The Power of Self-Compassion for Weight Loss Success

Takeaways

Being nicer to yourself (no matter how “good” or “bad” you eat) works better than negative self-talk.

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Middle age beautiful woman wearing casual t-shirt standing over isolated pink background hugging herself.

Did you know that weight loss isn’t just based on knowing what or how much to eat? Emotional triggers (like stress and anxiety) also play a role in our efforts to lose weight. Rather than lean into negative self-talk the next time you get off track, what would it look like to practice self-compassion and forgive yourself? How would it feel to celebrate your wins rather than criticize your mistakes? This is how you build more self-compassion to achieve your weight loss goals.

What Is Self-Compassion?

Self-compassion is the ability to turn acceptance and love inward. It’s when we treat ourselves as close friends rather than be self-critical when we fail to reach a goal. Self-compassion is comprised of three main elements:

  • Self-kindness: Treating ourselves with kindness and considering our own needs.
  • Mindfulness: Being aware of what is going on inside, without judgment.
  • Common humanity: Recognizing that these experiences are a normal part of being human.

Remember that self-compassion is not the same as self-esteem — a subjective evaluation of one- self. Instead, it’s feeling good about yourself without judgment or comparison to others. It simply involves relating to yourself with care.

How Self-Compassion Enhances Weight Loss

Research shows that self-compassion contributes to healthy eating habits and weight loss in many ways. It enhances mindfulness, making you more aware of your actions, thoughts, and feelings related to weight loss. Self-compassion also increases body positivity, motivating you to care for your body by eating right.

Not only does self-compassion support your weight loss efforts, but it can also decrease stress, depression, and anxiety. Individuals with higher levels of life satisfaction who decide to lose weight tend to be more successful at achieving and maintaining their weight loss than those with a negative mindset.

Building a Be-Nicer-to-Yourself Attitude

Just like your eating habits, self-compassion is a habit that takes time to grow and strengthen. Here are four ideas to remember as you build more self-compassion:

Progress, Not Perfection
You aren’t going to break old behaviors overnight. However, recognizing that you are trying to think differently is a step in the right direction. When you feel unmotivated, remind yourself that self-compassion is a process, not a quick fix.

Watch Your Words
Try to catch yourself saying things like “I can’t lose weight” — any negative thought you wouldn’t tell a good friend. Notice when you say these words out loud. Replace them with more supportive terms to help you develop more self-compassion.

Ask, “What Happened?”
What emotions or thoughts made you vulnerable to this self-sabotaging behavior? What might have helped prevent it? What can you do in the future to achieve a different outcome?

Small Choices Add Up
Remember that every step you take to turn your inner critic around helps your brain to adjust to this new habit. When you act without criticism or judgment, you are more prone to treating yourself with kindness and have lasting weight loss success.

Self-Compassion in Action

It’s time to make loving yourself a priority. Here are seven days of challenges to help you feel like the best version of yourself by the end of February!

Day 1 Download the Red Mountain Recipe App and try preparing one new recipe.
Day 2 Clean out your pantry and get rid of anything that may tempt you to get off-track with your health goals.
Day 3 Create your vision statement to help guide you through your weight loss journey.
Day 4 Go on a 10-minute walk after dinner.
Day 5 Practice goal visualization by buying a great outfit for yourself in your goal size.
Day 6 Write down three positive affirmations.

Example:
I am capable of success.
I am worthy of good things.
I am proud of myself.

Day 7 Meal prep for the week ahead using recipes from our eBook, Cooking the RM Way.

Download our 30 Days of Self Love Challenge from our website for additional ways to bring more joy and self-acceptance into your life.

Stephanie Bray

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