This Thanksgiving, Serve Yourself Turkey with a Side of Compassion

Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, my friend,

anyone can start from now and make a brand new end.


I know it’s been awhile since my last post, but this post may be worth the wait. I am hoping that you find this post so inspirational that it actually begins to change the way you think about your body, your weight and your life. I recently came across the book The Self Compassion Diet by Jean Fain. This book was incredibly inspiring to me, and I highly recommend it to any and all of those who struggle with body acceptance.

You see, even though I preach body acceptance to my clients, I am guilty of not completely accepting my current body. I am getting there, with practice – and trust me, some days are better than others as far as the negative thoughts in my head go… but I am not what I would call, there, yet.

Some days, I find myself struggling with the same questions my clients often pose to me. “I can savor my food and appreciate the texture, flavor and aroma of each bite, but that doesn’t seem to be making me eat any less.” Or, “I just don’t understand how by accepting my current body, I will be able to lose weight, doesn’t accepting my body mean that I have given up?” Or, how about this question, “If I let myself eat whatever I want, I’ll never stop eating and I’ll gain even more weight, don’t I have to cut out all white sugar and white flour and anything else that causes me to salivate if I ever want to fit into smaller jeans?

Even though intellectually I grasp the concept of the connection between mind and body, I whole heartedly believe that everything in moderation is sane advice and I agree with the Buddhist who strive to walk the middle path… There are some days when I consider going on The Grapefruit Diet, Slim Fast or South Beach or any other fad diet that promise to make me lose weight quickly. Like yesterday.

Enter, The Self Compassion Diet. This book really helped me to see the connection more clearly. It threw my questions and doubts about how eating more mindfully, more intuitively and having more compassion for my body could lead to lasting weight loss right back at me with logical explanations backed by scientific studies. It’s broken down into four parts, each part offers a slightly different, non-diet approach to weight loss. There are practices and exercises given for each part.

Part I : Self Compassion

Part II: Hypnosis

Part III: Mindfulness

Part IV: Social Support

You can’t lose weight without accepting who you are and how you got where you are now. It starts with acceptance, and even though you may not like the number on the scale, or your thighs, or your muffin top, you have to accept it. It is what it is. You can’t complete a journey if you don’t know where to start. It has to start with the right here and the right now, once you accept the now, you can begin to move forward. The next logical step after acceptance is self compassion. Again, you may be so angry at yourself that it is hard to not want to punish yourself. But I ask you, and be honest here, has punishing yourself worked in the past? I am willing to bet that if you are unhappy with your current weight, unhappy with your obsession about food, unhappy with your level of physical fitness or feel that your eating is just plain out of control, that you got where you are now by punishing yourself for the last umpteen years.

I would like to suggest that you change from self punishment to self compassion. It may sound crazy, but crazy might just work. Actually, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Are you dieting over and over again and expecting different results? Are you punishing yourself yet again with verbal abuse (inside your head) and depriving yourself of foods you love and expecting it to magically create long term weight loss?

So on this day of thanksgiving, and gratitude, I am asking you to serve yourself a little self compassion on the side. It’s the gift that keeps on giving, the whole year through! Especially if you practice it every day, or at least as often as you catch yourself with negative thoughts about your body, diet, activity, etc.

I ask you to come up with 10 things you appreciate about your body, right now. Every day you are here on earth is a gift, start by being thankful for that – for the breath that allows you to be on earth. Now, go eat some turkey!

If you would like to practice a 5 minute guided visualization on self compassion, CLICK HERE, and listen to Jean Fain.

Jean Fain LICSW, MSW

Author of The Self Compassion Diet

May you have a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with blessings and gratitude for all that you have and all that you are!



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Hi! I'm Heather: a body positivity, Health at Every Size dietitian. When I'm not blogging about wellness, I'm spending time with my fabulous family. Sometimes, they wear me out, so then it's time to bake, read, knit, tie myself into a yoga pose, or continue to work my first novel... stay tuned.