Author Susan Scott

An Appetite for Life

22nd March 2019

Lisa Botwright reviews a new book that claims to help boost your energy…

A study by the Chartered Institute of Physiotherapists found that of 63% of Britons admit to not doing enough exercise and that 25% of those questioned put it down to not having enough energy. ‘Exercise is powerful,’ writes psychologist, coach and nutritionist Susan Scott in her new book Life Force: The Revolutionary 7-Step Plan For Optimum Energy.

‘The rise in oxygen and the production of hormones such as endorphins, serotonin and dopamine have a powerful effect on our minds, body, moods, emotions and happiness. Oxygen supports cognitive function and exercise helps to use up those excess stress hormones so we relax, sleep and function better.’

But while exercise is proven to boost energy, the fact is that you need enough of this vital ‘life-force’ to get moving in the first place – and it can be in short supply.

Susan Scott understands this only too well, having battled a debilitating auto-immune condition for nearly two decades. Initially it entirely zapped her strength. She reflects, ‘I ached all over and the brain fog I was experiencing meant my memory was shot and I struggled to think straight.’

While most of us would have ‘given in’ and learned to live with this, Susan’s answer was to turn to science. She built on her postgraduate psychology studies and experience as a business coach (mind), with a new-found interest in nutrition (body). Now, as a self-styled ‘Energy-Aunt’, and with her extensive knowledge of mind/body studies, she believes she’s uniquely placed to help people live life with zest.

Waking up clear-headed and embracing life with a spring in your step means a number of factors must be in balance. If any one of Susan’s proposed ‘7-steps’ are out of kilter, the result is that horrible and unwelcome grogginess and grumpiness. ‘Energy is your vitality and capacity to function and live your life,’ she rightly points out. ‘It’s the very fuel in your tank that drives your motivation and capability to bring your skills to life and achieve what you want to achieve, from day-to-day functioning to achieving your goals and ambitions. It’s your every essence of living.’

The book is divided into sections about each of these seven factors, and prefaced with pertinent questions, so that it’s easy to dip in and out of the parts most relevant to you. ‘If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, pay special attention to this section,’ she states at the beginning of each chapter.

She writes with energy (of course!), clarity and passion for her subject using a mixture of evidence-based information (at times, it’s a little technical, as she tries to cram in her wealth of specialist knowledge) with lighter anecdotal stories. Her coaching side is evident: there are lots of exercises to help us self-identify, and so make the book as relevant as possible. I found the ‘sleep’ section really helpful and learned a lot from her ‘energy risk factor questionnaire’. ‘By prioritising the actions you need to incorporate into your lifestyle, you will give yourself the best chance of being successful,’ she emphasises.

And her tips for getting lots of this lovely energy?

Once you’ve ruled out the possibility of any underlying medical factors, it’s about keeping things in harmony. It’s not just food, sleep and exercise – but also a sense of purpose, a good work-life balance and positive connections with colleagues. Susan offers an interesting and authoritative round-up of life-affirming and energy-boosting strategies that makes her book well worth a read if you’re starting to feel that life is on top of you, instead of the other way round.

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