Dr Gabby Maston is a dietitian and exercise physiologist with a passion for helping people
Welcome to my page
I’m Dr Gabrielle Maston Suthern, but people call me Dr Gabby Maston for short. I have always lived a very active life and I enjoyed eating tasty food. In fact, food was centred around my home life as a child. Culturally, my background on my mum’s side is Ecuadorian from South America. Unlike most kids growing up in Sydney, my lunch boxes were filled with yummy empanadas! Every afternoon, after school (when you arrive home starving) my grandmother always had a hot pot of lentil soup cooking, even in the middle of summer. Weekends were always full-blown food feasts with all the extended family and friends in attendance.
Although I had this culturally enriching healthy food environment at home, it kind of went downhill after my parents got divorced. My dad always had a sweet tooth. He was a tall man and had obesity ever since I could remember. The way he showed us he still loved us, was to take my brothers and me out for treats. On school afternoons before maths tutoring, (which was three times a week) he’d take us to Doughnut King for a large milkshake with two free doughnuts. On the weekends he’d pick us up for breakfast pancakes at Maccas. If we were spending the weekend with him, it would also be either a burger with hot chips from the local takeaway shop up or battered fish and hot chips (which were his favourite). To add to it, my mum had to pull me out of my swim squad training because finances became tight as a single mother with three kids. Naturally, I ballooned out and developed obesity as a pre-teen.
This time of my life was a bit mentally toxic if I am honest. My mother and extended family members, with the best intentions, would lecture me about my weight all the time. At the same time, I was pressured to finish all the food on my plate at every meal and participate in all eating occasions. It was not only confusing, but it also really messed with my self-esteem and natural ability to self-regulate eating behaviours. I don’t blame my parents for any of this. I know as a parent, you just try to do your best for your kids the best way you know how. They didn’t know any better.
The common course of action for a young person to fall into when you’re constantly told your body shape is not acceptable is to hate yourself. I hated my body; I restricted my food intake by taking extreme measures such as starving myself all day. I used exercise as punishment for eating. This went on for years. As a teen, I had my fair share of fad diets, starvation plans, and killer exercise programs all prescribed by personal trainers, nonetheless. Particularly during my high school years my chronic dieting and strenuous exercise program lead to chronic fatigue and iron deficiency which ultimately left me anaemic and blacking out on a few occasions. By the time I reached my late teens, I was sick of trying fad diets, sick of spending countless hours at the gym and sick of feeling tired and fatigued. In hindsight, with my professional hat on, I am surprised that these behaviours did not develop into anorexia nervosa, binge eating or bulimia. I certainly had disordered eating patterns and thoughts!
I knew I couldn’t go on like this forever, so I decided to do some study to become a personal trainer and aerobics instructor so I could find a better way to approach my weight problem. After a year or two, I realised this wasn’t enough. I could see I was missing fundamental parts of nutrition knowledge. I realised that I not only loved the training side of exercise but also loved learning the critical insight into the importance of nutrition. I loved learning about nutrition and exercise so much I changed university degrees. I was committed to finding out how to lose weight and keep it off without unnecessary side effects. I knew there was a better way than the traditional restrictive diets used in gyms at the time.
After graduating from the University of Sydney as a dietitian and exercise physiologist I am now equipped with the tools to stay fit and healthy. This increased knowledge has helped me to learn how to enjoy food and live life to the fullest! No more restrictive diets or gruelling exercising programs. I simply started to enjoy life and competed in all the sports and activities I loved… and yes I have loved doing a wide variety of sports!
I am not going to lie to you though, my weight and eating patterns aren’t perfect all the time- is anyone’s? I have gone through a pregnancy in my late 30’s and bit by bit I worked my way down from significant weight gain. Losing weight after pregnancy is extremely hard and it took me a year to get back to what is a healthy weight for me, by re-evaluating my eating and thinking patterns, implementing healthy eating and regular exercise.
I am by no means promoting “bouncing back” after pregnancy. It is natural and normal to gain weight during pregnancy, but you know within yourself when weight gain post pregnancy is problematic. This is especially true when it’s affecting your mobility and contributing to back pain or having other health impacts, which it did for me.
I know what it feels like to struggle with overweight and obesity. I also know what it takes to get results in a sustainable healthy way. I used to run a private practice in Greater Western Sydney and Sydney, and had many clients who lost weight, went into remission from type 2 diabetes, reduced their cholesterol, reversed their fatty liver, had successful results after bariatric surgery, ran marathons and ultramarathons, competed in martial arts, bodybuilding, triathlons, and rowing. I shut down my private practice so I could do my PhD and conduct research into obesity and become a real expert in my field. My area of research is the management of severe obesity through nutrition. To see my research publications and published book click on the “Publication” page.
Now that the PhD is done and dusted, I am ready to help people like you again. My passion is helping people avoid crappy diets and excessive exercise. I take pleasure in helping clients reach their goals. I want to help people like you achieve optimal health with the power of food and movement. I want to make nutrition easy and simple to follow. Within a few sessions, I can give you the tools to manage your own diet and exercise routine for the rest of your life.
I have worked in specialist obesity outpatient centres at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney and Nepean Hospital in Penrith. Due to these hospital-based roles as a senior dietitian, I have gained extensive experience in the management of health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, binge-eating disorder, and bariatric surgery. I have been a contributor for Oxygen Women’s Fitness, Fitness First, Clean Eating, That’s Life and Weight Watchers magazine. I have also been on Australian News and local radio stations.
If you think I am the right person to help you, don’t hesitate to contact me and let’s have a chat. Can’t wait to start you on your journey to new health.
Dr Gabby Maston’s Professional Qualifications
- The University of Sydney Doctor of Philosophy (2022)
- University of Newcastle Masters of Public Health (2018)
- Sports Nutrition Dietitian certified by Sport Dietitians Association (2011)
- The University of Sydney Bsc Nutrition and Dietetics (2009)
- The University of Sydney BaSc Exercise and Sports Science (2008)
- Accredited Practicing Dietitian (APD) & Nutritionist (AN)