By Hannah Reich Berman

While we are all different, the likelihood is that everybody is good at something. And some people are good at more than one thing. By the same token, there may be some folks who excel at nothing. Some people are successful at a variety of things, but there are those who fail badly, and repeatedly, at one specific endeavor. This is not for lack of trying. Unfortunately, I fall into the last group.

I can take credit for a small number of accomplishments, but weight loss is not one of them. To the best of my knowledge, there is not a diet or food regimen that I have not tried. But any success I have ever achieved has always been short-lived. What I would give to have the money that I have spent on diets over the years!

My late husband, Arnie, used to get a charge out of my attempts, but he was always encouraging. As soon as I walked through the front door from one of my weigh-in sessions, Hubby knew whether I’d had a successful week. For a time, I thought he had psychic powers. But that was not the case. He admitted that he was able to tell whether I was happy or not by the sound of my footsteps. If he heard a slow, lumbering type of step, he knew my news was bad and, to his everlasting credit, he refrained from asking me how it had gone. He used say that he always wanted to buy me a Jaguar, as that has always been my favorite car, but that he could not afford it because of what I had spent on dieting. However, whenever he heard a light-footed and bouncy step, he was happy for me and would say, “You lost weight this week! Am I right? And who cares about a Jaguar anyhow?” He always kept me laughing!

My endeavor continues. Every now and then a new program comes down the pike and I, being the sucker that I am, always think, “Aha, this is it! This, I believe I can do!” It never works out for me, but, to my credit–although it is questionable if credit is deserved–I do keep trying. This happened once again recently when I saw an ad on television for a diet program that involved purchasing food directly from the program. The way it works is that food is delivered to the home of the participant, who eats only that food and nothing else. I paid little attention to the cost of this program. After all, considering the moolah I have wasted over the years, what is a few hundred dollars more? Especially if it works!

The television ad showed pictures of the food. Indeed, a very reasonable amount of food was allowed. This was not a diet of celery and carrot sticks. My first concern was about the kashrut. Was it possible that this food was kosher? Immediately I called the number on the screen and spoke to a man who informed me that, regrettably, the food was not kosher. Dejected, I thanked the gentleman for the information and hung up the phone. Every time after that, whenever I saw the advertisement replayed, I felt terribly frustrated. But I did notice one odd thing. All the successful people featured in the ads were males. Usually women are featured in these diet ads. Nevertheless, I did not draw the obvious conclusion.

It was not until I stopped looking (and salivating) at the food that was shown on the screen that I actually paid attention to the text. And then, in a sudden moment of clarity, I learned that this diet was strictly for men. No wonder there was so much good food allowed. It was a double whammy. Not only was the food not kosher, but even if by some miracle it had been, it would not have been a diet for me. No doubt the calories of the food are computed and geared to males who are somewhere in the neighborhood of six feet tall. As a female who once stood at 54 and is now 51½ in height, I would have found this program of no benefit to me. Thank goodness the food was not kosher. Had it been kosher, and had I not realized that this was a men’s diet, I might have placed an immediate order and, with my mazal, I would have gained weight instead of losing it!

Meanwhile, I never was able to afford the Jaguar and I never maintained a weight loss. Hubby must be chuckling–chuckling, but not surprised. That’s just the way it is.

Hannah Berman lives in Woodmere and gives private small-group lessons in mah-jongg and canasta. She can be reached at or 516-902-3733.



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