While I was visiting my family in Minnesota last month, I went to a yoga class and was inspired by a phrase. We spent a few minutes meditating at the beginning of class and our teacher was offering suggestions for mindfulness during our practice. She encouraged us to be present while moving through poses and to respond to our bodies “with curiosity and compassion”. This phrase stayed with me after class and got me thinking about how it applies to the weight loss journey. So here we go:
Have you ever kept a food log? It’s a common recommendation for people who are working towards weight loss goals. Food logging promotes awareness and accountability which typically helps people to stay on track. If you keep a food log, you are encouraged to review it regularly, such as at the end of each day, to see what can be learned. Sometimes you might not be proud of the choices that you made that day but reviewing a food log shouldn’t be a reason to judge yourself or feel guilty. That’s not productive. Instead, I encourage you to look at your food log with a mindset of ‘curiosity and compassion’.
Be curious. Why did I make that choice today? Would things have been differently if I packed my lunch at home or if I took a few breaths to relieve stress before eating that brownie in the break room? What is triggering me to make these choices? How can I prevent it in the future?
Have compassion. These choices don’t make me a bad person. I am faced with a lot of choices every day and I might not always make the best ones. But I am motivated to reach my health goals and I know I can continue to improve.
While I’m using the example of a food log, this can be applied to other situations too. You can reflect on any past behaviors with curiosity and compassion. Instead of getting trapped in an unproductive cycle of self-blame, this mindset allows you to respond more productively to behaviors that you would like to change. Curiosity helps you to think about choices from a neutral and unbiased perspective while having compassion encourages self-kindness and a no judgment zone. Are there areas of your life that could use more curiosity and compassion?