These attempts numbered about two a year. Between times I ate as I wanted to and drank as I pleased. Things ran along until the first of January, 1911. I knew I was getting fatter, for my tailor told me so and my belts and old clothes all proved it. Still, I didn’t bother much. I thought I was lingering round about two hundred and thirty-five—too much, of course; but I got away with it pretty well, except in hot weather and when I went up in the high mountains, and I was reasonably content. I was fat, all right. My waist was only two inches smaller than my chest and that meant my waist was forty-four inches in girth. As a matter of fact, being scant five feet ten and a half, I was bigger than a house; but I deluded myself with that stuff about my broad shoulders and my deep chest, and thought it didn’t show. It did show, of course. I was a fat man—a big fat man—carrying forty pounds or more of excess weight.
I had dieted and quit; exercised and quit; gone on the waterwagon and fallen off; had fussed round a good deal, spending a lot of money in the attempt, and I was getting fatter all the time. I hated to admit that fact. I tried to fool myself into the conviction that I wasn’t getting any larger—and all the time I knew I was. I even went so far as to stop getting on the scales; and when anybody—as almost everybody did—said, “Why, you’re getting bigger, ain’t you?” I always replied: “No, I think not. I stick along about two hundred and thirty-five pounds.”
A year ago last summer I went up into the mountains, where I usually go for my fun. I had noticed a shortness of breath and a wheeziness in previous summers, and had felt my heart pounding pretty hard; but that summer I noticed these things acutely. I couldn’t get any air to breathe. My heart pounded like a pneumatic riveter. Any little exercise tired me; and when in the lowlands in hot weather I was the perspiring marvel and the most uncomfortable as well as the sloppiest person you ever saw. It was fierce!
I was doing a good deal of walking in those days—had to burn up the fuel I was taking into my body. Also, I noticed it was mighty hard to keep awake after dinner unless I got out into the air and kept moving. I felt well enough and the doctors said I was organically all right. I kept informed on those points—but I was fat! Also, though I lied to myself, I knew I was getting fatter.
FACING THE TISSUE
On New Year’s Day, 1911, I weighed myself. I don’t know why, for I hadn’t been on a scale for two or three years. I set the weight at two hundred and thirty-five and it bounded up like a rubber ball; so I shoved it along to two hundred and forty and it still stayed up in the air. When I got a balance I found I weighed two hundred and forty-seven pounds. I was amazed! Also, I was scared; for it instantly occurred to me that if I had gone up to two hundred and forty-seven in two or three years from two hundred and thirty-five I should keep on going up if my manner of living didn’t change—and that presently I should weigh three hundred!