Raymond Dypski has to travel 40 miles to buy overpriced clothes he doesn't like. He drives a big car with a comfort-tilt steering wheel, even though he'd prefer a smaller, more economical model.

He claims he's been denied jobs he could easily handle for the same reason: The 56-year-old Maryland delegate (D-Baltimore) is fat.

"Employers figure if you're fat you're lazy," says Dypski, who now weighs 264 pounds -- about 100 pounds less than his high of 370.

"One time a car salesman shoved me bodily into a car, and I almost suffocated. My body was stuck against the steering wheel and my face was turning blue. He claimed I fit, but I told him I couldn't buy the car unless he came with it to push me in a pull me out."

Overweight people face discrimination in several areas including employment and insurance, says Dypski. "One couple wasn't allowed to adopt a baby, just because they were overweight."

A self-described "champion of the cause of the overweight," Dypski is currently co-sponsoring a bill -- "Some of these diet companies are like the snake-oil salesmen of the old days" -- that would require Maryland businesses engaged in weight reduction to provide documented evidence of their claims.

"I'm the type of person who can smell food and gain weight," laments Dypski, who in a constant lose-and-regain cycle has moved around something like 1,000 pounds.

"I'm not happy with being fat -- I'd rather be thin. But the different reducing programs I've tried took up all of my time and energy. Life is too short for that kind of sacrifice.

"I've just learned to accept it. And I judge people for what they are, not what they look like."