I know that our Jewish holidays don’t revolve entirely around unhealthy food traditions—but sometimes it can feel that way.
If you’ve ever tried to manage your weight during the Jewish holidays, you know how challenging it can be. I wonder if Jewish women feel resigned to gaining weight during the High Holidays.
You can feel powerless: that overeating and eating unhealthy foods is just part of the Jewish experience.
It may feel like you can’t be part of the Jewish cultural eating experience without having it negatively impact your health.
We can even fall into two extremes at holiday meals: you don’t eat anything (because you’re disgusted by what is served) or you eat everything that’s available (because it feels like a free-for-all).
If you’d like to experiment and play with staying engaged with the holiday food experience and still feel good, I’ve got some simple, easy ways to shift your old patterns around food.
Here are my seven tips for staying healthy during the Jewish holidays:
- Continue any routines that you’ve already created for your health
These include self-care routines like taking regular breaks, getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, eating foods that make you feel good, and so on.
- Bring at least one healthy dish with you
To avoid that powerless feeling over what you consume, bring something that makes you feel good in your body and include plenty of that dish on your plate along with the other items.
- Move your body
This is one of the easiest way to instantly shift your mood and emotional reality—and yes, a ten-minute walk around the block totally counts.
- Set an intention
If you know the food will be a certain way because that’s the way it’s been for every holiday your Aunt Rachel has hosted, set an intention in advance that aligns with your desired commitment to your health (such as, “I will listen to what my body does and does not want to eat, regardless of other’s actions”).
- Indulge for one meal or dish
If you know there’s one dish that you always want seconds (or thirds) of, or one meal that is made by a gourmet chef in your family that tastes better than anything you make at home, let yourself indulge for that period, without judgment. That said…
- Don’t let one indulgent treat create a landslide
Just because you started or let yourself have one night “off” from your normal health routine doesn’t mean that the entire holiday period has to continue in the same manner.
- Enlist support
Instead of making it an isolating experience—which doesn’t feel good during the holidays—enlist support from a trusted friend who shares your health values.
Above all, keep it simple by remembering: The more healthy food there is on the table and on your plate, the less room there is for food that’s unhealthy.
Your turn: How do you stay healthy during the holidays?