BBC News reported in recent years that both marriage and divorce can trigger weight gain. Newly-divorced women and men had between 21% and 22% increased risk of a small weight gain after divorce. The report concluded that: “All marital transitions act as a weight shock, encouraging small weight gains regardless of the destination marital state.”
In my practice as a family and divorce solicitor in Bath and Bristol, UK, I witness clients, going through the significant transitions brought about by divorce, including stressing over having to find alternative accommodation, stretching finite finances resources, and strained contact with friends and families. Divorce is one of the most intense stressors and it can lead to disturbed sleep, reduced exercise and poor diet, as well as a drop in self-esteem or self-confidence.
To try and reduce those personal, financial and legal stresses, I encourage clients to consider choosing a non-adversarial approach to divorce, like Collaborative Practice or Family Mediation. Not only might that approach help them achieve reasoned settlements but it could be healthier for them, than a positional, adversarial Divorce Court hearing.
But away from the Divorce Court clients still need to be good to themselves. For example, take the time to look after your health by visiting your doctor regularly, taking vitamins and eating healthily, getting regular exercise and plenty of sleep. It can be tremendously valuable to find a way to let off steam – for example by taking up a new sport – or by simply changing the scenery. All perhaps obvious actions, but taking good care of oneself can be easily forgotten or ignored in times of significant life transitions.
As the research above highlights, a divorce can stretch waistlines. But by taking care of oneself, by focusing on keeping active and healthy, and by choosing a constructive process like collaborative practice that focuses on settlement and reduces conflict, it is possible to minimise the damaging effects of divorce and move on with life without too many extra pounds.