Dr Libby Weaver (PhD biochemistry) has fifteen years of medical clinical practice experience and is a long time program facilitator at the gold star health retreats. She has treated many sistas suffering from Rushing Women’s Syndrome. “It doesn’t seem to matter if a Rushing Woman has two or 200 things on her to do list in a day, she’s in a pressing rush to do it all,” Dr Libby says. “She is often wound up like a top, running herself ragged in a daily battle to keep up. There is always so much to do and she very rarely feels like she wins, is in control or gets on top of things. In fact, her deep desire to control even the smaller details of life can leave her feeling out of control, even of herself.”
Part 1 of Libby’s talk is about how to tell if you have Rushing Women’s Syndrome and what is going on in your body (central nervous system) if you have it.
Part 2 continues to explore the bodily functions at work and then tyeh critical steps you need to put in place to slow down and overcome it for clarity, inner calm, clarity, improved relationships and good health.
Hello delicious people! This is such a thrill to be here. Thank you Eloise for having me. I feel very honored to be in this space and sharing my heart and soul with with all of you and what I’m all about. So tonight is all about are we going mad and my take on it, my version about that is Rushing Woman’s Syndrome. So tonight you’re gonna learn some science and different ways that the body works but we’re also gonna talk a lot about psychology and beliefs and emotions that drive our behaviors.
I think everyone needs a mission. Everyone needs something in their heart that really inspires them and mine is not just to educate people because if all I do is share knowledge with you and information it might make sense to you and it might ring true for you but that doesn’t necessarily prompt you to follow through. Because I post this question tonight to you very early, why do you do what you do when you know what you know? It’s a really good thing to think about.
So it’s not a lack of education that leads someone to polish off a packet of chocolate biscuits for dinner for example. That’s not a lack of knowledge. There’s no one in this room who thinks that they’re doing themselves any favors by eating in that way, it’s usually emotional. So what I find is that a whole lot of education (yeah that’s great!) but when you couple that with inspiration it tends to stick more. A whole lot of inspirations, a whole lot of ra ra that doesn’t stick either. So my mission is to educate and inspire people, improving their health and happiness because probably you won’t notice that when we feel happy out we tend to take much better care of ourselves than we’re sad or feeling lonely. And then through that process, create a ripple effect that transforms the world.
I had an experience tonight with a rushing man. He asked me to mention him. He was a very kind taxi driver and we were caught in horrific traffic getting here and I said to him completely, calmly “It’s actually really important that I get there on time”. So he was doing extraordinary maneuvers and he was throwing his French, he was throwing his hands around in an extraordinary way and as he’s driving he’s throwing his hands and he said to me “what do you do?” and I was… I laughed my head off and said, “I’ve just written a book called Rushing Woman’s Syndrome. I’m gonna talk about it tonight”. And I could’ve become, my choice, was to become irate that there was traffic but there was nothing I could do but he was doing his absolute best and we ended up having the most delicious, soul nourishing conversation between my hotel and here and he’s gone off happy as a duck. Oh dear. He’s gone off as happy as a duck. And my point is that when we are amped up on too many stimulants, so when we have bucket loads of caffeine and lots of processed food that’s devoid of nutrients, all our cells don’t work properly and it’s very difficult even with someone with a beautiful kind heart. It’s very difficult to be patient and kind when you’re so worked up chemically from all those stimulants. And when we treat the people we love the most in the world with impatience or a lack of kindness even for a split second because that what’s going on for us that then influences how they then go out and interact with the world. So I believe in what I observed every day of my life is that when we take responsibility and do all we can to demonstrate kindness to others that really, genuinely, literally has a ripple effect that make such a massive difference in the world… each and every one of us.
