Friday Feature: And Now For Something A Little Different

16 Tishrei 5775

I want to talk a little bit about responsibility. Specifically, personal responsibility.

During Yom Kippur, I had some guilt and shame about what I had done to my fellows, but by and large not much. To myself, on the other hand…

In the Maccabeats’ “Book of Good Life,” which I’ve linked to many times in the last few weeks, one character’s mitzvah seemed, to me, to be something I would never be able to do. This character in the video wakes up, rolls out of bed, throws on his kippah, grabs a slice of cold pizza from the fridge, and goes out to do whatever he does. But taking care of his body is not one of those things. Later, after he’s had a chance to consider his actions, he ends up at the gym pumping iron – caring for his body, in other words.

Jewish teaching is that caring for the body is a mitzvah. That’s really hard for me to believe or accept because I have always lived in my head. My body is just what I ride around in. But if it is a mitzvah to care for the body, then I must accept that.

I’m a diet-controlled diabetic. I am overweight. Severely so. I low-carbed for a long time, but this summer, with the heat and the heat and, well, the heat, I succumbed to the siren songs of ice cream and frozen yogurt and fried rice and many other things I’m ashamed of now. I gained 20 pounds between my doctor’s appointment in June and the one I just had today.

Obviously, this can’t go on. So I am making my New Year’s resolution: I am going to treat my body better than I have been. It’s back on the low-carb diet, hopefully for good this time. This means that I will get one small piece of my gluten-free challah and one SMALL cup of grape juice on Shabbat, and that’s it in terms of carb intake. Everything else is going to be the ketogenic diet that brought my diabetes under control for the first time in my life. I have too much to lose now. I’m aiming to keep myself below 100 g of carbs per day, and eventually below 50 g of carbs per day.

My partner supports what I need to do. He needs to do it, too. We’re getting married on the last day of the (non-Jewish) month, and we both want to be around for each other for a long, long time. So we are changing our ways. Low-carb, and going to the gym to lift weights regularly. More activity, and less sitting. More paying attention to our bodies, and less denying that they matter.

So today, I am thankful for something. I’m thankful for a change in my attitude, as well as my partner’s support in that change.

Shabbat shalom, all. I’ll see you again after Saturday night is here.

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