What is the Divorce Diet and How Can You Overcome it?
What is the Divorce Diet and How Can You Overcome it?
Sudden weight loss is a common side effect of divorce, however it is an unhealthy trap to fall into. That is why, in this article, we are going to discuss how you can overcome the so-called divorce diet and get back to health.
In April 2022, the UK welcomed a change in law as the no-fault divorce bill came into force, bringing Britain into line with a number of other countries, including the USA. The new law means that couples are now able to acquire a divorce without playing the blame game, making the process quicker and less acrimonious.
This is a welcome change for couples going through a process, which usually holds very little in the way of good news. A divorce brings with it a number of unpleasant side effects, including financial hardship, loss of friends and trauma to children.
In this article, we’re going to be talking about an issue experienced by many people going through a separation - the divorce diet. Read on for more…
What is the Divorce Diet?
This ironic phrase refers to the involuntary weight loss that a lot of people experience when going through a divorce. A divorce is one of the most stressful things that a person can go through, and the symptoms of this stress often manifest as a lack of appetite and an inability to summon the energy to prepare meals.
While some may not see losing a few pounds as an issue, this kind of involuntary weight loss can affect the person’s physical health, and also impact on their ability to concentrate and to make decisions. In most cases, the appetite will tend to return once the divorce has been finalised and life has settled into a new routine. However, occasionally, this weight loss can lead to eating disorders.
How do you Overcome the Divorce Diet?
Unwelcome weight loss can be a worry, particularly if the person is already underweight or has some health issues. Therefore, it’s important to try to address this weight loss rather than ignoring it in the hope that it will sort itself out. In this section, we’ll look at some of the ways in which you can tackle the issue head on:
Eat Little and Often
When suffering the stressful effects of a divorce, the idea of eating a large meal can often make a person feel nauseous and sick, resulting in them eating nothing at all. Instead, try to eat smaller meals or snacks throughout the day as this tends to feel less overwhelming.
It’s a good idea to keep some prepared healthy snacks in the fridge such as fruit, crudites, boiled eggs and prawns. This can help as these kinds of snacks can be grabbed and eaten quickly and, therefore, don’t require any forethought or preparation.
Be Kind to Yourself
Eating healthy food is, of course, important, however, when you’re embroiled in a stressful divorce, you may not feel like cooking vegetables or preparing a salad. Give yourself a break and allow yourself that burger or pizza if that’s what you feel like eating. Although it’s not a good idea to sustain an unhealthy diet for a long period of time, during a stressful time, eating something is better than eating nothing, so put that guilt aside.
Cut Down on the Alcohol
When going through a life changing event such as a divorce or separation, it’s not uncommon for people to crave that third or even fourth glass of wine in the evening. While this is often a natural reaction for those looking to escape their problems for a while, it’s not a healthy one.
As well as being bad for our overall health, excessive consumption of alcohol can suppress our appetite. This means that, in some cases, people suffering from the pressure of a divorce may replace meals with alcohol.
When tempted to overindulge, try distracting yourself with a task or a treat, such as watching a film or spending time on a hobby. Many people also find it helpful to keep treats such as chocolates in the house to consume rather than having that extra drink. If you are worried about your drinking, there are plenty of charities you can get help from in the UK such as Alcoholics Anonymous.
Have a Social Media Detox
Separation from a partner can make us feel isolated and alone, and a great many people seek to combat this through the use of social media. This can be a comfort in terms of connecting with friends and distracting yourself from your problems, but there is also a downside.
Often, when we scroll through platforms such as Facebook, we see people presenting their best selves with photographs of exotic holidays, news about fantastic new jobs and, of course, image after image of happy couples seemingly loving life. While we all know that a person’s Facebook life is not necessarily an accurate representation of their real one, seeing these kinds of pictures can provide a stark comparison to our own, and can subsequently amplify our negative feelings.
Instead of turning to social media, get into the habit of connecting with friends by telephone or in real life. If you feel the urge to log on, go for a walk or distract yourself with that task that you’ve been putting off.
Don’t Suffer in Silence
Divorce is extremely common, affecting 33% of UK marriages. For this reason, a lot of people assume that an overwhelming amount of stress, piled on top of sadness, financial strain and fears for the future are perfectly normal, and that they just need to ‘get on with it’.
People react differently to certain situations and, while some will manage to get by with the help of family and friends, others may find themselves unable to cope. This often presents as depression, insomnia and a loss of appetite, with many people feeling unable to get out of bed in the morning.
If you feel that life is becoming impossible, it’s always a good idea to visit your GP who may be able to prescribe a temporary course of medication to help alleviate the symptoms of extreme stress.
As well as visiting a GP, many find the services of a counselor helpful. Often, a counselor or therapist can help to untangle the complex feelings which accompany a divorce, and to help you to see the future in a positive light rather than something to be dreaded. You can usually gain a referral to a counselor through your GP or, alternatively, your local council will be able to point you in the right direction.
Look After Yourself Post-Divorce
Almost without exception, a divorce is painful and brings with it some significant life changes which add to the pressure. They say that moving house and getting divorced are in the top three of the list of most stressful life events.
In many cases, people have to go through both of these when separating from their spouse. It’s therefore no surprise that this level of stress can lead to physical and mental health issues for those involved.
While it may not be possible to completely eradicate stress during a divorce, practicing self-care can help considerably. Simple actions, such as taking a little time out when things get too much, can help to put things into perspective and alleviate stress.
Similarly, talking to somebody, whether that’s a good friend or a professional counsellor, can help you to understand why you’re feeling the way that you are. This can provide a steady hand to navigate your way through these feelings which will often include sadness, anger and hopelessness.
Food is an essential part of our wellbeing and for our physical health and, as we’ve mentioned, eating something is always better than eating nothing so, go easy on yourself in terms of food guilt.
Please be advised that this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for advice from a trained medical professional. Be sure to consult a medical professional or healthcare provider if you’re seeking medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment. We are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information on this site.