I got this for Paul for his birthday and it was really the gift that keeps on giving because I knew I’d read it, too. Well, I just finished it and it has got me all kinds of thinking. But first, I knew that we’d enjoy it because we read his essays in Esquire, plus he’s written for Mental Floss, and he’s a good non-fiction writer. His books are pretty much all the sort of thing where he takes on a crazy project and writes about it. And while those are a bit all the rage now, I think he’s very good at it. For example, his previous book The Year of Living Biblically is all about trying to follow the Bible’s actual old school Old Testament rules for a year. Then there was The Guinea Pig Diaries. Paul and I agree-his wife must be a saint. This latest project took two years to do and it was his quest to be the healthiest person in the world. Now here’s the thing about his essays and books-they sound gimmicky but he does a ton of research. So, yes, he has a great humorous quality to his writing, but there’s also facts all over the place.
I have about a million issues with weight and health and fitness so this book has basically sent me into a turmoil. Well, first of all-my first though is losing weight and exercising. But he’s talking about the whole package of health, so each essay (one per month, approx.) is about a new area he’s addressing, such as sleep, stress, environmental toxins, his testosterone, hearing, teeth, etc. Because he’s doing this as a project he actually fully tries out many things that most people never would, and looks into lots of fringe health movements (and then, if need be, debunks them.)
But he also finds out which things do matter and at the end of his two years comes up with some summation things he would keep doing, and tips for normal people.
So here’s what I’m taking away from this:
Sugar: I absolutely must have less sugar in my diet and my kids’. I can’t go totally sugar free, but definitely need to seriously reduce it.
HIIT (high intensity interval training): apparently this really is a proven scientifically sound way to get fit and is best for your body. Paul started trying it out last week.
Accident prevention: this chapter was pretty hilarious. Most freak accidents you really can’t prevent, but one thing I really need to do is just simply put the cell phone out of reach when I’m in the car.
Standing: Standing is better for you than sitting. Though this tip, as well as the treadmill desk which he advocates, seem most applicable to people who work at home or in an office. Frankly, I relish the moments I get to sit and pretty much collapse on the couch at the end of the day. So I’m probably good.
Breakfast cereal/White flour: A.J., here’s what I’m not doing. Despite all the evidence, scientific and anecdotal, I am not ready to give up cereal for breakfast or things made with white flour. I’m just not.
I’m hoping this book is actually the kick in the pants for our whole family to lose weight and be more active. And lest my review scares you off because you think it’s a diet and exercise book, it’s really not.