Do you struggle to forgive yourself?
“I’m a failure! I start each day on plan and then mid-morning someone offers me a doughnut and I just give up because the day is ruined!”
How many times have you said this? If you do, you are not alone. I certainly have and still do sometimes. We put huge pressure on ourselves to be perfect and then, when we inevitably fail, we punish ourselves for one small bad decision by deciding that the whole day or worse will be ruined.
How about if we said the following instead?
“I’m really proud of myself today. I stuck to plan all morning and then mid-morning I gave in and had a doughnut that was offered at work. I wish I hadn’t, but I stuck to plan for the rest of the day and so I am sure I can still get a weight loss this week.”
If we can be kind to ourselves and learn to forgive our mistakes the outcome will often be very different. Most importantly it will FEEL very different. The chances are that you will feel good the next day too.
So how can you learn to change your reaction from the first example to the second example and forgive yourself?
1 – Accept you are not perfect.
Recognise and accept that you cannot be perfect all of the time. No-one can. I am certainly not perfect. Mistakes will happen and they need to be forgiven, learnt from and then forgotten.
2 – It is only one bad decision.
You get hundreds of opportunities to make new decisions every day and every decision has the opportunity to be a good one. Even if there were 3 doughnuts or 20 chocolates you still have hundreds of other opportunities to make good decisions.
3 – Break your day down into manageable chunks and celebrate success
When I have been struggling the most with emotional eating, I have broken my day down into hours or even ten minute chunks. I say to myself if I can get through the next ten minutes then I will have succeeded and then I can do another ten minutes and then another ten minutes etc.
4 – Recognise when you are struggling and have coping mechanisms
Find out what works for you and helps you shift your mood upwards. I have learned to use upbeat music or watching funny videos online to change my mood. A walk outside can also help to take my mind off it. Work out what works for you.
Here’s an example of how you can practice forgiving yourself:
You have just eaten a big chocolate bar that you found in the house and you now have to go shopping with 2 small fractious children. You feel rubbish about the chocolate bar, you have no idea why you just did it and now you have to go around a supermarket filled with temptation.
Before you go drink a big glass of water – it will fill you up, help your digestion and give you a second to breathe.
Plan your next meal or snack in your head ready for when you get back from the shops. A good healthy one.
Do something silly in the car or whilst walking to the shops. Play a silly game, sing some songs or just talk and laugh. Leave the chocolate bar memory behind where it belongs.
Set yourself the goal of coming out of the supermarket or shops without buying any unhealthy treats or without eating anything else off plan.
Celebrate every single aisle you walk down without buying something you shouldn’t; celebrate every shop you exit without giving in to temptation.
When you get home after having achieved your goal, take a moment to feel really proud of yourself. It doesn’t matter what happened before you went shopping; it only matters how you feel now. Repeat every day as many times as required.
If you have low self-esteem or a negative self-image and want to be able to forgive yourself and change how you feel then coaching can help you. I know it works as I have experienced it myself and I want to help you. Please contact me here to take the first step.