STRAIGHT TALK FROM A DOCTOR ON HOW TO MINIMIZE THE DAMAGE FROM THE UNHEALTHY LIFESTYLE CHOICES WE ALL KNOW WE SHOULDN'T MAKE -- BUT DO ANYWAY
There are thousands of books out there on how to live a healthy life, but let's be honest: most of us don't want to live a healthy life -- we want to know how to live our unhealthy lives better. The Healthy Guide to Unhealthy Living is a straightforward and honest guide to maintaining the fast-paced lifestyle you're accustomed to, without giving up all the bad habits that come along with it.
Whether you stayed up all night prepping for that early presentation or want to lose ten pounds fast for a high school reunion, whether you drank too much last night or wound up in an unfamiliar bed this morning, here's the practical advice you need for minimizing the damage and moving on with your life. A few of the issues addressed in this book include:
- Drinking and drugs: From easing the hangover pain to kicking a drug habit
- Sex: Pregnancy, STDs, and why you shouldn't believe everything you read on the Internet
- Pushing the limits: Sleepless nights, stress, and unavoidable life-related anxieties
- Everyday habits: Smoking, fast food, all-nighters, and the rest of those New Year's resolutions you haven't gotten around to yet
Whether you indulge yourself in Vegas or your own backyard, when it comes to your health, it's easy to assume the worst. But even if you don't live a completely virtuous life, The Healthy Guide to Unhealthy Living says that if you make some smart choices, you can avoid major worries or embarrassment. While this book won't take the place of your own doctor, it will give you some shortcuts to healthier habits and better living -- like safer sex and better sex, or a healthier diet and a better body -- that might become habits you can live with.
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Simon & Schuster
January 01, 2006
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Excerpt from The Healthy Guide to Unhealthy Living by David J. Clayton
Despite all the self-help books out there on living a healthy life, many of my patients don't want to know how to live a healthy life -- they want to know how to live their unhealthy lives better.
They don't want to stop drinking, smoking, doing drugs, or having casual sex with the other sleep-deprived professionals they meet at parties. They want to know how to do these things without killing themselves or permanently damaging their health. They want to know how to lose weight fast for a wedding, or whether a drug test will show last week's joint. They want to know how to stay awake at the office when they haven't slept well the night before.
I began mulling over a manual on bad habits when I moved to New York after finishing my residency in internal medicine in San Diego. In the hospital where I worked on the West Coast, most of my patients were over seventy. I learned a lot by helping them manage such problems as congestive heart failure, stroke, kidney and lung disease, but I also spent a lot of heart-wrenching hours trying to console the families of dying patients.
New York was completely different. After my residency, I headed to the Big Apple to study business at Columbia. I needed cash to put myself through school, so I landed a job at a medical clinic on the Upper East Side.
At this clinic, my patients were closer to age thirty than eighty. Virtually no one had a chronic disease, and the few who did were intelligent and motivated enough to partner with me in treating their illnesses. Most of my clients were professional bankers, lawyers, or consultants, and I even had a celebrity come through now and then. After earning my MBA, I started my own practice and kept seeing high-octane young professionals along with those just moving to New York ready to make their mark on the town.
The one thing that rich bankers and struggling actors have in common in New York, I discovered, is their desire to make the most of their lives. New Yorkers always want more than they have. Everyone is trying to make it here. To make it, people will push themselves beyond a sane, sensible existence. You don't have to be a doctor to know that eighteen-hour days in the office and happy hours that last until dawn wear on the body.
I call these young people the "worried well." They suspect their habits are unhealthy, but they don't know what to do about them. I don't blame them for the confusion. Even with all the medical books out there, the Internet, and TV doctors galore, nonpreachy information on drugs or sexually transmitted diseases is hard to come by. The Internet just tells you that bump could be AIDS, or that burning could be chlamydia, herpes, gonorrhea, or ten other diseases, and next thing you know, you're a quivering mess. TV doctors tell you to stop screwing around and see your own doctor. When you get that appointment four itchy days later, he'll say that you may have caught something, but the cultures won't come back from the lab for a week, and by the way, don't forget the copay at the door. As for good advice, don't expect much from your eight-minute visit beyond "Don't do that again."
Many of my patients are pleasantly surprised to find that I'm young (in my thirties) and that I'm interested in hearing their worries about drugs, pregnancy, STDs, crash dieting, anxiety, stress, sexual performance, and other thorny issues. Unfortunately, these questions vexing people in my age group are not the ones I was trained to answer. Does Xanax take the edge off work-related stress How bad is cocaine for you...really Does weekend smoking cause cancer These aren't easy questions, but after much time spent poring over the medical literature, and after interviewing many top specialists, I was able to find the information my patients were searching for. This book is the result.