"Be in the moment! That's where life happens." This mantra sits at the core of everything Glenn Mackintosh does. From his work at his clinic through to his residency on The Biggest Loser, Glenn emphasises the importance of living in the moment, while also setting goals and tracking progress. "I think if you set your goals well and you know where you're going, just because you're living in the moment you don't forget that,” he says. “It sits there in your subconscious."
In high school, Glenn was adamant he wanted a career in martial arts, but on his mother’s advice he enrolled at the University of Queensland and spent the next six years working towards a Master of Psychology. "I was a bit like the black sheep [in the department] in that almost everyone else was keen on performance enhancement and cutting milliseconds off a swimmer’s lap time,” he says. “I gravitated towards the psychology of exercise. It was just about the everyday person and understanding their relationship with exercise."
As founder and principal psychologist of Weight Management Psychology at Teneriffe, Glenn approaches weight management in a holistic and integrated way. His clinic is a place where people from all walks of life can go for advice. "If we do our job right, going to see a psychologist would be like going to see the physio,” Glenn says. “If you have a sore shoulder, you go to the physio. If you're struggling with your mind, you go to a psychologist. It's no different."
Glenn hopes to minimise the stigma associated with seeing a psychologist. "I'm a believer that psychology is not just for people who have mental health conditions – psychology is for everyone,” he says. “I’m really interested in working with people who may or may not have mental health conditions, but just want to improve their lives."
Glenn tries not to act like a psychologist in his private life or as a friend in the consulting room. Instead he aims to be approachable and relatable when he’s with clients. "The psychologist-client relationship is a very special relationship, but it is not a friendship,” he says. “There needs to be those boundaries.”
Glenn is careful to create a clear division between his personal life and his work. "Sometimes we can run the risk, like people in all professions, of not turning off, but I am excellent at switching off. I work massive hours, but when I switch off and I’m out and about, work is the furthest thing from my mind."
When Glenn is off the clock, he has no shortage of hobbies. On a day off he will work with a coach to refine his kickboxing technique, maybe stopping for breakfast at Brio in Teneriffe, or later indulging in a pint of pale ale at Sixes & Sevens in the Valley.
His passion for martial arts is something that has stayed with him his whole life. "I feel it's like moving meditation, and I suppose that, being involved in the martial arts, I have some sort of eastern philosophies,” he says. “I think martial arts fits in really well with psychology, which is a healing art. They are two sides of the same coin."
In line with the principles of Weight Management Psychology, and their non-dieting approach to food, he loves to treat himself to his favourite cuisine, American food. He has no qualms getting his hands dirty eating at Ben's Burgers in the Valley.
When he’s with friends, he describes his style as "kind of loud, kind of rude, and kind of unapologetic”. He isn't satisfied until he prompts someone to make a comment or his mates into giving him grief.
But despite his big laugh and easy smile, Glenn identifies himself as an introvert. He finds that a little bit of alone time (either at the gym or relaxing with a geeky film) is all he needs to replenish his energy. "I have to push myself out the door,” he says. “I get out and have a great time, but getting there is a real effort. I have to remind myself that it's good for me to get out."
In line with his mantra of living in the moment, Glenn has developed a lifestyle that fulfils him everyday. It’s his idea of success. "For me, success is about learning to love the meat of your life, and not just the dessert. It's working in an area you love and that is consistent with your values, so you can actually say,‘Thank God it's Monday’.”
He has taken on an additional day of consulting each week, to keep him centred on the work he loves. "For some people success is about having the time to go on holidays, but for me it's about creating a lifestyle that you don't need a holiday from. With my gym ritual on a Sunday morning, and catching up with friends and family, I don't feel there's anything I need to escape from."
What's something most people don't know about you?
I have really embarrassing pyjamas.
If you were a drink, what drink would you be and why?
Pint of pale ale, because I'm delicious.
If you were a car, what car would you be and why?
My Alfa Romeo Spider, because I’m a little bit old-school and don't care what anyone else thinks.
If you were a destination, what destination would you be and why?
Japan, because I am very disciplined.
If you were a fragrance, what fragrance would you be and why?
Something light and fruity, because I can be a little fruity.
If you were a food, what food would you be and why?
A burger, because I'm simple. It doesn't have to be great looking or super cool. It is what it is.
A quick look at Glenn Mackintosh:
Founder and principal psychologist at Weight Management Psychology
Member of the Australian Psychological Society
Member of the Queensland Board of Psychologists
Fellow of the Obesity Prevention and Treatment Society
Master of Psychology from University of Queensland
Resident psychologist on Ten's The Biggest Loser: Transformed
Former director of psychology at the Wesley Lifeshape Clinic
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