Can I maintain or even lose weight during Pesach at a hotel or resort? Absolutely! I’ve compiled a list of tips from my many years of experience with Pesach getaways.
Exercise: Most hotels offer exercise classes, separate gym and pool hours, and some have beautiful grounds and walking trails. Take advantage of these amenities. Burn calories and set the right tone for the day. Try to fit in a workout on Erev Pesach after you’re settled into your room. That way you will stay away from the lavish arrival meal and you will also come into Yom Tov with the right mindset.
Healthy choices: There is a plethora of food from which to choose, but there are also more than enough healthy choices. For example: At a breakfast buffet, have a custom omelet prepared for you with cooking spray, a whole egg, two egg whites, and your choice vegetables. Choose cut-up fruits and salads with dressings on the side. Sit down and eat without going back to check out the food. When leaving, use the closest exit instead of walking past the food to the last exit in the dining room.
The tea room is not a necessity: You can enjoy the tea, coffee, and fruits. If you will be too tempted by the food there, send someone to get your drink for you. Sit in the lobby to enjoy your drink instead of at one of the tables in the tea room where you will be surrounded by tempting junk food. You can also opt to do something else altogether.
Your one treat: Do allow yourself one treat a day if necessary, but only if you are sure it won’t make you crave more. Keep in mind: when comparing homemade to catered desserts, it’s not even worth cheating. I have yet to taste a dessert on Pesach that is better than homemade. Don’t let your progress go to waste.
Make a request: Ask your server to bring you fruit for dessert instead of the dessert that is being served. Most hotels are happy to accommodate. Some even offer additional food options such as salt-free, sugar-free, fat-free, dietetic, etc. All you have to do is ask.
Pesach is only one week: Whether you have been on the plan for months or only a couple of weeks, don’t ruin your hard work over one holiday. It is so much harder to get back into it once you’ve stopped. Remember that Pesach is so much more than just food. Focus on the “nonfood” meaning of the holiday and spending time with your loved ones.
Limit table time during meals: Simply said, eat and be done. Do not linger around. Go to the lobby or to a nearby sitting area to continue conversations elsewhere.
Only order what you need: The waiter usually brings over a sheet listing all the appetizers, main dishes, etc. As opposed to a buffet or family-style dinners, this actually is helpful because if you do not ask for it, it will not be there.
Bring a scale: I am contradicting myself here because you may have read my “anti-scale” article where I recommend weighing yourself only once a week. However, I find it helpful to check in with the scale between Yom Tov days just to see how you are doing.
Compensate: If you spend too much money on Monday, you can still be in control of your account if you lay low on your purchases on Tuesday. Using the same logic, if you had a big lunch, have a small dinner or even skip it. I did this three times to be exact. I fed the kids dinner, then put them to sleep early, had a fruit, and went to sleep myself… Do not feel bad for me because I enjoyed very big and delicious lunches and desserts on those days.
Treat buffet as a visual menu: Just like in a restaurant, you cannot order or sample everything on the menu. Same here. Take a look, then make a choice.
Start every day with a good breakfast: This means a protein (yogurt, omelet, etc.) and a fruit or vegetable. You can also add a little starch such as half a matzah. If you start your day with sugar or junk food, your blood sugar will not be steady and you will find yourself craving more sugar throughout the day.
Alice Harrosh, is a nutrition counselor and manager at Nutrition by Tanya, with 10 locations plus a brand-new one in Queens. Alice knows that making healthy choices is not always easy, as she has been through the struggle herself. As an optimistic person, Alice’s favorite quote is: “It’s never too late to start eating better. If you have a bad morning, make it a better afternoon.” For more information on Nutrition by Tanya or the TAP (Tanya-approved products) food line, please visit www.nutritionbytanya.com or call 844-Tanya-Diet (844-826-9234). For daily tips and inspiration, you may follow @nutritionbytanya on Instagram.