This Is Your Diet On Grief

OK, let me rephrase that… These are my diet/food/hunger experiences during the grieving of my mother’s death after leaving the family and friends.

  • Forget to eat.  Breakfast and lunchtime are over? Oops.
  • One severe episode of wanting to binge, and I mean binge as in consume whatever edible substance could be found. Fortunately nothing in the pantry or fridge was “binge-able”. In the past, I would not have let that stop me and would have gone questing for food – fast food or obscenely fat and sugar-laden grocery store items.
  • Monitoring food intake via Livestrong.com (my go-to site) or even by hand – totally forgotten about. How could that habit be so quickly extinguished?
  • Food cravings – none. Thankfully, I still don’t have my ice cream fetish, even during my binge fantasy. In fact, food just doesn’t taste much at all. During the immediate post-death period when we were all gathered at my parents’ home and food was in abundance, some food tasted great such chocolate chip cookies, Tex-Mex, my birthday cake. Did I mention Mom died 28 hours before my birthday?
  • Summer Diet Buddies – sorry about the last 2 weeks of not checking in except to say that I wasn’t checking in
  • Physical activity – as if
  • Sleep – erratic

This is what I know that I should be doing now, which is to rely on my eating and physical activity plan as a structure to keep me grounded. So easily stated and written. Grief is what it is, however, and I can’t fight it. Sadness, poor sleep, ridiculous feelings of abandonment, a sense that the world will never be the same – I have zero control over those normal adult responses to the loss of a parent. I can, however, fight my tendency to bad self-care.

Starting last night, I resumed my food diary at Livestrong and checked in with Summer Diet Buddies. Today – breakfast, no; lunch, yes; plan in place to resume regularly scheduled meals. Tomorrow I am headed to the new gym that I found just before Mom died – a gym specifically targeted to folks over age 50, which means a lot of younger people go there also for the accepting atmosphere, good rates, great pool, and classes for every body type and level of fitness. I made an appointment with a podiatrist to get my foot examined for the bony growth on top that is causing my 4th and 5th toes to splay out. (This might not sound like much to some readers, but it has only taken 2 months to finally schedule – another self-care issue…)

I’ll try not to rag on and on about my grief work here (and the irrational thoughts that burst forth) but will up date how I’m doing re-establishing my diet health behaviors and will probably refer to my emotional state at times.

Sorrow makes us all children again – destroys all differences of intellect.  The wisest know nothing.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

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4 thoughts on “This Is Your Diet On Grief

  1. I can’t remember much about what I experienced after my dad died (unexpectedly when I was 23). I do know that I was skinny then, and for the first time in my life was not hungry. I remember being very aware that I was not eating with the stress. I lost weight I did not need to lose back then. (Ironic.) I remember being very worried about my mom and my younger brother. I remember going back to grad school. I remember having to figure out how to plan my wedding without my dad to walk me down the aisle. But I don’t remember how I was feeling. So I guess that tells me that over time things really do lessen and life really does go on. I was not an exerciser back then, but I really do suspect that you are on the right track to turn to that, not just about the weight, but as a release and for the endorphins. I know there are no words that can help you right now, but I am thinking of you. Hugs.

  2. Thanks, Karen, for your support and understanding. Knowing about grief and experiencing it are not even in the same universe. Watching former patients’ families go through such loss, being with close friends who have lost parents, children, siblings – all of those experiences should have prepared me for this. I am really doing OK. Just amazed at the depth of my emotional response and the complete inability to control it – not that I have any control issues…

  3. This is not something I have experienced. I have had some major blows, but not that one, so I can’t really compare. It sounds like you are finding your way through the grief and that is really all you can ask of yourself.

    I understand about the tendency to put off the self care. I went around with a painful, swollen foot for 6 months before I saw a podiatrist – it is arthritis in the top of my foot. Hope your problem is one that can be helped.

    We all certainly understand about the emotional issues that affect our efforts to live healthier lives, so please do not censor yourself.

  4. Isn’t it amazing that our response to stress changes so much once we head off down this path to wellness? I too have found that food just doesn’t do it for me emotionally the way it used to. That feels so strange. So sorry for your sudden loss. But you should be so proud that you are resuming your healthy life strategies with going back to the gym and keeping your food diary. Take the time to grieve however you want. Suppressing feelings like those are what got us here. I wish you strength in this difficult time.

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