The problem with trying to stay healthy is that, well, you have to try to stay healthy. It takes effort. But because no single thing is more depleting to your health than being bored to death by the very topic, I am offering a few reading suggestions -- all affiliated in some way to a terrific website or blog (clearly a trend for 2010).
We would all be wise to heed the words of Carol Gilligan, author of In a Different Voice and re-designer of women's psychology, who has said that healthy, transformative change happens when "a woman begins to ask whether it is selfish or responsible, moral or immoral, to include her own needs within the compass of her care."
To that end:
• I see mental health books as becoming even more popular than weight loss books in the next year. Why? Because we finally understand that if your head isn't in the right place, your weight probably won't be either. I am reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, who, has a popular blog , www.happiness-project.com.
• Eating the Moment by Pavel Somov, Ph.D. (available through www.eatingthemoment.com ) is a terrific no-B.S. resource book for overeaters. The tips are fresh and come from a trusted Ph.D. My personal favorite is his self-talk + mindfulness strategy, in which you say to yourself, something like, Yes, I have a craving, but it is just a craving. Fleeting. Transient. Is this a crisis? Is anyone on fire? This too shall pass! That's a shortened version -- but still, sound advice.
• Fans of webmd.com (or shall we call ourselves healthy hypochondriacs) may want to look at some of the offerings at www.webmdbooks.com. I recommend Diabetes and Heart Healthy Meals for Two. I do not have diabetes but I cook like I do and like it, thanks to this combo platter of recipes and advice presented by the American Heart Association and the American Dietetic Association.
• NutureShock, (www.nurtureshock.com) tops my list of suggestions for my parent friends worried about their children's health and their own. Written by Pro Bronson and Ashley Merryman, it is jammed full of science-driven wisdom.
• As for 2010, I am eagerly awaiting a book from Rodale, The Subtle Body: The Story of Yoga in America by Stephanie Syman (Farrar, Straus, Giroux, Spring 2010).
• An equally absorbing read for any man or woman who looks to the news for health help will be Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future by Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum. This 'impassioned call to arms' (icky book catalog copy-speak for 'these people mean business are making a bold statement') will be published in June by Perseus Books (Visit unscientificamerica.com or perseusbooks.com for details).