Any long standing weight-loss journey is just as much a psychological process as it is a physical and physiological one. The way you emotionally approach a weightless experience is often the key to its success. This is often a skill that needs to be taught, learnt and implemented.
Some common barriers to self-compassion might be:
- Fusion with unworthiness - You connect with self-narrative such as “i’m unworthy” or “I’ll never be good enough.
- Overwhelming emotions - You become overwhelmed by emotions such as anxiety, sadness, guild, or shame.
- Pointlessness - You don’t see the point in trying anymore.
- Lack of personal experience - You have no personal experience is being able to maintain a healthy weigh or moderate your relationship with food.
I have noticed that clients that have struggled with emotional eating, binge eating, low self-worth and little self-compassion do better with regular support and encouragement from an empathetic therapist.
Here is a 6 step process in the art of developing self-compassion.
- Acknowledging Pain - rather then suppress, avoid, escape or deny uncomfortable feelings that arise in you try consciously and intentionally noticing and acknowledging them. Eg: I’m noticing I feel anxious and this is making me think about binging.
- Defusion from self-judgement - The human mind is fantastic at telling us stories of unworthiness and judgment. The art of defusion is simply unhooking our sense of self from negative self narrative. Looking at negative self talk as just passing words in the mind and allowing them to come and go without having a damaging impact.
- Acting with kindness - The value that forms the foundation of self-compassion is self kindness. Treat yourself with love and gentleness as you would someone you love.
- Acceptance - Acceptance of who you are as good enough just the way you are. Accepting your thoughts, feelings, emotions, memories and urges. Acceptance is the opposite of escape and avoidance. By accepting yourself you are making room for healing and growth.
- Validation - Remind yourself that it is normal and natural for humans to have painful thoughts and feeling when life is difficult, when you make mistakes, get rejected or experience a reality gap. Validation is knowing you are ok regardless of your circumstance.
- Connectedness - Spend time with people who make you feel good, inspire you to achieve great things and cheer you on in life. Connection is the key to a happy life. Connection to self, others and the environment around you.
I hope that by reading this you are inspired to become kinder and more compassionate with yourself and I hope you strive towards good health and happiness.