We all have good days and bad days when it comes to eating. It's just a part of the journey.
Some people see these “bad days” as a normal part of the process.
Others view them as catastrophic failures… which leads to massive discomfort… which leads to craving comfort… which leads to eating more food.
Self-compassion largely determines how likely you are to recover from a “bad day” of eating.
Here’s a study that illustrates the point.
Okay, try this exercise with yourself. Grab a pen and paper.
- Think of ways you use self-criticism as a motivator.
- Identify and write down any personal trait you criticize yourself for because you think being hard on yourself will help you change (lazy, moody, overweight, bad breath, anything).
- What is the emotional pain that self-criticism causes? How does it make you feel? Write that down.
- Next, what language would a wise, nurturing friend, parent, teacher or mentor use to show you this behavior is unproductive while encouraging you to try something different? Say that out loud right now. If you can’t say it out loud, think it, word by word. Write it down if you wish.
- What is the most supportive message you can think of that aligns with your desire to be healthy and happy? Speak it aloud now. Again, if you can’t speak it, think it, slowly and deliberately. Write this down if you wish.
- From this point forward, every time you catch yourself being critical of your unwanted trait, notice and name the pain it creates in you. Replace it with the compassion for yourself you just identified.
- Reframe the inner dialogue to something more supportive and encouraging.
Interestingly, there is evidence to suggest that negative self-talk (which is the opposite of self-compassion) is part of a cycle that stimulates the basal ganglia (in the brain) to release dopamine. Since dopamine leads to habit formation and addiction…that could be a real problem.
You see, your brain not only has the potential to create more negative self-talk from just a little bit. It also can trigger a reward pathway to make you addicted to that negative self-talk!
Sometimes stuff sucks.
Sometimes stuff needs to suck, to get better.
Sometimes, in fact, you might need to poke that "pain point" just a little bit to help yourself explore it.
Evaluate how you react to your "bad days" and see how you can change your though process and how you react.
**Credit to Precision Nutrition**