Last week I was lucky enough to go to a virtual seminar on compassionate weight management by Rachel Hobbs hosted by Lift The Bar. It’s a topic I’m really passionate about and something that is incredibly important.
Much of the dialogue about weight management or fitness is incredibly polarised. At one end of the spectrum you have people telling you to work harder, grind it out, cut out loads of things. Make yourself smaller.
On the other end of the spectrum you have people telling you that you not only don’t need to change anything; but that the pursuit of any change goes against all that is good and right.
Telling you that weight loss is futile and you shouldn’t want it anyway.
Both ends of the spectrum breed shame, guilt and extreme behaviours.
And while I understand that one end was born out of necessity to fight back against a broken system, it charged so far in the opposite direction it stopped being helpful for a huge number of people.
So many of my clients are people who’ve felt the intense pressure from either side of this spectrum. Many of whom were even embarrassed to tell me they wanted to lose weight, as though it was something to be ashamed of.
But you can love yourself and also strive for change.
You can be a feminist and also enjoy looking a certain way.
What matters is that it is your choice. Not somebody else’s.
Whatever your goals are. Whether other people think they’re at odds with one another.
We are multifaceted beings. More than one thing can be true at once.
And if you are trying to lose weight right now, or maintain weight, I want you to understand that it’s easy to get frustrated when things aren’t as we want them to be – and this frustration is often accompanied by an irrational sense of isolation.
So if you’re feeling isolated, feel free to reach out. I’m always happy to chat.
It’s important that we take a balanced approach to our negative emotions towards our body so that feelings are neither suppressed or exaggerated.
We need to be able to observe our negative thoughts and emotions with openness and clarity.
We can’t ignore our pain and also be compassionate towards it.
And we can’t move forwards without this compassion and self-awareness.
This is where mindfulness comes in.
That doesn’t mean you have to start meditating.
But it does mean you have to start paying attention – paying attention without over identifying with your thoughts and feelings so that you get swept away with reactivity.
Knowing that you don’t need to act on your thoughts.
You can accept yourself as a whole person whilst also striving for improvements.
You can strive for change and also be content with what you have.
I am a big believer in starting from a place of compassion – which is often easier said than done when it comes to ourselves. It takes a lot of practice to be honest.
It’s the same as any skill. You get better the more you try.
So your task for this week is to try and catch your thoughts. If you feel like you’re not good enough, if you feel fat, if you feel like everyone’s doing better than you – observe that thought. Notice it without assigning any meaning to it. Then take a breath and carry on with your day.
Your task is to not let those thoughts dictate your actions.
I sent this out with this morning’s newsletter. If you’d like to sign up for my newsletter and get nuggets like this in your inbox each week, you can sign up here.
You might also like: