I don’t intend to give daily updates on Peter David’s condition following his stroke, but his wife Kathleen has a blog post yesterday called simply How do you tell a 10 year old that her father might never be the same? and its a powerful, affecting piece of writing. Those who know Kathleen know she’s a talented writer and creator herself and following her blog will undoubtedly be the best way to follow Peter’s progress and to send along continued best wishes. The good news is that Peter is showing signs of recovering, and things are not as bad as they might have been. But it’s still a long hard road for them.

Peter and Kathleen and their kids are good people. Keep them in your thoughts.

UPDATE: I wanted to add this post by Johanna Draper Carlson about her own husband KC’s small stroke and recovery. More very good reading.

I’ll expand this post a bit to say that as it’s the beginning of the new year, everyone, myself included, is probably talking about eating better and exercising more. The last time I spent any significant time with Peter was a few years ago when he had done just that and dropped a lot of weight and gotten a lot healthier. It was an impressive life style change.

While we’re not quite at Wall*E level yet, as a society we’re getting more and more sedentary and eating more and more crap unless we take the time NOT to do it. I myself spend all my waking hours sitting in front of a computer on my ass unless I make an effort to do other things, and it’s been proven that just sitting around it about the worst thing you can possibly do. On most days I walk nearly two miles to and from the office, so I do get the New Yorker’s minimum of exercise, but I’m very conscious of how bad sitting around is for me.

I’m told Stan Lee used to write standing up and if that’s what has contributed to his remarkable vitality and energy at age 90 then we should all just ditch the desk chair entirely.

Anyway, I’m trying to figure out how to work getting back to the gym and yoga back into my lifestyle, and it isn’t easy. For those of you trying to get healthier, I will extend this: if you’re trying to go from sitting on your butt all day to Michael Phelps, don’t even try. Just try to find something you LIKE doing that you can do three or four times a week. Running or walking or rock climbing or yoga or basketball or something.

Likewise, someone explained to me that it’s easier to put a few changes into your diet than change everything wholesale. Now that the holiday fudge assault is over, I’m back to trying to eat a salad as one meal a day (I don’t eat salad dressing generally.) As a bread addict this is not easy, but once I break the bread cycle it gets a lot easier. I’m a complete believer in the low glycemic diet and always lose weight whenever I stick to it. EAT WHOLE FOODS! They taste better and you feel way better!

Most people starting a new diet and exercise regime will have given it up by January 15th. Don’t give up too easily! Change a few things that you can stick with and you’ll feel better in the long run.

Now, on the other hand, I was watching an Alan Watts video that someone had posted on Facebook the other day–Watts was a Zen philosopher who died of a heart attack at age 58. He said it’s better to live a short life doing what you want than a long life full of misery. I’m not going to give up my gingerbread and the occasional pizza. Just not every day or even every week.

I think I’ve remarked on here several times how striking it is when you watch a movie from the ’70s or before and see HOW SKINNY EVERYONE IS. Just people wandering around in the background are skinny old men and women. Not what you see today. I won’t go off on a rant on HFCS here, but it was introduced in the ’80s, which is a hell of a coincidence. HFCS is illegal in Europe, but they’re starting to catch up with all our other bad food habits. Blah blah blah. You know the drill.

Anyway…if you’re trying to live healthier and get more active, good luck! There’s a lot all of us can do to treat ourselves better and educate ourselves. And whatever you do, don’t sit around looking at a computer all day!


  1. Good topic.

    I once worked with a guy who signed up with WeightWatchers. He came back to the office after his first meeting and told us it was all about portion control. Eat smaller portions. Yes, WW counts points, and so on. But his message (he hit his goal weight and stayed there) was to eat smaller meals.

    This alone (besides getting enough exercise and enough sleep) is very difficult.
    Here are 2 things that work for me:
    1. buy some smaller plates and use them. Seriously. Eat supper on a smaller plate. If you stick with the large plate, your eyes are tricking you into overeating.
    2. eat the same amount of food in a restaurant that you normally eat at home, and bring home the leftovers. (never mind the weird looks from the serving staff. You are paying them, they are not paying you) Most places serve too much food.

