Monday, July 7, 2014

Eat Move Sleep Book Review

I just read through an accessible, informative wellness book called Eat Move Sleep: How Small Choices Lead to Big Changes. The author, Tom Rath has a rare genetic condition that makes him incredibly susceptible to cancer. He has compiled a book full of his lifestyle choices that have helped him to beat the cancer progression clock. I like this book because most of the tips are easy to implement and have a sound scientific basis. 

If I could change one thing about the book, I would organize it a bit differently. Each chapter has one piece of each topic- Eating, Moving, and Sleeping. Sometimes they are related, other times, not so much. Each chapter is bite sized and useful, so it's not a big deal, but I was a little distracted by the organization. 

Here are some quotes from the book which give you an idea of the kinds of topics he covers. All of these claims are backed up with evidence and/or personal experience. 

"Sitting for many hours encourages fat cells to congregate near your rear."

"A mere 20 minutes of moderate activity could significantly improve your mood for the next 12 hours."

"When your body's motions are not aligned and balanced. Using one side of your body far more than the other, for example, can create uneven wear and serious back problems over time."

"One spinal surgeon put it, be careful to avoid bending, lifting, and twisting in particular. During these three motions, your spine is the most vulnerable to injury."

"Exposure to light in the hours before you go to sleep suppresses melatonin levels. Lower melatonin levels make it hard to fall asleep, decrease sleep quality, and could even increase the risk of high blood pressure and diabetes. "

"Getting more protein from fruits, vegetables, nuts, and fish will also increase your intake of omega-3's, which are deficient in most people's diets today."

"I keep pictures of my wife and kids directly above my desk and treadmill. This reminds me that my staying active matters as much for the people I care about as it does for myself."

"Use plates with a diameter closer to the length of your hand than to the length of your foot."

"The impact of plate color alone is quite dramatic. They found a clear contrast between food and plate keeps people from overeating."

"Sleep is a treasure, and it should be valued as one. Yet for many of us, sleep is the first thing we cast aside."

"If you structure your activity to end on a high note, you are more likely to do it again."

"Exercise creates an immediate benefit for your memory."

"Higher levels of physical activity are consistently related to greater brain volume."

"Vigorous workouts in the hours right before bed are likely to improve sleep significantly."

"People who were on teams with more social influence increased their odds of losing weight by 20 percent."

"Pick one food you eat even though you know you shouldn't. Give it a nickname that will make you think twice about eating it."

"People who eat breakfast are smarter and skinnier."

"Eating breakfast foods with a low glycemic index prevents spikes in blood sugar later in the day, which could make for better choices in the afternoon and evening."

"Data show that people who spend more than four hours a day watching video are more than twice as likely to have a major cardiac event that kills them..."

"Researchers found that for every extra hour of total commuting time per day, you would need a corresponding 40 percent increase in your salary to make the added car time worthwhile."

"People with severe sleep apnea had a 65 percent higher risk of developing cancer."

"During a 3 week disruption [of sleep patterns], the participants' glucose control went haywire...could easily set the stage for development of diabetes and obesity..."

This book contains a great deal of wisdom and I highly recommend it. I found personally that it gave me some fresh ideas and perspectives for tweaking the way I eat, move and sleep. Because I am such a nerd about these health fundamentals, I frequently re-evaluate how to optimize them for myself, and this book both reminded me of shortcomings and encouraged me to overcome them. 

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