I am so nervous about staying on track this Sukkos. I am not expecting to lose weight but really would like to maintain my weight. However, it is challenging to prepare separate meals for myself and my family—there is enough work to do as it is! Please advise.
Trying to Maintain
Dear Trying to Maintain,
Here are a few suggestions for staying on track this yom tov, without going out of your way to cook and bake separately.
- Stick to matzah because challah sticks to you. Even if you can eat 1 thin slice of challah on a typical Shabbos, yom tov season brings 27 washing opportunities. Have up to 1 whole matzah per meal + 1 tbsp. dip.
- Eat breakfast every single morning. Many people are tempted to skip this meal and “save up” their calories for the other meals, but this will only backfire! Eating a good, healthy breakfast will stabilize your blood sugar throughout the day and will make you less likely to overeat at the actual meals.
- As always, plan your meals ahead of time. If you are eating at home, this is even easier. If you are eating out, and feel comfortable enough, find out what is on the menu and make your choices ahead of time. The general rule is, one plate with one serving of protein (or a combo of two), one (small) serving of starch, and lots of vegetables. Dessert can be a fruit (fruit salad, sugar-free compote, low-calorie ices, etc.)
- Cheat in moderation:
- Plan for it! Spontaneous cheating is always worse than planned cheating. If you plan for it, you are in control of it. Plan what it is that you want to have and stick to that.
- No regrets! Have it and forget about it. Don’t talk about it, think about it, or even worse, go off your diet completely because of it. Plus, no one wants to hear you vent.
- Make up for it! If you had a piece of cake for dessert on the first day, take a brisk walk afterward, or skip dessert that night or the next day. Treat it like a bank account, where you withdraw, you need to deposit, to keep the balance more or less even.
- Write it all down! As soon as yom tov is over, write down everything you ate. This will give you accountability and may even make you think twice before having something.
- The yom tov meals are late, and the night meals are very late, therefore, pre-eat night meals by having some of your portion or protein, and possibly some soup before the lunch and dinner seudas.
- Load up on vegetables. Be creative and make it fancy, so you won’t have to sit around with your arms folded while everyone else is indulging.
- Take breaks. Most of us begin the meal with good intentions and lots of willpower, but as the meal continues, our resolve weakens. Get up and take a walk, help serve and clear, or even move to the couch if you need to.
- Take walks and drink your water. This will help your metabolism from getting too sluggish.
Remember: The goal on Sukkos (or any yom tov) is not necessarily to lose weight, but at least to not gain weight!
Good luck staying on track this yom tov!
Ahuva Silver is a nutrition counselor and manager at Nutrition by Tanya. Ahuva makes everyone feel so welcome and comfortable, as well as motivated and encouraged. Ahuva’s motto is that taking care of yourself will make you a better and happier person, parent, spouse, and friend. It is never too late to start!
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