Is the greatest revenge to being dumped, looking and feeling better than ever?
That is what Jen decided after she had been told, “I just don’t love you anymore, I find your body unattractive”.
“I thought that my life was complete 12 years ago when I got married”. Jen described feeling “shock, anger and disbelief” as the man who had been responsible for the “greatest day of her life” was now also the culprit of the worst day”.
Jen worked steadily to improve her fitness and getting that revenge body. She now says that, “Getting control over my body helped me feel in control again of my life”. Thanks to a new approach to her health, she felt physically better and this helped her to realise that there were things she could to to help herself feel better while so much was falling apart around her.
So if you are finding yourself single again, and brutally divorced, how do you recover from this? As a fitness professional, I am here today to help you on the road to a better you. Losing weight and getting fit, is manageable and actually not that hard if you take small steps and avoid the common mistakes. I hope that following my blog with Divorce Club can help you to achieve this.
The foundations of your revenge body – starting from the inside
To help start your journey , the first thing you will need to do is assess your current diet, as this will be the main reason for your weight gain. By assess I mean start a food diary to look at your eating habits. Over the space of 1 week, you will notice any patterns in your diet. From here, make a smaller plan to help improve your diet focusing on 1 meal per week in which you aim to improve. It is better and more manageable to focus on 1 meal per week as your focus rather than your overall diet all at once. After you have corrected one area of your diet, then move on to another using the same method.
I once worked with a client who used to have chocolate from breakfast! She found improvements by setting herself the goal of cutting out the breakfast chocolate but still allowing herself to have it later that day. By doing this, she felt better physically and her shape & fitness levels improved. She actually ate less chocolate overall as she became better at resisting it.
Eventually, your goal is to have a balanced diet consisting of an even spread of proteins, carbs and fats (yes fat is your friend) at each meal, with portion size in mind as even too much healthy foods can lead to weight gain. And just to emphasise, the goal is not to never eat a pizza. Food is there to be enjoyed, it is about getting into healthier habits.
The building of the Revenge Body – working on the outside
Like with your diet, it is also a good idea to create a plan with regards to your activity level and fitness. You can often do this using step trackers on your phones such as using the ‘Health’ app for Apple devices & Google Fit for Android users, if you own neither of these then there are many wearable alternatives available in local stores. This will help you to see how active you actually are, and where you could fit in more activity.
If you feel that joining a gym is an intimidating prospect for you, that is fine. Choose something manageable for you such as adding a 15 minute walk at the end of your day or at lunch time. Increasing duration and intensity progressively as the weeks pass until you feel comfortable to be able to gradually increase it either by making it longer, or taking that walk up to a brisk walk or a jog.
One more aspect not to shy away from is resistance/weight training. Although not essential, it can make a big difference in the speed of your journey. This does not mean having to do weight lifting if this is not for you, as your body weight alone is still more than enough for you to work with.
Now, if you’re sat thinking, “I don’t know any exercises, or “they’re too hard for me as I am sore for days after”, or even, “they make my back worse”, don’t panic as this is normal. Initially you will experience some onset muscle soreness or joint aches. Maybe, use lighter weights, do fewer repetitions or exercise for less time until you feel ready to build up the intensity. If you are a member of a gym, you should have access to fitness advisors or personal trainers, who will probably be more than happy to help out with questions and advice you may need without having to commit to sessions with them. So don’t be afraid to ask for help!
Motivating that revenge body
One of the most important steps, (and. Say ‘tis is it is the one thing most people do not like to do when it should really be the first), is to take measurements and pictures. You may not like the image and readings at the start, but as your journey progresses, there’s no greater feeling than seeing these improve.
Finally, have some clear fitness goal. You may have heard of SMART goals which are proven to be a more effective way of actually meeting your targets. This stands for: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound. So this means that you give yourself a realistic goal to do over a set time period, and that you should be able to track the goal, e.g. Work out once a week. If you do choose a weight loss goal, make sure it is achievable as unrealistic goals are demotivating.
I would add that you should have short (week), medium (month) and long term (6 month & 1 year) goals. So that it is easier to keep on track and get back on track if things slip (and in my experience they always do)!
Although I have covered the basic steps to start your journey to the revenge body, it doesn’t have to be perfect from Day 1. By all means try the perfect approach, but this will be harder to sustained for the majority of people. Instead, expect that there will be mistakes and setbacks, this is normal and fine, and rather than be discouraged, just keep reminding yourself that you are progressively improving and that it is those small steps that will make the long-term and big changes.
Finally, there will be times where you will completely go off road, try not to let this discourage you, sometimes take a few days/week off, nobody is perfect, after a short break however look back at your plans, see how far you have come and think of ways as to how you can get back on track.
If after reading this you have any questions or need any help goal setting/planning/training etc then do not hesitate to contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org as I will be more than happy to help.
Good luck, revenge is sweet and feeling great is priceless.
Dr Isabelle Hung is a co-founder of divorceclub.com and clinical psychologist. Having got through her own divorce just three years ago, she is now remarried and happy to report that divorce really is an opportunity for growth and positive change.