Divorce As A Springboard
with Jill Gulotta
Intro to Jill Gulotta (01:37)
How to go through a divorce in the most positive way (04:20)
Negative self-talk and how to stop it (07:44)
Redefining and rediscovering yourself (17:55)
Entering the dating pool (21:19)
The power of gratitude (26:33)
Resources Mentioned in This Episode
Jill’s Instagram account where she shares lots of tips for free
Jill is a Divorce Coach and Registered Dietitian. She started her private practice in nutrition 4 years ago and saw first hand the struggles of women going through divorce and how it was impacting their health.
Lesya Liu 1:34
Hello, everyone, and welcome to the new episode of you can exhale now podcast today I am hosting Jill Gulotta, who is a divorce coach and registered dietitian, who coaches women through divorce in the healthiest, healthiest way possible. She works with women to rebuild their confidence, reclaim their independence and create their dream life, even after the divorce. And I'm really excited to have this conversation because a lot of those things like confidence and independence and creating that dream life doesn't necessarily mean you have to be divorced. We all want and strive for those things. So I'm really excited for Jill to share her knowledge with us today.
Jill, welcome to the show.
Jill Gulotta 1:37
Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate it.
Lesya Liu 1:39
Thank you for coming. So I know that you are a divorce coach and registered dietitian, which is an interesting mix, to be honest. So why don't you tell us more about how it all started? Why did you decide to become divorce coach specifically. And yeah, and the thing else, that kind of led you to the path that you're on right now. So it is definitely an interesting combination. And I love that you said that. And it's one that has taken me a while to kind of combine my two practices. And so I went back to school to become a registered dietician. After a career change, health and wellness was always really important to me. And through my journey and my, my education, I started my own private practice solely in nutrition and nutrition counseling. And as I work through that I focused a lot about around emotions, and what was happening in women's lives that were kind of shaping their food behaviors. And I myself in college had my own disordered eating and struggled with an eating disorder. And I understood, I came to learn from my personal life, and my professional life that has a lot to do with what's happening in your life that's impacting your food behaviors. So in my private practice, I focused solely on disordered eating unhealthy eating habits, relationships with food. Um, and what I found in my private practice is a lot of women that were coming to what was driving their behaviors was relationship issues and going through divorce or struggles through their marriage are struggling to decide, do they stay in their marriage or they get divorced. And it was a very big aha moment for me because I've gone through my own divorce. And I know how that impacted my health, and my eating habits, my disordered eating habits came on, I came back full force when I was going through my divorce. And so here I had this experience in my own personal life. And then I was seeing it continue to present itself in my professional practice. And the the combining of the two just became so organic and so natural, and just this really nice, aha moment, this, this had come full circle for me from my own experience for my education that these were the women that I needed to help and I needed to help women through one of the most challenging times in your life, divorce and to get through that and the healthiest, happiest way possible without compromising their well being, and helping them rebuild and create a life that they love after divorce.
