The Food That Healed Me Post-Divorce
THIS POWERFUL GIFT HELPED ME RECONNECT WITH MYSELF
No matter how conscious, peaceful, or seamless your divorce may be, ending a marriage is hard. For me, it brought up an entire rainbow of emotions directly tied to my self-worth. I felt I had failed. I was covered in shame and heavy with guilt, and I wore this negative “suit” with me everywhere I went. It fit nicely over the 15 pounds I’d put on to separate me from the outside world. I knew the real me was under there, but I just couldn’t find her.
Those feelings, although miserable, were expected. What I didn’t anticipate was that, in addition to suddenly being stripped of my family, I was also deprived of my femininity. Marriage, family, children, and care-taking all felt feminine in my body—sitting at home, eating a frozen meal I knew was not good for me, but boasted a calorie count I felt comfortable with while my kids were with their father, did not. I couldn’t remember what it felt like to be standing in this place that I had so confidently known my entire life—a place that was naturally loving, nurturing, and tender, yet strong and self-assured—so I hid this new, unpleasant version of myself under any unhealthy habit that would allow me to live each day as a foreigner in my own body.
My sister sent me a week of what the card in the box called "life-transforming, plant-rich super meals" from a company called Sakara as a gift. She called me an hour before the first delivery was set to arrive, on a day where my kids were with my ex and she knew my plan for the night would be said frozen dinner paired carefully with a nice bottle of wine.
“It’s not about your weight or your health, it’s about doing something that will help you remember what it feels like to feel good,” she implored on the phone, cutting off my deluge of protests and complaints (I was doing a stellar impression of my four-year-old’s tantrums). The delivery arrived and I went through each piece of paper, box of food, and bottle of liquid, washing them down with generous gulps of wine and heavy sighs of reluctant acceptance. Everything was beautiful, colorful, optimistic, vibrant, and loving. It was everything I felt I no longer deserved, but I said, what the hell, ripped open what was supposed to be tomorrow night’s dinner, and dug in.
That first week of Sakara had its ups and downs. The food was delicious, but my body had gotten used to a different way of eating over the past year, and the result was painful headaches, low energy, and frequent hunger. I snacked a lot and one night found myself a little too deep into my kids’ ice cream after the house had been put to bed. But I loved what Sakara was for me in those first five days—these little guaranteed slices of my day where I would be forced to sit down, read about science or spirituality, and be reminded to breathe, think, chew, and savor something that was created with the sole intention of making me feel good. Each meal, each note, and each bottle of beauty and detox water felt like it had been specifically made for me on my personal journey.
At the end of the week, I signed up for a month-long program. That was six months ago, and I have been on Sakara off and on since completing those first five weeks. The headaches and hunger went away early on (along with the 15 pounds that did not belong on my body), and in their place, I started to find moments that mattered. I felt good in my clothes and was happy with the face I saw staring back at me in the mirror. I didn’t fully give up caffeine at any point (mama needs her morning cup of coffee), but I no longer guzzled it all day in order to keep up with my work, kids, and life. I started making other decisions that I knew would feel good too—morning Pilates classes, dinners out with friends, getting back in the kitchen with my kids, and taking any quiet moment I could find in the day to jot a few things down in my journal (something I had been wanting to start for years but had convinced myself was never a priority).
Sakara provided me the space, structure, and support to find my way back to a version of myself that felt like me. The divorce had not stripped me of my femininity—I had taken it away in an attempt to punish myself for a failure that I blamed myself for. Beyond getting back into my pre-divorce body, each week of food brought those soft edges of my femininity back to me. I felt open and accepting towards the world and nurturing towards my kids in a way that I hadn’t felt in a long, long time. I felt like a mother again, like a woman again, like a being deserving of love again, and while there are many ways to help a divorced single mother of two who feels completely and totally lost inside of her body and inside of herself, there is no greater gift I could have asked for.
I realized that the most powerful thing I can do is to take care of my body. This is the one body I have and I'm worth investing in. I am deserving of nourishment. And can give my body the love it needs.