Bob Greene’s 20 Years Younger

After hearing Jennifer Hudson sing her ballad to Weight Watchers and Marie Osmond smiling her way through Nutrisystem, both in stiletto heels and svelte skin-hugging outfits, the not so subliminal message is clear – especially when the same commercial is broadcast three times in five minutes. Dieting is pervasive, and from the marketing standpoint, the only way to happiness. In his latest book, 20 Years Younger, the youthful looking Bob Greene touts four pillars of health – but diet is not the focus.

Offering no big surprises or magic pills, Greene suggests common sense – what we all know to do – move, eat well, get some sleep, and stay out of the sun – his four pillars for the good life. Greene adds a chapter on “Recapturing Your Skin’s Youth,” that most diet-health books ignore. Although his system of “polish-cleanse-nourish” is not unique, it’s a good reminder to not neglect your skin.

No one wants to age, but Greene has a chapter on “The Art of Aging Gracefully,” which boils down to – change your attitude; join groups; make friends, some younger, so they won’t drop off before you do. The last chapter offers a “Meal Plan and Recipes” – the Acai popsicle looks like a good alternative to the pricey bowl you can buy at a juice bar, but most of the offerings are standard fare – baked apple, zucchini cake, baked penne with shrimp. Greene ends with a daily timetable, recommending a routine from 7:00 a.m. wake-up to 11:00 p.m. sleep that might be appealing to anyone who needs to be told how to get through the day.

With scientific studies supporting his recommendations, charts to tell you activity levels and serving amounts, even diagrams to demonstrate easy alternative exercises, Green covers the spectrum of health. You could skip the narrative, skim the headings and concentrate on the charts and pictures – a book to borrow from the library, not one to buy.