I love to read. As a child I out read the children’s library and was allowed (under strict supervision of course) to venture into the adults section to continue my literary education. I have books on both my Kindle and iPad but I do get quiet excited about “real” books and bookshops, I love the smell, the feel and weight of a good “real” book. I enjoy making notes in the margins, turning the corner over on pages I want to reread… in fact truth be told I rarely settle down with a good book without coloured pens, post it notes and sometimes even a small ruler (no judgement please dear reader 😉 )
Of course I enjoy reading the classics, love biographies and am not adverse to a bit of chick-lit but my big love are personal development books. I love the glimmer of hope that these self help books give, between the pages there may just lie the answers I have been seeking to make me a better version of the woman I am. But too often these books let me down, they don’t live up to the hype on the cover, or the reviews on Amazon. I recently read a book about beating sugar addiction which advocated a diet of fruit and sugar substitutes… really, i despair!!
So it is a real joy when you come across a book that does live up to its promise, even better for me, when I find a book that can not only be of benefit to me personally but offers something I can bring to The Body Retreat for the benefit of our ladies.
I thought I would share with you 7 books that I rate. Books that deliver on their promises, books that I have returned to again and again, both personally and professionally, books that bear the scars of being well read (see note above about reading kit.. LoL ).
As you may know at The Body Retreat we offer 4 main retreats, Weight Loss, Detox, Stress Reset and our very popular Fitness Holiday. All our retreats are based on our 4 pillars of well-being, Behaviour, Nutrition, Exercise and R&R. These 7 books span the 4 pillars…well all except exercise, but as you will know that is Julie’s area of expertise not mine. If you have joined us on retreat you may even have heard me speak about a couple of these books before.
So here you have our Top 7 self help books that will improve your health & wellbeing.
1. Feel the fear and do it anyway – Susan Jeffers
I don’t consider myself a scared person, I read Feel the fear because its a classic and I discovered that I do have fear in my life, I just never named it as such, but it was still holding me back. I read this book in one sitting, devoured it really. Then went back through and spent time reviewing the practical exercises. Don’t like the idea of practical exercises? Don’t worry this book is funny, easy to read and packed with poignant and profound words that will challenge how you think and help you to change behaviours that are unhelpful. If you are feeling stuck right now, be that in a job, relationship or even in a body that doesn’t feel right for you then Feel the fear is a must read.
2. Positive Shrinking – Kevin Laye
As a Master NLP practitioner myself I liked how Kevin wound some really effective NLP techniques into an amusing and simple story. On the cover it states that this is “A story that will change your relationship with food, forever” a big claim and not one I can hand on heart agree with, however the techniques used in the book can help you to change unhelpful behaviours fast. One hate about this book, I know that hate is very strong word, but there you have it, is the chapter Eat like a pig … look like a pig. I have a real issue with anyone being likened to a farmyard animal and in my opinion while the moral of the chapter to slow down when eating is sound the metaphor is really insulting. I have still included the book here and will let you make up your own mind about that chapter.
3. The 9-Day Liver Detox – Patrick Holford
There is a lot to love about Patrick Holford, I have several of his books on my bookshelf. The 9 day Liver Detox offers both the appliance of science behind the hows and whys of detoxing combined with a step by step plan for, well you guessed it, a 9 day liver detox. This is a safe clean eating plan, no fasting, no weird and wonderful ingredients. Its kind of back to basics nutrition which can be adopted by almost everyone. One word of caution is that the meals in the plan are quite low in protein and Kate Delmar- Morgan our Nutritional Therapist here at The Body Retreat recommends adding a small amount of protein to the main meal recipes. So adding beans, pulses, fish and even a little organic chicken in moderation will support this plan to still achieve maximum benefits.
4. The Overload Solution – Jane Alexander
Written in 2005 The Overload Solution was a book ahead of its time. Jane Alexander’s book is a practical guide to help you recognise when chronic juggling and stress tips over into overload and what to do about it. As someone who has herself suffered from burnout, this book spoke to me on so many levels. Again great practical exercises throughout to help you on your journey of discovery… I completed the Wheel of Life exercise and found to my shame that I was a much bigger TV watcher than I thought. But it was great, because knowledge is power and as I don’t want to be a prolific telly guzzler I now have a choice and I now aim to read for 1 hour each day rather than lose that time to the box. If you are starting to feel overwhelmed and over loaded then this is the book for you.
5. The Medicinal Chef – Dale Pinnock
I defy anyone to not devour this fantastic cookery book. Its a cookery book with a difference, yes there are great and easy to make recipes, yes the food photography will make your mouth water but more importantly this is a cookery book about eating your way to better health. Dale Pinnock has a unique approach to cooking and nutrition, focussing on the individual ingredients and how they can support our health, in particular how the food we eat can impact on common ailments and diseases.
6. Mindfulness. A practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world – Mark Williams and Danny Penman
Mindfulness is the buzz word de jour but please do not dismiss it is a fad. Mindfulness has been around for quite some time and its close relation Meditation has been around a lot longer. Mindfulness has been shown to have a powerful influence over our health, wellbeing and happiness. Learning to be mindful, be in the moment has been proved to have tremendous impact on our ability to cope with stress. Through the daily practice of mindfulness you build up your relaxation reflex which in turn supports you day by day . The best bit about this book, beside the 8 week stepped plan, is the free CD guide.
7. and finally…. 101 poems to keep you sane – Daisy Goodwin
Ok technically this isn’t really a self help or well-being book. But it is a book that I find myself returning to time and time again. I find poetry can be both incredibly stimulating and also soothing and this little book can offer just a moment of calm in a hectic world. I often tell Body Retreat clients that they need to be kind to themselves, learn to calm and not critique themselves, soothe rather than scold. For me this is at the heart of true health and wellbeing and the verse in this little volume helps me to feel calm and soothed.
Id love to hear what your top health and wellbeing book is, be that a cookery book, a self help guide or maybe even a story that you return to time and again, so please leave a comment below.
If you have found this review interesting and useful then “sharing is caring” so please share using the buttons to the side.
I will finish with my favourite poem from 101 poems to keep you sane
New Every Morning
Every day is a fresh beginning,
Listen my soul to the glad refrain.
And, in spite of old sorrows
And older sinning,
And possible pain,
Take heart with the day and begin again