So tonight I want to share with you this concept: all of the processes still going in your body, except the ovary ones, you can visually relate it to your testes however, the psychology…they’re similar. The psychology however is very feminine so for the psychology part please open your mind and your heart and be prepared to learn a lot about the delicious ladies in your life that you care about. So cover all those juicy bits and give you, I hope, some really inspiring things to think about. When I wrote first came out with the concept, I actually came out with the concept when I wrote my first book Accidentally Overweight. It came out of me. I just wrote Rushing Woman’s Syndrome and I thought, “That’s my next book”. So here it is and because I thought it might be difficult for people to work out if they have it because I met countless women who I can feel the vibration of them. If I could make a noise to describe them, it’s prrrrrrrrt. They’re functioning like that. They may not display it outwardly, they can put the calm exterior can be held as a few in the room with acknowledging it with giggles. But we can display such a calm exterior when on the inside we’re wound up like a top. And I can say to people, “Do you feel stressed?” and they’ll say no but it’s because they’re so used to it and they’ve become very capable on the outside of dealing with it. If we put a frog, (I would never do this) but if we were to put a frog, (Cause I love frog. That’s one of my nicknames embarrassingly) if we put a frog into cold water it would swim around. If we put a frog into boiling water it would jump out. If you put a frog into cold water and start to heat it up from the down below, he won’t notice and he will eventually keep swimming but then he’ll die from the heat and that’s really what we’re doing to ourselves and our lives. We are just slowly cooking ourselves and it takes for us to pause before we notice that maybe this isn’t all okay and maybe this isn’t what we really need to do. So I came up with a test that you’re very welcome to go and take it (rushingwomanssyndrome.com) and have a great giggle.
A rushing woman loves her coffee to the point that she feels deprived if she cannot get her daily fix. I am not exaggerating when I say to you that I’ve had women literally have tantrums in my office — truly they cry and stomp their feet — when I’ve ask them just to cut back, not even to go without it, just to cut back. That addiction is so powerful. But it’s more than just a drink when a man shows up, for a one-on-one consultation with me for example, he’s already made a decision that he’s going to act on whatever me, as an expert, suggests that he do in his life. So when I say to a man, “It’d be great to cut back and just have one coffee in your day” he goes, “Sure. No problem”. But women go, “Really? It’s the only thing that gives me pleasure in my day.” and we’ve got these incredible stories about what it means to us. She often answers “so busy” or “stressed” when someone asks her how she is. I was raised to say “well, thank you” and when I noticed “so busy” coming out of my mouth I went “things are gonna change”. She often experience painful menstrual periods or terrible PMS or debilitating menopause. She could demolish anything or anyone in her path leading up to menstruation. She craves sugar; particularly mid-afternoon or close to menstruation. A rushing woman tends to feel overwhelmed often and she can feel a sense of anxiety and panic easily – you can feel like your heart is racing even when you’re sitting still and you constantly feel like you’re running on adrenalin. It doesn’t seem to matter if we had two things on our to-do list or two hundred. We show up in life, our prisons in life is with the attitude of “oh my God! I’ve got so much to do”. And if you believe that there’s not enough hours in a day, there won’t be because you only ever see evidence of how your beliefs are true. You don’t ever see the sixty million thousand examples of how that’s not true. Your reticular activating system at the base of your brain is prime to help you find evidence for what you believe to be true. The challenge is that most of us don’t even know what we believe. Most of us absorb a set of beliefs before we were old enough to talk and sometimes we’ve absorbed those beliefs from people that we may not even ask for straight directions from today. And the trouble is that a lot of us don’t even know what we believe until conflict or anxiety or even health challenges, relationship challenges begin to bubble their way to the surface in our lives.
I pose this question to you: What if everything, everything was a gift? What if everything was a gift?
If you had that belief, if that was how you lived your life instead of the belief that there’s not enough time, that there’s not enough hours in the day, you would show up quite differently just with that simple shift. Many women feel very tired but yet they’re wired. So they’ll describe an exhaustion to me: they’re tired in their bones, their body feels heavy and laden but their brain just can’t stop, it’s forever turniing over. She will often feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day while trying to achieve as much as possible: she will check her emails in the bathroom, at traffic lights or late at night. When did it become normal to take a cell phone to the toilet? And you hear people, you hear the click click of the cellphones cause people are texting while they sit on the toilet and that is common but it’s not potentially normal. And I find, as well, if you do this experiment next time you stop at a red traffic light, in the past, I think we use to look around so you would look at the person maybe in the car opposite you and you know you can feel it when the person in the car beside you is looking at you so they go like that and you pretend you haven’t looked at them or you would have noticed the sky or the autumn leaves or you might have focused on… you might have thought about how much you love your mom. So we tended to pause and think and observe or you were listening to a song on the radio that was hopefully uplifting. But now, so many people refresh the screen on their phone to see if they’ve missed a call, it has rung but checking to see if they’ve missed a call, is there a new text, they got to do a tweet, what’s Facebook, what’s happening on Facebook. Well, they see their traffic lights which is why people then toot because they don’t see the lights change. So it’s constant unless we make a decision that we’re not going to do that because it’s all there on offer and we can take part or we can only take part sometimes rather than 24/7.
