Health

Is self-compassion the key to weight loss?

By: Canadian Living
Canadian Living
Health

Is self-compassion the key to weight loss?

By: Canadian Living

Weight loss motivation Working in the magazine world, I come across an endless number of studies—so many that I’ve become immune to them. Consuming 25 percent or more of daily calories from sugar increases your risk of cardiovascular-related death by 200 percent? Scary but nothing ground-breaking. Losing weight can significantly reduce hot flashes in perimenopausal women? That’s nice. I encounter findings of this nature every day. Rarely do they affect me. But the most recent one pretty much rocked my world. It came out of the University of Waterloo, where a team of researchers looked into the correlation between self-compassion and the prevalence of eating disorders. According to the study, published in the journal Body Image, greater self-compassion is linked to a more positive body image and decreases the odds of unhealthy weight-control practices. Doesn’t sound too earth-shattering at first. If I’m kinder to myself, chances are I’m less critical when looking in a mirror, right? Well, it goes beyond that simple interpretation. I’m hard on myself. It could be because I missed a typo at work, or simply because I put my foot in my mouth. I’ve internally hurled every insult there is at myself. And it’s that sort of behaviour that promotes unhealthy eating habits. “Women may experience a more positive body image and better eating habits if they approach disappointments and distress with kindness and the recognition that these struggles are a normal part of life,” said Allison Kelly, professor of psychology and the study's lead author, in a university release. “How we treat ourselves during difficult times that may seem unrelated to our bodies and eating seems to have a bearing on how we feel about our bodies and our relationship with food.” It’s not about liking the way we look and finding ever-elusive self-confidence, nor is it simply about being more compassionate in relation to body image ; we need to be more compassionate toward ourselves at all times, in spite of disappointments, setbacks and so-called failures. Cutting ourselves some slack might even be the difference between indulging in and forgoing that midnight snack. Photo courtesy ereidveto/iStockphoto
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Is self-compassion the key to weight loss?

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