It is inevitable that there will be temporary setbacks when people are trying to lose weight. These setbacks can be a temporary hiccup along the way to reaching the final goal or these setbacks can completely derail a person’s progress.
So what can you do to ensure this is a temporary hiccup and does not result in weeks of being off track, feeling discouraged and upset.
One of the strategies I teach my clients is how to be Compassionately Curious
Often I hear clients be very critical of themselves when they have a setback. Their inner critical voice is labeling them as undisciplined, having no will power, thinking there is something “wrong” with them, feeling angry, upset, guilty, ashamed and the list goes on and on…..
Once that negative self talk starts it is very hard to take a step back and learn from the setback. If one can learn from it then there is a very good chance they may be able to develop new strategies for dealing with what triggered the setback.
So the first step to dealing with a setback is to be aware of that inner voice and then start to change the voice so it comes from a place of self-compassion not self-criticism.
Imagine if it was somebody else who had a setback in their behaviours and you heard them being very critical of themselves. What would you say to them, how would you speak to them, how would you reframe the setback for them? I find this a very powerful exercise when I imagine speaking to somebody I love and how would I speak to them? Once you imagine this then change your tone, your words and your perspective as you speak to yourself about your setback.
Speak to yourself as though you are speaking to somebody you love dearly and want the best for them. Speak with “Compassion”
Now that you know How to speak to yourself, the next step is What to say?
Just ask yourself questions but with genuine curiosity and with the intention to learn not to reprimand. You don’t even need to come up with the answers right away, you simply want to ask yourself questions. This is much like when a child is curious about something and they will ask lots of questions because they just really want to learn and to gain an understanding.
Types of questions could be:
What was I feeling
What was going on around me
Where was I
What was my day like
How did I sleep
What was I doing?
How was my energy?
How was my Mood?
What was I getting ready to do next?
Come up with your own questions. There is no right or wrong. All you want to do is see if you can start to identify what could have led to your behaviour to make an unhealthy choice in food.
It may not be obvious right away but as you get more curious everytime a setback happens and even write down your observations then over time you may notice a pattern. At that point you can start to develop strategies to deal with what contributed to your setback.
Compassionate Curiosity is an incredibly powerful tool for people because as they learn how to do this as part of their lifestyle, they become their own compassionate coach. This is what I do with my clients all the time. I set a safe space of compassion, no judgment so that they can stop feeling upset and ashamed and then I get curious and ask the questions so they come up with the answers and begin to see the patterns.
So just calm down the inner critical voice with compassion and then Get Curious!!