Scared Hungry

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

I don’t mean to be a bore, because everyone and their mother and

daughter is now on a diet, but I got fat again while I wasn’t paying

attention. I’d put on five pounds last year but seem to have added

another five over the holidays, when I was too busy eating cookies to

pay any attention to vegetables or salads. Now I feel the same

helpless despair I felt last year when I needed to lose 20 pounds,

except I need to lose 30, am a year older and much more scared that

I’ve finally eaten myself into a hole so deep that I may not be able to

diet myself out of it. I don’t know where to start, and of course when I

get emotionally upset the first thing I want to do is eat.

Scared Hungry


Dear Scared:

Thirty isn’t fifty, or a hundred. It’s a doable, losable, amount of weight

to lose. Not overnight and not even in one big drop. But if you you’re

willing to commit to a patient process of eating less and exercising

more you can even keep it off. I know advice like your mother gave

you (my mother certainly gave it to me) isn’t the quick hit, sexy “you’ll

be a size ten tomorrow” pitch you may have been hoping for. But,

sadly, there’s no magic bullet or crash diet that’s going to help you

lose in a way that’s both effective and sustainable. It’s hard work to

stay on program day in and day out for the better part of a year. Or to

make the right decisions about what to eat three times a day, and

hardest when you get impatient, restless, angry, or plateaued (say

another zillion times this year). But if you do it right you’ll only have to

do it once.


You have many choices for the classic framework of eating less and

moving more. Here’s some tips to go along with: Weigh yourself

regularly; studies show that people who weigh daily lose faster and

keep it off. Write down what you eat; use a website or a tablet, but

hold yourself accountable and make sure your write everything down

that goes in your mouth. Obtain the support of those you live with and

friends you eat with; use encouragement, not shame, to keep you on

track. Use exercise to burn off stress. It may not taste as good as

chocolate, but the Weight Watcher’s motto is still true: Nothing tastes

as good as being thin feels.