Well first off, Marsha, we would like to commend you for being honest with yourself about the role of magic in your endeavors. As you point out, magic spells are a help, not a solution. The only way magic can be considered cheating is if before you began your weight loss program, you swore an oath to not use any non-mundane methods to assist you.
Somehow, we don’t think you have done such a thing.
You most certainly can use magic for personal gain! You probably have already and just haven’t realized it. That warding you laid down at the perimeter of your home? Guess who is benefiting from that. That empowering and encouragement of the trees nearby?
Guess who is breathing in the oxygen they produce? That blessing of fertility that so many danced around a few days ago? Tell me, how productive have you been in your work lately?
Personal gain is defined as “anything that benefits and/or betters you”. If you are not working to better yourself and your personal environment, you need to get cracking!
Karma may come looking for you, if you don’t return her 80’s era hot pink, ripped, clubbing shirt. Why those things are making a fashion comeback, completely defies us at Pagan Help Line.
Oh. Wrong Karma.
If you mean the erroneous idea that if you try to work magic for your personal benefit, that the Universe will back slap you, break your athame, and pee on your altar, then you are quite mistaken.
That (strangely popular) idea sounds more like the greatest harvest of sour grapes, ever. Some Magus Fakeius probably started such delusion as a way to criticize a successful friend. “You can’t go around doing those things! Because.. um… um… it just ain’t right that’s why! And that’s why I don’t, because I’m more moral than you!”
Enough talk, it’s time for Work. Instead of giving you a One Size Fits All spell, that has as much integrity as the “supplement vendor” selling out of a van in the thrift store parking lot, we are going to give you some homework.
You need to sit down and identify what parts of your weight loss plan will be hardest for you to stick to. If you have dietary restrictions, are there foods that are too tempting to leave alone?
Are you finding it hard to remain motivated to exercise? Are your friends and family sabotaging your efforts? Identify your weaknesses.
Can’t stay away from bread? Make it a sacrificial offering to your spirits and deities. If you must have some, place a normal portion on your plate, but of that portion, give some to those watching over you.
Getting bored with running in place? Instead of mentally idling, use that time to recite important works to yourself. Go over the spells you have been writing. See if you remember the order of the Major Arcana without having to stop and look? You already do? Recite it backwards.
Friendly fire not so friendly? Deploy those emotional and emphatic shields around you. Call on Focus and Resolve to withstand them, but without lambasting them in return. It could be, your efforts are making them self conscious about their own weaknesses.
Still bugged by the idea you are working for personal gain, and thus cheating and/or raising the ire of karma? Look at it this way: The effects may be mostly physical, but to achieve it requires you Working on your Innermost as well. That’s right, the dedication necessary to achieve your goal is central to the Work of your spirit.
That’s not cheating.
But just say no to neon colored, creatively ripped t-shirts for clubbing. Leave that hot mess in Karma’s closet, okay!