Home' Spa and Clinic : SPA Vol-67 October 2016 Contents WELLNESS
Studies have found that people w ith high
cortisol levels tend to put weight on around
Tip: “When you spot a spare few minutes
in a day, stop and breathe properly,” says
Libby. Diaphrag matic breathing is best to
lower stress levels, where you breathe in
slowly ensuring your belly – not your chest
– expands on the in breath. Try doing 20 of
these once a day, Libby suggests.
Sex Hormones : Libby sees clients put
on up to 3kg pre-menstrually, which can
be down to retaining fluid caused by rising
oestrogen levels. Levels of progesterone drop
at this time, which makes matters worse.
“This hormone [progesterone] is an anti-
anxiety agent and diuretic that allows us to
get rid of excess fluid,” she says. ‘This state
of low progesterone can impact the type of
food a woman chooses and lead to sugar
cravings in an effort to calm herself down, it
will also impact her motivation to exercise.”
Tip: If you tend to get fluid retention
symptoms such as bloating around the
stomach, swollen breasts or weight gain,
try cutting out coffee and replacing it with
herbal tea for four weeks (or one cycle at
least) to see if sy mptoms subside. It’s believed
that substances called methylxanthines
in caffeine-based products (even when
decaffeinated) can contribute to symptoms.
High Insulin: Insulin is the hormone
made in the pancreas that helps the body
move sugars from food into the cells of our
bodies. It transports glucose first to the liver
and then to the muscles where it’s stored as
glycogen to use as energy.
“If there’s any left over, which there
usually is, it’ll take it to the body fat cells
and store it there,” says Libby.
Carbohydrate foods all break down into
glucose in the blood. Refined carbohydrate
foods and sugars can lead to excess insulin
as they cause sharp spikes in blood sugar
and signal the body to make more to
process it. But that’s not the whole picture.
“Adrenalin spikes blood sugar too,” she
says. “If you haven’t eaten for a while and
you are sitting at your desk and receive 16
emails about an unexpected crisis at work or
home, your adrenalin production increases
because your body now thinks that there’s
danger and that spikes your blood sugar.”
Sitting at your desk you’re not going
to use the extra glucose available to you
because you haven’t got a physical threat to
fight or flee from, she explains.
“ So once again, more insulin has to be
made to get the excess glucose out of the
blood, leading to more fat storage, Libby says.
If you have spent months committing
to exercise and eating well with no results,
have your blood glucose levels and your
blood insulin levels tested with your GP,
she suggest s.
Tip: Get your carbohydrates from whole
foods, especially vegetables and fruit and make
sure your meals contain protein such as lean
meat, fish, eggs or pulses with some fat such
as avocado, nuts, seeds, olive oils and olives
as this combination can slow the release of
glucose into the blood, requiring less insulin.
Nervous System: Our brains are wired
for sur vival in primitive times and this can
disrupt how our bodies burn fat.
Libby explains that the autonomic
nervous system is the part of the brain that
“r uns” the body behind the scenes and is
not under our conscious control.
“It regulates our heart rate, respiration
rate, temperature control, and immune and
hormonal systems while we get on with our
lives,” she says.
“It has two parts: the sympathetic
nervous system (SNS) our ‘fight or flight’
system, and the parasympathetic ner vous
system (PNS) our ‘rest and repair’ system.
Both these systems should work in balance –
but for most of us they don’t.
“Most people exist in a state of SNS
dominance, which means we’re constantly
in the fight or flight response. This causes
adrenalin overload leading the body to only
use glucose as fuel and not body fat.”
The PNS on the other hand helps restore
calm, balance and functions such as digestion
and skin that suffer during stressful periods
and it’s stimulated by rest and relaxation (it’s
why you look and feel better after a holiday).
Tip: Try a weekly restorative practice of
some kind, Libby advises. “One of the best
ways to activate your PNS is by lengthening
your exhalation, and Tai Chi, yoga and
Pilates all help you do that,” she says.
Emotions: ‘The question I love to ask my
clients is ‘Why do you do what you do when
you know what you know?’’ says Libby.
“It’s not a lack of education that leads
someone to polish off a packet of chocolate
biscuits after dinner. It’s a subconscious
feeling of ‘I am not enough’ and I see it
time and again’. So what’s going on?
“At work, my clients will all day be living
between polarities of acceptance versus
rejection, successes versus failure based on
all the little interactions of their day.
“Then, whether it’s been lousy meetings,
something they interpreted as a dirty look
from a co -worker or a heated exchange – or
all of the above – they show up at home at
night with all that piled onto their inner
world, so their emotions are in chaos and
they want a way to feel whole again.
“If food is their thing – as it is for so
many people – they’ll end up with the
contents of the pantry in their tummies.”
Tip: Next time you’re tempted to eat to
numb negative emotions, don’t judge yourself
but be curious as to why it happened, suggests
Libby. Try mindfulness practices to help
you feel the feelings and acknowledge that
the feelings themselves can’t hurt you and
will eventually go away – but binging can by
thwarting your weight loss efforts.
Dr Libby Weaver
Hugh (Wolverine) Jackman describes
Dr Libby Weaver as a "one-stop
shop in achieving and maintaining
ultimate health and wellbeing"
86 | SPA+CLINIC
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