It happened. I lost a long-time acquaintance to obesity and unfitness. Paula (not her real name) grew up as a thin, 5-feet 4-inch girl with a tiny waistline. As she grew into her late 30s, Paula noticed that she was gaining weight rapidly. It was during these times that I actually met her and she always had photos in her wallet of how thin she used to be. The then and now photos were two totally different-looking people.
I often chided her that she needed to be careful and to try to get a hold of this weight gain before it got out of hand. “When you see that you have to be buying bigger-sized clothes each time, let that be the wakeup call”, I once told her. “Girl, please!” she replied. “I’ll just buy a bigger size blouse if I need to!” I took that as my cue to leave her alone where that issue was concerned, so I did exactly that.
I lost contact with her for over 12 years but saw pictures of her on Facebook and in a couple newspaper articles, as she was pretty active in her high school old girls’ association. She had gotten even bigger! Her arms were triple the size of what I last saw, and she looked even shorter than the 5′ 4″ due to the weight gain. I sighed to myself, saying that it looked as if Paula was trying to have a short life-span.
Sure enough, I received the bad news this week that Paula passed away as a result of a stroke and a massive heart attack. She had just turned 50 years old late last year. I was surprised and disappointed but somehow, not completely shocked. I saw it coming. Paula was never an active person so living a mostly sedentary life-style, being overweight and not really caring about her overall health, led to her ultimate demise. How very sad.
Folks, we must take proper care of ourselves, particularly as we get older. I certainly don’t profess to be this big fitness guru, but I do try to be cognizant of what I eat, the progress of my weight (I’m on the scale every other day, just to make sure that my weight stays within a certain range), doing some sort of activity, and just overall being careful with my body as I age. Let us all do this and if you have a family member or friend whom you notice could use your help in this regard, don’t be afraid to offer it. You might just be what they need to get started on the road to living healthy for the remainder of their lives.