246 pages; Copyrighted by Missionday.
When it comes to reading consumer-driven health behavior and lifestyle advice, one maybe leery of the true intentions behind the reading material. Eat Move Sleep was written by Tom Rath, a regular guy with a strong passion for research. He is a living testament to how lifestyle changes can alter or affect genetic predisposition.
The book features 30 chapters, with various themes, integrated to best promote the overall theme: eat, move and sleep. Each chapter features three sub-themes, which focus on lifestyle changes or suggestions for the reader to incorporate into his or her daily life. With each chapter, the author integrates scientific research with his own positive and negative personal experiences. In total, the author incorporated approximately 400 research articles, which he makes available at the end of the book.
The information and tips he provide are instructions that one would receive from a personal trainer, health coach or doctor to alter lifestyle changes. Because he is a writer and an avid researcher, the reader may easily relate to him because he does not consider himself a health expert. Rather, he sees himself as a research junkie who has an interest in making better decisions. In essence, he places himself on the same level as the public—he’s just a guy who’s “been there and done that.”
The book covers almost every issue or topic imaginable that individuals struggle with when it comes to health behavior. The book has an overall positive theme and advocates for healthy living. The book also delves into the realm of peer pressure and offers options on how to overcome succumbing to negative choices.
Food advice includes: healthy selections, snacking options, avoiding sugar and plate-size method advice. There is some slightly misleading information, such as the recommendation to eat a high-protein breakfast to fuel one’s energy for the day. This is does not quite paint the entire picture as the prime energy source—glucose from carbohydrates—is what fuels brain and muscular power. Protein’s role is to restore and repair muscles, although emerging research suggests that protein can help improve satiety. The author also shares an overall perception on carbohydrates which comes across somewhat negative. He claims carbohydrates is what makes Americans fat and does not advocate for rice, bread or pasta (which he categorizes as refined) and suggests that we eat enough carbs from fruit, vegetables and protein. There is no clear demarcation between appropriate grains and ones to avoid (besides the sugar, fried and refined). This can be a bit misleading to the reader, who may feel hopeless or confused as to what to eat beyond fruits, vegetables, nuts and salmon, and it may not be applicable to the modern-day lifestyle, especially if one has a demanding job that requires movement, which needs fuel from grains.
As for sleep, Rath advocates that sleep is essential for life, repair and performance at work. He also provides suggestions on how to get better sleep through white noise and avoiding late-night electronic use.
The book advocates for daily movement. From standing up at work to getting enough physical activity and performing regular exercise sessions, the book suggests movement os vital for health and disease prevention.
Rath also provides the reader unique topics that are not often talked about, such as getting a dietary “tan” from fruit and vegetables, and how hitting the snooze button for an hour is much more detrimental for one’s health then sleeping an extra 20 minutes and getting out of bed.
Overall, he writes, the better you sleep, the better you eat and the more energy you will have to move daily.
In addition to the book, readers can visit www.eatmovesleep.org to create a personalized Eat Move Sleep plan, use the reference explorer and download the 30-day challenge.
What we liked:
· Offers extensive research advocating that all three areas of life—food, movement and sleep—are important for healthy living and well being.
· The 30-Day Challenge features a theme, such as Break the Cycle, Refined Fuel, Ideas for Life, Looking Good and more, with three suggestions on how to improve each one.
· Each suggestion or healthy change is achievable and most do not require major lifestyle changes.
What we didn’t like:
· If the reader does not remember the note in the beginning of the book “to search for ways to improve your life personally,” he or she may find digesting this information to be a daunting task. Three suggestions per day for 30 days add up to 90 changes, which, even if the changes themselves are small, may feel overwhelming to many readers.