Fitness

The Weight of Loss: I’ve Been Eating Through My Grief

September 22 2014 | CeCe Olisa

At the beginning of June I was six pounds away from my Summer 2014 goal. In the middle of June one of my Aunts passed away unexpectedly and needless to say, those six pounds were the last thing on my mind.

I spent the first few days grieving alone. I live in New York City and the majority of my family is in California, so all I wanted to do was fly home and be with people who understood our loss. There were people I needed to embrace, there were people I needed to embrace me. As I waited for arrangements and booked flights I felt like I was under water, swimming through the sudden void we had in our family.

There are people who write about grief and loss much better than I can. My girl Ty wrote a blog post one year after her mother died here. #PSPfit Cheer Squad member, Brianne shared a beautiful letter from her Dad after he passed away here.

The Weight of Loss I've Been Eating Through My Grief

What I thought we could talk about today is how loss, grief and bereavement can affect our journey towards healthy living. For me emotional health is as much a part of my #PSPfit lifestyle as my eating or hitting the gym. If I sprained my ankle and couldn’t work out, I’d look at ways to stay on track in spite of my injury. So what should we do when our emotions are injured?

Unexpected loss could happen at any time. We could lose a job, a relationship or a loved one at the drop of a hat. As an emotional eater, my tendencies to want to fill voids with food can show up at times like this and its a slippery slope before I’m eating unsupportive foods I haven’t touched in years in an effort to find comfort.

When I was in California, we had an abundance of foods that would “keep” around my Grandmothers house. Trays of baked goods, macaroni and cheese, enchiladas, tamales were constantly dropped off from family friends and neighbors.

Bringing food to families that are grieving is something we all do. Food is brings us together, food makes us feel comfort and logistically, we want to make sure anyone who is in the midst of funeral arrangements doesn’t have to come home and worry about cooking.

In talking with our #PSPfit nutrition coach, Abra, I came to an understanding that finding comfort in family, friends and food during a time of grief isn’t anything to be ashamed of. The hard part for me was navigating the transition between grief eating and my healthy curves lifestyle. In theory, the minute I flew back to NYC after the funeral, I should have left the baked good, mac and cheese, etc. in California but that didn’t happen.

I’ve fallen off the wagon before and managed to undo months of hard work in a matter of weeks. The difference this time was that even though my emotional eating was in full effect and I was binging on foods that were unsupportive, my healthy choices never went away. When I felt sad said yes to foods I had no business eating… but I also said yes to my whole grains, leafy greens and workouts.

So, now I’m 15 pounds away from my summer 2014 goal instead of six. Not great, but trust me it could have been worse. For me this weight gain has brought back some things like my eczema flare ups and some PCOS symptoms that had gone away are back. I’m finally getting to a place emotionally where I can think about, care about and do something about the impact of these 15 pounds on my body.

I’ve mapped out a plan to finish 2014 strong when it comes to my health and if you’re interested in staying/getting back on track, I’d love for you to join me so we can keep each other accountable. On Wednesdays blog post, I’ll post the full details on a little #PSPfit Pre-game challenge I’m cooking up.

That’s it. My emotions and my eating are intertwined, but I know I have it in me to make these commitments to myself and get my life together a bit more before the end of the year.

How have you girls been doing on your healthy curves journeys? Any set backs? Big wins?

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17 responses on “The Weight of Loss: I’ve Been Eating Through My Grief

  1. Jennabella

    Hi Cece,
    I have read your blog for a few years, always as a fly on the wall. There have been many posts where I have been bouncing in my seat excited to see someone felt the same way or saw a situation similar to me, but I always felt I haven’t had anything to really add to the discussion, other than agreement. This time I just couldn’t read and wait for others to comment.
    Similar to your story, I just lost an Uncle who was like a father to me in the end of August, and like you it sent me spiraling. Good male role models have been hard to come by in this lifetime for me, and his loss hit me hard. Food has always been my coping mechanism, and I know that it isn’t a healthy one, but sometime you do the best that you can to get by.
    At this point I know I need to use this loss as motivation to do better and stop making excuses. Somehow your posts are always incredibly timely for me, and I needed this reminder, so thank you.

    1. CeCe Olisa

      Hey Lovely, thanks for being a faithful fly on the wall 😉

      I’m sorry for your loss, losing a Father figure must be incredibly hard. I know I kept thinking I was going to snap out of this behavior, but I think this time its going to need to be a little more deliberate on my part. I’m serious when I say we’re in this together… if you need anything let me know! xx

  2. jenna.curtis@live.com

    Hi Cece,I have read your blog for a few years, always as a fly on the wall. There have been many posts where I have been bouncing in my seat excited to see someone felt the same way or saw a situation similar to me, but I always felt I haven’t had anything to really add to the discussion, other than agreement. This time I just couldn’t read and wait for others to comment.
    Similar to your story, I just lost an Uncle who was like a father to me in the end of August, and like you it sent me spiraling. Good male role models have been hard to come by in this lifetime for me, and his loss hit me hard. Food has always been my coping mechanism, and I know that it isn’t a healthy one, but sometime you do the best that you can to get by.
    At this point I know I need to use this loss as motivation to do better and stop making excuses. Somehow your posts are always incredibly timely for me, and I needed this reminder, so thank you.

