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Old 07-28-2012, 07:38 AM   #1
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Default Self Compassion and forgiveness is key to willpower (study)

Forgiving yourself and being kind to yourself are things that I don't recall seeing emphasized in any weight loss book or tv shows and yet these qualities are ones that I've read about before when looking into will power. So I thought that I'd post this article for you and see what you think.

It gives the example of one experiment done in Carlton university in Ottawa but unfortunately does not list any others.

"Study after study shows that self-criticism is consistently associated with less motivation and worse self-control. It is also one of the single biggest predictors of depression, which drains both “I will” power and “I want” power. In contrast, self-compassion— being supportive and kind to yourself, especially in the face of stress and failure— is associated with more motivation and better self-control. Consider, for example, a study at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, that tracked the procrastination of students over an entire semester. Lots of students put off studying for the first exam, but not every student made it a habit. Students who were harder on themselves for procrastinating on their first exam were more likely to procrastinate on later exams than students who forgave themselves. The harder they were on themselves about procrastinating the first time, the longer they procrastinated for the next exam! Forgiveness— not guilt— helped them get back on track.


Surprisingly, it’s forgiveness, not guilt, that increases accountability. Researchers have found that taking a self-compassionate point of view on a personal failure makes people more likely to take personal responsibility for the failure than when they take a self-critical point of view. They also are more willing to receive feedback and advice from others, and more likely to learn from the experience."


In your experience do you find this to be true? Or do you find that being hard on yourself when you "fail" gives you better results?
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Old 07-28-2012, 08:24 AM   #2
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I believe that, especially as someone who has seen first hand how quickly self-criticism drains you. Kindness tends to work better than cruelty to get other people to work well; why shouldn't it work on ourselves?

Thanks for posting!

Started July 1, 2012 @ 290lbs
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Old 07-28-2012, 12:08 PM   #3
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I think it's absolutely true UNLESS you are in the habit of using food to "be nice to yourself", which many overweight people - myself included - are
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Old 07-28-2012, 12:27 PM   #4
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My therapist has really been hammering this idea into me for several years. It's a long slog for me to get there, but I'm hoping to eventually.

I do have moments when I can be kind to myself in general and about weight loss. I do find that it is incredibly helpful. I give myself credit for how far I've come, instead of looking at my mistakes or how I wasn't "perfect" this week diet and exercise wise.

That's an interesting point you make Northernrose. Personally, I find that food acts as both self compassionate and also a way to express my self hatred/low self esteem. I like to treat myself with food, but it would be a lie to say that I can ever do it without guilt. Often I eat unhealthy things when I feel badly, knowing that eating these things will not make me feel better but make me feel worse.
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Old 07-28-2012, 02:19 PM   #5
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I know what you mean about the comfort eating connection. I have that too. But you still have a choice as to how you respond to the comfort eating. For example if you comfort eat over your calorie limit you could say to yourself "I'm useless, I'm weak etc" or "this emotional eating link is hard to break and it's okay to give into it sometimes, I can still lose weight." I think that's what they mean regarding being kind to yourself.
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