On Track

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

I just inadvertently lost a lot of weight. Don’t get me wrong. At least
half my adult weight has been a struggle with mild obesity. Mild if you
consider thirty pounds a small problem. Before that it had much more,
as I put on a whopping ninety pounds in my first marriage. I know it’s
an old cliché to say that shows I was unhappy, but in this case it was
true!! Slowly I managed to lose and keep off ten pounds. The last
twenty-thirty was a fifteen-year battle. I’d get close and then fall

I recently survived a medical struggle. Maybe it was the meds
or maybe it was just the right time, but now I am ten pounds from
goal. I feel lighter in a way I haven’t for a very long time. People are
noticing. They keep telling me “how much smaller” I am, and that they
“hope I won’t put it back on this time.” Frankly, I’m a little insulted. I
always dress nicely, in clean clothes appropriate for the occasion. I am
intelligent, kind, and helpful to others. Why should what size I am
matter to anyone except me? How can I accept the compliment and
educate people at the same time? Should I just be grateful that I am
healthier and thinner and leave it at that? How can I get through the
holidays without backsliding?

On Track

Dear On Track:

Sadly we live in a society where everyone feels like they have the right
to have, and to share, an opinion about virtually everything in
everyone’s life. Also a society that idolizes thin and young, despite the
fact that most people are getting fatter and older. So if you go by the
cultural norms, you’re doomed to feel like a loser, and I don’t mean in
the good way that you are proud of becoming. So first of all
congratulations on surviving your medical battle, and secondly on
having kept off the bulk of your bulk for a long time.


The happy accident of recent weight loss is an achievement you can be
proud of. It’s one you should be able to hear praised by others. So
learn to accept a compliment and be proud of your success. You can
mention to others that you feel relived and happy about your medical
success, and that the weight loss, while a boon, isn’t what’s making
you so happy. In fact, what you’ve learned is that thinner is good, but
healthier is better. Say you plan to stay on track with both weight loss
and healing, and that you are happy to talk to others about why being
thin is fine, but not an answer to being happy. Tell them they should
go out of their way to compliment people who have worked hard to
heal as much as those who have dropped a dress size.