Why Are You So Tired? Dr Libby Weaver on the Nourishing Hub September 13 2015 by Simone Denny 1 Comment
Today I am delighted to introduce one of my great inspirations and a leading women's health advocate Dr Libby Weaver. I really am over the moon to have this acclaimed health and wellness leader sharing her words of wisdom with the Nourishing Hub. I am an avid follower of Dr Libby's work and over the years have attended many of her informative and thought provoking talks here in Sydney. I have read a number of her hugely popular books and I also regularly cook from her range of nutritious recipe books.
Dr Libby is one of Australia's leading nutritional biochemists, author and speaker, who splits her time between New Zealand and Australia. She is a seven times number one bestselling author of Accidentally Overweight, Rushing Woman's Syndrome, Raw Food Chef, Beauty from the Inside Out and The Callorie Fallacy to name a few.
What I love about Dr Libby is her ability to break down her complex biochemistry knowledge into cleverly articulated, easy to understand concepts. Today I talk to Dr Libby about why we are so tired, which ties in nicely with her latest book called Exhausted to Energised.
NH: There seems to be an epidemic of tiredness amongst people today, what are the main drivers behind this?
LW: The reasons are different for each and every one of us – but I think one of the main reasons is that we are taking on more and more, demanding more of ourselves mentally and physically than ever before. Many people struggle with restorative sleep, fill themselves with stimulants such as caffeine because they aren’t sleeping well and often surround themselves (often unintentionally) with people who drain their energy. But it’s more than that – there are so many biochemical and emotional processes at the heart of whether we feel energized or not and this is really what I want people to understand. For many of us it’s easier to hide behind “it’s work, it’s the kids, it’s winter etc” than to truly address the heart of the matter and it doesn’t have to be that way. The other part of this picture is that I see so many people who have created amazing lives – children, partners, work, study, travel… yet they can’t enjoy the life they’ve created because they are too exhausted. I want to help people live their lives with more energy so that they can enjoy what they’ve created.
NH: You talk about energy in terms of deposits and withdrawals, can you tell us more about this?
LW: If we think of the energy we have on a daily basis as a bank account it’s easier to think about what “adds” or “takes” away from our energy. Energy supplies us with the power to function, grow, heal and regenerate ourselves daily. We are designed however, to supplement this original endowment of energy with what we generate from eating, breathing, sleeping, working, playing, learning and relationships. Each day we make withdrawals and deposits; we invest or deplete. And when the balance of the scales tips in the direction of us using more than we put back in, we begin to live in the red with the potential of falling further and further behind.
To keep the currency analogy going, we are then forced to dip into our savings. When we continuously withdraw from our savings account, alarm bells can begin to sound telling us that our survival is being challenged. These alarms present to us as symptoms in the body, often of the type that don’t initially lead us to stay home from work… so we soldier on and often do nothing about them.
NH: You are a biochemist – what exactly is happening in our body when we feel so depleted of energy?
LW: Some of the symptoms of dipping into our energy savings accounts include fatigue, low mood, anxious feelings, apathy, unrefreshed sleep or insomnia, brain fog, lowered resistance to infections, stiffness, digestive system problems, “unexplained” changes in body fat levels, and signs of rapid aging. These are just some of the ways our body might choose to let us know that we are physically, mentally and/or emotionally exhausted.
The symptoms themselves don’t have a voice to let you know what they want you to do. It is up to us to decipher them. And when we are running on empty, our body does its best to let us know that it is time to slow down, rest, better support and enhance detoxification pathways, repair, replenish and restore. Yet too many people ignore this, throw another pill down, or write it off to “I must be getting old”.
NH: I know reducing stimulants is one way to have more sustained energy. Are there any alternatives you recommend for coffee lovers?
LW: Coffee actually does serve some people, I explain this in more detail in my book – but often it relates to how much is being consumed. Green tea is a wonderful alternative to coffee as it has an uplifting effect with a substance that helps to keep us a calm. Plus, it’s a wonderful source of antioxidants so it really is a fantastic substitute or alternative.
NH: What are your top 3 tips for having more energy?
- Work on closing what I call “open tabs”- these are tasks, emails or jobs that haven’t been resolved. It’s as if we walk around each day with so many tabs open in our brains – like tabs sitting open on your computer, or phone. It’s no wonder we feel drained or flattened.
- Incorporate more resistance training or muscle building exercise. This helps to build lean muscle mass. More muscle means more energy-producing mitochondria in our cells – resulting in a higher metabolic rate, which assists with body fat management as well as energy production. Naturally you gain better energy reserves as your glycogen (glucose stores) increase, as well.
- Explore your immune system function – whether this is your susceptibility to viruses or infections, glandular fever or simply hayfever, anything that triggers your immune system can be fatiguing. Getting to the heart of these reactions can replenish the energy that is currently being spent fighting these infections/reactions
NH: You have a grueling schedule – what are your personal practices for having an abundance of energy and vitality?
LW: I have a morning ritual that I don’t compromise. I also schedule my downtime and prioritize it. That usually involves a gentle walk in nature. I know that I cannot best serve others and my mission if I don’t ensure my battery is charged. A form of restorative yoga called Stillness Through Movement is absolute bliss for me and I feel completely revitalized after doing it. 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 energizing – as is having a clear purpose.
NH: Do you have a favourite quote or affirmation you live by?
LW: There are so many! Words and the construction of language inspire me.
At the moment I’m loving this poem by Andrea Gibson.
So build yourself as beautiful as you want your world to be. Wrap yourself in light then give yourself away with your heart, your brush, your march, your art, your poetry, your play. And for every day you paint the war, take a week and paint the beauty, the color, the shape of the landscape you’re marching towards. Everyone knows what you’re against; show them what you’re for.
If you are interested in reading more about why you may be so tired and how to get more energy check out Dr Libby's latest book Exhausted to Energised here.
For those of you in Sydney next week, one of my favourite organisations, the Conscious Club, will be hosting a talk by Dr Libby called 'Let's Talk Vitality'. I'll be going and would love to see you there. You can still get tickets here.
A huge thank you to the radiant Dr Libby for her wonderful words - I am so honoured to have this inspiring woman on the Nourishing Hub.
Have a lovely rest of your weekend!