I was wondering if you could help me. I feel so ashamed and embarrassed about my weight. I don’t like going out. I have over 100 lbs to lose. My husband loves to share his humiliation about how I look. For a long time, I believed all the negative and hurtful things he said about me and other “fat people”. Now I want to love and accept myself just as I am. I have started eating better, but all the negative talk in my head and my home makes it hard to value me. — Michelle
We’re sorry your husband shares his “humiliation” about your weight. It is common for people to pick a “scape goat” and blame everything that’s wrong with their lives on that aspect of themselves or someone close to them. A lot of people believe that everything would be perfect if they were at their perfect weight.
Have you ever called your husband on this? Asked him to stop? Sometimes we don’t even realize what we’re doing! Does he tap at all? Have you tapped on your self-blame and your own attitudes toward “fat” people?
Our society often insists that weight is bad, evil, lazy, slovenly, ugly… just down right unacceptable. Some people treat it like leprosy. Weight is the current, socially acceptable prejudice.
It’s wonderful when our bodies are healthy, vital, and fit. It feels good to be strong and flexible and able to move easily. But our culture attaches all kinds of judgements on those who carry extra fat cells. When we’ve internalized that blame and shame, the stress and feelings of being unacceptable can actually hold the weight in place. And having it reinforced by someone we love can hurt!
Think of it like this. Our primitive brains (the part that has first control over many of the hormones and other chemicals that allow our bodies to function) evolved when there were two main threats to life:
1) Something might eat you. This threat required you be able to move as quickly as you could to run away. Fit, slender people tend to have an advantage here. At least you could outrun some of your friends! <wink>
2) Starvation. Big threat back then. This required that your body conserve every ounce of energy it could. It meant reducing your activity to the minimum possible (no fidgeting, no pacing, or casual walks). It meant consuming the most calories possible, as much as possible as quickly as possible. The plump people had a better chance of surviving the famine.
Our primitive brain tries to balance the two threats. It can and does control the inclination to be sedentary or active, to eat high calorie foods or less food. It can make the idea of working out or moving seem very heavy or impossible, or it can make it seem like if you sit still another minute, you’ll go crazy.
If you were constantly threatened by wild animals, but there was consistently plenty to eat, your primitive brain would opt for lots of activity and not much stored energy (fat).
If there was constant threat of famine, but few wild animals or enemy tribes, it will want to store as much reserve as possible.
In our modern society, there is often a LOT of stress. Including judgement, blame, and humiliation from those around us and within our own minds. Many of us are overwhelmed and exhausted. We don’t feel safe and calm much of the time. Add to that the stored traumas and pain many of us carry, and the feeling of unsafety is quite strong… at least at a subconscious level.
Our primitive brain sees the stress and tries to decide is this a) a physical threat I need to run from or b) a starvation threat I need to conserve energy for. Since we’re not running around or being attacked, it tends to opt for choice b… and it helps us get fat
Your brain is doing it’s best to love you and protect you. Because it thinks there’s a threat, it slows your metabolism. It tries to get you to sleep and rest more so you burn fewer calories. It makes us crave the richest foods we can find (Ever binge on lettuce and celery when you were stressed? Most people reach for carbs and fats and sugars instead!). And your brain sends chemicals to your body, telling it to store as much of that energy as fat as it can.
When we resent the weight and pile on judgement and humiliation and blame, we feel even more stressed. We feel less safe and more overwhelmed. And we wonder why it’s hard to release extra weight and be more fit and slender!
The first thing we do with people who want to be more slender is tap on the resentment and blame they feel towards themselves. If we can start seeing the weight as a safety mechanism rather than a large, visible sign of our own inadequacy, we reduce the stress we feel. As we start appreciating some things about ourselves, we feel lighter. And that acceptance and love open the door to more movement and more loving choices about what we eat… without the need to FIGHT our primitive brain the whole way.
In this tapping script, we’ve purposely included some strong statements. Even if you don’t agree with them completely, it may help to say them. Exaggerated statements can help bring clarity (our brain says, “no, not that but ____”) and they may help you find some subconscious beliefs that are very strong that you might miss otherwise. Tapping helps us find the truth.
Karate Chop: Even though they say fat is bad, and my spouse agrees… in fact I often agree, too… I’m open to seeing my body in a different, more loving way.
Even though I’m afraid to see this extra weight in anything but the worst light, I might gain more… I am so tired of feeling ashamed and unacceptable… and I would like to love myself more.
Even though I think this extra weight is to blame for all my insecurities and pain, it might actually be there to help me feel safe. I can tap on the causes of the hurt I feel, and try thanking and appreciating my body instead. I bet that would help me feel safer and more loved.
Top of the Head: Fat is BAD.
Eyebrow: Fat people are lazy…
Side of the Eye: And shameful.
Under the Eye: They should never leave the house.
Under the Nose: I am so ashamed of my fat.
Chin: I think it shows the world how insecure I feel.
Collarbone: How unacceptable I am.
Under the Arm: I blame my weight for all the pain I feel.
Top of the Head: I’ve felt like my body is fighting me.
Eyebrow: Trying to punish me.
Side of the Eye: I’ve been calling it all kinds of bad names.
Under the Eye: My partner has, too.
Under the Nose: Why do I put up with that?
Chin: Why don’t I tell him to shut up?
Collarbone: What if I started telling myself a new story?
Under the Arm: What if I worked with my body instead of fighting it?
Top of the Head: He is ashamed of me.
Eyebrow: That’s his business.
Side of the Eye: I am ashamed of me.
Under the Eye: That’s MY business.
Under the Nose: I thought my body was bad.
Chin: It felt like it was trying to hurt me.
Collarbone: What if it’s just trying to protect me the best way it knows how?
Under the Arm: I could try tapping WITH it…
Top of the Head: Appreciating it, and finding a new way to work WITH it now.
Take a deep breath.
How does this feel to your body? Does it like the idea of working with you rather than being forced to behave?
The primitive brain is one part of the picture. There may be strong limiting beliefs stored in the thinking brain as well from traumas or learned from parents among other things. For instance, your subconscious may have decided that being overweight was a great way to protect yourself from situations that are frightening. Tapping on those limiting beliefs is a great way to get your whole being in alignment with being slender and fit.
In our Group Coaching Program we deal with these issues all the time. We even have a body image study group. If it sounds like a good fit to you, you’d be welcome.