Dr Libby Weaver (PhD) is one of Australasia’s leading nutritional biochemists, an author, a speaker and founder of the plant-based supplement range, Bio Blends.
“My mission is to educate and inspire, enhancing people’s health and happiness, igniting a ripple effect that transforms the world.”
With so many issues facing women these days around their busy schedule’s I caught up with Dr Libby on how she empowers women to take back their health.
What do you feel is the biggest challenge for women’s health in 2017?
Many women are exhausted just trying to get through their day—and they rarely take the time to stop and rest. Some women I know take their phones into the bathroom with them because they feel as though they need to take every opportunity they have to check emails and stay up-to-date with their tasks. This perception of pressure and urgency and the relentless rush that ensues is creating some significant health challenges for women—one in five women in Australia experience irritable bowel syndrome, debilitating PMS and menopausal symptoms as well as endometriosis and PCOS are becoming more common. The very face of women’s health has changed significantly in the last twenty years.
I love how you talk about rushing women’s syndrome. For women who have a hectic lifestyle, what advice would you give them to help them take care of themselves?
All the rushing women I know have such big hearts. They rush around because they care so deeply about the people in their lives and their jobs—and they don’t want to let anyone down. Often their own self-care comes right at the bottom of their lists and they just don’t prioritise it. It takes time and a commitment to a prioritising of needs that many women struggle with but this is part of what lays at the heart of the rush. Making the time to rest, have fun, play and enjoy life is equally as important as taking care of everyone else. Start small. Schedule a 15 minute break for you to do whatever it is you feel would best take care of your body’s needs—it might be a bath, sitting on the couch and reading a novel, going for a walk in nature. It doesn’t matter what it is, just make it your time. And then, if you can, grow it to 30 minutes or more, daily if you can or at least weekly.
Tell us about your new book The Energy Guide.
The Energy Guide was born from a book I wrote a few years ago called Exhausted to Energized. It resonated strongly with a lot of people and so I wanted to create a guide that touched on some of the concepts shared in there while still introducing some new information and including 100 recipes that all about nourishing the body and sustaining energy. These days many people struggle to find the time to read a book from cover to cover so The Energy Guide presents information in an easily digestible way.
How much effect do our hormones have on our energy levels and general health?
Our sex hormones very much affect our energy and general health. When our sex hormones, specifically estrogen and progesterone, are out of balance, it indicates that other body systems are not keeping up with their tasks. It might be that our liver is overwhelmed and recycling estrogen back into our bloodstream because it has too much of a load to deal with. If this is the case, we will typically feeling sluggish, lethargic and even irritable. Our sex hormone balance is also linked to our how much load our adrenal glands are dealing with. These tiny glands are responsible for myriad hormone production including our sex hormones such as progesterone, and stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. If we’re communicating to our body distress, our adrenal glands are going to be churning out stress hormones as a priority because they’re perceived vital to our survival. If we’re under threat, our body doesn’t want us to be falling pregnant so it downregulates the production of our sex hormones. Progesterone is also a powerful anti-anxiety agent, an anti-depressent, a diuretic, and it is essential if you are to access fat reserves to burn for energy—all of which can affect our energy and the way we feel about ourselves.
What’s your biggest tip for women to take care of their hormonal health?
Many women may not realise how intricately entwined our body systems are. As I’ve already mentioned, our sex hormone health is directly affected by the efficiency of our liver and how much pressure we are putting on our adrenal glands. When it comes to any aspect of our bodies, we need to take a whole body (and mind) approach. The best way we can begin to do that is to eat mostly whole, real food the way it comes from nature, minimise consumption of anything that can lead the liver or the adrenal glands to do additional work such as caffeine, processed foods, refined sugars, trans fats and synthetic substances, and get adequate rest. Never underestimate the power of the breath! Long, slow diaphragmatic breathing has an extraordinary power on our nervous system and from there our hormonal and digestive health.
Can you tell us about your wellness routine?
I have a morning ritual that I don’t compromise. I also schedule my downtime and prioritise it and when it comes to food, I listen to my body’s signals around what it needs. I know people think the word gratitude gets overused but I am truly grateful for life itself plus everything I have in my life – such a clean water and fresh air. An attitude of gratitude can be very energising – as is having a clear purpose.
How do you stick to your wellness routine when you’re on the road presenting and touring?
We have to adapt to the situation we find ourselves in and while I’m on the road I might not get the level of downtime I maintain when I’m in my normal routine but I still prioritise it. My morning ritual might consist of tai chi or meditation, both of which can be done anywhere and all restaurants offer sides of vegetables so I just ensure I make choices from the options on hand that are the most supportive of my health and wellness. Plus I start my day with an organic green drink made of ground up plants mixed with water.
What are the best things women can do to help them glow from the inside out?
Get back in touch with how precious they truly are. If you knew who you truly are, you would be in awe of yourself and you would never do half of the things you currently do to yourself. It’s time to make better choices because you know you are worth taking care of.
Do you have a favourite natural beauty brand or product you can’t live without?
Water and I love having my hair blow dried ☺
Thank you for being part of our Woman issue! You can pick up a copy of The Energy Guide by clicking the link.