Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Shame Monster

I was just watching Dr. Oz and he was celebrating his 100th episode with people who have lost over 100 lbs. Great. I'm all about the inspiration, not to mention how desperately in need of it I am right now. So here was this lovely woman who had lost a jaw-dropping 195 lbs. The old fashioned, diet and exercise way. No surgery. And I was thinking, "Great! She must have some really great tips." and she did but that's not what struck me most about what she had to say.
She and Dr. Oz spent a lot of time talking about how when she was bigger she used to avoid things. She said that she would keep herself back from activities that she and her husband both enjoyed because she was ashamed of how she looked and she didn't want to embarrass her husband for having a fat wife. And she looked so sad when she talked about all the things that she had missed out on. My first thought was, "How ridiculous!" and my second thought was, "Hey, wait a minute. I do that. Crap!"
Then I got to thinking about all the times I have given less than my all because of my size. And not necessarily the physical limitations of being over-weight. I was thinking more about the times that I have been too embarrassed by my appearance to do something. Anything.
Turns out there were too many to count. For example, my husband and I have always wanted to go white water rafting. But I have been too embarressed to put on shorts in front of a large group of people. Especially people that I don't know. Forget about a bathing suit. And what if I went in the water and couldn't haul my fat ass back up in the raft? Then there are all the opportunities that I have passed up to travel different places because I am mortified of flying. Not for the normal reasons. I know that it is one of the safest forms of travel out there. No, what I'm scared of is the looks of the other passengers. Like, "holy crap. I hope Fatty doesn't set by me." It's horrible to even contemplate. Not to mention that I avoid, like the plague, any occasion where I would have to eat in front of other people. I feel like no matter waht is on my plate that people are judging me.
I know I can't be the only one who feels or has felt this way. If I was then Dr. Oz wouldn't be doing a show on it. So why do we  do this to ourselves. Why do we engage in thoughts and activities that we know are destructive? I know that I am being ridiculous even as I'm doing it. My husband has never in word or action indicated that he is in any way ashamed of me. Just the opposite, as a matter of fact.
The more I thought about this subject, the better I felt about it - ironically. Normally I would slide down a shame spiral until all that was left for me was a comfy pair of stretch pants. But, funnily enough, I actually feel pretty good about myself right now. I recognized that that was the  way I felt. Past tense. I try not to feel that way much anymore. Sure it creeps up now and then, but not nearly as often. Recently I even bought a very hot, hot, hot dress for a friends wedding. It was somewhat form fitting and bright purple. Something I would never have dreamed of wearing forty pounds ago, much less feeling comfortable in it. And what's more, if I do say so myself, I looked SMOKIN' hot in it. And you know what? I had a great time at that wedding. My husband and I danced and I ate and we had a blast.
So- lesson learned. The shame stops here. From now on when shame creeps in I'm going to instead focus on what I have to be proud of. I have accomplished a lot of things during this journey. Like losing forty pounds, and being stronger than I ever have been before, and having more energy for my kids and husband, and having healthier physicals than I've ever had before. So what if I was over weight before. So what if I still am. I'm working on it, aren't I? I'm not just setting there feeling sorry for myself, am I? No! Nor will I.
I figure in this life we all things that we may be ashamed of now and then. Who doesn't? But from now on, you aren't going to catch me setting around feeling sorry for myself. No, ma'am. My time is to valuable for that. Besides, I have to work on my upper-body strength. My big ass is going white-water rafting this summer. Look out!

1 comment:

  1. I have not had a chance to watch the show yet (DVR) but I have held myself back from doing things just like you. I am slowly but surely retraining my brain to say "You can do it!" no matter what it is.

    I have gone river rafting and it is a whole lot of fun. I was heavier then I am now (255 lbs.) and still managed to have a great time. It was a struggle at some points and would have been way easier w/o the extra weight but it is definitely doable and possible. Can't wait to hear that you have done it and had fun.