Jill Gulotta 4:20
That is definitely a big step in anyone's life, and they can definitely see how that affects your emotional health. And then of course, your eating habits, especially especially if you're prone to emotional eating already. So I guess my question is, you know, divorce, we think of it as such a negative experience. And, of course, it's, you know, very painful and it's very emotional and there are probably a lot of financial issues or, you know, deciding who the children will stay with and stuff like that. But I think about Divorce also can signify new beginnings, you know, kind of trying to mend old mistakes and maybe choosing the wrong partner or not focusing on yourself and focusing on the other person. Can you speak a little bit about divorce? And you know, all the positive and negative things? And how can one approach the question of divorce in the healthiest way possible in the most, you know, balanced and grounded way, if that makes sense. Yes, absolutely. And I love to hear you say that divorce can be a new beginning, I often think the message around divorce is so negative. And it's something to be looked at as a failure or as a bad thing. Listen, nobody gets married to get divorced. But the reality is, it's, it happens 50% of marriages, and that that statistic may even be higher now and in divorce. And so I think removing the stigma around divorce is so important. That's one of the reasons I'm so passionate about this, because the messaging is wrong around divorce. The messaging is your failure. Your life is over how, you know, how could you possibly be happy if you're not part of this unit or partnership anymore. And I think that messaging really needs to change. And when that can change, there's a beautiful shift in this new beginning and the opportunity to create a life that you love. And so one of the things that I find really important is when you start to look at marriage, not only removing the stigma, but when you start to do your own healing through your marriage, and you made a really good point is like evaluating did you choose the right partner? I start a lot of the work I start with with my clients is taking a realistic look at their marriage. And what how did they show up in it? And what what did they feel like wasn't working? And what type of relationship do they want to get into next and really evaluating what that marriage look like? Because that is a real key component moving forward and starting to create a life that you love. So really understanding what are the lessons from this from this divorce? And the lessons from the marriage not working out? And how do we shift and start to look at divorce as the opportunity to change things that weren't working and the opportunity to create a love a life that you love and create a life that you feel good and happy in and rebuild what you want your life to look like and your your your life is not over? If you get divorced? It's a it's a beaut it can it can be a beautiful new beginning, if we start to look at it that way.
Lesya Liu 7:44
Yeah, I agree. And I think you know, that message, the toxic message really hits women a little bit harder, I think especially the message of you know, you're a failure, you could not keep the family going, you know, you could not keep the worms in the relationships going. And a lot of times that can result in very negative self talk, and blaming yourself for all the things that went wrong in the relationship. Even, you know, I think some abuse victims still blame themselves for being abused, right for I guess, not only allowing that abusive behavior, but also thinking like they almost provoked this onto themselves. So can you speak to negative self talk? And how can you kind of zoom out a little bit of that, and try to see the relationship, the marriage and the failures on both sides of the story? And kind of try to stay as realistic and as fair as possible? Yeah, I think that's a it's really important to evaluate what went on in the marriage. And also, I think it's important to own your piece in and I think there's no equal partner and each person plays a role in what has gone on in the marriage. And I think if you could take a step back, and really look at what place and what part you played in it, and where you could have improved or how you would have liked to show up better. It doesn't mean you point the blame on yourself, I often try to help my clients see that failure is not something to be looked upon negatively or to beat yourself up about it's the opportunity to learn a lesson and what and see the takeaways and what can be improved. Where we're naturally we naturally go to the negative we naturally go to this negative self talk and you know, that doesn't serve anybody doesn't do anything but beat you up and make you feel badly about yourself? Can you be honest and say I fell short here? Yeah. But what take it one step further? What could I have done differently? So not looking at these things as failures or to blame? But owning your piece of it? And what's the valuable lesson out of that? And how can I do this differently going forward becomes really important. So moving away from the self taught the negative self talk, because that doesn't serve you it just keeps you stuck. It keeps you feeling badly about yourself. There's no growth in that, instead moving into, okay, where where did I? Where did I fall short here? What could I have done better? And how do I implement and change and grow from that learning experience? So taking the quote, unquote, failure, not as a failure, but as an opportunity to learn and grow? Mm hmm. And I think for most of the people, the question of whether to get divorced or stay in the relationship comes really, really difficult, right? We, most of the time, we tried to save their relationship going for as long as possible. And I think you've mentioned something really interesting about recognizing this as an opportunity to learn and grow and be better as a person. So do you have any suggestions on how to make that decision easier? Whether it is worse, to maybe give it another go? Try to be a better person yourself be a little bit more open and communication? And, you know, being vocal about what's not working out? Or is it really just better to cut the relationship short and just move on and hopefully find something that will work better naturally and organically.
