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“The Shame of Being an Over eater”- From a Thera-patient

Simple equations do not always have simple solutions. To anyone that has dealt with food as more than just nutrition source understands that the simple solution of just don’t over eat or move more, realizes that there is so much more to this issue and the solution. If I said this to an “over eater”, “food addict” or however you wish to categorize this as…. I would be greeted with a nod and a smile that states- yup- you got it.
So what does that nod and smile signify? What is it that I am getting to with that statement? In its simplest terms, I am talking about the drive or the lengths that we go to, to make sure we have the food we want, or the food that we deserve, or the food we believe that we need. It is the length we go to not feel the deprivation, the frustration, or any feeling that this is something we “have to do” and we do not want to. We believe that it is harder for us, and we feel bad that it is. Over eaters are usually very strong, competent, successful people. Not being able to get control over food creates an internal shame that festers for many in isolation. We feel unique in our struggle, we feel misunderstood, we get critical and often the shame makes this seem like a character flaw and weakness. This isolation and shame is counter-intuitive to what we need to get better.
With shame (drive plus critical judgment) comes the behaviors that we sometimes engage in to get our “fix”. Yes I said it, our fix. Without being real specific I mean the sneak eating, the hiding the lying the believing our own lies that fuel this shame. Shame is there because we feel that we can’t get a grip and then shame grows as we stumble through our attempts to get help and it continues to grow with the behaviors we adopt when we really have to be secretive. Ok enough said. I am putting this out there not so people feel that they need to pour out their shame but rather to let people hear that they are not alone.
Brene Brown (my favorite speaker/writer) talks about vulnerability. She talks about showing up and being seen. Every time that I share, a friend shares, a client shares… their secrets of the length that they have gone to eat what they want, or hide the struggle that they have despite the desire to do better they feel relief and normal. Shame reduces and healing begins. Don’t let that shame, that critical voice stop you from what you want. Find someone you trust and let it go. Embrace that imperfect you and go live. I promise you will feel free and better.