God knows I’ve gone on every other kind of diet: lemonade fasts made from lemon juice, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper; Herbalife shakes, the South Beach diet, and the longest dieting technique I ever tried: bulimia.
Of those, the only one I would recommend you try is South Beach. I couldn’t do it for the long-term (and don’t know anyone who has been able to deal with the elimination of carbs and sugar for life), but it definitely curbed my sugar cravings and took all that middle of the body fat away.
If you are not familiar with this one, let me explain: you don’t have your partner to cook for anymore so you don’t prepare food often. You are likely not hungry much of the time so you forget to eat. Any comfort eating you would normally do doesn’t comfort you at all. In fact, eating may actually make you feel sick.
It works fabulously. I’ve lost 20 twenty pounds in the last nine weeks. I have about 40 weeks left until my birthday and am halfway to my goal already. Thanks divorce diet!
Does this sound sarcastic? It isn’t really. I gained nearly seventy pounds while I was pregnant. Partly, I think my body just puts on pounds with pregnancy hormones. My sister, who weighs 100 pounds normally, gained 50 pounds with each of her pregnancies so it may just be what our bodies do.
My weight gain could also be attributed largely to my anxiety. I had two miscarriages before Cavanaugh and was terrified I would lose him to another. When I ate sugar, Cavanaugh kicked and I felt secure that he was in there and alive. So I ate a lot of sugar, chocolate milkshakes primarily. There are a lot of calories in chocolate milkshakes because it takes three or four scoops of ice cream to get the shake thick like I like it.
By the end of the pregnancy, I was much thicker than I would have liked. I left the hospital weighing 40 pounds less than when I’d entered, but I’ve carried those 40 pounds for over three years now.
No, that’s not true. I lost fifteen then gained them back in a winter of peppermint milkshakes right after Cavanaugh turned one. No matter how much exercise or changing my diet I’ve done since, I haven’t lost a pound.
Now, the weight is just disappearing. At a time when the last thing I feel is attractive, much less sexual, it is still a huge relief to have my clothes falling off of me.
I ate for weeks when my friends set up a food tree and would bring quinoa salad, hummus, black beans rice avocado and sour cream dishes. They provided such healthy food, I was eating better than if I’d cooked for myself. Now that I’m back to cooking for myself, I just don’t want fat-laden foods. When I have a heavy meal, I feel heavy and tired afterward. It doesn’t feel good.
Instead, I am paying attention to whether I feel hungry. If I do, I eat. But not as much as I used to. I don’t get the second or third helping that comes when you’re eating with another person and they get another helping. I stop when I feel almost full, when I’m satisfied. And when the only hunger you’re trying to sate with food is a physical one, it’s amazing what happens to your portion size, or at least to mine.
I remember watching a Friends episode years ago and one of the characters telling Monica, “Food is not love.” It struck me at the time and I’ve been thinking about it lately. I have used food when I felt unloved, or scared, or sad. The thought of not eating for comfort seemed an impossible task.
One of the many gifts I’m getting from this divorce is that I am learning how to eat when I’m hungry and that food can’t fill those other holes. I am so grateful for this one.