I’ve been a fitness professional since I was 22 years old. I started as a personal trainer, and slowly became a 500-hour certified yoga teacher. I’ve worked with people from all walks of life – from 8 weeks to 92 years old. I’ve also worked with everyone from Olympians (that was cool) to marathoners to people whose biggest and most joyous achievement was simply showing up for a workout session. And until I read Richard Morris‘ book, A Life Unburdened, I had absolutely no clue of the hardship that those who are obese carry with them every day.
Richard’s book is less about obesity and more gloriously about healing. He writes with tremendous eloquence about his and his wife’s childhood, the changing forces of food in the past century, and the simple but tremendously difficult task of changing everything you know about food to reclaim your life and health. He writes with poignance and great humor about his remarkable shift from a man who could barely get out of bed, and could not walk more than a few blocks without getting physically ill, to a man of grace, strength and vivacity.
If I got absolutely nothing else from the book, the first chapter would have still been life changing. My great hope is that every fitness professional read his first chapter, which is a minute by minute sensory assault of the life of an obese man; what he sees, hears and feels. I had absolutely no idea how physically painful it is to carry so much extra weight, and how many day-to-day lifestyle problems it causes. Richard writes about how utterly painful the simple act of basic living
is when one is obese, (edited due to excellent reader comment) was for him, and it’s mind boggling. Every area of his life was effected, from how he dressed to how he got to work to how he had social engagements. I never fully understood how much obesity is a self-feeding cycle until reading this book, and from now on, I feel I could approach obese clients and friends with a dramatically more honed sense of understanding.
However, the book was not about a man’s problems with obesity, it was about his recovery, not only from being overweight, but from being subjected to the constant drone of “common knowledge.” He, and his wife Mary, both re-discovered at the same time the necessity to eat whole foods to regain themselves, and the change is mind-boggling. He describes in great detail what he and Mary did, which beautifully enough, was different for both of them, and worked equally well. He finishes the book with his elegant and radically simple 10 steps, which will most likely soon be framed on my wall, as they are potent reminders on not just how to eat, but on how to live. With a great forward from Sally Fallon, the matriarchal rock-star of the whole foods movement, this books is a fast read, but a soul changing one.
I heartily encourage all readers to delve into this book, but especially those who are in the fitness and lifestyle industry – your perspective and your advice will never be the same.
I purchased this book with my own cash, and have had no financial incentive to read the book. I just think it was that good.Google+