Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Eating & Toxic Shame

"For the most part diets are the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on a suffering group of people. Ninety-five percent of the people who diet gain the weight back within five years. Diets underscore one of the most paradoxical aspects of toxic shame. In dieting and losing weight, one has the sense of controlling and fixing the problem. ... control is one of the major strategies of cover-up for shame." -from Healing The Shame That Binds You by John Bradshaw.

I really enjoyed this quote. I had been reading the shame book for multiple reasons, but I especially know that eating involves "stuffing" emotions for me and like a band-aid when I didn't want to feel life's sharp edges. But the problem other than the obvious fact that over-eating is self-destructive, is that numbing emotions will numb the good ones as well as the bad. This is why I am planning on reading more books on shame including I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn't) by Brene Brown, and others by her.

Also the issue about whether you can really control and fix the problem? If you only deal with calories in versus calories out, then well, what about the emotional side of things? It makes me think about those women who were on Oprah who had bariatric surgery, then switched their addiction from food to alcohol. Let alone nightmare stuff like this PCOS that I'm dealing with that screw with your metabolism and therefore there is no control over your weight loss.

I've been doing very well, weight-loss-wise. Half of me doesn't want to give myself any credit because you KNOW you're going to be losing weight if you're taking a medication that causes you to have to take Immodium AD every day (medication is Metformin for the PCOS). But then again, I know I've made some key lifestyle choices like going to once a week desserts, and being super consistent doing my interval cardio training 3 times a week and some simple strength training (just 10 minutes) 3 times a week.

Because I couldn't binge eat recently (partly because of this dang medication), I did feel that my food addiction had been transferred around to other things like reading a lot (less harmful) or losing my temper too often (more harmful). So I hope that I (and all of us) can work instead on reducing the toxic shame, so I won't have to search for ways to numb my emotions.


rdjhedwig said...

They say to overcome addiction you need to replace it so the reading does that but the anger is also your emotions coming out sort of like a rebellion to whats going on slowly when you catch yourself find trigger words that will help you and then look to see what made you angry then go for a walk and ponder why???

Natalie C. said...

Rdjhedwig, You are so right. Good coping methods are what I need, definitely. But I even want to take it a step further because I don't want to just numb the emotions. Brene Brown says you need to feel them so you can feel both the good & bad. And actually at the core of shame is the fact that shame-based people feel so, so, so awful, when that shame gets triggered, but when you heal, you realize it's not so awful. The bad pain = somehow thinking you're a bad human being, and when you realize it's not true, you don't have anything to feel bad about! :)