Word of mouth led to phone calls and emails from a number of women who wanted to know more about the psychological side of dieting and weight loss. And what about the exercise variable in the equation? Why did Maria completely leave exercise out? Wasn’t this unethical, unforgiveable, irreligious?
With all that she was doing—writer, editor, wife, mother, housecleaner, gardener, personal groomer, reader, sister, daughter, friend, acquaintance—could she put these women’s weight problems on her plate as well?
Michael, the husband of husbands, was—what else, but sympathetic. He didn’t understand why Maria didn’t move on and let go of the weight loss thing. Husband of husbands wasn’t critical or condescending or disapproving, or anything that a husband of husbands shouldn’t be. He reasoned: she had certainly conquered her own weight problem. She had more than conquered it. All the hard work, all the years, all the sweat equity, all the abject failure, always living for the future, frightened of returning to the past. Her weight was Maria’s private torture, and she had exquisitely laid its racks, thumb screws, and pillories to rest.
For the most part, Maria agreed with her sympathetic, wonderful husband. She wasn’t interested in getting involved. She had her own life to live. She was doing enough already. Early mornings, late nights—editing and writing never seemed to end. Not that Maria was a workaholic. She was a lifeaholic. She loved everything in her life (well, almost). She didn’t get enough of vegging out to watch old movies on TV and sitcoms that Michael husband of husbands couldn’t stand, sitcoms that she talked over with her sister-in-law by email almost every day because Michael, her life partner and husband of you-know-what, didn’t have a sympathetic bone in his body when it came to these sitcoms. If she was forced to tell the truth, Maria didn’t think the sitcoms were very good either, but she tried her hardest not to admit this to H of H Michael.
So the idea of helping women lose weight grew on Maria, and she went into her first case—the case of Sophie—with the idea that Sophie and her weight problems would grow on her too.