How to stop being a jerk to yourself: a lesson in self-compassion

When you talk to yourself, what do you say?

Like many women, you may be all too familiar with the voice of negativity that rings in your ears about your body, about how you deal with food, and about you as a human being.

It's the voice that screams: "I hate my body!"

Or the voice that whispers: "If I were smaller, everything would be better."

Or the voice that tries to convince you: "I just need to have more discipline and willpower". 

Every day I see countless women online and in person who believe that the more they hate and fight their bodies, the more successful they'll be at changing them. 


**Spoiler alert! That's NOT how it works.**


Based on my 25-year history of hating my body and struggling to lose weight, 3 years of coaching women on food and body image, tons of research on this topic, and too much time on Facebook there's one thing I know for sure:


Beating yourself up is a popular, yet highly ineffective, weight loss tactic.


Negative self-talk is NOT a form of motivation

If you've spent enough time on the internet, you've seen the memes, posts, and rants from people who believe that self-compassion is the first step on a slippery slope to "encouraging laziness" or "promoting obesity".

They perpetuate the idea that giving yourself a break is equivalent to giving up on life. 

This just isn't true, not to mention it's overly dramatic. 

Self-criticism is not a tool to keep you in check.

The belief that you can shame and punish yourself into thinness or health is a myth that needs to die a quick death.

For many women, negative self-talk and lack of compassion have the opposite effect.

Years ago, I believed that the only thing that would motivate me to lose weight was being a jerk to myself. It worked...for a little while. But after a few weeks of beating myself up for eating too many cookies or not working out long enough, I felt terrible and stopped trying.

Think about all the times you've eaten a few potato chips, felt bad about it, then decided "I might as well eat the whole bag because I have no willpower anyway". 

In the moment, this seems like sound logic, doesn't it? But in the long-run this thinking keeps you farther away from your goals and feeling like crap.

These thoughts are so automatic that sometimes they go unnoticed. And when you do catch them, you get angry because you don't want to have a negative internal dialogue. So you get even angrier at yourself.

And the cycle continues. 

Is there something you can do about it? 

YES! Keep reading.


Self-compassion: WHAT it is & WHY you need it

Self-compassion simply means offering yourself kindness and understanding when you're going through a difficult time. It's treating yourself as you would a friend or a loved one. 

You deserve that, don't you? 

My personal and professional experience has made it clear to me that, to have a peaceful relationship with food and with yourself, self-compassion is a key ingredient.

It's one of the core principles of becoming free from the struggle with food and negative body image.

I didn't pull this idea out of thin air. Research shows that self-compassion actually is a motivator for change and can improve body image. Two good reasons to give it a try. 


Make self-compassion a habit

To get good at something you have to practice it. The only way to learn how to do pull-ups is by practicing pull-ups...not watching videos or reading about doing pull-ups.

You've got to DO THE WORK.

Start with this:

1. Think about a struggle or something that makes you feel about yourself.  

2. Grab a piece of paper and pen. Set a timer for 10 minutes.

3. Write a letter to yourself about this struggle as if you were writing it to a loved one (child, friend).

  •     What would you say to her?
  •     How would you speak to her to let her know that she's still a good person?

4. Notice how you feel when you speak to yourself in a kind and caring tone. 


Self-loathing comes in all sizes

If there's one thing I want you to take away from this is: Don't wait until you "get where you want to be" to be nicer to yourself.   

If you don't know how to show yourself kindness when you're a size 18, you won't know how to do it wearing a size 4.

That's why PRACTICE is important. 

Don't be a jerk to yourself. You deserve better. 


P.S. Self-compassion is one of the lessons in The Food Freedom Audio Course. This is a 5-day free course that helps you break free from rules about food that are running your life and keeping you at war with your body.

Get all the details below: