I finished Dr. H's book, and was searching the shelves of Barnes & Noble yesterday for a new read. As I've mentioned before, I like to read health and fitness books as I find they give me good information and motivation. [short aside here: One thing I have noticed is that the nutritional information is not always consistent even among reputable books, which just goes to show that there is probably a lot we still don't know, and there are a lot of funky extreme diets out there so you have to be careful with what you choose to read.] Anyhow, I picked up Chasing Life by Sanjay Gupta... CNN ran a documentary on this subject a while ago and I loved watching it. So when I saw the book, I knew I had to get it. I'm about 1/3 of the way through and many of the people he mentions in the book were featured in the documentary. The premis of the book is a world wide study they did of longevity. They visited places on earth where people lived the longest to try to draw some general conlusions for factors that lead to long life. Here are some of the factors I have read so far: a diet rich in fruits and vegetables; an active lifestyle; attitude and outlook on life; cultural views of the elderly. He starts off talking about advances in stem cell research in other countries, but once you get past the first chapter, there is a lot of good nutrition and fitness information.
If you recall my first post on this blog, the weight was only one of my concerns. I had noticed many physical changes in myself over the past year - cellulite in places where I never had it before, way more grey hair, differences in my skin texture and tone, feeling tired all the time, oh and yes, extra weight that wouldn't come off easily. I think I realized that I was aging and it literally scared me into this lifestyle change. The weight loss is only part of it for me. I want to live longer and live better so I can be around to see my children and grandchildren grow up (but not too soon!!).
It is a sad reality that our accepted lifestyle in the US is a very unhealthy one. Sanjay points out in the book that there are at least 20 developed countries that have longer life expectancy than the US. We are literally killing ouselves with overeating and underexercising. Let's face it - the generally accepted behavior is hard to go against. It is difficult to find healthy food on the run - french fries and ice cream are all around us. On a similar note, I make a point to send healthy lunches to school with my kids - but it is hard to respond when my 6 year old comes home and complains that Johnny (name changed for the example) gets Doritos in his lunch all the time, so he wants them too. I would explain over and over why I send fruits and veggies instead but he still thinks my lunches stink. Finally one day I said "Well Johnny's mother must not love him as much as I love you." So there. I don't even care if that gets repeated at school - if so then I hope Johnny goes home and asks his mom about that!!