When trying to lose weight, the words FOOD and LOVE are not the easiest to bring together. Because of diets, we demonize certain foods or even certain food groups. It can be hard to love food when you consider it to be the enemy. As a result, feelings of anger, regret, and failure can follow when you make a “bad” food choice. It is easy to blame yourself when you let yourself have the food you love. That often leaves us in a negative cycle. Following some tips from experts can help end that battle and help end that cycle. Ending the war with food and within yourself can help bring you happiness and peace with food so that you can eat with love. And it starts with self-compassion.
What is self-compassion?
Self-compassion is similar to the idea of feeling compassion for others. According to Dr. Kristin Neff, pioneer of compassion, compassion is the ability to notice suffering in others and the ability to feel suffering with others.1, 2 You feel warmth, care and a desire to help the suffering person. You offer them kindness and understanding without judging them. Self-compassion is the ability to apply those same patterns to yourself. Self-compassion is: noticing your suffering, being warm and caring toward yourself, offering yourself kindness and understanding without any judgement.1,2
Food, Love & Self-Compassion
When dealing with weight problems, it can be hard to feel self-compassion. After having a “forbidden food,” feelings of guilt, powerlessness and shame can show up. But once you learn to let go of the diet mentality (click here ), you can start using self-compassion. Instead of getting angry at yourself, start by noticing your suffering with a warm and caring heart. Take notice of the negative emotions, negative feelings and negative stories that you tell yourself. Kindly begin to understand where those thoughts, feelings and stories are coming from, without judging yourself.
Here are some tips to practice self-compassion:
1. Acknowledge that there is a problem.
Self-compassion involves the ability to realize that you are dealing with a problem. Acknowledge your feelings of sadness, guilt, and anger.
2. Understand that feelings of suffering are universal.
They are a normal part of being human. There will be times when you will feel losses and times when you will make mistakes. Understand that these feelings are normal and that they are there to teach us something. We make mistakes to learn from them and grow. Next time you fall or feel as if you have failed, see if you can learn something about yourself.
3. Break away from criticism.
Criticizing yourself will only bring on more negative feelings. When you notice something about yourself that you are unhappy with, instead of bringing yourself down further, give yourself kindness and really try to understand your situation from a different perspective. Ask yourself, what lead me to this situation?.
4. Move Forward.
Once you realize that mistakes are part of being human (we are not perfect) and that mistakes are there to learn and grow, learn what you need to learn from the situation, stay away from criticism and, move forward.
The important part is that you feel self-compassion, face your difficulties, and make yourself feel better because you care about you.
I hope this is helpful,
Center for Mindful Self Compassion
Self Compassion: Dr. Kristin Neff