Eat Move Sleep by Tom Rath Summary

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Eat Move Sleep by Tom Rath

My Thoughts

I read this book because Paul Akers said Eat Move Sleep motivated him to make healthy changes in his lifestyle and led to him writing Lean Health. After reading this book I made several small changes that have had a positive impact on my productivity and lifestyle. At the end of the summary is a list of some of those changes.

My Favorite Quotes

  • The quality of food you eat is far more important than the quantity.
  • One less hour of sleep does not equal more productivity or enjoyment.
  • Most of us underestimate the enjoyment of exercise. We enjoy exercise in the moment more than we anticipate in advance.
  • A night of good sleep helps your brain process what you learned the day before.
  • Chronic sleep impairment is akin to aging 4-7 years.
  • Television shortens your lifespan. More than four hours a day of screen time increases chances of death by 48%. Every hour of television cuts 22 minutes off your life.
  • Good sleep is a necessity not a luxury.
  • Every hour of sleep is a positive investment, not an expense.
  • Every day invest more time and energy into good food, activity with friends, and quality sleep.


All three: eating, exercise and sleep work together to give you better days.
Most diseases are preventable.

Chapter 1: The Basics

Forget Fad Diets Forever
The quality of food you eat is far more important than the quantity.
Fad diets, early 90s everything was focused on low fat. Then the shift was to low carbs.
It is not okay to eat anything you want in moderation. That is just an excuse to eat what you want.

Make inactivity your enemy.

Sleep longer to get more done.
One less hour of sleep does not equal more productivity or enjoyment.
When you lose an hour of sleep it decreases your well-being, productivity, health and ability to think.
1993 study on peak performance by Professor K Andrew Erickson.
Best performers slept 8 hours 36 minutes each night.
Getting less than 6 hour of sleep is unhealthy and hurts performance.
The best performers work in bursts.
Working on a task too long can decrease your performance.
If you need an extra hour of energy get an extra hour of sleep.

Chapter one challenges:

  1. Identify the best elements of diets you have tried and build them into your lifestyle for good.
  2. Each morning plan ahead to add activity to your daily routine.
  3. Sleep longer tonight to do more tomorrow.

Chapter 2: Small Adjustments

Every bite is a net gain or loss
Each decision we make with what we eat and what we sip counts.
Ask yourself if what you are about to eat is a net gain or net loss.

Step away from your chair
Sitting is the most underrated health threat of modern times.

Sleep makes or breaks a day.

Chapter 2 challenges:

  1. Ask yourself if the next food you put in your mouth is a net gain or net loss, repeat throughout the day.
  2. Eliminate an hour of chair time from your daily routine.
  3. Gradually add sleep to your nightly schedule in 15 minute increments. Continue until you feel fully rested each morning.

Chapter 3: Quality First

What counts more than calories?
Most people eat more carbohydrates than they need and not enough protein.
Try to find foods that have a ratio of 1 gram of carbohydrates to 1 gram of protein.
At a minimum stay away from foods with a 5:1 ratio. Most chips are 10:1.

Work faster while you walk.
Find a treadmill with a built in desk.
They also make a bicycle with a desk.
Standing or convertible desk.

Chapter 3 Challenges:

  1. Select one food to eat today with a 1:1 ratio of carbs to protein. Avoid foods above a ratio of 5:1.
  2. Put the healthiest foods in your home on a shelf at eye level or in a bowl on the counter.
  3. Identify one way you can work while standing.

Chapter 4: Break the Cycle

Sugar is the next nicotine.
Sugar is a toxin.
Sugar is candy for cancer cells.
Average person consumes 150 lbs. of sugar annually.
Sugar decreases our energy.
Sugar produces dopamine and is addictive.
Your body wants more and more levels of sugar the more you eat.
You need to wean yourself off of sugars.
Sugar manipulates our brains to want more.
Try to keep daily total of sugars to single digits.

Substitutes are a nicotine patch.
Anything that tastes sweet leads you to want more sweets later.
Watch out for corn syrup, sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, agave, etc.

Take two every twenty.
Sitting actually makes your back side bigger.
Sitting for hours can cause your blood sugar levels to spike.

