The honest, no "kick-butt"-pulled approach to discussing health in the 8th chapter of this book should be read by those struggling to start a healthy lifestyle.
First, a few stats, then what works and what doesn't work about the advice in this book.
The Stats: A report last month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that less than half of the U.S. population engages in the minimum recommended level of physical activity of 30 minutes of moderate exercise most or all days of the week. Plus, 15.6% are inactive, reporting 10 minutes or less of activity each day.
So, the practice now determined to be the most important in keeping good health is actually practiced by less than 1/2 of the U.S. population. We live in a box, drive a box, work in a box and claim we don't have time to escape from our box and move around to preserve good health.
Just one of many articles published (New England Journal August 1999) showed that walking one hour only three days per week did more to prevent heart disase than any blood pressure or diabetic or cholesterol drug on the market. Yet, there's still much misinformation out about how to walk, why walk, and for those reasons and more many don't walk.
So, first the most effective advice in this chapter (and then a couple of places where I'd recommend something different):
***"Willpower is totally overated....Here is what works for me: lack of opportunity." Most people make it very easy to find junk food or alcohol with at most a few steps and a reach to a low shelf. But, they'll make exercise a 10 step process that involves travelling to a gym or meeting 3 people in a walking group that varies in it's meeting according to weather, emotional state, and whether we're on vacation this week. Environment is key and making the bad unavailable and the good easy to find is one of the crucial success factors I see in healhty people.
***"Turn off the T.V., get off your fatt butt and do something." Less than 1/2 of people will exercise, and most who don't use lack of time as the reason; yet, most Americans watch more than an hour of T.V. each day (the time in which it would take to walk 3 miles at a very comfortable 20min/mile pace and maintain a 30 to 40 pound weight loss without a change in diet by one calorie). Either watch your first hour of T.V. every day on a treadmill, or give your T.V. to the Goodwill. I haven't been able to watch T.V. in my home since I left home at age 18 (I'm 46 years old now), not because I don't like T.V., not because it's trash (much T.V. can be inspirational and educational), but because if it's there, I'll watch it and I won't go outside and walk or read a book or talk to my children.
***"Now Let's Get Really Ugly about Your Health...is that Twinkie really more important to you than your kids?...Fat people die quicker." Most people without realizing it will use their children/family as a reason to not care for themselves. They say they don't have time to exercise because they're too busy taking care of children or working. They eat poorly because they're stressed about something to do with family.
The healthy think in exactly the opposite way...I must not eat this because I want to be here to care for children and grand children and give advice to great grand children. Instead of, "I must skip my walk because I must feed or transport children," the mantra becomes, "this must wait, son, or we must do this a different way because if I don't go for a walk then I can't be as healthy and energetic as I need to be to be a good father." Health practices become a way to take care of the goose (you) who's laying the golden egg (care of your family).
**"Find a skinny doctor who doesn't smoke." Most people have trouble giving advice they don't understand or don't follow. You won't get all you need in the way of life-style advice from an overweight physician. I think the same applies to the clergy and to motivational speakers. Winget admits he must exercise or else he loses credibility with his audience. I must exercise even with a busy schedule, even with 3 sons who live with me most of the time (& I'm a singe Dad), or else why should anyone listen to me?
You'll find motivation and effective instruction stuffed into only a few words in the 8th chapter of this book.
I'd disagree with a couple of small points only.
1. "You do not have glandular problems."
If you're over 30 years old, you could indeed have a "glandular problem." After 30 years on the planet, many people do start to have a drop in testosterone, thyroid, and growth hormone. Get up-to-date advice (check out some of the other books I've reviewed and my website).
2. "Healthy exercise mainly consists of aerobic exercise - anything that increases your heart rate for a period of 20 minutes at least three times a week."
The heart-rate trap keeps many people from exercising. I never check heart rate when I'm exercising...forget heart rate. Even pro-atheletes have an off season. Expecting an intense workout everytime you exercise leads to dreading the event and stopping. Give yourself permission to walk or jog any speed that feels comfortable for that day (but always go the distance) and you'll accomplish all you need to do. You only burn about 5% more calories jogging a mile than you do walking a mile (it just takes about twice as long to walk it). By giving yourself permission to go any speed, you're more likely to go and the speed will be exactly what you needed for that day.
Read chapter 8 of this book. Sometimes, a "Kick-butt approach" can improve the health of the rest of the body.