    1. nycece@gmail.com

      Hey Lovely, thanks for being a faithful fly on the wall 😉
      I’m sorry for your loss, losing a Father figure must be incredibly hard. I know I kept thinking I was going to snap out of this behavior, but I think this time its going to need to be a little more deliberate on my part. I’m serious when I say we’re in this together… if you need anything let me know! xx

  3. gracekelle

    I’m sorry for your loss, CeCe. Sending you prayers and hugs.

    Finding comfort in food is definitely nothing to be ashamed of. I pray that you also find the strength to turn to your other sources of comfort in due time. The great thing is that you’re aware and that’s half the battle, right? Many times I would emotionally eat and not realize it until it was too late. I love that you have a plan in place. This is not a set back. It’s another way you’re going to inspire people. You are inspiring others through this! Keep on inspiring!

  4. gracekim.nyc@gmail.com

    I’m sorry for your loss, CeCe. Sending you prayers and hugs.

    Finding comfort in food is definitely nothing to be ashamed of. I pray that you also find the strength to turn to your other sources of comfort in due time. The great thing is that you’re aware and that’s half the battle, right? Many times I would emotionally eat and not realize it until it was too late. I love that you have a plan in place. This is not a set back. It’s another way you’re going to inspire people. You are inspiring others through this! Keep on inspiring!

  5. Dropbear

    I’m so sorry for your loss, CeCe. This really resonated with me.

    Although I haven’t experienced a loss, I have been grieving over losing my health – I was diagnosed with a chronic illness and have had to defer moving overseas to go to a prestigious grad school two years in a row. I’m trying so hard to contain my emotional eating, but I have slowly put back on 22 pounds of the 70 pounds I had lost.

    It is so hard to break away from old coping mechanisms. I think the understanding and acceptance you are showing for yourself is key to getting back on track and limiting the damage in the short term. Thanks for writing this and making me feel less alone.

  6. alanna.inserra@gmail.com

    I’m so sorry for your loss, CeCe. This really resonated with me.

    Although I haven’t experienced a loss, I have been grieving over losing my health – I was diagnosed with a chronic illness and have had to defer moving overseas to go to a prestigious grad school two years in a row. I’m trying so hard to contain my emotional eating, but I have slowly put back on 22 pounds of the 70 pounds I had lost.

    It is so hard to break away from old coping mechanisms. I think the understanding and acceptance you are showing for yourself is key to getting back on track and limiting the damage in the short term. Thanks for writing this and making me feel less alone.

  7. JennieC

    Awww CeCe, I had no idea about your aunt passing. I am so very sorry for your loss. It is a frightening and awful thing to go through. Kudos to you for being able to process and work through the grief without a significant amount of self-sabotage to your goals. This is a journey and not a destination.

  8. irisheyesjen@yahoo.com

    Awww CeCe, I had no idea about your aunt passing. I am so very sorry for your loss. It is a frightening and awful thing to go through. Kudos to you for being able to process and work through the grief without a significant amount of self-sabotage to your goals. This is a journey and not a destination.

  9. T Barnes

    Hey lady… I know i’ve shared my condolences, but I want to say just how proud I am of you for still being very much within reach of your goal! Emotional eating is definitely difficult to manage and I am right there with you in a very different way. I have been emotionally eating my transition between job – no job – to new job that has had a bit of an intense workload. I have been beating myself up for getting off track, especially when I had been doing what I could to help motivate other friends and family to join me in #PSPfit and clean eating. This post is the boost I need to get back on track and I am ready to join in on the #PSPfit pre-game challenge!

  10. tanyah.barnes@gmail.com

    Hey lady… I know i’ve shared my condolences, but I want to say just how proud I am of you for still being very much within reach of your goal! Emotional eating is definitely difficult to manage and I am right there with you in a very different way. I have been emotionally eating my transition between job – no job – to new job that has had a bit of an intense workload. I have been beating myself up for getting off track, especially when I had been doing what I could to help motivate other friends and family to join me in #PSPfit and clean eating. This post is the boost I need to get back on track and I am ready to join in on the #PSPfit pre-game challenge!

  11. Christine

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m new here but I can definitely relate. My extended family centers around food, and especially so in times of loss. I think it’s important always to be as kind and understanding to ourselves as we are to others, and you seem to have the right attitude to carry you through!

  12. cmgraziano@gmail.com

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m new here but I can definitely relate. My extended family centers around food, and especially so in times of loss. I think it’s important always to be as kind and understanding to ourselves as we are to others, and you seem to have the right attitude to carry you through!

  13. Kymberly

    You could definitely see your expertise in the work you write. The world hopes for more passionate writers like you who are not afraid to say how they believe. Always go after your heart.

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