Eating with Compassion


I started a new diet this week.

I’m really hoping (as I always do) that this one will work for me. Like a lot of women I’m a bit of a “yo-yo-er”.  Diet and exercise work for me when I’m committed and I’m motivated but it is never the” life style change” that everyone tells us we need to make.  For me it’s short lived; it’s a phase.

I’ve known for a long time that I’m an emotional eater, and I’m not all that fussed for exercise if I’m honest. I do like to go to an exercise class that is local and fits in with my work and social life and I enjoy it for a while and then work changes or the class does, or someone joins the class that gets up my nose or something, always something, that makes me stop going.

And then the weight creeps back and my default bad eating habits re-emerge.

My new diet is very different.

On my new diet I give myself full permission to eat and drink what I want, when I want. However, and here’s the rub, there are of course some things that are off-limits to eat:

I will not eat my

  • Anger
  • Grief
  • Confusion
  • Frustration
  • Boredom
  • Loneliness
  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Guilt
  • Disappointment
  • Low self worth
  • Lost opportunities
  • Or even my celebrations

And most of all, I will not eat ‘my need not to say what needs to be said’; my avoidance of any kind of confrontation, at all costs.

How am I going to do it?  How am I going to make this THE change and not just another phase?

First of all, I’m going to give myself a generous helping of self compassion every single day. Stuff happens in life and there are lots of ways to deal with it rather than bury it in food or drink.  I’m giving myself permission to feel stuff and to take care of myself in spite of stuff.

When I find myself in the shop or at the fridge door with chocolate/crisps/cake/ cheese/wine (or lurpak or leftovers or anything bite sized) in my hand, I’m going to ask myself, “What’s really going on/What just happened?”

When I feel myself shovelling in a meal as fast as I can to escape from a difficult conversation or a stifling situation, I’m going to put down my fork and take a breath.

When I catch up with a friend, sometimes I’m going to take flowers instead of cake, sometimes I’m going to invite her to have a walk instead sitting in a pub or coffee shop

And sometimes, I am going to have a gooey cake, a bottle of wine or a few beers and a bag of crisps – because I want to, and I’m going to enjoy it and I’m not going to wish I hadn’t had  it before it’s even finished.

There’s enough stuff going on in all our lives without the need for us to self-harm with food.

I’m starting now. Care to join me?

For more about self compassion and “kindful eating” you might like to visit or even attend one of her events.  Lucy is a radical dietitian, a poet and a very inspiring woman.