After she'd thrown out the microwave popcorn and the Fluff, after she'd gorged on McDonald's hamburgers, chicken nuggets and Reese's peanut butter cups, Stacy Woltmann sat down for her Last Meal.
She smoothed her paper napkin on her lap. Her husband poured her a glass of cabernet.
"It's not like I'm on death row or anything," she said to him.
Stacy weighs 419 pounds. A chair once collapsed beneath her at Subway. Another time, she was escorted out of the Mummy roller coaster at Universal because she couldn't fit in the seat.
Recently she decided to go to go on a diet - and lose 100 pounds in a year.
Seems like a long shot, but Stacy, 30, says she's determined. Her inspiration came from the movie Julie & Julia, in which a woman cooks and blogs her way through a Julia Child cookbook.
Stacy wants to blog through her food withdrawal. And she wants everyone to know about it.
Maybe an audience will hold her accountable. Keep her from picking up a tub of ice cream.
But first, one last splurge.
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The average adult woman weighs more than 163 pounds. One private survey found that 400,000 people in the United States weigh more than 400 pounds, like Stacy.
So how does one get to weigh that much?
For Stacy, it started in elementary school. Her family was poor so food was often given out as a reward.
She endured moos as she rounded the bases in kickball. But she had the confidence of a size 6. By the time she met her husband, she was 340 pounds. He was 130 pounds.
"Her self-image was always very attractive to me," said Eddie Woltmann, 32. "She's always been very confident in herself and never looked at herself as being overweight."
Recently Stacy and Eddie had a baby, Amelia Ruth. And then, just like that, Stacy saw herself for what she was, a size 28.
"I never thought it was important to lose weight because I didn't think I had to conform to society's opinion about what was pretty and what was successful," Stacy said. "And then I realized it's not about that. It's about living a long, healthy life. I have a child who depends on me."
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Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2009
I looked in the mirror at myself yesterday and it's the first time I can remember being completely disappointed in myself. I have always felt thin. I know that sounds crazy, but I just never saw myself as fat!! I was always "plus sizes" or "curvy," but now, I am FAT ladies and gentlemen.
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She'd cooked the Last Meal herself. Breaded chicken stuffed with ricotta, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Sweet Hawaiian rolls laden with butter. A salad with Caesar dressing.
Tomorrow, she would start her diet. She wouldeat low-fat, low-sodium, low-cholesterol foods and exercise four times a week.
She had her fork and knife in the stuffed chicken when the baby started to cry.
Eddie moved the baby to a bouncy chair next to the table.
"She's so perfect," Stacy said. "It's so addicting, because now that I have one, I could have 20."
Eddie laughed, one of those loud whoa laughs.
"We'll train this one," he said, "and see what happens."
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She'd been waiting for the doughnut all day.
It was a Krispy Kreme, glazed with raspberry filling.
"You have to eat a doughnut with me," she said, looking at Eddie.
"I'm so full," he said.
"I don't care."
They've been together 10 years. Eddie now weighs 230 pounds.
"Okay, you twisted my arm."
She picked up her doughnut and looked it over, like an artist appreciating a painting. She took a bite. Her eyes closed and then she opened them and looked at him. Another bite. And then another. The raspberry filling snaked out the side.
"It's so good," she said. "I'm just savoring the taste."
She smiled. Licked her fingers.
It was gone.
* * *
On the menu for her final splurge
- Breaded chicken stuffed with ricotta, mozzarella and Parmesan
- Sweet Hawaiian rolls laden with butter
- A salad with Caesar dressing
- A raspberry-filled Krispy Kreme doughnut
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ABOUT THIS SERIES
Have an encounter?
Encounters is dedicated to small but meaningful stories. Sometimes they will play out far from the tumult of the daily news; sometimes they may be part of the news. To comment or suggest an idea for a story, contact editor Mike Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 892-2924.
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Follow her progress online
To read Stacy's blog, go to amskinnyjeans.blogspot.com.