Chapter 4 challenges:

  1. Identify the sugar content in your favorite meal or snack. If it is more than 10 grams find a replacement.
  2. Pick one drink that you sweeten artificially and consume it for one week without added sweetener.
  3. When you have to sit for long periods of time, stand stretch or walk every 20 minutes.

Chapter 5: Staying Healthy

Judge food by the color of its skin.
Total intake of fruits and vegetables is a robust indicator of your happiness.
Dark vibrant colors in general are your best choice.
Prepare your plate with dark colors.

A vaccine for the common cold.
A good night sleep can prevent the common cold. Participants of a study showed that less than 7 hours of sleep can altar your immune system and your body.

Quality beats quantity in bed.
Test your sleep quality.
Total time in bed does not count towards sleep.
Sleep efficiency can be more effective than total sleep.
Set yourself up for quality sleep first.

Chapter 5 challenges:

  1. Every time you go to the store, start by loading up on fruits and vegetables.
  2. When disruptions threaten your schedule, plan ahead to get a good nights sleep.
  3. Measure your progress of sleep and rate your quality of sleep on a 1-10 scale.

Chapter 6: What Counts

Wear a new pair of jeans.

Bad jeans are no excuse for an unhealthy lifestyle.

Measuring makes you move more.
Measurement itself creates improvement.
Quantified self movement.

Target 10,000.
Most common standard is 10,000 steps a day.
Look at your step count every day.
10,000 steps equates to roughly 5 miles.
Take a brisk walk at lunch.
Aim for at least 70,000 weekly.

Chapter 6 challenges:

  1. Build your meals around fruits and vegetables today to change the expression of your jeans tomorrow.
  2. Select one way to measure your daily movement. Pedometer, watch, etc.
  3. Aim for 10,000 steps every day or 70,000 steps per week

Chapter 7: Refined Fuel

Be less refined.
All carbohydrates convert to sugar in your bloodstream. The more refined they are the faster they convert.
Carbs stimulate dopamine in your brain.
Avoid processed and refined carbs as much as possible.

Family Style is making us fat.
Leave the dishes on the counter instead of the table.
Put extra portions away before you eat.

Burn calories after your workout.
Track percentage of active time in a day.
Move as much time as possible away from sitting.

Chapter 7 challenges:

  1. Replace chips, crackers and snack bars with nuts and fruits.
  2. Leave serving dishes in the kitchen.
  3. Get a full hour of vigorous activity to burn calories all day long.

Chapter 8: Timing Matters

Empty stomach; bad choices.
We make worse choices when hungry.
It is easier to start with unhealthy high calorie foods.
Keep healthy snacks with you.

The 20 minute meal rule.
Nothing good comes from eating fast.
You eat more than you need and enjoy the food less.
Eating fast introduces extra air into your stomach.
A meal should take at least 20 minutes.
Force yourself to put the fork down between bites.
Learn to enjoy the process of eating correctly.

Move early for a 12 hour mood boost.
Students were in a much better mood after working out for up to 12 hours later.
Can give you extra brain activity.

Chapter 8 challenges:

  1. Select a healthy standby snack today and carry it with you.
  2. Make every meal last at least 20 minutes.
  3. Exercise in the morning for a better mood and more brainpower all day.

Chapter 9: Shortcuts

The first order anchors the table.
The more people you dine with the more you are likely to eat.
Anchoring is a term describing how people rely too heavily on the first piece of information.

Realign your spine.
Use both sides of your body evenly.

Fight the light at night.
Turn off and cover as many lights as possible in the area you sleep.

Chapter 9 challenges:

  1. Make a healthy choice and order first when you dine out.
  2. Pick one of your most repetitive motions and alternate using your left and right sides.
  3. Use bright light to stay alert during the day and dim lights and block all light from your bedroom at night.

Chapter 10: Decisions

Prioritize your protein.
Consume more plant based protein.
Fruits, vegetables, nuts and fish.

Stop buying junk for friends.

Find your motivation to move.
Pick specific reasons right now.
It can be hard to stay motivated with just long-term goals.

Chapter 10 challenges:

  1. Investigate how you can get most of your protein from plant based sources.
  2. Quit giving people food you know better than to eat yourself.
  3. Pick one deeply personal motivation to move more.

