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Ep. 96 – Exercise and Divorce

Fitness and exercise have many benefits to your life after divorce. Join us in as Doreen and Jeff discuss the many ways you can benefit both mentally and physically from exercise.


Doreen: Hey everyone, how are you? Today we’re gonna talk about exercise and divorce and how exercise can really be beneficial. So if you’re ready, let’s get started.

Are you ready to create a life that’s better than ever before? We are Doreen Yaffa and Jeff Wilson, and we are here to give you the strategies you need to create the life after divorce that you deserve and desire. As partners, both in marriage and coaching, we use our expertise as well as our own personal experiences to help you make the next chapter of your life the best chapter.

Doreen: Hey Jeff.

Jeff: Hey, how are you?

Doreen: I’m okay. How are you?

Jeff: Feeling fit? Feeling fit

Doreen: Well? Feeling fit. Yep. So we’re gonna talk about exercise and divorce, but really the subject of exercise is for anybody, right?

Jeff: Exactly.

Doreen: Like we really need to as humans get out there and move our body. Right?

Jeff: Exactly.

Doreen: There’s so many great benefits of exercise.

And the first thing I wanna talk about is that don’t overthink it, right? Because when you decide to get into an exercise program. Yeah. Like joining a gym or maybe there’s a certain activity like pickle ball or golf or tennis that you enjoy that’s active. The first thing is to just do it. So what’s gonna happen is you’re gonna make a decision.

You’re gonna say, Hey, tomorrow morning, right Jeff, I’m gonna get up at 7:00 AM or I’m gonna get out to the gym at 7:00 AM. Guess what happens at six 30?

Jeff: Well, there, of course, it’s lightning and thundering outside, of course or your bed is just so warm and cozy. The dog is all snuggled up next to you and you’re not gonna move.

Doreen: Well, you don’t wanna move, and your brain is gonna go into all kinds of reasons.

Why it’s not a good idea to get to the gym at 7:00 AM

Jeff: Right.

Doreen: Right. So you get to use your prefrontal cortex and you get to do some things to tell your primitive brain to go back to bed, but you’re gonna get up and go work out. Right.

Jeff: Exactly.

Doreen: So what I like to do as kind of the way I trick myself is I, first of all, I schedule when I’m gonna work out.

I know typically, like I’m gonna work out at after work, at whatever time I actually put it in my calendar. I do. But that doesn’t mean that when that time comes around, I’m not thinking so many reasons. I don’t wanna go to the gym or can’t go to the gym. So I like to take baby steps. When I work out in the morning, I put my clothes out the night before.


Jeff: Yes.

Doreen: And then what do you do?

Jeff: Well, I think the, the main thing is you put one leg in at a time, and then you, you grab maybe a protein bar or something quick or an apple or a piece of fruit and get you a butt in the car. You go.

Doreen: And you right, but your brain is still gonna be telling you all the way through till you get to that gym, why it’s not a good idea.

But you’re going to go ahead and just do it, anyhow.

Jeff:  And one of the seven habits of highly effective people that I think it rarely plays into us is begin with the end in mind.

Doreen: Correct.

Jeff: You know, think about how you’re gonna feel when you’re done with your workout.

Doreen: Exactly.

Jeff: Really helps.

Doreen: Exactly. So you know, one of the other benefits about exercise is, it’s a social activity generally, right?

Jeff: Yeah.

Doreen: I mean, you could work out at home and certainly that wouldn’t be unsocial or social at all, but if you choose to do an activity like in a gym or you join a class, you’re gonna meet other similar people that have the same in mind.

Jeff: Yeah.

Doreen: And who knows? It might be a great place to meet people.

Jeff: Well, I mean, I’m sure that in most cases divorce has maybe given you a little bit of separation.

Maybe you’ve come a little bit closed off from social activity. This is a way to get kind of force yourself to get back in there with other benefits in mind.

Doreen: Absolutely. One of the other things that I think is a great benefit of exercise is it helps to get it out. Meaning if you’re dealing with a lot of sadness, anger, disappointment, whatever it is stemming from your divorce. Exercise can really help that to reduce the stress.

Jeff:  Right.

Doreen: Increase endorphins. Which is the part that makes us feel good and really help you to start feeling better, right?

Jeff: That’s why they call it the runner’s high,

Doreen: Right.

