It has now been nearly a month since I discovered that I was overweight.

Until then, I rarely weighed myself because, hey, I wasn’t fat. My dress size was small and nothing in my wardrobe (except for two ugly skirts) seemed too tight. What weight problem? But then came that fateful afternoon when my 8-year-old son pounced on the old bathroom scale and just for fun, I joined him (not at the same time). Not only was I carrying excess poundage, my avoirdupois had reached its all time peak.

What weight problem?Yikes! How could that have happened? Well, the scale was old and dusty. It must have been broken, I told myself. The question now was whether to just forget about the reading or take it seriously. “Go to the dietician,” my husband said, noticing, I suppose the extra parts of me that I couldn’t see.

Lee, the dietician, was a skinny chick. Right away, she ordered me onto her scale, one of those old-fashioned models with a sliding beam. When the little metal blocks hit my new number, the beam waved wildly like some crazed soccer fan at the world cup. Oy.

After that, Lee inquired about what I’d been eating.

“Nothing special,” I said describing a regimen fit for a rabbit.

“Just that?” she asked, shooting me the kind of glance lawyers reserve for unreliable witnesses.

Yes, except for all those iced lattes to keep me alert behind the wheel, the butter I slathered on my whole-wheat toast (you can’t eat it dry) and all those healthy roasted veggies marinated in olive oil (but doesn’t that reduce cholesterol?).

Lee handed me a new eating plan. Lean meats, tofu, leafy greens, whole grains and spray oil. Ugh. It isn’t much fun, but lately, I’ve started to feel a slight gap between my waistband and skirt. Progress.

Anyway, all of this dieting has got me thinking. It’s Elul now, the month when we Jews re-evaluate our lives. So what does this little tale say about me? There’s a Jewish belief that events in the body can mirror events in the soul. Since I was way off about my corporeal self, what did that say about my spiritual self?

One morning after breakfast (one cup of low-fat yogurt, three-quarters of a cup of high-fiber cereal and a banana), I made a short list of lies that I’d been telling myself (and believing).

1) Since I had been reading about and working on not gossiping about others, it immunized me from bad-mouthing anyone or spilling their secrets.

2) That I had could yell at my kids because King Solomon said: “Spare the rod and spoil the child.”

3) That I was consistently gracious and grateful. Even when I failed to acknowledge teachers and babysitters and cleaning ladies, and plumbers and beauticians because a paycheck was thanks enough. And as to family members, they owed me.

4) That I was perfect. I called my Mom, visited the sick, loaned out money and stuff. I had enough good deeds to get to heaven and back.

I made with a short list of lies that I’d been telling myself (and believing)In ancient times the Cohanim, the high priests, were therapists for the soul. On the spot, they’d tell where you messed up and how to fix it, no fee (and no couch). Though our society offers a surfeit of diet help, sadly spiritual work is much less common and therefore less supported.

Recently, a friend of mine, blessed with overstocks of spiritual equanimity, taught me a method which I have renamed the “Self-Improvement Diet.” Five easy steps to a better you.

Step 1: Look at your soul in the mirror. Ask yourself who you are angry at. Your spouse who forgot your birthday, your daughter who blew curfew, the cop who ticketed you. Make a list of all of these people. Don’t leave anyone out.

Step 2: Now write why you are angry at each of them. What it was that they did to get you so riled up?

Step 3: Ask yourself why are you so upset? What was at stake? It may be your pride, a lost feeling of closeness. It may be money. Write it all down. Be as real as you can be.

Now pinpoint your role in the upsetting incident. Did you mess up in some way? Did you remind your spouse that your birthday was coming up, or did you just assume that he knew? Were you absolutely clear with your daughter about when curfew time was? Were you driving over the legal limit?

Step 4: Now own what belongs to you. Even if you are 1 percent responsible (for example, you were driving one-quarter of a mile above the speed limit) and figure out how to fix that. You may have to apologize or change your behavior, give clearer instructions, drive more slowly, or lower your expectations and let go. (Your daughter may be time-challenged. Your husband may be bad with birthdays.)

Once you’ve done all that, it’s time for maintenance.

That is Step 5: Two daily questions to ask yourself every day:

(1) What did I do right today?

(2) What did I do wrong, and how am I planning to fix it?

We’re starting a new year now. An empty calendar to fill up. Since I’m hard at work on my physical body, I might as well give the spirit that resides within it some care as well. Five easy steps because I’m worth it. Aren’t you?