When I first met my husband, I weighed about 120 pounds. When I finally left him, I was nearly 65 pounds heavier. Previously to my leaving him, I had struggled for several years with weight issues with no success. I had tried to lose weight in all of the “right” ways – a healthy, mostly vegetarian-based diet with restricted calories and moderate, regular exercise. I also tried different diet plans and did just about everything else possible to lose the weight, but nothing worked.
After I left him, I continued with the same basic diet plan and exercise program. But, in the months that followed, I began to see and feel a real difference. The excess pounds seemed to be melting away without any extra effort on my part. About 6 months later, I had lost about 50 pounds and, since then, have kept them off effortlessly. This was nearly a year ago.
This has caused me to conclude that my weight gain and loss issues were somehow directly related to my relationship. And, I wondered how or why.
The fact is that I was in an emotionally and financially abusive marriage and did not even realize it for years. Although I was constantly fearful, worried and felt as though I was always “walking on egg shells”, I had no idea that these feelings may have had a direct impact on my weight.
Since then, I have learned that studies show that stress causes the body to produce elevated levels of the hormone, cortisol. Studies also show that prolonged and excess levels of cortisol in the body can cause or contribute to weight gain (especially around the abdomen) as well as interfere with weight loss.
Much has been written about this subject and in response to the research and studies, there are dietary supplements, often called cortisol blockers, that are available on the market that supposedly help lower or control the amount of cortisol and, by extension, aid in losing weight and/or preventing weight gain.
I am not certain whether these dietary supplements (cortisol blockers) work or not. I did not try them because, as it turned out, I did not have to. Without even realizing it at the time, by leaving the relationship, I removed the major source that was the cause of the chronic stress I was under. In removing the cause, I removed the stress which undoubtedly lowered my cortisol levels.
What has become obvious to me, based on my own experience and through my own recovery and healing process, is that my previous weight issues were connected to the stress I felt in an abusive relationship. When I lost him, I lost the weight in a safe, natural, easy manner.
I am not suggesting that we all file for divorce, leave or break-up with our partners just to see if we can lose weight a little easier. My intention is to simply relate my own personal experience and to suggest that there may be more to one’s inability to lose weight, particularly if one is trying to do so in a healthy, reasonable manner but to no avail.
It should be noted that excess levels of cortisol over an extended period of time is thought to have other adverse effects on one’s health. For more information, please refer to the article at the Advanced Health & Life Extension website.
Finally, if you are, or suspect that you are, in an abusive relationship, please seek help. If you are not sure how or where, please contact the National Domestic Hotline.