What if you haven't got eight weeks to shape up? Say, for example, there's only a month left to fit into that spiffy sundress you bought (one size too small) for your best friend's beachside wedding. Relax, take a deep breath, and let Shape magazine editor Barbara Harris's comprehensive and compassionate plan coax you into a healthier, more balanced lifestyle in only four weeks. Shape Your Life: 4 Weeks to a Better Body and a Better Life ethinks not only your workout and diet routines, but weaves a holistic approach to fitness for optimum health and well-being. Says Harris, "The punitive, deprivational approach to fitness isn't necessary. . . . The sure and healthy way to get results is to learn to listen to your body and your heart to create a better life." This plan is designed to sculpt physical and emotional health, based on the premise that one cannot exist without the other. Though half of the book is devoted to exercise and diet, the remaining chapters cover other vital elements for overall wellness: spirituality, adequate rest (including sleep and relaxation), balanced emotions, a healthy body image and a satisfying, rewarding work life. The content is presented in a well-organized, logical format that clearly outlines what readers will learn and how they can use the information. Helpful features embedded in each chapter include mini-articles that offer "quick tips" and "mistakes to avoid." A final chapter offers four fully integrated makeover plans, each with a different focus: weight loss, stress management, body fitness and lifestyle change.

In the introduction to Shape Your Life, Robert Ivker, a past president of the American Holistic Medical Association, claims that an individual's health profile is influenced by their responses to two questions: "Do you love your life? Are you happy to be alive?" If you take advantage of the kindly support, creative strategies and useful information packed into this book, the answer you'll give to both queries is likely to be a resounding "Yes!" Alison Hood is a freelance writer based in San Rafael, California.

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