Tuesday, March 31, 2015

"Thin Twin" Wants Sister To Lose the Attitude (And Maybe Some Weight, Too)

Dear Tazi:

I recently lost a lot of weight, and am looking forward to wearing a sexy bikini on the beach this summer. My problem is that my twin sister "Ursula" is still quite heavy - and quite bitter about how good I look. She keeps making nasty comments about how we are "no longer twins" and how people are going to start calling me "the thin twin" and even joking that she is going to pretend to be me so people will think that I am her!

Tazi, we both have thyroid problems which is what caused the weight gain in the first place. The only difference between us is that I adjusted my diet after being diagnosed and she did not. I cut out sugar and starch and eat more whole grains and green, leafy vegetables. Ursula often forgets to take her medication, which complicates her thyroid problem, and has a sweet tooth that she constantly indulges.

I have tried to encourage Ursula to eat better, but she says that she can't afford it; that fresh fruits and vegetables are expensive and that she does not like the taste of whole wheat breads and pastas; and, worst of all, that she will never lose weight so why should she bother trying. While I admit whole wheat pasta is and acquired taste, there are so many other grains to try! Quinoa, amaranth, winter wheat...

Yummies for my tummy!

I have invited Ursula to go to the Farmer's Market with me to buy fresh veggies for less, but she always says she is too busy; I suggest that she go shopping at Whole Foods with me to see how affordable it can be (especially when you use your Oreo and ice cream budget to buy nutritious foods) but she refuses. Can you think of any way I can get Ursula to at least try to help herself? She is my twin sister, and I am missing the closeness we once had!


Dear "Phoebe":

I see from your choice of pseudonyms that you are a Friends fan and not making cracks at the expense of the Sea Witch. Cool...I like you already, so I am going to print your letter!

I would like to congratulate you on all of your hard efforts to eat right and lose the extra weight you have been carrying. From the sound of your letter, you are feeling great, as well as looking great! This, however, could be what is causing your twin sister such distress. Once upon a time when she looked at you she saw herself; now, she sees the person she would like to be but feels she will never become. That has got to hurt!

A common symptom of hypothyroidism is depression, and it sounds like your sister may have a touch of it. Please encourage her to take her medication EVERY DAY! A 7-day pill organizer can make it easy to remember to do this, so long as she keeps it in plain sight and remembers to take her pill as soon as she wakes up every morning. She can keep the organizer on her dresser and grab her daily dose on her way to the bathroom after she wakes each morning. If this process does not improve her outlook on live, please encourage her to see her endocrinologist; she may need a higher dose of thyroid medication. If this is not the case, she should talk to her general practitioner about being screened (and possibly treated) for depression.

Once Ursula has her medication and her moods under control, try talking to her about eating healthier. Fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains should play a starring role in all diets, with sugary foods taking a back seat to naturally sweet foods that are low in calories - think strawberries and blueberries and other seasonal fruits! Now that summer is approaching, store freezers are full of frozen fresh fruit pops, a fun way to satisfy a sweet tooth and get your nutrition!

I suggest that you work with Ursula at a level that works for her. She may not have time to go to the Farmer's Market, but does she have time to join you for dinner? Why not invite her over to enjoy a healthy meal at your place, complete with a dessert of fresh sorbet and fruit accompaniment? Once Ursula sees that eating healthy does not have to be dull, she may be more inclined to try it. Slowly, work with her to make-over her pantry until it contains more healthy products and less junk; invite Ursula to go for a walk with you; go shopping with her for an attractive, plus-size bathing suit (they do exist). In other words, do all of the sisterly things you did together before you lost weight! In time, Ursula will see that she has not lost her twin simply because her twin has lost weight.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.