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Michaella O’Connor shared A Weigh In on Shame with Girl Body Pride on February 18, 2013.
“I look gooooood! No seriously, I really look good!” I look in the mirror and I truly think, “you rock this girl” Naked, in yoga pants, jeans. Doesn’t matter. I like what I see. And yet…………………………..
I feel shame for what I’ve done. I’ve lost 50lbs. And gained it all back. Yep, every last pound. Okay, so I didn’t lose it overnight and I didn’t regain it overnight. Never one to crash diet, I lost it the sensible way. Eat less (and better) and move more. But you know what it was – a goal. Once I lost the first 50, I thought, “I got this. I can lose the last 10-15, but I can also cut myself a little slack. Put more focus on other goals. I got this. I got this – what’s 5 lbs gained? Must be water weight. Hmmmm, strange, I’ve gained 10lbs. Gotta get back at it, on Monday. Oh crap, I’ve gained 20 – starting to hate myself, avoiding the scale. I still look pretty good in the mirror. I can still kill it in the gym, during a run. I’ve got new goals – focused, loving them, I can miss this run, I can eat this (2nd) piece of cake, I can weigh in next week, next week, next week. Hmmm…my jeans don’t fit. Let’s put on yoga pants again today. After all, they’re more comfy. Okay, time for a reality check – I need to get on that scale. What?!?!?! I’ve re-gained 40lbs! Is this scale broken? Must be water weight.”
Nope here I am cloaked in the shame. How could I do this to myself? How am I going to un-do this? This is not guilt. Guilt doesn’t shatter me. This is shame. Brene Brown defines shame as “the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging – something we’ve experienced, done, or failed to do makes us unworthy of connection.” I am flawed as a coach. I coach people to reach for their dreams, to take chances, to do the hard work. I am flawed as a mother – what kind of example am I being to my pre-teen beautiful daughter?
WAIT! WAIT! WAIT! What kind of example am I being to allow this to define me? What kind of example am I being to my daughter if I shame myself because of some weight gain? Trust me, it’s the least interesting thing about me. I am not FLAWED, I DID SOMETHING flawed. I forgot that my decisions were life choices, not a goal. I forgot to stay on track and reassess. I forgot to make loving choices for my body. But man, did I love the original journey. I loved watching my body change into a more powerful machine. One that slept well. One that had new muscles popping out all over the place. One that did triathlons, one that did ½ marathons, one that did 4 day bike trips with a pack on my back. I just forgot how much I loved it.
I am not perfect. I am human. And in that I am worthy. Worthy of love, of connection, of belonging. I sit here with tears falling down, like pounds melting away. Pounds that don’t matter. Shame that is shedding. This is the most interesting thing about me. This real, vulnerable person who makes mistakes and learns from them. Who loves fully and who is learning to love herself even more than yesterday. And who picks herself up after she falls.