I can fit into a large T-shirt.

That’s no small feat. I have been excelling at modeling the XL shirts now for close to a decade. Between large plates and large appetites (for food) and small appetites (for anything strenuous) and a job that lets me effectively work while slouched with plenty of tasty treats on a regular basis, it’s pretty easy to put on poundage. For the past, oh, eight years or so, that is exactly what I have done.

I graduated high school weighing 142 pounds, and I didn’t top 130 pounds until sometime my senior year (that callus on my shoulder from lugging a sousaphone must have weighed a lot more than I thought). By the time I crashed and burned my way out of Tucson, I was up to around 160 pounds, largely because my appetite grew faster than my exercise regimen, even though I was still almost as active as when I was in high school, and partly because the college sousaphone was a ton heavier than the high school variety.

The basketball games were replaced by darts, the pop and pasta stayed vital parts of a quasi-nutritious diet…and I weighed 195 pounds as I moved from Nebraska to Kansas.

Shortly thereafter, I cracked 200 pounds. And I chowed my way as high as 230 pounds, staying between 220 and 230 for virtually all of my married life. Considering my absolute lack of physical activity, I’m surprised I didn’t gain more.

I’m not sure why my wife decided to start running this spring, but she did — and she politely encouraged me to go with her. I did a couple times, wheezing badly after a couple blocks, never getting much of a breathing rhythm, watching her casually jogging away to her next checkpoint.

Then I started walking, almost by default after my car developed some engine issues. Between the two, I have dropped at least 15 pounds with no need for shakes or Calorad (whatever the heck it was I pitched to area residents a few years ago). I’m also still eating like mad, but at least my body is burning off some of what I’ve constructed over time.

I’m glad my wife finally prompted me to start getting healthy, even though she still leaves me sucking in dust on the rare occasions we run together. Now if I can just go for the smaller plates and one round of food instead of two, I might wriggle into a medium before the summer’s out. And maybe those late-’80s basketball shorts.