Ask Calorie Ken: Divorce, Defrost, and De-Stress

De-stressing during divorce and other difficult days.

By , Columnist

Dear Calorie Ken,

I am in the beginnings of a very stressful divorce, and it seems I am getting "fluffier and fluffier." I want to shape up just for myself so I can feel better and finally start having an enjoyable life. Target areas that I have so much trouble with are arms and thighs. Are there any foods that help to relieve stress? Also need help with fuel level is past EMPTY!  Please help me, Calorie Ken!

De-Frosted and Empty

Dear De-Frosted and Empty,

For the readers who don’t know you, “de-frosted” is a wonderful play on words. Your married name is Frost, and you are thawing yourself out after 35 years in an emotionally frozen marriage. You have taken the first steps to a well-deserved new life, but now is the time to take baby steps, not giant leaps for mankind. You are losing 250 pounds of baggage by jettisoning a spouse. That’s a great start!

But, one thing at a time. Forget about target areas for now. Just target making it through the day. And, remember that the goal is never weight loss, but making healthier choices. Losing weight is a natural byproduct of making better choices and paying attention to portions.

Calorie Ken did a little research, and a common theme for stress reduction is to get plenty of B-complex vitamins. Oprah’s own Bob Green writes about a conversation with Dr. Rovenia Brock about how to reduce stress and anxiety by eating the right foods. Dorie Eisenstein writes about super foods for stress relief at Better Homes and Gardens. Just google "stress relieving foods" and you will find a host of sources to help you through.

You can also enhance your energy and help your body fight stress with a vitamin supplement like Centrum Performance, specially formulated with ginseng, antioxidants, and a higher level of B Vitamins.

And, while you are feeding your body well, feed your soul. Eliminate unnecessarily stressful things. Don’t watch the news or listen to talk radio. Listen to gentle music like Beethoven’s Symphony no. 6, the "Pastoral," a beautiful piece I adore and that has helped me through many a tough time. You may feel like Carrie Underwood in "Before He Cheats" but I don’t recommend listening to it even if I did provide a link (practice restraint now - don't follow the link; instead, seek out Beethoven!).

And know that you are not alone. Depend on your friends, and read a book or two like He's History, You're Not by Erica Manfred.

Dear friend, change is never easy, even for those of us with adventurous spirits, but you have taken the first step, and you are on a journey to a new you. You are right to focus on yourself, but make sure that focus is positive. Don’t be too hard on yourself, and don’t start changing too many things that aren’t already changing organically as part of the process you’ve put into motion. Let things flow. You’ve been swimming upstream for 35 years. Now is the time to ride the wave to the swanky new de-stressed, de-vorced, de-Frosted you.


Swanky reader, Calorie Ken wants to hear from you!  Post your comments below, and send your questions to  And, tell others!  Post on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn...everywhere, and share with your e-mail distribution lists. We hope to make Calorie Ken the Dear Abby of good health and nutrition, and we need your help.  Cheers! 

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For two years, Ken Brooks (Calorie Ken) was a volunteer in the Tufts University CALERIE Study. He is now a nutrition evangelist. Send your nutrition, weight management, general health and exercise questions to

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