Any day that I had to go to the airport was the worst day of my life, and as a traveling appliance salesman, I had to fly quite a bit. On this day in 2010, I was assigned to a middle seat. I was so big I couldn’t fit down the aisle facing forward, so I walked sideways, like a crab. I could see the other passengers’ fear like cartoon thought bubbles above their heads: “Please, God, don’t let that humongous guy be in the seat next to me!” I was five foot ten and weighed between 340 and 360 pounds; the exact number depended on whether you took my weight before or after one of my gargantuan meals.
When I finally squeezed into my seat, the seat belt wasn’t long enough to fit around my 52-inch waist. They never were.
The flight attendant said they had run out of seat belt extenders. They were going to have to get one from another plane.
More than 30 minutes passed.
“Great,” said the slender man in the window seat next to me. “I’m going to miss my connection because you’re so fat!”
I wanted to die. Right there, in that seat, I wished my life would just end.
I WOKE UP THE next morning knowing that I needed to change. I started looking for signs that might lead me toward a better life— and immediately a sign showed up. I turned on the TV and happened to catch an interview with former president Bill Clinton. He looked fit and full of energy, about half his former size.