Well, as it turns out, my two Thanksgivings didn’t derail my weight loss. I’m down another pound, bringing me to 289. Still a looooong way to go, but I’ll take anything I can get for now.

I didn’t have too much time to dwell on my weight, though; today was World AIDS Day and my mind was elsewhere.

For the past two years, I’ve played flute at Beth Israel Hospital on World AIDS Day. I do this through a group called LIFEbeat (www.lifebeat.org), which my musician friend Isabel introduced me to. Basically, LIFEbeat recruits musical volunteers to perform for AIDS patients throughout the city. For the Beth Israel event, they had me playing classical music to welcome the patients, doctors and their families, and then again during the reception.

During the actual event, several people got up to speak or perform songs about the cause. I was particularly moved by the speeches made by two women who are living with AIDS. One lost her entire family to AIDS and then learned she was also infected; the other lost her 5-year-old son to the virus. By the end of their talks, I was in tears.

I’ll admit, when I first arrived to perform, I was worried about what people would think. Would they¬†think I was too fat? Would I look stupid in the photos that were being taken for the paper? But I quickly realized that NO ONE CARED. People were just grateful I was there to entertain these patients who’ve been through so much.

Before I left the venue, the LIFEbeat organizer, Erika, wished me a “happy” AIDS Day. This took me by surprise.

“Is it happy?” I asked.

“Well, we now have hope,” she explained. “Patients are living for many more years with it.”

This is true. We’ve come a long way with AIDS research and the outlook isn’t as dire as it was 20 years ago. Still, once you’re infected with AIDS, that’s it. At least for now, there’s no turning back the clock. It’s something you’ll have to live with for the rest of your life.

You see, this is where I’m lucky. I can turn back the clock when it comes to being obese. I can lose the weight and make myself healthy again. I have an opportunity to treat my body like it deserves to be treated. It’s selfish of me not to when other people don’t have that option.