Jeff:  And when you release those endorphins, it almost gives you a such a great feeling. They call it a runner’s high.

Doreen:  Hey, if you even wanna go punch the punching bag and put your ex’s picture up, who am I to say not to do that?

Jeff: Hell no!

Doreen: Release the stress. Right. Okay. True. Maybe that’s not a great idea. And if you wanna do that, we should probably coach about it, but, yeah. What else, honey?

Jeff: Well, you know, sometimes when you’re fit not doing necessarily, uh, fitness in the gym, you’re getting outside. You know, we live in South Florida, it’s so beautiful.

Some of the parks that we have to walk through, walk along the beach. But when you’re one with Mother Nature and the beauty of South Florida, I think that really, keeps you everything in perspective.

Doreen: It does. It does. And you know what? If you choose to work out in the beauty of wherever you live, it is a great way to do a few things, right? Like you said, it’s reducing stress. You’re getting exercise in, which is super important. You’re releasing endorphins, you’re meeting people maybe, and you’re also enjoying Mother Nature. So it’s a great way to get a lot into one thing.

Jeff: Right, right. You know, I think we’ve, we’ve talked about this in many, many episodes before, but you have to take care of yourself.

It is very important that you are healthier. When you feel healthier, you’re going to eat better. You’re working on your cardiovascular, it’s gonna give you more energy during the day. It’s very, very important that you, you know, maintain your weight. It just really helps your overall.

Doreen: Or maybe lose some weight if you need to or gain weight,

Jeff: Well, you need to weight or gain weight, whatever you want to do, but it definitely plays a part into your success after divorce.

Doreen: Right. Well, I think when you incorporate physical health exercise into your lifestyle, it really becomes part of who you are.

And I realize, we realize that you’re going through a challenging time. There are a lot of things going on and there’s a lot of that you have to do, right?

Jeff: Yeah.

Doreen: But how important is one of the things that you have to do? To take care of yourself. So, like I said, I like to put the exercise right on my calendar.

It’s a priority to me. And you know, everyone around you will thank you as well. Your kids will see you getting out there and being healthy. Maybe they’ll pick up some exercise themselves. You could also bring them with you, depending on their age. Maybe they can partake in the activity with you, right?

Jeff: Yeah. And this may be a time where you’ve always wanted to do. Fill in the blank. Listen, you’ve always wanted to try.

Doreen: Learn how to play pickleball, try play pickleball,

Jeff: pickleball,

Doreen: martial arts,

Jeff: Or get into martial arts, or you’ve always wanted to take up cycling or whatever it is. This gives the perfect opportunity to do something that you’ve always wanted to do.

Doreen: Absolutely. And you know what, when you do, when you’re on a regular exercise program, and you kind of spoke about this, I think you touched on it, Jeff, is you tend to be a little carefuler, is that a word? More careful when it comes to other things in your life, right? So if you just went and worked out an hour in the gym, you think you’re going to go home and likely have, you know, a big slice of cake?

No, probably not, right? You just put that time and effort in. Hey, you’re probably gonna come home and say, let me stay focused on my health. I’m going to now eat something healthy.

Jeff: Also, there’s a lot of other benefits from exercise such as you sleep better, you can breathe better.

Doreen: Right?

Jeff: You know, there’s, there’s a lot of things.

Doreen: Yeah.

Jeff: That, that you get from exercise such as overall energy levels, you know, to be able to make it through the day. Sometimes it’s not that easy, especially going through divorce and after divorce.

Doreen: Well, well, yeah, because stress definitely is something that’s physical. Mm-hmm. You know, it, it wears on your body, so you wanna counteract it with something healthy.

Jeff: Yeah,

Doreen: So exercise, eating well, all of that will counteract the stress that you inevitably go through when you’re dealing with divorce. So incorporating more healthy habits into your life just kind of makes a lot of sense, right? Because it’s so easy to buffer and go down a different path. Right. And we all know what buffering is, but Jeff, maybe you wanna remind the listeners about buffering,

Jeff: Well, it’s over indulgence in something such as drinking or gambling

Doreen: Or eating

Jeff: Or eating.

Doreen: Mm-hmm.

Jeff: To hide what you’re going through, maybe a negative emotion that you’re running away from.

Doreen: Correct. So, you know, for example, at the end of the day when some of us, say, you know what, it’s been a hard day today. I’m gonna, I’m gonna have a glass of, of wine. Right? But then the glass of wine leads into the bottled wine.

