At first, I could not eat any food.

I could not even smell it.

I felt nauseous and my body had almost shut down digestion.

No appetite. No remembering to eat.

I dropped down to 116 pounds and I didn’t realize it.

I looked in the mirror and I didn’t recognize myself.

My body did not want to live anymore and it was making it clear to me.

As time went by, I slowly started to eat again.

But what I didn’t know then was that my body was so used to not getting any food that when it did, it held onto it for dear life, in case it had to go through grief again.

It almost forgot how to do digestion.

The truth I didn’t know then was that my physical system was messed up by grief.

It took me years and many wrong turns to be on the road to recovery for my body too.

Finally, I am at a place where I am at peace with how my body dealt with loss.

I learned a few things the hard way.

It takes months to even years of unlearning processing food for survival. To finally processing food for thriving and nourishing.

Your body is grieving too.

It is trying hard to survive.

But it can’t speak. It can’t cry.

That is why it has high levels of cortisol and inflammation.

This is the body’s feelings after loss.

I am a little angry at my doctor who never said anything about this.

Never explained to me that I had to keep the body away from living in the duality I lived in.

Nobody told me about this part of loss when I needed to know.

Now I know. Now you know. And now we can choose differently.

These are the things I wish my doctor told me after my loss.

  1.  Find someone to hold you accountable when it comes to what you eat every day.
  1. Know that it will be harder for you to do this than it is for people who have not been through what you have. Your body is used to grieving not living. It is used to holding on not letting go.
  1. Move every day as if your life depends on it. It does.
  1. Think of sugar as a really bad therapist from now on. (Click to Tweet!)
  1. When you are craving something have some nuts.
  1. Drink coffee. It’s not bad for you. Unless you are a tea person. Then drink tea.
  1. When you feel hungry too soon know that you are thirsty.
  1. You are worthy of a body that can digest well again.
  1. The more stress you have in your day the more your body will keep the food for itself.
  1. Your body needs to be told with food that you are on your way to recovery.

Just start here.

And forgive yourself when you have a day where you forget all of the above. It will happen.

It happened to me yesterday.

Then I had to find my way back to forgiveness and begin the journey again.

With love for my body,



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Christina Rasmussen is an author, speaker and social entrepreneur who believes that grief is an evolutionary experience required for launching a life of adventure and creative accomplishment.

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  • Linda says:

    I’m relieved to read that this is a real part of grief. A few months after my partners stage IV glioblastoma diagnosis, after the first surgery and the subsequent regrowth my body reacted with inflammation in my eyes. Even tho we were both eating a healthy diet of cancer fighting food. No explanation just lots of steroids. After Davids death 17 months after diagnosis I finally found time to see a specialist. The swelling and redness kept me from wanting to leave the house Autoimmune reaction to grief was the diagnosis. Subsequent eye surgery and more steroids Steroids have caused glaucoma but it is controllable. I still have intermittent episodes of inflammation but it is so far controllable. Yes grief attacks the body.

  • Pam Caruso says:

    This happened to me as well, in fact it is still happening…after 8 years…and I am of an age that exercise is not easy… I’ve had one knee replacement and the other needs to be done and the culprit was swimming…but the inflammation is in hips, fingers, and jaws…digestion issues as well… some stress related… some age related… aging guts are just temperamental. But the absolute killer…was the advice my (now former) doctor said 8 days after my husband of 38 1/2 years died and I had not had any sleep for 6 of those days was “No Men For A Year.” As a R.N. I was flabbergasted… I ran out of that office…and really have not been back to a doctor since…I hate to admit that as a health professional who knows better, but this was abhorrent and I so fear that something like this will happen again… As far as the sleeping goes.. it doesn’t …mostly I nap at night like about 2-3 hours… and I never sleep during the day… So my body holds on to food and my brain never shuts down…

  • JEM says:

    This is so important to see today…..but I’m not sure how well I will do with it. 2 years and 3 months ago my husband of almost 53 years passed away suddenly. We actually had 5 hours to share before he was gone. I’m told that we had a marriage few only find in that we were each other’s best friend, spent every minute we could together and never had a fight in all our marriage. True!! It was literally, as if, he breathed in and I breathed out. I still have to make myself eat and nothing tastes good. My sleeping habits are where I will try so desperately to go to bed at a decent hour and still be finding things to do at 1am or 2am. My children and grandchildren are so helpful and good to me but they can’t be with me every minute. And I don’t want anyone all the time. However, I have never known the loneliness I have and am experiencing. My husband was the most wonderful man and our lives were filled with so much of each other. I’ve been told that the wonderful life I had is the price I’m paying now for so much grief. I would not change a thing. I’m also told by my doctor, therapist and others that 2 years is not even near the time of grief easing.

  • Erin says:

    This happened to me, too. I lost 20 lbs in a matter of days when I filed for divorce. I couldn’t eat. A year later, when I finally got my appetite back, I gained back those 20 lbs plus put on 20 more. I’ve also had more physical illness since then than ever in my life, and I’m currently dealing with a nasty bout of sciatica– something I’d only heard of pre- divorce. It’s so frustrating to deal with all of these physical effects while my mind is finally getting back on track.

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