Dear Rachel,

My very close friend is a really attractive woman. However, she recently gave birth to her first baby, and has had a really hard time losing the pregancy weight. She is still beautiful, but it is hard for her to accept that she is overweight and she wants to look like she did before she had the baby. The problem is that she has started wearing clothes that are too small on her and really make her look terrible. I would love to somehow let her know, but this is such a sensitive issue that I don't know how to address it. To make things more complicated, I have three kids and was fortunate to lose the weight right away. If anything, I weigh less now than I did before I had my children, so that is even harder for her. What do you suggest?

Las Vegas, NV

Dear S.B.,

For most women, a sudden increase in weight and new body size can be a hard thing to deal with. You appear to be one of the fortunate few for whom pregnancy resulted in a better figure. And you are probably the envy of not just your friend but everyone who knows you!

Chances are that your friend will not take hearing that she doesn't look good in her clothes well from you. She may not take it well from anyone, but certainly not you. So I would avoid having that conversation, regardless of how sensitive you would be. There is a Chassidic concept that things need to be said b'ofen hamitkabel which means in the way that the receiver is able to heed them. It sounds like a direct approach is certainly not that, and for her to truly receive your message, it will need to be done indirectly. Being that she is really embarrassing herself, you cannot ignore the problem but there are things you can do to help change it without having to ever state it:

Help her get into shape! Tell her that you want to live a healthier life and want to start walking at least a mile a day. Or come up with a reason (not weight related) that you want to join a gym or a class for your health issues. There is no question that being healthy and exercising is vital for everyone regardless of whether or not there is a weight issue. If you ask her to help you out, and you tell her that you need her involvement in order to do it yourself, then she might just start working out herself which will lead to weight loss.

Help her eat healthier! Being a new mom is hard. And remembering to take care of yourself when you are trying to take care of a new baby is even harder. Chances are that she is not eating well and this is a time when she needs to really eat the right foods to have the energy that she needs (and all the more vital if she is nursing). Cook her some healthy dinners or once a week buy her veggies and other foods that are ready to eat that are also weight-conscious. Most of us wouldn't mind eating well if we didn't have to prepare the food ourselves. The more she has easy access to the right foods, the more she will eat them, and the quicker she will lose that baby weight.

Take her shopping! Tell her that you want to pamper her. As a new mom, she deserves it! And go clothes shopping with her. This way you can help pick out the clothing and styles that really look best on her and that fit her. If she keeps reaching for the wrong size, ask a sales lady to get involved and help her find the right clothes. Maybe if she hears from a stranger that the smaller size really isn't flattering, she will be more likely to wear what does look good on her. (If you really want to get her a few outfits, ask other friends to pitch in and make it a real day for her…get her nails done, get lunch, etc.) And when she wears her new outfits, make sure she gets lots of compliments on them, from you, her husband and whoever else you are around! If she keeps being told she looks great in certain things, she will keep wearing them.

And, hopefully in the process of eating healthier, working out and feeling better about herself, that extra weight will start to fall off, and then she will be able to fit back into the clothes which for now are too small. Hope this works!