Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Dear Mrs. Bluth,

Please don’t laugh when you read this letter, as my heart is broken and I am ashamed at myself. When I got married five years ago, I was a size 2 and had a great figure, one of the major things my husband said he loved about me. I went to the gym almost daily to maintain what my husband found so attractive and, I must say, I looked great. Then I got pregnant and my body ballooned. I became so disgusted with myself. I promised myself and my husband that as soon as the baby came, I would head back to the gym and diet stringently.

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Our daughter was born prematurely and I was thrilled because I started going to the gym almost as soon as I got home, dieted like a demon (I didn’t nurse so there’s no issue) and in five weeks, I looked like my old self again. My friends were amazed at how quickly I transformed back and I’m sure they were a bit jealous because some of them had still not gotten back into shape months later.

Everything was perfect until I got pregnant again when my daughter was three, and again, I got huge and fat. Of course, I was miserable and immediately after my son was born, I went on a strict diet and worked out three hours a day. But this time things were different. Five weeks after the birth I had barely gone down to a size 5 and still looked like I was in the early stages of pregnancy. I was hysterical because we were going away for the summer to a hotel with my in-laws, and I was ashamed to be seen at the pool.

I was so depressed. I went back to my doctor and was told that sometimes it takes a number of months for the body to respond to even the fiercest weight loss regimen. A nutritionist was recommended, but I simply did not agree with the amount of food and the frequency of meals she prescribed.  So I packed some loose clothing and was determined to double my efforts at the hotel.

My in-laws were always meddling and saying I don’t eat right or enough, to the point where I just avoided them and took my small meals in my room. I wore myself out at the tennis court learning how to play, but still, no great changes. I still had a belly and a pair of hips that were too big for my petite frame and I was working myself to death with little to no results. I was also becoming extremely depressed, snapping at my husband when he tried to make me feel better with false compliments. I was also terrified that he would look at other women, as I’ve heard such things happen when a wife puts on weight and her husband loses interest.

Worst of all was when four couple friends whom we always go out with, came to visit us during the summer and congratulated me on my third pregnancy. I was mortified as my husband explained that we were not expecting and that I was working hard to shed the weight. I caught the look that passed between the women, the concealed laughter that they suppressed with little success. I wanted to die from embarrassment but forced myself to sit through the torment. But I can’t take it anymore. I need advise as to what I’m doing wrong so I can get my body back!

 

Dear Friend,

I have four letters I was considering for print, yours was not one of them.  However, on second thought, I realized that within the shallowness of its topical complaint there might lay a very important message that needs to be addressed.  It is called “body shamming” and it is a real problem both for young women and young men.

Just to start off, shamming someone for any reason is totally unacceptable!  Since there’s really no such thing as perfect, it means we are all imperfect in some way, so what is there to be ashamed of.

Now, there are a great many variables you have not taken into consideration while you were killing yourself to regain the body you had before childbirth. One is that each pregnancy is different and just because you succeeded in shedding the weight the first time, there’s no assurance that you would achieve the same results the second time. Trust me, I know this from personal experience, but unlike you, I embraced my baby hotel belly and hour-glass hips as badges of honor and blessing.

I don’t mean to rub salt on your wounds, but seriously speaking, the following may also be reasons for your change in shape and dress size. DNA plays a huge role in how we evolve. Look at your family and see if you take after anyone, and if not, then you may be adding a whole new dimension to your family ladder of heredity.

Another reason for your failure to achieve your goal is that you may be trying too hard and your body may be rebelling against the abuse your putting it through. Take a step back and change your physical routine, slow it down a bit to include more walking and less machinery, eat three healthy meals a day instead of lettuce, raw carrots and celery – even rabbits eat more.

Also, try to relax; being a size 5 in my world is something I see as a model’s figure, at birth I came in weighing more than a size 5!

Not to alarm you, but in some extreme cases there may also be medical reasons why someone cannot lose weight, those being thyroid performance and gland issues that may have changed during pregnancy as well as hormone irregularities and growths that, in rare cases, can be responsible for the problem.  Get yourself checked out by a specialist just to rule out any of the above.

You are a lucky lady to have a husband who loves you for who you are and not the size of your ego. You are not a dress size, you are a person in whom he sees those qualities you never considered you had – that’s why he fell in love with you. The packaging was just the cherry on the whipped cream.  So get it right and work with the blessings that Hashem has given you, your beautiful children, loving husband and hopefully, the good common sense to appreciate those gifts.

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