Experiencing the grief process is a natural reaction to losses of many kinds. Loss on any number of different levels is a part of life we all face. Most of us associate grief with the death of a loved one, but the truth is we each go through a similar process when facing any number of losses, whether it’s a job, when a relationship ends or if we receive a medical diagnosis which threatens our health. Even events on grander scales can trigger a grieving process, including natural disasters or terrorist attacks which can instill a feeling of loss of safety and/or security. Basically, any time we feel a sense of loss of any kind, we grieve and the grieving process affects us in ways that can be confusing, complicated, and overwhelming.
Each person’s grief is unique and your grieving process will be different, even from people who are experiencing the same loss you are. Most people who are experiencing grief go through one or more of the same general reactions including physical, emotional and behavioral changes while they’re working through a loss. Knowing the common grief responses and what to expect may help you feel more at ease in the process as you or someone else you care about goes through it.
Normal grief symptoms span the physical, emotional and behavioral and can include things like crying, low energy, changes in sleep or eating patterns, feelings of numbness, sadness, anger, guilt or anxiety. While in the grieving process, people sometimes become withdrawn and unproductive or fidgety and restless, concentration may be difficult and even visual or auditory hallucinations can take place. Typically, symptoms are most intense and frequent shortly after a loss is experienced and should gradually subside over time. Keep in mind that it can take anywhere from months to a couple of years before a person fully comes to terms with a loss. If this sense of closure never happens, daily functioning can be difficult and the risk of physical and/or mental illness increases.
Working through a loss is a complex process. Expect ups and downs and even two steps forward, one step back kinds of progress along the way toward closure. There is no one “right” or “wrong” way to grieve, but ultimately the sense of loss and grief will subside toward resolution over time. If the road gets rocker and never seems to smooth out or if you feel stuck and despaired at any time, seeking assistance from a grief counselor or other mental health professional who is knowledgeable about grief issues can help you better understand your grief and assist you in moving forward in the healing process.
You may be wondering what this has to do with eating right and exercise and I'm here to tell you that the main reason why so many people can't maintain a fit and healthy physique for a lifetime is because they're not willing to let go of that person in the day 1 photo. Intellectually you know that the new you is a better you, but the person you were at the beginning of this process is a dear old friend that's hard to abandon. There are memories, experiences and pleasures that make up who you were and it's hard to wrap your arms around the idea that this part of you is gone forever.
There must be a grieving period or process to break through to the other side. It's normal, it's weird and uncomfortable and it's part of life. Going from unfit & unhealthy to fit and healthy in a relatively short period of time is daunting and traumatic. Nobody talks about it because there's no clear cut way to understand it or deal with it. Some folks make the transition easily while others still see themselves as the overweight, unhappy person they were on day 1. The thoughts and memories in your mind that cause profound emotions from your past don't go away just because you lost weight and got strong. Day 90 of Power 90 and P90X is often a very sad and depressing day for many many people. While it's an amazing accomplishment it also signifies the death of an old friend and the start of a difficult new beginning. The old me is dead, now what?
The loss of the old you can be as scary, confusing, complicated and overwhelming as the loss of a loved one. You have transformed yourself physically and with that comes emotional and behavioral changes as well. There's nothing on the website or guild book that helps you with that, so just by talking about it here is a step. Just like with any traumatic event or change it helps to know that there will be bumps in the road alone the way. A place of understanding and acceptance comes with time. This is why this community is so important. We are here to listen. We are here to understand. We are all here to help each other get through the good times and the bad. If you keep asking questions, keep pushing play and stay accountable to like-minded people in your life then the grieving period will be short and a healthy and fit lifestyle is yours forever.