PHILADELPHIA No one dared utter the "W" word in the presence of Max Jean-Gilles. For as long as he was old enough to step on a scale, it seemed as if he had been a prisoner of what could only be called an All-Pro appetite. As his weight ballooned to close to 400 pounds, he became so annoyed with his inability to shed the extra pounds he had accumulated that he banned it as a topic of conversation in his household. No one could ask him what he weighed, give him casual recommendations on how to reduce, or even express concern that he was placing not just his career but his life in jeopardy. The Eagles' guard had heard enough of it.
But his wife Maggie had become concerned. Jean-Gilles had told her last year that he had experienced shortness of breath and even chest pains. The possibility that he could have a stroke scared her. In fact, it scared Jean-Gilles, who says that he "prayed every day that I would wake up breathing." In the eight years they had been a couple, Maggie had understood how trying it had been for her husband to overcome his weight problem, why it had been so hard for him to address it with her. But it was not just the two of them anymore. They now had a two-year old son, Marcus. Maggie began searching for solutions on the Internet and sat down with Max to share her findings. Initially, he was less than receptive.