Jill Gulotta 11:51
I think it's really important. Listen, just, you know, I I help women through divorce. That doesn't mean I'm ag advocating for people to get divorce. It's, it's life. It's what happens, people are getting divorced. And I think women need the support through that process and that transition, and that very challenging time in their life. I agree. So I'm, I believe in your marriage, you should try. I believe in marriage. And I believe people should fight for their marriages. And I think you should try everything to save your marriage, if that's going to counseling together, if that's going individually, if it's, you know, getting out of your comfort zone and communicating with your partner more than you might and I do think Apple should try to save their marriage. And I do think they should do the work, to repair whatever is happening. That being said, there's a point where things are beyond repair, there's a point where you have to be honest with yourself, are you able to be in this marriage and be fulfilled and be happy, and living the life that you love. And I think you have to give the marriage and your partner the opportunity to see if things can change or get better. But also, being honest with yourself and how you feel where you're at, and how you want to live the rest of your life. And being really honest, or seeing is this person able to change or not. Most often, people don't change. So if you're not being realistic about what you're expecting from the other person, and you're staying, because once they do this, and then I'll be better once they change this, then they'll be better. huge to me huge character things people can change. But people if they truly are motivated, can change the way they communicate. They could change the way they show affection to you, they could change the way maybe they speak to you but big character flaws, and I wouldn't have the expectation like when this person changes this, it'll get better, because then that opens up the that opens up the consequences of you staying longer than you should. So I think yes, you try everything that you can you be honest with yourself about, can you remain happy and fulfilled in this marriage, and you'll be very realistic about the expectations you're setting for your partner. And if it's not working, it's, it's okay to leave, you know, you deserve to be happy. You don't have to stay just because that's what you think you should do, or what you think everybody thinks you should do. Yes, and I think that's such a big part of it, especially for women. You know, always putting somebody else before our own needs, I think females are brought up is, you know, more like selfless values. Especially because they're nurturing and caring and they're the ones usually taking care of the kids mostly to help To navigate this like murky waters of what everyone thinks you should do, you know that kind of opinions of the society versus really understanding what you want and how to proceed in the best way possible and be okay, maybe this judgmental looks from some of your friends or family members or co workers or whoever else? Yeah, I think it's, it's hard. Like you said, we have these predetermine roles as women, sometimes, especially in marriage, and as a mom is we have to be selfless. And we have to put everybody before ourselves and our own self care gets the side, what we need what we want, gets put aside everything and everybody gets put before us. And I think what happens with that is we lose sight of who we are, independently, we lose sight of who we are, as a woman on our own. And we take on these roles and identities. And I think when we do that, we open up the opportunity or the chance for people to judge us like, well, if she's not a wife, what is she doing? If she's not a mom? Why is she doing this, and we now take on these roles and identities. And then when you are finding that that's not fulfilling to you, breaking away from that, because the expectation has now been your wife, and your mom becomes really difficult, because everybody expects you in these roles. And meanwhile, you could be drowning, I mean, you've lost your way, you've lost your sense of self, you don't even know who you are anymore. And so a lot of the work I do with my clients is journaling, and really starting to connect with who they are, again, as an individual traits about themselves, the characteristics that they love about themselves, who are they as an independent woman, and those characteristics and those things that make you feel good as an independent woman? Do they translate into your roles as a mom and a wife and are you are, they are both pieces of you being fulfilled. And if they're not, you have to stay true to who you are and your own happiness. And that becomes the center of everything. And if you I personally feel like if you are not taking care of you. And if you're not happy, your kids don't benefit from that your kids don't benefit from you sacrificing yourself, your kids should see you, being you and standing up for you and advocating for you and living a life that's fulfilling, and really brings you joy and happiness. And that's the best example you could have for your kids. And when you're confident in who you are, and know your worth and know you deserve to live a life of happiness and what everybody else thinks falls to the wayside. And the people that are on board with you and living a life confidently and happy are your people. And those are the people that aren't going to judge you.
Lesya Liu 17:55
Got it. So you've touched on an important point of losing yourself. And for a lot of people, it's normal to kind of have this like shared identity is the closest family members. So how do you reinvent yourself or rediscover yourself after the divorce? You know, especially if you've been married for a long, long time. You're not used to being single, right? Or you're used to take on those roles as a wife and mother. So what is the best way to read this cover? What do you truly want? And what really makes you happy? besides just you know, remembering what you enjoyed before the marriage?
