Oct 15

“Eat Move Sleep”: Tom Rath Advises How to Get Healthier

Tom Rath, who’s written several bestsellers that address how we can change our behavior for the better, is just out with Eat Move Sleep: How Small Choices Lead to Big Changes. And he now admits the special reasons behind his obsession with healthy living. From his website:

While I’ve been reluctant to share this before, I have been battling cancer for the past 20 years. I have a rare genetic disorder that has led to cancer in my eye, kidney, pancreas, adrenal glands, and spine. In order to stay ahead of my condition, I review hundreds of studies every month to figure out how I can slow the growth of new tumors and spread of existing cancers. What I learned, not only about how to prevent cancer, but also how to prevent heart disease, diabetes, and obesity – is remarkably encouraging.

Rath also reveals a few significant principles learned while preparing this book:

  1. There are “hundreds” of steps that can help us achieve our health-oriented goals.
  2. It’s easier to work on eating, moving, and sleeping all at the same time than just tackling one of the three in isolation.
  3. Knowing we need to do self-improvement isn’t enough. “More practical short-term incentives” are what actually kick us into gear.

Let’s cut to the chase: what are some of the main things we can do to achieve better health? Rath tells Dan Schawbel, Forbes, three of his top tips:

1. Stop jumping from one diet to the next and focus on eating right for life.

2. Build movement and activity into every hour of your day. Aim for 10,000 steps a day.

3. Get at least 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night to stay sharp and achieve more.

Sounds so simple, doesn’t it? And it doesn’t even sound new. Then why do so many of us fall short?

Well, take therapists as an example. We typically don’t move for almost an hour at a time. We sit. Unfortunately, sitting is the new smoking, they now say. That means sitting is now deemed an occupational hazard. (See my previous post, “Therapists–and Others–Who Sit Too Much.”)

But what about my almost daily exercise routine? I and others might ask.

Not good enough to make up for all that sitting, say the experts. Get moving more often throughout your day.

Really? Easy for you to say.

Below, directly from his table of contents, are some other of Rath’s thoughts, in the form of nifty phrases, that represent desirable values. Some are self-explanatory; some might stimulate curiosity for reading the book.

  • Sugar is the next nicotine.
  • Judge food by the color of its skin.
  • Quality beats quantity in bed.
  • Wear a new pair of genes.
  • Move early for a better mood.
  • The danger of desktop dining.
  • Be cold in bed.
  • Try exercise before sleeping pills.
  • Organic does not equal healthy.
  • Feast at sunrise, starve at sunset.
  • Television shortens your lifespan.
  • Sleeping in only sounds good.
  • Broccoli is the new black.
  • Stick with coffee, tea, and water.
  • Put activity before exercise.

Unsure about buying the book? The website has a lot of useful and free info, including a 10-minute survey that leads to getting your own personal 30-day plan. Immediately.

Selected Reviews

Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage and Before Happiness: “Tom Rath has successfully written the operating code for human health. Reading Eat Move Sleep should be as mandatory as health insurance.”

Patrick Lencioni, author of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: “A wonderful book you can’t stop reading. Your health I.Q. will never be the same.”

Ori Brafman, author: “Backed by science and filled with heart, Eat Move Sleep is the best self-improvement book I’ve ever read.”

Jun 20

Not Dieting Versus Dieting: Latter Leads to Yo-Yo Cycle

Not dieting versus dieting as an approach isn’t as easy as it might sound, especially if it sounds to you as though the former is the opposite of dieting. It’s not. It’s about making your own decisions day in and day out about eating, which often feels harder than not eating at all.

Non-dieters often are confronted with others’ lack of understanding of this approach. Back when I stopped dieting, in fact, there were few known supporters to turn to. I was lucky to find Geneen Roth, whose second book on this issue, Breaking Free From Compulsive Eating (1984), had just been published.

Roth’s revolutionary concepts have long included a list of Eating Guidelines as opposed to dieting guidelines:

1. Eat when you are hungry.
2. Eat sitting down in a calm environment. This does not include the car.
3. Eat without distractions. Distractions include radio, television, newspapers, books, intense or anxiety-producing conversations or music.
4. Eat what your body wants.
5. Eat until you are satisfied.
6. Eat (with the intention of being) in full view of others.
7. Eat with enjoyment, gusto, and pleasure.

Need more info about not dieting versus dieting plans? Dr. Karin Kratina points out one major trend: whereas dieting involves following external rules—and thus often leads ultimately to rebellion—non-dieting is about learning to recognize internal needs and cues.

In today’s world many other books and resources have joined those of Roth and her co-pioneers on the topics of mindful eating, intuitive eating, normal eating, and the non-dieting approach—and each of these buzzwords is usually pretty synonymous with the others. Interested in a good definition of normal eating? Evelyn Tribole, a co-author of Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program That Works, points readers on her website to her favorite, written by Ellyn Satter.

One of the more recent books of this genre is The Self-Compassion Diet (2010) by Jean Fain, a therapist. Tribole’s review:  “Jean Fain’s engaging writing style, complete with mini-assessments, helpful practices, and case-studies, will help you say goodbye to dieting, once-and-for-all, and feel good in the process.”

Below is Fain’s video explaining why diets often fail and how her book can help:

Tomorrow’s post will pick up with info from a recent article by Fain about the fat acceptance movement….