Chapter 11: Working

Keep work from killing you.
Study of dock workers.
Find ways to infuse deliberate movement into your day.

The danger of desktop dining.
Less energy and less satisfaction.
Get away from your desk for lunch, adds to mid-day activity.

Working while intoxicated.
Sleep less; achieve less.
We accomplish less when tired.

Chapter 11 challenges:

  1. Engineer activity into your work.
  2. Take a mid-day break for at least 30 minutes every day.
  3. Structure your work schedule for better sleep.

Chapter 12: Quitting

The throwaway foods.
1/3 of our sugar intake comes from snacks.
Many foods are better off in the trash than your stomach.

Help a quitter win.
Try quitting a few of the worst foods that you eat.

Hit snooze and you lose.
Set your alarm at the latest time possible and get up the first time without snoozing.

Chapter 12 challenges:

  1. When you receive junk food, put it in the nearest trash can.
  2. Give credit and encouragement to a friend making a good decision about what to eat.
  3. Avoid using the snooze button on your alarm for the next week.

Chapter 13: Myth-busting

The butter is healthier than the bread.
A couple pieces of bread can increase blood sugar as much as a candy bar.
Glycemic Index.
Whole grain bread: 72
Mars candy bar: 69
Eat less bread. One piece on a sandwich for example.

Don’t eat your meat and potatoes.
Moderate can be okay.
Processed red meat is even worse like hot dogs, bacon, etc.
Daily consumption of processed meat poses the highest risk.

Be cold in bed.
If a room is too warm your body will think it is time to get up.
Gel based mattress topper.
Cooling cap.
All sleep temperatures are relative to what your body is accustomed to during the day.

Chapter 13 challenges:

  1. When offered bread during a meal, ask for a healthy alternative or pass.
  2. Eliminate one type of red or processed meat from your diet for good.
  3. Keep your bedroom 2-4 degrees cooler at night.

Chapter 14: Home

Small plates; smaller waistline.
Portion sizes today are larger than necessary.
Use smaller plates or place smaller portions on your plate.
Plate color can impact your appetite. Contrasting colors will make you tend to eat less.

Staying active starts at home.
Eat a healthy breakfast.
Watch less than 10 hours of TV weekly.
Eliminate the little things that get in your way in the morning.

Make sleep a family value.
Don’t boast about lack of sleep.
More sleep is not a sign of weakness.
Don’t send kids to bed as punishment.

Chapter 14 challenges:

  1. Use smaller cups, plates and serving sizes to eat less.
  2. Identify one easy way to add activity around your home or neighborhood.
  3. Discuss how schedules, lighting and reducing noise can help everyone under your roof sleep better.

Chapter 15: Get Ahead

Don’t be fooled by the decoy.
Less healthy restaurants will plant a healthy item as a decoy.
Making good choices is even more challenging at chain restaurants.
97% of entrées exceed daily limits.
Slowly chip away at bad habits.

Structure exercise for enjoyment.
The first 5 minutes can be the hardest part.
Most of us underestimate the enjoyment of exercise. We enjoy exercise in the moment more than we anticipate in advance.

A night to remember.
A night of good sleep helps your brain process what you learned the day before.
Chronic sleep impairment is akin to aging 4-7 years.
Sleeping well keeps your mental hard drive from failing.

Chapter 15 challenges:

  1. Select restaurants based on how easy it is to make a healthy choice when you order.
  2. When tempted to skip a workout just start exercising for a few minutes.
  3. Next time you work on something that requires a great deal of learning and synthesizing, go to bed early instead of saying up late.

Chapter 16: Energy

Avoid a high fat hangover.
You cheat yourself by making bad decisions.
Fatty foods can make you lethargic and moody.
Risk of depression. Comfort foods can accelerate the process of depression.

Take your brain for a walk.
Your brain works better following exercise.
Immediately after exercise the students that had exercised had higher levels of a protein known as BDNF (Brain Derived Neurotropic Factor) which promotes the health of nerve cells.
Exercising creates an immediate benefit for your memory.
Learn then move.
Walking a mile a day can maintain brain volume.

Try exercise instead of sleeping pills.
Vigorous activity.
Late night activity is good for your sleep.

