Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Book Review: "No Sweat" by Michelle Segar

No Sweat: How the Simple Science of Motivation Can Bring You a Lifetime of Fitness Michelle Segar
Published: June 10, 2015
ISBN: 9780814434857
Genre: Self-Help
Source: Personal Copy
Highly Recommended

You might enjoy this book if you are interested in: Books about health-related topics, healthy living, weight loss

We start out with the best intentions. We're going to exercise more and get in shape! Then five days a week at the gym turns into two... then becomes none. We hit the snooze button and skip the morning run. 

We really do want to be healthy and fit, but we're over whelmed and overextended—and exercise feels like another chore to complete. Is it any wonder we don't stick with it? Behavior expert Michelle Segar has devoted her career to the science of motivation. In No Sweat, she reveals that while "better health" or "weight loss" sound like strong incentives, human beings are hardwired to choose immediate gratification over delayed benefits. In other words, we're not going to exercise unless it makes us happy right now. 

So what's the solution? To achieve lasting fitness, we have to change our minds—before we can change our bodies. In No Sweat, Segar shows us how. Translating twenty years of research on exercise and motivation into a simple four-point program, she helps readers broaden their definition of exercise, find pleasure in physical activity, and discover realistic ways to fit it into their lives. Activities we enjoy, we repeat--making this evidence-based system more sustainable in the long run than a regimen of intense workouts. Even if we don't sweat, we really benefit. 

My Thoughts:
Confession:  I don't especially like to work out.  I like how I feel after I work out (most of the time), but doing the actual work out is not my favorite thing in the world.  I think this shows in my work-out history.  I'll get to the gym several times a week for a month or so and then retreat to a sitting position at some place in my house for a few months until I start all over again.

I am, in fact, the perfect reader for this book.  I have spent my life telling myself that I had to work out to be healthy, lose weight, and all the other usual reasons.  Segar argues that thinking just doesn't work--because that is not how humans are wired.  Instead, we need to look for the more immediate reason--such as feeling better or having more energy--and that will motivate us.

Now, before you think I just gave away the entire book, rest assured that there is much more to it than that.  Segar takes the time to go into the neuroscience--but in a way someone as unscientific as I am can understand--and goes through the research.  For readers who like sources, this book is very well annotated. This is not a case of "try this and see if it works" but rather "this is what the research supports."

Segar also takes the time to explain exactly how to change your thinking.  So many of us have spent years with the "wrong whys" that it just isn't possible to decide to think differently.  She includes exercises and worksheets to help the reader figure out their own "right why" and how to use that to make a lifestyle change.

I do have one word of warning, that really has nothing to do with the book itself (and did this not factor into my opinion of the book).  I read this as an ebook and I really wished that I had a print copy instead.  There are a number of worksheets that I would have liked to fill out and refer back to.  Also, and I don't completely understand why this is, but the worksheet sections of the book seemed to be formatted as something other than text so that, when I tapped on it in my kindle, it wouldn't advance. But, as I said, that is no fault of the book and I only bring it up to encourage readers to buy this book in print.

We hear a lot of making a lifestyle change and Michelle Segar shows us exactly how to do that.  I would recommend this book to everyone from the couch potato to the marathon runner.

I was not solicited for this review and I received no compensation for this post.

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