Jill Gulotta 18:46
That's a great question. Because you do you kind of, it's hard to find your way again, in your identity, again, when you've identified with being a unit or a couple are part of a team right now you're on your own. And so Who are you outside of that becomes very challenging and sometimes difficult thing to find your way back to. So what I have clients do and what I did for myself is, who was I before this person? What did I like? What did I enjoy? What were my hobbies and what things lit me up? What made me feel good? What did I what kind of things did I do on the weekends and remembering those things. And I'm very engaging in those things. You know, if you were a runner before, and you haven't run in a while because life was busy and you're shuffling kids around or you weren't making plans for you and your husband and maybe you start running again and you see what that brings up for you and you see how that makes you feel. And I find when you can connect with the things that resonate with you or you identify with and you start to build strength. It feels empowering, it feels motivating and it only perpetuates you don't doing and finding more things that you connect with and that you identify with. I do a lot of journaling Myself and with my clients. What are the things and characters traits that you love about yourself? I'm strong, I'm loyal. I'm a good friend, I'm a hard worker, what are the things that bring you joy that you feel? The happiest doing, I love running, I love yoga, I love being out for drinks with my friends. And I love engaging in this type of conversation. I love reading. So really rediscovering and then things that really make you feel good about you, and that light you up and make you feel good. And then also trying new things. And it's a really great opportunity is very, it's a new lease on life, we said this earlier, it'd be a really beautiful new beginning, so why not explore some other new things that might make you happy and bring you this feeling of confidence and, and make you feel good and smile. So I think it's a combination of remembering who you were prior to your marriage, because I think we lose ourselves as individuals during our marriage. And then rediscovering this new version of you. We grow, we change, we evolve all the time. And so there's going to be new and exciting things to learn about yourself. Absolutely. And so, how do you then, after the divorce, how do you show up for yourself and other people?
Lesya Liu 21:19
You know, I think one big concern for a lot of people when they get divorced, is that they will never find anybody else. They will never be married, they will stay single. So how do you put yourself out there after the divorce and start dating and start having romantic interest in new people.
Jill Gulotta 21:44
So I think the really important thing with dating after divorce is to not do it right away, I think you're in such a vulnerable state, that you may put, you may end up putting yourself in situations that aren't good for you that you don't deserve, that maybe you don't get treated in the way that you want. I think when we come out of a divorce, and I've seen this a lot with my clients is we're so used to being part of a couple, we're so used to having that partner, we're so used to having that person, and it hurts to not have any more that we're quickly trying to fill that void. We're quickly trying to have that person in our life, we're quickly trying to become part of a couple because that's what we know. And that's what feels comfortable. And I think it can be very damaging to do that. Because you're too vulnerable at that point that soon after your divorce to really open yourself up to dating, because I think you're you're looking to fill a void that more so than you are to find your next like life partner. So I think it's important to not date right away, I think it's important to learn about yourself and who you are and what how you want to show up in a relationship? And what kind of partner Do you want to be to the next person that you're with? How do you want to be treated? How do you want to feel in a relationship? How do you want the other person to show up for you. So really digging deep. And I think that goes back to looking at your marriage and what didn't work there. And taking the lessons away from that. So you have some awareness around what you really need next in your next relationship. But you really need to do that work, you need to do that feeling you need to do that self discovery. And you need to be really honest and clear about who you want, as your next partner, how you want them to show up how you want them to make you feel, and also how you want to show up and how you want to treat somebody. And so I think there takes that takes time. And I think it takes healing, it takes awareness it takes being in a place where you're very, very confident and comfortable on your own. So that the next person is not just filling a void, but it's truly a life partner and someone that you really can build a new life with. Mm hmm. That's beautifully said. And I think humans are hardwired for connection, right, and belonging. And like you've just mentioned, a lot of times they're looking for those next relationships to fill the void to be part of a new unit. So can you speak about the importance of unity in this very vulnerable time in their life? And how can you have that support system of friends, family, whoever may be therapists, whoever that may be, to help you feel like you still belong. And people like