I just finished cooking a few of my family’s favorite Passover dishes. I used 10 eggs in 2 dishes. I think there were 3 cups of sugar too! OY!

Passover began last night at sundown. It’s an eight-day holiday during which we celebrate the Jews being freed from slavery in Egypt. Not only do we celebrate with a Passover Seder on the first TWO nights (think multi-course meal, big calories, lots of carbs, wine, dessert and pants with an elastic waist), but we also eat special foods for the duration of the holiday. This holiday, while one of my very favorites, can be a nightmare for anyone trying to lose weight. I affectionately refer to Passover as the carbohydrate and cholesterol high-point holiday.

Yes, there are many great vegetarian options during Passover and plenty of ways to make it weight loss-friendly. And, I do this quite a bit during the holiday, but we have family favorites — Matzah pizza (9 points), Matzah Brei (7 points), caramel matzah crunch (5 points), Banana Nut Kugel (10 points), Passover blueberry muffins (9 points) and, of course, Sponge Cake (9 points). With eight nights, you can see how this will get difficult to manage within my point allotment for the week — each of these things is just part of a meal, not the whole thing! And, I have to plan it out to guarantee we eat all the favorites during the week. Not only is it a lot of cooking, but it is also plenty challenging to ensure we don’t have a kugel on the same night as we have Passover lasagna! Talk about a starch-laden meal!!

I’ve learned that one of the keys to success in the long haul of weight loss is not feeling deprived (whether a high calorie holiday is involved or not.) So, while I can adjust ingredients or choose to not eat certain Passover foods, I would feel left out and be unhappy because I wouldn’t be observing my holiday the way I’ve done it my whole life! I want to enjoy my holiday and the food that goes with it! It’s tradition. I don’t want to have guilt or shame for doing that. Truly, it is no different than celebrating Easter or Christmas — except it lasts for 8 days!

I focus on NSVsnon scale victories! Ultimately, my goal is to come out of this week weighing the same as when I started it. In the meantime, I’m looking for the NSVs — not having seconds on my favorite desserts and tracking my food every day. Every. Single. Thing. (Have you seen how many crumbs a piece of matzah generates? This might require higher math skills.) This will be a great time to take my measurements. As much as I hate the numbers, I bet that they are smaller than the last time I took them! Other NSVs might be meeting my step goal more days than I did last week. Going to bed on time, or planning and prepping all the healthy snacks to have on hand for the week to help offset the high point foods.

In making major lifestyle changes and committing to lose 150 pounds, I’m willing to take a week of no weight loss to enjoy my holiday and observe it the way it was intended to be done. Being realistic, recognizing the importance of NSVs and knowing my own limits are all part of making changes for the long haul.

What NSVs do you celebrate?