Book review: What You Can When You Can

Tuesday, May 5, 2015 Permalink

Carla Birnberg and Roni Noone are two well-known US health and fitness bloggers. Roni started blogging a decade ago after losing a stack of weight and discovering fitness. She launched the Fitbloggin’ Conference in 2010 which brings together health and fitness bloggers. When my Diet Schmiet blog was alive and I was more into losing weight and keeping fit, Roni seemed to be everywhere and I had a sense of her commitment to wellness and blogging as she supported many in the industry.

It was around the same time I came across Carla. Her MizFit blog was (and is in its new incarnation) one of my must-read blogs. A freelance writer and brand spokesperson I’ve long appreciated Carla’s commitment to ‘quality’ over ‘quantity’ in terms of fitness. She’s also a proponent of enjoying what it is you do and avoiding overly excessive (and obsessive) approaches to food and exercise.

The pair have joined together to launch a new book, What You Can, When You Can.  In their words…

What You Can, When You Can (#wycwyc) is a book, a movement, a mindset, and a lifestyle—one that harnesses the power of small steps to let you achieve your health and fitness goals on YOUR terms. The #wycwyc (pronounced “wickwick”) philosophy applies to anything and everything that contributes to a healthy, happy life: nutrition, exercise, physical and mental rejuvenation, and so much more.

They share the primary message of their book on the very first page…

perfection is not coming.

The book’s title says it all… it’s about doing ‘what you can, when you can’. Essentially it’s about MODERATION.

What You Can When You Can WYCWYC

As the authors themselves note—this isn’t rocket science and they’re not introducing any new health and fitness concepts. Most of us already know what we should could be doing. We just don’t do it. For a myriad of reasons.

It can be overwhelming. At the moment my own health and fitness goals seem unattainable, the journey there insurmountable. But… I’m trying to remind myself of the #wycwyc mindset. I need to not think about the fact I need to lose 40-50kg. I need to forget I was once an avid gym-goer when now I can’t even get myself to go on a walk. I just need to do WHAT I CAN, WHEN I CAN.

As for those at the other end of the spectrum, perhaps you’re fit and healthy (or on your way there) but struggling with balance. The book touches on changes to our mindset. Some of the approaches which I favoured suggest we be… non-obsessively determined and responsibly selfish. Similarly I could relate to the challenges of musterbation and focussing too much on can’ts rather than cans in our everyday lives.

Chapters on mindfulness, decluttering and meditation confirm this book’s about more than health and fitness. It’s about life in general and promoting a sustainable lifestyle change.

At 177 pages it’s an easy read which includes practical examples to offer additional guidance. Another great initiative is the inclusion of social shares at the end of each chapter, with suggested activities or learnings which you might want to share with others using the (hashtag) #wycwyc.

I can actually see this book becoming a program of sorts, and / or the exercises and social shares part of a challenge for readers or participants.

There were—at times—a few inconsistencies in terms of target audience which I think is a challenge for the authors as their readers may include everyone from beginners to the very fit. In one of the examples, someone who’d planned a walk lost part of their daily exercise time, and a suggested response, which I assumed would be to just walk in the time you have remaining, was to do jumping jacks (star jumps for my Aussie readers) with your family that night. I could barely do a jumping jack when I was fitter, let alone now… it seemed a little OTT for me. But like I said… people at the other end of the spectrum may think nothing of jumping jacks after dinner.

All in all however, this is a great read written in an light-hearted and accessible tone, promoting moderation. In all things.

What You Can When You Can by Carla Birnberg and Roni Noone, published by Seal Press was released on 28 April 2015.

I received a copy of this book for review purposes from the publisher.

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