Today the image of femininity has been over-synthesised and sanitised.
At TOM Organic, we want to steer away from the unrealistic portrayals of women we so often see in the media, and share real stories that encourage women to feel good about themselves and their choices.
We are inspired to look beyond the exterior and focus on the inside – the beautiful things that make us, us. Because it’s what’s on the inside that matters.
In this series of interviews, we will delve into the minds of a range of inspirational women to understand what has inspired them to follow their passions. We’re honoured to feature the wonderfully wise Dr Libby Weaver as the first of our Real Women.
Dr Libby Weaver (PhD) is a leading nutritional biochemist, an eight-time number one bestselling author and an international speaker with a natural ability to connect her vast scientific knowledge with her own personal sense of spirituality to take a truly holistic view of wellness.
Dr Libby graduated from the University of Newcastle in Australia with a Bachelor of Health Science Nutrition and Dietetics with Honours, and a PhD in Biochemistry. She combines this knowledge with two decades of clinical practice working with patients from all walks of life, from stay-at-home mums to Hollywood stars.
When addressing any health concern, Dr Libby’s three-pillar approach examines the biochemical, nutritional and emotional reasons behind what might be driving the body to behave in a certain way.
What sparked your interest in becoming a nutritional biochemist, author and speaker? Did you grow up in a health-conscious family?
My parents instilled wonderful real food values in my life, without consciously trying to do so. We had chickens in the backyard and my first diary entries as a four year old were how many eggs I collected. We grew some of our own vegetables and ate very simply but my mother was very much into nutrition, not calories. For example, to teach me why oranges were a good food choice, she would explain that they contain vitamin C and that vitamin C is good for the immune system, which helps the body not get sick. Originally when I started university I was studying psychology and journalism until I realised all I wanted to write about was nutrition, that’s when I made the switch. At the end of my nutritional studies my curiosity wasn’t satiated – I still had many questions I wanted answers to – and it was a wonderful lecturer of mine who encouraged me to do my PhD in Biochemistry.
What’s one thing about you that would surprise people?
I’m actually quite introverted in my nature. While I absolutely adore my work, I also adore being curled up with a book in solitude.
You spend a significant amount of time on the road inspiring people to live healthier, more fulfilled lives. How do you manage your own health when travelling?
I frequently choose accommodation based on access to local, organic food places, or I will choose something that has a kitchenette so I can prepare my own simple meals. I make sure to top up my nutrition with green juices/smoothies and I have always travelled with a green powder of ground up organic vegetables. I’m conscious of my water intake but also tend to drink organic coconut water when I’m speaking a lot. I love being at home but I also love that my work allows me to meet so many amazing people and experience some beautiful parts of the world. An attitude of gratitude does wonders for me as I deeply appreciate that I get to do what I love.
What’s the most difficult thing that you have been faced with? How did you deal with it?
I find it hard to see things in my life as ‘difficult’ as I have access to fresh air, food, clean drinking water, a roof over my head, clothes to keep me warm and live in a free country. I am deeply grateful for these things every day. Given all of my basic needs are met, when still for too many people this is not the case, events that unfold in my life might be challenges but they aren’t really difficult. Not truly. Even when emotionally tough things have happened, my belief that life doesn’t happen to me but that it happens for me, is so strong, the initial ‘pain’ is quickly interspersed with the gift/s in it. I see and experience that very quickly, even when it is something that is challenging to bare.
We have a large collection of your books in our office library, which we often refer to as an invaluable resource. I remember reading “Rushing Woman’s Syndrome” and “Beauty from the Inside Out” having so many ah-ha! moments. What is a book that you’ve read that changed your life?
“Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain provided me with so much insight. This is the book I tell everyone to read!
What are your passions outside of health and wellbeing?
I absolutely love reading. I spend most of my spare time reading books of any description. I love gardening and often spend time outside observing nature, I love watching the birds on my lawn or noticing the trees changing colours. I enjoy cooking and experimenting with new recipes and I love watching a good movie, although it has to be really good to drag me away from a book!
What have you accomplished that you thought was not possible? What advice do you have for others who are setting out to achieve their own ‘impossible’ goal?
I wrote Rushing Woman’s Syndrome in the same year that I worked with Chef Cynthia Louise to produce our first cookbook, Real Food Chef. At first when we talked about releasing two books I thought this can’t be done – but we did it and I love both of these books. These words by Nelson Mandela motivated me during this time – “it always seems impossible until it’s done” however, in saying that, I couldn’t have created and published these two books in one year without my amazing team. I want others to know that when you have a fire in your belly for what you contribute to the world, providence often shows up and the energy you have sustains you to create what feels ‘impossible’.
What does the phrase ‘What’s on the inside matters’ mean to you?
My approach considers three key elements of health; the biochemical, the nutritional and the emotional. From an emotional perspective, our behaviour is the outmost expression of our beliefs. The power that our emotional landscape holds over our ability to make choices that serve our health is next to none. What’s on the inside matters – as what’s on the inside translates to how we feel about and treat others, ourselves and the planet. I often say we need to invest in our emotional health as much as our physical health, as these beliefs and emotions drive our behaviour and choices, and determine if we will make decisions that support or hinder our health our mindset, our very being.
At TOM Organic we care deeply about women’s health. What piece of advice would you give to empower women to live healthier, more fulfilled lives?
Consider that the parts of your body that sadden or frustrate you are simply messengers asking you to eat, drink move, think, breathe, believe or perceive in a new way. See them as the gifts that they are. Your own body knows what is best for it. Live each day in touch with how precious life is, how precious you are, and treat yourself accordingly.
What is the greatest life lesson that you have learnt?
Let yourself have what you already have. Because if you don’t ‘let yourself have’ an amazing sunset, a cool evening breeze on your face after a hot day, or a majestic view, then what else are you denying yourself? Why not let yourself have what you already have? I have read that when people who are dying are asked what they will miss the most, they say, “the ordinary things. The smell in the air just before rain. The feeling of my dog’s fur under my hands. My partner’s face. A freshly cut lemon. The night sky.” We have those now. I let myself have what I already have, everyday.
What phrase or motto do you live by?
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” – Howard Thurman
Liked this? Try reading 10 Things Successful People Do Differently.