The world has a weight limit. If you’re like most people, you didn’t know that until now. I envy you for that. I really do. Once upon a time, I was clueless about the weight limit, too. For years, decades even, I was a skinny guy. A beanpole, as my father used to say. As a boy, I sprouted quickly, growing tall so fast that my waist couldn’t keep up. I can remember Dad using an awl to poke extra holes in my tiny little belts so I could cinch them tighter, holding up my baggy jeans. Even when my growth spurt began to slow, I couldn’t hold a spare pound on my thin frame. I was sensitive about it, afraid I looked like a scarecrow, and I sometimes wore three or four shirts at once so I looked bulkier. Somewhere along the line, I started filling out. I played basketball just about every day and football whenever I could, and muscles grew where skin and bone had been before. My shoulders broadened, my voice deepened, and I felt strong and fluid. It was a great time in my life, one I thought would last forever. Of course, it didn’t. If it had, I wouldn’t be writing this. I had a few pounds to spare when I hit my mid-20s. By the time my odometer ticked closer to 30, I was legitimately overweight. I wasn’t over the limit yet — I still didn’t know about it — but my days of innocent bliss were numbered. I wish I could say that I remember the moment when I crossed the line and became truly fat, but I don’t. It wasn’t exactly a sudden thing. At some point, I quit playing sports, but I kept eating fast food. I stopped walking everywhere, which I’d continued doing well into my 20s, and bought a car. I’d always been a reader, but now I was reading and watching TV instead of doing ... well, anything physical at all. Inactivity fostered further inactivity, and before I knew it strangers were calling me "big guy.” Then I found out about the weight limit. The limit is kind of like "Fight Club.” Nobody talks about it, but it’s always there. You can find it if you go looking for it, but it’s more likely to find you, especially if you have a glandular disorder or spend your life as I have, consuming way more calories than you burn. Each person encounters it in a different way. It may be that you lean back in a plastic lawn chair, and it collapses beneath your weight, plastic shards flying out like shrapnel. It could be that you go shopping for clothes at a department store and can’t find anything — anything at all — that fits. Once your eyes are opened to it, you see the weight limit everywhere, restricting what you can and cannot do, which products you can purchase, how you can travel, where you can go. Did you know, for example, that many folding ladders are rated to support only 225 pounds? Most are over-engineered to hold more than that, but as the saying goes, the bigger you are, the harder you fall. Would you be willing to risk it? Did you know that most men’s clothing stores don’t carry shirt sizes bigger than extra-large or waist sizes greater than 48 inches? Ever tried using a standard bath towel when you’re built like a giant? Ever felt embarrassed as you struggled to squeeze into a seat at the Ford Center? Ever tried to find a jockstrap in size 4xl? It’s not completely hopeless. Retailers such as Casual Male and Lane Bryant cater to the overweight, while online shops such as Living XL market folding chairs that’ll support 650 pounds or seatbelt extenders for use in cars and on planes. The world is built for normal people, not for folks like me who can fill an entire doorway. People who deviate from the norm in other ways face limits, too. Short people, tall people, disabled people and more likely find the world difficult to get around in. Unless you’re completely average, you’ve probably encountered a limit or two yourself. The difference between the weight limit and many other limits, though, is this: Many of us — not all — who find ourselves at the weight limit can do something about it. Tall people can’t get shorter. Short adults can’t get taller. But fat people? A lot of us can get thinner. It’s not easy. It’s not fun. It’s not inconceivable, though, and one way or another, through diet and exercise or surgery, we can lose weight. Let me say that again: We CAN lose weight. For the next year, I am embarking on a public mission to lose weight and become more physically fit. I can’t do it alone, so I’m getting help from the sports medicine staff at OU Medical Center, the good people at the YMCA, the fitness staff here at The Oklahoman and whoever else is willing to help out — including you. The goal is not only for me to get in shape, but for you to get healthier, too. The project is called Ken 2.0: From Fat to Fit, and it kicks off now. I’ll be blogging every day and posting photos every week. I’ll also put up videos and graphs charting my progress. Each week, you can read a little more about my journey in The Oklahoman, and once a month, the newspaper will publish a longer story like this one. Any time you want, you can access the whole shebang at NewsOK.com/fat-to-fit. Maybe you haven’t hit the weight limit yet but are getting close to it. Maybe, like me, you’ve been frustrated by it time and time again. Maybe you’re just starting to gain weight and want to stop it before it gets out of control. Come along with me. Share your stories and your healthy recipes. Together, let’s learn how to get in shape safely. Together, let’s leave the weight limit behind.