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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Review: 52 Small Changes: One Year to a Healthier, Happier You by Brett Blumenthal

Publisher: AmazonEncore
Genre: non-fiction, self-help
Softback, evenly square shaped at 380 pages 
Book Source: Amazon Encore publicist
My Rating: 93/100

From the publisher:

This “how-to” manual for achieving a state of optimal health and wellness outlines fifty-two weeks of small, yet productive changes that readers can make to live a happier, healthier life. Why fifty-two? By making one small change each week over the course of one year, this will ultimately lead to the big change of living a healthier, happier lifestyle - because ultimately it is the small steps that make the most lasting difference, rather than trying to overhaul an entire lifetime’s worth of bad habits all at once!

52 Small Changes addresses all areas of wellbeing, including nutrition, exercise, stress management, mental wellness, and even the health of one’s home environment. With weekly goals such as Taking Time to Stretch, Choosing Whole Grains, Spending Time in Nature, and Reducing Dust in Your Home, this enthusiastic guide to long-term wellness is a must-read for anyone ready to change their life for good.

My Thoughts:

You may recall I previously reviewed one of Blumenthal's other books, Get Real and Stop Dieting, about this time last year.  So when I was contacted about this one, I jumped at the chance since I enjoyed her last one so much much.  I am happy to say that 52 Small Changes is a worthy successor or cousin to Blumenthal previous book.

The premise of this book to make small weekly changes that lead to you having overall improved helath and well being.  Small changes over time are easier to accomplish and stick with, than big sweeping changes that are so forceful, that they may actually do more harm than good.  You don't have to do every change.  You can just pick a few out and do those for a while, or what ever you like.  It is a go at your own pace, design your own healthy living program.

Each weekly change is a few pages in length.  They start out with a quote that is related to the change, and it's sometimes humorous.  Blumenthal then lays out the reasons for the change, how to accomplish it, and depending on what the change is, some examples or ideas on how to incorporate it into your life.  For example, one of my favorites is Week 10: Take Time to Stretch.  Most people, me included, think only of stretching before or after a workout.  Stretching should really be done everyday, because our bodies get stiff and need to be stretched out.  Joints need to be moved and lubricated.  Stretching especially during the day at work, is a wonderful idea.  Blumenthal gives you stretching examples to do, advice on how to incorporate the moves into your day, and encourages you to continue.

Several of the weekly changes are probably ones you are already do, such as drink enough water each day, take a multivitamin, get enough sleep, so these you can check off.  As you get deeper into the book, there are nutrition related tips, and healthy mind tips as well, such as learning to say no (which is hard for me), control your clutter, find your own spirituality, etc.  Most if not all of these changes you've probably heard before, but having them in one place, written about in a conversational manner, is more helpful.  The book does not read preachy, new agey, or weird, just simple and to the point.

They may be a few changes you don't agree with, and that's okay too.  There was one in particular about avoiding food with specified additives.  I agree and see the benefits, but I can't totally follow this one.  It is just not going to work for me.  However, I can be more mindful of what I buy and consume.

Overall this book was interesting and I enjoyed reading it.  I'm not into self-help books but 52 Small Changes is easy to read and makes sense for me the average nutrition conscious person.  I also liked that I could read here and there, and not all in one sitting.  Small changes, small bites of reading :)

About the author:
Brett Blumenthal is from Cambridge, MA and is co-founder and CEO of Be Healthy, Inc., a wellness promotion company whose mission is to create a healthier America, one city at a time. She is also founder of Sheer Balance and The Healthy Road Warrior, which provide information, classes, and seminars, along with wellness coaching, to educate and motivate individuals interested in living a healthy lifestyle.

 © Jenny Girl - 2011 "All Rights Reserved"