Dr Libby Wants You to Say No
In her new book, Dr Libby shares her thoughts on women’s wellbeing and the power of saying no
As Dr Libby so passionately explains it, being a woman is a wonderful gift “and it breaks my heart to see people living with so much pain”. Her genuine love for the human spirit, cultivated over many years researching her PHD, working in health retreats, in private consults and as a hugely inspiring public speaker, is the primary motivator for her thriving career.
Dr Libby spoke with Viva on the eve of the launch of her ninth book, Women’s Wellness Wisdom, which she has written as a direct response to the many woman worldwide who have read her books (she’s sold over 300,000 copies), attended her seminars or watched her 2014 TEDx talk. A resource for all ages, the book talks through key areas of women’s wellbeing including food (with sections on cooking on a budget and how to introduce children to nutrition), body, mind and world.
The concept of ‘feedback’ is throughout the book, tell us about that.
Everything is feedback, there is no failure. When you don’t feel comfortable with life, or your body or health isn’t what you need it to be, that’s feedback; not failure. It’s up to us to know what to do with it, change doesn’t have to be big and overwhelming. I want people back in touch with their own inner voice. It’s like there’s instructions on everything — how you feed your families, parenting — I’m not saying we don’t necessarily need to not learn things but I am saying never negate your own voice. That includes the voice of intuition about areas of your life you may need to make a shift in. It’s not criticism, you’re not failing. Women are often so hard on themselves.
You’re big on women saying no, you refer to it in the book as ‘flexing the no muscle’?
There’s immense beauty in being an incredible support system to a lot of people, but there’s a reason why airplanes say ‘put your own oxygen mask on first.’ You literally can’t do all of those things if you’re not okay. And when you’re someone that has been raised to be a good girl, or a people pleaser, it’s important to start to see the benefit for the other person in your saying no.
What’s your food philosophy?
I feel like a big part of health comes from joy. And rigidity and fear with food masks a belief, or beliefs, that people have about themselves and it can permeate their whole life.
I encourage women to realise their bodies are trying to communicate to them. If there’s been a significant change in body deposition, what biochemical pathways are allowing that to happen? Is it too much oestrogen, is it the liver, is it an adrenal issue? My big focus is a shift from weight to health. A genuine shift from weight to health is surely game changing for how women then experience themselves, their body, their food choices. Because then it’s never about restriction.
What are your thoughts on alcohol?
The regular over-consumption of it is becoming a bigger and bigger problem for women. When there’s too much of it you can start to recycle oestrogen, and that has huge consequences. The ripple effect of the liver not being able to keep up with the load is a big thing.
So many women don’t eat a lot through the day because they’re trying to make their clothes fit ‘better’. So when they come home from work they’re hungry, thirsty, tense and exhausted. A glass of wine has got loads of sugar in it, so it will quench their thirst and provide the sugar hit they need because they haven’t let themselves eat many carbohydrates through the day. I don’t want people to think that I’m anti-alcohol, I’m not. It’s just the over-consumption of it is a massive problem for women.
What’s your view on supplements?
I’m a big fan of supplements for three reasons. One, our soil hasn’t got the nutrient content that it once had, so for example where once our lettuce might have been a great source of calcium, now it’s a pathetic source. Secondly, while every generation of humans has had stress, I believe that in the last 10-20 years it’s been consistent and relentless for a lot of people.
Every time you make a unit of adrenalin you use B vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium. So if you’re someone that lives on a lot of adrenalin your requirements for those nutrients already are greater than someone who is genuinely chilled out. And thirdly, we’re now exposed to more problematic substances than ever before, whether that’s in the form of what we’re breathing, what we’re putting on our skin, sadly herbicides. And the liver has to alter all those compounds, it’s got to change things into less harmful versions of themselves before we can eliminate them.
Tell us about the ripple effect.
When we step up and take care of ourselves it doesn’t just impact us, it impacts everyone around us. Whether people realise it or not they have standards in every area of their life; with their health, money, energy, sleep, the quality of their relationships. When we’re not meeting our standards, we don’t like ourselves. And when you don’t like yourself in a particular department, or many departments of your life, it impacts how you speak to every single person whose life you’re in. When you are treating yourself well, the sense of connection and caring you get has a ripple in the world. Because it’s the disconnection that so many people experience today. We’re better able to bring curiosity, rather than judgment to an experience. I just want people to see that with every choice they make — where they spend their money, the thoughts they think — nothing stops with them, everything has an impact in some way.
Dr Libby’s Women’s Wellness Wisdom is released today and is $39.99 from bookstores and drlibby.com. The author’s From Surviving to Thriving — What Every Woman Needs to Know national tour starts tomorrow in Auckland, for dates see drlibby.com
You can see Dr Libby speak live at the Power Stage at the BePure Live Well Festival, October 15 & 16 2016 at the Cloud in Auckland. These seminars are free for everyone with a GA Ticket. The BePure Live Well Festival is New Zealand’s premier wellness and lifestyle event, with over 60 exhibitors, seminars from health and wellness experts, fitness classes, meditation and massage. For more information and to purchase tickets visit livewellfestival.co.nz.