Monday, February 10, 2014

cameron diaz — the body book

"Oh great," you might think, "Another celebrity diet book." But Cameron Diaz has taken a different spin with The Body Book: The Law of Hunger, the Science of Strength, and Other Ways to Love Your Amazing Body. Yes, it will most likely garner interest because of its celebrity association. But Diaz is not interested in anyone who might pick up this book to not eat or eat less or grab it as a quick guide to losing weight. She wants to celebrate bodies — hers, yours, everyone's.

That sounds a little goofy, and, as Diaz is the first to admit, she is, a little. But there is also a lot of common sense in The Body Book. It can even be viewed as a tour of the human body (primarily geared towards women's bodies), with Diaz sharing anecdotes on how she got herself strong and healthy over the years. Things seemed to come together for her while she was making Charlie's Angels back in 2000. The role required a lot of training, and she had to change the way she ate and the way she worked out to get strong enough for the physically demanding role. She admits that she has always been physically active, which is half the battle to staying healthy, but at the same time her diet was in a shambles — fast food and cheeseburgers seem to have been her go-to cuisine, which resulted in skin and stomach problems.
"If you are what you eat, I was a bean burrito with extra cheese and extra sauce, no onions."
The Body Book, which Diaz has written with the help of Sandra Bark, is divided into three sections, Nutrition, Fitness, and Mind. With the help of many credited experts, Diaz covers all of the body's amazing abilities, from digestion to exercise to sex. She also points out that discipline is at the core of her health regime. One has to be pretty consistent about eating right, moving their body, and getting enough sleep if they want to live long and prosper. Yes, a lot of this is what your mom or grandma has been telling you forever, but it is presented in a witty and enthusiastic manner. It's a modern day self-help textbook, reminding us how the body works — you know, all the stuff you might have dozed through in high school biology class but now might find pretty interesting.  And Diaz wants to get you interested. She is so jazzed about amino acids and the true nature of calories (energy, people!)  and what our bodies have been designed to do that it is hard not to get excited along with her. Plus, she's funny.
"Just because you can put something in your mouth, chew it, swallow it, and then poop it out does not mean it is food. It just means you can chew it, swallow it, and poop it out!"
She has some good tips for folks who need a little push to get started to clean up their diets. She recommends drinking a big bottle of water every morning, first thing — and continuing to drink water throughout the day. She relates why sugary mochaccinos and sodas and the like are just not good enough. She has some simple, practical advice for getting a good night's sleep — create a routine and stick to it, including keeping things quiet and dark and gadget-free. One chapter that really resonated with me was towards the ending of the book, "Unpacking Your Habits," which points out how much more control we have over our choices, our habits, than we think. That afternoon run to Starbucks — do we really need it, or have we convinced ourselves we do because we have chosen to do it so often that it has become a habit? On the plus side, we can take a walk, do some exercise, skip the sugary snack too, make those a habit, if we start do them on a regular basis.

I really liked The Body Book. I have already instilled a new habit inspired by Diaz — drinking a big glass of water first thing when I rise. A lot of the other information shared by Cameron Diaz and her advisers I am taking as a nudge to keep on the healthy path, or to amp things up a little, especially in the realm of getting moving, as a lot of the things I like to do — write, read, watch movies — are sedentary activities. Diaz has obviously had fun putting this book together and I had fun reading what she had to say.


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