What if there was one thing that could make all the difference in helping to heal eating and body challenges? What if this one thing was so powerful that it could change the way you think about your body and your weight? And what if this one thing could also help transform your relationship with food? What if it could help you to feel comfortable in your own skin, help you to WANT to nourish (rather than self sabotage) yourself, and help you to love yourself no matter your size?

What I tell new clients that join my groups or private practice is that we are aiming to create change that will last forever. Not change for a few weeks, or a few months or even for a few years, but change that will sustain us for life. The reality is that so many diets and eating plans out there are not sustainable because they do not take into account the emotional or spiritual (life learning) aspect of our relationship with food and our body. We can go on a diet or eating plan, and it may work in the short term, we may lose weight, but because our unconscious beliefs (which affect our eating and fat burning capability) are always driven by our powerful human needs, we can never sustainably use our conscious control (otherwise known as willpower) to override them. So we always end up going back to our old habits and behaviours, often with even more force than ever before

What I’ve come to realise over my time in working with eating and body issues is that there is one piece of the puzzle that is essential if we really want sustainable results. That without this piece, we can make headway, but we cannot create sustainable and lasting change. That this particular piece, if left unchecked, will always continue to fuel the compulsive fire and that this piece, in my opinion, is at least half, if not more, of the challenge to be overcome.

This piece that I am talking about is self compassion. I know you are probably thinking – that sounds a bit fluffy and woo-woo, so what does self-compassion actually look like? Well, self compassion looks like this:  It looks like someone who talks to themselves with kindness & compassion rather than judgement, criticism or hate. It looks like someone who is able to identify their uncomfortable feelings, but rather than let these feelings drag them down and affect their decisions or behaviours, they view them objectively and forgive themselves for having them. And it looks like someone who is able to look at their issues and see them as part of the human condition and part of life, rather than over identifying with them, and seeing themselves AS their issues

So how do we cultivate self compassion?

There are various strategies I teach my clients that when used daily, can make a huge difference in a relatively short period of time. I’ll share one of them with you. Each of us has an inner critic, that part of us that tells us we are stupid, fat, not good enough. For some of us, this voice is so deeply ingrained in our psyche that we cannot see it as separate from us. But it is separate from us, very much so.  So the first step is to identify this inner critic and give it a name. This may seem silly, but it is the first step towards self compassion. Once you have a name for your inner critic, start to notice what his or her personality is like, and then start to notice when he or she speaks. Differentiate between the kind voice (the true you) and the inner critic (the made up one). Once you are able to easily identify the critic, start entering into a dialogue with him or her. Tell the critic something like: ‘I appreciate you trying to keep me safe, but unless you can tell me what you’d like to say with kindness, I’m not listening’. Set a firm boundary against this critical voice, because it is this part of you that damages your self worth and stops you from being your best self.

What we teach you to do from here is to quieten this harsh voice, and give you strategies to allow the kind, compassionate, loving part of you that knows the truth of who you are shine through. So that you can start to love and nourish yourself from the inside out. Because if you don’t nourish your body on a spiritual and emotional level, you won’t do so on a physical level either, i.e.: with food and exercise

This is what self compassion & loving yourself from the INSIDE out looks like

If you’d like to learn more about how to have a peaceful relationship with food and your body, as well as gain valuable insight into your own eating behaviours, then sign up for a free 30 minute FoodBody breakthrough session. Email louise@louisejeffrey.com with the words ‘30 minute breakthrough session’ in the subject line, and we’ll try and find a slot for you in the schedule. Please note there are a limited number of Breakthrough spots available (skype/phone/face-face), so if we can’t fit you in this month we will endeavour to do so in the following one.

In love and health

Louise

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