July 17, 2024
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July 17, 2024
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What do most people do on January 1? They make resolutions! They write lists of ways to make themselves feel better, including exercising as well as sleeping more, eating better and spending more quality time with friends and family. What do Modern Orthodox Jews do after Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur? Different kinds of resolutions are made, including davening with more kavanah, learning regularly and giving more tzedakah. What do observant Jews do after Sukkot? Well, most attempt to get their lives and families back into a routine of school and work. Once this is complete, those who really enjoyed the chagim try to figure out how on earth to lose the extra weight they have gained eating and drinking their way through the Yomim Tovim.

We now find ourselves post holidays, and the last of the s’chach is put away in the garage, or maybe the last of the suitcases are put up into the attic. We then turn around and see our clothes may be tighter or we feel off kilter with our own health. Yom Tov is a wonderful time to connect with our families, but it is also a time to connect with extra helpings of homemade pastrami and crumb chocolate cake. We lost our exercise routines, sleep schedules and smaller meals—and we end up wondering how to get it all together.

Regardless of how far off track you may find yourself, the following three suggestions are useful tools to try. You may find one is particularly useful or all three may interest you. I do recommend you try to pick one that resonates the most. Try it for a few days and see if it sticks. It’s extremely hard to make multiple changes at once. The most ambitious of us may want to do more, but it’s easier to make things routine before adding on something else. You can always reach me if you want more ideas.

  1. Drink more water: A lot more, and less of everything else.

What do you drink every day? Are you a coffee drinker? If yes, how much and what do you put in it? Do you drink a lot of diet sodas and teas? Too much alcohol at Kiddush? What we drink on a regular basis can make a huge difference in how we feel and what it says on the scale.

Ideally, people should drink half their body weight in ounces in water—although many do not even come close. Decaffeinated unsweetened teas count—but juice, diet soda and coffee don’t. While this may seem to be even unattainable, drinking more is a start. I recommend you build up slowly so your body gets used to it and you don’t spend all day running to the bathroom!

However, I hear often that water is too plain and boring. Flavored seltzer is another option, as long as you don’t mind the carbonation. An idea that is becoming more popular is flavoring your own water with fruit and herbs. Infused water is easy to make and can really add some curb appeal to that plain water you hate drinking. You can use a pitcher or an individual glass bottle and add your desired fruit and flavorings, giving you taste without adding calories. Some ideas to try are mixed citrus fruits, strawberries and mint leaves, watermelon and basil, mango and pineapple, blueberries and raspberries, or citrus and grape. The possibilities are endless. Be creative!

Water helps curb your appetite and saves the calories from sugary drinks or coffee flavorings you may use as a pick-me-up.The reason diet sodas don’t help you lose weight is because they cause your body to expect sugar because of the sweet flavor, but when it doesn’t get it you then may overeat at your next meal because your body craves those calories. Naturally flavored water doesn’t have that effect at all, but can be so good you find yourself drinking way more than you ever thought.

Start with one full glass of water between meals. When that becomes routine, simply add more water slowly. Soon, you will find yourself consuming less chemical-laden sodas and sugary drinks and much more water. More importantly, you will feel great.

  1. Eat more vegetables throughout the day.

The concept of crowding out bad behaviors with good ones is easier than trying to not eat another piece of challah. Find a new vegetable you haven’t tried, or stick with one you enjoy, and spend a few days finding ways to add it into your diet. Vegetable-based soups or salads can help you eat fewer calories at a meal by filling up your stomach. Snacking on cut vegetables can stop a craving if you add hummus or guacamole. After a week you can see how you feel. Try adding one vegetable at a time and you will realize you feel better and slimmer without much effort.

  1. Adopt or refresh an exercise routine.

This is a perfect time to start when you feel motivated to fit back into your pre-Yom Tov clothes. If you just got off track over the holidays, find small ways to start up again, even walking outside with a friend or spouse, bike riding with your kids or trying a new class at a gym. Being accountable to someone else will help keep your routine because you are less likely to stand up your friend but more likely to find something else to do besides walk or bike on your own.

Hopefully, you will find one or more of these suggestions helpful and feasible. Remember: if you add good habits slowly and one at a time, they are more likely to become second nature. This will determine your lasting success at achieving your goals and making you feel energized and on track for the rest of the year.

By Arianne Weinberger

 Arianne Weinberger is an integrative nutrition health coach specializing in optimizing health and wellness through diet and lifestyle changes. Her roots in finance propelled her to find ways to help others maintain a healthy and balanced life in a chaotic world, leading her to start Heal Yourself Health Coaching. She can be reached at [email protected].



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