When The Death Of Someone We Loves Effects How We Eat

About a month ago I sent out a newsletter. It covered what has recently been going on with me. I think it is a very important piece because it discusses something that has affected many of us; The death of a loved one. In todays society we are too quick to dismiss the fact that food, our eating habits, binging, anorexia and bulimia has nothing to do with emotional responses or traumas that we have endured. Even myself, I can’t say that I ever thought the two were related; Until now. Here is my story…

“The past couple weeks have been hard. My grandfather who has dementia took a spill, hit his head and was found by my aunt and uncle. He was rushed to the hospital and after a week was moved to hospice.

His rapid decline in health is clearly visible. I know all too well what this decline towards death looks like because I lost my mother when I was 16, and then my grandmother whom I was very close to a year and a half later.

That was way too much loss for me to handle at that young age.  I had to figure out ways to cope–and one way I did that was to not feel my own emotions.
If I didn’t feel them they couldn’t overwhelm me. 

To say that I have dealt completely with the feelings of loss, grief, loneliness, anger and guilt would be a lie, and these past couple weeks has shown me that.

When my aunt initially called to tell me about my grandfather’s fall, although sad, my first thought was “He has full blown dementia, we knew this day would come. If he dies it’s not a shock. It is not like he was really present anyway.”  I tend to think very “logically and analytically”, and while that’s a strength I can use in other areas of my life, in this situation it was a cover-up for the real emotions that got touched when being faced with yet another death in the family.

My response can sound cold, but it’s not heartless. I understand that this kind of thinking kicks in because it’s easier to “just think rationally” rather than to actually “feel” ANYTHING in moments like this.  I had to literally drag myself to go see my grandfather, because I am so uncomfortable around sickness and death. I am uncomfortable because I still haven’t dealt fully with my own mother dying, even though that was 14 years ago.

My 76 year old grandfather is injured and approaches his death, and suddenly all the unresolved feelings from the past around my mother are right there alive within me. That’s how it works when events of our lives are long past, but the pain is not yet resolved.

And these feelings affect how I act! For the past 2 weeks I have been angry, depressed, disconnected from my own creativity and withdrawn. I have barely been able to work and the truth is I didn’t want to talk to anyone about my business and all the ways I know I could help them. I’ve felt exhausted and hurt. Could I really help others when I was in the middle of a life situation where I too needed support?

After speaking to a wise friend, she helped me see that what I was feeling made sense. Could I be open, honest and vulnerable about my real life pain and what’s going on with me?  And my answer is, of course I can!

This is what I invite my clients to do–to have the courage and trust to be open and honest as they explore what’s affecting them from losing the weight they want to lose to have the body they want to have.

The real battle in peoples’ quest for weight loss isn’t about what to eat for the day, but the constant wave of emotions, stress and hurdles life throws their way, often touching unresolved pain from long ago.

Looking back, my own control issues with food started when I was 15 and my mother was fighting cancer. By the time I was 17 I was on the road to bulimia. Coincidence? I don’t think so.  It took me 10 years before I had the strength to let myself feel the truth- I was miserable, unhappy and lost.

I used food as an escape, a punishment, a target for my anger and go-to in my happiness.  I thought my weight was the reason I was so unhappy.  My weight was the problem–or so I told myself! I knew I needed to change. One day it finally got so bad, that’s just what I did. I had no idea how I was going to change, but I promised myself it would happen.

It’s been 3 years since that decision. I have worked directly with food and the deeper issues underlying my weight.  I have reached my goal weight and I’m keeping it off.  Now watching my grandfather approach the end of his long life brings up emotions that I still have buried related to my mother–emotions that have been easier to stuff down and bury with outside distractions.  But this time I’ve made enough progress that I haven’s binged or resorted to any other form of emotional eating. And that’s huge!

Why am I sharing this? The point is, I would never have reached this point if I hadn’t dealt with my issues in relation to food. And I would have never have successfully dealt with my food issues  if  I hadn’t made the decision to deal with some of the deeper issues that gave rise to my yo-yo dieting. Is there more for me to do? Yes. But I can do it without running to the fridge.

This success is what I am offering you.

Your story will be different, but if you’re struggling with your weight, know that I get it. Know that you aren’t alone and you don’t have to do it alone. Know that it can be really helpful to look at the bigger picture of your earlier experiences that might be underlying your struggle with weight loss and have this be a built in part of your weight loss program.

Loosing weight and then keeping it off is not only about the food you eat. It’s not about control or lack of self control. It is not about how many hours you spend at the gym or the fact that you haven’t had dessert in a week. If you are actually dealing with the beliefs, emotions or unresolved experiences that fuel your eating habits, you won’t need to over eat. You won’t need that extra box of cookies, bottle of wine or to eat because you feel nothing. Praying to feel anything-Even if its just momentary satisfaction.

What you do need is the support of someone who really gets all the parts that need to be there for a really successful weight loss program that is unique to YOU.  I’m here to offer you that level of expertise and attention, along with a food plan that fits your life so you’ll no longer need to use overeating to cover the real issues.

Today I return here more honestly, because I want you to see that you can do this too.  You can look at your weight AND what keeps you from reaching your weight and fitness goals. I want you to see that you have a choice, and often you just need support to stick with the choice you make.

You deserve support.   You deserve to experience that it really  IS possible to change. I’d love to be that support for you. ”

Since this newsletter was sent out my grandfather has passed away. I am not saying that this has been an easy thing to deal with. In fact BECAUSE I no longer use food to mask my emotions this death has been one of the hardest things I have had to deal with. My emotions, my feelings have been up, down and every which way. But after almost a month of taking the time to allow myself to FEEL my emotions, this stage is too passing.

If you have a similar story please feel free to share below or contact me directly. I would love to hear from you!
Much Love,