongoing support and accountability over a 12-week period and beyond to help you achieve your health goals.


Fiona is one of my all time favourite people. After high school, I weighed in at 99kg. At 174cm, I have been overweight by 15-20 kgs for all my adult life. Until, at age 53, I met Fiona. She immediately diagnosed my primary problem and by following her dietary coaching, I lost 16 kgs in 5 months. More importantly, I have maintained this for more than a year now. Now, well into the second half of my life, life is good, very good. As I said, Fiona will always be one of my all time favourite people. Thank you Fiona.

Fiona ran a course at work and it was fantastic – I learned so much and she tailored the programs to each individual which worked really well. I reached my weight loss and health goals and it really wasn’t too hard and I still have treats!  More importantly, I feel much better in myself for making food changes and continued to see her independently when the course at work finished.
Charlotte Carlish
Indigestion, stomach pain and abdominal cramps, were an every day occurrence for me. I was quite desperate by the time I found Fiona. With the help of some supplements and allergy testing, Fiona Took me on a journey of discovery. Thanks to her professional and kind guidance, I now  know which foods to avoid and which ones will help my gut to stay healthy.  For the very first time in a long time, my tummy now feels quite normal and I no longer suffer any of the above conditions. To say Fiona has change my life may sound rather dramatic but it is completely true and I will be forever grateful to her.

Feeling Great, Losing Weight!

I have been working with Fiona at Physical Nutrition for about 10 weeks through a corporate program run my employer.  Losing weight and making some real changes to my dietary lifestyle has been a game changer for me.  Through her weekly tutorials, Fiona has taught me about the food I eat, what is best for my body and to gauge how I feel after each meal.  Combined with a sensible exercise routine of walking and cycling, I have managed to drop my weight by 7kgs during this period.  My energy levels are up, I’m feeling fitter and I’m eating much more balanced meals and now know which foods to avoid and which to eat more of!  It’s been a great experience and I would highly recommend Fiona’s program.

I have recently completed the Physical Nutrition 10kg in 20 weeks program and I couldn’t be more thrilled with the support and guidance Fiona has provided.
The 10 in 20 program not only helped me change my habits by giving me a coach that kept me accountable but also helped to educate me to make better nutrition choices in the future.
Thank you again Fiona & this is just the beginning, I’m not going anywhere ☺️
Paris Doran
Fiona has been working with the City of South Perth over the last year.  She has developed a customised 10 week health coaching and nutrition program with us which the City now offers as part of its suite of health and wellbeing benefits.  All of the participants were overwhelmingly positive about the program.  They rated the program highly on the aspects of Fiona’s professionalism, approachability and knowledge, as well as the results they had achieved.
I would recommend Physical Nutrition to any organisation looking to develop staff benefits.
Gillean Sharp
Physical Nutrition/Fiona Murray has really helped my husband and I to achieve our weight loss and lifestyle goals. Her advice, support and knowledge during the 20 week challenge has set us up to lead a healthier and balanced life style. We thought we had enough food and exercise knowledge before meeting Fiona but she has kept us on track, motivated us and through her group classes has kept us entertained and true to our goals! Thanks Fiona!
Alison Thair