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April 12, 2012

"Drop Dead Healthy" — A.J. Jacobs goes from flabby to fit

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Full disclosure: I have never met A.J. Jacobs. I have spoken with him on the phone; we have had email correspondence; I have written an appendix to his new book (above).

You might ask, how did that come to be, joe?

And I would tell you that one or the other of us started corresponding about something or other to do with building a treadmill desk, and one thing led to another and before you know it, he'd put the arm on me to write an appendix — a quick-and-dirty guide to creating your own treadmill workspace on the fast and cheap — for his then-in-progress book.

Oh, yeah, he added, one more thing: I need it in a week.

No problema, said I, always happy to take on a project on a short deadline for no money now or ever in the future: there's a reason I coined the word TechnoDolt®™© (still not yet in common parlance but I'm working on it, believe me... but I digress) to describe myself.

Anyhow, he liked what I wrote and it's Appendix C in his book (screenshot from "Look inside the [Kindle] book" below).

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On Tuesday of this week USA Today featured A.J. (no — I do not know what the initials stand for nor do I care, though I do recall that for a while there he left off the periods, i.e., "AJ," but that seems to have been a passing phase 'cause they're back but I've not restored them to his name in my address book for sentimental reasons.) — and his book in a front-page/above-the-fold story/interview by/with Bob Minzesheimer in its Life section, which piece gave me no end of delight.

My A.J. quote from the article: "I try to put myself in interesting situations. I have little shame, no dignity."

That's precisely why he and I get along so well.

I have long believed that "no shame + no pride = no limits."

Excerpts from the USA Today piece follow.

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"My old body was a fixer-upper," he says at the gym, near his apartment on Manhattan's Upper West Side. His 26-month rehab project, chronicled in the book, taught him that "bodily perfection is a bit of a myth. Because you have huge biceps doesn't mean you're perfect."

The old Jacobs got winded playing hide-and-seek with his three sons (ages 8 to 5).

The new Jacobs can run a mile in less than seven minutes. (For readers keeping score, that's a bit slower than the world record for 80-year-olds).

The old Jacobs wasn't fat — at 5-foot-11 he weighed 172 pounds. But his stomach formed what he calls "a python-that-swallowed-a-goat type of body" [below].

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That, he learned, "is the worst kind of fat" — visceral fat that surrounds the liver and other vital organs.

The new Jacobs [below], now 156.5 pounds, knows that the size of your waistline is one of the best predictors of heart disease. His dropped by 3 inches.

B

His "Project Health" began three years ago when he was hospitalized for three days with severe pneumonia.

His wife, Julia, who for years has worked out at a gym, nudged him about his expanding belly. She called him "Buddha" and warned him: "I don't want to be a widow at 45."

His at-home workplace was inspired by Mayo Clinic doctor James Levine, who thinks we should all have desks in front of treadmills. Jacobs jury-rigged his, joining what he says is a "small but loyal following of treadmill desk jockeys" who use terms like "deskercise" and "iPlod." Jacobs calculates he walked 1,200 miles while writing his book.

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More? You want more A.J.? Who wouldn't?

Your wish is my demand: below, a video interview that accompanied the USA Today story.

April 12, 2012 at 02:01 PM | Permalink


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Comments

Its sad, you get only one page Joes. Bought...

Posted by: clifyt | Apr 13, 2012 10:28:36 AM

This is a real good stuff Joe, thanks for the post. I will investigate on amazon. Steve

Posted by: friskypainter | Apr 13, 2012 12:01:30 AM

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