The Self-Compassion Diet

The Self-Compassion Diet: A Step-by-Step Program to Lose Weight with Loving-Kindness by Jean Fain (Sounds True 2011) ISBN 978-1-60407-075-0

and The Self-Compassion Diet: Guided Practices to Lose Weight with Loving-Kindness by Jean Fain (Sounds True audio 2011) ISBN 978-1-60407-077-4

When I was recuperating from knee replacement surgery a year ago, I found an in-the-moment awareness that served me well. My body may have had the stress of getting adjusted to a new part but I let go of the usual to-do list and simply paid attention. How often do we do that? We usually take our bodies for granted, pushing ourselves mindlessly through all sorts of busyness.

I was surprised I didn’t gain weight during a fairly sedentary eight weeks. I did go to physiotherapy a few times a week and exercised my knee at home but I wasn’t getting the usual work-out or walks. I was relaxed, reading and resting in a calm environment. What a life! That sort of self-care, calm and mindfulness helped me to get well.

I was drawn to Jean Fain’s book and CD as I thought about how those recovery practices could be applied to my usual daily life. Fain believes when we start loving who we are, weight loss naturally follows.

The Self-Compassion Diet begins with metta, loving-kindness meditation, which helps to cultivate self-compassion rather than self-discipline. Fifteen to twenty minutes a day is ideal to repeat one of the examples the book provides.

Current research and slimming strategies are described and lots of quizzes, visualizations, and writing exercises help you get in touch with your compassionate self. Instead of calorie-counting, Fain offers a food log to keep track of your thoughts and feelings along with food and drink consumed. While it helps one to be mindful, keeping track is also a successful weight-loss strategy.

Along with “Mindful Eating Suggestions,” Fain also dedicates a chapter to finding group support and the importance of finding a “weight-loss buddy.”

The CD with Jean Fain’s encouraging voice is a very useful companion as it has eleven guided meditations and trance sessions that help you to develop mindful eating habits.

Both the book and CD are resources that help quiet the shame that the bathroom scale can instill. As I’ve learned, awareness of the way one lives, breathes and eats is an integral part of self-compassion.

Mary Ann Moore is a poet, writer and creator of Writing Home: A Whole Life Practice.