Savvy Therapy

When you’re grieving – particularly after the death of a loved one – you might experience decision fatigue. (Kristi Hugstad)

Grief is intense sorrow at an event – usually the death of someone close.

Some people complain of weight gain after a bereavement which also makes them feel unhappy with themselves.  It is a common problem when you are grieving but if you understand why and how it is happening, you will be able to do things which will help.  

Comfort eating is common when we are unhappy in life and grief is one of the most challenging things that we ever have to face.  It causes a lot of stress on our bodies and that affects our appetites as well as many other things like sleep.  

At first, when we are in the initial shock and acute stress of grief we might not feel like eating at all and we certainly won’t feel like cooking.  

Later on, when the initial shock of our bereavement has passed, we may enter a longer period of chronic stress, as we slowly process our grief and work out who we are in this new strange post-loss life.  

Chronic stress tends to increase the appetite but we still don’t feel like cooking or looking after ourselves much, so we get into the bad habit of surviving on snacks like chocolate or crisps.  We might also try drinking a lot of coffee to try and get some energy.  We are busy trying to get back to work or cope with family demands, but we’re also really tired from all the stress, so exercise also goes by the wayside.  

What you eat – the result of small decisions we make throughout each day – is a common victim of decision fatigue that is a feature of great stress. Suddenly, making “good” choices about what you eat seems too strenuous and tiring. So you opt out of the decision altogether and forgo eating, or make the easiest and most comforting decision and gulp down an unhealthy meal of French fries and donut holes with too much caffeine and alcohol. 

If you are concerned (or at least conscious) about your weight.  When you’re grieving, your health sometimes goes onto the back burner.  Unfortunately, those unhealthy food decisions are doing more than packing on pounds – they’re exacerbating your grief by sapping any energy you still have, releasing heavy amounts of cortisol, the stress hormone that contributes to weight gain, and leading to blood sugar shifts that make you feel worse.

Faced with the void caused by the death of someone close; healthy eating habits and gym routine can go by the wayside . Your body can be stripped of the vital nutrients it so desperately needs to manage the stress. Nourishing your body is essential to support yourself through the grief cycle.


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