“It’s not about perfect. It’s about effort. And when you bring that effort every single day, that’s where transformation happens. That’s how change occurs.” 
― Jillian Michaels

Last night, as I was flipping through the channels, I happened to settle on NBC’s The Biggest Loser. I’ve watched this show in the past on occasion, but never very consistently. The idea is pretty awesome though: take a bunch of extremely obese people and make their health and fitness their ONLY priority. They work out many hours every day, have a guided diet, and live on a fitness compound/ranch. Their only job is to lose weight.

What makes this show compelling prime-time television are the stories of each person. Like the father who has a newborn baby, who wants to live long enough to watch his son grow up; or the mother of four who wants to be a good example for her kids. Last night they had a segment where the contestants sat down individually with a doctor to discuss the results of a whole host of testing. Clip after clip showed these people confronting extreme medical issues ranging from uncontrollable diabetes to solidified arteries. One guy, age twenty-one, had so much fat in his neck that at night he would stop breathing for 40+ seconds as his body fought to open his airways.

The reason I wanted to talk about this today is because of how they discussed the issue of being obese. They blatantly called it a disease, an affliction that WILL kill these people. It wasn’t about self-esteem issues; it wasn’t about looking good on the beach. It was about either getting in shape or simply being dead if they did not. Their frank discussions about the disease, and the diseases like diabetes that being overweight has caused these people, have really stuck with me. It changed the conversation in my own head, going from “I should go out and run to be healthy” to “I NEED to go out and run to be healthy.”

I’ve made a pretty dramatic change in my life over the past year, but recently I’ve been much more relaxed about pushing myself to do more—in a way I’ve settled. Watching that show last night reminded me about how important it was to keep going, to keep pushing to get stronger and healthier. I realized it isn’t worth that extra half hour of television at night or the several hours of games, when instead I could go out for a quick run or go to the gym. The cost of not doing so is too high, and I’m ready to push forward.