Friday, July 26, 2019

Book Nook: Authentic Health - The Definitive Guide to Losing Weight, Feeling Better, Mastering Stress, Sleeping Well Every Night & Enjoying a Sense of Purpose

The power to experience our best health lies within each of us, and in Authentic Health: The Definitive Guide to Losing Weight, Feeling Better, Mastering Stress, Sleeping Well Every Night & Enjoying a Sense of Purpose, Gus Vickery, MD, provides a simple but powerful method for optimizing our health so we can experience our full potential. This approach helps individuals permanently transform their habits from those that cause pain and disease to those that create deep and sustainable well-being. I had a chance to review this book, and it's a very comprehensive book that tries to tackle many different topics - but yet in a way that ties them all together.

Instead of trying to juggle a lot of different priorities, this book tries to tackle the root causes of unhealthy choices. The tools in the book help readers refocus, build willpower, and focus on building healthy habits.

I had a chance to interview Dr. Vickery to learn more.

How do you define "authentic health?
Authentic Health is a human being experiencing the optimal function of their mind and body. It’s the natural state of being of for the human species provided their body has been provided with the right information to function well. It looks different for everyone. It’s not about a persons physique, athletic capabilities, or cholesterol score. Those attributes may be associated with authentic health, but they are not the definition of it. In an authentically healthy individual, all of their cells, tissues, and organs function in such a manner to support an optimized state of being. This results in a state of physical, mental, and emotional well-being that allows an individual to live life to their fullest potential.  

What role does willpower play in health?
Willpower is an important skill in the pursuit of authentic health. However, willpower alone cannot achieve this state of being. Willpower is not a character trait. It is the product of a type of mental processing that anyone can develop. Everyone has willpower. It’s a matter of where they choose to focus it. The use of willpower consumes a lot of energy so we have to be smart about how we use it. More important than willpower is a deep desire for the best health. If we are not sure what we really want then we will just give in to all of the behaviors that feel good in the moment but sabotage our health. Now, more than any other time in human history, our minds are continually offered goods and services that activate our reward system. Once the reward system is activated, willpower is inhibited. Being very clear about what you actually want is an absolute necessity to experience authentic health. In our time, if you don’t deeply desire your best health, you will lose it. 

Are there ways for people to strengthen their willpower?
Everyone has the ability to cultivate more willpower. In order to do so, you have to learn the mental disciplines of focus and visualization. Having a strong vision and desire for what you want strengthens willpower. The ability to stay focused on that vision as you live your daily life makes you less susceptible to the habits that lead to poor health. In addition, becoming objective about the process helps. Shame, guilt, and judging ourselves does not strengthen willpower. It depletes it. Our actions do reveal our intentions. However, the process of changing habits takes time. As one begins the journey of habit change, there will be moments where their actions do not synchronize with their desires and intentions. They have to expect this to happen and be emotionally prepared for it. Individuals must be ready to forgive themselves and stop judging themselves when they’re struggling with a habit. When an individual reduces the emotions and feelings associated with the process of change and stays highly focused on the goal and how to get there, they are much more likely to succeed. Finally, the most obvious thing is to minimize the opportunity to engage in the habits that are destructive and to maximize the opportunity to adopt the habits that are health promoting. We must clean up our environments and build relationships with those who will support us becoming our healthiest selves. There is much more that we could say about this topic, but these are some of the foundational principles of cultivating willpower.  

What sets your book apart from other health books?
 I will answer that by sharing some of the feedback of those who have read the book. They state that the book was easy to understand and that they felt like I was speaking directly to them. They state that the book creates a feeling that I care about them and understand their struggles. They also state that the book made sense to them and that it offered a perspective they may not have considered. Ultimately, I have been told that the book helped them to feel better about themselves and provided hope. Finally, people report that when they begin to apply the simple and sustainable actions steps that can restore health, that it works. They become subjectively and objectively healthier. This has affirmed my reasons for writing this book. I wanted to share with others the simple truths of human health and how to begin to apply them. The book was written based on academic exploration, but mostly it was based on my real experiences with real human beings in a clinical setting observing what actually leads to individuals becoming healthy. 

Author Gus Vickery, MD, is a committed family physician with extensive experience working in the medical field. He specializes in helping people with a wide array of chronic health conditions to take the actions necessary to reverse these conditions and feel their best. By providing comprehensive health assessments based on extensive biometric data and intensive personal engagement, Dr. Vickery helps his patients create detailed lifestyle and medicinal health optimization plans built around their unique needs. Dr. Vickery is also a speaker and the founder and directing physician of Vickery Family Medicine in Asheville, North Carolina. He lives in Asheville with his wife and their three children.

Connect with Dr. Vickery on LinkedIn at in/gus-vickery; on Facebook at, and on Instagram at @drgusvickerymd. For more information about Dr. Vickery and his book, please visit:

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