Shame Monsters and Superheroes

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April 13, 2013 by mybattlebuddyfitness

Shame monsters & superheroes


written by Melissa Eisner

I have a friend right now who is battling with weight loss.  She has been up, and down, and back up again over the past several years.  She has a tremendous amount on her very full plate: works full time, has a household to run with two kids and a working husband, and is a full time student.  To say she has no free time would be an understatement.  And yet she has decided that she wants to spend her precious free time trying to lose the weight that she has put on, for her children, for her husband, for herself.  Right now she is working with My Battle Buddy Fitness virtually (Skype and email are wonderful tools), and in my opinion she is doing so well!  14 pounds in 2 months!  She’s certainly my hero.

And yet, heroes can have their down days, the days when the cape doesn’t fly as straight, or when the leaps and bounds just aren’t as high as they normally are.  Recently, our hero hit a down day.  She totally broke down and ate a bunch of things on the ‘no-no’ list.  And, feeling badly about it, she didn’t log what she had done in My Fitness Pal (her way of hiding from Elisabeth I suppose).  So Elisabeth sent her a note, and, to our hero’s credit, she owned it, and went back in and logged all of her ‘transgressions’.  And that owning it . . . well that put her back to hero status.  But what made her a super-hero?  Not giving up, getting back on track and keeping at it.

I am sure that there have been thousands of articles, books, you name it written on shame-spirals in every context imaginable.  So I won’t explain it (you can google that for yourselves).  What I will say is that I think the thing that keeps us from reaching our goals sometimes is that shame spiral.  We all have bad days, the ones where we go out with friends and we promise ourselves that we are not going to eat that piece of pizza, but we end up eating a piece, and then two, and then we throw on a couple of beers.  And then the next day we feel badly about it, but instead of getting in control of our actions, we allow ourselves to spin out of control.  One bad meal turns into a week of bad eating, and then we start to feel so badly about ourselves that we give up.

I struggle with this personally from time to time.  This past weekend was my brother’s wedding.  I have been doing so well the past 10 weeks, and in my head I told myself that I was only going to go ‘off the rails’ for one day.  And I was going to keep on using My Fitness Pal even when I threw the rules out of the window.  But then that one day turned into two, and then into two and a half.  And even though it was a wedding and I had given myself permission to not think about what I was eating, I still felt badly.  Shame for not being able to display more self-control.  I could have let this go on for days before catching myself, but instead, I told myself that come the next morning, it was over, back to healthy living.  And then I did it.

This is a journey.  Whether you are where you want to be with your health and your weight, or you are trying to get to a certain fitness level or lose a couple of pounds, it is a journey, and a lifelong one at that.  It is impossible to be perfect.  The last perfect person that I am aware of was here around 2000 years ago.  You will stumble, you will fall.  You will make mistakes and do things you are not supposed to do.  And that is OK.  It doesn’t make you a bad person, or an un-disciplined person.  It makes you human.  So when you have those bad days, forgive yourself if you need to, but don’t dwell.  Say to yourself “Oops!  Well that sure was a bad day.  Time to try again tomorrow.” And then move forward.

Be your own hero.  Rescue yourself from the shame game.  Wake up tomorrow, put on your cape, and take the world by storm.

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