Live a LIttle by Drs. Susan Love & Alice Domar

Ann Fonfa,founder the Annie Appleseed Project wrote this review.

July 2010

I have to admit I was prepared to hate the book just based on the way it's front cover looked. Subtitles include:

"Breaking the Rules won't break your health" and "Eat a Brownie", "Blow off your run", "Stay up late" and "Stop worrying about your health".

But as I actually read further I found we were in agreement a lot of the time. I now think the cover page is meant to be shocking and, of course, attract attention.

But the main premise is one I subscribe to - that it is okay to slack off sometimes. (In my opinion just NOT TOO OFTEN).

I often refer to myself as a "vegan with mercy" which means that every once in a while I crave and eat calimari. And usually I feel like I don't want it again for a long time afterwards. (As I write this I am NOT in the mood for it, so it seems quite horrible to contemplate as a 'vegan'). But hey, I make the rule, I break the rules!

However this book calls into play a larger issue that I see. I believe it is the forces of evil aka advertisers of unhealthy products, who have convinced people that there is a tyranny to those of us who talk about and choose healthy lifestyles as a way to be well.

It is those purveyors of horribly unhealthy food and drink who should be sorry they talk to others (through their ads and promotions), not us.

The Book: On page 2 "Maybe you've experienced the "what the hell" effect. I've been 'bad' and eaten a cookie. What the hell, I'll eat the whole bag. Or There's no way I can exercise for sixty minutes every day. What the hell, I won't exercise at all.

I have written endlessly on this - how researchers almost always focus on just one aspect of being healthy and give us useless advice. Who among us - who is NOT a champion athlete - will actually exercise for an hour a day? Not happening. But 10 minutes in the morning, a walk during the day, a yoga class, calistenics? There's a good chance most of us can do that. And should, most of the time.

Take a day off, sure- just not two or three in a row.

Learning discipline is NOT a bad thing.

The authors say (from the book): "We've written this book as a corrective to the narrowly laid-out health rules; in their place, we'll offer a more relaxed definition of both health and health habits. You might argue that we're exactly the kind of people who ought to be vigorously defending the conventional rules, not questioning them".

"When you realize, though, that health is not under your total control, a lot of guilt and stress slide off your sholders. It no longer feels as if your very life depends on how frantically you monitor your nutritional intake, exercise habits, and stress level. Better still, you can trade in your illusion of becoming perfectly healthy for something much more fun: being pretty healthy. Pretty Healthy means, first of all, that your health habits contribute to, not distract from, your enjoyment of life".

I agree. I have always avoided the term prevention in favor of risk reduction. That's why the Annie Appleseed Project presents symposia called Natural Strategies to Reduce Risk. There are NO guarantees, just possibilities.

The Book: Chapter Eight

A Pretty Healthy Life, Decade by Decade

The authors, Dr. Susan Love and Alice Domar, PhD,suggest the readers visit BeWell.com and follow the Live a Little blog.

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