Looking after yourself during divorce
The breakdown of a relationship is a difficult time both emotionally and physically for everyone involved. The problem is, we find many clients neglect the one person they should truly focus on - themselves. We are sometimes shocked by the changes we see in clients over the course of the divorce process, often because their normal routine breaks down.
Cooking for five
Parents who used to cook for a whole family every night may find it hard to cut down to portions for one. Some overindulge with the kids on contact weekends, whilst others just don’t eat much at all as they are no longer cooking for the family, reducing their energy and ability to function well. Equally, it’s all too easy to reach for the quick fixes - sugar for a rapid pick-me-up, a glass of alcohol that is soon refilled with another.
The result can be damaging to our health, and lead to low self-esteem. In turn, that feeling of wanting to be ‘someone new’ can lead to fad dieting or extreme measures. That’s why we sometimes have to look twice at the person walking through our door.
A new person
Sometimes, of course, it works the other way! We meet a stronger, more confident client who has made positive changes in their lifestyle and is moving forward, not looking back. So often, it’s been a personal trainer, coach or mentor that’s helped them and motivated them to make those changes.
Magic Mikey Cook
Tip #1: Ditch the sugar, you’re sweet enough!
As good as it tastes, sugar is a key factor in gaining weight, not to mention tooth decay. So, try to cut down on those sugary snacks and drinks. Instead try something like apple slices and peanut butter. Sugar highs and lows during an emotional time are not advisable.
Tip #2: Get some colour in your life
Try to eat fruit and veg of different colours to maximise your intake of vitamins and minerals - the more vibrant the better! They will also help with that all important feel-good factor.
Tip #3: Avoid fad diets!
A lot of ‘trendy’ diets will suggest you go to an extreme to get that weight loss you’re looking for. While they may get you results initially, your body will inevitably go into a yo-yo effect, landing you right back to where you started. These diets simply can’t be maintained. Instead, just make sure to include all your macronutrients (carbs, fats, proteins), a good amount of fibre, enjoy your treats in moderation and you’re onto a winner. Remember, you’re looking for a lifestyle change, not a quick fix. For many clients wanting to reinvent themselves, for example due to infidelity or low self-esteem, a quick fix can be tempting. However, it is always best to make a healthy lifestyle choice.
Tip #4: Exercise is the cure
Exercise has been proven to:
- Increase endorphin levels (responsible for that feeling of happiness)
- Help maintain a healthy heart
- Contribute to us living longer
An easy rule to follow is to do moderate exercise, 4-5 times a week, for half an hour. Moderate exercise can be activities such as walking, jogging, cycling and swimming. If you prefer vigorous activity, exercise 3 times a week, for an hour. Examples can be running, aerobics, circuits and heavy hiking. Or you can do a combination of both!
IMPORTANT: if you don’t exercise at present, or only do a small amount of physical activity, always consult your doctor before embarking on any new exercise regime.
Tip #5: Do you lift?
Incorporating resistance training into your exercise routine is fundamental to helping keep your body strong, and also to creating a toned, sleek shape. Don’t be scared about going into the free weight section with all those heavy-breathing guys and girls! Lifting a few weights will not make you suddenly turn into She-Hulk, but regular strength training will help you towards fitness goals that can’t be achieved by pure cardio alone.
Tip #6: Mind, body and soul
It is very important that you take time out for yourself. Without a healthy mind, you stand more chance of it all going down the drain. Take time out to disconnect from the world of Facebook and Instagram. Taking a yoga class or doing some stretching at home will help to decrease stress levels and calm your mind, perfect in the evening before going to bed to help you get a good night’s rest. This is especially important when you are going through an emotional time such as a relationship breakdown.
Tip #7: Burn, baby, burn
If you want to lose weight, the simplest way is to maintain a calorie deficit. This just means is that you burn more calories than you are consuming. For example, if you ate 2000 calories in a day and burned 2500 calories, you would have a deficit of 500. Keeping this number up throughout the week will help to maintain steady weight loss. The recommended daily calorie intake for women is 1500-2000, and for men is 2000-2500. This will vary from person to person.
Tip #8: Say hello to H2O
Our bodies are made up of roughly 60% water, so we need to make sure we are constantly topping it up. It is recommended we drink around 2 litres of water a day. There are many apps that can help you to track this easily. It’s also a good tip to have a glass of water between alcoholic drinks. These will help you resist those salty snacks, and keep the hangover at bay. It’s easy during a divorce to reach for that all comforting glass of wine, but it’s notoriously high in calories. Equally, gin is known to send you into tears, so measured alcohol consumption is the best option.
Tip #9: Love your fitness family
We all struggle with motivation now and then. It can be really hard to choose the gym or to go for a run, when that sofa looks so inviting. Finding a way to get past this is vital if you want to see change. One of the best ways to keep your motivation up is to have an exercise buddy. This could be:
A neighbour that goes running with you
A friend you go to the gym with
That one person you always see in your Pilates class
Finding a gym or fitness centre that prides itself on its community ethos is a great way to keep that adherence up as it will keep you smiling and wanting to come back for more. Most importantly, it may provide some emotional support and a new set of friends after a relationship breakdown. Becoming friends with a group of people who never knew you as a couple can be empowering in itself!
Rita says: Of course, you can also get yourself a personal trainer like Mikey with the experience, motivation (and moves) to help you set and achieve your fitness goals!
Tip #10: Avoid the scales
This is a controversial one, as for some people weighing themselves will be a good measure for their target. For most people however, it’s just not worth it.
If your target is to lose weight, is that actually what you want to achieve?
Or instead, are you really looking to have a slimmer waist, tighter arms, or a flat stomach?
Generally most people will want this, but then measure their progress by stepping on the scales and then get disheartened when they don’t see results. This is because while exercising your body will become leaner and develop more muscle mass, which weighs more than fat. Instead, try measuring your progress in a more positive way by using weekly pictures, dropping a dress size, working out your waist to hip ratio, or even noticing your general feeling of wellbeing, etc.
Take the first step
If you’d like help improving your health and fitness, you can contact Mikey via:
If you’d like to talk through how we can help shape your future position before, during and after divorce, call us for our unique holistic approach. Book a free 30-minute consultation to discuss your circumstances, and how we can make sure any divorce settlement is the right fit for you and your family. No star jumps involved, guaranteed, but we do believe that divorce is about more than just the law.