Jeff: Mm-hmm.

Doreen: And, or maybe it’s like, well, you know, I’ve had a stressful day today, so, so what if I go ahead and eat a couple of those cookies that are over there. Right. Then a couple cookies ends up being the whole package of cookies.

Jeff: Right. Right.

Doreen: So, you know, that’s called buffering. Like when you’re just not feeling good and you’re trying to do something else.

And, you know, sugar, as we know, gives you a high, there’s no question about it, right? It, it changes your physical makeup and it can make you feel good for a moment. The same with alcohol or other forms of, you know, things that aren’t so good for us.

Jeff:  Well, you know, what they say about things that go up.

They sometimes come down.

Doreen: Right.

Jeff: So when you get this physical high off of sugar, there’s usually something you got to regret and pay for later.

Doreen: Well, I think most of the things that a lot of people do to buffer are usually have negative aspects to it. Right,

Jeff: Right, right.

Doreen: Because if you didn’t go to the gym and said you ate that entire bag of cookies.

It’s probably not gonna make you feel real good physically, certainly, and not gonna feel good mentally because you’ll feel defeated and a lot of times when you feel defeated, then it’s a further reason to just further indulge in behaviors that really aren’t that great.

Jeff: Right,

Doreen: Right. Let’s talk also about, it doesn’t take a lot.

You know, habits, right?

Jeff: Yeah.

Doreen: If you get up and you, I suffered from that. Like I’m the type of person, although I’ve been working on it because believe me, coaching is something that I do on myself all the time. I, you know, I have my own coach. I have several coaches, and I also read a lot about it.

So, you know, I have this mindset, I got to do everything a hundred percent. I got to do it like to the extreme. I’ve got to understand everything, know it, you know? And if I can’t go to the gym and put like an hour into it and really like pound it, why go? But the fact of the matter is, and I’ve learned how to do this, is sometimes just a 15 minute walk.

Jeff: Mm-hmm.

Doreen: You know, maybe you can’t make it to the gym that day or you just don’t feel like it. But you know what? Getting out and just doing 15 minutes, imagine if you did 15 minutes every day, right?

Jeff: Yeah. I mean, you could buffer with too much exercise.

Doreen: Oh yeah. Let’s talk about that.

Jeff: I mean you think you’re doing something good for yourself, but you’re maybe neglecting something else in your life.

Doreen: Oh, I had a client once who, You know, she was using. Now I realize that back then I didn’t understand it because I wasn’t a coach at that point. It was very early in my campaign, you know, my career. But she was addicted to exercise. Like she would get up, she would go to the gym, she would work out, then she would go home.

Then later that night she would take another class. Then she would, you know, I mean, she was working out like three hours a day and I’m not suggesting that working out three hours a day isn’t beneficial. And I certainly know if you’re an athlete or you’re training for something like our daughter, Megan was an athlete, that’s common.

Jeff: Right?

Doreen: You know,

Jeff: It’s required,

Doreen: It’s required, it’s part of what your job is. But when you’re doing it to escape, that’s the issue. So be aware of that. Even healthy habits sometimes can be used to buffer or too extreme. We were just watching the NBA Eastern Conference, final

Jeff: Finals. Go heat.

Doreen: Go heat.

We’re from Florida, you know, so go heat. Although I’m originally from Massachusetts, so it was like I really could have been happy with each.

Jeff: Yeah, you were a little torn.

Doreen: But I was thinking about how they should do, and they probably already have it, a documentary on what it takes to be a professional athlete.

Because what we see is the glory, you know, what we see is the defeats and the wins and the game, but there’s so much training behind that.

Jeff: Yeah. You see the talent, but we don’t see how they developed the talent.

Doreen: Right. It is hard work. I don’t know. We went off on a little bit of a

Jeff: That’s okay.

Doreen: A tangent, right?

Jeff: That’s okay. No, I thought of one of the benefit of exercise that could definitely help in, in this tough time, I guess after divorce. Yeah. Is a little bit of me time. You know, a little bit of time, time to yourself to reflect and just do some soul searching and thinking. And sometimes you know, a nice walk in the park or a nice walk on the beach as we’ve discussed earlier, can really be,  looked at that time to do some soul searching.

