oooo… I am EXCITED about today’s article!

Hi there! I hope your morning is off to a wonderful start!

I am sharing research today that demonstrates how self-compassion improves weight-loss efforts.

I’ve been saying this for YEARS.

You can scroll through any of my Instagram posts and find this theme throughout.

Candidly, I’ve been “yelling” this for so long because self-compassion has truly been the most helpful tool in healing my own relationship with food and my body.

And now we have scientific proof. Woo! Woo!

Here is a link to the study and a brief summary below if you prefer:

A study of 140 overweight or obese adults enrolled in a weight loss program found that higher levels of self-compassion, particularly self-kindness, were linked to reduced negative feelings following a dietary lapse.

Individuals who practiced self-kindness tended to feel less guilty and more positive about themselves despite the setback. Participants who exhibited self-kindness reported feeling more in command of their eating habits, suggesting that self-compassion can help people regain a sense of agency after a lapse. It helps reframe failure and promote self improvement.

I spent years berating myself after eating. I used to joke that it didn’t matter what I ate – spinach, ice cream, snickers, a grilled chicken breast – no matter, I was going to be angry with myself because what I told myself was: “You have no self control around food. You should be able to not eat when you decide not to eat.”

That disappointment in myself would lead to punishment as a means of reigning control back in – I would go to the gym or go for a run and do as much as I needed to to “burn off” the calories I thought I’d eaten.

Unfortunately I didn’t understand at the time (this was happening between the ages of 14 and 22 years old or so) was the body is FAR more nuanced than calories in, calories out. This matters, yes. But hormones matter. Thyroid matters. Adrenals matter. Nervous system matters. etc…

So, today, I’m paying for these choices. I have to take something to support my thyroid, every single day. My cycle is wacky. My gut is MUCH better than it’s ever been, but goodness I’ve had to work hard at getting it there and maintaining it.

I share all to say – can you imagine if I had been able to have compassion for myself in those moments instead of beating myself up?

For example: I plow through a bowl of XYZ food – instead of “you have no self-control” – self-compassion would sound like: “of course you plowed through that – you haven’t eaten in 24 hours, you must be really hungry. I’ll do the next right thing that takes the best care of me.”

I would have done far less damage to my body and my nervous system.

I understand that I was an extreme. Many of you here, I hope, can’t even wrap your head around this behavior. But, I hope it hits home and creates more awareness for you when you attempt to control your body (out of fear – yes – this is where it comes from) instead of trusting it, leaning into it, listening to it, having COMPASSION for it.

…whether you have a weight loss goal or not.

There is a quote by Cheri Huber, an American Zen teacher that I came across a few weeks ago >>

“If we had a friend that treated us the way we treat ourselves, we would have gotten rid of that friend a long time ago.”

It is common for us to be much harder on ourselves than we are on others. Yet, as the Buddhist teacher Jack Kornfield says, “If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.”

If self-compassion feels ethereal for you – I’ve found a powerful way to start engaging in it is to treat yourself like you would a child or a dear friend.

When something comes up that you might be hard on yourself for – pause – ask yourself how you would coach a child or friend through the same situation and try that for yourself. It can’t hurt, right? Worst that happens is you decide that doesn’t work for you and go back to the berating.

When you try the self-compassion and it feels awkward (because if you’re new to it, it will) – perhaps you can hear my voice coaching you through instead of your own and that will help. ❤️

Cheering loudly for each of you!!