Research indicates that nine out of 10 people die from cancer, diabetes, heart disease, or lung disease. Perhaps more shocking, 90 percent of us could be living past age 90 if we made better lifestyle choices. Given the statistics, it makes sense to attempt at least small steps toward better health. In his bookEat Move Sleep: How Small Choices Lead to Big Changes, Tom Rath outlines how even small changes in how we eat, exercise, and sleep can make a great positive impact in our quality of life.
Rath’s perspective is unusual: he has a rare genetic condition that causes his body to produce cancerous tumors at a rapid rate. At any given time he is monitored for several different tumors. As you might expect, his motivation for improving his health in order to prevent whatever percentage of cancer is preventable is high.
In his book, Rath outlines lots of research pointing to diet, exercise, and sleep as critical factors in disease prevention, and he organizes it all into thirty chapters, each with a manageable idea for each category. The premise is to take one chapter per day for 30 days, and slowly make incremental changes that lead to better lifestyle habits. The steps are small, but could easily lead to profound results.
I liked how Rath noted that every diet plan you read has good points you can take away, even if you decline to participate in every passing fad (and he says you shouldn’t do fad diets anyway, but rather make small changes leading to a better diet overall). That’s a good approach, and I think it’s always wise to use common sense. Even in Eat Move Sleep I found some of Rath’s conclusions to be personal preference (for example, I do think that people metabolize food differently–some people get lethargic after eating red meat and fat and do better on lean meats, whereas other people get energized from protein/fat combinations but are jittery on low-fat meals) but I was happy to take away lots of great reminders nonetheless.
If you read a lot of health books, lots of the information in Eat Move Sleep will be familiar to you, but the organization of it might spark new connections or be a good reminder for you. And if you’re one of those people who knows you need to get healthier but feel daunted by how big a task it is, this book would really help you. I thought it was a great book and definitely recommend it.
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