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Why losing someone you love can make you put on weight

Posted November 3

Losing somebody we love is difficult. On top of the grief and pain we feel, we are forced to make changes we are not prepared to make. Does loss create weight gain? (Deseret Photo)

Losing somebody we love is difficult. On top of the grief and pain we feel, we are forced to make changes we are not prepared to make. If you lost someone dear to you, you know too well how hard it can be to keep your life in line. Look forward, not backward. Move on without feeling like you are betraying the one you've lost. Your body might react to these changes by gaining weight:

Authority void

The person you lost, whether a parent, child or friend had some authority and influence over your life. You lived your life to respect and love that person. When they passed, it triggered something in your genes to make it easier for your body to retain weight.

Scientists have discovered that about 50% of us have one or more variations of the FTO gene which makes us prone to obesity. While your genetics don't automatically make you gain weight, changes in lifestyle can trigger an increase. When you lose someone close to you, the influence or authority they had in your life is also lost. Your body reacts by following more and more cravings suggested by the FTO gene.

Lack of support

Perhaps the person you lost was your support system; now that they are gone, during difficult times you turn to food to make yourself feel better. No matter how strong you are, there are moments in life when you need someone to offer you comfort, understanding and support. You need them to hold your hand in silence until the moment passes. When your support system is no longer there, you are left alone to deal with these moments.

Instead of turning to entertainment or food for comfort, find another person to support you. That is not to say that you are replacing the one you loved because they are irreplaceable. You are not replacing them, just giving their supporting role in your life to somebody else.

Learn the truth

There is a general perception that overweight people have underlying psychological issues that cause them to put on weight. The death of a loved one can be one of these issues. However, that is not always true. Losing someone dear is difficult, but isn't always the cause of weight gain. Understanding the cause is crucial for you to find peace with the death of a loved one and to become healthier. Why?

First, because attributing your weight gain to losing someone dear to you can add unnecessary feelings of guilt to your already fragile sense of well-being. Their death was traumatic; don't add to the trauma by feeling guilty.

Second, the battles dealing with the recent loss in your life are not the wars you should be fighting. Your attention needs to be focused on how to best manage your genetic predisposition to gain weight. Yes, the death of a loved on can be a trigger, but it is not the direct cause.

There is good news about all we’ve talked so far; things can change when you embrace the truth. Gaining weight is less about losing someone and more about your biology and your ways of coping with loss. Don't hide behind excuses that blind you to the truth. Realize that overeating can be provoked by your body's chemistry and your method of dealing with loss. This gives you the knowledge you need to grieve properly and to overcome your trials.

Overcome your trials

Tragedy by itself does not create weight gain; other factors are involved. Mourn your loss and then allow yourself to gather the tools you need to figure out how you can overcome weight gain. Fight your real war because you can win.

Find hope in your support system, fight in the memory of who you loved and lost, and discover how you can overcome trials to become healthy.

Carmen Jacob is the co-founder of SelfImprovement.org, where you can find in-depth guides on <a href="https://selfimprovement.org/how-to-be-successful">How to Become Successful</a>, <a href="https://selfimprovement.org/self-esteem">Building Self-Este

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