Saturday, 13 September 2014

The Body Book by Cameron Diaz

Cameron Diaz has been one of my favourite celebrities for a while now. There's just something about her - she's so cute, witty, funny, warm, charming and deep at the same time - that I can't help but love her. When I came upon this book in amazon's Kindle store, I didn't have to think twice: of course I wanted to read what she had to say about nutrition, fitness and a generally healthy lifestyle! I'm on that quest myself, too, and thought that some tips and encouragement from a favourite celebrity would be a fantastic thing to get.

I wasn't wrong. While there are, of course, a lot of facts about nutrition, fitness and general health in the book, it is also riddled with personal anecdotes and written in a style that, like Cameron Diaz herself, is warm, witty and a little goofy but also deep and serious. Reading this book is like listening to her speak to me - the writing in it is so delightfully, upliftingly her - and she has a lot of interesting things to say.

Even though almost all the health and fitness facts presented in this book are things I already knew, it still managed to change my everyday life for the better in a few small but very significant ways. This is due to the surprising but brilliant ways Cameron Diaz presents of applying these facts to your daily life - the kinds of things that, once you've read them, you wonder why you didn't think of them yourself as they are so ingenious in their simplicity and efficacy. I don't want to spoil the whole book for you as I sincerely and wholeheartedly want everyone to read it for themselves, but I will give you two examples to show you what I mean:

1) I've known for a while now that I drink too little water during the day. It just seems to completely slip my mind, I can go for hours and hours without even a little sip before it comes to my attention that I'm thirsty. In the nutrition part of this book, Cameron Diaz suggests making the drinking of some water part of your morning ritual: get up, brush your teeth, drink some water and only then go on to have breakfast. Leave the jug or bottle of water someplace where you will spot it during your morning routine so you won't forget.

I have made this a part of my daily life and now start my mornings with a glass or two of water before breakfast to help my body rehydrate after the night. As I always do it in the same place, between tooth-brushing and breakfast, it's pretty unlikely for me to forget it. And voilà, my body is a little better hydrated than before I read this book!

2) In the fitness part of this book, Cameron Diaz talks about how the body wants to move. Not only during a workout at the gym, but throughout the day, any where, any time and any way it can. She talks about how good even a few minutes of heart-rate stimulating physical activity can be both for the body and for the mind. She uses TV's commercial breaks as an example - during one, you could do a few jumping jacks, some squats, a little light stretching, and then return to the couch when the commercials are over and the series or movie you were watching continues.

I don't watch all that much TV, but after reading this, it came to my mind that I always listen to music while I cook - I start up Spotify and put on the playlist I'm in the mood for at that moment - and the music is, pretty much without exception, danceable. When making a veggie soup or stir-fry, both of which are staples in my diet, there is some waiting around included. A recipe can read, for instance, something like this: bring water to boil, add ingredient a), let it cook for x minutes, add ingredients b) and c), etc. Now, I can use these short wait times - waiting for the water to come to a boil, waiting for that slower-cooking ingredient to cook for x minutes before adding the other ingredients, etc. - to give my body a few mini dance workouts! I love moving to music and my body seems to be able to find the beat completely on its own, without any help from the conscious part of my brain (people have always told me I have a good sense of rhythm), so it's very easy and natural for me to just let loose and enjoy the music with both my mind and my body. Like Cameron Diaz says, "Let your body move you" - don't think, just move! Let your body do what it wants! During "slow" songs I might do some light stretching, using what I've learned from yoga standing poses, and during faster tracks I just let my body, arms, legs and head move to the beat and do what ever they want to. It feels pretty amazing, both in my body and in my mind! I'm the dancing chef, and I love it!

In addition to being a life changer, this book is also a pretty potent mood booster. Cameron Diaz's honest warmth of personality and healthy can-do attitude are contagious, and I found that, after a session with this book, no matter how short, my mood was lifted and my energy levels boosted, and I was itching to move! I recommend this book to anyone who wants a healthier life, as it is full of encouragement, motivation,  information and great tips on applying that information to your everyday life.

I'll end this post with the parting words from this book, as I think they sum its message up quite nicely: "Wake up. Love yourself. Care for yourself. Your body is the most precious thing that you have."