The week my husband walked out on me, the only thing I ate during the span of three days was a small box of raisins (and that was just to avoid nausea not because I actually wanted to). When my dad came into town, he offered me toast and soup, but if he wasn’t around, I didn’t bother to eat. I had no appetite and lost about 10 lbs. in three weeks.
“Hey,” I half-jokingly thought to myself, “Why don’t they advertise divorce as a weight-loss technique?” I had been struggling to lose the last few pounds of weight I had put on during my pregnancy, and in the moments when I wasn’t crying as I washed dishes or mentally trying to solve the jigsaw puzzle of why my husband would think leaving his wife and babies was the better alternative, I was happy to be able to fit into clothes I hadn’t worn since my college years.
Eventually, my dad had to resume his life in Florida and could not stay in my home making sure that I was waking up and getting by. I also had to continue to make meals for my kids. Therefore, I only ate what my toddler rejected—leftover green beans or cookies here and there. If he decided his grilled cheese wasn’t to his liking, then it would become my dinner. I had upgraded from my 258-calorie based weekly diet to eating basically whatever my picky son ate, which still wasn’t much.
After a few weeks, I started working on myself and putting more faith in God to handle the situation I found myself in, where I was technically separated from my husband but not divorced (waiting for him to decide what he wanted). As much as it hurt to face his reality, I was still not sure what my reality was, so I started investing time and effort in myself.
I rediscovered the things that made me happy, and took the initiative to buy makeup, perfume, fitness classes, books, clothes, etc. The mom guilt that normally comes with spending on myself flew out the window quickly after I realized that each step I took towards rebuilding my character and happiness, made a significant impact on my mood and trickled into my eating habits. At this point, I was eating sweet potatoes for lunch and canned black beans for dinner. I still didn’t snack in between these two “meals” but it was given me the healthy carbs and protein I needed to have more energy for doing activities with my children.
I never became thin to the point where I looked ill, and I’m not saying weight is linked to beauty, but for me, feeling comfortable in my skin (both inside and out) was a therapeutic breakthrough and allowed me to move forward. Rather than sulking over a failed marriage, I was reminding myself of the many blessings surrounding me, including my kids, my writing opportunities, my friends, and more.
Now, I do get hungry, but my body knows it doesn’t need as many calories as I would eat before the idea of divorce was part of my world. I crave fast food, but I am now supporting my kids on a smaller income, so I have to remember little costs add up. I’m forced to prepare meals ahead of time, even if it’s only frozen chicken or salmon and microwaveable rice, because I have a busy schedule. As for restaurant meals where fries and fancy cakes are on the menu, I don’t have the luxury of eating in expensive places since my date nights don’t exist for me anymore. I certainly wouldn’t recommend divorcing your spouse in order to shed those unwanted pounds, but this experience taught me to place restrictions on the foods I picked. It forced me to leave my comfort zone and regain confidence the hard way.
I plummeted to a low point but gradually learned to recognize my body’s needs, controlled my emotional rollercoasters better, and trained myself to not snack as much in order to maintain my weight. It’s been a refreshing transformation, and it’s helping me to look for other ways to turn the bad situations in my life into amazing lessons—I encourage others to do the same this holiday season.