Getting Through The Yomim Tovim


AFG3.jpgIt’s that time of the year again, the holiday season. Perhaps nothing is more challenging than getting through from Rosh Hashanah to Simchat Torah with your health and weight intact. As daunting and challenging as this may seem, a few little tricks and just a little self-discipline can get you through virtually unscathed.

There are essentially three areas where we all tend to get into trouble. One, the amounts of food we consume sitting at our tables for our festive meals. Two, the type of foods we eat. And the third is the general lack of activity and exercise during the Chagim.

Let’s first look at the portion control issue. There is a Mitzvah to eat certain foods during the Chagim. There is no mitzvah however, to consume mass quantities of anything. In order to keep a handle on the over-eating problem, try this. Take a reasonable portion on your plate, and if you are truly still hungry after you eat what’s on your plate, then take seconds from a cooked or raw vegetable or whole grain dish. Remember that drinking water may also make you feel full. So, drink up before you start your meal. 

As far as the second item, the kinds of food we eat, everyone can make some subtle adjustments in this area as well. Even though meat and chicken dishes are more popular at this time of year, you can trim the fat from your meat and order lean cuts to begin with.  As far as the chicken and turkey goes, skin them, preferably before cooking and keep in mind that the white meat is much less fatty than the dark pieces. Also, keep the emphasis on vegetable and grain dishes. For dessert, go for fresh fruit salads, melons, and sorbets instead of cake and cookies full of sugar and fat. Keep in mind that most pareve ice creams use chemical and high-fat based whips.

Item number three—lack of activity. No, don’t go out and do an exercise session during the Chagim. But, don’t sit around either. Nice long, brisk walks, particularly after your meals are a great idea. There is nothing worse than throwing yourself into metabolic rigor mortis by falling asleep immediately after a meal. When you are done with the walk, stretch a little and then you can take your nap. 

This time of the year is a time to be joyful and happy and to celebrate together with our families. We need not create more stress in our lives than we already have. So, instead of saying “after the holidays”, say let’s get started with good and healthful habits right now.  Watching your serving sizes, eating healthful choices, and staying as active as possible over the Chagim are other ways to “add hours to your day, days to your year, and years to your life.”

For previous columns, click HERE.

Alan Freishtat is an A.C.E. CERTIFIED PERSONAL TRAINER and a LIFESTYLE FITNESS COACH with over 10 years of professional experience. He is the co-director of the Jerusalem-based weight loss center Lose It! together with Linda Holtz M.S. and is available for private consultations, assessments and personalized workout programs. Alan also lectures and gives seminars and workshops. He can be reached at 02-651-8502 or 050-555-7175, or by email at [email protected].

(Alan Freishtat – YWN)


  1. Sorry but I prefer to stick with my fatty corned beef, tongue, stuffed duck, stuffed veal pocket, fried potato kugel, stuffed cabbage, cholent with flanken (on shabbos along with liver & p’tcha) and let’s not forget the fresh baked challa with multitudes of dips which encourage its consumption. All of the above & more gets washed down with large doses of wine, beer, liquor & soda. Do that for 9 days of Yom Tov & I guarantee you a most enjoyable Y”T!!! BTW after Y’T I recommend exercising & watching what you eat (maybe even consider fasting Bahab) but please don’t take away my simchas Y”T!!!