Notes From Dr Libby
Monthly Notes Archive
Monthly Notes Archive
It’s at this time of year, as the weather begins to get colder and the days are shorter, it can be harder to resist the habits we’re trying to change.
When we lose that motivation, it can be easy to perceive that what we’re trying to achieve is just all too hard. Life can so easily get in the way – if we let it.
Many people can find themselves on a see-saw of feeling motivated to improve their energy and health, then feeling overwhelmed and letting it all slip away. And winter, being a natural time of turning inwards and hibernation, doesn’t help!
In order to change the behaviour, you first need to change the belief and our self-talk.
If we make some positive changes only to have them slip and then tell ourselves we’ve “ruined everything now” and “what’s the point anyway?”, we deter ourselves from picking them up again because we feel like we failed – which can stimulate some of our deeper, more hidden beliefs that we’re not ‘good’ enough.
By reminding yourself that it’s what you do consistently that shapes your health, not what you do occasionally – and remembering that everything you do to support your health is beneficial and never a waste of time, even one little glass of water can make a difference – you can begin to shift your perception around your choices.
This is why it’s so important to bring curiosity instead of judgement to our choices. If we’re curious about why we’re engaging in certain behaviours rather than judgemental, we allow ourselves to explore what might be going on for us below the surface of our actions.
Instead of letting your nourishing practices fall away entirely with the seasonal changes, try adapting them to suit the climate and how you’re feeling. You might not feel motivated to go for a walk outside in the morning because of the weather, but a gentle yoga practice on your bedroom floor might feel just as nourishing. You may notice that your desire for salads and raw foods disappears, yet you can still nourish your body with nutritious soups and stews.
I hope that you don’t give up. I hope that you prioritise your health because you are so, so worth it.
Take the best care of yourself.
Dr Libby x
Isn’t autumn such a beautiful time of year?
When I observe the seasonal transitions that come this time of year, I can’t help but make parallels to the transitions in our lives. Change is inevitable, yet it’s not always comfortable. Some changes can elicit feelings of joy and delight, others make us want to hibernate. Sometimes we feel that our days are graced with sunshine and then the storms roll in and we duck for cover.
We all have varying tolerances for change. Some people relish it and others do whatever they can to avoid it. It, of course, also depends on the change itself. The heartbreak of losing a loved one is a transition that will likely leave a mark on our lives for a very long time, whereas changing jobs might be a little easier for us to deal with.
When it comes to making changes that support our health, I often observe a lot of resistance. It led me to ask one of the key questions that has guided a lot of my work since – why do we do what we do, when we know what we know?
Many of us know that we need to make changes to better support our health and yet, somehow they usually fall to the bottom of the pile. We might know that we need to eat more vegetables and less processed food, or that we really should cut back to one cup of coffee a day. Or we might be familiar with the consequences of not enough sleep but still try to get through on 5-6 hours a night. What is it about lifestyle change that we regularly resist so much?
For many, it takes a health crisis to wake them up to the fact that they need to make some changes. I don’t want that for you. Ask yourself, what small, incremental steps can you make towards better health and energy? It might be that you need some support – either nutritionally or in the form of further guidance. Don’t be afraid to reach out when you need help.
Wishing you a wonderful end to the month.
Dr Libby x
What are your habits when you feel like you want something? Do you go to the fridge or the pantry and stare blankly in at the contents waiting for inspiration? Or do you jump online and buy yourself a brand-new pair of shoes?
Perhaps you pour yourself a glass of wine – or meditate or journal.
We all have our ways of coping with what’s happening in our lives, some more nourishing than others.
When we feel as though something is missing it’s easy to get ourselves into the habit of looking for it in all the wrong places. We do so much more to avoid pain than we ever do to experience pleasure. And while that habit, whether it’s something sweet or a spontaneous purchase or a glass of wine, might momentarily give us a surge of pleasure, usually it’s replaced with guilt or remorse over “bad decisions”.
The reason we can’t find what we’re looking for in our habitual places is because usually that something is something much, much deeper.
We might be looking for comfort, or love, or to feel better about ourselves because we’ve had a horrific day at work or at home. We might be avoiding the truth that’s lying at the heart of wanting something – that we are always looking for more because we don’t feel like we are enough, just the way we are. Or we are simply avoiding the discomfort of emotional pain.
The next time you find yourself wanting something, try this. Close your eyes and ask – what feeling do I really want? Or, a question that might be more apt for some of you – what feeling am I really avoiding?
It might take asking that question a few times to get to the heart of what is driving your habits but once you have identified it, that awareness is the first building block to changing the behaviour.
Dr Libby x
When you finally lay your head down on your pillow at the end of the day does your mind come to rest? Or do you find yourself cataloguing the day you’ve had down to the tiniest detail – noting all your mistakes, all the unresourceful food choices you made and judging yourself for “being so bad”?
