This is Episode 1 in a new mini-series for Body Kindness: Self care for diabetes with guest co-host Glenys Oyston.
Glenys and I have been hosting HAES-informed, weight neutral diabetes care virtual support groups for years. You can join our group now. Our next live call is happening soon. Plus you’ll get access to 14 education modules, videos, audio, transcripts, resources, links and more. www.selfcare4diabetes.com
- Guilt and shame, related but different. This Scientific American article discusses the link between shame, anxiety, and depression.
- Loving Kindness Meditation is a powerful way to boost your resilience to shame. Sharon Salzburg is a pioneer for Loving Kindness meditation. Here’s a link to a free demo.
- Here’s a link to a previous Body Kindness podcast where I discuss mindfulness and guide you through a Loving Kindness Meditation.
- April 13th – join our live Self Care for Diabetes group call and 3 month membership. Visit www.selfcare4diabetes.com to sign up and learn more.
Rebecca Scritchfield: 0:00
This episode is brought to you by Self Care for Diabetes, a virtual online program that's doing diabetes care differently.
Glenys Oyston: 0:09
We don't tell you to lose weight. Instead, we help you create positive and meaningful changes that make your life with diabetes better than before. Visit selfcare4diabetes.com to learn more.
Rebecca Scritchfield: 0:22
Welcome to Body Kindness.
Glenys Oyston: 0:24
This is our special series on self care for diabetes concerns.
Rebecca Scritchfield: 0:27
I'm Rebecca Scritchfield.
Glenys Oyston: 0:29
And I'm Glenys Oyston.
Rebecca Scritchfield: 0:31
Let's bust some diabetes myths and spiral up together.
Hey, Glenys, what's up?
Glenys Oyston: 0:38
Hey, Rebecca, how are you doing?
Rebecca Scritchfield: 0:41
I'm doing well. And I'm really excited to, you know, have these episodes on self-care for diabetes and share what we've been learning and working with our groups these past couple years and offer some insight that will hopefully help others who have diabetes concerns.
Glenys Oyston: 0:58
Yeah, I'm excited to talk about talk about the subject today.
Rebecca Scritchfield: 1:02
So we're going to talk about shame. More importantly, shame, resilience. And it's one of those things that, you know, we often don't, we don't say the word shame, we don't know what it is, or we don't know how to name it. But why do you think it's important that we that we hold some space and talk about shame?
Glenys Oyston: 1:23
Yeah, I think I think it's so important to talk about this, because it is such a real thing. Especially when health concerns are coming into play. I think I don't have any clients that haven't brought some sort of shame into into our work. I know that we in our diabetes groups have talked with people that are really struggling with shame around like, I have diabetes, I have failed it, weight loss, and they're just really struggling. To see to see that what they're suffering from a shape and how it's really helping them from from healing. Yeah,
Rebecca Scritchfield: 1:59
yeah. I mean, that was one of the key points that I wanted to make sure that listeners really understand. I often have clients that will say, you know, I feel so much guilt, you know, about fill fill in the blank, right thing that they did not do, right. But it's not always a focus on the thing, right? When you get talking, and you dig a little bit deeper, they're feeling a more intense negative emotion, and mood and emotion that is saying, like, I am bad, not, oh, I'm making some mistakes, and I want to, you know, I want to make changes, right? That would be guilt. But when somebody is feeling a more intense negative emotion, where it's like, it's a challenge to your worthiness, it's like, I'm a bad person for having diabetes, I'm a bad person, you know, because my agencies are climbing, I'm a bad person, you know, because, you know, I did all these wrong things, and I'm individually responsible, and I am to blame. I'm bad for getting diabetes, right. And even like, when, you know, they're sign up for the program. And they're feeling shame, because it's like, I'm bad, because I haven't figured out how to take care of myself. And it's almost like this mirror, and it's like, I am the problem. And that is when you know, you're in shame.
Glenys Oyston: 3:16
Right? And, and it's when you blame yourself as the problem. There's just all this emotional distress is hopelessness. I mean, because if you're seeing yourself as a bad person, we don't take care of things we we hate, right? We take care of things that we love. So I think that's why it becomes so much less likely that we can take positive steps forward, and then you just kind of feel stuck. And this is coming up all the time with clients and in our group, and we just want to offer some really practical strategies for dealing with the shame.
