34.5 miles ran? Nope. 34.5 minutes until bedtime? Nope. 34.5 is the amount of weight I’ve gained in this year of grief. What have I learned about that 34.5?
1. Stress and grief are two different things. Prior to the loss of my father I equated the two. With stress I lose a tremendous among of weight. By the time I defended my dissertation in 2009 I was 25 pounds underweight. I looked sickly. I can admit that freely. I do not stress eat. But, low and behold food has been my greatest source of relief since Dad died. The outcome? 34.5 pounds.
2. Food and insomnia = lethal combination. Awake at 4:30 a.m. with no one to talk to, bored from too much online time, read all my new books or watched all the bad TV I could handle? Food was the solution. I’d cook damn near full meals at all hours of the day or night. Whatever I wanted. It didn’t matter. If I wanted it. I ate it. 34.5 pounds.
3. 34.5 pounds = all kinds of fun new numbers: Apparently rapidly gaining weight relates to poor health outcomes. At 36 I’ve entered into high cholesterol and triglycerides, tiredness from the extra weight and some blood pressure issues.
4. Previous behavior is irrelevant. Pre-2014 I was a cook from scratch, healthy food focused woman.I snacked in a healthy way. I even exercised. Post June 2014, none of the above applied. Even if I saw the worst kind of Frankenfood, if I wanted it I ate it. Grief clouds all previous behavior. 34.5 pounds.
5. 34.5 pounds = body image issues. I do not look the same–at least to me. And, as much as I HATE to admit it, it bothers me. A change in self-esteem in the midst of grief is just hard.
I’ve emerged from the fog and now must find a plan to deal with this new consequence of grief–one I saw coming but just didn’t care. That’s the thing about grief, the pain is so bad that everything else seems secondary. Food comforted me and I’ll be damned if anyone was going to say something to stop me from eating my feelings.
And now the work begins. It is my goal to lose the weight and be back at my pre-2014 grief weight. I want this for me. I want to remain as healthy as possible for my family. And so the journey begins!