Rushing women tend to sleep too little and often can’t sleep restoratively. Most often they don’t get deep sleep so I ask women when they wake up, “do you feel restored from your sleep?” that’s supposed to do that and I know, I see a bias group of the population but I’d say 8 out 10 say no; eventually, just as tired when they wake up and it’s not supposed to be that way. They will often compromise late to get jobs done later at night. Interestingly, another reason that women will stay out late — they expressed to me frequently — is to have some space, to have some time on their own because they’re not able to have that solitude during the day. And I would probably suggest that that’s probably good for the soul, solitude is so important to our well-being. However, we do need our sleep as well so we’re forever balancing that, aren’t we? We often spend no time in solitude, a rushing woman doesn’t and she feels there’s no time for herself and she believes really that that’s quite selfish or a luxury that she certainly doesn’t have time for. They tend to be constantly irritable or as my mother always used to say, “Oh they’re so gritty”, and I had a lady recently it’s not just with big things, obvious things, I had a lady recently she said to me, “I know I had to come and talk to you because the potholes in the road were just doing my head in”. Every time she hit a pothole she would feel so angry that her car was being all uncomfortable for her — extraordinary. You overreact easily even if you don’t display it outwardly so you might cope with eighty thousand million things during your day and then you get home and someone’s left the butter out and you blow your stack over something that doesn’t really matter. You laugh less than you used to; I can’t tell you the number of people both men and women who say yes to that. You have a to do list that is never ever all crossed off and this bothers you. You potentially have digestive system problems such as bloating or irritable bowel syndrome; over 70% of women in the Western world have irritable bowel syndrome. You have a mental fuzziness or brain fog that you only have notice is there on a random day when it’s not. People can’t think clearly, it’s a heavy foggy head that they describe. That will often go to guilt as a common emotional pattern and they beat themselves up for not being a good enough partner/wife/mother or friend. If you live your life constantly saying that to yourself, whether it’s consciously or subconsciously, it’s very difficult to deliver and contribute to the world enormously. Of course you still are but you live it from a place that you’re just not good enough, that you’re just not doing a good enough job and that might be two centimeters or two kilometers from you feeling your absolute best and sharing your all. You feel anxious without your cellphone or you constantly… you can catch yourself constantly pushing the refresh button thinking “what if I miss an important text or phone call?” and you take your phone to the toilet for that reason.
Rushing women will either lose their appetite totally or they’ll feel so hungry that they could eat their arm off. The low appetite picture is because of the stress hormone adrenaline. Adrenaline is designed to save your life, adrenaline communicates to every cell of your body that your life is in danger, literally. The trouble is that, historically, our stress was physical, there was potentially a tiger about to come out of the jungle at us.
But now our stress is far more psychological and often it’s our perception of pressure and we’re sitting at a desk where it’s all building. So when we make adrenaline, normally, we have a brilliant blood supply to our digestive system that fosters the breaking down, the digestion, absorption and utilization of nutrients. But when you make adrenaline, we are designed to not focus on food, all the blood supplies diverted away from our digestive system to our periphery to our arms our leg so we can fight the fight or run away. And in that moment, we are not designed to… if there is a tiger, if also in your peripheral vision you also see that there’s an apple hanging on a tree and you remember that you haven’t had lunch, you will be his lunch if you focus on that apple. So we are created as such a masterpiece to not actually focus on food when there is adrenaline coursing through our veins so a lot of women actually lose their appetite. That doesn’t mean they stop eating because a lot of people have a belief that they have to eat at a certain time of the day so they still will eat but digestion is often compromised and that’s one of the many reasons that a bloated stomach can kick in specially after lunch. You tend to take short shallow breaths and often become breathless, you might sigh frequently, you find it difficult to relax particularly at night without wine. Most people in the Western world these days warm up with caffeine and cool down with alcohol. And I want to encourage people to find other ways to do that. Please always remember that it is what you do every day that impacts on your health, that’s not what you do sometimes.
