Dr Libby Weaver: body fat and holis­tic well­ness

Dr Libby Weaver is a name syn­ony­mous with well­ness, and she is on a mis­sion to help us all value and nur­ture the amaz­ing be­ings that we are. In this ex­tract from her lat­est book, she ex­plains the ben­e­fits of a more holis­tic ap­proach to health, and what ou

Australian Women’s Weekly NZ - - CONTENTS -

To live in this dif­fer­ent way [see quote be­low] re­quires a par­a­digm shift on how you ap­proach what food you eat, and how you eat it. It re­quires a shift from a fo­cus on weight to a gen­uine fo­cus on and care for your health. This means em­brac­ing a three-pronged holis­tic ap­proach to your health: emo­tion, nutri­tion and bio­chem­istry. Let’s ex­plore these briefly here be­fore we move on.


Emo­tion When you are not hun­gry, it is not food you want. The food will never be enough, will never fill you, never sat­isfy you. Rather, it is the as­so­ci­a­tions you have with the food, the sto­ries you tell your­self about the food. It is the mem­o­ries of that food. It is what you be­lieve that eat­ing that food will give you: a feel­ing – and it is al­ways a feel­ing – of com­pan­ion­ship, of be­long­ing, of be­ing wel­comed, of no longer be­ing lonely or bored, of be­ing trea­sured, of de­serv­ing the sweet things in life, of be­ing spe­cial. When you are not hun­gry, for­get the mid­dle­man: food. Go for the trea­sur­ing. And start with your­self.


Nutri­tion There is no ques­tion that hu­mans can over-eat. Cer­tainly it is very easy to do so in to­day’s pro­cessed-food-laden world. It is also true that they can un­der-eat. How­ever, the fun­da­men­tal, un­der­pin­ning prob­lem is the way we are taught to ap­proach eat­ing: that the only way we can con­trol or in­flu­ence our body size and weight is via a con­cept of “calo­ries in ver­sus calo­ries burned”, which is based on an equa­tion orig­i­nat­ing from 1918. This not only ig­nores the emo­tional fac­tors that drive food be­hav­iours (which are even more preva­lent these days with the epi­demic of “not enough­ness” I talk about in my TEDx talk), but also ig­nores the dra­matic change in our food sup­ply. Since 1918, there has been a steady and re­morse­less move away from real-food, con­tribut­ing to what I call the “tox­i­c­ity fac­tor”, and an in­flux of es­tro­gen-like sub­stances in the en­vi­ron­ment, which drives fat stor­age and dis­rupts our en­docrine sys­tem.


Bio­chem­istry Cou­ple this change in food source and con­tent with the ad­vent of the cof­fee cul­ture, which can drive ex­cess adrenalin pro­duc­tion and pro­motes the flight-or-fight re­sponse. Then add to this our per­cep­tions of pres­sure and ur­gency mount­ing daily, as ev­i­denced by stress stud­ies glob­ally, and we have a whole host of fac­tors in­flu­enc­ing the meta­bolic con­se­quences of the calo­ries we eat. Fast-burn­ing fu­els are used over slower-burn­ing fat, which is stored to help us sur­vive these “un­safe” times. As this be­comes our de­fault set­ting, our me­tab­o­lism changes.

The par­a­digm shift

When you base how some­one is sup­posed to eat on a con­cept that says the only way you can have what you think you want – a slim body, a lean body – is by burn­ing more than you eat, you set peo­ple up for a life of ob­ses­sion and mis­ery. Plus, you miss the road to free­dom. By free­ing your­self from an ob­ses­sion with food and calo­ries, from in­tense ex­er­cise, and from harsh self-talk, you will find what you seek from the food, but which it can never give you: love. The body, mind and soul nour­ish­ing al­ter­na­tive is sim­ple: eat real-food build your mus­cle mass get flex­i­ble di­aphrag­mat­i­cally breathe drink mostly wa­ter get eight hours’ sleep per night.

It is that sim­ple. I al­ways want to write “as of­ten as you can” af­ter these points, so that it feels more re­al­is­tic for you. But the truth is, if I do that, you may not truly ap­pre­ci­ate the pow­er­ful and won­der­ful im­pact a new level of com­mit­ment to your health and self-care can bring. I also al­ways want to start points like these with a state­ment en­cour­ag­ing you to get back in touch with how pre­cious life is, with how pre­cious you are, for when you do that you will treat your­self ac­cord­ingly. You will do these things with­out ef­fort. Be­cause that is part of what tak­ing care of your­self looks like.

These points aren’t rules. You do not need to fol­low them 24/7, 365 days a year. You are not re­quired to ex­e­cute them to per­fec­tion. It is what you con­sis­tently do that im­pacts on your health and your body. This is a way of life; a way of liv­ing you re­turn to af­ter a meal with a friend or a hol­i­day. It is how we can sup­port our body in this fast-paced mod­ern world. It is how we can live our best life and make the big­gest con­tri­bu­tion back. And, along the way, it brings you en­ergy, vi­tal­ity, grace, free­dom and love.

Do you feel the de­sire, the long­ing, to live in a dif­fer­ent way? To live with ease and spa­cious­ness. To stop pun­ish­ing your­self or sham­ing your­self. If you do, that gives you a choice.

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