DEAR HARRIETTE: My best friend and I have been working to lose weight and get fit for a couple of years now. We are both in our 50s, and it’s not easy. We had let ourselves go significantly, and it takes so much to get back in shape when there’s a whole lot to do to get there. I’m proud of our accomplishments. Both of us have lost significant amounts of weight, and we work out regularly.
Because of all the hard work and some improvement, especially tightening of the skin and strengthening of muscles, my friend has it in her head that she can wear a bikini to a beach party we are going to in a couple of weeks. She modeled it for me the other day, and, I’m sorry, she is not ready. She looks better than she did, but she still has major cellulite and a huge, loose belly. I don’t think she should show off the “new” body that is still in progress. I think dressing more modestly can showcase her new positives without revealing too much. How can I get her to hear me? -- Stripping Down, New Orleans
DEAR STRIPPING DOWN: It is good that your friend is proud of her accomplishments and smart that you want to give her a reality check. Since the two of you have been on this journey together for quite some time, you can use your history and commitment to the cause as leverage to get her to reconsider her position. Suggest that you take pictures of her in her swimsuit so that you can show her what you see. If she agrees, shoot her from all angles so that she has a clear view of how she looks. From there, it is her decision.
I have seen plenty of women and men on the beach or poolside who are perfectly comfortable in their skin even when they are overweight. Your friend may be one of those folks, which is fine. After you show her your view, let her make her decision. Whatever she chooses, you should support her.