What Does Self-Compassion have to do with Weight Loss?

Did you know that it appears as if developing greater self-compassion can aid with weight loss? Having recently coming back from holiday carrying a little excess baggage myself (great tapas and cMai_Taiocktails in Almeria…)  I was interested to read a recent piece of research (Mantzios & Wilson, 2014) that suggested mindfulness with self-compassion meditation was more effective at helping people lose weight over a 6 month period than mindfulness meditation on its own or, it was suggested, plain old fashioned dieting.

Given the emotional pain dieting has caused me over the years I’m wary about suggesting that self-compassion is the latest fad in weight loss and yet it seems to me that a kind, caring voice that accepts that we’re all human, we all over eat sometimes and that is not the end of the world can encourage us to return to healthier eating patterns. I find that a loud self-critic shouting at me, telling me how disgusting and weak I am is guaranteed to encourage self-hatred, depressive thoughts and anxiety about my self-image.

Hence I am SO glad to have found my kinder voice which says a few extra pounds is the price to pay for having a wonderful time away and that if I gently watch what I eat and increase my exercise a little more then the excess will slowly disappear.

In this study of soldiers in Greece, the group that combined self-compassion meditation with mindfulness meditation lost significantly more weight than either the group practising purely mindfulness or the control group. The study has its flaws but I think it shows the potential of self-compassion to impact so many aspects of life.

Are you aware of how you speak to yourself around image or weight? Could you do with developing a kinder, wiser voice? Do leave a comment below- it would be great to hear from you. X


Mantzios, M., & Wilson, J. C. (2014). Exploring Mindfulness and Mindfulness with Self-Compassion-Centered Interventions to Assist Weight Loss: Theoretical Considerations and Preliminary Results of a Randomized Pilot Study. Mindfulness (N Y). doi: 10.1007/s12671-014-0325-z

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