As you may have noted in my previous posts, a lot of preparation went into the celebration of the Passover holiday (today is day 3 of 8). There is, of course, all the cooking and cleaning, but when you are concerned about your diet and fitness this holiday provides extra challenges.
First, many of the foods we typically eat during the year are off-limits because they have some kind of leavening in them. Most of them do not, but the marketing of foods for Passover often causes us to stock up on less healthy options that we would not think to purchase during the rest of the year. Second, the first two nights of Passover are marked with the Seder feasts; traditionally, there are certain foods we eat as part of the meal and the accompanying story that goes with it. Like Thanksgiving, however, there is an emphasis on large quantities of food.
I had the added complication this year of not being able to track my calorie intake or activity; this is because I do not use electronics on the Sabbath or the Holy Days of the Festival (last 2 and first 2 days). Since the holiday began on Saturday night, I went three days without recording as I usually do (Friday sunset through Monday sunset). Yes, meals were planned in advance, but it was difficult to control the serving sizes. Tracking has been an important tool for me as I work to keep myself at a healthy weight.
The news was not so good when I got on the scale after the Holy Days. So, I had a bad day. One of the lessons from Noom–which I have long shared as a personal trainer–is that a bad day (or two or three) is not a cause for feeling defeated. It sounds corny, but every day is a new day. This morning I got back on the program and started tracking everything again; it was not that hard. I did not lay any guilt on myself; on the contrary, I was kind to myself and reminded myself that I should not begrudge a little extra “celebration” on a festive holiday. A couple of days is okay; a week or a month would be a different story.
Here I am, back on track. This is a healthy approach to setbacks. As they say, “hop back on that horse.” Not bad advice as Passover continues for five more days and as many approach the Easter holiday with all its peeps, chocolate eggs, and family dinners.
Sunday was a monumental day in terms of a fitness goal I had set for myself. Those who follow my blog know that 7 weeks ago I joined a weight-loss program (Noom) in order to take off the weight I had put on during the pandemic; I had tried unsuccessfully to do that on my own for about 2 months.
Sunday, I met my overall goal–losing 15 pounds in 7 weeks; not only did the pandemic weight come off, but it also brought me to the middle range of the ideal weight for an adult male 5’10” tall. I have wanted to get to this spot for several years and am finally there! I love the way I feel; I am way less exhausted after my workouts and I feel like I have more energy. I love the way I look; my clothes fit better, I can see my obliques and abs, and I had to get a new belt to hold up my pants! Two things I am thrilled about: eliminating the visceral fat around my waist (which is an indicator of better health) and reaching a goal that I worked hard to accomplish.
What was different this time? Two things.
In the past I just tried to watch what I ate and monitor physical activity but not in a “casual” way. Several times, I used My Fitness Pal to track those, but I was never really consistent about it, nor did I have a sense of what my calorie intake should be in order to achieve success. Additionally, although I may have lowered my calorie count, I was not necessarily eating the right kinds of foods–too much processed stuff and not enough greens and whole grains. This time around I used Noom. It is not inexpensive, but I know that if I put my resources into something I am not going to let it go to waste; who wants to spend money on something and then simply let it go down the tubes? The fact that I was invested financially meant that I was invested emotionally and physically. Noom also has coaches, a kind of support group (that I only joined when I was almost at my goal), as well as regular educational tidbits on the app that are informative and motivating. Bottom line: to get results, get invested.
I had a partner supporting me. My wife (who is close to her goal as well) is doing Noom as well. We both support each other and hold each other accountable. We know that one of us slips, the other one will slip as well…and when one shows discipline the other one will too! I honestly think this was a more important factor than the first point above. I do not know how folks lose weight on their own when others around them are eating a less healthy diet with larger portions. The beginning was hard as we both adjusted to a greatly reduced calorie counts, but then we put our heads together and found recipes and foods that would fill us up with as little a dent in the calorie budget as possible. It became like a kind of game and we were a team! This journey has even brought us closer together!
What is next? Obviously, I must now maintain the progress that I have made. Noom has adjusted already now that I am not in the “weight loss mode;” my calorie budget has increased a little. It is now up to me, though, to stick with the program–even with the upcoming Passover holiday–tracking the food I eat and physical activity. I suppose a time will come when I won’t need to do all the tracking, when I am so used to how and how much to eat that it will no longer be necessary. That is still in the future.
For now, I celebrate reaching a goal…and get ready to set my next one!