Being morbidly obese for most of her life, Stacey had never dated. But that's no longer the case. "I'm happy to say I've been dating," she says. "It's very funny because he had gastric bypass, too. He was 700 pounds."
Stacey says that when they first were intimate, there were some complications. "The very first three gifts he gave me were a fire extinguisher, shades and blinds. And let me tell you why. We both hadn't been intimate in a long time so we both were really excited. So I set the mood [with candles] and he fell back on the pillow on the candle and we set the pillow on fire. He had to get out of bed, put the pillow out, wait for the embers to go out. So next week he came and said, 'I have something for you and he gave me a fire extinguisher.'"
As for the shades and blinds, Stacey explains that she's self-conscious about the way her body looks. "I said to him the first time, 'Listen, you've got to bring blinds here. My room's not dark enough.' And he was like, 'Alright.' So he stood on a chair with a drill and put up blinds because I only had like leopard shades. And then I said, 'It's still bright.' So he said, 'Okay, I'll bring shades next time.' I said, 'You'd better because daylight savings is coming. Unless you want to wait until 10 p.m., you better!'"
After such a dramatic transformation in her life and lifestyle, Stacey says that she has lost some friends, an experience she calls "unexplainable."
"I once was in an alcoholic unit as an eating disorder patient, and I used to see the alcoholics' spouses standing by their spouse through the whole recovery. And then as soon as they recovered, the spouse would walk away and they would say, 'Okay, I know they're okay now. Too much water under the bridge.' And they'd walk away from their spouse," Stacey says. "Sometimes I think that's what happened with my friends. There was just so much, you know, so much pain, so much they had to see me go through. And it hurts because I would like them to enjoy...all we got to do before was eat together. Now we could go to movies and do other things. It's a whole process of starting a new life.
It's not all them, of course. "I do take some blame," Stacey says. "You know you see angry alcoholics? I was an angry foodaholic. I was bitter and nasty. People would come over and I wouldn't let them in my door and I wouldn't return calls. I have done my share."
Stacey's mom, Faith, has been by Stacey's side throughout her arduous weight loss. Throughout that time, she has suffered the highs and lows along with her daughter. "It is very emotional. I have ambivalent feelings," Faith says. "I want her to be whole, but I also worry about her. I know that she's got to do this. She's very brave. And I want to see her put together, you know. But I'm very apprehensive and I think anybody watching is going to understand why. She's in very good hands and I'm happy about that."
Faith says that living with Stacey when she was so heavy was difficult. "We did not have a normal family life. She hid from everybody. She was embarrassed. She didn't want to come to family functions. She didn't want to come to her brother's wedding, but I insisted upon that. I said she'd be sorry. And she now says I was right, you know."
Ever since her first appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show 18 years ago, Stacey has inspired viewers across the country.
Anette: When I heard Stacey's story it was like my own story was being read out loud. At my highest weight I was 516 pounds. I could relate to so many things that she was saying. When I saw the show, I was struggling to lose weight and then I saw her before and after picture and I thought, "You've got to keep going. You have to have a before and after picture just like that." I'm on my way now and so far I've lost over 100 pounds.
Sarah: I first saw Stacey Halprin on your show several years ago. After seeing she could barely clean herself up using the restroom, I vowed to myself that I would never let my weight get that high, but I was in denial. I was quickly approaching my highest weight of 502 pounds, and I could only weigh myself at a junkyard. In April, 2003, I had gastric bypass surgery and have since lost almost 200 pounds. Seeing Stacey's transformation on your show gives me hope that I, too, will be able to reach my goals.
Kim: When you told your story on Oprah, it touched the very depths of my heart. I remember seeing you so long ago and thinking that that was me. The day I saw you on the show, I finally found someone who understood how I was feeling. Because of you, I have lost 120 pounds. Thank you for changing my life."
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