Hi everyone! This month, let’s hear from community members about what they do to lose weight after Pesach. Health and wellness are something I value. I do not believe in fad diets or doing things for a quick weight loss fix. At least, not anymore. The results of these (sometimes extreme) diets are temporary. You can’t sustain the behaviors it takes to be on these fad diets, either. The moment you teeter off a dramatic diet you’ll gain it all back. Now, why is this bad? Well, when it comes to your overall health, losing and gaining weight rapidly is ultimately unhealthy. Also, many of these diets cost a lot of money. And, diet culture and the mental aspects, what drives us to do these things to ourselves, well, that’s a whole other topic that we’ll dive into soon. But I digress. Let’s see what fellow community members have to say on the topic!
Please note this article does not contain medical advice from professionals. Always consult with your doctor before starting your weight loss journey.
Nancy P. Cohen
Sleep is so important for weight loss. I’ve listened to many health and wellness podcasts and I learned that getting sunlight in your eyes every morning (when there is sun) helps set your circadian rhythm and helps your body get tired at night when it’s supposed to. Getting sunlight in the morning is great for children, too. Heard this saying and loved it – basically tomorrow really starts the night before – so make sure you get a good night’s sleep!
Some other things I would like to mention on this topic:
- Eat organic as much as you can.
- Exercise – I’m a big fan of walking outside. There is nothing better than fresh air, even when it’s cold outside. Just bundle up and walk.
- Probiotics are major! An easy way to get these is by eating yogurt.
Yogurt pouches for kids – try Once Upon a Farm. When you see in labels for yogurt (and processed food in general) the claim they have “natural ingredients” or “natural flavors,” beware! You’ll want to avoid products with these meaningless claims.
- Prebiotics are important as well. Oatmeal is a good example of how to get in your prebiotics. Just make sure to go for Organic Bob’s Red Mill oatmeal that has the least amount of contaminants. Quakers had the most amount of contaminants in a study I saw and Bob’s had the least! Oatmeal is fantastic because it doesn’t spike your blood sugar and keeps you full for a while.
When it comes to Pesach I don’t buy products that I don’t normally buy just because they are kosher for Passover. This includes such things as junk food, chocolate spread, marshmallows, and things we usually used to snack on during Passover. I try to buy like I normally would, focusing on fruits, veggies, and protein at the supermarket. As far as large holiday meals go, I try to make one plate of food, enjoy it, and then put my plate in the sink as soon as I’m done with that first plate. I also don’t linger on the table at dessert for too long. For each meal I allow myself one dessert and some fruit! Moderation is the best way to go!
I’ve had the most success in weight loss when I track my Macros. (Macro tracking or “tracking your macros” refers to the habit of counting and recording how many grams of carbohydrates, protein, and fat you have per meal or per day.) The beauty of tracking macros is that you can technically eat anything. The goal is to hit your protein, fat, and carb goals for the day, which is based on your current weight and what you’re trying to achieve. So as long as you make good choices you can make it work to fit snacks in or whatever foods you really like!
Another thing I like about it: You don’t have to cut carbs or fat like with most diets. It’s not exactly a diet, it just teaches you how to portion. The most proven way to lose weight is to eat in a calorie deficit (burning more calories than you consume). This method of tracking what you eat assures that you can do this without having to guess.
Another significant thing I do to lose weight is to work out five days a week. I do CrossFit and I love it! It’s silly to me for many reasons when other women ask if I’m afraid to “get bulky” from lifting weights. First off, women and men who look very strong have a dedication like no other. It doesn’t happen by mistake. Also, the more weight you have in muscle, the more fat your body burns on its own. So as far as weight loss is concerned, you only have to gain from strength training (pun not intended). CrossFit, just like any sport, shouldn’t be intimidating because you’re not expected to walk on day one and also lift heavy weights. You build up slowly. It’s incredibly fun and satisfying to do an Olympic sport every day and get good at it. I highly recommend it to anyone, male, female, young, and old.
Ronnie Ribnick, Nutrition Consultant and Health Coach
The focus of my work as a nutrition consultant has shifted dramatically in the last few years, as I have realized how often people, despite their best intentions, struggle creating lasting change with their diets. In the typical scenario, I provide them with counsel regarding how to incorporate lifestyle changes – what foods they should be choosing, and what foods they should be avoiding. They will start off very motivated and disciplined and, to their delight, do lose quite a bit weight.
Over time, though, the success tends to erode as they face the everyday stressors of life, the temptation of holiday treats, or pressure from family and friends. They lose sight of their former motivation, fall back into old habits, and end up gaining back the weight once lost. They end up feeling frustrated, hopeless, and like complete failures.
My biggest realization, and the cornerstone of my current approach, is that our relationship with food is one of the biggest determinants of success or failure. If you think about it, food is often quite emotionally charged for us. If you were constantly berated about your weight as a child, you likely have some deep feelings of guilt and shame associated with eating. These sentiments will carry through into your adult years and affect the way you relate to food and manage the challenge of losing weight. Often, these early patterns have developed into invisible scripts that we might not be aware of, and part of my role is to help illuminate them so that the person has a better chance of success.
As an example, I recall working with a young woman who had struggled losing weight since her teenage years. In our work together we were able to uncover the real reason for her inability to stick to her diet. As it turned out, she was self-sabotaging since she was uncomfortable with the attention she got from men when she was thinner. Being overweight had become a safety blanket for her, protecting her from the insecurities she faced as a person. Once we had surfaced this, she was able to challenge the foundational assumption of herself as unworthy of love and attention, and successfully changed her lifestyle to lose the weight and feel better about herself.
Ironically, we all get into these strange battles with ourselves – on one hand, there is the overt and conscious motivation to change. On the other, there is the subconscious striving to retain the status quo, to stay within the boundaries of our invisible scripts and enjoy the “protection” they provide. Surfacing these scripts works to disarm them and create an opportunity for the person to identify new ways to act and behave.
Suddenly, there is no need to “rebel” against the diet and eat a whole bag of cookies. We can start making conscious and positive choices rather than feeling deprived. As a nutritional consultant and health coach, my biggest joy is to help people living healthier lives, whether they are battling weight issues, metabolic disorders, (e.g. diabetes), or digestive disorders. With this approach, and the success it brings my clients, I have more impact through my work than ever and have never enjoyed it as much.
I joined a 16-week challenge at my kickboxing gym. They provided us with an app where you log in your meals and you get an unlimited membership to kickboxing for the 16 weeks. I have been going consistently three times a week. I have more energy now, my mood has changed drastically, and I’m noticing I’m not bloating as much from food.
The gym recorded our body measurements and weight the first week and we’re going to take those measurements again the last week. To assure success, I make sure I go to the gym even if I’m too tired. I also try not to eat too much junk food. The workout incorporates both cardio and strength training, and is really enjoyable.
In conclusion, there is no magic pill. You cannot fast track long-term success. It takes hard work, both mentally and physically, if you want to lose weight in a healthy and lasting manner. Your inner voice is driving your behavior, so listen to what it’s saying. Is it helping or hurting you?
Consistently implementing small changes can result in progress over time, and I think that’s also something to keep in mind. Like Rabbi Shlomo Diamond says about growth in religion, “You can’t jump up the rungs of a ladder or you’ll likely fall down.” You have to go slow, take baby steps, and that’s how you will ultimately reach your goals.
I sincerely hope this was an enjoyable and helpful read. Until next time, be well! Frieda Schweky
Follow Frieda on Instagram! @friedaschwekyphoto