Tonight is the perfect example, tonight is a celebration; a celebration of your happiness, your souls, your eyes, your ears, your open hearts so it’s beautiful to come together and share amazing food with like-minded people, with people you wanna learn from and grow with, so it’s different. But if we did this every night, if we polished off two bottles of Chardonnay every night that’s a very different life from coming together and sharing nice things with the people you love. So you can take the score, actually you can take the test, sorry, at rushingwomanssyndrome.com. I actually… when I’d put the test together I thought, “I’ve got to test it on my huge array of diverse friends” so I have friends in Australia in the health food trade industry that meditate twice a day, they would yoga five times a day, they eat in extraordinary way and live very simply. And I also have very stressed corporate friends in Auckland and so and lots of people in between. And so, I sent about 10 different women this test and it was so hilarious, my super super super stressed corporate friend in Auckland came back with a score of 7 – 8 which is kinda off the Richter but what fascinated me was that my yoga friends they were getting about between 12 and 18 and I was so worried that stressed them out getting because they thought they’d get 0 or 1 or 2. That was very entertaining. And all that showed me is that these things really have become common but it’s not normal but we feel like it is just normal now because of how we’re living. So to help you really understand what on earth is driving these, it’s important that you understand how the nervous system works.
Your nervous system is your brain and your spinal column and then all the nerves that come off that wrap-around all of your organs and drive their function; your nerves go to the very tips of your fingers into the very end of your toes. There are different parts of your nervous system however; there’s the central nervous system which is under the control of your conscious mind so I choose to wave my arms around, how loud I speak, what words I choose, I choose all of that and that’s my central nervous system controlling that. Your autonomic nervous system, however, is controlled by your subconscious and it can be tricky to explain this without sounding like a hippie however, it drives… it makes your heart beat, it makes your hair grow, your fingernails grow, if you have that paper cut on your hand you don’t have to scream “heal!” for it to do that; your body has the wisdom and a driving force beyond your own mind and every time I describe that it blows me away. It’s your autonomic nervous system driving that and there are two branches to that part of the nervous system. You don’t need to worry about the silly long words but just so you know them: it is the sympathetic nervous system which is the fight, flight or freeze response and the parasympathetic nervous system is your rest, digest and repair response. The majority of people at the moment are stuck in the sympathetic nervous system dominance. Your adrenal glands that make adrenaline, they sit just on top of your kidneys, they were designed to work like a light switch: to switch on, turn out you stress hormones, get you out of danger and then turn off. The trouble is that they switch on the minute you think of your to-do list, they switch on even further when you start to throw caffeine down your throat because caffeine makes your body make adrenaline and it holds you there. Then you might juggle eighty thousand things in your day (there might be deadlines, there might be sixty thousand new emails in your inbox, whatever it looks like) and you stay in this space and you approach life with a perception that there’s pressure and that’s.
However, not so long ago, our parasympathetic nervous system (the rest, digest and repair response) we were able to move very freely between them and certainly, of course, people still can but a rushing woman tends to be stuck in sympathetic nervous system dominance for a number of reasons — it is partly the choices she is making with her food and her diet. As I said, it’s very difficult to say be calm, be calm, be calm when you’ve had six lattes over your day because that’s telling your body to do something completely different but it’s also emotional because when we are born, wired into the nervous system of every single human is the belief that we’re not enough and that we won’t be loved. That is true for every human baby and it has to be because if no one loves us and no one feeds us, we would literally die whereas other animals aren’t that way, they can survive on their own. So we begin our life as what’s called egocentric creatures. We believe they’re all there to meet our needs and we grow up and that’s beautiful and we’re very blessed if we have people who will feed us and love us and take care of us. But that’s hard that belief that were not enough and won’t be loved is hardwired into us so that we will make an effort to get people to love us so that we can survive.
