Similar to the secular practice of making New Year’s resolutions, Rosh Hashanah mandates that Jews examine their past deeds to plan for a better life in the coming year. I love the fresh start it gives me. I love making plans for fresh starts – resolutions with some leeway.
I recently posted something to my Facebook about cheating. Weight Watchers posted a photo of French fries with the message “It’s eating, not cheating” and a hashtag #biteintolife. I couldn’t love that any more if I tried. I’ve shared before about how I feel when an unsustainable program makes us feel like a failure. This society we live in breeds blame and shame. Life is about neither. Well my life isn’t anyway.
One of my friends shared on that post that she uses the word “splurge” instead because it sounds more fun. To me, not ONLY does it sound more fun, but also it is safe. It’s not judgmental (bad/evil). It’s not moral (cheating). It’s an event. I love it. I’m not a slave to my plan. I don’t want to live in “food-forgiveness mode” all the time.
In order to change my relationship with food – FOR GOOD – I need to focus on my life and not the food. We all have those people in our lives that are important enough to keep in our lives, but we can’t take too much of them all the time. You can’t wait to have a night out with them and then are just fine to just call once in a while and keep up with their posts on social media for the rest of the time. You want them around for holidays and special occasions – again, because they mean a lot to you. That’s what I need to do with food. And I think I do it – mostly.
And in order to do it mostly – comes the plan for the new day, week, year ahead. That fresh start. I find that when we cultivate other relationships (friends, family, spouses, work, literature, hobbies, etc.) that the need for food forgiveness is minimal. So that’s one of my resolutions.
Years ago before social media we weren’t always witness to everyone’s “diet plans.” Nowadays I don’t think a day that goes by that I don’t see a dozen different plans followed by friends, judged by friends, put down by friends. So another resolution for me is to reduce the posts – unfollow is a great tool. I have to hide many a bacon post and many a salted caramel post…but I digress. We all think we’re on the most perfect of plans. Finding support in the way that works is a key way to be successful. A meeting, a Facebook group, a support texting group – whatever works. My resolution is to not judge for anyone else what works for them. Sometimes that’ll mean stepping away or listening to my Mom’s voice saying, “If you have nothing nice to say….” We are only accountable to ourselves. We eat or drink, we get the consequences – good, bad, or ugly.
Choose your food. Choose your plan. Food isn’t moral. Splurge and enjoy but no beating yourself up. It’s food. But on the same note, I don’t want to be judged for eating bacon or bread. It’s food. We all need it….most of us like it…we have different ways of looking at it.
We live in a diverse world. We are giving free will and a voice. Use your free will to choose the one that works for you. Use your voice to lift up those who choose the same or different. That’s my way of honoring my High Holiday tradition. That and some apples and honey for a sweet new year.