I think that it is important for us to consider how we will respond to tragedy and sadness in our lives – not only from an emotional and spiritual perspective, but from the perspective of being able to continue with our healthy lifestyles. Tragedy isn’t easy, no matter what form it is in. My husband and I have experienced several difficult times during our 23 years of marriage and some of what we have gone through, I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
We had sad experiences before, during, and after my obese years. With each of those experiences we worked through the emotional losses and pain. We had miscarriages, deaths in our extended family, heartbreaking situations with friends, and more. It wasn’t easy to walk those roads; but with love, patience, and faith we made it through each valley.
Before I lost 150 pounds, those times of loss and sadness were times I always gained weight. A lot of weight. Always.
When tragedy struck, I’d eat anything I wanted without regard for the number of calories I was consuming. I’d get through the grieving process by eating. Each stage of grief was accompanied by food and weight gain. I internally justified over-eating to myself. I felt like I needed to feed my soul with food. Food did seem to make me temporarily feel better, but seeing the scale inch further up towards 300 pounds did not make me feel better at all. I realize now that food only made me feel better at the exact moment I was eating it, but the good feeling left as soon as I was finished.
When people ask me about long-term weight maintenance challenges, I often tell them to think about tragedy and loss. Why? Because for me, during times of loss, it is very challenging to keep on track with both weight loss and weight maintenance.
I was, and still can be, a stress eater. Whenever I’m under stress, even after all these years of maintenance, I often find myself in the pantry, looking around for something to eat. Fortunately, I generally get out of there pretty quickly, but in the past, I dove head first into whatever food I could find.
One key to being able to keep on track with weight loss/maintenance during times of tragedy and stress is making a complete lifestyle change while you are losing weight and maintaining it. Unless you have successfully changed your relationship to food and made great strides in adapting a new “forever” lifestyle, times of tragedy are going to be difficult to get through unscathed. Believe me, I know.
If you are currently undergoing a stressful period in your life, I’d encourage you to stay the course with your eating plan. Do not be obsessed with your weight, but don’t forget all you have accomplished either. The time of stress or tragedy will pass, and you will be happier knowing that you kept your weight and healthy lifestyle under control.