Tag Archive: weight

Do Shabbat & Yom Tov Calories Really Count?

Finding the Balance: Nourish Your Neshamah AND Satiate Your Guf

  

What would you like the answer to be? I wish I could tell you “no, don’t worry about them, calories only count on days we say Magdil”, but unfortunately, that’s not the case. 

 

During any normal Shabbat, doing the right thing for your body is tough enough: eating 2-3 large meals, including one late at night, and often with guests; compounded by the fact that you can’t exercise to any large extent, and instead spend the majority of the day sitting at home/shul (getting called up for an aliyah doesn’t count as exercise). This year, of course, with 3-day yomim tovim, we have three times the challenge… and three times over four weeks, no less.

 

So how can we ensure we don’t leave the festival period with, in addition to an elevated neshamah, an extra inch or two around our waists/hips? 

 

Here are my seven suggestions to carry us through the chaggim (and any regular Shabbat too):

 

  1. Start the day with some food in your stomach before shul (e.g. a piece of fruit or a glass of milk); it’ll kick-start your metabolism. 
  2. Limit your intake of starchy carbohydrates like potatoes, rice and bread throughout the day, but particularly during the evening meals. Instead, fill up on salads; and in particular, vegetables with a low glycemic index such as spaghetti squash, broccoli, spinach, cucumber, and other fibrous greens. These foods are less likely to spike your blood insulin level.
  3. Try substituting high caloric desserts (such as cake, cookies, and ice cream) with healthier options (like fruit – what I like to call “God’s dessert”).
  4. Limit your alcohol consumption – at around seven ‘empty’ calories per gram, alcohol contains nearly twice the amount of energy as carbohydrate and protein (around four calories per gram). Fat contains around nine calories per gram.
  5. Weather permitting, take a 30- to 60-minute walk after lunch; and I mean ‘walk’, not ‘amble’ – both your heart rate and mood should be elevated. Hippocrates once said, “Walking is man’s best medicine.” Take your family and friends with you too.
  6. Keep your evening meal portions small, and try to finish your meal at least 2 hours before going to sleep.
  7. Keep hydrated throughout the day – it’ll help with digestion.

 

Yom Tov and Shabbat shouldn’t be times you dread, always worried about what you’re going to eat, and the weight you may gain. Food should be something we utilize to delight in the chag, to elevate the chag, and to instill spirituality in the chag. Rather than letting calories dictate your enjoyment of these special days, try to focus on what the chag is really about – appreciation for what we have; appreciation with a healthy outlook and an elevated perspective; appreciation for what Hashem has graciously given us. 

 

We can’t control the weather (as Hashem often reminds us this time of year), but we can control what goes in our mouths, and how we look after our bodies. Just because we can’t exercise as much as we’d like, doesn’t mean everything about our health should fall by the wayside. For example, if you know your wife’s made your favorite chocolate cake for dessert (mmmm….), go for a run before yom tov, and plan the rest of your meals during yom tov accordingly.

 

As we sit in the succah – our temporary home for a brief few days – let us also be cognizant of the temporary home in which our neshamot reside. Let’s appreciate them, look after them, and use them the way Hashem intended – as well as possible, for as long as possible. May we all have an enjoyable and meaningful yom tov and chag sameach.

Bible Guy Gets Physical

Fun book review of A.J. Jacobs’ new book “Drop Dead Healthy: One Man’s Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection” (A.J. Jacobs is also the author of “The Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible”).

Click here for full article.