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When Tragedy Strikes

Posted Mar 25 2010 3:17am

I think that it is important for us to consider how we will respond to tragedy and sadness in our lives. Not only from a 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. We 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.

I would be sad for myself or someone else and I’d eat anything I wanted without regard for the number of calories I was consuming. I’d go through the grieving process and I’d eat through each of the phases of grief. And I subsequently gained many pounds every time. I justified eating to myself because 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 while I was eating it but the feeling left as soon as I was finished.

When people ask me about long-term weight maintenance challenges, I often point them in the direction of thinking about tragedy and loss. Because for me, those times of loss are a very challenging time 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. Now I generally get out of there pretty quickly, but back then, I dove in head first to whatever food I could find.

One thing I honestly believe is one of the keys to being able to keep on track with weight loss/maintenance during times of tragedy and stress is really making a 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.

I have been so impressed with some of the bloggers I’ve seen who have experienced tragedy in their lives and not given up on their desires to get healthier. It’s not easy. Not easy at all. I applaud each and every one of you. If you are currently in a period of stress I’d encourage you to not be obsessed with your weight/health, but don’t forget all you have accomplished either.

What do you all think about how suffering can affect our success and how do you handle sadness and loss with regards to eating?  Diane

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