You tell me that you “blew it” over Channukah!
1) First, I hope that you had a lovely holiday! If you had extra food, at least I hope that you enjoyed it, and that the whole day (week!) was GREAT! I hope that your kids also enjoyed the holiday. Holidays give us the break, the inspiration, and the happiness that helps us navigate life .Even if you overate, holidays are meant to be enjoyed.
2) Learning HOW to navigate the holidays without destroying your eating/exercise program completely takes time. You are pretty new at this; hopefully you will be better on the next holiday, and better next Chanukah as well.
#3) I used to think that making a firm resolution to
"eat within reason" at holiday time would get me through "OK".IT WASN'T. I learned that I MUST track (even if just keeping a running tally mentally), EVEN IF OVEREATING. Being honest about HOW MUCH I was eating (even if deciding to allow myself some "extra" ) helps me stay within reason (or half reason)
4) Rather than moan about the fact that you went overboard, turn this around to a "learning experience". Evaluate:
a) Where did I go wrong? When? What were the biggest temptations, the biggest triggers? Who was I with? How was I feeling?
b) were there other factors involved? Did I get enough sleep? (THAT is probably pretty hard for a young mom like you!) Was I under stress due to ______
Then after you evaluate , make a PLAN how to decrease the "other factors", and how to cope with the temptations. WRITE this plan in your calendar for the next holiday (Tu B’Svat? Purim?) . [And turn to a middle page of ELUL (last month of the Calendar) and write there: “Write in next year’s calendar my pre-Chanukah plan.”] After the next time evaluate HOW it went, and fine tune. Consider giving yourself some type of prize for success.
Here’s a personal example of how I did this as regards Passover:
The First Step in the “twelve steps” is admitting that we are out of control.
Before Passover, knowing full well the family “custom” to (over)eat chocolate during the pre-Pesach (pre-Passover) days and during the holiday itself, I bought several bars of the finest Swiss type with trepidation. I knew that these bars of “instant energy” were a potential diet bombshell, especially as I was running at that time on about 4 hours of sleep nightly.
The question was, why should I buy at all?
Well, Orthodox Jews take seriously the command not to eat leaven over the holiday (unfortunately the command to guard one’s health seems less critical at this juncture), and the types of food available with a really good kosher certification (for Passover) are somewhat limited. (Especially for those who also do not consume legumes over the week.) I wanted to have good treats to give the grandchildren, and my husband might very well see non-purchase of an essential like chocolate to be grounds (almost) for divorce…..
So I ate some before Passover, and although I was eating much less than once, it was surely enough to cause a dent in my plans not to gain over the month. I realized that sleep-deprivation and stress were factors in play, and consoled myself that once the holiday entered, these factors would fall by the wayside, and I would be able to get my eating under control. After all, salads and vegetable soups are great Passover foods, not just matzah with butter.
So the holiday has started, I have returned to having time for aerobic walking, and I discovered to my horror, that my consumption of fattening foods has stayed out of control.
Finally last night I admitted to myself step number one: I am powerless over the Swiss bars. So I passed them on to someone else to distribute to the grandchildren.
This does not mean that I am perfectly in control already. The lack of many of my regular diet “substitutions” has still made dieting this week very difficult, but I am beginning to get a semblance of normal intake.
For those readers uninitiated to Pesach (Passover) cleaning, the words “spring cleaning” is a mere whiff of what I do before Passover. We are enjoined not to eat, own, or use “chometz” (leavened products) during Passover. And while there are easier ways to clean for the holiday, basically one needs to rid the house of every crumb of bread/cake/etc. And after that, the kitchen counters, stove, etc need to be covered before being used for the preparation of scrumptuous holiday repasts…. So Passover cleaning tends to be a LOT of work. And as much as I try and plan ahead, and to work by a schedule, I invariably fall behind, have less time for walking, and get too little sleep. The usual outcome for me is overeating and weight gain.
