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Five Books You Should Read to Transform Your Health

Kim Monaghan

Five Books You Should Read to Transform Your Health

There are new books coming out each day to inspire healthy habits. Many provide us with steps for growing in our fitness endeavors, becoming healthier consumers, understanding the nutrients needed for aging bodies and even teaching us how to combat disease.

As busy career professionals you’re already stretched to find time for fitness let alone reading for pleasure. And when you find the time to read, it may be a quick review on your phone, an audio or podcast version, a short chapter on your flight or just a few minutes before bed. Those seemingly small bursts do add up, especially when the content is valuable, inspiring and educational. And who doesn’t want to learn new ways to stay healthy?

To help you get rolling with new ideas and inspiration, here are five books you should read to stay healthy:

Eight Weeks to Optimum Health by Andrew Weil, M.D. I have always been a huge Dr. Weil fan, and I have had the opportunity to sit and chat with him at an author’s dinner and meet him again at several promotional events. When the first edition of Eight Weeks hit the market in the 90s it was pretty cutting edge introduction to holistic healing. But homeopathic medicine coming from a Harvard physician made people sit up, take notice of what they are putting in their bodies and trust that this healing guru would know what to do to optimize their health.

I would highly recommend every single one of his books from Spontaneous Healing, Fast Food and Good Food to Healthy Again. What’s especially wonderful about Eight Weeks to Optimum Health is that for both the novice and the expert, Dr. Weil guides you step by step into a healthier life with an understanding as to medically why we need to do so. And coupled with a healthy dose of motivation and inspiration, I return to his book—and his website www.drweil.com—over and over again for guidance on all my health and nutritional needs. Trust me, after the “first week” you will be on the path to living and sustaining a healthy lifestyle from the inside out.

Living a Longer Healthier Life and Dr. A’s Habits of Health by Wayne Scott Anderson, M.D. Spin Instructor, educator and fitness enthusiast, Joy Gianakuru, Ed.D. places Dr. A’s books among her favorites. “I fell upon his books at a time when I was struggling with my weight,” she says, crediting Anderson’s work in helping her solidify the control and knowledge she needed on gut health along with giving her the focus necessary to achieve her fitness and weight goals. That really says a lot about a series when the author is able to inspire major life changes. Joy goes on to share while Dr. A’s work is a companion to a food plan, you don’t have to follow the suggested guide in order to reap the benefits and motivating philosophies of Stop, Challenge and Choose.

“We all have the ability to change our old patterns of behavior,” Joy reminds. “Dr. A’s resources help us to work through them and reframe them in a way that makes sense.” She says that Living a Longer Healthier Life is presented in a workbook format and is “fun to fill out and helps you reflect on a lot in your life that contributes to the choices you make.”

Low Sugar Desserts by Mary Donovan. When it comes to cutting back on sweets, Dan DeFigio knows just what to recommend. As a celebrated nutrition expert and author of Beating Sugar Addiction for Dummies, Dan has his own list of peer expert’s resources he recommends to his clients. Mary Donovan’s book along with her companion book, Low Sugar Snacks, is at the top of his must-read list.

“When it comes to sweets, people often succumb to all-or-nothing thinking,” he says. “Either they deny themselves dessert 100%, or they cave and dive into thousands of calories of sugar.” Dan helps his clients understand there is a healthy middle ground. “Donovan’s book, Low Sugar Desserts, gives you dozens of ways to create delicious treats without the health hazards of sugar overload. This is especially important for folks who are trying to lose weight or who need to keep their blood sugar levels under control.”

Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink. One of the other books Dan recommends, Mindless Eating, educates readers as to what happens when we let go of control and turn our appetites over to anxiety, boredom and other mindless cues.

“Becoming overweight is very easy if you remain unaware of all the external cues that tell us to unconsciously eat more than we want,” says Dan. “In Mindless Eating, Dr. Wansink points out dozens of different situations where you can reclaim your own decision-making around food.” This is a great book for staying healthy as it teaches readers about common eating cues in social situations, in restaurants and in your own home. “Even if you find one or two of these situations that really ring true for you, you’ll come away with awareness that will change how much you eat forever,” says Dan.

The UltraMind Solution: Fix Your Broken Brain by Healing Your Body First by Mark Hyman, M.D. This is another collection of books recommended by Joy along with the Broken Brain podcasts by best-selling author and founder of The UltraWellness Center. “In my extended family there are several neurological conditions and this is concerning to me,” explains Joy. “I need to be strong for my family but also find ways to minimize my risk.” Joy began this journey of education and prevention with research and that is where she stumbled onto Hyman’s work and learned how food is medicine. “If we treat our gut well, our brain will follow.” Issues of concentration, inflammation and mild and life-threatening illnesses are addressed in this series. “To me, Hyman’s work has been life changing. I have implemented many of his strategies, which helped me change my perspective, lose weight and stay healthy,” says Joy. “There are a lot of people who are counting on me.”

Kim Monaghan, PCC, RYT, CPBS is the owner of KBM Coaching & Consulting LLC, a boutique Human Resources Consulting and Career Coaching Firm serving a national clientele. 

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*Always consult with your physician prior to experimenting with any exercises, recipes, health advice and nutrition initiatives shared in this blog.