[Tzivie Pill]: If I were to spend the next 12 minutes talking to you from this angle, would that make you really uncomfortable? or do you prefer this angle? Do I need to be aesthetically pleasing to you, for you to listen to the words that I have to say? [Sara Kupfer] They tell us we are fat. They tell us we’d look better if we were thinner. They tell us, we need to lose just 5 lbs, and then 5 more lbs, then 5 more lbs. They tell me this dress I am wearing doesn’t do anything for me. But did we asked for their opinion? They tell me that the cheese cake I eat is sinful. Oh well, guess I am going to hell. They tell me that the guy they think would be perfect for me is looking for someone half my size, but if he is looking for someone half my size, he is not perfect for me. [Audience Laughing] We get it. They have told us, guys like thin girls. I don’t know if they heard, but a fat girl got married today, and yesterday, and too the day before. In fact, fat people get married everyday and not always to each other. [Audience Laughing] [Tzivie Pill] ‘So, tape your mouth shut and shrink’, they said. We try to disappear, and disappear some more, to take up less space in the world so that we could be more accommodating to our row on Rosh Hashanah. And, we did it. ‘We made it to the inner circle, finally’, we thought. Only, we didn’t shrink enough. We know this because they tell us. The clothing store on Coney Island Avenue turned us away for having a body, and our thighs still grotesquely overflow from the chair. ‘Thou must diet’ the 11 commandment Moshe Rubini left off. [Laughing] The doctor told me the other day, my baby isn’t growing enough. ‘Petite’is the word she used, but ‘petite’ is good for a girl, right? ‘Actually’, I said, ‘petite just is… it isn’t a good thing or a bad thing, it’s just a body type.’ It seems that it starts with an unborn fetus. It’s been 29 years and it’s going strong. I get comments about my body almost every single day. Will it go until death? Or, will the pursuit of trying to accommodate you kill me? [Sara Kupfer] I don’t know how we got to this point where the objective of our community is to live a life in pursuit of thinness, and where dieting is the norm, like Shabbos and Kashrus, it’s just part of our culture. Growing up in the firm world is a beautiful experience. We are taught what it means to live with God, and how to treat our fellow human beings with deep sensitivity. We are taught to support one another, and I wouldn’t give that up for anything. I am an empowered orthodox Jewess living in the 21st century. And, I am passionate about being a part of this community, but I am not going to standby while they promote a lifestyle that is so incongruent with our values. [Tzivie Pill] Every Friday night, my husband serenades me with the words from Eshet Chayil, praising my actions as a wife, highlighting my values and my purpose. But nowhere in the 464 words of that song does it say, my purpose is to be thin. In fact, it says the opposite, ‘Sheker hachen, Vehevel hayofi, Isha yirat A donay, He tit’halal’ grace is elusive and beauty is vain. But the woman who fears God, not the scale, she shall be praised. Eshet Chayil isn’t just a pretty song, it’s a code of standards to live by. And, I am not just a pretty body, I am a combination of my accomplishments. I can just imagine, it’s a Sunday morning at the Abraham and Sara tent. Abraham is setting up fresh water, or whatever his typical routine was. Do you think Sara interrupted all of that and was like, ‘hey, Abraham. can you come here for a sec, does this dress make me look fat?’ [Audience Laughing] I am going to guess, ‘No.’ [Sara Kupfer] When Eliezer is out looking for a wife for Yitzhak, he has a little one on one with God, and he asked for a sign so that he will know when he meets the right girl. ‘Here is what we are going to do God’, he says, “when the girls come to get water for their sheep, I’m going to ask one to get me water. And, if she is a size 4- 6…wait no, make that a 2-4, and she says, ‘here is water for you and also some for your camels’, then I will know that she is the one.” Oh wait, he never said anything about the dress size, just the other part about the water. [Tzivie Pill] Like Sara and Rebekah, our job is to bring the Shekinah into our home, light candles, bake Challah, [Hebrew] the three Mitzvot we try to emulate from our Imahots. In 9 years of marriage, these two hands have made every single Challah, and every Shabbos we make a Brakhah, and we relish it. It’s hard to do that with your mouth tape shut. So, if being thin wasn’t a priority for our matriarchs, why is it for us? [Sara Kupfer] Hey Tzivie, I’m going to represent the single ladies. [Tzivie Pill] You go girl! [Sara Kupfer] Remember, Zelopehehad? They were 5 single sisters whose father had passed away, and as women, they assume that they were not going to be able to inherit his land. They were feeling pretty upset about it. So, they go to discuss it with Moshe and they stumped the Rabbi. So, he asked God, and God says, ‘Moshe, these girls are right, they deserve that land.’ The daughters of [Hebrew] were in a situation where they felt like they were being wronged. So, they stood up, they took a stance. And, they weren’t offering some new age idea, they were simply bringing to light a concept that was Torah based but had never been recognized. And, I feel like we are in a similar situation right now. And, by ‘We’, I mean every Jewish girl and woman ever. We have been doing things a certain way for so long now. We’ve put so much emphasis on thinness, and it’s literally killing us trying to achieve something that we simply can’t. [Tzivie Pill] We are hurting ourselves by praising and validating this norm of dieting. Or, could we just call it like it is Disordered eating? There is nothing normal about restrictive eating, binge eating, and compulsive eating. The ugly truth is that dieting has a 95% failure rate. That means, if you have kept your weight off for more than 5 years, you are practically a unicorn. [Laughing] But for the rest of us, if this had been working until now, then why are we still having this conversation? We see a lot of before and after pictures, but we don’t really see a lot of after the after pictures, and that’s because dieting actually makes us fatter. And, that’s really the best of it. The worst disordered eating when combined with genetic factors is the leading cause to eating disorders. And, I am not sure if you know this, but eating disorders are deadly. Some have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. [Sara Kupfer] The ‘Health at Every Size’ movement acknowledges that you can achieve health at whatever weight you currently are. And, that doesn’t mean you are healthy right now, but you could be, regardless of your dress size. And, instead of using the number on the scale or your BMI as indicators of health, it uses more accurate metrics, like blood work, and bone density. [Tzivie Pill] So, we are not here to just scare you away from dieting and leave you in the dust, we do have another way for you a non-diet approach to food. Welcome to the world of intuitive eating. Intuitive eating is a more gentle and kinder approach to food where you listen to your body’s natural cues to guide you to eat. If that sounds a bit abstract, think of how your bladder signals you when you need to go to the bathroom. Wait too long and you’re really uncomfortable, wait longer, now you have UTI. [Laughing] Our body has a similar system for eating, only we kind of lost the manual. The good news is, is the intuitive eating book is a pretty close second. It has 10 principles that guide you to learn how to listen to your body’s natural cues again to eat. Like, learn to eat when you are hungry, and to stop when you are full. And, if you wait too long, that’s okay. There is no guilt involved, use that as your body’s feedback and try again next time. It also asks you to embrace your appetite. God created our bodies with taste buds to enjoy and gain pleasure from food. So, go out there. Explore. Try all kinds of foods. See which ones feel good in your body, and when you do that, really weird things start happening. You might find yourself craving Salmon, say ‘no’ to foods like ice-cream because you just don’t really want ice-cream. And, I promise you that really happens. [Laughing] As you eat intuitively, you will see that food is something you just simply live with, it’s not something that you have to live in fear of. [Sara Kupfer] Learning to respect your body signals is not just for how we eat, but for how we approach fitness as well. I am a naturally weak person. My favorite sport growing up was sitting on the couch with a really good book. I was the last kid chosen for any team. And yes, I spent most of recess running from the [Hebrew] ball. Coming to fitness at the age of 21 and exploring exercise was the greatest gift that I have given myself. And, I didn’t lose any weight from working out, but what I did discover, is how incredibly awesome my body can be. I am no longer that kid who is not even allowed to bring in the water bottles after a shopping trip because she would complain that her back hurt. We should be focusing on behaviors rather than on weight. We know that someone in a larger body, who exercises and maintains other healthy habits, is no more likely to die young, than someone in a smaller body who does the same. And, for those of you who like numbers – 16% to 17% of deaths in the US are due to low fitness as opposed to obesity, which is only 2% to 3%, once fitness is factored out. Basically, adding exercise into your life is more likely to extend it than weight losses. And, think about how much more you can do for your community if you’re actually