Monday, November 3, 2008

Dieting as a Means of Emancipating Ones Self From the Yetzer Hara's Grip


I wrote before about eating in a more restrained way as a method of controlling one's ta'avos, desires.

Although my current work as a Law Clerk in a general practice law firm does involve driving 1-2 days a week, my previous jobs involved much more driving. I had some very very bad habits that developed over time. Essentially, I was too rushed in the morning to pack up food for the day, so I would grab snacks and soda on my way from place to place at various convenience stores or gas stations. I would essentially order whatever fatty or sweet food or drink that I felt like getting at any time and, to my embarrassment, I munched through my day without any meaningful self-control over what I would eat.

But about three months ago, I was very unhappy about what had become of my formerly slender build and so, with my wife's undying and faithful support, I totally changed my eating habits. Now, much of the time either my wife or I prepare my daily rations of food, I do not buy or eat any of the high fat or sugar foods (think Drake's) that I used to get, and I am now good friends with my former nemesis, diet soda. Although I don't go to the meetings, I've started keeping to the Weight Watchers system as well.

B"H, I have lost about 22 pounds so far, KA"H, these last three months and I hope to lose another 15 or so.

I ponder quite often how I could have lived such an animalistic lifestyle before, simply ingesting anything that I wanted to, only hesitating to check for a hechsher and mumble a quick bracha. It is clear to me now, after having extricated myself, to some extent, from that this way of life, that I was truly a naval b'reshus haTorah, a boor, who didn't transgress halacha. It may have taken a shelo lishma (non-spiritual) reason to get me started in this, but it now seems to me that it is essential, for one trying to live a more ruchnius-dikeh life, to control one's ta'avos in eating in order not to be a slave to his nefesh habahamis, his animalistic soul.

-Dixie Yid

P.S. Thanks to A Simple Jew for suggesting that I write about this topic, especially given our e-discussions about this avodah.

(Picture courtesy of Drake's)

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10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mazal Tov on your successful diet.
Keep it up!

But a warning about Diet drinks. Because of the dangerous chemicals in them, side effects include ... BECOMING FAT! (seriously! apparently the body expects food to break down, and the calorie-less chemicals make the body ... crave!)

A Simple Jew said...

I am glad you posted about this topic, Dixie Yid!

Rebbe Nachman of Breslov wrote alot about this topic. I encourage you to take a look at the section on eating in Likutey Eitzos. You can find it online on page 40 of the .pdf here

DixieYid said...

Anon,

I hear what you're saying. But if you don't go over your daily alotment of points (or calories or whatever system you're using), then the Diet soda is a big mechaya. It's a pretty good taste, but without any points/calories! I have some friends that are into natural foods though, and they never eat food with sugar in it, and Splenda is totally out of the question for them since it's Sugar, but even more processed. I'm certainly not on their madreiga!

ASJ,

Thank you! I'll see that ma'areh makom! Shkoyach! And thanks for the general chizuk and leading by example in this topic as well!

-Dixie Yid

Tom Foolery said...

You eat OU-D Drake's Cakes!!??

How about cholov yisroel?

Neil Harris said...

Yashar Koach. I could use to lose some pounds, as well.

Tom Foolery: The best advise (really it was major Mussar) my mother ever gave me was "Keep your eyes on your own plate"

frumhouse said...

What a great post! Thanks for bringing in the Torah as an incentive to eat sensibly.

Shorty said...

Good for you on taking the steps to a healthier lifestyle.

The same way we become addicted to drugs or alcohol, we become addicted to other bad habits, like eating high fat sugary foods. In fact - we become addicted to EATING period. We eat when we are bored, sad, with friends, working, driving...

I will share a little, well, not so much wisdom, but a reality - when embarking on the weight loss journey, one needs to "Ride out" the wave of feeling hungry. We have forgotten how to feel thirsty or even simply not hungry. Its a hard habit, but it can be done (i speak from experience both personally and from working in the "industry").

i wish you good health - a healthy Dixie Yid is one who can still write for us!

DixieYid said...

Neil, Frumhouse and Shorty:

Thank you! And Shorty, I hope to be successful and stick with it. But you're right about the whole addiction point. That was a point made by Frumhouse in her most recent post as well and I'm thinking of writing something about that as well. Kol tuv!

-Dixie Yid

Menashe said...

tom,

For somebody that holds by the heter it's perfectly permissible, if not optimal. If there's no issur, then it's obviously forbidden to give mussar. Especially to somebody that you most probably don't know in person.

DixieYid said...

Neil & Menashe,

It could be that he used the name "Tom Foolery" to hint that he was just joking...

:-)

-Dixie Yid