The downside of losing weight

Obesity had plagued Patty her whole life. In grade school kids taunted, “Fatty Patty.”  Now at age fifty she tipped the scales at 362 pounds. She huffed and puffed with every step and her knees groaned in agony at the massive weight. She required ten medications and insulin to control her diabetes, blood pressure, heartburn, arthritis and cholesterol. Like most obese patients, she had tried all the usual diets but her weight see-sawed. She was ashamed to be seen in public and hadn’t flown in decades.

Thus, when Blue-Cross Blue-Shield approved her Gastric By-pass surgery, she dove in head first. By the end of nine months she had lost 100 pounds. By two years, she was under 160 pounds.

When she came in for her office visit, I made her spin around. “Look at you!  Your clothes are falling off you now.”

She grinned. “They are. Literally.” She then recounted an embarrassing tale. While standing in line at Walmart, the large safety pin she’d used to take in the waist of her pants popped off. Her pants fell to her ankles. There she stood–for shoppers everywhere to see–in underwear and tank top, her pants swimming around her flip-flops. (She confessed she had delayed buying smaller clothes until her weight stabilized to save money.) I suggested perhaps the half-price days at Goodwill might offer an alternative to time in jail for indecent exposure.

But her reward for losing weight only got worse! She and her husband were attending a large family reunion in Michigan. Since she hadn’t seen any of his relatives in five years, she pulled out all the stops to show off her new physique. A fitted emerald green pantsuit, high heels, manicure, and a flattering hairstyle completed her look. She posed in the mirror and for the first time in her life felt pretty. And ready to face her husband’s relatives.

She held her breath as she strutted into the reception hall clutching her husband’s arm. What would they think?

But instead of the glowing compliments she had envisioned in her daydreams, there were stares, whispers, gawks and maybe even glares. Not a single person even came up to greet her, let alone comment on her weight loss. Had no one noticed? She’d tried so hard and still no gold star. Tears stung her eyes.

Finally, Uncle Joe mosied up to her husband and whispered, “You need to introduce us to your new woman.”

Her husband laughed. “I know what you mean. Patty’s lost so much weight I feel like I am married to a new woman. She looks great, doesn’t she?” he said, squeezing her shoulders.

Uncle Joe’s eyes bulged then took a second look. “Patty? Is that you, Patty?” He stared at her in disbelief then grinned. “Why, I didn’t even recognize you!” He hugged her and added, “We all thought he’d brought some new mistress instead of you. That’s why we were being so stand-offish, cause we love our Patty.” He yelled across the room to his wife, “Hey, Sadie. She’s not his mistress. It’s Patty.”

Bedlam ensued as women clucked and complimented and hugged and ooh-ed and ahh-ed. She had changed so much no one even recognized her. They thought she was his mistress! Maybe now that she felt attractive, his femme fatale she would be!

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