Chapter 16 challenges:

  1. Before you order a heavy lunch, consider if you can afford the hangover later in the afternoon.
  2. When your brain is filled with new information to remember or when you need a burst of creativity, go for a walk.
  3. If you are having trouble sleeping try exercising for a few days before resorting to sleep medication.

Chapter 17: Expectations

Stigmatize sinful foods.
Set yourself up to use your willpower the least.
Set up your day to minimize temptation.

Organic does not equal healthy.
Do not confuse organic with healthy.
Eliminates chemicals, not calories.

Go public with a goal.
To achieve a goal, share it with someone who cares.
Surround yourself with people who have similar health goals.

Chapter 17 challenges:

  1. Pick one food you eat even though you know you shouldn’t, give it an entertaining nickname that will make you think twice about eating it.
  2. Shop for foods based on whether they are good for you first, then consider organic if you eat the skin.
  3. Identify a specific goal for increasing your activity, write it down, add a deadline and share it with at least one person (ideally more) or post it online.

Chapter 18: Good Nights

Feast at sunrise; fast at sunset.
Breakfast is the ideal time to eat protein.
Good dietary habits weaken as the day gets later.
Your brain wants more calories as it gets tired.

Television shortens your lifespan.
The path of no resistance.
More than four hours a day of screen time increases chances of death by 48%.
Every hour of television cuts 22 minutes off your life.
Watch TV while you exercise.

Protect your final hour.
Do not increase stress levels before bed such as checking messages, watching scary movies, etc.
Establish a ritual for your last hour before bed.

Chapter 18 challenges:

  1. Structure your days to eat more early, less late, and nothing after dinner.
  2. Limit yourself to two hours of seated television per day.
  3. Create a routine so you don’t eat, drink or use electronic messaging an hour before bed.

Chapter 19: Think Again

Dried and juiced is fruitless.
Some fruit juices are like liquid candy.
Dried fruits give you most of the sugar and less of the nutrition.

Don’t judge a box by it’s cover.
Food producers will highlight the healthy items over the sugar and unhealthy.

Make noise at night.
White noise apps can help you sleep easier.
Background noise can be effective

Chapter 19 challenges:

  1. Replace all dried fruit and juices with whole fruit and healthy alternatives.
  2. If you see a packaged fruit or juice claiming to be healthy on the surface, study all the ingredients in even more detail.
  3. If sounds wake you up at night, and a constant background noise to keep from interrupting your sleep.

Chapter 20: Your Routine

Less heat; better to eat.
How you prepare your food may be as important as the type of food you eat.
Grill, fry and char create a toxin called AGE. Advanced glycation end product.
Linked to inflammation, Alzheimer’s, obesity, etc.
Research of AGEs is in the early stages.
Try steaming or poaching.

Driving to divorce.
Correlation between vehicle use and obesity was 98%.
Get up and walk on long flights.

Sleeping in only sounds good.
Circadian rhythm. Your 24 hour biological clock.
Each organ has its own genes.
Disruptions can cause health problems.
Good sleep is a necessity not a luxury.
Maintain a consistent wake up time

Chapter 20 challenges:

  1. Steam healthy foods instead of grilling.
  2. Find one way to trim total weekly transit time.
  3. Wake up at the same general time every day of the week.

Chapter 21: Simple Steps

Buy ‘use it or lose it’ foods.
A quick way to determine if something is good for you is to ask how quickly it spoils.
Rice and canned meat = 5 year shelf life.
Go to the grocery store more frequently and buy just enough.

How you move matters.
Walking accidents while on phone.
Observe the posture of others.
The “smart phone pose” is bad for your wrists, neck and back.
When walking keep your gadgets in your pocket, your back straight, chin and head above your shoulders. Walk tall.
Poor posture make a bad impression on others.
Adopt a powerful pose.
Remind yourself to keep your ears directly above your shoulders.

Keep stress from ruining your sleep.
Prevention is the best stress management.
Poor sleep puts additional stress on your immune system.
Structure your days for less stress.
Take a step back and put things in perspective.
Identify what stressors are keeping you up at night.
The way you deal with stress can be more important than the stressor itself.
Don’t dwell on them, let it go.
Most daily stressors will not matter a year from now.

