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Dr. Libby Weaver is a leading health and weight loss expert, and explains how to cope with what she calls Rushing Woman’s Syndrome, also the title of her new book. Rushing Woman’s Syndrome describes the biochemical and emotional effects of constantly being in a rush and the health consequences that urgency elicits including weight gain, lethargy and lack of sleep.

1. Most women can relate to Rushing Woman’s Syndrome. What are the first steps in overcoming the pressure we feel in our day-to-day lives?

Pressure is a perception; it is not real, which is why you can have two people face the same experiences and have a very different attitude, outcome and also health status. So the first thing to explore is your attitude. What makes your day pressured? I suggest people capture their tasks and then instead of approaching it by repeating to yourself over and over again “oh my goodness, I have so much to do” ask yourself “what outcome do I want to achieve today?” and focus on that. You will feel far less pressure and far more rewarded with this shift in psychology.

From a health perspective I suggest starting each day with movement, whether that be going for a walk, doing a few simple yoga poses, or simply breathing and stretching like a cat would on waking. We were designed to move and can often feel out of balance when don’t incorporate movement into our schedules frequently. Secondly, eating a nourishing diet and providing your body with the nutrients it needs is a huge factor as to whether you feel in control or overwhelmed. Many people feel rushed and pressured from too much caffeine. If you feel anxious, you need to take a break from caffeine as it drives the very hormone (adrenalin) that is behind anxiety. Eating a low human intervention diet with a primary focus on plant foods will provide your body with the best template for optimal health. However, I live in the same world as everyone else and sometimes it can be a struggle to eat this way all the time particularly when travelling overseas. USANA Health Sciences have the most outstanding nutritional supplements in the world – both demonstrated scientifically and clinically – and I personally take their multivitamin for this very reason. I always take time to slow down breathe deeply and be grateful for all that I have. It is impossible to feel overwhelmed or stressed when you feel gratitude.

2. How do you get your mojo back when you’re out of energy and sex is the last thing on your mind?

The answer to this lies in managing your body’s stress response. There are two branches of the nervous system that are of particular importance here: the parasympathetic and the sympathetic. The sympathetic is responsible for the fight or flight response and historically was activated when there was a physical threat to your life. However, our biochemistry is ancient and although there are no longer animals jumping out at us, you may have three deadlines on the same day, 20 missed phone calls and 300 emails to answer before you head home. It is no wonder upon returning home after a day like this the last thing you feel like is intimacy. If your body believes it is in danger whether this is perceived or real, reproduction is the last thing you will be geared for. If you need to survive, all non-vital processes are not prioritized and this includes sex, digestion, skin regeneration and hair growth. It is so important that we restore ourselves every day with relaxing practices. Parasympathetic activation can be triggered by diaphragmatic breathing, listening to relaxing music, or slow and restorative movement. To keep the connection alive with your partner, relax together but also be sure to schedule some blissful time to yourself so your parasympathetic nervous system has some time in the sun and allows your libido to be reawakened.

3. How do you de-stress and get a good night’s sleep when you’ve got a lot on your mind?

It is always helpful to get whatever is on your mind out and onto paper. Once an issue is out of your head and onto paper, you’ll be surprised at how much more manageable the task at hand is. I don’t watch television or do anything stimulating before I go to bed. I could: my work often asks me to, but I cannot contribute to the world in the way that I want to without good sleep. I suggest reading or a breath practice or meditation about one hour before bed to activate the parasympathetic nervous system. Using oils or a lovely hand cream, a cup of chamomile tea are also other lovely ways to come off the stress mountain. Minerals are vital to the optimal function of our nervous system, which includes our ability to relax and for this I suggest USANA’s Active Calcium Plus, which contains both calcium and magnesium, two minerals critical for relaxation that are readily absorbed in the form USANA offers.

4. What healthy snacks do you recommend for energy throughout the day?

My absolute favourite snacks are these delicious nutty treats called Brain Balls, a new recipe I have developed for my latest project ‘The Real Food Chef’. Brain Balls are a mix of ground nuts and seeds, shredded coconut and organic cocoa. They are an excellent source of monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids. These are perfect for an afternoon snack or energy burst. Alternatively, a handful of raw nuts for morning or afternoon tea provide a nice even energy release or a green smoothie. Green smoothies are a delicious way of increasing the nutrition in your diet but also provide a satiating snack. Aim for around 150g of leafy greens, preferably organic and include one piece of fruit (eg. A frozen banana) and then add around 1 cup of coconut water or filtered water until you reach your desired consistency. I offer great tips in my regular newsletters. Visit www.drlibby.com for more information.

5. What are your best tips for losing a few kilos when you don’t have time to exercise?

Read my first book Accidentally Overweight! There are 9 factors that determine whether a human body is using fat as it’s fuel or not. These include stress hormones, sex hormone balance and emotions. Diets don’t work. Not one. You may lose weight when you follow a diet but unless a far greater shift has happened within you, you will not keep it off. My work explores the why behind weight loss. Eating a real food diet and practicing diaphragmatic breathing are good places to start.

Dr. Libby is a guest speaker at the USANA Health Sciences Asia Pacific Convention at the Sydney Convention Centre on Friday 9 March.

What do you think of Rushing Woman’s Syndrome?