Too Zaftig for a Good Shidduch

by Malky Rozen | June 24 2021

Even though it was over 50 years ago, I remember my first Weight Watchers meeting like it was yesterday. Ironically, what I remember is not the meeting itself, but what happened afterwards. Right after the meeting ended, we went to the bakery, and my mother told me to order whatever I wanted. She explained how having a treat was very important so that I would be able to stay on the program during the rest of the week.

From that day forward, a lifetime battle raged within my soul between my self-esteem and the number on the scale. Every week, I cringed, awaiting to see what the scale said—if I lost weight, well, I was a good girl; if the number on the scale increased, I was a failure. By the time I reached pubert

Even though it was over 50 years ago, I remember my first Weight Watchers meeting like it was yesterday. Ironically, what I remember is not the meeting itself, but what happened afterwards. Right after the meeting ended, we went to the bakery, and my mother told me to order whatever I wanted. She explained how having a treat was very important so that I would be able to stay on the program during the rest of the week.

From that day forward, a lifetime battle raged within my soul between my self-esteem and the number on the scale. Every week, I cringed, awaiting to see what the scale said—if I lost weight, well, I was a good girl; if the number on the scale increased, I was a failure. By the time I reached puberty, I was full of shame, I believed that I was the ugliest person on the planet, and I had virtually no self-esteem. The message was clear: “I would never find a husband until I was thin.” I would do anything not to be zaftig.

I’ve spent years feeling humiliated by my size.

And so began the lifelong years of searching for the cure. If there was a new diet, I was on it. If there was a new diet book, I read it. If there was a new supplement promising extraordinary results, I took it. I’ve been a size 2, and I’ve been a size 18. I’ve spent years feeling humiliated by my size, and years being told how wonderful I looked (because I was thin). I have prayed and cried out to Hashem to take this burden from me and to let me be free from the dieting merry-go-round of my life.

My pursuit of the perfect number on the scale caused me to make choices with significant consequences. During the times I was zaftig, I stayed back, hiding from the world. It affected my schoolwork, my choice of careers, my dreams, and my ability to have a realistic perception of who I was. If the number on the scale wasn’t good enough, neither was I. I didn’t feel worthy of the nice Yiddishe doctor my mishpochah expected me to marry.

I wish I could tell you of the miracle that happened, how the weight miraculously fell off my body when I wasn’t even trying, and how I found the cure for weight loss. Alas, I can’t do that today, but perhaps one day that miracle cure will exist. What I can tell you though, is that I was able to finally separate my self-worth from the number on the scale. You see, as I read my Bible, I began to memorize verses such as those in Psalm 139:

For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them. (vv. 13–16)

Slowly, I began to realize just how much G-d loved me. This love was not based on the number on the scale; it was not contingent on how many carrot sticks I ate or how many steps I walked every day. G-d loved me and cared for me just the way I was.

My self-esteem is no longer tied to the number on the scale—it is tied to a G-d who loves me.

And if G-d loved me and cared for me, couldn’t I love myself? Couldn’t I believe that I was fearfully and wonderfully made, with gifts and talents that the Aibishter could use? I can’t say it was easy, nor can I say I’ve arrived at my goal weight and stayed there for three years without drifting. But I can tell you that I’ve been able to achieve some of those dreams lost to that little girl. My self-esteem is no longer tied to the number on the scale—it is tied to a G-d who loves me, knows me, and cares for me. As I’ve come to the place of self-acceptance, I’ve been able to enjoy the love of my husband who sees me as beautiful just the way I am.

If you would like to know more about this G-d of love, or even just talk about your latest diet with me, contact Malky Rozen at [email protected].

y, I was full of shame, I believed that I was the ugliest person on the planet, and I had virtually no self-esteem. The message was clear: “I would never find a husband until I was thin.” I would do anything not to be zaftig.

I’ve spent years feeling humiliated by my size.

And so began the lifelong years of searching for the cure. If there was a new diet, I was on it. If there was a new diet book, I read it. If there was a new supplement promising extraordinary results, I took it. I’ve been a size 2, and I’ve been a size 18. I’ve spent years feeling humiliated by my size, and years being told how wonderful I looked (because I was thin). I have prayed and cried out to Hashem to take this burden from me and to let me be free from the dieting merry-go-round of my life.

My pursuit of the perfect number on the scale caused me to make choices with significant consequences. During the times I was zaftig, I stayed back, hiding from the world. It affected my schoolwork, my choice of careers, my dreams, and my ability to have a realistic perception of who I was. If the number on the scale wasn’t good enough, neither was I. I didn’t feel worthy of the nice Yiddishe doctor my mishpochah expected me to marry.

I wish I could tell you of the miracle that happened, how the weight miraculously fell off my body when I wasn’t even trying, and how I found the cure for weight loss. Alas, I can’t do that today, but perhaps one day that miracle cure will exist. What I can tell you though, is that I was able to finally separate my self-worth from the number on the scale. You see, as I read my Bible, I began to memorize verses such as those in Psalm 139:

For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them. (vv. 13–16)

Slowly, I began to realize just how much G-d loved me. This love was not based on the number on the scale; it was not contingent on how many carrot sticks I ate or how many steps I walked every day. G-d loved me and cared for me just the way I was.

My self-esteem is no longer tied to the number on the scale—it is tied to a G-d who loves me.

And if G-d loved me and cared for me, couldn’t I love myself? Couldn’t I believe that I was fearfully and wonderfully made, with gifts and talents that the Aibishter could use? I can’t say it was easy, nor can I say I’ve arrived at my goal weight and stayed there for three years without drifting. But I can tell you that I’ve been able to achieve some of those dreams lost to that little girl. My self-esteem is no longer tied to the number on the scale—it is tied to a G-d who loves me, knows me, and cares for me. As I’ve come to the place of self-acceptance, I’ve been able to enjoy the love of my husband who sees me as beautiful just the way I am.

If you would like to know more about this G-d of love, or even just talk about your latest diet with me, contact Malky Rozen.

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