Those who have battled their weight will understand my question. Others might not.
My weight fluctuates. A week’s time can make a big difference. Boruch Hashem, I have seen great results from my efforts, but recently I gained a little weight and, at about the same time, I got a yes from a girl. The shadchan wanted to set up a date, but I wanted to wait a week so that I could lose some pounds and thus present myself in the best possible way.
I shared this with my parents, who were understanding but did not know what to tell the shadchan as to why we wanted to wait a week. We were also unsure of how the girl’s side would react to having to wait a week to get started, especially since we obviously weren’t going to share the reason.
What are your feelings about this particular question and how would you have dealt with it?
As a precursor to any meaningful cogitation of your particular quandary, and in order to answer your question as efficaciously as possible, I felt that I should first consult with a physician to ascertain how much weigh a person can actually lose in a week’s time. The response I received was that on a starvation diet, an obese person could lose a maximum of eight pounds in a week. This would lead me to understand that via a healthy diet, or for a person who is not obese, we are probably talking about a maximum weight loss of not more than three to four pounds per week.
Granted, most people are quite deft at noticing even the smallest fluctuations in their own weight, and for someone struggling with weight loss, dropping a few pounds could be a momentous milestone – and justly so, living in a society that places such a heavy value on being thin. It is also true that losing a few pounds can be a real confidence booster, which carries significant value in its own right. However, most people will barely notice in someone else a loss of eight pounds in an obese person or three to four pounds in a non-obese person. Perhaps close friends and family might take note, but most others will hardly perceive it.
In my opinion, then, it would stand to reason that the kind of weight loss we are looking at here is rather unlikely to cause any great difference in how you present yourself to a young woman on a first date, as long as you are otherwise well-kept. Even if there is a chance that your weight loss will be somewhat perceptible, employing a risk-benefit analysis, it would seem to me that the risk of putting off the yes for a week without truthful explanation is far more likely to deleteriously effect the shidduch than whatever value is gained by losing a few pounds. The first impression will not be a slimmer you, it will have been you pushing her off a week ago.
Furthermore, if you are on the heavier side, or if you vacillate noticeably between heavy and thin, there is a high probability that the other side is already aware of this from their research and have said yes anyway.
It appears to me, then, that there are three ways to go about this. Let us look at where each path may lead you.
Path #1. You tell the other side, unequivocally, that you will not be ready to start dating for a week, and you either avoid explaining why or provide a fallacious explanation.
The chances that the other side would ever guess the real reason you are waiting are slim to none. It is far more likely that she and her family will either assume that you are perusing other opportunities and only saying yes to them for lack of “better” options, or that you are just not impressed with her enough to get started immediately. If that is the mindset with which this young woman commences her first date with you, it may militate against a growing relationship between the two of you from the outset.
Path #2. You tell the truth and explain that you would like to wait a week because you want to lose some weight and present better.
In all probability, the other side will assume you are very heavy upon hearing such a request. As such, there is a strong chance they will nix the date immediately. Even if they acquiesce, the first thing on their mind will be your weight; and when this young woman discovers that you are not, in fact, as heavy as she thought, it may make you appear hyper-sensitive about your weight. Neither option sounds particularly awesome to me.
Path #3. You go on the date post-haste.
Although you have put on a little weight, given all of the above, I would imagine that it is probably not going to garner you a first impression much different than if you wait a week. Additionally, saying yes and going out right away indicates a real interest in the person you are dating, which would most likely benefit you more than would pushing her off a week and arriving just a bit trimmer.
As an added bonus, if you do succeed in losing weight over the next week and beyond, and are still dating this young woman at that time, if the young woman does notice the weight loss, it is most likely that she will take it to mean you really do like her and have lost some weight special for her so that she will want to continue dating you. This, I believe, is the most bang for your buck that you could possibly get out of your intended weight loss.
In conclusion, all things considered, path #3 appears to me to have the least risk and the greatest benefit. Consequently, that is the route I would recommend, and, b’ezras Hashem, I believe it would serve you well.