Let me give you an example of how self-compassion can improve your nutritional health through a couple of scenarios:
Scenario 1: You come home from work, feeling famished (beyond hungry on the hunger-fullness scale). Ah yes, you realize you’ve got some chips and salsa! Too hungry and impatient to put your snack in a bowl and sit down, you remain standing in the kitchen, scarfing down your snack. You think, “There I go again, standing and eating in the kitchen. This is so wrong. I’m so out of control with food.” Overcome with food guilt and shame, you keep looking in the fridge and cupboards for what else looks edible enough. You know you’ll probably spoil your appetite for dinner, and you’re not even enjoying what you’re eating that much anymore, but right now, you don’t know what else to do. You know you’ll regret it later, but prolonging the eating experience to soothe and distract sounds like a good idea right now…
Scenario 2: Same situation coming home: ravenous, quickly eating chips and salsa, standing up in the kitchen. You notice yourself feeling guilty about your eating, and you recognize that this moment is an opportunity for a self-compassion break. While you know self-compassion doesn’t magically zap away unpleasant emotions, the tenderness and kindness you bring yourself makes it easier to stay present and connected to your experience – without prolonging your eating just to soothe or distract. Able to pause, you ask yourself what you really need right now. A little break before planning dinner sounds good…it’s been a long day. Self-compassion helps you curb food guilt-induced overeating, a more common contributor to your overeating (or restricting) than you realized.
There’s a third possible scenario. Same deal with the chips and salsa but there’s no judgment. Sometimes you just need more than one snack between lunch and dinner – or perhaps more of a mini-meal in the afternoon. Since there’s no judgment, there’s no food guilt, and no need for a self-compassion break. Your relationship with food feels natural, easy, flexible, enjoyable, nourishing and non-judgmental. Sounds lovely, right? But if you have a history of diet mentality and food guilt, self-compassion (scenario 2) can be an effective bridge to a healthier relationship with food.
If this is resonating with you, I’d like to invite you to the Compassionate Eating Workshop this Sunday, June 8th.
Here’s what you’ll learn:
- Exactly what self-compassion is (hint there are 3 main components). Although the concept has been around for thousands of years, it was only recently defined in the literature by researcher Kristin Neff, PhD in 2003 (!)
- Common myths about self-compassion that often get in the way of practicing it
- And most importantly, you’ll learn practical tools to help you practice self-compassion in difficult food situations. Best of all, you can personalize these tools
Compassionate Eating Workshop:
Sunday, June 8th from 2:30-4:30p
Balance Studio in Fremont, 418 N. 35th St, Seattle 98103
$40. Bring a friend and you both save $10 ($30 each; you can either pay together or separately)
2 easy steps to register:
1. Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know you’re in!
2. Confirm your spot either by mailing payment to Mindful Nutrition, 600 N. 36th St, ste 423, Seattle WA 98103 or pay online via Paypal by clicking here. Click on the second “Make a Payment” button under “Miscellaneous Payment” and type in the workshop amount.
In the meantime, if you’d like to learn more about self-compassion, I think you’ll enjoy my past interview with Chris Germer, PhD.