Our BS meter went off when a recent study claimed getting a divorce leads to a decline in health
, even if you go on to remarry a good bloke.
To prove ourselves right, we talked to three women whose fabulous post-divorce lives fly in the face of the research results about why divorce was a good for their constitution and what they think of this study.
Kim Mance, 30, Chicago
Kim Mance met her husband at church and married at 19. She knew she was unhappy six months into her union, but stayed for seven years.
"Before I left the marriage, I was a seriously depressed baby-making machine who was expected solely to support his military career and raise children," she said. "I was on medication for anxiety. I had terrible stomach problems and even heartburn at night. I was a size 12 and very out of shape."
Once she filed for divorce, Kim's anxiety decreased. Though other worries crept up, like caring for her kids on her own and losing her husband's income, she started taking better care of herself.
"A friend of mine introduced me to yoga, and I started being more active overall. As my emotional health was so much better, I stopped unconsciously overeating and went down several clothing sizes." Kim kept focusing on what she wanted in her personal life and eventually started her own travel media company
. Click here
to keep reading about Kim's new love and two other happy divorcees.
And the divorce didn't sour her to love -- she just remarried last month to someone who is "respectful toward me in every way and genuinely wants me to be happy." She's maintained a fitter figure, stayed off depression medication, still does yoga and works out. She even ran an impromptu 10K in Puerto Rico in March.
As for the divorce study, Kim wonders if the results depend on who left the marriage. "They might find that the person who left a miserable situation is far happier and fulfilled. I feel divorce helped me learn a lot about myself and become a better person in the process." Kristen DeRocha, 35, Dallas
A difference in health habits was actually a factor in the end of Kristen's seven-year marriage -- he was her second husband -- earlier this year. "He ate junk food and was not very active. And we were not attracted to each other anymore," she admitted.
Since the divorce, Kristen's lost 10 lbs. from eating better and exercising regularly and has become more spiritually grounded. She also says she's much freer and has less stress and anxiety. Kristen's relationship with her ex is amicable -- they share custody of their 5-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter and even co-own a corporation
Kristen was financially independent even in her marriage, but can understand how women who aren't may suffer post-divorce.
"I think it's largely economical. My lifestyle hasn't been compromised negatively by losing an income provider. If you adjust for that factor in the divorced population, I'd bet the study would find different results." Jill Houk, 41, Chicago
Jill got divorced when she was 33 years old after eight years of marriage due to some major deal-breakers, like disagreeing on the number of children she and her spouse wanted. During the marriage, Jill smoked, was about 20 lbs. overweight and never exercised. Her fitness took a total 180 after the divorce when she moved from the city to the suburbs and began walking more.
"As I walked, I felt better and one day started running," she said. "From there, it snowballed. I ran regularly with girlfriends, joined Weight Watchers, began running races and joined a health club." Her running led to competing in half marathons and triathlons, weight-lifting and doing yoga.
All her healthy changes and the self-awareness she gleaned from therapy also helped Jill leave her technology career to follow her passion for cooking. She started her own business, Centered Chef Food Studios
, which focuses on foods that naturally promote health.
Jill agrees with Kim that women may be worse off after a divorce if they were left by their husbands. Regardless of who's leaving whom, she says those getting the big D should find activities they enjoy, lean on supportive friends and eat and sleep well. Going Through a Divorce? Check out these links for more support:
--Need to de-stress after a day at the attorney's office? Visit Divorciversary.com
, a community that strives to maintain a "fun and positive outlook on the future of the divorced."
---Editor Candace Walsh shares inspirational stories of 29 women who've gotten divorced in her book Ask Me About My Divorce
. The stories are "not sad tales of woe" and include perspectives from women who were left and did the leaving.
--The Divorce Support section of About.com
offers tips on everything from dealing on those days you could throttle your ex to navigating your state's divorce laws.