Monday, June 11, 2012

Drop Dead Healthy

When I first sat down to read this book on my kindle, I had a clear idea of how committed this writer really is to experimentation and research. I’ve read The Know-it-all and The Year of Living biblically and enjoyed them both. This author has the perfect balance of facts and humor that I’ve ever read.

Not only does he plunge himself into the subjects he tackles but he does so for months or even years, reading every book on the subject he intends to document.

So when I heard that he was completing his, what he calls, “Mind, Body and Soul Trilogy”, I had to buy it right away. Chances are I will read it again.

Since this is a non-fiction book, I decided to review it in three ways: entertainment, interesting and what I’ve learned.

Is it entertaining?

Yes, extremely. I marveled at the wealth of facts he’s unearthed on health myths and just how far some people will go to remain healthy. Some fanatics are so into their own health clicks that they don’t even know they are causing more harm than good. Like his other books, there were times when I had to put the book down because I had to walk off a laugh-out-loud moment. My wife thought I was crazy. I was so immersed and interested in knowing these healthy weirdoes. I laughed at the fact that there are people out there in public parks running around like cavemen thinking that doing so is the pinnacle of healthy living. I doubled over in a giggle fit finding out that the writer hurt his shoulder kayaking on the Wii console, or through his misadventures during a Laugh-Yoga class, or finding out that cursing alleviates stubbed toe pain. Yes, the laughs are not on every single page but there were more than enough to keep me reading.

Is it interesting?

I would say so. I was particularly surprised at just how many Health habits aren’t good for you. There are people addicted to exercising or never getting sick. There are people obsessed with Whole Foods when really you will still find sugar around every corner and the only thing getting slimmer is your own wallet. As for the diets, he’s tried them all. He even covered the South Beach Diet which I was on at one point. Yes it made me slim down slightly but I felt miserable the whole time.

What I’ve learned?

Since reading this book, I’ve become a firm believer in Chewdism. While I won’t spend a full minute chewing my food, I do find myself slowing down and chewing my food more. I know that chocolate, especially dark chocolate, is good for your heart. I’ve become more health conscious, joining weight watchers to track my meals and doing Power90 exercises (35 minutes on weekdays) and feeling good about it. Whenever I can, I get up and walk around. I’m actually interested in buying a pedometer to measure how many steps I take in a regular work day. I used to be part Hypochondriac and part OCD but now I’m actively taking steps to limit those stray thoughts and feeling less worrisome about it. I now make a list of things I know I should not have: No Soda, No Ice Cream, No Burritos. In short, this book motivated me to get fit quick.

As for the people who try to knock this one man’s efforts, I would say that they should know that it isn’t really all that healthy leaving a bad review to a well-researched, two-year invested, delightful escape into one subject that is so easy to laugh about. I mean, come on, the guy wrote this entire book while on a treadmill, that’s commitment right there.

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