The Hazan: Rabbi Raphael Elnadav z.s.l.

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By: Rabbi Moshe Rafael Seror

Eight centuries ago, Rambam laid a solid foundation for a healthy lifestyle. His holistic approach covered various topics ranging from the quality of our air, water, food and living conditions to when, what and how much we should eat. He emphasized the importance of a positive mental outlook and the need for physical exercise.

With about three out of four Americans  above their recommended healthy weight according to the CDC, it’s no wonder why countless dieters have tried just about everything to try to lose those unwanted pounds. But after an innumerable variety of get-thin-quick schemes have come and gone, trendy crash diets have proven themselves largely ineffective and even dangerous. Today, the best diet plans and books are turning their focus to the kinds of lifestyle changes advocated by Rambam 800 years ago, rather than ways to lose weight through short-term, drastic changes.

Nothing fast lasts

Although weight loss on fad diets is possible, most of the lost weight is usually mostly water, especially in the early stages. Anytime large amounts of food are restricted, there will be a temporarily loss of weight, but as soon as you resume your regular eating habits, the weight comes back. For serious weight loss you need a lifestyle change and a diet you can maintain. That’s why it's far better to pick a diet in which you lose the weight gradually while eating healthier foods.

You’re going nowhere without exercise

Rambam repeatedly stressed the significance of exercise as the basis of a healthy lifestyle, and weight loss is exceedingly more difficult without it.Most people need about a half hour of cardiovascular exercise every day and 15 minutes of yoga type stretching in order to help them lose extra weight.

Lifestyle is the real change needed

Old habits die hard, and Rambam understood this. Drastic changes in diet and lifestyle are detrimental to health, and therefore any change should be gradual. The key is to make healthy choices while steadily eliminating unhealthy foods from your diet. Start with reasonable goals and the knowledge that it will take time.

So before you try the next diet fad, remember that the best weight loss plan consists of healthy and wholesome food choices, and a regimen of physical activity to last a lifetime.