around. So, let’s ditch this mindset that exercise is a weight loss tool. Figure out what it is that you enjoy doing. I If you are dreading tonight’s workout, or you’re one of those people who own an elliptical shaped clothing rack, [Laughing] maybe it’s time to try something different. Find out when you like working out, for how long, where, with whom. Tune in and notice when you are okay pushing past your comfort zone, and when you need to slow it down. When you are itching for high intensity interval training, and when you just want restorative yoga. Respecting and honoring your body’s exercise preferences is key to a healthy relationship with movement. [Tzivie Pill]: As you eat intuitively, you will start seeing some shifts in your physical health too – more energy, sleeping deeper, thicker, faster nail growth, that hormonal issue I thought I had causing my hair to fall out, turns out that was malnourishment. You can follow a diet perfectly, be above your goal weight, and still be starving your body of nutrition. And, although it doesn’t focus on weight loss, intuitive eating is the only research based proven method that we know of today, to support long day stabilization. So, in other words, it’s really the only answer to get off all of that yo-yo dieting that you have been doing. [Sara Kupfer]: I come home from every work out on such a high, I feel like I could conquer the world. Like, life could throw at me whatever problems it cared to, and I could confidently handle them with ease. What if you could feel the same way? What if we grant ourselves the permission to say ‘yes’ to opportunities that involve physical activities, to try things we have never considered trying before? What if you found out that you could back squat a 150 lbs, or that rock climbing is actually a lot of fun when you go with friends? [Tzivie Pill]: What if your weight didn’t have to be this dark looming cloud over your head anymore, and instead you had more space to focus on being that overachieving Eshet Chayil we talked about, or you had more opportunity to find more joy, and deepen the meaning in your life – being a more present parent, a more connected spouse, a better friend? What if you finally had time to go after that weekly herut how you’ve always wanted, or felt empowered for that career change you’ve secretly dreamed of. [Sara Kupfer]: What if we viewed exercise as way to release tension, increase energy and feel good about what we could do? What if we learned to care about how our bodies feel as much as we cared about how many pounds we lost? So, we ask, join us, hold our hands and jump off that bandwagon for good. Let’s find that fire, that strong empowered woman that the Torah, time and again, portrays. [Tzivie Pill]: I know that this is something we have been waiting for in our community. When I gave up dieting, it was isolating. I didn’t know a single person doing it except for one health coach that I found on YouTube, and a handful of online bloggers. Now, I am in a Facebook group called ‘Intuitive eating and body positivity for Jewish women’. It has grown to three thousand members in 4 months, all asking for an alternative to dieting and keeping their bodies healthy. I have also connected with so many Jewish professionals in the weight neutral approach to health. Like Sarah, for example, do you know what she can do? [Sara Kupfer]: Well, since she asked, I can deadlift 255 lbs, I can run a 10k, and I compete in local cross-fit competitions. Yep, in my long sleeves shirt and my colorful skirt. [Audience Laughing] I founded my company ‘Fit Jewess’ with the mission of connecting Jewish women worldwide, and fostering a community that’s united through body positive and weight neutral fitness. [Tzivie Pill]: And still, with all of the changes that I have made standing here today, 9 months pregnant with two very swollen feet, knowing that this is being recorded on video makes me really uncomfortable. I don’t like how I look on video. The difference is, I no longer live in that space. Push above your insecurity, flip the script and how you see yourself. See yourself how someone who loves you unconditionally sees you. My husband – he doesn’t dissect my body as cottage cheese dimpled thighs, he sees me as his powerhouse wife who’s beautiful and strong. Okay, I am kind of crazy. And, my daughter, she doesn’t see my arms as batwings to be ashamed of, they are her comfort to give her a hug during a thunderstorm. [Sara Kupfer]: Stop fighting your body like it’s the enemy, because if your changes are coming from a place of hate, they are not going to last. Instead, learn to be an ally with your body, you’re on the same team, and when you can embrace all of your body from a place of self-love and kindness, that’s when real positive change happens. And, when you have that, who cares what anyone says anybody about your body. [Applause]