I have spoken about this in some of my videos but I think it is such an important topic that it deserves some written space on my blog also.
I see it day in, day out.
People thinking that in order to motivate themselves to lose weight, they have to constantly reprimand themselves for not eating the ‘right’ things, not exercising enough, or not looking a certain way.
The reality is that diet culture has made this seem normal. It is acceptable to call yourself a ‘failure’, ‘useless’, ‘weak’, ‘lacking will-power’.
I even hear people frequently call themselves ‘disgusting.’ ‘fat’, ‘gross’, ‘shameful’.
This self-criticism is NOT OK….
But all too often, my clients come to me not even aware of the severity of it and how it is impacting on their every day lives.
Once they become aware, they can begin to start letting go. They can begin to heal their relationship with food and themselves.
Holidays, social events, family meals – they all start to feel easier again.
The negative, self-critical cycle becomes evident and it is hard to unsee again. Things like ‘I can’t eat that’, ‘how many calories are in that?’, ‘I need to run 10k to burn that off’, ‘this dress is too tight,’….
How many times do you hear and/or say these things to your partner, friends, maybe even children?
But ironically, it can make people who don’t want to beat themselves up not want to be around you. Positive people, who practice self-kindness, don’t want so much negative energy around them.
It is also no surprise to learn that negative food and body talk is associated with stress, anxiety, even depression as well as unhealthy eating behaviours such as yo-yo dieting and restriction.
And ironically, women who self-criticise and speak negatively of their bodies are less likely to look after themselves.
Self-compassion, the opposite of self-criticism, means looking after your basic needs. It means getting enough sleep, eating balanced meals, enjoying food, taking physical activity and having downtime.
Self-compassion means allowing yourself to slip up from time to time, recognising that it is normal to do and moving on positively. It certainly doesn’t mean all or nothing – we are human!!
Compassionate people know that they won’t eat vegetables every day, they know they will overeat from time to time, they know that the gym will slip on occasion.
They also know that this is OK.
So, let me ask you this – are you stuck in a loop of constant self-criticism? Are you being too hard on yourself because you think that you need to be?
If so, there are some things you can start to do immediately so you can slowly learn to be kinder to yourself.
Firstly, listen to that critical inner voice when it shows up. Notice it. It may feel strange, but acknowledge it without judgment and note when it happens.
Then, when you start to recognise it, notice what is going on around you and speak to yourself like you would a friend. It will feel strange to begin with but as with anything, it will get easier as you practice it.
And remember, it will take time but trust me, the change is worth it!!
Long term weight loss and future happiness starts with self-love and compassion. Without it, you will never be free of diets.
For more information on how I can help you through the process, email me – firstname.lastname@example.org.