How do I know that's what the book is about, when it was a present for Keith? Because I gave it to him, and promptly stole it off his nightstand and started reading it. Keith did steal it back a few days later, so I'm not very far into it. But I've already read quite a few ideas that have stuck with me.
In particular, Murakami talks about why he started running regularly. Pretty much, when he quit tending bar and started writing full-time, he also started to put on some weight and wasn't happy about it. Unlike his wife, who could eat whatever she wanted and never gain a pound, he sat at a computer all day and his waist was expanding. So he started running.
This is pretty typical. What I found refreshing—and challenging—was how he turned his slowing metabolism and new-found love for running into such a positive. He argued that those of us (and I am definitely included in this group) whose bodies are more sensitive to bad influences like the lack of exercise and an overabundance of unhealthy food are actually the lucky ones. We have motivation to change our bad habits because we dislike the way we look and feel. People whose bodies don't reflect their unhealthy lifestyle are much less likely to change, and will be more unhealthy in the long run. In Murakami's words:
But when I think about it, having the kind of body that easily puts on weight was perhaps a blessing in disguise [....] Life can be tough, but as long as you don't stint on the effort, your metabolism will greatly improve with these habits, and you'll end up much healthier, not to mention stronger [....] For the reasons I give above, I think this physical nuisance should be viewed in a positive way, as a blessing. We should consider ourselves lucky that the red light is so clearly visible. Of course, it's not always so easy to see things this way.I agree with so much about this attitude. Both that it's healthy and affirmative to see my body's sensitivity to food and exercise as a blessing .... and that it's a very difficult attitude to maintain. I'm working on it.