Grief can have an impact on not only your mental health, but your physical health as well. When your thoughts are overly concerned with sorrow, it can be too easy to try and distract yourself from the pain in ways that may prove unhealthy. If you’ve been considering dieting, consider your state of mind before you begin.
Possible Dietary Reactions After Experiencing Grief
Your eating habits may be affected by deep sorrow in one of two ways: overeating or loss of appetite. People react in different ways in different circumstances, so you may not know which kind of dietary habits you’ve adopted. Pay close attention to how much you’ve been eating following your sorrowful event. If you’re constantly reaching for food, especially unhealthy food, and you’ve gained a few pounds, you’re overeating. If you skip meals or if you’ve lost weight, you’re suffering from a loss of appetite.
A Normal Healthy Diet
Dieting should be a choice you make when you’re in your best state of mind. It should never be thought of as a way to punish yourself for overeating or to distract yourself from feelings you can’t stand having. Dieting involves designing a healthy, well-balanced meal plan and not simply cutting out the food altogether. Dieting should always be coupled with a healthy amount of exercise, which can actually help you during periods of grief. But when your mind isn’t in a good place, you may have a tendency to overexercise or push yourself too hard.
Unhealthy Dieting After Grief
When you’re occupied with your sorrow, you may not be able to make well-informed decisions. If, for example, you’re suffering from a loss of appetite, you might like the idea of how many pounds you’re dropping and want to keep it up. You may also find yourself overexercising. However, if you’re losing weight from grief, your eating habits are most likely extremely unhealthy–akin to anorexia–and will lead to more damage in the long run.
If you’re gaining weight due to overeating, your self image may suffer during this time. You may find yourself trying unhealthy methods of losing weight. These may include trying fad diets or skipping meals for short periods of time. However, if your compulsion is to overeat, eventually you’ll attempt to make yourself feel better by eating too much food again, although then you’ll feel guilty about eating too much. In either case, you won’t be getting the proper amount of nutrition that comes with a well-balanced diet.
Speaking with Your Doctor
You should never begin a major diet without consulting with your doctor–especially when you’re dealing with severe grief. Your doctor can help you treat your sorrow through medication and/or therapy and help you design a safe weight loss program. She’ll also tell you if she believes you’re mentally capable of following through with a healthy weight loss program at this time.