Chapter 21 challenges:

  1. Go through the food in your house today, get rid of a few unhealthy items that have been sitting on a shelf for months.
  2. When you are in motion, whether walking or driving, keep your smart phone in your pocket or purse.
  3. Identify one thing that stresses you out regularly and create a plan to prevent it from occurring in the first place.

Chapter 22: Looking Good

Get a tan from tomatoes.
We make quick assumptions about people based on physical appearance.
You are what you eat and you look like what you eat.
Carotenoids increase vibrancy and skin tone.

Look Younger with Each Step
Physical activity benefits your interior as much as your exterior.
Impacts brain size, muscle mass, health, etc.
Start with walking just 5 minutes per day.
Regular aerobic activity counteracts muscle breakdown, increases strength and decreases inflammation.

Sleep to impress.
People judge us by how sleepy or alert we look.

Chapter 22 challenges:

  1. Eat more carrots and tomatoes for a truly natural tan, also add salmon and blueberries for better hair and skin.
  2. Walk at least 5 minutes a day to counteract aging. Build up to 45 minutes of intense activity at least 3 days a week to halt aging even more.
  3. When you need to look your best, give yourself plenty of time to get a sound night’s sleep.

Chapter 23: An Extra Boost

Eat the healthiest food first.
Start with vegetables and salad.
Prime before a meal with healthy alternatives. Drink a glass of water.

The right way to get high.
Identify the best moments of your favorite activities.
Running high. Endocannabinoid. Endorphins.
Jogging a few times a week can add 5-6 years to your life.

Sleep your way to a new day.
Deep REM sleep can help your day be better.
Deep sleep reduces stress and stress inducing hormones.

Chapter 23 challenges:

  1. Start every meal with the most healthy item on your plate and end with the least.
  2. Identify one aerobic activity that gives you a natural high, do it at least once a week for 30 minutes.
  3. At the end of a lousy day, give sleep a chance to do repair work over night.

Chapter 24: Reminders

Grab a handful.
People consume more food while watching TV and driving.
Grab a handful and leave the container in the pantry.
Participants of a study ate considerably less popcorn when eating with the non-dominant hand.

Take 5 outside.
Outdoor activity gives you a little extra kick.
Increased energy, positive emotions, etc.

Pay for peer pressure.
We need a nudge to be more active.

Chapter 24 challenges:

  1. When you want a quick snack take a handful and leave the bag or box behind.
  2. Spend at least 5 minutes outside every day.
  3. Identify one person who will check in and hold you accountable for staying active.

Chapter 25: Prevention

Eat to beat cancer.
Half of all men and 1/3 of all women in America will be diagnosed with cancer.
What you eat can greatly reduce the risk of cancers growing and spreading.
Maintaining a lean body weight is a good start.
Consume more of: apples, lemons, red grapes, artichokes, blueberries, kale, bok choy, cinnamon, garlic, nutmeg, turmeric, etc.

Get a prescription for exercise.
Taking a pill should be your last resort.
Exercise is a wonder drug.
Activity can modify and alter your DNA.

Know two numbers by heart.
Heart disease is one of the most preventable diseases ever discovered.
High cholesterol, smoking, diet.
90% of the symptoms are preventable.
Two fundamental metrics are your cholesterol and blood pressure.
Knowing these numbers is fundamental to heart health.
Look at the balance of good HDL vs bad LDL metrics. Total can be misleading.
Home blood pressure monitors are only $20.
Sitting is as bad as smoking for increasing risk of heart disease.

Chapter 25 challenges:

  1. Replace sweet and fried foods with healthier spices and flavors.
  2. Make activity your first defense before resorting to pain killers or other medications.
  3. Know your cholesterol and blood pressure levels. If you don’t know them, get a test within 30 days and check annually.

Chapter 26: Daily Choices

Buy willpower at the store.
The most influential choices you make for your health occur at the grocery store.
Once you put something in your cart, it is likely to end up in your stomach.
Use amazon subscribe and save for healthy products.
Shop when you are full whenever practical.

Clean your brain and bowels.
Exercise can speed the removal of garbage from inside of our cells.
Daily workouts may help clear debris from your brain.

Sleep on it.
When you need to make a big decision, do it after a good night’s sleep.
Sleep can help us solve difficult problems by accessing distant information in our brains.

