Grieving and Gaining

It’s no secret: feelings of loss and sadness can affect your eating habits. For some it means losing all sense of appetite and for others it means finding comfort in food. Losing my father definitely made an impact on my diet. For a few weeks we ate pizza, take-out, restaurant meals, and food brought to the house by loved ones. My diet seriously lacked fresh produce and whole grains and was high in fat and sugar. After weeks of worrying and grieving I was feeling overstuffed and uncomfortable. My jeans are fitting noticeably tighter this week and I know it’s grieving gain. I’m trying to not let it get me down. Everybody who deals with such a tough experience is likely to either lose or gain weight. It’s OK that this happened, it’s acceptable. The Michelle that I was a year ago would be relentlessly harassing myself for the weight gain. I’d get down on myself and make the problem worse.

Instead of focusing on the weight gain, I’m trying to just focus on eating healthy. I know that if I just eat a balanced diet and stay active I’ll lose the extra weight. It may not come off as quickly as it came on (in fact, that almost always the way), and I just have to be OK with that. I like eating healthy, it’s my major after all. My dad also took a nutritional route to his cancer treatment, which inspired my choice of dietetics major, so when I eat healthier I feel like I’m honoring him. I also have no desire to restrict my diet to lose the weight because what father would want their child to have food issues? I’m also enjoying the feeling of eating until satisfied instead of stuffed. Overall, I’m just doing my best to continue the work that my dad started. If it weren’t for him, I’d still probably be eating fast food once a week and looking at vegetables with disdain. I have him to thank for my love of fresh produce, hearty whole grains, and organic/hormone-free chicken. He taught me so much about nutrition that went beyond calories and fat grams. He opened my eyes to things like superfoods, sprouted grains, checking labels for hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup. He left me with all these tools for healthy eating, the best thing I can do on his behalf is to use those tools, eat healthy, and be happy with myself and my body.

My plan for making my jeans fit again:

  • Eat lots of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, low fat milk products, and lean meats.
  • Drink lots of water.
  • Eat consistently throughout the day: breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks
  • Eat when hungry. Stop when full. Take time to make sure that hunger cues are physical not emotional.
  • EAT! Not restrict.
  • Not over-think it. 🙂

May your day be filled with healthy eats and few food thoughts.

Your friend,

Michelle

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