Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Dear Dating Coach,

Chanukah is a constant reminder of everything I am doing wrong. A holiday that celebrates the foods I should not eat; latkes, donuts, and all things fried. “You are dating now,” is my family’s constant refrain. “Be careful what you eat.” I definitely struggle with my weight and Chanukah is really not helpful. My friends are all thin and can enjoy donuts galore, while my mother will be watching every bite I eat. Why are people in shidduchim obsessed with weight and how do I get through this foodfest with my sanity?


Dietetic Donuts


Dear Donuts,

This story is awkward, but we are close, so I will share. We had an iguana problem at our house. Three iguanas decided to make our space their home and would not budge. I have nothing against iguanas but they are not big believers in privacy and don’t have litter boxes… if you get my drift. Our yard became a dangerous place to “step.” Last week, I went outside for a bit and for the rest of the day I said to my family, the Amazon guy, and random strangers, “Do you smell that?” Something smelled really bad and I could not figure out where it was coming from. I sniffed and looked and sniffed and looked and could not pinpoint the horrible smell. UNTIL, in a light bulb moment, I looked under my shoe, and saw that I was the SOURCE of that terrible smell! Me! Needless to say, “Jessica the Iguana Lady” came the next day and relocated Teeny, Tiny, and Moe. (P.S. The shoes also needed to be relocated.)



Thank you for reaching out. Chanukah is a holiday with beautiful foods that remind us of the miracle of the oil that lasted for eight days. The latkes and the donuts pay homage to oil and fill our homes with delicious aromas that we enjoy. For those who are being mindful of their health and weight, these fried temptations can be hard to resist. Your family feels a need to monitor what you eat now that you are “in shidduchim,” worried I presume, that any movement on the scale will have you lose dating opportunities. They watch you and reprimand you and in turn you cannot enjoy the bounty that Chanukah offers.


Try to Take

This is not a dating question. This is a YOU question. Sure, I would not be so glib as to deny that our appearance and even size matter in shidduchim. Perhaps there is even a point in being mindful of what we eat regardless of size or weight. Yet, this question impacts you as a whole, your life, and your goals that supersedes dating. Self-confidence and self-worth matter always. Self-acceptance and a positive body image are important forever. If you want to be careful about what you eat because you want to be healthier, stronger, or more confident, then go for it. But do not forego a donut because “your mother told you to.”


My Donut.

Take the time now to focus on you and how you feel about yourself. If there is anything you want to change, make a change for yourself. If there is any area in which you wish to grow, make an adjustment for yourself. If we rely on the police-work of those around us to maintain our image, our good character, or our behaviors, we will never be successful. Look inward, and if you are unhappy with anything you see, do your best to improve; but do it for you, not for the “date” relying on your scale reading. People are attracted to self-confidence. A self-assured person gets dates. Work on your sense of self and everything else will fall into place.


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Henni Halberstam is a Dating and Marriage Coach whose expert advice will help you navigate dating and relationships in order to ensure a successful marriage. You can contact her at [email protected] to schedule a phone session.