woman measuring waist

Divorce Diet and Your Health

People say the oddest things when you divorce. It's almost like they can't stop themselves from showing a sincere lack of understanding of your situation, especially when you suddenly slim down:"You look good! Are you on the divorce diet?" While this might be funny and true, the reality of it has a dark side.

I'm not saying don't share some dark humor -- a good sense of humor certainly helps relieve stress -- but what people don't stop to think about is that a sudden drop in weight is not healthy. During a divorce, appetite withers away under sadness and pressure; many people simply lose their appetites completely. The science behind all of it has to do with the release of adrenaline as a reaction to stress. Humans just weren't made to withstand long periods of stress, and this affects our health in damaging ways. Slimming down might feel empowering in some ways and might even help reclaim lost identity, but at some point, your immune system can suffer. The suppression of appetite reflects the pain in your heart and at some point, you have to address the issue.

I had a client who felt wonderful after she lost a good amount of weight on the "divorce diet." She felt like the ten years of marriage and children (and the loss of identity during those years) had melted away with those pounds: it gave her confidence, she connected with her younger self, and she felt attractive for the first time in many years. She celebrated the loss of many things, not just those pounds. But at some point, she kept losing and she did become alarmed. Thankfully no irreparable damage was done, and she used her weight loss as a catalyst for change (steady exercise and a healthy diet), but she also gained some weight back because she recognized that she needed to eat and be healthy, even if that meant going up a size.

Remember that divorce is like a death. Sift through your thoughts and emotions and deal with your feelings in a healthy manner. Celebrate where you can and grieve what you must, but know that your feelings will be reflected in your health. Reach out to those around you and find the support system you need. Learn and grow in holistic ways. Truly healthy diets and exercise will help mend your mind. Find the right diet, not just the divorce diet, for both your mind and your body.