Shelford on a health crusade
Buck Shelford is one of the toughest men to ever pull on the All Black jersey. He thought he was invincible on and off the rugby field.
But he wasn’t; and in his new book Buck Up, The Real Bloke’s Guide to Getting Healthy and Living Longer, Shelford tells New Zealand men they aren’t either.
It’s time they step up and start taking responsibility for their health.
In 2005 Shelford was diagnosed with cancer. The lymphoma started in his eye and spread throughout his body. But after six months of chemotherapy he beat the disease.
However, it made him question how more men were getting sicker and dying younger than women.
‘‘After I had my cancer I was continually looking at the statistics for men’s health and they weren’t good,’’ he said.
More recently, after a public battle with his weight, Shelford lost more than 25 kilograms with the help of Jenny Craig.
‘‘And it was about that time that I started looking at doing a book.’’
Men in New Zealand live on average four years less than women, yet are much less likely to talk to a GP about their health. Death rates for Maori also remain double that of non-Maori.
‘‘I look back into Maoridom, and men were the warriors and they went out and fought to keep their iwi and their whanau safe. Now our warriors are dying 10 years younger than pakeha people.’’
Buck Up tells men it is time to front up and take care of themselves. And it shows them how.
Written with highly regarded sports scientist Dr Grant Schofield, the book is part biography, part male health guide.
‘‘It tells a story about a guy who keeps rubbing his eye and discovers he has cancer. It tells about a lifestyle that bangs him up to 150kg,’’ Schofield said.
‘‘And then it has some of the science to do with Buck’s change in lifestyle.’’
Shelford wants to be a role model for good aging and negotiating the ups and downs of male health. But he says the book is not just for the old boys.
‘‘This is for all men. Those who leave school thinking they are bulletproof. Men are staunch and men are lazy about going to a doctor.
The book advocates three steps to improving men’s health. See your doctor and getting that annual ‘‘warrant of fitness’’, do fitness everyday and eat good food: ‘‘lots of quality protein and slow carbohydrates.’’
It shouldn’t take a dose of cancer or diabetes to make men think about their health, Shelford said.
‘‘Health is the most important thing we can have as people.’’
BUCK UP YOUR IDEAS: Hard words of wisdom from one of New Zealand rugby’s hardest ever players.