Hagerman pointed out that losing weight is significantly harder than maintaining one’s figure. So, people tend to unfairly burden themselves with excessive amounts of blame in these situations.
“In reality, we live in a food environment that has set everyone up to fail. Practicing self-compassion rather than self-criticism is a key strategy for fostering resilience during the difficult process of weight loss,” Hagerman said.
“The next time you feel the urge to criticize yourself for your eating behavior, instead try speaking to yourself with the kindness that you would speak to a friend or loved one.”
The research team emphasized that adopting a self-compassionate attitude doesn’t mean you’re excusing yourself from taking responsibility. Rather, it offers a way to extend understanding and grace to yourself, which is crucial in navigating the difficulties of weight loss.
So, they now hope the study’s findings will help inform more effective methods that encourage people to cultivate self-compassion in the face of challenges like weight gain or overeating.
The team is also eager to conduct further research to identify optimal approaches for fostering self-compassion and minimizing self-criticism, all while maintaining personal accountability toward personal goals.
“It can be easy for the message of self-compassion to get muddled, such that people practice total self-forgiveness and dismiss the goals they set for themselves. But we’ve shown that self-compassion and accountability can work together,” Hagerman concluded.
To read the study’s complete findings, which have since been published in the journal Appetite, visit the link here.