As we grow, usually, there is what I call a schism that happens with one or sometimes both parents but usually there’s one that goes first and hopefully only one ever and what I mean by that is it doesn’t have to be big bad disaster stuff although it can be that, it can be a throwaway comment that hurts your feelings. One of the very first woman I did this work… did this sort of work with she was very overweight, she was a superstar, absolute incredible woman, she made a lot of money, she’d set up these incredible charities, she was giving so much back to the world and she came to see me and she said, “sought me out sweetheart,” she was larger than life and that’s literally how she said it, sought me out sweetheart, she said, “I hear you approach this whole weight loss thing differently from other people. I can’t work it out. I am a master in all these other areas of my life and I can’t work this out.”. And to cut an incredibly long story short, she spoke about her mother with a vengeance that was very powerful and it took me a couple of sessions before I even learned that her mother had passed away twenty years ago but she spoke about her that as if she was always visiting her, and she was always still around. What had happened was she’d fallen over when she was four years old and cut her eye. They lived on a farm and the mother came running out of the house and she screamed, “Jill,you should’ve been more careful and then you wouldn’t get hurt”. In that moment that child can create a meaning that my mother loves me so much she’s trying to warn me to be more careful and that I won’t ever get hurt again. Another meaning that child can create is “yes, I got mom’s attention”. Another meaning might be that I’ve let my mother down. Another meaning might be is that my mother doesn’t love me, she just… her tone of voice, she raised her voice for example or that I’m a complete failure because I fell and now I’ve got a cut eye. So that might be the first little instant of that a child might not understand what’s going on then. And then when they’re 7, might be about to walk out the door to school and the mother might have eighty thousand things on her to-do list that day and so she said, “Oh Jill! For goodness sake, it’s freezing cold outside and you haven’t got a jumper. Go to your bedroom and get a jumper before you go to school for goodness sake!”. A child that creates a meaning that a mother loves her so much in that first instance does that again there’s no two thought, she just goes up to her bedroom, get her jumper and goes off to school. But any of the other meanings that a mother doesn’t love her gets fired off again in that instant “Ugh! She doesn’t even think I can dress myself”; she goes off to school and then forgets about it. But beliefs start to form that her mother doesn’t love her. You can all hear in the way that I’m describing that her mother loves her very much, she doesn’t want her to be cold, she doesn’t want her to get hurt. We understand her intention when we describe it this way but that child then grows up wearing glasses that she filters everything through that her mother doesn’t love her and so as an adult that itch gets scratched on a daily basis to remind her of that belief because that particular activating system is looking for evidence of it. She doesn’t see the 80,000 examples how that’s actually not true, does that make sense? So when you’re sitting there and you’re thinking, “Oh my God! I raise my voice at my children” don’t go there. The reason that has to happen is this is the human journey, this happens to every single human and it has to because if we remain egocentric as we are when we are born, if we don’t move into what’s called an ethnocentric space, we have no reason to ever contribute to the world. And it’s that itch that gets scratched that wakes us up that we have to be more than what we believe we are to contribute to get love and that is the driving force behind so many people’s behavior. And when you have challenging interactions with people that are driving your sympathetic nervous system dominance and holding you in that space or it’s your itch getting scratched in firing you off; if you can pause just for a second and ask the question, “I wonder what’s going on for them” before you let yourself go into your story — that can be a game-changer. So can stopping at the traffic lights and looking at nature rather than keeping on texting and tweeting and things like that. So, actually, one more story about the nervous system, this is extraordinary and it will help you see your body I think in a very different light.
In any given moment, the human body is making a decision whether to use one of two fuel sources: glucose or I could say sugar or fat. That’s it. They’re the only fuel sources we use. We don’t use protein, the body converts our proteins back into amino acids and back into glucose. So it’s only fat or glucose, that’s it, that we can use. In the human body because sugar is a fast burning fuel, the minute we have it, we’re utilizing it. Because it’s a fast burning fuel when your body believes that your life is literally in danger because that sympathetic nervous system is activated, what fuel (if it has to choose between fast burning glucose or slow burning fat) what’s it gonna choose? Glucose every time. And we have a fuel tank for glucose that’s an average size human in science is considered to be 70 kilos so these figures are based on that. An average size human has the capacity to store about two-and-a-half thousand calories of glucose; we store as glycogen in our liver, in our muscles. But we have the capacity to store about a hundred and thirty thousand calories of fat so yes we’ll die without water but we can leave for quite a while without food. And so because of those fuel tanks, the minute your sugar fuel tank gets below about 25 percent of maximum, your body is concerned that if that truly is a threat to your life, you won’t have the fuel to get away. And so your desire for sugar is switched on because your body think it’s doing you a favor, you’ve got to top that fuel tank up so that you can truly escape. That make sense? So what I find for people is when they’re stuck in sympathetic nervous system dominance… if they struggle (regardless of their body size) but they’re struggling with utilizing fat as a fuel source because when you do use fat as a fuel source you’re like an ever ready bunny you can go forever, your mood is very even but also so importantly you don’t make a lot of lactic acid and you don’t make a lot of free radicals and that is essentially how we age from the inside out. So using fat as fuel is not just about how our clothes fit us, it has immense health benefits. One of the best ways in the universe to activate the parasympathetic nervous system is with restorative movement and meditation, with solitude, observing nature, feeling grateful. So any movement that gets you to focus on your breath will activate it and what I find for the majority of people I come into contact today, they actually have to schedule it at first. Before it becomes a habit they’ve actually got to book an appointment with themselves in their diary that they will meditate, that they will go to a restorative yoga class and then you need to do it regularly especially in the beginning before your body starts to drive you there because you missed your day without it. That’s what you want to happen.