Skip to main content

S4E59 10 minutes with George: Exceptions to following the program

S4E59: 10 minutes with George - Exceptions to following the program

Welcome to Living Well with MS. This is the second episode with Professor George Jelinek in our short series ’10 minutes with George’, which marks the 10th anniversary of the charity Overcoming MS.

Some people see the Overcoming MS Program, which Professor Jelinek created, as needing an ‘all or nothing’ approach. George explains how and why some people make exceptions to following the program. You can also watch this episode here

Keep reading for the key episode takeaways and Professor Jelinek’s bio.

Make sure you sign up for our newsletter to hear our latest tips and news about living a full and happy life with MS. And if you’re new to Overcoming MS, visit our introductory page to find out more about how we support people with MS.

You can listen to part one here.


Professor George Jelinek developed the Overcoming MS Program and founded the Neuroepidemiology Unit at the University of Melbourne’s School of Population and Global Health which continues to research its benefits.

George’s Story:

When George was diagnosed with MS in 1999, he was determined to do something. His mother had died as a consequence of her MS, which spurred him on to sort through the medical literature on MS. His career as a Professor in Emergency Medicine and his background as Editor-in-Chief of a major medical journal gave him the tools to do this.

It became clear to George that remaining well after a diagnosis of MS is more than just a possibility. He found that with a commitment to the right lifestyle changes, there is a real probability that many people with MS can live long, healthy lives, relatively free of the usual problems associated with the illness. These lifestyle recommendations are now referred to as the Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis (OMS) Program, which he detailed in his book Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis.

George has remained free of further relapses, as have many people who follow the OMS Program.

Selected Key Takeaways

What you do most of the time matters more than an occasional slip-up

(4:50) “Your health in 20 or 30 years’ time will reflect the whole range of things you’ve done and your daily activities over all that time. And that’s true, in general, in any illness. The occasional slip up in that context is essentially mostly irrelevant.”

Look inward if you're struggling to stay on track with the Program

(7:10) “If there’s an inner struggle going on around [sticking to the program], then trying to get some help and understand what that struggle is about is useful… Is it related to not valuing oneself, not valuing one’s health? [Or] because of perhaps the way we’ve been brought up? There are all sorts of different reasons why not placing yourself and your own health as important in your life would manifest in not doing everything that you can to try and stay well.”

The support of a partner is crucial

(9:51) “When partners came to the retreats, we would often find that their highly sceptical attitude at the beginning of the retreat was replaced with a total commitment by the end. Not only to support their partner but to do everything they could for their own health, because they would come to realise how important it is to stay well for themselves.”

While Overcoming MS isn’t currently holding retreats, we do invite partners to play an active role in supporting the PwMS in their life in adopting the Overcoming MS Program.

Don’t miss out:

Subscribe to this podcast and never miss an episode. You can catch any episode of Living Well with MS here or on your favourite podcast listening app. If you enjoy Living Well with MS, please leave a 5-star review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you tune into the show. Feel free to share your comments and suggestions for future guests and episode topics by emailing [email protected].

If you enjoy this podcast and want to support the ongoing work of Overcoming MS, you can leave a donation here.