Monday, October 13, 2014

Weigh-In After Holidays & What All Those Jewish Holidays Are

Sunday was the end of another holiday period, this time at my parents’ house. It did not go well. There will be another holiday/the tail end of this holiday starting in two days.

To back up slightly, I guess it’s time to explain what all of these vague holidays are to which I’m constantly referring. Feel free to skip the next two paragraphs, obviously. So I’m Jewish, and we have numerous holidays in general, but three that fall close together in the fall. We recently celebrated the Jewish New Year, followed ten days later by a day of repentance called Yom Kippur, in which we believe we are judged for our deeds, good and bad throughout the year. Despite the solemnity, it’s actually considered a happy holy day, one in which we get to “start over,” really reflect on our actions the past year, and think of what to do better in the future.

Currently, we are celebrating the holiday of Sukkot (Soo-kote), an eight-day festivity that culminates with a separate but related holiday in which we celebrate when God gave the Jews the Bible after having led them out of Egypt. Sukkot is two-fold: it is a celebration of the harvest, and also when we remember our ancestors wandering the desert for forty years and only living in temporary huts. Why were we wandering? The excellent joke answer is that the Jews wandered for so long because Moses wouldn’t stop and ask for some damn directions, but the religious answer is that the Jewish people had make a huge boo-boo right after they got the Bible and were being punished. The holiday is eight days, on which additional restrictions (no electricity, no work, no driving/trains/planes, no writing) are in place during the first two and last two days. 

We just had the first two days, now we’re in the middle where it’s business as usual with a few traditions thrown in, and starting on Wednesday night, we’ll celebrate the rest of holiday and have the restrictions again.

What do we do during this time? Pray, eat, sleep, play board games, take walks, take naps, have long discussions, read, learn, unplug from life. It’s actually a great deal, except when you’re me and trying so hard to stay healthy.

So that’s that. If you skipped the above, basically it’s like having Thanksgiving in your house - lots of food, family, and friends. But for two meals a day, for three days. And you can’t go to the gym, write down/track your food intake, or buy anything.

I just ended one of those periods, and it didn’t go how I’d hoped. I had been planning to leave work early on Wednesday, but it got unexpectedly stressful, I left later than I intended, and didn’t get to break for lunch (or at all). Then my train home got delayed, so I got out late, stressed, hungry, and a little hormonal. Not a good combination or start to the holiday. So I overindulged on Wednesday, ending the day annoyed at myself but trying to look ahead to the rest of the holiday. 

But I didn’t have a plan, couldn’t track, hadn’t had the chance to exercise on Wednesday - I don’t even know what happened, but I’m pretty sure I gained. There were some times when I picked and chose alright, like having bread at a meal, but no rice or potatoes, or just splitting a cookie with J. But mostly I got overwhelmed by the sheer amount of food in front of me. My family is pretty healthy, and desserts were saved for weekends and special occasions. But this WAS the special occasion, and I went in knowing that there would be a huge amount of food available, all the time, with no thought as to how I might avoid partaking too much.

Over the Jewish New Year, which we celebrated with J’s family in Michigan, I spent so much time and energy worrying about food, and after all that I only managed to essentially maintain my weight. I didn’t want to repeat that this time, but rejecting that plan and not coming up with a new plan left me with zero plans. If I had had a plan, I might have eaten it.

There is, of course, a giant ‘but’ to all this. A lovely ‘but’ with a bright side and a silver lining. And that is, it was only a couple of days. Even if I do equally as crappy during the next (and final!) days of holy this week, it’s still only a few days. I won’t gain back twenty pounds over a week, even though I might gain one or two. Therefore, as long as I can immediately and completely forgive myself from any overindulging over these holidays, and get right back to tracking, exercising, and healthy eating, I’ll be fine.

Yesterday I went to my Zumba class, tracked my food, and today was equally successful. And I’ll do my best over the holiday (come up with a new plan?) - but no matter what, next Sunday I will get back into the groove again, accept whatever gain, maintain, or lose I get, and keep working. I will get to the 170s.

As of yesterday, I am at 182.5 - up, but not as badly as I thought it would be.

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