Diet Teshuvah: A How To Guide
Have you ever been to a simcha where no one at your table mentioned the newest diet they’re trying?
Or attended a social even where no one commented one their size or weight?
Yeah, me neither.
We live in a society that has succumbed to diet culture and the pursuit of thinness.
Theories abound as to why, but I’ll leave those thoughts for another time. I want to invite you to join me in letting all of that go and focus instead on the process of diet teshuvah.
Yes, right now, during aseres yemei teshuvah, when we are focused on refining ourselves, our character, our personal growth and development.
Let’s break that down:
1. Leave Dieting Behind
This is a commitment only you can make with yourself.
No one else can do it for you. But when you do, we will be here to support you.
Step One is not easy. Beginnings never are.
But it’s the necessary start to gaining a life that is richer, fuller, and far more freeing than the one you’re wrapped up in now.
2. Regret Dieting
I don’t think I have to explain this one.
Think about all the hours you wasted making special diet foods, the separate dinners you made for different family members, the low calorie, sugar free, dairy free dishes you brought along to social events because you decided you wouldn’t eat anything there.
Think about all the time you spent obsessing over the number on the scale, crying in your bathroom when it didn’t reflect what you thought it should, wondering how much of it was water weight due to the pickle you ate the night before, kvetching about diets that didn’t work.
Think about all the opportune moments you had in which you could have built someone up with a genuine comment to their character, connected over shared memories and experiences, when instead you commented on their weight.
Think about the fact that with every diet you tried, you ended up heavier than you were when you started, with nothing but frustration and a single “after” photo to show for it. (Thank G-d one ever asked for the “after the after” photo.)
3. Verbalize Your Past Relationship with Dieting
Say it to yourself. Say it to G-d. Say it out loud.
It’ll likely be uncomfortable, but until it’s out in the open, real, heard, it can be stuffed back in the drawer to be dealt with on another day. But your day is today.
So let it be heard.
Admitting it leaves you room to give yourself permission to let it go.
4. Resolve to Explore the Role of Food in Your Life
Food is physical.
It is a means through which we nourish our bodies.
Food is spiritual.
It is a means through which we elevate the physical.
Food is social.
It is a means through which we gather and connect.
Food is emotional.
It is a means through which we celebrate and comfort.
Food is expression.
It is a means through which we explore and express creative talent.
Food is so much more than what we name it on a regular day.
I could go on, but I think you get the point. There are SO many wonderful, incredible secondary and tertiary ways to relate to food outside its primary purpose to sustain us.
So let’s use this auspicious time and consider a mindset reset.
Let us recognize that food is so much more than just calories transformed to energy for our bodies to make use of functionally.
Let us remember that the role food plays in our lives is a multi-faceted one.
One that G-d intended for us to explore.
Wishing you an easy and meaningful Yom Kippur!