Posted on | September 21, 2009 | By Anxious Ima | 4 Comments
Its now been nearly two weeks since I stepped on the large metal scale at my produce market and discovered that I was overweight Until then, I rarely weighed myself.. I didn’t even own a scale because, hey, I wasn’t fat. I wore a small dress size and nothing I owned (except for two skirts that weren’t all that nice anyway) seemed to be too tight. What weight problem? But then came that fateful afternoon when the market was empty and my eight year old son pounced on the scale . Just for fun, I followed him along (not at the same time) discovering, to my horror that I was the fattest I’ve been since puberty.
Yikes. How could that have happened? One of my friends said that the scale was wrong the produce man was a crook. I tried to convince myself of that , but, the produce man . seemed too nice to be doing a Bernie Madoff on his customers, but then again how could I have accumulated so much bulk? Just to be on the safe side, I went to the dietician.and of course she asked me what I had been eating. “Oh nothing too bad,” I mumbled describing the salads, whole wheat toast and fruit and yogurt I had consumed. “Just that” she wondered. I thought for a moment and then I came clean, confessing to her about . those frothy iced coffees at the mall –only on days when I was really wiped out, and the freshly fried chicken cutlets— to get me through Erev Shabbos and those late night cake licking sessions, only the frosting, never the cake. How bad could that be? . None of this could really be called overeating, right?
After that the dietician put me on her scale, an old fashioned doctors office models with the sliding beam and the little metal weights that you adjust by hand. To my horror the beam waved up and down like a lulav when little weight blocks indicated my new high weight. Well, at least I knew that the produce man was honest, but I wasn’t.
Its now almost a week since I’ve stopped fooling myself about food and started in earnest on the new eating plan prescribed by the dietician and it’s tough, not much fun, but all this has got me thinking. Since the body is just the soul’s down wintercoat what about the person who lives inside?. If I’ve been playing games about my eating, what kind of games have I been playing about the rest of my behavior. Quite a few, it seems. Here’s just some of the little lies I’ve been telling myself:
1) the I’m generally just fine. I do such great stuff, visiting the sick, giving people rides, that I’m a shoo in for the Righteous book even if I daydream or sleep my way through the davening.
2) The Loshon Horo Lie . Since I read “Guard Your Tongue” (sometimes) and even own a copy) that exempts me from the sin of evil speech. Yes, I know the rules, but does that mean I don’t break ‘em. Fat chance.
3) The anger lie. Losing it with my kids ( or my spouse) doesn’t really count because everybody does it and beside the bible says its okay. Here’s proof: King Solomon Proverbs Spare the rod and spoil the child and Genesis’s descriptions of the wife: “Helpmate against him”— isn’t that permission to chew out your man every once in a while? Well maybe not, especially if you are out of control..
4) The ingratitude lie- telling myself that teachers and babysitters and cleaning ladies and plumbers and wig stylists don’t need to be thanked for a job well done because they are getting paid for it anyway. Yeah? Is that how you would feel if it were you? And as for volunteers, like family members, they certainly don’t deserve a thank you because they owe it to me considering all the stuff I’d done for them already. Really?
5) Then there is my favorite one– the time wasting lie, — telling myself that tooling around in cyberspace revs up my creative motors. Again…Yeah, really?
And that is only scratching the surface. According to Mrs. Tzipora Heller in Temple times, the Cohanim, the high priests were teshuva therapists– short term only. No long hours on the couch. Just one look and they told where you had messed up and how to fix it. And don’t forget about the leprosy they had back then.. One misstep and KAZAM! a blotch on your wall or flesh. But what are we moderns supposed to do?
I’ve got a solution, not an original idea, and not perfect, but it’s a start. A short cut which I’d like to call the Teshuva Diet. Three short questions to ask myself every day . What did I do right today. When did I do wrong and how am I planning to fix it.
Of course there will be days when I’ll forget but the Teshuva Diet is one small step to a better me the way that each lo cal meal and each iced coffee skipped are small steps to a thinner me.
Since new year is a good time to take on new spiritual practices let this be mine, so that I can fix things as they happen instead of having them blow up on me the way my body just did.
Ketiva VeHatima Tova.