For the Love of Books: From Health to Hemingway

“What are you reading?”

There is one bookstore that I have not yet been to that is high on my bucket list that can be found in beautiful Oregon called Powell’s Bookstore. It is considered one of the best bookstores in the country by many publications. I was reading an article one day featured on my Flipboard app that talked about the best bookstores found in each state and of course when I looked at the list under Oregon….you guessed it. That list included one book recommendation from an employee from each of the bookstores mentioned. The name of the book recommended by Powell’s was Books for Living by New York Author Will Schwalbe.  After checking it out online I knew it was a book that I had to get my hands on and read. Mr. Schwalbe mentions the importance of keeping track of what you’re reading by making reading lists and becoming in a sense your own book curator which I have done on several occasions.

Photo Credit: Will Schwalbe

As someone who has been working in the fitness industry for thirty years, I have made a number of recommendations over the years regarding numerous health/fitness/nutrition books. So much so, that as of late it developed into a “suggested reading” list here on this blog. I have also developed a personal reading list (a work in progress) of one of my favorite authors, Ernest Hemingway, that can be found on my SunAlsoRises blog. Hemingway himself was also a master at developing such reading lists. I have a list on my blog of the books that he personally liked to recommend to others. There is also a full list on the blog of all the books that Hemingway actually read from 1910-1940. His books were kept in his libraries in Key West, the Finca Vigia in Cuba and possibly his home in Ketchum, Idaho and they can all be found in this document, that lists nearly 8,000 volumes.

“In order to write about life first you must live it.” – Ernest Hemingway

Here are a few additional book lists that I have found over the years that you may find interesting:

Getting back to Will Schwalbe’s book, Books for Living, is his own list of 26 books that have made a powerful impact over the course of his life. He talks about each of the books by way of a short essay that turns into a fun, educational ride along the way. His book will have that same impact on your life…after it makes your reading “list.”


Checking in on the 10,000 Step Wellness Challenge

Now that you’re on the fifth day of the 10,000 Step Wellness Challenge you may have some questions about the challenge itself so hopefully this post answers some of those questions.

Do I need to really get 10,000 steps a day?

That should be your goal. You may have to build up to that number depending on what level you were at when you started the challenge. I had about 10 straight days of getting 10,000 steps about a week before I started the challenge and that trend continued until this Saturday when I had to attend a wedding. Now that the streak is broken I’m focusing on still getting more than 70,000 steps for the first week of the challenge (October 1-7th). So, your goal is to try to hit 10k a day and if not  – don’t freak out – life can get in the ways some times. You always have your back-up goal of 70k+ a week or 280k+ for the month. Here is a great research paper (abstract) showing the importance of 10,000 steps a day that you should take a look at. You can also take a look at this paper as well.

What does my waist-to-hip (WHR) data mean?

There are many different measurements that you can take to get a snapshot of your health (like percent body fat and/or lean muscle level). The WHR is one of the easiest ways to do this. There was a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (2007), by researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center. They found that people with a larger waist-to-hip ratio may be at increased risk for heart disease. The research evaluated the association between different measures of obesity and the prevalence of arterial disease.

“Our study shows that people who develop fat around the middle have more atherosclerotic plaque than those who have smaller waist-to-hip ratios,” said Dr. James de Lemos, associate professor of internal medicine and senior author of the study. “The risk was the same for both men and women who develop abdominal fat.”

Why no diet? Why are you having us monitor our daily added sugar?

Diets do not work long term. One of the easiest ways to start looking and feeling better is to cut back on added sugar. Monitoring your added sugar will also improve your blood glucose level which for many people is typically elevated. Americans consume more than 130 pounds of sugar over the course of a year and some reports even say its more like 3 pounds of sugar a week. The American Heart Association recommends that women consume no more than 6 teaspoons and men no more than 9 teaspoons of added sugars per day. Keep in mind one can of Coke has more than that! The amount of sugar Americans are consuming a day is closing in on 500 calories a day. Do you want to change the way you look and feel? Want to lose an inch around your waist or hips? Then cut back the added sugar to no more than 150 calories a day for men (which is 38 grams a day) and 100 calories a day for women (which is 25 grams a day). A great app that I’m using to help me, among other things, monitor what I’m eating and drinking is called Nudge – check it out.

Keep up the great work! Stay focused and you may have to sacrifice a bit but that is what it takes to change the way you look and feel. If it were easy everyone would look good and sadly that is not the case. Let the 10,000 Step Wellness Challenge enable you to increase your activity level, change your body composition and give you more energy!

Please checkout My Flipboard site and my 10,000 Step Wellness Challenge Magazine – content is added each day for all participants of the challenge.