Rebecca Scritchfield: 3:50
Yeah, I'm really excited that we can share some insight for folks. And I wonder Glenys if you could start us in conversation about maybe like talking a little bit more about what's what's normal, you know, and when to worry about it. Like when when we should, you know, take action to deal with the shame directly.
Glenys Oyston: 4:14
Right. There's this great article from Scientific American, we'll put it in the show notes. It's from a couple of years ago, that sort of talks about the, the underpinnings of the impacts of shame. And just from that article, differentiating between guilt and shame, I think was really helpful because a lot of people will say, like, I feel guilty about something, when in fact, what they're, what they're feeling is shame. So shame happens when we violate some sort of societal norm that we really believe in. So this is some dorm that we feel desirable and binding in some way. So when I think of my clients and they start to come and work with me, and and also in our group, I think those societal norms that they feel like they violated or I have to be healthy. And I have to be in a certain body size, to be healthy or to be acceptable. Guilt, on the other hand happens when we've performed this concrete action for which we're sort of accepting responsibility. So, so shame, you know, if you've done something wrong with guilt is there, oh, I did something wrong. And in a way you can make amends, shame makes us direct our focus inward, and view our entire self in a negative light. Whereas guilt sort of causes us to focus our attention on the feelings of other people. And I think when you're focusing on other people, you can make amends, you know, you can work through that I think they're and and the other person can sort of acknowledge that. And when we're in shame, it's just, we're in conflict with ourselves. And I think that is, is the big sort of problem around shame is that there's no one there to say it's okay. It's okay, you're not in a place at that moment to say, it's okay. This is this is not, this is not an grave a grave injustice that's happened, this is something we can work past.
Rebecca Scritchfield: 6:09
Right. Right. Yeah, you know, it's really interesting, because, you know, when, when we are helping people, you know, make positive changes, and they'll, they'll have some desires or some goals, you know, and it could be say, it's a movement goal. And, you know, the first idea has a lot of shooting on it, right? Like, and they're, they can be pretty big ideas. They, you know, almost like too big of a jump from where they are currently. So, you know, if they're getting very little movement, and they're interested in approaching movement, likely it's come from somebody says you need to move or else and it could be reading guidelines, or just thinking about what they imagine movement to be. And, you know, what, you know, not fully kind of understanding and embracing that, it could have been that, oh, five days a week, walking 30 to 60 minutes, and some don't even give a range like that, right. And it's just, you know, it actually could feel better to start with something that is almost like a smaller goal with like, a range. And so, you know, for an initial, say, a week, you know, I would like to, you know, walk for about 10 minutes, and then the next day, I'd like to try some, some chair yoga. And so there's kind of like flexibility and thinking about your goals, right? And so say you set a goal like that, and say you didn't do any of it, right? Shame would be like, you suck, you did all this planning, you didn't do anything. And it's often our inner critic in our mind is saying that, right? And then it's like, guilt was like, you know, I'm really disappointed. I was interested in it and like life happened. And, you know, I just, in that moment, I just chose to do the other thing, or I didn't feel like I had a choice, because work was calling me or fan was call me. Gosh, this is really hard. Right? And to your point, hey, that's okay, we can try again. And so that, you know, it's almost like this in like your inner mind, right? You have your inner critic that is shaming you. And we need to have this inner caregiver that's much more flexible and compassionate, and will work with you toward these positive changes. So yeah, so you know, I think that's a key a key difference when it comes to how would somebody shift from shame to guilt? If you're working on a positive? You're trying to work on making a positive change in your life that you're really interested in?
Glenys Oyston: 8:47
Yeah, that's really helpful.
Rebecca Scritchfield: 8:49
Yeah. I wanted to talk a little bit about shame that some of our participants have experienced and a lot comes up with respect to shame at a doctor or dentist's office around weight concerns, and we're going to have a separate episode where we talk about weight concerns, because it's a big issue, especially around diabetes. But yeah, I just wanted to hear a little bit from you just about what you remember about some of our participants saying about how doctors and dentists have kind of body bash them or anything?