Perhaps getting into bed is the first time you’ve stopped “doing” things since you slid out of bed that morning. It’s quite natural then, for your brain to start throwing all the things up for your review as it tries to make sense of what information needs to be stored where.
The meaning that we attach to each of these experiences (whether we’ve disappointed ourselves or someone else, or conversely had a productive, enjoyable day) will affect how that information is stored and consequently our biochemistry.
For someone who is exhausted after a long day, it can be incredibly frustrating to finally get off your feet to discover that you can’t switch off. Maybe your busy mind interferes with your ability to get quality sleep and you regularly wake up feeling foggy and unrested, which only compounds your frustration further.
Under these circumstances, how do you think your following days will unfold? How much harder will it be to make nourishing food choices and speak to yourself kindly? This is a common cycle in which we signal to our body to store fat instead of burn it. It’s also one that contributes to many other health challenges including digestive upsets, anxiety, depression, fatigue and headaches. Such is the powerful impact of quality rest!
If you find yourself laying awake running through the lists of your day, try this breathing exercise. Put your hand on your belly just below your ribs and focus on expanding that area out as you breath in, paying particular attention to extending your exhalation. Keep your attention focused on your breath, bringing it back every time it wanders. Keep doing this as long as you need to, until your body relaxes and you find yourself ready to drift off to sleep. This is also a great exercise to do if you wake up through the night to help you get back to sleep.
Dr Libby xx
Do you ever stop to consider where your food comes from? From the farmer who commits their life to feeding you through to the entire chain of production that takes place before something ends up in your shopping basket.
We are incredibly fortunate in the Western world to have an abundance of food available to us that we don’t have to grow, harvest or hunt for ourselves.
But on the other side of that fortune lies a disconnection to the supply chain that means we often forget the impact that our choices have on the world around us. I raise this, neither to elicit guilt, nor to make a political statement but because I think it’s important we all ask more questions.
I’ve discussed before about how important I think it is that you choose organic produce and products where possible. I’m passionate about increasing your nutrient intake and the benefits that has on your health. But I’m also incredibly passionate about sustainability and the impact that we all have on our planet and its inhabitants.
We aren’t given a lot of information about the production methods that everything we buy passes through before it gets to us but we have more power than we realise. With every purchase you make, you’re communicating to producers and manufacturers where you stand on the quality, sustainability and integrity of the products available on the market.
Maybe there is a cost prohibitive for you around switching to organic or sustainable products. It’s true that these kinds of products are more expensive-because the costs of production are so much greater. It stuns and saddens me that we live in a world where the true cost of food and products are not affordable for all. And we all do what we can to help change this.
But it costs nothing to ask questions. It costs nothing to take a more conscious approach to shopping by omitting something from your shopping basket because you’ve found out it was produced in a factory with unsafe working conditions for employees, for example. As you make your purchases this month, consider what part you play in the chain of production. Are there any small changes you can make to communicate to producers and manufacturers that you want more nutritious, sustainable and ethical products on offer? We all have a part to play in shaping the world around us and shifting some of the practices we feel at times, powerless to change, but that are unacceptable to us. I encourage you all to ACT on what you care about.
Dr Libby xx
Happy New Year. As one year comes to a close and another one begins, we often find ourselves thinking about the year ahead. For some this will involve New Year’s Resolutions – a new year a new you. For others, it will involve setting goals – embracing 2017 with gusto and making it the best yet. This kind of approach can be amazingly helpful and give us clear markers to identify where we were before and where we are now. It can also make us incredibly action focused and create a sense of purpose in our lives to achieve specific things by a specific date. Yet for others, such an approach equates to feelings of pressure, that sabotage the very tasks they’ve set out to accomplish.
In this headspace, many are so focused on what they feel they must achieve, that they’ve forgotten entirely about joy. We forget about cherishing the magic that lies within everyday moments. We forget to let ourselves have what we already have.
Make 2017 the year that you notice, take in and allow yourself the pleasure of everything already within your life and the majesty of the world around us. Instead of setting goals, ask instead what lights you up. What makes you feel full of joy, passion, wonder and energy? What makes you feel so incredibly grateful just to be alive? Create more space for these things in your life and watch the essence of this form the foundation of health and energy that is rarely discussed.
And with that energy – along with the energy you gain from nourishing your body to the fullest – what are you going to do? It is my hope that you make the most of every single moment, both the challenging ones and the incredible ones. That you prioritise yourself and your wellbeing, learn to recognise how truly amazing you are, and that the ripple effect of this uplifts, inspires and encourages you and everyone you come into contact with.
I hope your 2017 has started in a way that lights you up.
Dr Libby xx