“What are you going to miss most about America?”
It should have been a hard question, but the answer came too easily.
“Skinny jeans and Sundays,” I said as I squeezed the last few sem skirts into my suitcase that definitely weighed over fifty pounds (in case you were wondering, it did, but after lots of smiles they let me through anyways 🙂 ).
It was August twenty-third. A Sunday I think. 11:00am ish.
As you could imagine, I was very anxious. In only a few hours I would be on the plane to Israel where I would certainly be missing more than a pair of pants.
But, even so, there was an instinctive part of me that knew I would miss Sunday. It’s that perfect end-of-the-week chill day that just can’t be replaced (and no, calling short Friday an off day doesn’t count).
It’s a time to de-stress, unwind, and prepare for the week to come. It can be your Netflix day or the be-organized-and-do-stuff-in-advance day, depending on what you make it. And both are equally valid.
In Israel there would be no leisurely Sunday morning bike ride or option to make spontaneous brunch for my sisters. There would be no clients coming to the Hair by Dena salon before simchas, and doodles in the margins of my notebook would have to fill in for afternoon watercolors. The week would feel so much longer since Shabbat would be the only day to breathe.
Sunday would become the new Monday.
What good could come from that?
Well, think about this for a minute –
What did you eat in a typical Sunday?
For me at least, Sundays were a sort of extension of Shabbat, foodwise. Let’s just say my eating habits weren’t exactly…um…exemplary.
It would typically go something like this:
11:00 am: Decide that after being up for an hour and a half it may be a good idea to eat something. Usually I’d make a smoothie with whatever was in the fridge. PB and bananas were usually in that mix.
2:30 pm: After taking my usual bike route, doing some schoolwork and whatever else was on the to-do list I’d often find myself ravenous, glancing at the time to realize it was way past lunchtime. The smoothie clearly did not hold me over long enough. It never did. If I was out I’d swallow a KIND bar to suppress my hunger. If I was home I’d have a salad or something light. My day never really allowed time for a proper lunch.
Before I knew it it would be dinnertime, about 6:30pm or so. On Sunday nights my family would often go out which was great since I was usually very hungry by that point (shocking, right?).
Except it really wasn’t so great.
Restaurants have a funny (or not so funny…) way of making you eat way more than you want to.
It all started with the bread. The waitress would bring it out in a straw basket, sometimes with basic olive oil or butter and other times with fancy dips and spreads. I would start with one piece, telling myself that it’s okay to have some bread since I barely ate all day. Which was true. I guess.
But when it got to slice number three, the reasoning behind that somehow lost its validity.
And then of course there was the soup. I love soup. It’s always on the menu and it’s a good vegetarian option, especially on those cold winter evenings.
I’d usually order a butternut-squash or tomato-rice if they had.
But God only knows what went into those restaurant soups. The amount of oil, cream, margarine and salt which they probably contained could only be left up to my imagination. Plus, that was only the start of my meal…
Next, I’d typically have sushi, falafel or some kind of salad. I know you’re thinking it doesn’t sound bad, perhaps it may even sound healthy.
After having carbs and more carbs the last thing I needed was even more carbs, whether consumed in the form of sweet sauce on top of the sushi, pita with the falafel, or fried croutons that would obviously dominate the salad, which would definitely be drenched in fattening dressing.
Most foods that would mask themselves under the title of ‘healthy’ or ‘light’ were often nothing but the opposite. And, to top things off, I would eat this all at night which according to many opinions is not ideal.
In brief, the eating pattern of my Sundays, week after week, was just not healthy to put it nicely. I should have been eating snacks throughout the day as opposed to piling food in before the day’s close. I should have allowed myself to ease back into my routine straight after Shabbat; I shouldn’t have put it off until Monday.
But everything gets lazier on the weekend, so how could my diet have kept its structure?
Thankfully my Sunday struggles don’t exist this year simply because the concept of Sunday isn’t one.
On Sunday all things resume.
Adults go back to work, children to school. Buses run on a regular schedule. Alarms are reset to 8:00am. Coffee shops open for breakfast and stores and malls are accessible throughout the day.
There is something nice about starting the week a day earlier though.
Just like any other day, I know when I’ll be hungry and I can plan my food choices accordingly. I don’t have to worry about falling off track since everything will continue to be status quo. I don’t have to fret over splurging at night since Sunday is just like any other day: balanced, simple, and regular. There’s no reason for it not to be. Interestingly, I’m able to exert greater self control on the weekends now than I was when in New York.
If missing Sunday is a healthier choice, I guess I can get over my Sundaysickness for a short while.
But the skinny jeans? Man, do I still miss those.
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