Glenys Oyston: 9:27
Yeah, it's with every group, our live group chats that we have which are fantastic every time I think it comes up and it's always by a different person, but it is it is often the same issue like I've gone to the doctor and I really have concerns I really want to you know, help to work on my blood sugar's I really want to help, you know, improve my health and it comes down to the doctor brings up while you have to lose weight. And these are people who have tried this many, many, many times, usually. And so, but it's going back to that societal societal norm. Right, that is being violated for that person, and they go into the shame spiral. This is happening at dentist's office, doctor's offices, really, all sorts of different, you know, care providers. So, unfortunately, this is this is a bit of an epidemic of shame, shame spreading. But, you know, what we sort of go back to is remembering that they need to change, not you. That, that I think of, you know, weight as an outcome, not a behavior, well, and it is an outcome, not a behavior and sort of spot, you know, pivoting to, well, what's the behavior that I want to work on, versus what is the outcome of weight. You know, in that moment, though, when you're at the doctor's, you're in this really vulnerable place, and, you know, the shame spiral becomes real, you know, and it can lead to that sort of Downward Spiral Spiral of, of anxiety and depression. It's just, it's very scary in that moment for people.
Rebecca Scritchfield: 11:10
Let's take a quick pause for a message from our sponsor, self-care for diabetes dot com.
Glenys Oyston: 11:15
If you're still thinking that you need to diet or make yourself lose weight in order to live well with diabetes, we want you to see things differently. Get started with our free download seven myths about diabetes and weight. Available now at self-care for diabetes.com slash myths, that self-care the number four diabetes comm slash myth,
Rebecca Scritchfield: 11:37
Welcome back to our episode. And I wanted to share a story from one of our program participants who sent us an email after completing the the three month membership. It really just meant a lot to me when when I read it, and you know, you know, this participant emailed and said, I want to thank you for the module on shame, resilience, and for helping me work through shame in our live groups, I realized that my shame was feeling depression and anxiety. And before working with you, I felt like nothing was good enough. And I felt hopeless, that I could make positive changes, that I could live well with diabetes. And now I feel like I have my life back, I can set boundaries with the doctor and family. I enjoy foods I love to eat. And most importantly, I'm very flexible with myself, I don't expect perfection anymore. I don't have to constantly be a problem to fix.
Glenys Oyston: 12:43
Wow, that's, I love that.
Rebecca Scritchfield: 12:47
Yeah, I think it's it really spoke to me with respect to this idea of being a problem to fix, right? And that if we're walking around with this big dark cloud over you, in the voice in your mind, right, what you hear most prevalent is you are a problem, you are a problem. It is it's very hard to feel good, and motivated or just worthy of of taking the, you know, the first step and the next step. And yeah, you know, I just find so often that it's almost like, it's a surprise, you know, it's our very first module was almost like a surprise to them. How much not really having the tools to notice shame, to name it and to relate to shame with kindness was getting in their way of taking, you know, the first positive step.
Glenys Oyston: 13:47
Yeah, I mean, there's a reason we put it very first, the very first module on our program, right? Because the readme file. Yeah, it's like, please start here. I think people don't realize how much shame they're suffering from, and how it's really, you know, people say, I don't know why I can't do this. And it's like, well, let's see how you feel about things. Oh, shame. Shame is sitting there saying you can't do it. You're not good enough. Right. And so I love I love that that first module where we're really talking about shame and giving guidance on how to reduce shame. Mm hmm.
Rebecca Scritchfield: 14:25
Yeah. And, you know, we work a lot with folks too, on the idea of just the way our brains work, like, we can tend to compare and despair, right. So if you, if you make the mistake of googling, like diabetes, what to do about diabetes is going to be a major trap. So much that we had to have a separate module about myths, you know, and how to work through them and setting boundaries and relationships, right? Because even if one's intention is to be helpful, whether it's a blogger or you know, you never know who's a spokesperson who's trying to sell something, you know, But but ultimately it can be built on. There's a weight focus, and it's like, look at how amazing My life is. And and the weight is what is held up as the gold star of, you know, the weight loss was the reason why now I have all these things. And, you know, it is it can feel like, really emotionally overwhelming because you're comparing to what your doctor is saying, or what you're googling or what other people are trying to be helpful giving you advice. And it you know, I call it compare and despair. It's like, Oh, that is I'm never gonna get that. And so why bother? Right? And it's so important that we, you know, what we try to do when folks come in is help people pivot to focus on their behavior. And like you said, it's okay basic form of self compassion, but then to focus on their behavior. And I was wondering if you could give, like, just a quick few examples, or even one example of how someone might do that pivot to focus on their behavior?
