Kindness to yourself is the key to conquering emotional eating

KINDNESS is the theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, and rightly so. In a new poll, two-thirds of people said that when others are kind to them it has a positive impact on their mental health.

However, did you know that kindness to yourself is one of the best things you can do to conquer emotional eating?

My studies have proved this many times over the past 10 years or so and it was reinforced by research I read recently from the University of Texas and the University of Exeter.

Being kind to yourself helps people stick to their weight-loss goal, the research showed. That’s because so many unhealthy eating habits are driven by difficulties in managing our emotions.

If people are self-compassionate, they tend to stop eating when they’re full. But people who are not in such a good place tend to keep overeating as a way to draw out negative emotions.

         Watch me live on social media tonight

I’ll be live on our main Thinking Slimmer Facebook page doing a deeper dive on all this tonight (May 18) at 7.30 to help you like (or even love) yourself more. I’ll also be going live on Instagram at 8pm. Hope to see you tonight!

It’s SO important to stop being negative about yourself. Stop criticising everything you do. You must look for the positives and the kindness in your life.

Easier said than done? Well, to gain control over your inner critic you have to first be aware of it.

Neuroscientists believe we have between 20,000 and 60,000 thoughts a day, but only about five per cent of them are about what we’re actually doing at any given moment.

The rest of them are totally random and often negative self-talk – basically, the things we tell ourselves we can’t do.

During every conscious moment we have an inner dialogue with ourselves. Much of our thinking is so automatic and happening so rapidly that we hardly notice it’s going on.

Making an effort to slow down and pay more  to your thoughts will help you notice when the critic is at work!

Your emotions will also cue you to the presence of the critic. Negative emotions such as self-doubt, guilt, shame and the feeling of worthlessness are almost always signs of the critic at work.



Kindness starts with an “inner critic log”

Try this for one week – it’s very simple:  keep an “inner critic” log on your phone or in a journal.

Every time you notice yourself being self-critical, just note two or three words about the situation – for example “I’m standing in front of the mirror.”

This all helps because when you’re aware of the critical voice, you’ll be able to stand up to it!

Next big step is to disassociate yourself from it.  This voice isn’t you.  It’s something that’s muscled in on you.

The inner critic doesn’t want you to notice it. It thrives best when you mistake it for being part of your authentic self.

Here’s the thing: you weren’t born with an inner critic.

The critic is a voice that you’ve created based on outside influences and learning, such as other people’s criticism, expectations, or standards.

One way to separate from the critic is to give it a name.

Any name will work – but to add some power, give it a name of someone or something you don’t like.

The important thing is that by separating it from your own identity, you are on your way to freeing yourself from the influence it’s had over you.

Next step – talk back to it!


Kindness needs tough action

Talking back to your inner critic is an important part of taking away its power. Simply telling the critic you don’t want to hear what it has to say begins to give you a sense of choice in the matter.

When you hear the inner critic start to speak, tell it to go away.

Tell it you refuse to listen.

Tell it off for telling you lies!

Tell it you are choosing instead to be kind to yourself.

The best way to defeat the critic is to replace it, grow an inner voice that acts as your own best friend.

But to do this, you need to start noticing the GOOD things about yourself. It may take you some effort to retrain yourself to see them but I can assure you they are there!!


Kindness means not saying this

Because of the way our brain works, we all have an automatic selective filtering system that will look for evidence in our environment that matches up with whatever we believe to be true about ourselves.

We will then shut out other evidence to the contrary. If you are always saying to yourself  “I am useless” – you’ll then focus on those things because they match up with what you say to yourself.

To break this automatic process, you have to first make the deliberate effort to say something different to yourself and then your brain will begin to search for evidence that it’s true.

This is when REAL change happens!

Hope to see you tonight !  If you’re not on Facebook – it would be worth joining just for this!  And remember, I’ll also be going live on Instagram this evening at 8pm because kindness is such an important subject.

If you miss the live you can catch up tomorrow by visiting our main Facebook page. A recording will be there!

Take care and be kind to yourself.  

23 thoughts on “Kindness to yourself is the key to conquering emotional eating”

  1. This is absolutely brilliant! I need to continue to work very hard on this! It’s my own worst enemy, the little devil on your shoulder that makes you doubt yourself and can cause the self-sabotage too. I’m making this a priority from now! Thank you so much Sandra xxx

  2. Very interesting, I am constantly criticising myself and find it extremely hard to compliment myself or accept a compliment from others. Thank you. I’m beginning by giving my inner critic a name.

  3. carolduncombe3

    I agree Doreen I will need to really believe in this programme as I so want to be kinder to me

  4. That’s so true for me. I have very low self-esteem and constantly beat myself up metaphorically speaking. Must try harder at this

  5. Mary O'Gallagher

    It feels as if you are talking about me like me always saying you stupid or why did you do that putting myself down.

  6. I’m so used to being kind to others, I’m not very comfortable about being kind to myself. I know I’m doing it too. Time to change and for good. Thanks Sandra all this makes sense.

  7. Gosh, what you’re saying makes sense. This I will try this as I am my own enemy, over the many years being bullied and criticised I hate myself and regularly put myself down. This is going to be so hard, but I want to rid myself of this demon.
    Thank you Sandra.x

  8. Hi Sandra,
    Before reading this I hadn’t realised how much my inner critic played a part in my life. Every morning I stand in front of the mirror turning to see any difference and I convince myself that there is none. When I read this I realised that’s my inner critic, so I’ve named it Sally after a very unpleasant client that we have at our salon, I hope I don’t slip up and say anything rude to her when we go back . I’ve been taking a step back to recognise over areas that she’s imposed her self on and one of the biggest was my art. I love painting and my passion for some time has been painting pet portraits and I’ve had some success with it but recent years I have lost my confidence and told myself I’m not good enough to push myself any further.
    I’ve been on the Slimpod for 16 weeks now and all of a sudden things are happening but not so much with weight loss more with confidence. I think it began with Ej’s challenge with the dancing . Well I’ve now decided “I am doing this” I’ve started to push my commissions on Instagram and Facebook and I’m painting more confidently and I have 4 commissions that I’m working on. So Sally can jolly well go take a hike!! I’m going to look in the mirror and see something new about myself, my new confidence.
    I’m really starting to unravel a lot of stuff, I’ve also realised that one of the things that I thought had made me stronger had really nocked my confidence in a big way…. my breast cancer. I think that I was actually pretending to everyone that I was stronger because of it because really that’s what others needed to hear. I’m stronger here and now, today, because of you sweetie and because of the wonderful family that is Slimpod.
    Sorry if this was a little longer than intended, but I Got carried away.
    Thank you Sandra for being so amazing
    Love and best wishes, Dawn xx

    1. Sandra Roycroft-Davis

      Thanks for your lovely message Dawn. I LOVE watching people grow into their best selves and you’re one of these people!’well done you!’

  9. Mary-Ann Anderson

    Hello Sandra,
    I have never thought of self criticism is this way but it really resonated with me. Will certainly give a good go for this week.

    I am very pleased I have stumbled onto Slimpod something deep inside of me seems to be clicking with this programme. I have struggled for so and for the first time I am not being told that I lack will or back bone or all the other things that tell me I am a failure. What a relief!

  10. How true that is – if you always are told you are stupid or worthless you will eventually start to believe its true – I know from bitter experience. Its also very hard to break the cycle – but slowly I am starting to.

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About Sandra
Founder of Thinking Slimmer
Food addiction expert
Member of All-Party Parliamentary Obesity Group
Huffington Post contributor
DipCHyp HPD NLP MasterPrac
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