Denial, Distractions and the ‘Divorce Diet’

I didn’t want to believe it. I could hardly admit it to myself, let alone people I knew. I couldn’t utter the words “I am getting divorced” to anyone.

The torrent of emotions that washed over me was staggering: Shame. Fear. Anxiety. Sadness. Anger. Uncertainty. Shock. And that was all just on the first day.

By day two, I was already exhausted and craving distraction. How on earth was I going to get a handle on this? What did I have some control over, even a little bit?

I’m embarrassed to say it, but the first thing I thought about was my weight.

In the midst of a crisis of this magnitude, I just knew I would turn to food for comfort. So I made a pact with myself: I was going to eat healthy. I wasn’t going to gain weight. Food was something I could control.

What I didn’t account for was the “divorce diet.”

It wasn’t long before it became obvious weight control wasn’t going to require the kind of discipline I’d envisioned. With all the negativity going on, it was a hassle just to remember to eat, never mind sitting down together with my kids. I’d heard about how both men and women tend to lose weight while dealing with divorce. Now it was happening to me.

Losing a few pounds – what was so bad about that? But then friends began expressing concern. You look too thin. Your face is getting thin. You look tired.

When the fire department had to come because I forgot about the taco shells warming in the oven, that was the last straw.

I decided I needed to fuel my body properly to deal with the stress. Not only that – I wanted to be certain my children were eating well. In fact, focusing on healthy meals became a kind of release. My children were happy to see dinner back on the table. I began to look healthy again.

There’s a gray area between focus and obsession, even in the best of times. During the upheaval of divorce proceedings, it’s easy to become fixated on something in your life that represents stability.

If you’re facing the reality of divorce, are you falling into the obsession trap? What are you being distracted by? What are you ignoring? Think about whether you might be taking your eye off the ball.

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