Why self-compassion is so key for a healthy relationship with food
How often have you told yourself "you are so fat, so unattractive, look at your disgusting stomach/thighs... you really need to lose weight/tone-up/slim down"? Would you say those same words to your daughter or your mother or your best friend? I'm guessing that most probably you wouldn't be so harsh to someone that you love and care about. So why then are you so harsh on yourself?
Maybe you think that by being harsh on yourself you will find the motivation to change your diet and lifestyle? Maybe you think that if you are kind and nice to yourself, that you will turn into a flat and lazy slob and never take care of yourself? Maybe it is now just so normal for you to look in the mirror and see everything that you hate about yourself, that you just can't see your positive attributes and qualities anymore?
Well - research indicates that beating yourself up and criticising yourself actually NEGATIVELY affects your relationship with food. For example, a study conducted in Denmark suggested that resolving feelings of non-acceptance due to excessive weight, can help patients to achieve weight loss (Meyer et al., 2018). Whilst it may seem more likely that weight-acceptance would discourage weight-loss, the study found the opposite to be true. This suggests boosting your self-esteem can assist you to lose weight. I certainly have seen when working with clients that when an individual hates themselves and their body, they then end up feeling bad about themselves... and then turning to food to make themselves feel better.
So as strange as this may sound to you - being more kind and compassionate to yourself is so key in improving your relationship with food. If you love and care about your body, you will naturally just want to nourish it with healthy food rather than wanting to punish a body you hate with extreme diets and then over-eating/binge-eating.
This is why I always try and help my clients to to be kinder and and more compassionate with themselves - I aim to help them to boost their confidence and their self-esteem and to believe in themselves completely. If you would like some support in building up your confidence and self-esteem (or in re-building your relationship with food), please get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And the amazing thing about being kinder and more compassionate to yourself is, that every area of your life transforms as a result - you become more confident at work and in your professional life (finally applying for that promotion or new job), your relationships improve (because the more you see the good in yourself and celebrate this, the more others celebrate all of the good things about you too) and you finally have the courage to do things for you, pursuing your hobbies, making me-time, following your dreams.
The relationship we have with ourself is the longest-lasting and most intimate relationships of all... so we might as well be kind and compassionate in this relationship. If we wouldn't tell our enemies that we think they are "fat, unattractive and disgusting"... then why are we being so horrible to ourselves?
“Falling in love with yourself first doesn’t make you vain or selfish – it makes you indestructible.”