I saw an inspiring film on Netflix the other day – it’s called “I Am Maris”, and is the story of a young yoga instructor who battled a severe bout of mental illness in the form of an eating disorder in her middle teens. It struck me how eating disorders demonstrate, to me anyway, the ways in which we deal with stress/anxiety by being unkind to ourselves. I also struggled as a teen with an eating disorder, and was pretty ruthless in limiting food to myself, no matter how much discomfort this caused me. This all resolved eventually, with lots of work on re-establishing healthier eating patterns, but I still dealt with stress eating patterns until very recently.
It’s not unusual to turn to food for comfort during difficult times – the trick I have found is to ask myself “if I eat this, is that me being kind to myself?” And, yeah, it sounds hokey and ridiculous, but it turns out it’s important. Self-kindness is one of the motivations behind the desire to feel more flexible, to experience better nutrition, improve health markers, etc. If YOU don’t think you deserve it, why would you do it?
Part of what I do is keep you focusing on that track of self-kindness, on the journey to better fitness. There can be times when you take yourself for granted, treat yourself as less, and I’ll be there to remind you that you are deserving of respect and self-respect, kindness from others and self-kindness, as well. It’s a critical tool in elevating your journey into a path to transformation.
This doesn’t mean you can never go on a massive calorie binge, or mess up and skip your workouts for days – it means you try and understand why you veered from the path of self-kindness, and what else you can do when life is being a bit extra. It means you never beat yourself up, too. If you’re the type that thinks you only respond to negative reinforcement, I still say to give self-kindness a try. You might be surprised at what unexpected facets of your thinking change as a result!