Monday, April 14, 2014

Holiday Fun

Why am I taking off five of the next ten work days?

Why, for the delightful holiday of Passover. I write about it here because it will impact my weight loss journey in a random array of challenges for the next week, and also because I can.

The explanation for Passover is long, but it basically is a Jewish holiday that celebrates and remembers how the Jewish people were rescued from slavery in Egypt 3,500 years ago by God working through Moses and Aaron. Part of the commemoration involves not eating any leavened (risen) bread and instead eating matzoh, which consists of only water and flour and is made from start to finish in under eighteen minutes, because the Jews left Egypt in such a hurry that the not-yet-risen bread dough baked on their backs in the hot sun.

Seders can be long.

The point of this is that starting today and ending next Tuesday night, eating well and exercising will be challenging. I won't have access to our normal gym, won't be able to track my food for several days, and will be presented with a lot of delicious food for which I have no idea of the calories or ingredients. I'll be away from home, surrounded by family who will have rare "Let's indulge in slow-cooked meats, fried things, and flour-less chocolate cake" attitudes.

Diet: The main rule is "no unleavened bread," but the no-nos for this culinarily challenging Holiday include: breads, pastries, rice, oats, soy, barley and most other grains, beans, peanuts and corn. The corn restriction means no cornstarch or high-fructose corn syrup, which is why you may have noticed special Heinz ketchup and Coke bottles with yellow tops, both of which are made with cane sugar instead of corn syrup.

What is allowed? 
Matzoh, meat, eggs, coffee, dairy products, and most vegetables and fruits are permitted.

We manage.

My Strategy

My goal is basically just not to go crazy - be aware of what I'm eating, if I want to be eating it, and how much I'm consuming. Mindless eating, or worse, eating because there's so much food and I feel like I need to have ALL of it because otherwise I'm missing out on something, is what I'm trying hard to avoid. This is especially important when I can't track and it will be easy to forget little mindless indulgences.

That's the best advice I have for myself, or for anyone else looking for tips: not to just take a bit of everything because it's there. Rather, I will try to look at the options and decide what I would really like to enjoy, and what, upon a little hesitation, I realize I don't actually care that much about. Also, I will try to remember that this is the holiday of leftovers, so chances are that the dish I don't have tonight will make a great lunch tomorrow.

I will estimate and count calories as much as possible with the aide of my husband/human calculator, and try to take long walks in the (hopefully) nice weather. I can do this. While losing a bit of weight over Passover would be wonderful, I will be very happy to just have stayed the same.

Day six.

A couple of our friends are staying at our apartment while we're gone - they were coming to New York City for Passover and needed a place, and since we'll be gone the whole time, it worked out well!

However, it also means that we needed to leave the apartment in a state where they don't need to maneuver around the clean laundry that's been sitting in the living room for three days or the long-dead flowers on the table. So yesterday it was clean, clean, clean and now we're going to eat, eat, eat.

At worst, it's only one week and I'm determined to get right back to our healthier habits after it's over.

For anyone celebrating, Happy Passover!

(Flour-less chocolate torte photo:

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