Glenys Oyston: 16:08
Yeah, I'm, I'm thinking of, of the folks that are feeling just generally bad with the way they eat. Right. And they feel like and I think, because diet culture sets people up to fail constantly, with incredible rules, and that most people can't follow for very long. And so we have people coming in saying, like, I've tried every diet, I've tried every, you know, and, and the whole point of the diet was also to lose weight. And so like I said before, that that's sort of an outcome, right? And I'm pivoting to to focus on the behavior, which is, hey, there's a bunch of little things like you were talking about exercise before, what's a little goal here? What's, what's something small that we can do? Okay, what really needs to happen? Oh, you know, I have a hard time getting three meals a day, sometimes I've skipped breakfast, and then I really push a long time, and I end up having a big meal later, Hey, why don't we make a goal of we know that having more meals through the day is actually really helpful for why don't we just make a small goal to have breakfast? Right? Or maybe it's I don't, I really struggle with balance around my meals, Hey, what about a small goal to add in some vegetables to a meal, and that's something that you can focus on doing. That's the action, right? I feel bad that it didn't shop and prep this week ahead. Because, and, you know, making those small goals, okay, I'm really going to try to take this time to sort of do a little prep First, make sure I get my shop in those kinds of those kinds of actions. And I think those are the things that can help people get unstuck a little bit, right, right.
Rebecca Scritchfield: 17:52
And we have several modules on food and relationship to food, including sort of like direct nutrition stuff, which is not at all centered on the rules and do's and don'ts around what you're allowed to eat are not allowed to eat, because that's just not what we're about at all. But even the context of you know, seeking pleasure and enjoyment and other elements that have a deep impact on our food choices, and, and preferences. So we'll be talking about that a little bit more and in other episodes. And you know, before we wrap up this, this conversation on shame, resilience, I did want to offer one additional step that any listener could take today. And that is giving loving kindness meditation a try. I am the kind of person who understands all the great things about meditation. And once in a while I will do it. And when I find something I love, I'm like, I'm so glad I did it. But how I'll tell myself this, I can't sorry. Like I just can't relax, I just can't breathe. So if you're like me, please, giving love Please try giving loving kindness meditation a try. I think it is a beautiful meditation that helps build connection to yourself to your inner caregiver. I really think that it helps you heal the wounds of your inner critic and the self criticisms that you can kind of say things kinder, more gentle with yourself. loving kindness can also help you feel more compassionate and connected toward others. And people in our lives can kind of get in the way of our self care, beliefs and values and so loving what loving kindness meditation does is you do some deep breath work, and you send well wishes and it's kind of scripted and guided for you. So it's about warm and positive thoughts and feelings toward yourself towards someone you care about. You know, sort of like to all beings to somebody who's suffering who you know is suffering and then usually the last one is like and someone you're having difficulty with. And that's always like, No, I don't want to send them well wishes but ultimately When I get there, it's like, I actually feel better too. So it's a really great meditation, we have this in our group where I guide with a specific loving kindness meditation that's combined with a body scan, which is really powerful. But I have a link to the show notes where you can learn more about the foundations of loving kindness meditation, I have a whole body kind of episode dedicated to it. And so I want to make sure you have that as a resource. And be willing to give that a try and see how that helps you.
Glenys Oyston: 20:31
Awesome, I love I love your loving kindness meditation, too, that you've done in the program. So, you know, it's all about setting, you know, realistic expectations, right for yourself and sort of being kind, being compassionate. reminding yourself that it's okay. And, you know, come come join us in the group. Our next live calls coming up soon. And we're we're ready to help you on this path. You just you don't have to do it alone.
Rebecca Scritchfield: 21:04
That's beautiful. It's true. You don't have to do it alone. Glenys, thank you so much for this conversation today.
Glenys Oyston: 21:10
Rebecca Scritchfield: 21:16
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