Friday, April 2, 2010

Thank God for Matzos!

I knew I was in trouble Monday morning when I arrived to work. I walked into the break room to put the lunch my husband lovingly packed to help me meet my weight loss goal when suddenly, I come face to face with my nemesis -- Yehuda Matzos.

My Jewish colleague Lee brings Matzos into work once a year, during Passover. He places it on the table, along with a tub of whipped butter and salt (and pepper, but no need for that as far as I'm concerned). With the exception of all of the Christmas goodies found in our breakroom in December, the day Lee brings in Matza is by far my favorite. 

If you aren't familiar with it, Matza is the substitute for bread during the Jewish holiday of Passover, when eating chametz—bread and leavened products—is not allowed. Apparently, eating matza on the night of the seder is considered a positive mitzvah, i.e., a commandment. In the context of the Passover seder meal, certain restrictions additional to the chametz prohibitions are to be met for the matza to be considered "mitzva matza", that is, matza that meets the requirements of the positive commandment to eat matza at the seder.

So really, it would have been a sin NOT to eat the Matzos. And since I've always been the obedient God-fearing type, I had some. With butter. And salt. It was good. It was great. I had another one. It was even better.

I knew that before I got further into my Matza Meltdown, I'd better get online and track the points on Weight Watchers' online tracking system. And so I tracked:

X = {2TBSP butter (2 points) + 1 Matza bread (2 points)} x 2 servings
drumroll please....

Yes, 8 points. More than one-third of my daily allowance of 22 points. And before you say (like my friend Patricia did), "Just use some of your weekly 35 bonus points," if you must know, I had already run out of them by Monday. A certain work-related black-tie event which was on Saturday at the Westin St. Francis on San Francisco's Union Square -- complete with boneless short ribs, mashed sweet potatoes, grilled ham and cheese triangles, brie and grapes on little toast circles, and an open bar -- took care of my bonus points for the week, thank you very much!

My friend Holly (left) and I at the black tie event over the weekend. The event was certainly a good use of my bonus points for the week!

When you combine the matzos with my breakfast, a modest-two-point Yoplait Yogurt, and the lunch my husband packed (an 8-point Weight Watchers pizza), it's pretty easy to see that by 1 p.m. that day I was screwed!  Somehow, I had to get through the rest of the day on a mere four points. Yet, I was supposed to go to a dinner that very evening with my fellow committee members who worked on my son's school fundraiser two weekends prior. We were going to debrief the event, make suggestions for next year, toast our great work, and celebrate our "job well done" over our meal at the Union Hotel. 

That was just trouble waiting to happen with only four points left, and I knew it.  There is no way I could limit myself to one glass of wine and a bowl of 0-point celery sticks during a celebratory feast.

So I skipped the dinner meeting. It wasn't too difficult because when that morning (before the Matzos) I told my son I might not make his baseball game because I had a dinner meeting, he looked at me with those sad eyes. It didn't matter to him that we were celebrating a job well done raising $28,000 for his school. It just meant I would miss his game.

Before I go on, I must skip back a couple of weeks in my son's baseball career. He is at the age where they "try out" for baseball. The options for his age group (9/10) is Minor B or Minor A, with Minor A being the higher skill level. Will tried out and was disappointed when he learned he was selected for the Minor B Padres team. He had a great coach, and a few friends on the team, but he was disappointed. Nevertheless, he made the best of it and after the first few games of the season, he was clearly the team superstar, hitting triples and doubles on a regular basis.

One afternoon, we got the call. A coach for the Minor A Cardinals had seen Will play and wanted to draft him to their team. Will was absolutely over the moon when he found out. You couldn't wipe the smile from his face for days. To make a good situation even better, he has a lot of friends on his new team. Even though we knew it would be a little bit of an adjustment for him to transition to a new team, we agreed to let him do it. 

We brought the video camera to his first few games. Every time he got up to bat, my husband taped it. His first time at bat, Will got hit in the leg. Second time at bat, he struck out. Third time, he struck out again. That was followed by a walk, and then a strike out. And another one. Yet another one. Even then, Will never got discouraged and literally had a smile throughout each game.

Even so, it was clear to me he needed his groove back. He didn't seem to have the confidence he had when playing in the other league. And as a good -- albeit competitive -- mother, I gave him a pep talk. I told him that every time he goes to bat, he needs to believe that he is just as good as all the other players in the Minor A league, otherwise the coaches would not have hand-picked him. I suggested he try to visualize during the game the coaches pitching to him since he was able to hit off of them at practice. I told him that we all knew he was a great player, but that he had to believe it too, even if the kids pitch faster than they do in the other league.

And this is where my Matzos-misstep turned to be a blessing. Rather than join my fellow committee members for dinner, there I sat with my husband and daughter Piper in the stands at the friggin' freezing Field #1 at Community Park. With four points left in my day, my tummy was growling and my body was shivering, but we all rooted as Will went up to bat for the first time during the game.

He struck out.

But you know it can't end there. I wouldn't devote this much blog space to talking about my dear son striking out. That would be cruel!

Will got up to bat for the second and last time of the game. I overheard one coach telling him that he knows he can hit because he's seen him do it. The other coach yelled out, "Come on Will, hit a homerun!" And with that, Will walked up to the plate with his bright red batting helmet with the chin strap and his dark blue aluminum bat. And a smile on his face.

The pitcher pitched a perfect strike and Will, with a single smooth stroke, NAILED it.  Absolutely nailed it!  It went all the way into left field, took one bounce and hit the fence. He ran. And ran. And ran. And as the third-base coach waved him home, the stands erupted in even louder cheering and even little sister Piper was jumping up and down. Our son got an in-the-park homerun. It was amazing. More amazing than Matzos. I'm so glad I was there to witness it.

His teammates gave him a high-five as he headed back into the dugout. His coach awarded him with the game ball when the competition was over. Over the moon doesn't even begin to capture it. His team lost the game, but who the heck is counting?!

The game ball

To celebrate, Will had nachos from the snack shack. I had a 2-point piece of cheese and a bowl of carrot sticks, with a TBSP of fat free ranch to dip it in.

Ah, the sweet taste of victory.

That wasn't the only triumph in the Whitty household this week. I'm pleased to report that despite the Matzos, I lost another 1.5 pounds, bringing my total weight loss to 10 pounds. 10 down, 30 to go!


  1. Hey Jen,
    Yeah Team to both you and Will. How proud you
    and Christian must be. Keep up the good work.

  2. congrats on the weight loss! I need to do the same- but with my lack of motivation it will be 40 by the time I'm 40 too (thats almost 8 years!) haha....