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Beating Kevin

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


I didn't just beat Kevin (see aforementioned blog post), I SMASHED Kevin. I was 2.6 below the goal we had set for the challenge. And if I was concerned that I wouldn't be as satisfied as I hoped I would be, that all went out the window when my leader, Joann, handed me my 50 pound key chain. Since I first set foot in Weight Watchers I have lost a total 51.4 pounds. See picture below from when I was 15. 

A note on Kevin, my challenger: He was such a a good sport throughout this whole competition. He became my metaphorical punching bag, symbolizing anyone,including myself, whoever doubted me. Meanwhile, he was actually very supportive and made good on his bet with a box of 3 point bars. See picture below for me "beating" Kevin. I'm very grateful for the drive he stirred in me and we may be on the verge of a "Beat Dahlia" competition for him. 

It has been a long journey with yoyo weight loss all throughout. I will never be "done" because my circumstances, moods, and needs are always changing, but for now I can say that I achieved the goal I set for myself... I feel triumphant! I want to remember this sensation the next time I stare at a temptation. I want to tap into the depth of my satisfaction and hard work. Where there is a will, there is a way. I've learned that to make the "way" most successful, I need to cultivate that strong will. My own self worth, my drive to see if I could "do it", and the encouragement from friends and family made it possible. 

As Theadore Herzl, the father of modern Zionism, famously said, "Im tirtsu, ein zo aggadah." 
"If you will it, it is not merely a dream."

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Beat Kevin!!

Until now, I had forgotten that I could surprise myself. I, like everyone, have habits and certains behaviors that are etched in my mind, a certain way of jogging, the types of food I eat for breakfast... I even just learned that human beings tend to eat the same number of pounds of food every day, even if they are different foods. 

But every once in a while, something lights a fire under your ass that makes you shake up your routine and that's we where I find myself right now. It all comes down to two words: BEAT KEVIN! 

Let me explain... I sit next to a very nice man named Kevin in my Tuesday meetings. About 1 month ago, I nonchalantly mentioned to Kevin that I wanted to reach lowest goal by the time I leave for Israel on June 29th. He asked if he could look at my tracker, the one that records all of my previous weigh ins. With a clinical and objective tone, Kevin had the audacity to say: "I don't think you can do it." Now, before you start hating on Kevin, know that he was not being malicious. In his assessment of my patterns of weight loss, he didn't think I could pull off a loss of  7.8 in 1 month. At my current stage of weight loss, he was right. It would be extremely difficult and my track record of ups and downs didn't inspire confidence.

So we made a bet....   :)

It is a lopsided bet. I'm the only one who needs to lose any weight, but if I reach my goal, Kevin needs to buy me 1 pack of Weight Watchers shakes and if I lose I have to do so for him.

Well... the final day is Tuesday, June 23rd, less than two days from now and I actually have a shot of reaching my goal!!!  Let me tell you what I did in the last few weeks, things I never would have expected.

I bought T25- that 25 minute workout that burns a billion calories and leaves your drenched in sweat in only 25 minutes... yummm. Because that turned out not to be enough to earn the activity points I needed, I started jogging 1 mile before T25. And when that didn't seem enough, so I added another mile. Before "Beat Kevin" I was lucky to even jog through 1/3 an episode of the Biggest Loser (the only TV that will motivate me to jog).

To all those Jewish mothers out there, don't worry, I'm eating. But I have changed what I'm eating. When I was about 2 weeks away from the big day, I realized that at the rate I was going, I would not make it to my goal. 

I thought that tracking and not using my 49 weekly points would be enough, but it wasn't. I  considered that I would need to change the types of food I was eating, so I took a page from my mother's book. About 11 years ago, my mother did the Atkins diet and lost 90 pounds. What an inspiration!  I resolved myself to the fact that I would eat all of my points for the day, but that I would focus on low carb foods. This actually means that I cut out most fruits. I would never have done this in the past. I drank and continue to drink the Weight Watchers Koolade, that teaches we can eat everything in moderation, but my Weight Watchers Leader, Joann keeps telling us that we need to reflect on what has worked and what hasn't, and explore the foods that work for us. This was my time to experiment. And also, let's remember... BEAT KEVIN.

Support from family friends and community
A major BRAVO sticker goes to Aaron, my hubby, who has supported me every step along the way. He has gone grocery shopping multiple times a week (without complaining), chopped up celery, and the pièce de résistance is the T-shirt that he made featuring his face, along with our dog, Layla's with two beautiful words underneath. You know them already, "BEAT KEVIN." I have shared "BEAT KEVIN" with congregants at shul and with friends. All I have gotten is encouragement and I am so grateful.

I have been pushing my limits (within reason) and it feels amazing.  I was stuck in narrow places, my behaviors, my routines that never budged. This is how we view Egypt and the Israelite's enslavement. The Hebrew word for Egypt, Mitzrayim, can be broken down to two words, Mey tsarim, narrow straits. Egypt represents the ongoing prisons of our lives. Too often we are the ones enslaving ourselves. While leaving Egypt and moving towards the wilderness was terrifying, it is necessary to break free and be willing to explore the unknown. We need something (or someone) to light that fire underneath us. We need a focus, a reason to push.

Kevin ignited my competitive nature. Once he said I couldn't do it, I knew I was going to give it my all. The question for us, is what do we feel so passionately about that will motivate us to break through our blockages? In my view, every day we should do something, make one little change to surprise ourselves. Each little surprise adds up.

Come Tuesday morning, I will weigh in (likely wearing as little as possible while still being modest) and see where my exploration has left me. I cannot wait to tell you how it turns out. Stay tuned!!!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Ice Cream Revelations

I'm getting all 4 wisdom teeth out and I'm a little excited and a lot afraid. Let's start with the fear. I've never had laughing gas or any procedure like this. Some people tell me that I'll be able to work the next day while others warn me that I better not suck on straws because of something called dry socket (what?!?!). They advocate for multiple packs of frozen peas on my face and lots of ice cream. Therein lies the excitement- doctor sanctioned ice cream eating. Ice creams falls in the category of mushy foods I can eat. I have made a request for banana pudding from my favorite bakery in Manhattan, and my fridge is full of mashed potatoes and smoothie fixens. 

There is one other piece of the excitement that causes me concern. I'm wondering if and hoping that I will lose weight. Friends joke about losing 5 pounds after getting their teeth out and I just think, "sign me up!" I wouldn't sneeze at a 5 pounds loss, but the excitement crosses into dangerous territory. Pain and deprivation should never be intentional tools for weight loss. I know I'm not getting my wisdom teeth out for the purpose of seeing a loss at the scale, but I wish the thought didn't even cross my mind.

I am a firm believer in focus and determination in healthy eating, but it easy for determination to turn into obsession. It's a little like matzah. Matzah, baked for 18 minutes, is a requirement for the Passover seder, but if overcooked it turns into Hametz, the holiday's forbidden food. The same material used for the heart of the holiday can be used for its unraveling. Everything in moderation. That goes for leaven on Passover and controlled eating year round.

Ascetism, a fancy word for deprivation, is not a Jewish concept. Our rabbis are not celibate (thank God), Yom Kippur is only one day, and poverty is not a virtue.  Food, unlike other substance dependencies, is a required part of our day and we cannot shy away from it.  The part of our brain that enjoys a loss at the scale cannot override our better judgement. Balanced living is having the sechel (wisdom) to recognize our limits and when we are pushing ourselves too far. Hopefully, my wisdom isn't limited to those teeth I'm gonna lose.