Inspired by Deflate-Gate: How To Deflate Shame


How to Manage ShameSpeaking of deflate-gate…how ‘bout we take a PSI or two out of shame.

Ok, sorry for the NFL reference.

This is not about football – the game or the ball; it’s not about cheating or lying or lying about cheating. Nor will I divulge whether or not, as a long time New Englander, I’m a PAT’s fan…that’ll initiate a different kind of dialogue than I’m thinking.

What this is about is deflating something else.

Feeling shame and fear around eating & belonging

Let me backtrack a little and explain. This week in our Pathway Group for Binge and Emotional Eating we were discussing the immense shame that often goes along with these eating behaviors.

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That often we eat in secret because we’re embarrassed and how this secret eating feeds (no pun intended) the shame around this process.

In her book Daring Greatly, Brene Brown said “If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.”

She also talks about shame as being a fear that: if exposing a part of ourselves, we may not receive the love and belonging we so desperately desire. After all, we are all worthy of love and belonging, just by virtue of being human, we deserve it.

And the very fear of not being loved or of belonging leads us to isolate in shame, further exacerbating the fear… and round and round we go.

Taking steps to deflate shame

One of our aims during Pathway is to begin the process of deflating this shame. (Hence the football reference, because these days one can’t use the word deflate without images of footballs dancing in our heads.)

Related Article: How to Support Women Who Struggle With Eating and Weight

When we take a risk and share our stories, our struggles and our experiences with trusted people, we suddenly notice that bubble of shame begin to deflate a little.

Those trusted loved ones who respond with understanding, support and validation help pop the hypothetical bubble of shame.

When shame begins to deflate, we believe that there is a possibility it actually can be lessened and thus allow ourselves to open up more, isolate less, and so begins a new, emotionally healthier cycle.

And so, if you’re dealing with shame related to binge and emotional eating, (or you’re a quarterback with shame around something else), consider opening up to a supportive friend or loved one and watch the shame gradually deflate.

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About the Author

Shiri Macri, MA, LCMHC

Since 2004, Shiri’s approach as a therapist for treating binge and emotional eating is holistic, focusing not only on the presented issue at hand but also considering overall health. Working in this way often includes mindfulness-based approaches. Now as a trained MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) teacher, Shiri’s love of mindfulness and meditation practices are at the forefront of her blog writings and recordings. Shiri is the Clinical Director at the Women's Center for Binge & Emotional Eating, affiliated with Green Mountain at Fox Run.

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