Book Review: Mind Your Body

10 Core Concepts for an Optimally Balanced You

Author: Joel Harper
Publisher: Harper Collins
Book Publication: 2015

Joel Harper is a celebrity personal trainer, author, and contributor to the Dr. Oz Show. From studying his clients’ experiences and struggles over his 20 year career, and reviewing the latest research in neuroscience and neuropsychology, Harper has come to believe that the secret to adopting and maintaining a healthy body, mind, and spirit is the ability to tap into the power of the mind.

According to Harper, we have to learn how to “harness and change our thoughts and break the cycle of negative thinking and repetitive patterns that prevent us from being energized, balanced and happy.” In his new book Mind Your Body, Harper sets out to help people do this with his 4-week plan of positive thinking (Mindsets), balanced daily exercise (Moves), and mindful, nutritious eating (Meals).

Part 1 introduces Harper’s core concepts of optimal success, the foundation to reach all your fitness goals: cultivate grit, set specific intentions, visualize success, extinguish escape routes, and ‘believe-it, become-it’ to name a few. These concepts are clearly explained and Harper interweaves clients’ stories for added impact.

The ‘believe it- become it’ core concept however, is the crucial one to understanding Harper’s philosophy. He maintains that you can set yourself up with a belief system that produces dramatic shifts in your health. Supporting this view is the report from a 2007 Israeli study which showed “self-confidence to succeed at weight loss could triple the amount of weight you could lose, as compared to those who doubt themselves.”

An important and recurring theme in Mind Your Body is what Harper calls a “deserve level.” This is a rating of self-esteem, a “blessing or permission” you give yourself, based on what you believe you deserve for a given area in your life. He has determined that, when “people don’t truly and deeply believe they deserve something, they don’t make positive choices or take actions needed to reach their goals.” The book provides a quiz for the reader to know and understand what they currently perceive as their “deserve levels.” The book is filled with quizzes, self-assessments, and 1-10 rating lists; guaranteed methods to discover where you need nurturing, attention and development, as well as areas where you excel.

Harper makes effective use of a series of rules, components and tools to explain the design of his ‘Mind Your Body’ plan. We learn that being curious, empathetic, and realistic are just a few of the traits required to gain a mental edge, and that writing, meditation, visualization, and imagination are all excellent tools to boost brain-power. An important rule regarding nutrition is to eat only when you’re physiologically hungry and stopping when you have had enough. And the 1-10 hunger scale can be used to stimulate awareness of your eating habits. Some rules to follow in order to be physically fit include: connecting body to mind; not comparing yourself to others; making exercise automatic, and working every muscle from every angle.

Mind Your Body is a thoughtful, well-written game plan that brings clarity to complex scientific research, offers inspiring and effective mind and body exercises, and presents a complete and wholesome eating guide. If you have been struggling, this book could provide the motivation and tools you have been missing for achieving the life you truly “deserve”.


 

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Susannah Kent is a Toronto area Fitness and Healthy Lifestyle Instructor.

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