"Drop Dead Healthy" by A.J. Jacobs

"Drop Dead Healthy" by A.J. Jacobs

Jeff Glor talks to A.J. Jacobs about his latest book, "Drop Dead Healthy: One Man's Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection."

Jeff Glor: What inspired you to write the book?

A.J. Jacobs: Three years ago, I was in terrible shape. I was what they call skinny fat. Meaning my body looked like a snake that had swallowed a goat. On top of that, I got hospitalized with pneumonia. My wife said to me, "I don't want to be a widow when I'm in my forties. You've got to shape up." So I said, okay, if I'm going to do this, I'm going to go all in. I'm going to test every piece of medical advice and see what works and what doesn't. I'm going to revamp my diet, exercise regimen, stress level, sleep pattern, sex life, you name it.

JG: What surprised you the most during the writing process?

AJ: I was surprised by all the research showing that sitting at your desk is terrible for your heart. It's kind of scary. Sitting is the new smoking. Any type of movement helps - even getting up once an hour from your desk to walk around for a couple of minutes. I took it further. I wrote this book while walking on a treadmill desk. It took me 1,200 miles.

JG: What would you be doing if you weren't a writer?

AJ: Maybe a historian. Are there any of those left? Or is that not a viable career option? In any case, I love obscure history. For instance, treadmills were used to reform prisoners in England, until they were banned for cruelty in 1902.

JG: What else are you reading right now?

AJ: I just read Rachel Dratch's book "Girl Walks into a Bar," which I really liked. She says that after Saturday Night Live, the only roles she was offered were "Lesbians. Secretaries. Sometimes lesbians who are secretaries."

JG: What's next for you?

AJ: I'm not sure yet. I usually come up with a new idea a couple of months after a book is published. I get a lot of suggestions from readers. One of the more common ones is that my wife and I re-enact all the positions in the kama sutra. But my wife put the kibosh on that. Which is actually okay by me. I don't think I have that kind of flexibility anymore.


A.J. Jacobs talks about a discovery he made writing "Drop Dead Healthy" -- sitting is the health equivalent of eating a Paula Dean donut every hour.
A.J. Jacobs: Sitting is terrible for your health
A.J. Jacobs reveals his surprisingly simple secret to avoiding the common cold.
"Drop Dead Healthy" author on how to avoid a cold
A.J. Jacobs, talks about a growing health movement called chewdism that encourages people to chew their food 50 times a mouthful.
A.J. Jacobs on chewdism - the best way to chew your food

For more on "Drop Dead Healthy," visit the Simon and Schuster website.