To Eat or Not to Eat, Fat is the Question

by Marnie Macauley June 27, 2016


advice julyWe Jews adore our families, food, education, food, values, food, Israel, food. And did I mention food? Food for four on a Jewish table could typically feed the entire population of Uruguay. But the general population’s “thin” obsession can call tradition into question.


DEAR MARNIE: I find myself in an uncomfortable situation. I’m 42, widowed two years ago. I’m starting to pull out of my depression and recently joined an athletic club for Jewish women. My problem is the locker room.  Many of my friends are members and most have terrific bodies. Naturally, in the ladies’ locker room, they’re unclothed. Marnie, I’m not in the best of shape and I’m embarrassed to even think of people seeing me in my physical condition. Can you advise a way to cope with this?

-Self-Conscious in San Diego

MARNIE SAYS: Ah yes. Your letter brought back all those odious gym bloomer moments.  Now, a PC advice duenna would tell you to adore every stretch mark, ripple and roll, as they’ve shown you lived.  But I loathe political correctness so what you need, my fellow thigh waffler, is an MO for making the whole thing…casual.

Option one: Eye contact. Make some. If you’re staring at two eyeballs, you’re not looking elsewhere.

Option two: Bring a book or plug in your ear phones while doing the quick-change. You can pretend you’re contemplating Sholem Aleichem or listening to “Yada Yada Seinfeld Moments.”

Option three: Face your peers! Without getting ultra-personal, comment admiringly. “Wow Shelly, great muscle tone. How long did it take you? What machines did you use?” Stepping up to the (shower) mat and nonchalantly asking a simple question turns terrified into a terrific “how-to” op.

When you’re ready, I’d choose #3. You see, you’re the one freaking yourself out over your perceived failings and assigned them the same fears. You’ve imagined you’re Quasimodo in a field of Esthers (which of course is a big fat lie) and decided the ladies will vote you Queen of Cellulite over their carrot juice.

You’ve also assumed that they upon the planet in perfection. Once you open up and invite stories, you’ll be shocked to learn that the gal next to you lost 150 pounds, the one across had a lazy eye and ears that could wave in planes, and the most majestic struggled with bulimia. And most will be eager to help. You see sweetie, there are thousands of stories in “naked” city.

Deep breaths now, and repeat in your head: “Remember the gym bloomers!” If you got through that, you can wade through this bevy of Jewish beauties without caring about a ripple or a roll.


DEAR MARNIE: Last year I fell for a very sweet man who lived across from my winter get-away. I watched him every day, wishing to be on his arm.  Unfortunately, I was not comfortable with my appearance. I weighed 186 pounds and am 5’ 5”.  I also had short black hair and big glasses. I decided to do a make-over. I took almost a year. I’ve dropped 60 pounds, changed my hair, clothes and wear contacts. No one can recognize me now!  I want to show my new look off to this man, but I don’t just want him to like me for my looks!   How should I approach him?  Should I tell him who I really am?


MARNIE SAYS: My Dear EZ: I just swallowed three Oreos whole in contemplation of the Herculean task (no pun here) you have accomplished. Congratulations! Now go enjoy it!

Walk up to him, smile and say, “Hi! Great to see you again.”

Should he shriek, “Holy Hershey! What happened to you?!?” simply say you’ve had a glorious year, then move on to topics deeper than Donna Karan size two pantyhose. After all, isn’t that part of why you sweated and shedded in the first place?

You made a choice to re-mold your exterior but you can’t have it both ways mamala. True, it’s the interior that is at your luscious core. Indeed, you could be a Rachel Weisz clone, but cheekbones like hockey sticks do not guarantee a second date if the owner lacks the soul to interest a man of noble character. But a little exterior work makes all that wonderful stuff enticing. Much like a fine house, a little refurbishing doesn’t destroy the charm, but encourages others to knock.

Clearly, you want this fellow to ring your bell. Whether he’s “the one” or not, you now own the beautiful results which can be used with another.

So shed that sad little cherub who sat on the sidelines. You see honey, all that stuff around you was like a Bo Peep bridesmaid dress – a tent hiding the real you. All you’ve done is shed barriers, now your task is to believe it and fit into it with joy!


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