So many new books this time of year are selling draconian, restrictive eating plans and super-tough workouts. But what if you’re looking for a loving way to eat and move in a healthier way? We’ve got some suggestions on how to love yourself healthy.
1. Love Your Muscles
Jennifer Cohen’s Strong is the New Skinny (Harmony Books), asks “Sick and tired of hearing what’s wrong with you and your body?” Uh, yeah! The personal trainer has a way to celebrate what your body can do to maximize your strength, energy and flexibility. There’s a superfood-based eating plan, pages of workouts, and even ways to build mental fortitude. (We like the concept, although, you know, we have feelings about the phrase!)
2. Use Ancient Wisdom to Build Healthy Habits
David Zulberg’s book The 5 Skinny Habits (Rodale Books) is based on the teachings of ancient philosophers, physicians and scholars, and we’re pretty sure none of them bothered with burpees. Zulberg spent a decade looking through ancient books looking for keys to weight-loss and overall well being. “Even someone who exercises regularly will become obese if he constantly eats refined bread.” Sounds like something a modern-day diet guru would preach, right? Actually, that’s a quote from the philosopher Maimonides, who was born in 1135 AD. Zulberg crafted a plan based on the teachings, that has you add just one new habit a week for five weeks, such as replacing one meal a day with a lighter one, like a salad or cereal and milk.
3. Small Changes Add Up
Building on the incremental step idea, registered dietitian Keri Gans’ plan is called The Small Change Diet (Gallery Books). It’s not about cutting out entire food groups or restricting calories. Instead new habits gradually become second nature. This is not a quick-fix crash diet way of losing weight (we all know that’s not sustainable anyway), so be patient with this plan, which includes 10 steps, such as increasing fiber, creating a healthy eating schedule and cutting empty beverage calories. Each step is further broken down into a series of solutions. You decide what changes to focus on and how long to work on the habit before you move on to the next one.
4. Make Peace With Food
Remember Alexandra Jamieson? In the documentary Super Size Me, she was the vegan-chef girlfriend of filmmaker Morgan Spurlock who nursed him back to health after his fast-food orgy. (She’s no longer a vegan or married to Spurlock). Jamieson, who, in addition to being a chef is also a holistic health counselor and food blogger, has written Women, Food, and Desire (Gallery Books), subtitled “Embrace Your Cravings, Make Peace with Food, Reclaim Your Body” — that sounds pretty loving, doesn’t it? Jamieson has made peace with her own food addictions and weight and health problems and dares readers to face their food demons head on, tying those cravings to deeper desires that have nothing really to do with cupcakes.
5. Lean Into Wellness
YogaFit founder and president Beth Shaw has created a holistic approach to better health in her book YogaLean: Poses and Recipes to Promote Weight Loss and Vitality for Life (Ballantine Books). She calls her plan Lean Consciousness, which she says works from the inside out. She doesn’t just use yoga poses but yogic philosophy that include gratitude exercises, breathing exercises, stress-reducing and clarity-enhancing daily meditations. In addition to the yoga side, there also are complementary cardio and strength-training workouts, and a week-long eating plan of gluten-free and meatless easy recipes.
And our all-time favorite Love Yo’Self book? This one, of course! —Gail