Dr. Waine Kong from Zoe Pediatrics was speaking at the Kiwanis Club the other week, and he mentioned that while today’s parents are living longer than their grandparents and great-grandparents did, today’s children may not outlive their parents because of the childhood obesity problem.
That is a shocking thought. No parent wants to outlive their children. And grandparents like me certainly don’t want to outlive our grandkids. But one thing I would like to do is live long enough to see my grandkids graduate from high school, possibly college, and get married and start families of their own. With the shape I’m currently in, that may not be possible.
Dr. Kong’s statement about us outliving our kids and grandkids didn’t really shock me into realizing that it is time for me to get back into shape, although it is a good reason. What actually did shock me was something much simpler – buying a folding lawn chair.
Becky and I were invited to her brother’s house for a cookout on July 4 and told to bring our lawn chairs. She already had one of those folding lawn chairs, you know, not the traditional ones, but the ones that are canvas and nylon and the metal legs fold up together so it goes into its own travel bag. But I needed a new one.
The main reason I needed one was because I broke the two we had. In both cases, while they would support me sitting down, the pressure of me pushing down on the arms of the chairs in order to hoist my overweight body out of them time and time again proved to be too much for the arms, and they broke. I had also broken one of the traditional folding lawn chairs – the ones that fold almost flat. I was sitting in it, and the aluminum tubing frame just slowly gave way until I suddenly found myself sitting on the ground.
So I knew I needed a new chair, and I knew I needed one that would support my 310-pound frame. I found what I was looking for. While the majority of the chairs (both kinds) have a maximum weight of 225 pounds, Coleman has a folding chair that supports up to 350 pounds. It is a little bit wider than the other chairs and comes with an adjustable lumbar support. It also costs a little more.
I didn’t like the thought of having to buy a heavyweight chair, but I went ahead and got it, and it did well at the cookout. Still, the thought of being so heavy that I needed such a chair really bothers me.
I haven’t always been overweight. When I got married in 1982, I weighed in at 180 pounds. Over the years of good cooking, combined with changing from a construction delivery job to jobs where I sit behind a desk and type a lot (like this one), I slowly gained weight, until in 2005 I weighed about 280 pounds. I decided then that it was time to slim down. I started watching what I ate and joined a gym with some friends of mine at work. In two years, I slimmed down to 220 pounds and was feeling good.
Then in 2008 I got laid off from work. I could have kept going to the gym, but I found it hard to be there with my friends when they still had jobs and I didn’t, so I quit the gym. And in the last four years, I’ve ballooned back up to 310 pounds.
I’ve had the intention to get started back working out. We bought an elliptical from a friend of ours and I got a weight set for Christmas so I can work out at home. But not until I had to buy a heavyweight chair did it really hit me that it is time to get back into shape, not only so I won’t be breaking any more chairs, but also so I can reach my goal of being around for my kids and grandkids. If you’ve been looking for an excuse to start losing weight, that’s about as good of one as I can think of. It also may be an incentive for your kids or grandkids to get into shape. If they see their parents or grandparents exercising, they may decide to turn off the video game, get up from the sofa, and get back into shape, too.