Chapter 26 challenges:

  1. Identify a few healthy food options, buy them automatically so good choices are always available at home.
  2. Use vigorous exercise to clear your mind and body.
  3. Make small decisions quickly to get them out of the way. When you need to make a big decision, always sleep on it first.

Chapter 27: New Habits

Save the cake for your birthday.
We conveniently forget all of the exceptions we make.
Family based behavior.
Consider eliminating the dessert ritual at night.

Indulge less to enjoy more.
When you indulge, you enjoy the 15th bite much less than the first.
A rare treat increases happiness more than daily indulgence in the same treat.

Take credit to make it count.
Tracking all of your activity in itself improves physical outcomes.
Think through your daily activities and identify exercise that your mental accounting is missing.
Use a pedometer.
Add a few micro activities to your routine.

Chapter 27 challenges:

  1. Save sugary desserts for your own birthday.
  2. Ration your most indulgent choices to enjoy them even more.
  3. Try a new micro activity today. Take the stairs, park farther away, etc.

Chapter 28: Trend-setters

Broccoli is the new black.
Try to eat a cup of broccoli every day.

Stick with coffee, tea and water.
Sugar works in stealth mode when in liquid form.
Even almond milk has added sugar.
Sugary drinks kill 180,000 people per year.
Do not purchase soda or juice to have at home.

Tame ties and tight pants.
Anything you wear that creates discomfort can cause long term problems.

Chapter 28 challenges:

  1. Never go a full day without eating something green.
  2. Replace all juice, soda and sugary beverages with water, tea, coffee or other unsweetened drinks.
  3. Identify one item you wear regularly that creates discomfort, find a comfortable alternative.

Chapter 29: Ideas for life

Fight risk with food.
Knowledge is your best ally.
Do research when you hear a study. Don’t change your diet based on unreliable information.
Look for studies published in peer reviewed medical journals like the New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of the American Medical Association or the British Medical Journal.
The US National Library of Medicine on has many articles.

Gain sleep with weight loss.
The more you weigh the more difficult it is to get enough sleep.
Better sleep helps with weight loss.
Replace an hour of television with an hour of sleep.

Eight is enough.
Have a clear expectation about how long you want to sleep every night.
95% of people need between 7-9 hours of sleep.
More than 9 hours per night could increase obesity and depression.

Chapter 29 challenges:

  1. Identify one specific risk to your health, spend an hour studying what foods you could eat to decrease that risk.
  2. Work toward or maintain a normal weight to improve your odds of sleeping well.
  3. Arrange your schedule to ensure you get at least 8 hours of sleep each night.

Chapter 30: Wrapping Up

Every meal matters.
Every bite and drink counts.
You improve your health on a bite-by-bite basis.

Put activity before exercise.
Start small, some activity is always better than none.

Invest in sleep for your future.
Sleep increases leptin and decreases ghrelin which boosts appetite.
Our bodies prefer high fat and high sugar foods when tired.
Every hour of sleep is a positive investment, not an expense.

Chapter 30 challenges:

  1. With each bite, consider how it can benefit your body.
  2. Be active every day of the year. Take a few more steps today than you did yesterday,
  3. Every day invest more time and energy into good food, activity with friends, and quality sleep.


Eat right, move more, sleep better.
Each of these is not enough alone. Combined the sum is greater than the total parts.
Small decisions in behavior are consequential.
Lead by example.
Help yourself, then the people you love.

My Action Steps After Reading

  • Darkened my bedroom to sleep better.
  • Put tape over the red dot on the television in my bedroom.
  • Started a daily habit of walking every morning before work.
  • Purchased a standing desk for work.
  • Occasionally use my alternate side for things like opening doors, unlocking doors, brushing teeth, etc.
  • Eating more plant based protein.
  • Buying and consuming less sugar.
  • Eating less animal protein and choosing chicken or fish over beef more often.
  • Mental awareness that some plants contain as much or more protein per gram than some animal proteins.
  • Getting away from my desk to eat lunch, I used to eat at my desk while working for most meals.


Hope you enjoyed this and got value from my notes.
This is the 37th book read in my 2017 reading list.
Here is my complete list of book summaries.

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