Doreen: There’s nothing wrong with you. Putting yourself first. I know that going through divorce and having children, there’s a lot on your plate, but you have to give yourself time. It’s important. It’s important that your kids understand it and see it. It’s important for everything about where you want to be in your life.

You have to set yourself as a priority, and that’s a balance, right? So many times we have clients that really see themselves as not being important. That everything else has to take the priority over them, and we work on that with them. Right. There’s a, there’s a reason, and I’ve said this in many of our podcasts.

There’s a reason when you’re on the airplane and they do the safety talk. Yep.

Jeff: Safety check.

Doreen: Yeah. That they talk about putting your mask on first before putting the mask on your child or loved one, or whomever you’re with.

Jeff: Yeah. Because you’re not able to help other people

Doreen: If you don’t have oxygen, Right.

Jeff: Yeah, exactly. So think about that as analogy as to taking care of yourself. You absolutely deserve this. We want to talk about one more thing, self-esteem, right? Mm-hmm. I don’t think we talked about that yet. Right?

Jeff: Well, we, we touched on a little bit how being in great shape and the physical fitness and, you know, being proud of yourself that you even went to the gym, does build your confidence.

Doreen: Right.

And don’t think you have to be in this perfect shape. Right? That’s another thing that I coach on a lot, is just being okay with your body image. There’s so much out there telling us that we have to look a certain way, and if you don’t look within whatever this expectation is that you’re not good enough, you’re not pretty enough, you’re not perfect  enough.

Please be aware of that you are perfect just the way you are and coming to beast with who you are and what your body is, is part of that. And part of what we do as coaches as well is that body image, self-esteem, really, really important when you’re going through divorce. I mean, you know, I would love to have a body that’s super trim and thin, but I’m not that girl.

I’m the girl that’s, you know, athletic and I’m just going with that now. Lifting weights. And trying to get more muscle, you know, not necessarily more size, but I’ve decided that that’s who I am and I’m at peace with that.

Jeff: And you’re very, very, aware of what you put in your mouth. You know what we eat and drink.

Doreen: It’s most of the time, I mean, we do have our cheat days.

Jeff: Yeah.

Doreen: But we know it. And then we also understand when we go a little overboard on something, maybe like this past weekend, we had some friends in town.

Jeff: Yeah.

Doreen: Wait, we did a lot of like socializing this weekend.

Jeff: We did.

Doreen: No wonder we were so tired when the week started.

We had friends in, well, friends in the neighborhood we went out to. We had a great time. Right.

Jeff: Yeah. That was a fun time.

Doreen: That was a fun time. And then we had some friends in from Cincinnati. They’re amazing. So we spent a couple days with them going out.

Jeff: Went on the boat,

Doreen: Went on the boat, went to dinner.

Then, then we went to, I did get a workout in before we went. The next day we went to brunch.

Jeff: That’s true.

Doreen: But yeah, we overindulged on some levels, but hey, we are right back in it. I’m going to get back to the gym.

Jeff: I need to go to the gym right now.

Doreen: All right, everybody. I think that’s it for today. Get out there, do some physical exercise.

Don’t let your primitive brain take control or tell you why it’s a bad idea. It’s a great idea and it can really help you.

Jeff: Yeah, and as we’ve said many times before, even as in the fitness world and exercise, if you need to seek help from a professional, it’s always a good idea.

Doreen: Absolutely nothing wrong with finding some experts in whatever type of exercise you like.

I found a great app. I used to have a trainer, and then I found this app, I think it’s called a workout, just Simply Workout.

Jeff: Workout. Yeah.

Doreen: And I like it. It helps me to stay on track and go to the gym and know what I’m gonna do. I don’t have to think about it. You put in what you want, you put in some stats and it kind of like, it’s amazing.

And then it just guides you right through.

Jeff: It’s kind of an holds you accountable.

Doreen: It’s inexpensive, to say the least.

Jeff: Yeah.

Doreen: All right, my friends.

Jeff: All right.

Doreen: Have an amazing week

Jeff: And we will talk to you next week.

Doreen: Absolutely. Bye

Jeff: Bye-Bye.

You have the vision of what you want your life to look like after divorce, but maybe you just don’t know how to get there. So if you’re ready to take control of your life and want to find out more about our coaching, visit us That’s

Doreen: Until next time, have an amazing rest of your day. And remember, yes, you can have an amazing life after divorce, divorce.


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