you and people still love you. And you get that meaningful connections outside of romantic relationships for the time being. Yeah, I think I'm leaning in on your friendships and your family becomes so important during this time and I think it's really important Just surround yourself with people that get it and maybe that have been through it I, you know, I, in my coaching, you know, a lot of the passion behind it is this is something I wish I had when I went through my divorce. I think what was challenging is having friends in my life that didn't get it. And so while they want to show me and while I could lean on them in some regard, they didn't understand what I was feeling, they didn't understand what I was going through. So I think finding a community, maybe it's a support group, maybe it's going to therapy, maybe it is a divorce coach, finding that person are people that understand what you're going through that invalidate what you're feeling that can say, that can help you feel like I'm not alone. You know, I've had so many women to say, say to me, Oh, my God, thank you so much for saying that. Thank you so much for posting on Instagram, I thought I was alone in this and it feels so much better to know that I'm not really the community that you surround yourself with. And it doesn't have to be everybody. Because you will have friends that don't understand what you're going through that do still show up for you. And you need those people you need those people to lean on and, you know, just support you or come over when you're not feeling good and just be there for you through the process. But you really do need to surround yourself with people that understand it that get it that can really relate to what you're going through and what you're struggling with. To help you feel that you're not alone to help you feel your support. It's to help you feel cared for and understood. Mm hmm.
Lesya Liu 26:33
And I guess my last question is, like, if that you know, divorce a lot of times has a negative connotation and very negative associations around it. But can you find gratitude, you know, and how do you find gratitude in the thick of it? You know, maybe for new beginnings for strengths for wisdom, it gave you more clarity it gave you for the next relationship? How do you try to stay grateful for everything that's going on with you, even when you don't feel like there are a lot of things to be proud of, for, there are a lot of things going on that you're not really liking at this moment.
Jill Gulotta 27:23
I think having a practice of gratitude becomes really important during this time, because it allows you to see that there are still some good things in your life as you feel like your life is kind of imploding around you. So I have a journaling exercise that I do for myself and for my clients were, you know, each morning list 123 things that you're grateful for. Now, obviously, when you're first going through your divorce, maybe there doesn't feel like a ton to be grateful for. So it can be literally the coffee in your hand, or the bed that you get to lay your head on like very, it could be very, very small things. But what this allows you to do, it grounds you in the present and grounds you in, there are some good things in my life. And if we could grasp on even to the small things, the cup of coffee and the pillow, you get to put your head on the roof over your head, and we start to build on that. And we start to open up this awareness around. Okay, my life is, is challenging right now my life is not what I had anticipated it to be. But here are all these amazing other wonderful things that are in my life that I can see. And it allows, it allows you to create the shift to feel hopeful, or building on that, be hopeful that there are amazing things in my life and my life is not over and my life ends, they'll be beautiful and wonderful and, and happy and fulfilling, even after my divorce. And so even in the thick of it, it can be very challenging, it may be very hard to see what there is to be grateful for. But you can start very, very small. And and that starts to build on each other that starts to bring awareness that starts to open your eyes to all the other things that they're to be grateful for. And I think when you start to see all the amazing, wonderful things in your life, it really helps the healing process. It really helps to give hope that you can and will have a life that you love, even though you've gotten divorced.
Lesya Liu 29:29
That is a beautiful, beautiful sentiment. So I wanted to thank you so much for all the knowledge and all the tips you've shared today with our listeners. I'm sure that there are a lot of women who will find support and understanding in this episode, you know, when they're going through this challenging times. So I thank you so much for it. And yeah, for all of the listeners, you know, you can reach Jill Gulotta at her contact information that will be shared in the Episode Notes. And I'm sure she will be happy to provide you the support you need.
Jill Gulotta 30:11
Oh, yeah, thank you so much for having me. And it's an honor to spread my message on your platform. So thank you so much. I appreciate you having me on your podcast and anybody that's listening. If you need any support, feel free to reach out to me I'm always happy to help and listen and support so do not hesitate to reach out. Again, Jill, thank you so much for today's episode. Thank you.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
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