Self-Compassion: An Often-Omitted Ingredient in Weight Loss
Do you ever struggle with stress eating or emotional eating? Well, when we are stressed inside, or feel really bad about ourselves, some of us would automatically reach out to food-especially sweet stuff-to soothe ourselves into feeling better. It’s known as “eating our feelings.” Or you can think of the food we binge eat as an “adult pacifier.”
The way to stop this kind of behavior is not to muster up self-discipline or resort to self-blame. They won’t last and will get us into a negative spiral. In reality, there is no quick fix or short cut. The journey to healing can be painful. I’ve been through this journey and it took me many years to truly get rid of my emotional eating tenancy. It was a journey of self-compassion.
Numerous scientific research studies have shown that self-compassion is linked to healthier eating and more consistent exercise habits-as well as lower rates of anxiety and depression, less perceived stress, and greater well-being overall.
By contrast, self-criticism is linked to unhealthy eating behaviors, as well as higher rates of anxiety and depression.
Isn’t it obvious that self-compassion is the gateway to weight loss through healthier habits?
So what does self-compassion look like in practice?
There are three main elements:
Mindfulness: This is when you’re aware of what you’re doing, thinking, feeling and experiencing, but you’re not judging yourself for it.
Example: “I’m feeling bad about my belly. And I notice that I also feel frustrated and impatient to change…”
Shared experience: Acknowledging that you’re not alone — that everyone goes through what you’re dealing with at some point.
Example: “So many women struggle with their body image. I’m not the only one, and that’s okay.”
Self-love: Be generous and gentle to yourself. Talk to and treat yourself as if you were treating a beloved family member or your best friend.
Example: “This body has supported me through thick and thin. Maybe I can do something nice to return its favor and show that I care.”
I hope today’s post has given you some healthy food for thought.
Take a deep breath, and enjoy the rest of your day!