    Re; Yoga
    I started practising yoga last September. At a basic beginner level, once a week. The instructor is friendly, her emphasis is not on high achievement or fashion statements. Yoga has made a huge difference to my strength, flexibility and has reduced my stress level. At $10 a week, a huge deal.

    Let’s hear from other comic fans. What do you do to treat your body right?

  2. I travel to Europe a lot for work and I’m always amazed at how thin people are over there. One of the things I’ve heard from my foreign colleagues is that meat is so cheap over here. They eat meat every once in a while. We have huge plates of it all the time. So that’s another factor, I believe, in why we are stuck with the “fat American” stereotype.

  3. The first thing to do is to forget diets – they don’t work over time, you need to change your diet if you are going to have successful.

    The gym or exercise is helpful and I do both, but the truth is that most people simply can’t exercise enough in the day to burn off the highly calorific junk for about an hour to burn off they are sticking down their gobs especially if they are working desk jobs (or creatives doing similar sit-down work).

    one of the simplest ways (yet the hardest for many people to do) is to not have cookies, soda etc in the house – hard to eat something you don’t have.

  4. I’m a firm believer the best thing anyone can do is to find exercise they enjoy and do that. Besides the obvious benefits of stuff like your heart getting healthier and some weight loss, exercise is wonderful stress release and will make you happier. It has to be exercise you like, though, because if it feels like punishment, you won’t stick with it.

    Al and Charles Knight both have wonderful suggestions, too. Eating better food and less of it along with exercise is the best way to be happy.

  5. I used to have the following ritual:

    1) Take comics to gym – disposable comics, the ones I would normally read and give away
    2) Read comics on treadmill
    3) Put finished comics in communal reading rack
    4) Get back on treadmill until Equinox staff removed them due to inconsistency with image

  6. 1) Read Carol Lay’s “The Big Skinny: How I Changed My Fattitude”. It was that rare graphic novel how-to/biography released by a major publisher to coincide with “New Year New You” displays in bookstores. (Right next to the wedding planners.) She dropped a lot of pounds, and did it with portion control, controlled eating, and exercise. There are recipes and calorie counts in the back. 9780345504043 $18

    2) You can build a shelf on a treadmill to hold your laptop, so you walk while you surf the Net. Example:
    Once your legs get tired, it’s time to turn off the computer.

    (You could also hook up a generator to an exercise bike, to recharge your cell phone or laptop. Geek cred if the bicycle is made of bamboo.)

    3) Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Pause at landings if necessary. Start by taking the stairs down every day when you leave work.

    4) If weather and time permits, walk to and from one subway stop away from your normal stop. Or walk to another line which is on your way home. You’ll probably discover something new.

    Or park farther away from work.

    5) I sit in front of a computer all day. I get up and refill my coffee/tea cup every hour or so. The first cup of coffee gets sugar and cream, but the following cups of tea are black (TWO calories per cup).

    6) In New York City (or any city with a health-conscious mayor), chain restaurants must post the calorie counts on menus. First, you should avoid these restaurants if possible. If you cannot, then never order any item which has more calories than pennies in the cost of the item.

  7. Charles Knight is right on the money. Exercise is necessary, but if you are trying to lose weight, what (and how much) goes into your stomach is more important.

    2 tips:

    – If you are drinking soda, stop. Drink water: it’s 0 calories and FREE. Every time you have a craving for soda, drink your water. Once your stomach is full, the craving goes away. After a few months, the cravings get better. I didn’t think I could do this. I did, and my weight dropped.

    – Portions at restaurants are completely out of hand. Eat half the meal and box the rest for later. Save money and lose weight.

  8. so wait, youre saying that if i eat healthy and work out, i’ll live longer AND more people will want to have sex with me? man, i should really give that a try. i just wish someone would’ve told me sooner.

  9. I built myself a standing desk about three or four months ago and love it. It’s done amazing to help relieve the pain in my shoulder and back, besides the fact that I’m not sitting on my expanding ass all day…

  10. If you haven’t tried Weight Watchers, do it. Just takes a month to get into the routine. I drank a Coke per day for a couple of decades and once my son was born, I was feeling a little chubby. I tried Weight Watchers and saw the impact that sodas were having on my diet. I went cold turkey on the sugar drinks, reduced carb intake, and lost 30 lbs in about 2 months.

