Self-Compassion for a Fit and Healthy Life

 Posted on Kelowna Now

So you ate cake at the office birthday party after you swore to yourself you wouldn't. You skipped the gym to go home and watch TV, and now you are beating yourself up for it, right? We know, because we have all been there. It's become far too common for everyone these days to mentally punish ourselves this way, thinking we will shame ourselves into better behavior.

When we are our own worst enemy, it is extremely counterproductive. We need to learn to give ourselves some self-compassion, which may go a lot further in motivating ourselves to work out, lose weight, and get healthier overall. Self-compassion means being kind to yourself, especially when you make a mistake. Caring about yourself is the best medicine for your health and mental state.

As you would expect, quitting negative self-talk makes you feel good. Being kind to yourself has a positive effect on your behavior and physical well-being. Studies have shown that self-compassionate people are more proactive about looking after themselves.

Most people put too much pressure on themselves. When you make a strict goal for yourself like, "I have to go to spin class every day this week," is a recipe for disaster, and you will feel lousy about it. You have to learn how to forgive yourself when failing at a task, because you are more likely to pick yourself up and try again. When you criticize yourself, you undermine your self-confidence, which is a huge part of motivation.

The next time you feel bad about scarfing down cookies or snacking in front of the TV, let self-compassion give you some perspective. Instead of saying, “Screw it. What's the point?” which could just lead you to eat three more cookies, try this instead: "It's only one cookie. It's not the end of the world. I will go back to making healthier choices."

When a friend is feeling low about not sticking to goals, a good friend will encourage them to do their best. Why not encourage yourself the way you would to a friend, with positive statements like: "If I go to the gym, I will feel great, and I will probably fit into my jeans better too." Motivate yourself to do the right thing because you WANT to be healthier. Keep your eyes on the prize to keep yourself motivated. When you are motivated, you will feel happy, and when you are happy, it will be easier for you to reach your goals.