Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:
I need to lose 30 pounds and have for years. My good friend and
neighbor needs to lose 150. Despite the weight gap, her health on
blood tests is better than mine, sigh. I’ll spare you the medical details.
I am supposed to eat one set of foods and she another. She has said
she’s willing to give up sugar in solidarity with me, if I will give up
coffee for her. Frankly I feel like I am already making so many
sacrifices and changes that my morning cup of coffee is going to be
one of the few pleasures left. But I don’t want to lie to her, and even
though my last thirty will take longer than her first thirty, I am
committed to supporting her, I am willing to be her ally until she
makes her goal. This is gonna be along haul. Do you have ideas for
how to make it work for both of us?
Dear Getting Ready:
If you’re level of commitment to your own diet is reflected in your
ambivalence about supporting her, then I predict she’s going to make
more progress than you are. You need to accept the fact that you’re
undergoing a major life change, one that you say you’ve needed to do
for a while and that you want to be ready for. Clearly neither of you
got to where you are by being self-disciplined or self-denying. To make
it work you need to have clearer rules that you stick to and that you’re
willing to lose with. But they do not have to be the same or to be any
more egregiously difficult than they have to be.
Agree on regular meetings, say weekly, to weigh in and talk about
what’s working and what’s hard. Set a time for walking together, say a
mile or so around the local blocks, several times a eek. That’s different
form the weigh in. It’s to be friends and talk about things other than
your diets o that your whole friendship doesn’t revolve around this one
On the denial swap, tell her the truth: you’re ready to support
her for the long run, and that you’ll try to ready yourself to give up
coffee, but you’re not ready to do it now. Say you appreciate what’s she’s offered, and it might help her anyhow, but best to focus on what
you each need to do, not to add an extra layer of difficult or unease.
Most important, build in some goals and rewards for when you hit
milestone events, like 10 pounds lost. Buy a new plant for the garden
or go to a concert together. Remember how lucky you are to have one
another. Limit your lattes to one a day, and do it for the long run.