    I’ve kept most of it off too. We like to splurge and eat burgers/fries/desserts…but it’s once in a while now, not every day.

  11. My coworker (in my post above) joined WW and really did well. He was the only guy in the group, but did not let that slow him down. He counted the points and so on, and insisted that he could eat well, just smaller portions. And once he was at his goal weight, the check-in meetings were free.

    I think that watching what we eat/drink and getting moderate exercise go a long way to extending life and strengthening the immune system. But it can be a lonely battle. Best to find like minded people for a support system.

  12. Just reposted this. I’ve lost over 200 lbs in the last 4 years. The first 40 didn’t even require exercise. I just stopped drinking soda. Mind you I was drink about half a case every 2-3 days. Due to health reasons though my life had become rather sedentary. The simple act of adding a daily 20 minute bike ride, some crunches and push ups, and 5 minutes of yoga with a balanced diet of freshly prepared foods had given me the life I never thought I would have had. In fact I had kinda planned on life ending about 50. lol Now I run, have found interests I never thought I would enjoy, and though politics and certainly folks still get my ire up I’ve calmed down a bit as well. I encourage all of you to seek healthy alternatives to what has become the norm in the American lifestyle. As I said on my Facebook after sharing this…someone loves you enough for you to be healthy. Now it is time for you to love yourself enough to make it a priority. On I side note I’m kinda hoping George Martin and people like him are reading these. I love their work but have little faith in seeing it end when I see how big they are. Lets not have more Robert Jordan’s in the industry please. And a quick healing to Peter David who has been a favorite of mine for longer than I can recall. Peace to you all.

  13. Jack G! Congrats!! That’s a significant life change; you should be really proud!! Stories like that are awesome!

  14. Meat is perfectly fine for you. In fact, the only thing the pile of contradictory nutrition research out there seems to agree on is a diet composed of vegetables and meat.

    Europeans are skinnier than Americans on average has many reasons behind it, perhaps the biggest being their food is still food and not the result of science experiments by the supervillains at Monsanto. Eat whole/organic and local where available to avoid that and you’ll lose weight stunningly fast.

  15. Oh God, diet…..
    I’m right in the middle of it. Due to a bike/car accident I was the victim of last February, I gained 35 pounds in 2-3 months (I could barely stand up due to a broken ankle). Now back to full health, I have to get rid of it so yeah, all those advices are good to take.
    Exxercise has to be done rightly if your goal islosing weight. I took a subcription to a club gym and would not lose wieght the first month, despite hard efforts. A coach reveal to me thereason was what I was doing (doing several short hard efforts would make me gain weight, and not lose that much weight because that type of exercise makes you produce muscles aka weight. Godd weight but still weight.
    Looong efforts (a 45 minutes non stop effort for example) makes you lose weight, not several very hard efforts.

    Charles is right: not having the food you crave for is the solution. Mine is to buy food only once every month, for the whole month. I allowmyself to buy things I crave for but hey, when it’s eaten (on the first 10 days), I don’t go back to refill, I eat what’s left for the next 20 days. It’s good because you do have to eat a little of things you crave for but it force you to not eat it all at once, toeat saller portion to have some left for the remaining of the month.

    The most effective way to lose weight, by my experience is….. to be dumped by your BF/GF. Man….25 pounds losts in 3 weeks!
    Going to conventionis also a very good motivation: seeing that you don’t want people to see you with your extra weight, this is a deadline for losing weight.

    And helas, people in Europe (or at least in France) are no longer thin. We have an exploding rise of overweighted kids (we’re far from the US situation but we’re coming).

    Dringking water can be boring. I would definitivly recommand tea: lots of flavor, good for health and keeps you awake if you are sensible to it.

  16. @SniktSnakt: Big sales on treadmills coming in a few weeks, when many people give up on their 2013 resolutions. Get exercise stuff for home, cheap. No need to pay a gym. Then just buy and cook your own food, also cheap.

  17. I really appreciated the family updates PD would put in the X-Factor recaps. It gave a sense of humanity to comic book creators. I’m praying for his family.

  18. Peter David’s CBG column is my favorite column (But I Digress) in the wonderful magazine. His sense of humor and morality both appeal to me, and I look forward to the day when he can resume this work.

    A very, very talented man……

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