Yet another Erev shabbos and shabbos where I ate things I shouldn’t.
Tonight is the last night of Chanukah.
My Lovely Husband tried to take some pictures of me and the kids. I figured I wouldn’t like the pictures because the kids weren’t particularly cooperating and I knew I looked a bit anxious as open fires and hyperactive children do not make for a calm Simcha.
However, what I hadn’t counted on was the photos being a particularly unflattering angle for me, and that my favourite shabbos dress, which is comfortable and I thought attractive, in fact shows every roll of fat, front, side and back. I look revolting and enormous. Like a purple beached whale. There’s no whitewashing it, or photoshopping it. This is what others see when they look at me and it, no I, am disgusting.
I need to change. I need to lose half my body weight, and I need to do it consistently and without excuses. I need to pick a system and keep to it. It needs to fit into my lifestyle as a Jewish mother. I need to keep to it, whatever it is.
I’m going to re-read these two books. Chava Goldman’s “How to succeed on any diet”, and my old slimming world books. I’m going to look up all the exercise options available to me and make a schedule of what classes are going on on what days. I’m going to make lists of meals and snacks that I like, that are healthy, that are easy.
1st January isn’t a date which is significant to me. It isn’t my new year. But it’s a convenient date to be feeling like this. I’m feeling very down, but if you excuse the cliche, the only way is up.
The Jewish calendar is described as a circle or a spiral. Each year, it isn’t a commemoration of the previous year’s occasion, we are in fact revisiting that point and it contains the same spiritual potential as the original occasion did.
Chanukah is in the darkness of winter. We light candles of holiness and kedusha to dispel the darkness of the unholy, the secular. Perhaps I can tap into this koach of light.
It is also about overcoming apparently insurmountable challenges. The Greeks were the world superpower of the day. They had elephants! The equivalent of the most sophisticated armoured tanks. What did the Maccabi’s have that the Greeks didn’t have? They had Hashem.
They looked at an impossible task, and tried anyway. They did their hishtadlus and Hashem helped. I need to turn to Hashem, to daven for help in this apparently impossible task. I also need to act with cleverness, with cunning and with fortitude. It is a positive mitzvah to look after one’s health. Hashem doesn’t ask us to do the impossible, so it must be possible. It may not be easy, but has it been easy for Jews in any time in history? Every generation has different challenges. One of the challenges of living in a society of affluence and without threat to our lives is the challenge of gluttony and overindulgence. In comparison to what others have had to deal with, it seems almost petty and pathetic really. But the reality is that I am not being thrown into a ghetto, being sold as a slave, burned at the stake or gassed to death. I live in a nice house, my children go to a Jewish school supported by the government of the land, I can freely practice my religion and I am enormously grateful to be living in such an age and country. My challenges are real challenges and they are what Hashem wants me to overcome.
Watch this space.