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Day 3 Shame associated with exercise

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by Homestead Hermit, Apr 10, 2017.

  1. Homestead Hermit

    Homestead Hermit Peer Supporter

    My main symptom of TMS is IBS. Although there are times I avoid exercise because I feel uncomfortable or am too depressed because of it,I don't associate the pain itself with movement (as one with back pain might). With IBS, doctor's generally prescribe one to move, not to be sedentary as they believe it will help ease symptoms. (But I've always been an active person and have always had IBS and eaten well, so that's where TMS comes in).

    Though, one thing I'd like to share that does associate with IBS and exercise has to do with one of my hobbies: belly dancing. It can be a very rigorous form of dance that needs other exercise to help gain strength in certain muscles. I have felt great shame when attending dance class when my IBS is in full swing and my stomach is distended and bloated (to the point where I appear pregnant). Although I could not control my symptoms, I felt I must have done something wrong, there could have been something I could have prevented, in order to not appear "unhealthy" in public. I can't imagine if I performed with my bare stomach looking like that...I would be mortified!

    So, although I don't avoid exercising and dancing (it is a main staple in my life for health and because I LOVE it), I have experienced huge amounts of shame about it. That I must have done something wrong to deserve this. That it could be prevented. I move through the discomfort, but there have been times where I've cried myself to sleep after class.

    I could imagine this shame and guilt could transfer to any kind of exercise in public, especially for women. I know many women hold fear about going to gyms. Many refuse to go to gyms until they look healthy and fit, will prepare themselves and exercise at home before doing it at the gym out of that body image shame.
     
  2. Walt Oleksy

    Walt Oleksy Beloved Grand Eagle

    You love belly dancing, so I suggest you stop caring about other people thinking your belly is about to give birth. Just enjoy the exercise. Have you asked the instructor about it?

    I also find that bloating can come and go.

    There are several videos on Youtube about relieving bloated stomach that might be helpful.
     
  3. If 6 was 9

    If 6 was 9 Peer Supporter

    Hi Homestead Hermit, shame is one of my pet emotions I'm trying to work through as well.

    One thing I have found helped, is an audiobook by Tara Brach called Radical Self Acceptance. Here's the link to it on the Sounds True website. It's about accepting the inner emotions that we tend to reject. She comes from a Buddhist tradition, but you don't need to be necessarily into Buddhism to appreciate what she teaches - it all makes sense.

    Another book on shame that has had good reviews is Brene Brown's Men Women and Worthiness. I haven't read or listened to this, but I believe it looks at how shame affects you in the outer world (as opposed to inner). My therapist recommended this one, but at the time I was interested in one that went really deep, so I chose the other one. The Brene Brown one might be more relevant to your situation, because I think it examines in detail the sort of unconscious shame women endure in our modern world. Just a thought.
     
    plum likes this.
  4. Homestead Hermit

    Homestead Hermit Peer Supporter

    I know the bloat is all part of my TMS symptoms, so try not to relieve it if I can...I assume it is the same as throwing out all your pills and "crutches" when on the TMS healing path. Funny, I haven't experience the bloat symptom while doing my TMS work for the past month :)
    Thanks for the recommendation...I love Tara Brach and Sounds True!
     
  5. EileenS

    EileenS Well known member

    A friend has had belly dancers at fund raising events she does and I have noticed the ones with a tummy are much more beautiful to watch. The more the better as they have something to move around. The slim ones are boring. The more belly the better. Flaunt it. I work out at a women's only club most of the time and I noticed soon after starting there that women's bodies come in a never ending variety of shapes and sizes. Just do it. Just exercise. Everyone is too concerned with how they look themselves to be concerned with how you look.
     
    plum, MindBodyPT and Homestead Hermit like this.
  6. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    This is so true. I used to be a belly dancer and remember being in my first ever class and being utterly captivated by this voluptuous goddess of a girl. I fell in love with her unashamed movements and her joy in her body. The power of self-acceptance distilled in that moment. Belly dance is a celebration of womanhood, of strength (you have to be fit and in control of muscles you didn't know you had), and of the phases of life. It has been overly sexualised which has lead to a focus on appearance and youth but if you wave that overlay away, you can glimpse the majesty of the dance and the sacred roots it holds safe.
     
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