Shame is an inevitable human experience, shame is when you believe that you are a bad person. All of us have suffered feelings of incompetence, inadequacy, and inferiority and a sense of failure, and/or that we have some sort of defect. When you have participated in any kind of weight loss program (as well as other traumatic experiences of life), and have not been successful over and over and over again, shame can set in. Shame is among the most painful of human experiences.
Unhealthy shame is excessive and distorted, and unconsciously we have no awareness of it at all, that deep down you feel inadequate. All of us have a self identify, an image in our minds of an ideal of how we want to present ourselves to the world. The shame message says that we are not being perceived as we want to be, which results in the bad feelings of being unacceptable. When you start to feel this need to avoid these bad feelings then we have a tendency to go on autopilot. Autopilot is changing from conscious awareness to subconscious awareness, and subconscious awareness is when you start to eat and you don’t even realize that you are doing it. You go to the cookie cupboard with the notion that you are not going to eat anything and the next thing you know is that you ‘wake up’ and you have eaten the entire box of cookies. The subconscious, or feeling state, has taken you over. When you ‘wake up’ you feel bad about what you have just done.
Shame messages cause you to feel worthless and powerless. In order to heal the unhealthy overeating shame cycle, you need to be able to identify the shame message that you have learned to say to yourself. For example; you are no good, you are ugly, you are not good enough, you are not in control, you are unloveable, you are stupid. These messages are extremely powerful, driving force statements. When you do not pay attention to them, then they can rule you.
It is important to be able to identify these negative self-statements in order to be able to gain control. It is important to be able to take responsibility for your own actions in order to be able to gain self esteem. Allow yourself to feel the emotion of shame in order to be able to defuse its power. The goal is to be able to learn to allow feelings of hurt, disappointment, and vulnerability and just be with it, instead of having to go to the pantry.
The second thing you need to learn to do is listen to your body, you have to be able to catch yourself when you start to trigger. Observe how your body reacts when you are about to trigger. Your body gives you cues that signal that you are starting to lose it, and it is important to be able to learn your own body cues to break the overeating cycle before it becomes punishing behaviour.
Next, it is important to use coping statements to keep yourself in control, such as; this isn’t worth it, this is just sugar, I refuse to lose control, I don’t need this. It is important to be able to change your destructive, reactive patterns of shame, and develop the person you really want to be. You deserve to have a happy and satisfying life.
On the quest to lose 50 pounds in a year. Can she do it? Only time will tell....with the help of this blog.