One of the takeaways from my Kleefeld on Comics Survey from last month was to cut down on the boy-that's-really-a-stretch-to-get-it-to-circle-back-to-comics posts. Which I've tried to do. But today I'm going to make a bit of an exception because it's prompted by Tom Spurgeon and it's kind of a big deal.
Spurgeon posted a detailed note this morning about his health/weight over the last 18 months. Here's two side-by-side photos of him, taken at Comic-Cons a few years apart...
In his post, Spurgeon talks about a lot of different aspects of his health. His diet and exercise, naturally, and his emotions. But I really like that he also includes the more intellectual switch that he needed to throw. The switch that keeps you rationalizing what you're doing. The switch that prevents you from seeing your excuses for what they are. The switch that you're not ready to throw yet.
You may have heard about alcoholics or drug addicts that really can't be treated unless they want to be treated. Your health (weight, muscle, cardiovascular fitness... all of it) is the same way. Because there is no quick fix. It's not a matter of going on a diet for a few weeks or months, it's a matter of making a lifestyle change. And to make a change like that -- one that's going to impact you every day from here on out -- that takes a deliberate commitment to live your life differently than you have. "Diet" is not a verb, as I heard a nutritionist proclaim many years ago.
Spurgeon rightly says that losing weight does not necessarily equate with being healthy. He later jokes about having the core strength of a Moloid. There's not an end state for health or fitness. It's an ongoing journey. If you don't start working to better yourself now, it's only going to be worse tomorrow. And if you're already healthy and fit, but stop the behaviors that got you there, things are going to go downhill.
Many years ago, I was in a mall and two morbidly obese women passed me. It happened to be in front of some athletic apparel store, and there was a trim mannequin in the display window dressed in whatever the latest in running wear was at the time. The figure was then posed appropriately to look like a jogger frozen in time. The two women stopped to look at the model and one said, "Pfft! If you looked like that, why would you bother running?" They didn't get that you don't run in order to lose weight, you run in order to get and remain fit. Losing weight is just a by-product.
I've never met Spurgeon personally. We've communicated a bit electronically, but I wouldn't say we know each other well. Not really beyond the boundaries of our respective blogs. But I don't doubt for one second that the past 18 months have taken an enormous amount of courage and willpower on his part. He's stopped looking for those ephemeral quick fixes and done (and continues to do!) what needs to be done. I had a lot of respect for the man based on his knowledge of comics and abilities as a writer; I have a lot more respect for the man as a whole now. More importantly, though, I think he has a lot more respect for himself.
Go read his post if you haven't already.
Congratulations, Tom, on what you've achieved this past year and a half. That's a bigger deal and more impressive to me than that trophy do-hickey you picked up last week.