It’s not often you get to sit in the front row of one of your greatest health idols, meet her in person, then a year later find yourself speaking on stage alongside of her, only to be asked a few months later to interview her for a magazine cover story!
Many hashtags come to mind: #girlcrush #itsadream and #OMGilovelibby!
Dr Libby Weaver is one of those women who oozes intelligence, confidence, and knowledge and when you stand before her, you realise she possesses lashings of healthy sex appeal too. She is the complete package and like the tens of thousands of other girl-crush fans out there, I consider it an absolute honor to be in her company.
Being asked to interview Dr Libby has given me humble permission to delve deep into what makes her tick and how she became one of the world’s most respected women’s health advocates and most renowned international speakers and authors.
With a hint of a Kiwi accent I always thought she was born in New Zealand, but this country girl was in fact born in Tamworth, NSW. Although she spends a lot of time in NZ, which is why she is always claimed as one of theirs!
Knowing she spent fourteen years at university I asked if she felt it was, ‘the more she learnt the more she realised she didn’t know’? She joked and said it was more a thirst for knowledge and not that she was thick!
Her first degree in nutrition and dietetics saw her placed in a country-based practice dealing with kids who had so much medical attention and conditions such as leukemia and eczema. Much to her surprise, every single patient she dealt with was completely healed through her nutritional advice.
Dr Libby said, “It made me wonder why poor nutrition is not thought of as a possible cause for ill health? It lit a fire so big I had to ring my immunology professor and ask him what I should do. He suggested with my curious mind, I should look at completing a PhD in biochemistry.”
With a love of writing, psychology and human behaviour, one of the biggest dilemmas she found herself continually questioning was, ‘why do people do what they do, even though they know what they know?’
I am instantly reminded of one of her talks. Dr Libby has such reverence for the body. She talks about the enormous power of the internal chemistry that takes place. Every second there are billions of chemical reactions within the 50 trillion cells that make up the human body.
“You cannot help but be blown away by ‘its’ magnificence,’ Dr Libby said. “I really want to help or support people to see their body as a vehicle, their earth suit, and to maintain it and make sure it’s highly functional for their whole life because I think as we live longer, we want that quality of life to still be there.”
I questioned Libby on the sad fact that most people, women in particular, do nothing but berate their body. They don’t see its magnificence, they are not kind to it; all they see are faults. Why is this?
“One of the best things we can do is advocate for a subject to be taught in school called ‘Practical Psychology’ where children are taught from a young age that our brain creates meanings from every situation that we are a part of. We are wired to pick up on information in the environment that essentially leads us to create a deficiency, or a belief in the deficiency, of who we are and we create a meaning that there is something wrong with us, that we are not okay the way we are. And then we grow up obviously experiencing every conversation, every thought through that filter and belief that we are not good enough.”
How can we be more kind to ourselves I asked?
“Kindness is inherently who we all are. Our perception though, of who we are, can get in the way of the ‘truth’ of who we are. I feel so many women are trying to slog themselves to change the big or little things in their lives that right now are not going to budge. I never want women to think they must put up with their lot. You go girl – you change whatever you want! But I think it’s more about being discerning about what you can and can’t do,” she said.
Exhaustion, burnout and struggling with the everyday pressures…how do we get off the stress treadmill?
“On a physical level it’s recognising that so much insight comes from stillness. A lot of women still resist stillness because they feel to prove their worth, they have to be busy and then there’s the practical side of it when you have a full time job, a partner, children, aging parents…there are so many things to juggle. It’s quite often meeting the needs of other people. And it’s recognising your own needs amongst that, knowing your needs are just as important as theirs,” Dr Libby shared.
All very good and well, I hear many women say, but what about the guilt, or when we are snapping at our family, exhausted, and not able to eat well?
Dr Libby explained, “First up, it is a behavior, not actually who you are, because as soon as you think your behavior is who you are, you can feel it is all just too hard. Learn to see your behavior, like snapping at the children, as feedback that something needs to change. For instance, you might have had five coffees that day and it’s just way too much caffeine, so that adrenalin has led you to behave that way. If you have eaten badly or hardly at all, is it because you have been running around meeting everyone else’s needs? Maybe you are just ‘hangry’! Sometimes the behavior we don’t like is due to a physical need of the body. It is getting either too much of something or it’s not getting something it needs.”
So I reflected back to Dr Libby all of this is really quite simply around our perceptions (not necessarily truths) and our nutritional needs…
“Yes. I think the way we feed ourselves is one of the most basic forms of self-care that we can demonstrate to ourselves. A lot of people see food as a pain in the neck or use the phrase, ‘I don’t have time or money to eat well’. But I will challenge them – instead of saying you don’t have time or money why not just say it is not a priority for you right now? Because, that’s the truth of it. We make time for whatever we prioritise. If you want to be better nourished, then you have to priortise it!” said Dr Libby.
As the interview came to a close I thought, I have fallen even more in love with this beautiful soul. She is married to the love of her life and business partner Chris. She is the mother of all things: self-love, self-care and innate health. On asking what drives Dr Libby I have another couple of hashtags to add to my interview… #incrediblechangeagent #lovemyselftobits
“I want people growing up never losing sight of how precious they are because if we never lost touch with it, we would eat better and be much kinder to ourselves, and each other. I feel like the ripple effect of that in the world would be major and I just don’t think it has to be the way anymore. That might be fighting our psychology or our biology but I am going to do all I can to help people live their lives back in touch with how precious they truly are!” Dr Libby
Dr Libby’s top 3 tips to cultivate more kindness?
1: It is very difficult for the body to produce substances that allow you to feel the emotions or express the emotions you want, if you are not giving it the basic substances to drive the biochemical pathways that allow you to experience the joy, compassion, kindness that you want to have more of. We are a pile of physical systems and if you are not feeding your body the nutrients it needs, it just cannot make those substances.
2: Focus on eating in a nutrient dense way!
3: Develop soul nourishment. Just let yourself have what you already have. It might be a majestic view, a child’s laughter, a beautiful sky. When you ask someone who is dying what they will miss most, they say the most ordinary things: a partner’s face, the fur of their dog, the smell of a freshly cut lemon or the night sky. You’ve got all that right now. Joy in knowing this gives you an irreplaceable depth of energy.