The Maintenance Library - Quit Digging Your Grave with a Knife and Fork

11-25-2006, 11:55 AM
Quit Digging Your Grave with a Knife and Fork was written by Mike Huckabee, the Governor of Arkansas who has lost more than 100 lbs. It is subtitled A 12-Stop Program to End Bad Habits and Begin a Healthy Lifestyle.

I think Huckabee has been very inspirational and seems like his head is in the right place (when it comes to weight management anyway) when I've seen interviews. I was excited to find out he had a book, and generally speaking I liked it a lot. I also found it as an Amazon Bargain Book, meaning it was cheap and that is good too!

This book focuses on behaviors and not so much on nutrition or exercise specifics (although it does touch on them), so it should pretty much fit with any food or exercise plan. Very briefly, his 12-stops:

STOP procrastinating
STOP making excuses; e.g. fat genes, culture
STOP sitting on the couch
STOP ignoring signals from your body; fatigue, bloating, etc
STOP listening to destructive criticism
STOP expecting immediate success
STOP whining
STOP making exceptions
STOP storing provisions for failure; clean that junk food out of the house, car, office, etc
STOP fueling with contaminated food; sugars, trans fats
STOP allowing food to be a reward
STOP neglecting your spiritual health

The book has a chapter on each of these, that goes into detail and gives specific examples and anecdotes.

Things I liked about the book:

It is simple, a quick read, and easily accessible
Works with any eating plan, although he emphasizes sugars which may not be appropriate for everyone
Huckabee is a fantastic example of how to bust the 'no time' excuse
Emphasis on weight loss as a means to health and long term perspective
Start simple, start small approach

I didn't find anything really objectional about the book and the parts I didn't feel that applied to me weren't presented in such an in-your-face manner that I could just move past them without getting spun up (the guy is a politician after all and knows how to spin!).

One quote from the STOP whining chapter struck me as especially perceptive. Regarding how he views the 'deprivation' aspect of weight management, Huckabee writes this: "I would deprive myself of an early heart attack, or having toes or feet amputated because of diabetes. I would deprive myself of completely avoidable disabilities such as loss of sight, stroke, or even premature death by making positive changes in my behavior." I think if we could keep this perspective all the time, passing up the donut would be a no-brainer.

I recommend it to anyone who needs to actively manage their weight, as a quick motivational pick-me-up, or even a place to start figuring out behaviors that will make you successful. I don't view it as a replacement for Thin for Life, Volumetrics, or Mindless Eating, but I'm a big fan of Huckabee and I recommend think this book is worth a read.