Finding Peace with Food: Sally’s Inspiring Journey and How You Can Too

My client, Sally, went to a party and bumped into an old friend she hadn’t seen for a long time. This friend had lost a significant amount of weight from dieting. In the past this would have been a major trigger for Sally.

She would have felt envious, she would have felt so big and gross next to her, she wouldn’t eat anymore food at the party, pressured to go on a diet herself, and just self conscious and ashamed.

Not this time – Sally thought her friend looked gorgeous, but it had no impact on what she thought about herself. She felt genuinely at peace with how she looked, how she ate and how she felt inside.

In Sally’s words “I never thought I could be like this”.

Her experience inspired me to share her story and offer three tips that really worked for Sally.

Tip 1: Shift Your Focus from Appearance to Well-being
One of the most profound changes Sally made was shifting her focus from how she looked to how she felt. For years, she measured her self-worth by the number on the scale and the size of her clothes. It was exhausting and unfulfilling. When she decided to prioritise her overall well-being, everything changed.

She started paying attention to how different foods made her feel, both physically and emotionally. Instead of punishing herself with restrictive diets, she embraced nourishing meals that gave her energy and satisfaction. This shift helped her to enjoy all the food she loved (including chocolate and ice-cream) without guilt, and appreciate her body for all it does, not just how it looks.

Tip 2: Eating with Awareness
Eating with awareness was a game-changer for Sally. In the past, if she was going out, she would have ignored any hunger pangs during the day, and then been starving at the party. She would have given into eating too many ‘bad foods’, felt horrible and it would have ruined her evening.

Now Sally is really tuning into hunger and fullness. She focuses on being present and fully engaged with the eating experience. She savours each bite, pays attention to flavours, textures, and how her body responds. And no food is off limits. This has not only enhanced her enjoyment of food but also helped her recognise when she is truly hungry or full.

Sally is learning to really trust her own body’s cues and stopped relying on external rules or diets.

Tip 3: Cultivating self-compassion
Self compassion has been a crucial aspect of Sally’s journey towards a healthier mindset. Instead of beating herself up for being bigger than she wanted, chastising herself for giving into unhealthy foods, or judging herself for being greedy, she is learning to treat herself with the same kindness and understanding that she would offer to a friend.She is acknowledging her struggles and imperfections without harsh judgement.

Sally has learnt to replace negative self-talk with supportive and encouraging words. When she has setbacks or indulged more than planned, instead of spiralling into guilt and shame, she reminds herself that it’s okay to have those moments. She recognised that being kind to herself was more motivating and constructive than being self-critical.

Practising self-compassion has helped her to view her journey as a learning process rather than a pursuit of perfection. This mindset has allowed Sally to be patient with herself, to celebrate small wins, and stay resilient through challenges. By fostering self-compassion, she is building a more positive and sustainable relationship with food and her body, ultimately leading to greater overall well-being.

Seeing someone else’s weight loss at a party would have been a triggering experience for Sally in the past. However, by making small yet impactful changes to her eating habits and reframing her beliefs about herself, she has learned to trust her body and her instincts. Now, Sally feels more energised, and she is liberated from the constant worry about her diet and appearance. She is embracing the freedom that comes with a healthier mindset and enjoying life without the burden of self-criticism.

Sally’s journey is a powerful reminder that with patience and self-compassion, it’s possible to transform your relationship with food and your body. And then you can really focus on enjoying that party (and all other social occasions).

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