Let me tell y’all a true story. It happened about four years ago.
Nine months after giving birth to my son, I realized the baby weight was not going away. No matter what I did – Keto diet, South Beach diet, Mediterranean diet, joining a gym, hiring a personal trainer – nothing worked. I kept to my diet, didn’t cheat once. I didn’t even lick my finger if it had some cream or icing on it after I gave my daughter a slice of cake. I was diagnosed with PCOS after my daughter was born, so I knew that losing weight would be harder than normal. But this was ridiculous. Finally, I called a nutritionist. A very popular nutritionist. I spoke with someone on staff, was assigned a nutritionist whom I met with, and after telling her what my weight issues were (mainly the PCOS), she “created” a meal and exercise plan specific for me and my life. I kept to the rigid diet. But I didn’t lose weight.
At every weigh-in, the nutritionist would hem and haw and scratch her head, trying to figure out what wasn’t happening, “What’s wrong with you? You should be losing weight; I don’t get it.” Well, nothing was wrong with me. The nutritionist wasn’t well-versed in how to treat women diagnosed with PCOS. After another month of not losing weight, but paying membership fees, I asked for another nutritionist. I didn’t think my nutritionist knew what she was doing. I was told repeatedly and reassured that my nutritionist knew what she was doing, but that weight loss took time and not to expect results right away. Another month went by and then another. I didn’t lose more than three pounds. This was ridiculous. I called and demanded my money back. A representative from the company called me back and tried to explain that I was at fault and that the nutritionist is not responsible if I chose to “cheat” on my carefully thought-out meal plan. Trying to blame me? Oh, no, you don’t! I would have loved to have cheated, but I kept to the meal plan, kept a meal journal. I did not accept what she was saying and told her to stop gaslighting me.
A few days later, I spoke with the owner of the company. I explained the situation. She apologized “for any miscommunication” and went on to tell me the difficulties weight loss can be for a woman diagnosed with PCOS. I wasn’t having any of it! I repeated that I kept to the rigid meal plan, went to a personal trainer weekly, and exercised at home. I stuck to the plan and, at first, I was blamed for cheating and now PCOS is to blame? I explained to her that her company is at fault; I complained months ago wanting another nutritionist, was assured I was paired with a good one, and was denied the choice of switching to another nutritionist – and now this? The owner asked to meet with me.
I went into this meeting prepared. We met and I sat patiently as she explained to me how difficult it is for someone diagnosed with PCOS to lose weight, how I may not have mentioned my frustrations to my nutritionist, how I should have requested another nutritionist. I remained silent, letting her speak and preach. But I did not remain silent when she said, and I quote, “You had kids late in life. If you had kids when you were younger, weight loss would probably be easier.” Excuse me? To me, that sentence proved that this person didn’t know how to correctly assist women diagnosed with PCOS with losing weight.
I interrupted her and said, “I was always meant to have my children when I had them. They were always meant to be mine and I was always meant to be their mother. Hashem was the one who decided when that happened, not me.”
She was taken aback and tried to backtrack, “Well, of course, I just meant...” I stood up and told her that I knew exactly what she meant: She meant to blame everything but her company or staff for my non-weight loss. Once she brought up that I was pregnant late in life (I was 32 and 35, not a decrepit old lady), I said very calmly that I was going to sue her company for the money they took from me, knowing full well what my diagnosis was and assigning me to a nutritionist who was ill-equipped to help me, and now was trying to gaslight me into thinking it’s all my fault.
After a few minutes of “not doing anything drastic,” I was handed a check for all the money I wasted in her company. She made me promise not to tell anyone about her refunding my money because “it’s against company policy.” As I was leaving, she had the gall to say, “When you figure out what your problem is, please call me. I’d love to know.” How dare she! “There is nothing wrong with me. Why can’t you admit that you don’t know everything there is to know about weight loss?”
A couple of months later, a rep from her company had the chutzpah to call and ask if I was able to find someone who was able to help me. I lied and said that I had found a great nutritionist and had lost 11 pounds. Then the rep asked, “So what was the issue?” I answered, “Your company,” and hung up the phone.
For all of you wondering how I was able to remember the conversation verbatim from five years ago, I taped the conversation. My personal nutritionist argued with me when I told her I was done with her and her “plan,” and wanted my money back. I argued with a company representative who also tried gaslighting me. I had no idea what to expect when meeting the owner, so I recorded the conversation. I didn’t know if I would need it in the future if I sued the company; and yet, I know all about it not being legal to record a conversation with someone without their knowledge or consent. Luckily, I have never had to use or play the recording for anyone in five years. I just had to replay it now to get the quotes right.
Why am I writing about this? This woman, who failed at her job, refused to take any responsibility, but instead blamed my “late in life” marriage and pregnancies. To hear that, especially from a frum woman, had me seeing red. What about “everything will happen b’shaah tovah”? We all say “b’shaah tovah” for everything: engagement, marriage, kids, graduations, getting the right job – and that is what she said to me? I very much believe that I had my children at the exact right time and these children were meant to be mine. When I was 21/22, my husband wasn’t ready for me. When we did start dating, I experienced a family crisis. Our story is very much a b’shaah tovah story, because of all that happened to make it to the chupah. And those of you in the know, know exactly what I mean. Just to further pat her ego and to make her feel good, did she decide to place blame elsewhere; but don’t you dare blame Hashem for any of this!
I’m telling this to everyone out there – younger and mature singles, divorced singles – whatever you are going through is meant to be. Of course, we don’t know why. “Why does all the bad stuff have to happen to me? Just so I’ll appreciate my bashert? Don’t worry, I’ll appreciate him/her. Just send him/her to me already!” I said that many times in my single days. Even when I took a year off from dating because of my family crisis, I was able to see that Hashem did me a favor; I was able to be there for my family as much as I was in exactly the way needed because I was single! At least I think that is why it all happened the way it did, because I dated my husband before my family crisis, and it wasn’t the right time and didn’t work out.
Do not get discouraged. Do not let stupid people saying stupid things get to you. Believe in yourself. Believe that there is a plan. Would you want to marry the wrong person just because he/she was there and available, than wait for your bashert who will surely be your other half and worth the wait? Keep doing what you’re doing. If you need a break from dating, take one. Whatever is meant to be, will happen, even if you’re on your dating hiatus. Why? Because everything happens when it’s supposed to happen.
Hatzlachah to you all!
P.S. For those wondering, I found an endocrinologist who, after many trials and errors, finally found out what was “wrong with me.” I was prescribed medication (not Ozempic. This was before Ozempic came on the market), as well as an exercise and meal plan. The weight started to fall off. Baruch Hashem, I am at the weight I want, and I know there’s nothing wrong with me!