I was reading my book aloud for its Audible recording this weekend, and I got super in my head about it.
(Mainly, it brought up some shame around food habits and what I used to do with food).
Writing my story in a book was one thing; reading it out loud when a sound engineer was sitting right there was another thing 🙂
Often times, what we do with food can bring up a lot of shame and embarrassment.
We want to hide–eat in secret, pretend we eat a certain way in front of others, or plan to eat something without others knowing.
Or maybe we’ve engaged in some habits that we don’t want anyone to know about (picking something out of the trash, finishing the cake that was supposed to be for someone else, sneaking the rest of a coworker’s candy, etc) and we get embarrassed.
If you ever wrestle with this, here are a few things to keep in mind on how to release shame around food habits:
1. Bring It to Light
I used to hide everything I did—eating in secret, bingeing after everyone went to bed, dressing so I covered my body.
All of the “hiding” made me even more ashamed. The more I kept it secret, the more embarrassed I was about what I did.
It’s the darkness in which we put our shame that keeps it within us.
How can we bring a little bit of it to light?
Maybe you share something vulnerable with your spouse, best friend or sister.
Or you tell someone about the journey you’re on and your struggles.
Or maybe your “sharing” is your journal because you’re not ready to say it out loud yet.
Whatever it is, bring a little bit of light to the hiding, the secrets.
The light always dispels the darkness that surrounds our shame.
(Prefer to listen to the expanded version? Check out the podcast below)
2. Know We All Have Our Own Secrets
When I first started my blog, I wanted to crawl under a rock and never come out again.
I did NOT want anyone to read it.
I wanted to share my story and help other women, but I didn’t want anyone to know what I did with food.
Once my blog started to gain traction, I had people come out of the woodwork to tell me they struggled with food, body image issues, and disordered eating.
Some people were still struggling, others had healed from it.
I was amazing at how many people I know in the world (acquaintances, people I worked out with, Facebook friends from high school, etc) who reached out to me to share their “secrets”.
We all have things we are ashamed of. Except we think no one else does because no one talks about it out loud!
But they do. We all do.
3. Be Extra Kind
A part of making embarrassment worse is thinking we “shouldn’t” feel what we feel.
We feel shame over what we did with food or around something we ate, and then we berate ourselves for feeling embarrassment. (Or just think “get over it, it’s fine” or something along those lines).
Can you create a post it note affirmation? A note on your mirror? A nourishing song to listen to?
Reach into the depths of your “kindness” reservoir and dig deep to bring some extra love to yourself.
I like to think that kindness, light and sharing are the antidotes to shame 🙂
4. Let Go of What People Think
When I was reading the chapter in my book where I talk about stuffing my face with peanut butter, inhaling Reese’s cups (describing a binge I had)…I felt myself get all hot, bothered and embarrassed.
The sound engineer who was working his magic on my recording was right in front of me listening.
“Does he think I’m super weird?!” I thought.
“What if he doesn’t know what bingeing is and thinks I’m gross for doing those things with food?!”
I kept thinking about what HE was thinking…
(And honestly, he probably wasn’t even thinking anything because he was immersed in making sure the sound levels were right 🙂 )
A big part that contributes to shame is what OTHERS will think of us.
We fear what they think, so we hide it.
How can we make what others think less important?
(I know, easier said than done!)
But it’s worth paying attention to and being aware of how much we’re letting our fear of judgement take over our minds.
5. Use Your Breath to Release the “Shame” Energy
When I could feel the embarrassment creep into my body yesterday, I started really breathing into it.
I took a quick break and went outside to take some deep breaths and feel the feeling of shame/hotness/wanting to hide.
It felt sort of tingly in my chest and made my body feel hot/fiery.
It helped to dissipate the emotion to release it.
Your breath is like magic when it comes to releasing an emotion.
I try to picture inhaling and expanding my whole self, then as I exhale, I envision a release of where the emotion feels like its stuck in my body.
This may be helpful when you feel that shame energy arise.