Dr Libby Explains Why You're Always Tired
Dr Libby's latest book teaches you how to be more energised
Australia can keep Russell Crowe and even that refined sugar-laden pavlova, as long as we are allowed to hang on to Dr Libby. The dynamic nutritionist with a PhD in biochemistry and a lifelong passion to help people realise their potential is a tremendous asset to this country. (We’ve claimed her through her marriage in 2008 to her Kiwi husband, Chris Weaver).
Having recently signed to alternative book publishing heavyweights Hay House in the US it’s likely we’ll have to work hard to keep her.
Viva spoke to Libby on the eve of the launch of her new book, Exhausted to Energized.
“I wanted to start a conversation for people around energy being the real currency of health,” she explains about her latest subject. “Weight has been the marker of health until now but really, our innate energy that we wake up with every day is such a great reflection of how things are going.”
Exhausted to Energized is Dr Libby’s eighth book and a natural progression into what she’s identified, through her 17-year career, as an area in desperate need of tangible help.
“People’s lives are ridiculously privileged but when I ask them how they feel they’ll say ‘I’m exhausted’, ‘I’m bad’, ‘stressed’ or ‘busy’.”
Libby points out that people use the “incredible elements” of their lives as a reason for being too exhausted to enjoy it — children, busy jobs, travelling. “They have these amazing lives, but they say it almost like a complaint. And it just kept hitting me — people can’t enjoy their lives anymore because they don’t have the physical energy to do so.”
Among her findings is a concept that will resonate with many living in these ultra-charged times; what she’s termed “open loops”, or “open tabs”.
“You know when you have too many apps open on your phone and it drains your battery faster?” she explains. “That’s what people are doing to their brains all the time.”
She outlines a typical day for many: “you go into work and read 25 emails that have come in overnight. You reply to four of them but the other 21 create an open loop in your brain. On top of that you’re thinking about getting a stain out of your carpet at home, remembering to pick your kids up and what you’re going to have for dinner.”
Libby’s research suggests that in a given day someone may have up to 300 tabs open in their head. “And it is so depleting to our energy.”
The book sets out practical advice to close the loops, the biggest one — spoiler alert — being scheduling. Libby points out “To Do” lists can be pointless as people still prioritise the easier or preferred tasks, thus never closing the tabs.
Strict scheduling, such as having three set times a day for emailing, and an hour a day for returning and making phone calls, enables people’s brains to function more efficiently. “Creative people often resist the scheduling so I encourage them to just do it two or three days a week at first. They soon find that it actually gives them more creativity as their brain is so much freer when the tabs are closed!”
Something else Libby preaches in the book, and another way to “close open tabs”, is identifying what she calls “hell yeah” moments. “These days if it’s not hell yeah it just has to be no.” She explains that most people are very good at saying yes to things out of obligation but if we don’t have the time or energy to do them they add to our ongoing fatigue.
“We jump straight in because we’ve got kind hearts but it can really take away from where we want our energy to be — our family, our work, our fitness — the things we really love.”
Partway through writing the book, Libby had a “hell yeah” moment of her own when she was invited to speak to a group of entrepreneurs, including Sir Richard Branson, at his retreat on Necker Island.
Aside from being a tremendous professional and life experience, it also provided fascinating fodder for her book through the unguarded access it afforded to top-level executives. Ask Libby what surprised her most about the research she uncovered and she answers instantly.
“The non-negotiable for many of the most successful people that I interviewed was their morning routine.” Consistently, Libby found that these people (who she describes as professionally successful as well as happy, healthy and vibrant) practised a morning ritual, either energetic or restorative, that they believed set themselves up for the day.
“It might’ve been an early morning exercise, for many it was either meditation, reading, restorative practice or prayer, but they all looked out for themselves in some way; that absolutely stood out.”
Many who’ve read Dr Libby’s previous books or heard her speak say it’s like she’s read their diary, so uncanny is her ability to get into the heads of the everyday person, identify something they thought they couldn’t change and give them the tools with which to do so.
Her vision is empowering and her research is impeccable but it’s her ability to break down the scientific, find its emotional counterparts and package it all up in a way that’s accessible to all that’s her biggest gift.
With Hay House (which has 30 New York Times bestsellers on its roster) releasing her books worldwide from January, New Zealand would do well to claim her while it can.
Still, she assures us, “my clinic [Dr Libby has a private practice in Shortland St, Auckland] is a beautiful support system for people and a point of contact for people wanting to access one-on-one information. My New Zealand office is home.”
• Exhausted to Energized is released in NZ through Little Green Frog Publishing.
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.