By: Nutrition Expert Katelin Dial
“On the other side of the clouds is a bright blue sky.” - anonymous
I know at times, especially during a divorce, a “bright blue sky” feels inconceivable. Divorce can wreak havoc on our minds and our bodies. However, as someone who has been through divorce and has worked as an integrative health coach, I am here to tell you that there is a different path. After all, you can’t control your circumstances, but you can control how you respond to them.
I want to offer you two life-changing ways to respond today – first, to nourish your body with balanced meals abundant in the foods that create calm. Second, to practice a gentle, grateful mindset that will set you free no matter the outcome.
In 2018, my world was turned upside down. A divorce was the last thing I ever wanted. It was distressing on every level: physically, spiritually, emotionally, and financially. I believed marriage was forever. I had four young children (ages 8, 6, 3 and 1). I didn’t want to spend one minute, much less one day or week, without them. I needed to find a job after ten years of being a stay-at-home parent. At first, these challenges felt impossible, like a mountain I would never be able to climb. Yet, as I look back, I realize that there were strategies that lifted me up over the steepest parts. In fact, I survived my divorce and came out stronger, more positive and healthier. I want to help you do the same. So, I narrowed it down to two tips you can use starting today.
First, nutrition is paramount. When we go through a stressful time, we need to give our body every possible signal that we are ok. Our brains are wired for one main goal: to keep us alive. So, when our cortisol levels elevate and our adrenaline increases from a period of chronic stress, we need to give our brain the message that we are safe. One significant way to do this is to eat consistent, balanced meals abundant in healthy proteins, fibers, and fats. Unfortunately, it is all too common to undereat or to lose track of healthy habits during stress, but if you can avoid that trap, your body (and your mind) will thank you. Here are some ideas on how to keep it simple and easy:
A filling breakfast = a protein smoothie with some balancing maca root like here.
An energizing lunch = a satisfying salad.
A nourishing dinner = a quality protein with roasted vegetables topped with avocado, nuts, seeds or paired with omega-rich olives.
Eating this way through a stressful time will fortify you through the process. While there is so much in the media right now about the timing of your meals and intermittent fasting or other ways of eating (keto, paleo, etc), my recommendation would be to keep it simple. My advice is three meals a day abundant in key, nutritious sources of protein, fiber and fat.
The second tip is find your way to a grateful, positive mindset. While you can fill your plate with the nourishing meals, if you are still filling your mind with negative thoughts, these meals won’t have the same impact. I remember how quickly I could spiral down the hole of negativity and doom and gloom. I could go on for days about the hurtful things, the unfairness of it all, and the hardship, but immediately I noticed how awful I felt. While there is a time and a place for all of those feelings and you deserve to honor them and honor yourself with honesty, there can also be a turning point. When I realized those thoughts didn’t serve me, I chose to turn it around with some simple but powerful mindset shifts.
Every day, I made a list of the things I am thankful for – even if some days it was only the air I could breathe or the roof over my head. I tried to develop a “gratitude reflex” so that even in the worst of times, I could find something to be thankful for or even to be thankful for the hardship, knowing that God could bring good out of it. My thoughts went from negative to positive and empowering. I started repeating simple mantras like “I am ok” or “I am safe” or “I am loved” even if there were times I didn’t feel any of those things. Furthermore, I refused to allow myself to feel like a victim. This divorce was happening but that was it. I still deserved love and happiness and my identity would never be wrapped up in this experience.
In integrative nutrition, there is a direct connection between the thoughts in our mind and the foods we choose to put on our plate. It is a little bit of the chicken and the egg here – whether putting the healthy foods on our plate will lead to healthier, more positive thoughts or whether the healthier, positive thoughts lead to choosing better meals. I don’t think it matters which comes first. But, I hope you are inspired to start with one or the other or just go for both! When you are going through divorce, the stress of the process is more than enough, so take these two tips and move forward in your life with health, love, hope, and gratitude.
Katelin Dial is a certified health coach and the founder of Clean Life Collective.
Katelin works with her clients to transform their lives – first by guiding them to abundant, nutritious meals that can help heal and energize their bodies – then supporting them as the positive change radiates to other areas of their lives. Her unique, integrative approach has helped her clients lose unwanted weight, increase energy, reduce inflammation and even calm autoimmune conditions. Katelin's clients often say she has completely changed their lives. While originally they thought they were coming to her for food guidance, ultimately, they realize that their plate is just the first step to an overall healthier, more vibrant life.
Katelin trained at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and built a private coaching practice before launching Clean Life Collective, her new health and wellness platform.
You can learn more about Katelin and CLC at www.thecleanlifecollective.com or follow her on Instagram @katelin.dial.