As Chanukah is here, my house is quiet. All of my children are married and out of the house. I quickly remembered times when we needed a large table for all of the menorahs, how candle-lighting took a long time as each child recited the brachos (blessings) and we sang Haneiros Hallalu and Maoz Tur afterwards. I realized that even though there was less light being generated from Chanukah menorahs in my home these days, it is because less was now more. There was only one menorah burning in our home because in the homes of my married children, there were many more menorahs burning – those of my children and grandchildren.
A Rabbi who was a personal training client of mine years ago once said to me that when he travels back to the United States from Eretz Yisrael (he has been in Israel for more than 40 years now), he notices that the word “better” in America seems to go hand and hand with the “bigger and more.” Success is translated as more money, more cars, bigger cars, bigger homes, bigger weddings, more food for your money in a restaurant and longer vacations. We strive to build bigger airliners and larger sports stadiums. Yet, it hit me this past Chanukah, that bigger and more are not necessarily really better. Many times, less is indeed more. And then I realized that my entire profession is based on that concept.
We all know and understand that when it comes to weight, more is harmful and less is best. Less translates into good health and a happy life. As the owner and director of the weight loss program 10 Weeks to Health, I spend my days working with people who want more out of life, and need to learn how to do with less in order to achieve their goals.
Carrying too much weight causes an array of life-threatening health problems such as heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and fatty liver disease. In addition, problems that affect our quality of life such as osteoarthritis, digestive issues, depression and problems of self-esteem, depression and self-confidence are prevalent in the overweight and obese. However, having seen success after success in my clinic, I also see how less is more. I watch week after week as people come in with new blood tests showing better sugar numbers and lower cholesterol. They ask me to check their blood pressure just to make sure they heard their doctor right, they are shocked that for the first time in years they are not hypertensive. And just as important, the clinic staff watches people transform over the three months they are with us in terms of attitude and stress. The same techniques we use to get people to lose weight – a proper food program, proper exercise and behavioral changes – are easily applied in other aspects of their life.
Less is indeed more, but it can’t happen in one day or one week. This learning process takes time – months for most people. But the rewards you gain (and the weight you lose!), both in terms of physical health and mental well-being, are the “more” here. Those who succeed find it hard to believe that they were ever in the “more and bigger is better” mode.
There is a great sense of accomplishment that you feel at the end of this road. Here are a few tips for you to consider to get started on your weight loss journey to good health:
- Diets are not good. They initiate a fleeting process at best, only to be abandoned ultimately. The better option is to learn how to eat healthfully, control your portion sizes and don’t let yourself get hungry. Also, maintain good hydration with water.
- Learn the difference between real hunger and desiring food for other reasons.
- Exercise must be part of your life, and a priority. Learn what a balanced exercise program is and fit it into you day.
- Learn how to prioritize. Don’t be afraid to put yourself first when you have to. It is a great mitzvah to help others, but helping yourself is crucial too.
- Write it all down! Track your food and your exercise and even your sabotaging thoughts. And when you do something great, write that down too! Giving yourself credit for your accomplishments is just as important.
Remember that in spite of what we see around us, LESS is indeed MORE, just like the menorah burning in your home or your scale trending down. And when it comes to your health, losing weight in a careful and healthy manner is without a doubt much, much MORE. “add hours to our day, days to your year and years to ou
The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.