Keys to weight loss:
1. Increase water intake. Drink first when hungry to avoid eating until full. By drinking first, one is more likely to eat less in one sitting.
2. Reduce food intake. Yes, this is hard. Never said it was easy. When I first lost weight in Summer 2004, I was hungry much of the time. I began to see hunger as a sign that my programme was working. Keep meals small and light. In 2004, I would typically just skip dinner. Not necessary, but it worked.
3. The diet continues on shabbos. It’s okay to splurge a little but not hit the Kiddush table like before. No second helpings at dinner or lunch. No feasting at a shalom zochar, and just one shalom zochar per week! One cookie, no cholent at Kiddush! If one follows protocol, one can go through shabbos without gaining weight that had been lost during the week. There are plenty of opportunities for excuses, e.g., “This is a seriously kickass Kiddush,” but such an event is so frequent one would never lose weight if one kept breaking his diet so easily. Eyes on the goal and hands off the food.
4. Step on the scale six mornings a week, before breakfast. No more, no less. If the diet works, then stepping on the scale is an occasion to look forward to and hastens the wake-up process. Every threshold divisible by five is celebrated.
5. Keep busy! Walking helps. Being in places where only inedible food is available helps—Houses of Treif like downtown entertainment venues. Doing something at night to forget about dinner helps.
About eight months ago, I spoke to someone who needed to lose about 50 pounds. His wife of 15 months really wanted him to do it. He had been overweight for all of his adult life and was apprehensive about changing his routine. I told him how he needed to downshift on shabbos meals to make his diet a success. “That would be very hard,” he replied. “I know it’s hard,” I said. “I went through it myself.” But one can’t expect lose weight while eating two large and two or three small meals every shabbos. (Dinner and lunch; plus Kiddush, shalosh seuda, and a shalom zochar or oneg shabbos.) It just isn’t going to happen.