It’s hard to be overweight, as I have been since I was 20 years old – and I have suffered tremendously because of it.
For a number of years, it’s been difficult to button up my pants. I would frequently speak in public and make every effort to wear long shirts to cover my gut and ensure that my half-closed pants could not be seen. It was embarrassing.
People wouldn’t let me forget I was plump. Those who were bold would often say such things as: “Enjoying your burgers and steaks are you?” Or, “Must be eating late at night, eh Avrum?”
It was not uncommon to hear such put-downs. I would often lie about my health, denying that I was gaining weight or had any problem losing some pounds. But I did. And not only could I not lose weight, I kept gaining.
Those who have gone through weight gain and have expanding waists, know what I’m talking about. We are open game, and for some reason an awful lot of people feel it’s OK to poke fun at individuals with a wide girth. Not sure why.
But on Dec. 4, I began taking control of my life. I travelled to the Creative Health Institute (CHI) in central Michigan, with encouragement from my dear friend, Burt.
There, for 10 days, I lived on strictly raw food, drank wheatgrass and participated in yoga and heart-health education.
It was tough, because I had to make a dramatic switch from eating meat, cooked food, lots of bread, heaping amounts of carbohydrates and some yummy Shabbat food like cholent.
Initially, I didn’t think I’d make it. On Day 3 – the most difficult day of my detox – I could barely stuff another piece of kale and other veggies into my mouth.
But I did so, and while at CHI, I lost 11 pounds.
Since then, I have continued to use much of what I learned at CHI at home. I loaded up my home with the right kitchen tools, including a dehydrater, a super duper blender, a food processor, a juicer and a steamer.
My meals include spiralized zucchini with cashew sauce and cauliflower rice. Similarly, I’ve served my son portobello mushroom burgers and heaping salads with a plethora of vegetables and raw salad dressings that are explosive in taste.
I am juicing a lot. This morning, I made a juice with ginger, beets, apple, carrot and lemon juice. My smoothies contain cacao and dates, bananas and dark leafy greens.
The Torah says, “Shmor nafshotaychem,” guard your souls – you should be the guard over your physical wellbeing. In simplest terms, Judaism stresses the importance of a sound mind and body so that you ensure that your vessel, the body that holds your soul is healthy and vibrant.
I am hoping that I can maintain this new lifestyle so my hair continues to get softer and darker, my skin remains soft, and mostly that I arrive at the weight I’m supposed to be, which is about 50 pounds lighter. Mostly, I want to live long and well.
This road is a bumpy and difficult one, but a very meaningful one. I can once again taste my food, and I am now able to do up the button at the top of my pants.
I’m grateful to those individuals who led me to a better lifestyle. I encourage anyone who suffers the way I did to take a courageous step toward adjusting his or her life in order to become healthy and live a long and meaningful life.
It’s hard, very hard. But it’s worth it so that I can be with those I love for many years to come.