Eat, Move, Sleep (2013), Tom Rath - Book Summary

Eat, Move, Sleep (2013) offers simple tips to help you improve your health. It doesn't take a lifestyle revolution to stay fit and energized – small changes can make a big difference and this book will show you that.

This book is for

  • Anyone hoping for a healthier lifestyle;
  • Workaholics are struggling to re-balance their lives;
  • Those who are stressed at work.

About the author

Tom Rath learned the value of a healthy lifestyle when he was diagnosed with a rare childhood illness. Illness can take his life at any time, but he has learned to control his body and live a healthy life by making positive changes in the way he eats, moves and sleeps.

Let's kick away the habits that are harmful to health

How many diets have you tried in your life? At some point, most of us have probably tried to stick to at least one strict eating plan. And how many of us realize its benefits over the long term? Probably a small number. Chances are, many people have to give up midway, while others fall back into bad habits after completing the regimen.

So what should we do instead? Based on the point of view of Tom Rath, a man who battled illness for health and a successful life, this book shows that anyone can be healthy in the long run. All you need to do is focus on eating, moving, and sleeping properly.

You will also discover that:

  • Why eating right is more important in terms of quality than quantity;
  • Why it makes no sense to go to the gym if you're sitting in a chair all day;
  • Why sugar is the substance that can kill you right now.

Small lifestyle changes can make a big impact and make you live longer

Many people don't take care of themselves until they are warned by their doctor, "You're out of shape" or "You should stay in shape while you still can." If you want to avoid these awkward conversations, heed these simple tips.

Leading a healthy lifestyle is not easy. It's hard to say no to a cold soda or a large serving of chips, but resisting the temptation has huge benefits. The sooner you treat your body well, the better your chances of living a longer and healthier life.

In fact, researchers from the University of Gothenburg have found that 90% of the population can live to be 90 or more, simply by making a few key lifestyle choices. You can increase your energy, maximize your ability to work or sleep better by simply eating the right foods, starting with a healthy breakfast.

It is true that your health is partly determined by genetic factors, but it is important to develop healthy habits. You can't change the structure of your DNA, but you can change your lifestyle. It is your lifestyle that will have an impact on your genes.

Author Tom Rath is a case in point. When he was just 16 years old, he was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder called Von Hippel-Lindau (VHL), which causes cancer cells to spread throughout the body.

Instead of giving up, the author focuses on what he can control: Diet, exercise, and sleep. He learned how to reduce the spread of cancer cells so that he could live a longer and healthier life.

Pay attention to your every bite: eat more protein and less fast-absorbing carbs

Maintaining a healthy diet is not easy. You can check the nutrition facts on food labels, but that's not enough. You have to think more deeply about food if you really care about your health. There's a question you should ask yourself before you eat anything: Are the nutritional values ​​in this food good or bad?

People go on a diet in the hope of seeing concrete results in a short time. For example, they decided to avoid foods containing carbohydrates for 2 months. However, that diet is too short, not enough to improve health in the long run.

Long-term healthy eating means you have to determine for yourself whether a food source has a positive or negative effect on your body, and we can look at this based on the ingredients it contains. For example, a salad will no longer be nutritious if you add fried chicken or bacon.

Rath realized his favorite food, salmon with barbecue sauce, became toxic just because of the sugar in the sauce. So he turned it into a healthier dish by learning to taste his own salmon without the sauce.

The quality of what you eat is more important than the quantity. Don't just count calories, there's more to your food. Try eating at a ratio of at least 1 gram of protein per gram of carbohydrate. But that doesn't mean you can eat bacon and hot dogs all day! Processed meat should be last on your protein list. And don't forget, some foods to avoid, like potato chips, have over 20 grams of carbohydrates per gram of protein.

Limiting the time you are inactive is more important than exercising

When it comes to staying active, going to the gym twice a day isn't enough. You'll also need to limit your inactivity. Habit of inactivity is a potential danger in modern life, because the nature of many people's jobs today requires them to sit at a desk all day. It is just like any other inactive states we have like sleeping, driving somewhere or watching TV.

Minimizing inactive habits is more important than just getting a little bit of exercise. In fact, a study by the National Institutes of Health found that adults who spend a lot of time sitting are 50% more likely to die. Even exercising 7 hours a week is not enough to alleviate this condition.

The risk of death for people who sit for 6 hours a day is about as high as that of smokers or people exposed to constant sunlight. Your good cholesterol will drop by 20% every 2 hours of sitting, then you start burning calories minute by minute! So adjust your habits. Continuous activity is more effective than irregular exercise.

Do you find it difficult to do that? It's okay, let's start small. The idea of ​​"getting back in shape" sounds daunting, but start by taking the stairs instead of the elevator.

