One of the great benefits of my job is that I get to meet new people all the time. Many of them come into my 10 Weeks to Health program, some come for personal training, and some come for lower back pain treatments, others for more limited programs. I consider myself fortunate to be able to have contact with so many different people who do so many different things in life. Most people I deal with have either an issue of overweight/obesity, a health issue, or both. Most clients have a good, basic understanding that things need to change, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they have the motivation and inspiration to make those changes. Part of the reason they are seeking help is to assistance with motivation. We do our best in our clinic to work with the clients in this area. It isn’t easy for people to change their lives around. Changing habits and behaviors might be the single most difficult thing for a human being to accomplish. But when you deal with people who work hard and are successful, you also become motivated and inspired.
If you live in Jerusalem, you might have run into my friend Michael. Just be careful when you run into him because he is usually moving pretty fast. Michael is 86 years old. He says he feels like 50. He lives in a retirement home but he isn’t really retired. He’s up early every morning learning, then davening Netz. He then makes his way down to Gan Sacher and works out there. Michael swims, walks briskly, lifts weights and even on Shabbos, he davens at the Kosel (Netz of course) putting in 45 minutes of walking in each direction. Michael feels so good about his quality of life that he even sat down (he doesn’t do that often) and wrote a book all about his view of how Torah, Diet and Fitness all come together to give us a great life. He’s not one of my clients, but he really motivates me to work harder and I recommend that you read his book, Am I My Body’s Keeper for motivation and inspiration.
Ephraim is a person who likes to look ahead and anticipate things before they happen. As someone in his mid-30’s and relatively healthy, it took a lot for him to start taking steps to nip bad health in the bud. But Ephraim is very aware of the health issues that run in his family and when he went to a routine visit to his doctor, the doctor had him take a routine blood test. His blood test didn’t show any particularly terrible result, but it did show that his cholesterol was higher than his previous blood test and he had been steadily putting on weight. Given the family history, he decided, and rightfully so, that it would be a lot easier to take care of this now than wait until serious problems set in at an older age when it is more difficult to deal with.
Ephraim and his wife came to begin the program and 10 weeks later, he was 10 kilo lighter, 12 centimeters thinner in his waist and his blood test was now nothing short of spectacular. It’s difficult for someone who is full time in learning and teaching to put time into themselves, but he did. At last check, he was still executing his exercise routine and eating in a healthy and orderly manner. Ephraim inspired me for taking action before the trouble started, I hope he inspires you too.
Rina is a mother of many. Like many frum families here in Yerushalayim, her life is very hectic. Finding time to exercise is not easy as she her kids span a large age gap. From kids in their upper teens to very young, the challenges of getting them up and out of the house each morning, working at her job and being home later in the day as they all come home is time consuming and tiring. Food has always been a big deal in her home, baking and cooking for Shabbos begin mid-week and all of the daughters are involved. Rina started out on our program really well but she then got stuck. When some people get stuck, they lose their resolve and want to quit, but not Rina. It took a few weeks and a few sessions, but we had a break through. Some of her poor eating habits were solved by simply slowing down her thought processes and enabling her to challenge her thoughts before they resulted in actions that would sabotage her weight loss. Now she is slowly and steadily losing again. Rina stuck with it and worked with me to troubleshoot her issues. Using some Cognitive Behavioral techniques we were able to get her back on track and do enough fine-tuning to her program to renew her good results. It might take her a while to reach her goal, but it’s her resolve to find a way to get there, that is truly inspiring.
Esther really didn’t appear to be overweight. If you met her, you probably would have thought that this small-framed lady might do well to lose a few kilo, but nothing serious. But looks can be deceiving. No, she didn’t really need to lose that much weight, but her blood sugar has been wacky for quite a few years. She has had problems with hypoglycemia for many years and keeping her sugar levels even has always been a challenge. She sees an endocrinologist on a regular basis. Our dietician began working with her on how to eat in a way that would prevent her blood sugar from spiking or dropping and I designed an exercise program for her that would balance her aerobics, muscle-building and flexibility. Even more important was finding a way to fit all of this into a very hectic life. As a sought-after lecturer all over the world, this was going to be a challenge.
There is some trial and error in this business and what might work for one person doesn’t always work the same for another. Esther stayed focused and kept impeccable records at the beginning of her eating and exercise programs. In the end, 5 kilo of weight loss was nice but that wasn’t even the biggest achievement. Esther will fluctuate with that weight a little depending on her travel schedule, but her episodes of low blood sugar have become almost non-existent. She also has new-found energy, feels well, looks good and has been able to take some of the worry out of her life. Esther overcame a long-time problem. She searched for the right answer, found it in our 10 Week Program, continued on with us for a while and her quality of life is now so much better. Her story can motivate others and encourage people to take the right steps to a better life.
Mordechai Dovid is pretty well known as the responsible party for much of what goes on in a prominent Chassidus including looking after the Rebbe. He has also become well known for transforming his life with a 30 kilogram weight loss. He got off his medication for high blood pressure and looks completely different and hasn’t felt this well in 20 years. He was always energetic but now his energy levels are sky high. But here is what is really amazing. Most of you are probably aware that over 95% of people who lose a lot of weight, just don’t keep it off. As a matter of fact, almost everyone who loses weight through standard dieting will gain it all back eventually and maybe even more. Mordechai Dovid took our program seriously and here it is almost 2 years later and the same 30 kilograms are gone. He’s also famous for one more thing. When people ask him, “which weight loss operation did you do”? , he answers “I did the surgery that doesn’t require a knife!” His procedure was on learning how to eat right without feeling deprivation or hunger, learning how to do just enough exercise every day, and how to keep his health as a priority in his life. And by the way, he has brought me others, many of whom are also now leading a better and healthier life. They range in age from 17 years old to 60. He is already passing along what he was able to accomplish and is an inspiration to many others—and he is helping them save their lives!
Be inspired and be inspiring! It will help you and others to “add hours to your day, days to your year, and years to your life.”
The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.