June 16, 2024
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June 16, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Dear Jenn,

I struggle with weight loss. I am a yo-yo dieter, which makes it difficult to succeed. Unfortunately, holidays blow my diet away. This Pesach, I lost control and couldn’t stop eating. I gained undesired weight. I’m uncomfortable in my clothing. I feel depressed and defeated. It’s so difficult to motivate myself to begin trying to lose the weight gained over the holiday. And now here comes Shavuot! Oy, the cheesecake! Please help me!

Struggling Over Shavuot


Dear Struggling Over Shavuot,

I understand your frustration. Jewish holidays can be a huge weight-control challenge. You are not alone; many people struggle with yo-yo dieting and weight gain and/or control over holidays.

For those working on weight loss, when it comes to holidays such as Shavuot, it is best to concentrate on weight maintenance rather than further weight loss. If weight maintenance is accomplished over a holiday, consider yourself a success. A while ago, I wrote two columns for The Jewish Link, “Passover Diet Challenge” (March 30, 2023) and “Pouting After Pesach” (April 28, 2022). Look online for those columns. There are good ideas to help you get through holidays and celebrations without falling into the abyss of binge-eating.


If You Fall Off the Derech Get Right Back On

You gained weight over the Pesach chag. Forgive yourself; it happens. Weight gain is not a sin but rather a mishap. Pesach is associated with springtime, chag ha’aviv, a new world blooming with new life. With Shavuot, the warm weather is approaching. This means clothing layers will have to come off; no hiding under thick layers of clothing. Therefore, let’s start anew: a new chapter in your life. Get back on the derech and start now.


Having Long-Term Success

Weight loss is a slow and steady process. In my previous nutrition columns, I mentioned that it takes 3,500 calories in excess to gain one pound and, conversely, a 3,500-calorie deficit to lose one pound. Weight gain and loss is scientific and mathematical. Below are some tips to succeed in weight loss and maintenance.


Protocols to Follow for Weight Loss and Maintenance

  1. Keep a Food Diary: This is a must. Document what time you eat meals and snacks. Record how you feel before and after eating. Write down what was consumed. This means measuring and being accurate.
  2. Count Those Calories: Honestly and accurately. It’s your personal record, so tell the truth. If you eat cake, write it down. Calculate the cake calories.
  3. Get a Grip on Portion Size: In my column “Interpreting Food Labels” (May 9, 2024), I discussed how to read food labels for portion size and calorie control. Read labels and calculate. The “Diabetic Food Exchange List” may be a helpful source for calorie calculation and portion size control.
  4. Calculate Your Calorie Requirements: There are various mathematical formulas to calculate caloric requirements using factors such as: height, current body weight, desired body weight, age, sex and activity level. However, it is recommended by the American Dietetic Association the following for weight management: Women: Consume not less than 1,200 calories daily. Men: Consume not less than 1,500 calories daily.
  5. Select Healthy Food Items: Consume fresh fruits and vegetables. Purchase lean cuts of meat. Remove skin from poultry. Fish and eggs are great sources of protein. Purchase low-fat dairy products. The Food Guide Pyramid can be found online. It suggests the amount of food to consume from various food groups.
  6. Food Preparations: Food preparation is also important for weight control. Avoid high empty-calorie, sugary-salty sauces. Preferably, season foods with natural spices and herbs. Prepare foods with unsweetened cooking wine or unsweetened juices to enhance flavors and keep products tender. Lightly dress fresh salads.
  7. Emotional Eating Versus “True Hunger”: Feeling the need to eat nosh after consuming a large meal is emotional hunger. Eating emotionally to soothe sadness, depression, loneliness, boredom or excitement can become an unhealthy habit. This can sabotage one’s weight and health. “True hunger” is feeling hungry after not eating for hours. The body requires replenishment of nutrients. When you feel the need to eat under those circumstances, you are “physically hungry.” Struggling over Shavuot, can you tell the difference between the two types of hunger?
  8. Mindful Eating and Living: This means enjoying the moments of life as you experience them. When eating, consume food slowly, enjoy the tastes, textures and smells of foods. Mindful eating also allows the brain and stomach to connect to fullness and enhance digestion. On average meals should take 20-30 minutes at the least.
  9. Exercise: Boost metabolism and rid yourself of excess, unnecessary fat. Regular exercise will do this. In addition, exercise keeps the body fit and healthy. Many people don’t like to exercise, don’t know how to exercise, cannot make time for it and/or are inconsistent. A great exercise is to walk. Put on some headphones and walk. If you are out of shape, walk for 15 minutes daily for a week or two. Get used to the routine of exercising. Little by little, add more time to your walks and pick up the pace. Consistency is the key.

Exercise does the following:

Keeps your body strong and fit.

Helps prevent certain diseases.

Has beneficial effects on mood.

Improves sleep.

Boosts metabolism so calories are burned efficiently and weight can be controlled.

Think of it this way: Would you be inconsistent with taking a daily life-preserving prescription medication? Consider exercise as needed daily medication. It’s 100% necessary for a healthy body and weight control … basically your life.



Struggling Over Shavuot, failure is not an option; you must prevail. Get back on the healthy, weight-controlling derech. Consider the recommendations above. You can succeed but must be truthful, accurate and consistent with weight loss practices and protocols.

If you or a loved one would like to lose much-needed weight, Nutrition Transformations can offer medication to help assist the effort. Weight-loss medications anesthetize the appetite, making it easier to reduce and control caloric intake. We help develop healthy eating habits, offer tips for preparing healthy, calorically wise recipes, teach calorie and portion size awareness and encourage regular exercise. Time for a new you! Call us today…

Yours in good health,




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