Not only at work, be more active even at home. Home is the most convenient place to develop an active lifestyle. Use the treadmill or start with online aerobics on the Internet. One recommendation for you is that watching 4 hours of television a day doubles your risk of serious cardiovascular diseases.

Getting enough sleep is an important part of staying healthy and productive

Nowadays a lot of people don't get enough sleep. Sure, we're all busy, but sleep is something you should never overlook. There is a common misconception that people who sleep less are harder workers. They stay up all night to work.

It may seem like staying up until 5 a.m. to prepare for a presentation the next morning is dedication, but the truth is quite the opposite. You'll be less alert the next day if you didn't get enough sleep the night before, so your presentation won't be at its best. In fact, studies have shown that just 90 minutes of sleep can reduce your alertness by a third.  

Think of it this way: would you rather be on a flight where the pilot gets a good night's sleep, or a flight of a pilot that spends the night researching landing techniques?

There's a reason we don't get enough sleep. In today's fast-paced social life, sleep is seen as a sign of weakness. The author realized this from his parents when he was young, so in his teens, even though he didn't have to work, he still had a habit of staying up late. Over time, this had an effect on his academic performance. He felt that going to bed was wrong or a sign of laziness.

The most productive people actually have the habit of getting enough sleep. You may have heard of the famous study that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to be successful in any field. But did you know of a similar study that top performers sleep 8 hours and 36 minutes a night?

By comparison, the average American sleeps just 6 hours and 51 minutes on weekends. Sleep is an important part of achieving your goals, so don't take it as a sign of laziness.

Sugar is a dangerous substance for health, it should be used in moderation

Would you give your child a cigarette? What about snacks? You can answer “no” to the first question and “yes” to the second. But tobacco and sugar are similar in the harm it causes to the human body.

Sugar is a harmful substance to health. Together with its derivatives, it causes diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and cancer. The average person consumes as much sugar as their weight or more each year. It's not necessary to add sugar to processed foods, healthy foods like fruits and vegetables have enough natural sugars in them.

Adding sugar is just to give food more flavor, it doesn't have any nutritional value. Moreover, it is dangerous to our health. A Harvard University study found that sugary drinks contribute to 180,000 deaths each year! Some nutritionists have even called sugar “cancer sweets,” because it accelerates aging, inflammation, and tumor growth.

Sugar is also addictive, so it should be treated like any other addiction. It is important to control our sugar intake so that it does not control ourselves. Your brain is stimulated and releases dopamine when you eat sugar, just like when you smoke a cigarette. And like cigarettes, the more sugar you eat, the more addicted you become to it. You also forget about its harmful effects, so the more and more sugar you eat, the more satisfying it is to experience.

The best way to avoid this abuse is to stop in the first place. Look out for some of the same sweet-tasting ingredients as agave nectar, dextrose, corn syrup, and honey. Although they are healthier than sugar, they still increase the desire for sweet and sugary foods.

Night sleep – quality and quantity are equally important

Have you ever felt tired, even after sleeping for 9-10 hours? Sleep is an instinctive act and we all do it, but we can still improve it. It's a fundamental part of good health and, importantly, a good night's sleep. Effective sleep is the time you actually sleep, not just lying and rolling over in bed. Some people can lie in bed for 9 hours but only really sleep 5 hours.

The Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep is the most important part of a good night's sleep. This is when your brain processes thoughts and memories, placing them in your memory. REM also plays an important role in helping you get through difficult or traumatic events. There are several strategies for REM.

First, try to limit naps. Many of us give ourselves an hour or a half hour to get some extra sleep in the morning. But that sleep provides no additional benefit. So set your alarm at the exact time you need to wake up, that will help you sleep for the time you need.

You should also limit your exposure to artificial light before bed. Artificial light can negatively affect your melatonin, which plays an important role in regulating your sleep cycle. So if you read before bed, use a small reading light, and try not to watch TV or the computer right before bed.

Good sleep impacts your health in many ways. In fact, research shows that people with poor quality sleep are 5.5 times more likely to catch a cold than those who get a good night's sleep.

The message

The main message of the book is

Staying healthy isn't just one of dozens of decisions every day. Changing yourself not only helps you have a beautiful body, but also makes us live longer, live healthier. Start by eating plenty of protein, avoiding excess sugar or carbohydrates, limiting the amount of time you're inactive, and taking the stairs instead of the elevator whenever you can. Finally, sleep right, get enough sleep. Lots of small changes can make a big difference.

Give advice:

Eat dark colored vegetables and fresh fruit.

To identify healthy foods, choose dark colored vegetables and fresh fruits. That's a good rule of thumb. Eat anything that's green, like broccoli, spinach, kale, or cucumbers. Red and green fruits like apples, strawberries, and raspberries are also very nutritious.