From Fat to Thin

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This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," May 13, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

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In the "Back of the Book" segment tonight, with almost a third of Americans overweight, millions are trying to drop pounds, but what happens when you do?

With us now are two women whose lives are changed. Elaine Abramczyk lost 135 pounds on Weight Watchers. And Lisa Goetze dropped an incredible — you ready — 360 pounds after a gastric bypass operation.

Lisa, let's begin with you. An amazing story. You weighed 550 pounds?


O'REILLY: I'm stunned. Was it just overeating? Is that what it was?

GOETZE: I was a heavyset child. I was obese all my life the. I always had a weight issue and emotional eating disorders.

O'REILLY: But it was based on too much food?

GOETZE: Yes and being sedentary.

O'REILLY: And not moving around. But if you are that big you can't move around.

GOETZE: You get to the point where you just can't move.

O'REILLY: Now, you look good. You're single, right, dating?


O'REILLY: Boyfriend.


O'REILLY: How has your life changed in the sense that you can do pretty much what you want to do?

GOETZE: Yes. I can climb 100 flights of stairs. I'm actually a personal trainer so I'm helping others achieve their health and fitness goals, which I love.

O'REILLY: Are people nicer to you now?

GOETZE: It is amazing how much kinder people are to me where people wouldn't give me the time of day when I was that obese. I would have — I would drive and people would yell things at me and give me dirty looks and people are incredibly cruel to the obese.

O'REILLY: So you experienced cruelty almost your whole life?


O'REILLY: And they would just yell stuff at you.

GOETZE: Oh, yes.

O'REILLY: And in school it must have been brutal.

GOETZE: Oh, it was horrible. Definitely. I had no self-esteem. I feel that I know who I am now. I think, even though I've always had a deep sense of self and character, it was always hidden and suppressed by extra weight and I'm happier now than I have ever been. I feel like I know who I am.

O'REILLY: I can imagine. I mean weighing 550-pound, that cuts down on every part of your life.

GOETZE: It changes, it alters how you do everything. When you are that huge, everything you do, your day-to-day functions, how you move, what you can and can't do it's unbelievable.

O'REILLY: It is amazing to look at these pictures. How old were you when you had the operation?

GOETZE: I was 28.

O'REILLY: So, 28 years of that?


O'REILLY: Now, Elaine you dropped lesser weight, but still 135 pounds. You have got a couple of kids. How has your life changed?

ELAINE ABRAMCZYK, LOST 135 POUNDS: It changed dramatically. Before I lost my weight I had very low self-esteem, low confidence. I wasn't able to do things with my children. But three years ago was a big change for me. After I did lose all my weight I was diagnosed with breast cancer and the doctors did say had I not lost all of my weight or that much weight they may not have detected it at such an early .

O'REILLY: Are you okay now?


O'REILLY: Okay. Now, what caused you to lose the weight? First of all, were people mean to you like they were to Lisa when you were heavy? Did you get that kind of stuff?

ABRAMCZYK: Sure. Absolutely. People look at you differently when you are carrying a lot of weight. They don't believe you are capable of doing things. It affected my social life — my family life with my husband and children.

O'REILLY: When you lost the weight what was the biggest plus about it? What was the most important thing that happened to you?

ABRAMCZYK: Feeling great. Feeling great and the behavior changes...

O'REILLY: Specifically. I mean what was something that you did that you couldn't do when you were heavier?

ABRAMCZYK: Play with my kids. Get on the floor and be able to get back up. Not be embarrassed to be seen in the streets with my family...

O'REILLY: Were you really embarrassed when you were walking .

ABRAMCZYK: Absolutely.

O'REILLY: You were embarrassed.


O'REILLY: And how many years were you heavy?

ABRAMCZYK: All my life.

O'REILLY: From the time you were an infant?


O'REILLY: So you both had the similar background this you were never normal looking.


O'REILLY: You were always inflated, to use that word. Well, I congratulate you both. Now I want to ask you the final question. What made you do it, what made you lose the weight?

GOETZE: I was dying.

O'REILLY: You were dying, physically dying.

GOETZE: I had diabetes. I could not walk without aches and pain. I had difficulty breathing.

O'REILLY: All right. So it was life and death for you?

GOETZE: Yes and Dr. Bessler (ph) at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital was able to perform the surgery and my life has just been changed forever.

O'REILLY: Life and death.

And what made you lose it?

ABRAMCZYK: Well, a friend of mine brought me to Weight Watchers and I learned how to eat in a healthy way and this...

O'REILLY: But why did you go?

ABRAMCZYK: Why did I go? Because I was at an all-time low. My daughter wanted to know why I was different from the all the other mommies.

O'REILLY: So you were embarrassed?


O'REILLY: OK. Well, ladies, congratulations to both of you, all right. And I know life will be great from now on and anybody can do it. Anybody can do it. If you're out there and need that kind of help, get it.

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