Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

Last year four friends and I went on a diet together with varied results.
Predictably, the people who stuck closet to the plan lost the most, and the ones
who “simply couldn’t” give up certain foods did not do as well. In the interim, one
of the ones who most needed to lose (as in medically obese and more) has had
a variety of health issues. Her doctor told her to immediately lose 50 pounds and
then work on the next 50, with still more to lose after that. I agreed to support her
and go back on the plan, because my last 20 to lose are about as hard as her
first 50+.


Each day we check in about food, but for the past week she has
sounded increasingly off program, and particularly defensive about saying why
she “can’t,” “won’t” or otherwise is having problems and is modifying the program
to suit her. I started by saying, “What did your doctor say?” and then moved to
“You have to do what works for you.” But I suspect she is on the slide to no
progress. I want to be supportive but not derail myself in the interim. Part of the
deal was trading homemade food that conforms with the requirements of the diet.
What can I say or do, both to help her and to protect myself?


Dear Motivated:

It’s always frustrating when people who most need to change refuse to
do so, especially when the people around them have rallied to support
them. In this case, you should let her doctor be the hammer, not you,
if you value the friendship. Start the conversation that you will need to
have with: I know you’ve been struggling with this diet. I’m not tied to
what you eat, or what program you choose to be on. We don’t have to
do the same thing. Maybe you should talk to your doctor about what
s/he thinks is a good way for you to lose the weight, because your doc
is more in touch with the specific medical issues. For me it’s hard to
hear that you are choosing to modify the plan, because I am doing my
best to stay on it. So let’s not talk about what we are eating or not
eating. Let’s focus on our successes and how we can support that.
Re the food sharing, say you should each text the other when you
make something that is available for sharing. As simple message like,
I made XYZ soup. Do you want some? Then the recipient can choose if
it suits her program. I suspect time will have more of an impact on her
health than any words you might say. Focus on your own.