Editor’s note: Reporter Jason Campbell is chronicling his effort to improve his health.
I came up with the stupidest reasons not to get in shape:
I spent too much money on nice clothes for my “new” size and they’d all be worthless
I don’t have the time to go to the gym
I don’t have the money to stock the fridge with “healthy” food
There are better things that I can be doing
But the truth of the matter is, I’m just lazy.
There. I said it.
If given the opportunity to work out or sit in front of the television and watch The Wire for the 10th time, I’m always going to pick television – it’s my release and my way to get lost in a sea of fictional characters and involved with stories and locations that I’ll likely never encounter in my day-to-day life.
But the problem is that I can’t be lazy anymore. I last tipped the scales at 308 pounds, and while that’s more than 40 pounds lighter than I was at this time last year by simply making small life changes encouraged – and at times demanded – by my wife, it’s still nowhere close to where I need to be.
Because according to the convenient little chart that my doctor looks at when I get my physical, I’m obese.
I know – some news flash, right?
But the problem with being overweight – or obese, as the smart people around me like to painstakingly point out – is that it extends beyond just a sheet of paper in your doctor’s chart that describes you.
Just recently my wife signed me up for life insurance through her work (I know – red flag) and everything was going swimmingly with the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company of Manhattan – you know, the Peanuts people – until they had me fill out a survey that listed a lot of things about my otherwise impeccable health, like whether I had diabetes and whether I’ve ever had any sort of a heart problem.
No, and no I replied. I only took one medication, and that was going to halt rather quickly, which I noted.
But four days later I got a notice in the mail saying that my request for a policy had been denied because of “various factors” that were listed on my application. Yes – my height and my weight. Sigh.
It’s a shock to the gut when you find out that the people who pay out money in case you die don’t want to take your money for their investment portfolio because they think you’re going to die sooner rather than later – that the cost-benefit of your life according to people who make cost-benefits analyses about people’s lives doesn’t measure up.
At that point it becomes about something more than just whether your clothes fit good and whether or not you’re happy with being able to get up off the couch without rocking back before going forward.
It’s about whether you’re going to be able to provide for your wife and children in the unlikely event that something catastrophic happens – that you’re not going to leave them with your debt and your burden.
It becomes real.
This hasn’t been an easy adaptation to make. My eating habits are terrible, and my schedule makes my attendance at times spotty – going for three days in a row and then spending the next four away from the gym.
But I have people that depend on me now, and tipping the scales at more than 300 pounds is not something that I’m comfortable with anymore. I owe the comfort of security to my wife, and I’m hoping that a renewed sense of dedication with an old sports friend and the accountability that comes with writing this update every week will motivate me to make the changes.
I wish I had never gotten to this place, because it’s far easier to get out of shape than it is to get back into shape once you find yourself in that position.
But I’m here.
It’s what I choose to do with the situation in that determines my fate and my future.
For once I’m looking at it the right way.
Now pass the potato chips. I’m starving.