Live a Little!: Breaking the Rules Won't Break Your Health - 'Susan M. Love',  'Alice D. Domar Ph.D.',  'Leigh Ann Hirschman'

To date, this is one of the best, most logically laid out and funny health books I have ever read! Highly credentialed Drs. Love & Domar take all the health myths you've so often heard in magazines, commercials and fad diet books, break them down with science and logic and discuss whether each one is something you honestly need to concern yourself with or if it's something you need to stop beating yourself up about so much. They ask multiple doctors to weigh in on these topics and it was surprising but refreshing to read that not all doctors agree on or back up these statements we've been taught to take as fact, such as the 8 glasses of water a day or 8 hours of sleep a night rules. The one that really surprised me was the panel of doctors who all had varying opinions on topic "Is is absolutely necessary to have a physical done every year?" and even the doctors who thought no gave valid, understandable reasons! 

 

The book is written in a comical, conversational, easy to read style and though it is geared towards women, there is information here that could benefit male readers as well. Maybe not the sections on motherhood obvs, but the tips on how to effectively reduce stress or sleep better maybe. One of my favorite quotes in this book was a bit regarding a myth about exercise:

 

"MYTH: Exercise is always the best way to reduce stress.

REALITY:The stress-relieving effects of exercise have been well documented, but those effects appear to be reversed if you feel compelled to work out against your will. In a famous study performed at the University of Colorado at Boulder, lab rats who were allowed to voluntarily run on a wheel at times of their choosing showed increased measures of health. Rats who were forced to run, however, experienced more sickness. For those of us who don't live in a Habitrail, here's how to apply these findings: Although it's okay to push yourself to work out on days when you feel a little tired or cranky, problems may arise when on a consistent basis your only reason for working out is to please someone else -- like angrily dragging yourself to the gym after your partner says you look fat."

 

 

I can sometimes be pretty cynical or skeptical towards non-fiction reads regarding health / diet / new age thinking / self help or the like, but these ladies gained my respect when, as doctors, they repeatedly say that no one has THE answer. Through the analogy of how a car runs, the doctors point out that, just like your car, though each human body is constructed basically the same way, each individual body has its own special quirks in how it runs. You know what your body normally feels like day to day, so you should know when you feel something is outside of your normal, even if you don't know what "it" is, so never take anything as gospel, but take everything you read, everything you're told and make a sensible decision based on what you know to be true for you. If it doesn't feel like a good fit for you, ditch that line of thinking (even the doctor, if necessary) and find something that is. As they write in the opening note:

 

Before you make a significant decision about your health care, we urge you to get information from a variety of smart sources, listen to your own good sense, and talk the matter over with a doctor or other licensed health care provider who has earned your trust.