'Drop Dead Healthy': Is the Perfect Healthy Lifestyle Possible?


"This is the group that believes that if you eat very, very little, like if you are on the verge of starvation, then you're going to live 140 years," Jacobs said. "The obvious joke is why would you want to live 140 years if you're only eating, you know, five flax seeds a day."

His favorite workout: boulder tossing, log carrying and sprinting, part of the so-called "caveman workout."

"The caveman didn't do a lot of leisurely jogging," he said. "They did a lot of sprinting, running away from tigers."

At the end of two years, Jacobs said he managed to lose 17 pounds. His body fat dropped from 17 to 7 percent and he said he is now bursting with energy and feels great. He added that he has backed off doing some of the dozens and dozens of daily healthy rituals -- for example, he no longer does the colonics or juice diets anymore, and he doesn't do the caveman workout regularly -- because, Jacobs said, there just aren't enough hours in the day to be that healthy.

"I'm a bit of an 'obsessional' person, so I guess I might go too far," Jacobs said. "[But] being too obsessed with health is not very healthy."

Jacobs also said that the most detrimental part of the pursuit of being healthy is that he had to give up seeing his friends and his family because there wasn't enough time in the day for both.

"I had very little time to see my friends because I was being too healthy, and that turned out to be unhealthy ... Social interactions are such a crucial part of our health you know they really contribute to your longevity," he said.

A.J. Jacobs shares some of his tips for being healthy. Here's what he says:

Chew! There's a movement I discovered on the Internet called 'chewdaism' where people believe you should chew each mouthful of food 50 to 70 times. This is a bit much if you have a life. Twenty or thirty times works pretty well. And basically it slows you down to give those satiety signals enough time to reach your brain so that you realize you're full before you've overeaten. It really helped me eat less.

Self-tracking -- such as using a pedometer or keeping a food diary -- makes all the difference. Just something as simple as a pedometer can make you walk one mile more per day on average, because it becomes a game. Even just writing down what you eat changes your behavior.

Don't be sedentary. Sitting is so bad for you. I like walking better, which surprises me. I have more energy. So I run errands, literally. I run to the store for toothpaste and run home. I squat down to talk to my kids, which means I do 50 to 70 squats a day.

Stress truly affects your help. I thought diet and exercise would solve everything. But keeping stress down is important. You do that by making time for friends and family, making sure to laugh. And you know what is a big stress-inducer? Noise. That's why I got some noise-cancelling headphones (which were a stress-inducing three $300.)

Respect your future self. An app online aged a picture of me, showing me what I'd look like at 70. I keep the picture on a desk and look at it to remind myself to make things better for me in the future.

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