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Beating Kevin

Friday, September 11, 2015

Al Chet: a Weight Watchers Confessional

During the High Holidays, Jews do sincere self assessment, cheshbon hanefesh and we confess our mistakes in the Al Chet prayer.  This is my Weight Watchers Al Chet:

For the mistake of Mindlessly eating
For the mistake of Thinking it's all about the # at the scale
For the mistake of Forgiving others and not myself
For the mistake of Allowing others to bully me into eating
For the mistake of Letting my emotions overrun my carefully laid out plan
For the mistake of Eating in front of the TV
For the mistake of Choosing Facebook over reparative sleep
For the mistake of Falling back into old habits 
For the mistake of Forgetting to return to what works
For the mistake of Not taking the first step
For the mistake of Thinking I was over my struggles with food
For the mistake of Not celebrating another's weight loss success because of my own jealousy
For the mistake of Throwing out the whole day for one blunder
For the mistake of Not translating a mistake into a learning opportunity
For the mistake of Saying I will start on Monday
For the mistake of Not loving myself
For the mistake of Avoiding the scale when I know I have a gain and don't want to face my disappointment
For the mistake of Impatience with myself
For the mistake of Skipping meetings
For the mistake of Losing sight of all I have accomplished
For the mistake of Eating when I'm not hungry
For the mistake of Brushing off a compliment
For the mistake of Forgetting gratitude for my food
For the mistake of Comparing myself to others
For the mistake of Settling for what I have always done
For the mistake of Complacency in my workout 
For the mistake of Trying to game the plan instead of trying to eat for my needs
For the mistake of not working out because I only have 20 minutes
For the mistake of waking up after eating half of the bag, and finishing the whole bag
For the mistake of Not thinking I am worthy

For all these,  and more, God of forgiveness,  forgive us, pardon us, atone for us. Help us to be more mindful, patient, compassionate so that we can eat to live and sustain ourselves with gratitude.  

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Make for Yourself a Kevin

Aseh lecha rav, u’kneh lecha chaver...” — “Make for yourself a mentor and acquire for yourself a friend...”

Many of you remember my "beat Kevin" challenge. My friend Kevin doubted whether I could lose a certain amount of weight by the time I was leaving for Israel in July. All I needed to hear was him question my ability in order to light a fire under my tush. With his friendly competition, I not only crushed him but achieved a long time goal. While I give myself credit, there is something to be said for having another person inspire and challenge you.

This is why the teaching above is so important. "Make for yourself a (rav) mentor, and acquire for yourself a chaver (friend)." One might think that going it alone is best. A lot of my friends do Weight Watchers online or try other diets. I understand that meetings are not for everyone, but even so, it is so valuable to have people around  to talk and inspire you.

This teaching sheds light on 2 important roles in life, mentors and friends. Both are so necessary to keep us devoted to our weight-loss journey and occasionally one person can be both. The first category, rav, includes people who challenge you and will encourage you to move passed your comfort zone. This person is hard to come by. This was Kevin for me. He pushed the right competition button that got me motivated.

And now I get to be a rav for Kevin! He is in the last week of a summer challenge to get to an all-time low after a tremendous amount of weight loss. He is dedicated and determined to beat me almost as much as I wanted to beat him. I say "almost" because I can't imagine anyone as fired up as I was. But he seems pretty determined to crush me as well. We'll know next week if Kevin "beats Dahlia."

The 2nd category from the teaching above, chaver, is much more nurturing. This person listens when you are struggling and celebrates you when you triumph (rav can do that too, btw).  They are the voice that soothes you when you have a set-back. When you lose sight of your success, they remind you of all your milestones. Going to meetings introduces you to a whole host of people like this. There is such a sweet feeling when you announce a success at the scale and a room full of likeminded people clap for you and your leader gives you a gold star. Sounds like Kindergarten, but only in the best ways (minus nap-time).

I am so grateful to find a WW leader that is both a rav and a chaver (shout out to Joann). She meets you where you are, encourages self love at all times, but also helps you shoot for the stars. An amazing leader helps you strike this challenging balance.

I have rejoined Weight Watchers 4 different times. When I stopped attending meetings the weight crept up. When you attend regularly, new ideas flow and you hear your journey in someone else's struggles and success. When achieved in community, weight loss and maintenance can not only be rewarding but sustainable. When I first started, the idea of attending meetings indefinitely terrified me. How daunting?!?! Now, I see it as my weekly spiritual nourishment, my community of chaverim (friends) and rabanim (mentors) and I feel so lucky to have them.