Wednesday (ALL day) and Thursday morning I cleaned my kitchen for Passover. For the last few years I have “done” the kitchen before the living room, where we continue to eat non-Passover foods. I prefer to do the heavier work at least a week before the holiday, so as not to arrive to the holiday “seder table” exhausted. In former years I have used “cleaning the kitchen” as an excuse to consume “instant energy”, in the form of fine Swiss chocolate. Even last year, well down the “diet road”, I succumbed to temptation (albeit much less than in previous years), and this year I hoped to do much better. The chocolate I had purchased for holiday baking use I placed along with other groceries for the holiday in sealed boxes. And for several days, even though I was VERY hungry (blame habit and lack of sleep), I was doing GREAT. Then, when emptying out some of the closets in the kitchen on Monday afternoon, I found a stashed-away half bar of chocolate. And as the evening progressed, I slowly and surely polished off the entire 90 grams of creamy smoothness…. Having given in to temptation once, on the marrow I was craving chocolate with my whole soul. But, determined not to gain too much over the holiday season, I decided to allow myself on Tuesday a few high calorie items, but not chocolate. Then on Wednesday, I allowed myself extra calories, but not sweet items. The idea was to allow myself a bit of leeway, but to progress back gradually to a normal eating plan. Now why did I do this? BECAUSE WHEN I FOUND MYSELF NOT FOLLOWING MY EATING PLAN, I TOOK NOTE, AND ANALYZED THE SITUATION, AND DEVELOPED A PLAN FOR ACTION. If we want to redeem ourselves from our bad habits, we need to Think and PLAN. The redemption for Egypt was quick, and given as a gift. Redemption from our evil inclination is not going to be that easy.
After cleaning our house, we need to store away our regular dishes, cover all counter tops, and get out the Passover dishes. And while doing this, we need to feed our families without the benefit of kitchen facilities. (For example, imagine making a salad where to rinse each vegetable you need to run to the other side of the house to a water source.) And if you are overworked and tired, the temptation to reach into a cupboard for some luscious Passover chocolate (read "easy instant energy fix") can be pretty great. Then, you start cooking holiday meals, hopefully festive ones, which generally are NOT that low in calories. So it is no surprise that each year I gain over Passover, and I am skeptical of my ability to withstand the temptations that are impending.
And, as I indicated in the previous post, wishful thinking about "doing better this year" is just not enough. If I want to emerge on the other side of March without a gain, I need to take some concrete action. Here's my plan:
1) I will buy the chocolate for cooking (and the grandkids) ONLY after the kitchen is ready for Passover and fully functional. When I am able to cook up a pot of vegetable soup, the lure of the sweet "fix" should be more manageable. Yes, it will cost more in the local grocery than the supermarket, but that's OK. (And if my husband insists on having the tan temptation, he will have to buy and hide for himself.)
2) Plan menus which are easier and less time consuming for the holiday. There is no need to cook gourmet that leftovers are "a pity" to dispose of. There are lots of pretty, healthy, and easy menus out there.
3) Work on getting at least 6 hours of sleep a night. Even if that means less spring cleaning and less time online.
4) Try to maintain a minimum of "walking" (exercise) time (even if only half an hour). I know that walking not only keeps my metabolism going, but it decreases my appetite, and busts away stress.
And then, for the holiday of redemption, I hope to celebrate redemption from my former bad eating habits.
I bought the fancy chocolate only at the last minute.
I had a six week plan before the holiday, where I recorded exercise (TNT at least once a week, aerobic at least half an hour 5X weekly, staying on trackcalorie wise, and tracking sleep
I had a prize for myself (EXPENSIVE jewelry) that I would only wear on the holiday if I kept in line (90% or better) with my plan.
This plan worked. I gained a smidgen over the holiday, but in general I was OK. I can live with that smidgen, I think it was pretty darn good!
2015: (YES! I am already planning how to get through Passover in one piece this year!)