My sister-in-law Larva is what you call zaftig.

She says zaftig means that there’s a lot of you, but it’s all in the right places.

Anyway, Larva noticed she was getting too zafty for her blue jeans. She had to buy a size larger – cheap ones though, because she joined Weight Watchers with my mother-in-law Ms. Larda, and intends to shrink out of them.

But she went ahead and spent a lot on a extra-large Drew Brees Saints jersey, because she says it’s stylish to wear a football jersey that’s too big, and for now it’s comfortable.

Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Weight Watchers, but a lady weighs you every week before your meeting. If you lost weight she congratulates you, and if you didn’t, she smiles sadly and writes down your weight on a piece of paper and slides it across the counter, like they do with your account balance at the bank.

Naturally, you don’t eat before a Weight Watchers meeting. And you don’t wear jewelry to a Weight Watchers meeting. Not even an earring. Every ounce counts.

Before you heave yourself onto the scale, you slip out of your shoes and strip off your jacket and belt and glasses and shoulder pads and anything not strictly necessary for decency.

What Larva does, she walks straight to the bathroom and takes off her jeans and jersey (jeans weight a lot), sticks them in a Walmart bag and pulls on her nylon muumuu. Then she’s ready for the scale, modest but minimal. She changes back before she leaves, because that muumuu is too skimpy, even for August.

Last week, wasn’t so good. There was a couple birthdays and she ate seconds of cake, so she gets the sad smile and the number slipped across the counter says “plus one.” She gained a pound.

Larva don’t take setbacks well. She fumes all through the meeting, gnawing on the rice cake she always brings so she won’t drool too much during recipe-sharing time. And to make it worse, when she puts on her street clothes they feel tighter than they did before. She can’t believe it. She actually gained weight sitting at a Weight Watchers meeting. Eating a rice cake.

Enough. She storms home, dives into the freezer, pulls the Rocky Road out from behind the peas and digs in.

Her husband Fred wanders by and sees his wife, who’s trying to lose weight, sobbing into a quart of ice cream. Now, Fred is as oblivious as most husbands, but it does occur to him that something is wrong with this picture. What could it be? Ah, he knows. “What happened to your Drew Brees shirt?” he asks.

“It’s too smallll,” she wails. “Even extra-large don’t fit no more!”

“Oh. Where did you get the Roman Harper shirt?”

She looks down. Roman Harper? Not Drew Brees?


She stands up and turns around, and points to her backside. “Look at the label in my waistband. What does it say?”

“Gap,” he says.

 “Gap? I don’t own no Gap jeans.” She shoves the Rocky Road at Fred.

“Eat this! Eat it all! Don’t let me see it again!”

And she runs to call Ms. Larda.

Yes, Ms. Larda remembers another lady carrying a Walmart bag. “She had on jeans and a Saints jersey like we all wear in August, when we still have hope. She went in the bathroom right after you and changed into something that looked like a slip.”

Next week, Larva turns up at her meeting carrying the Walmart bag. And sure enough, there’s another lady with a Walmart bag.

She turns out to be named Lola, and she’s a foot shorter than Larva. Which is why her clothes are so small. She is also zaftig, but on a smaller scale.

They trade bags. “I had five minutes there where my clothes were too big and I thought I was skinny,” says Lola. She sighs.

“What’d you eat?” asks Larva.

“Cheesecake. To celebrate. What’d you eat?”

 “Rocky Road. For comfort.”

They trudge to the scale.

Would you believe, it turns out they both over-corrected and ate so healthy for the rest of the week, they each lost a pound.

So they jump around and give each other medium-high fives (being Lola is so short). “Win-win!” says Larva.

Let’s hope the Saints do that, too.