Breathes enthusiasm and inspiration into living healthier.



A thorough guide to weight loss and wellness using the 107 tools provided by California fitness trainer Zerling.

Despite being an athlete and cheerleader, Zerling grew up on junk food in her childhood. She gradually switched her occupational goals from actress to fitness guru, and here, she maps out a strategy—including identifying obstacles to success—to shed unwanted pounds and reach optimum health via tools that encompass mind, body and spirit. Beginning with ways to “unclutter” one’s life, the author sets the inner and outer stage for each individual to focus and make a commitment to positive change and well-being. From cleaning the closet and car to practicing patience, yoga and meditation, the book provides ways to feel good internally, which can lead to a change in health in all areas of living. It covers the many psychological benefits of some relatively easy-to-accomplish actions, including keeping a pet, doing good deeds, having an “accountability” system, checking hormone levels, stocking the kitchen correctly and creating a weight-loss mastermind group. An advocate for overcoming childhood obesity, she underscores obesity’s association with many degenerative diseases, including hypertension, coronary artery disease, generalized atherosclerosis and strokes. Although much of the ground may have been covered in other holistic/health guides, Zerling structures her book in an easy-to-read, organized series of tools, labeled for easy reference. She shares recipes to make healthy eating more fun and includes sample affirmations, letters of intention and personal stories to aid in the journey of a “good loser.” The sheer breadth of the material provides something to motivate even the most recalcitrant binger. She also provides a range of options, depending on fitness level; a few suggestions are hilarious, particularly one that recommends taking a group to a theme park where two teams go on 10 rides and can add an extra challenge of “doing twenty five jumping jacks, push-ups, or squats in front of the operator at each ride.”

Breathes enthusiasm and inspiration into living healthier.

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2012

ISBN: 978-1466469907

Page Count: 296

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2012

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More thought-provoking work from an important creator.


The acclaimed graphic memoirist returns to themes of self-discovery, this time through the lens of her love of fitness and exercise.

Some readers may expect Bechdel to be satisfied with her career. She was the 2014 recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, and her bestselling memoirs, Fun Home and Are You My Mother? both earned universally rave reviews, with the former inspiring a Broadway musical that won five Tony awards. But there she was, in her mid-50s, suffering from “a distinct sense of dread” and asking herself, “where had my creative joy gone?” Ultimately, she found what she was seeking, or at least expanded her search. In what she calls “the fitness book,” the author recounts, from her birth to the present, the exercise fads that have swept the nation for decades, from the guru-worship of Charles Atlas and Jack LaLanne through running, biking, hiking, “feminist martial arts,” yoga, and mountain climbing. “I have hared off after almost every new fitness fad to come down the pike for the last six decades,” she writes. Yet this book is about more than just exercise. Bechdel’s work always encompasses multiple interlocking themes, and here she delves into body image; her emerging gay consciousness; the connection between nature and inner meaning; how the transcendentalists were a version of the hippies a century earlier; and how her own pilgrimage is reminiscent of both Margaret Fuller and Jack Kerouac, whose stories become inextricably entwined in these pages with Bechdel’s. The author’s probing intelligence and self-deprecating humor continue to shimmer through her emotionally expressive drawings, but there is so much going on (familial, professional, romantic, cultural, spiritual) that it is easy to see how she became overwhelmed—and how she had to learn to accept the looming mortality that awaits us all. In the end, she decided to “stop struggling,” a decision that will relieve readers as well.

More thought-provoking work from an important creator.

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-544-38765-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: Feb. 24, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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The lessons to draw are obvious: Smoke more dope, eat less meat. Like-minded readers will dig it.


The chef, rapper, and TV host serves up a blustery memoir with lashings of self-help.

“I’ve always had a sick confidence,” writes Bronson, ne Ariyan Arslani. The confidence, he adds, comes from numerous sources: being a New Yorker, and more specifically a New Yorker from Queens; being “short and fucking husky” and still game for a standoff on the basketball court; having strength, stamina, and seemingly no fear. All these things serve him well in the rough-and-tumble youth he describes, all stickball and steroids. Yet another confidence-builder: In the big city, you’ve got to sink or swim. “No one is just accepted—you have to fucking show that you’re able to roll,” he writes. In a narrative steeped in language that would make Lenny Bruce blush, Bronson recounts his sentimental education, schooled by immigrant Italian and Albanian family members and the mean streets, building habits good and bad. The virtue of those habits will depend on your take on modern mores. Bronson writes, for example, of “getting my dick pierced” down in the West Village, then grabbing a pizza and smoking weed. “I always smoke weed freely, always have and always will,” he writes. “I’ll just light a blunt anywhere.” Though he’s gone through the classic experiences of the latter-day stoner, flunking out and getting arrested numerous times, Bronson is a hard charger who’s not afraid to face nearly any challenge—especially, given his physique and genes, the necessity of losing weight: “If you’re husky, you’re always dieting in your mind,” he writes. Though vulgar and boastful, Bronson serves up a model that has plenty of good points, including his growing interest in nature, creativity, and the desire to “leave a legacy for everybody.”

The lessons to draw are obvious: Smoke more dope, eat less meat. Like-minded readers will dig it.

Pub Date: April 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4478-5

Page Count: 184

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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