USE A COMPASSIONATE VOICE WITH YOURSELF
Today’s challenge is to do something extraordinary and begin practicing a compassionate voice with yourself.
What is a compassionate voice and how is going to help you?
Any eating or exercise plan, or any plan in general for that matter will have blips. There will be peaks and troughs. The important thing is consistency. We already know it from many other areas of our lives where we have done something consistently for a long time, and although it was very difficult sometimes, and although we will certainly have had obstacles, and pauses on the journey, in the long run, our persistence helped to form a habit.
Food is much the same. Nobody can follow an exact plan all the time. There are too many unplanned inevitables that will interrupt your well thought out plan. Think parties, holiday periods, vacations, office birthdays, and any other event you can think of that in general is going to enhance your quality of life in terms of social fun. Not to mention all the days of stress, sadness, and fatigue, where you w8ll just want to go off the rails and eat anything and everything.
Those occasions are guaranteed. Expect them because they are the norm.
Using a compassionate voice is about being kind to ourselves in these times when we deviate from ‘the plan’. It is a calm, supporting voice that is free of judgement and makes sure not to impose guilt or shame. Most people get caught out because when they do something that wasn’t on their scheduled diet, they freak out and consider it failure. They then thrown their hands up and say “to hell with this. I’ve failed so I might as well give up, eat everything until I feel sick, and start another day.”
It is the same in the gym. Missing a day, a week, a month, whatever doesn’t matter. It just doesn’t matter. Tell yourself that it’s ok, because otherwise you will be stuck in a moral quandary where you are either all ‘good’ or all ‘bad’. There is no grey area, and so you wallow in the self-pity of being all bad, until you are motivated enough to be all good.
No one is ever ‘all good’. It is a fallacy. The most successful healthy eaters not only expect balance, but they introduce it.
The kind of voice that is well suited to these times is to think of how a parent would want to sooth and reassure their child in a difficult situation. You as the parent want the best for your child. You speak kind words that don’t ignore what has happened, but simply observe them and guide your child how to move on. You wouldn’t dream of belittling your child and at the same time you want to motivate them. Your wisdom as the adult is knowing that panic leads to self-flagellating behaviours, but calm allows for reflection and acceptance.
How does that voice sound in your head? Can you practice it? Can you perfect it, and use it regularly?