Recently Samir Becic discussed health and politics with respected author and Wall Street Journal editor Adam Najberg. Mr. Najberg is a 25 year professional in the news business, covering tech subjects from all corners of the globe. Currently he is based in Asia, where he is one of the leading American journalists. He is also author of the well-recieved novel Chongqing Burning and he is very supportive of our message.
Samir: What do you think about our national health and obesity in the US?
Adam: I live in Hong Kong and work in southern China. I’m used to seeing thin, fit people. It makes me feel bad when I return to the States and see so many morbidly obese people. And remember, this is coming from a fat boy like me. I know it is at least partly budget-related, but it’s also about upbringing and lifestyle. And I have to admit it helped spur me to decide to lose weight and not live unhealthily like that.
And it’s not just about appearance. I see how people limp or have problems rising to a standing position because of hip or back problems. I know from personal experiences that it’s like putting extra stress on a building frame when you’re too fat. You compress your inner organs, you put extra stress on your joints. Anyway, though, I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised when I took my daughter to a soccer camp at Dartmouth.
Suddenly, the obesity of Chicago and NY and Boston were gone. Lots of healthy, fit, outdoorsy people. And then, in Minneapolis, which also has a lot of outdoorsy people, very happy to see great examples of fitness. For me, I can’t say all of America is bad or fat, but we definitely have a problem.
Samir: What motivated you to get in shape and lose weight?
Andy: I also want to tell you about my friend Andy Jordan. He inspired me to lose weight. He and I were both chubby boys. I saw a photo he shared on FB of his six-pack abs after a year of living Keto. He kicked sugar, carbs and processed crap and is now a good weight and living healthy. I almost cried when I saw what he accomplished. I hit bottom at that point, and his story has so far lifted me up. I pray that I can sustain this. I feel more healthy already.
Samir: What are 3 tips you would give to Americans to be healthy?
Adam: I hate to give tips to others, but from my own experience:
1. Get up off your ass and move it. Walk slowly, walk faster, jog, then run.
2. Be your own worst critic, don’t feel sorry for yourself. Look in the mirror and tell yourself that you look bad, unhealthy, ugly. America is way too self-affirming. It’s OK to accept yourself, but if you want to change or improve, don’t just accept bad health or appearance for things you can and want to change.
3. Challenge yourself constantly. Would you like that slice of pizza? Yes, of course I do. But, you know, I tell myself I would much rather be thin and healthy and be able to run a 7-minute mile when I’m 50 years old.
Samir: What advice do you have for young people? How can they set the grounds for a lifelong commitment to health?
Adam: If someone who is in his or her 20’s is reading this, realize that decisions you make now will affect you 10 or 20 years later. Don’t deprive yourself, but live life in moderation. And always find a way to make exercise part of what you do. Moving makes you feel better, think better and act better.
HFR: You might have seen that we ranked heads of state based on their health and fitness. Do you think the next US president should be fit?
Adam: I don’t mind if the president eats a spam burger or ice cream sundae. I don’t want people to be as fanatical as I am. But I do think the commander in chief needs to set a good example of clean and healthy — not monastic – living. You’re the leader of the free world, for crying out loud. Yes, OK, have a Big Mac, but show the world that you exercise five days a week, that you care about your body and your fitness and that they should, too.
HFR: Do you have any hobbies?
Adam: I run, I write novels (about to finish my second), I play video games and I like to tinker with electronics and fly drones. I have four of them now, from micro to normal-sized.
HFR: Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with me! Is there anything else you would like to add?
Adam: I write this to you as someone who might well relapse back to unhealthy ways, because food has been a comfort to me for so long when I felt bad or unhappy or stressed, but being the weight you want, having the level of health you want, it requires sacrifice.
The upside is that it’s not immediate or constant pain. You need to commit and accept that there will be some discomfort and flexibility required. And it is discouraging (especially when you count kilograms, not pounds, because the progress looks slower) to step on the scale and realize you have lost another 2 kg, but you’re so fat that only you notice. When you go down 2 inches in your waist size, but nobody but you gives a toss. You just have to keep at it and realize that it took you years to pork up, and it will take time to pork down and then work to keep it where you want it. I’m ready.