Hopefully, you caught my article about how self-criticism or lack of self-compassion can make you fat! If you didn’t, check it out HERE!
Let’s do a quick recap…
Words can hurt you! You know that old saying, “stick and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” Well, recent studies have proven this to be false through the process of neuroplasticity. Or the ability to reprogram your brain through new connections based on behaviors and new thoughts. Basically, you can “upload” new information to your brain in order to program it the way you want it to work! Pretty cool, huh?
The process of hearing words creates thoughts. These thoughts produce emotions. These emotions prime the body to react and release hormones or neurotransmitters. The regular flooding of hormones or neurotransmitters create a toxic environment within our body. This toxic environment disrupts your metabolism, promotes poor quality of movement and impairs important brain function.
Thoughts change the body! Negative thoughts do bad things! Positive thoughts do good things! Easy, right?
We know what self-criticism does to the brain and the body. The goal of this article is to help you understand what self-compassion is and how to practice it on a regular basis. Self-compassion is the opposite of self-criticism.
Think about this…
It’s the New Year! You had a little too much fun during the holidays and put on a couple pounds. You aren’t feeling amazing about how you look and feel. When you put on a pair of jeans, what are your thoughts when they are a little snug?
- SELF-CRITICISM: Do you wanna cry? Do you cry? Do you say something out loud about your weight gain? Do you grab the extra flesh with disgust? Do you think about it the rest of the day and punish yourself by not eating? Maybe you decide to wear the jeans to remind yourself of your failures all day long.
- SELF-COMPASSION: You can feel that it’s hard to button them. You see the skin pulling over the sides of the jeans. You take a deep breath and say something like, “It’s ok. I had an amazing time this holiday season and I’m sure most people are feeling the same way I am right now. I know how to eat healthy and exercise, so I’ll get right back on track and give myself a few weeks before I try these again.” Then you take them off and find a pair of more comfortable pants and finish getting ready.
Self-compassion is a practice that seems like it should be easy, right? You just say positive comments out loud and you are Mother Teresa. I wish it were that easy! When I work with my clients on this subject, I like to break it down into stages. It always helps to recognize the “stages to self-compassion.”
- Mindfulness: State of non-judgmental, conscious awareness and self-observation. What are you doing, thinking and experiencing? This is the practice of recognizing your state of being.
- Common humanity: Look outside of your bubble. Everyone has challenges, failures and makes mistakes. Recognize and take comfort in knowing that you are not the first to feel this way. You are not alone!
- Self-Kindness: Change your thoughts, change your words and smile. Do things that will make you happy! Come up with a plan to overcome and be confidant in your ability.
Remember those tight jeans we put on? Let’s identify the stages of self-compassion from that conversation….
- Mindfulness: You can feel that it’s hard to button them. You see the skin pulling over the sides of the jeans. You take a deep breath and say something like, “It’s ok. I had an amazing time this holiday season.”
- Common humanity: I’m sure most people are feeling the same way I am right now.
- Self-Kindness: I know how to eat healthy and exercise, so I’ll get right back on track and give myself a few weeks before I try these again.” Then you take them off and find a pair of more comfortable pants and finish getting ready.
It’s important that you go through each stage of self-compassion so you can keep that negative-self talk out of your head. That way, we can keep your body in a healthy state of hormonal balance.
When your hormones are balanced and you are feeling good, amazing things happen…
- You lose more weight and keep it off.
- You decrease emotional/stress eating.
- You accept a healthy weight with less shame and negative body image.
- You can regulate feelings, stress and impulsive or reactive behaviors more easily.
- You are more resilient and jump back on the “healthy wagon” quicker.
Conversely, here are just a few negative side effects of being self-critical…
- You never find satisfaction with your state of being, health or otherwise.
- You often follow trend dieting or are yo-yo dieters out of desperation.
- You gain weight after losing it.
- You identify flaws and obsess over them.
- You tend to continue to overeat or make unhealthy decisions after “bad eating day.”
Do any of these sounds familiar to you? If so, maybe it’s time to practice the stages of self-compassion. Do this daily until you have “reprogrammed your brain” and it becomes an automatic response. Trust me, it WILL become automatic! Simply make it a daily habit and remind yourself somehow. Maybe set an alarm on your phone, put a sticky note on your mirrors, write a note to yourself for the office etc.
Practice makes perfect J Well, almost perfect!
For more ideas on self-compassion and more in-depth coaching on this topic, join The Bella Life now. We coach our Bellas and Fellas on all things health, wellness and nutrition. So if you aren’t ready to hire me as your wellness and nutrition coach, that’s ok! Join us now and take advantage from the privacy of your own home.
Until next time, Bella!