The married couple that you need in your life

You'll notice that I consistently toggle back and forth between self-love/compassion and tough love..

Because the thing is... you need BOTH!

If there was to be a marriage of two components of success in this post-op process, it would be the one between TOUGH LOVE where you give yourself a kick in the patootie, and COMPASSION when you practice self-kindness and self-love.

See, you have a tendency to be wayyyyy to harsh on yourself which causes you to give up and say 'why bother', and for this you need compassion and loving kindness.

Then, you have a way about you that equally says 'what can I get away with' or 'can I skate by?' or the part that really doesn't want to put in the work... for this you need the tough love.

These two make a masterful pair which can really help you hold yourself accountable while learning how to be kind to yourself.

See most people mistake kindness for indulgence. Even in my book, Bariatric Mindset Success, I discuss this in Chapter 7, and discuss Dr. Kristin Neff's work on compassion. Even as a therapist, I had no idea how to practice self-compassion until I started studying her work.

Even then, I was confused on how to love myself, practice kindness, or when to give myself a break.

This is where this married couple comes into play... TOUGH LOVE & COMPASSION

Giving yourself a down day can be compassionate and kind, especially if you've been running yourself ragged for a while.

Giving yourself ice cream, doritos, or pizza because you've had a rough day, is NOT compassion. In fact, it's quite the opposite. It can be considered indulgence, but actually, I'd even categorize it as self-harm because those foods are not nourishing you or nurturing you. They just make you feel WORSE!

Similarly, beating yourself up for not completing all 100 items on your to-do list is equally as harmful.

Tough love isn't about kicking yourself when you're down, yet rather, encouraging yourself to get back up as well as not letting yourself squirm out of commitments that you know you need to follow through on.

There's a BIG difference in kicking your butt to go to the gym when you need to versus kicking your butt to go to the gym when you've just worked an 18-hour shift and really need to be sleeping.

This is where you need to call on your rational mind and practice balance between tough love and compassion (loving kindness).

Most bariatric patients I know (like myself), struggle with this because for years we've been doing it the opposite, meaning, trying to beat ourselves up for not reaching impossibly lofty goals and then using food to soothe.

Let's end this pattern now!

How to be a compassionate tough-love guru:

Step1: Start asking yourself how would you treat your friends in this situation. Would you encourage your friend to push through? Or would you tell her to give herself a break? How might you suggest a friend handle this? It's important to ask this question because we don't have a filter inside our own head. It's important that you externalize what you might do for someone else, and then bring it back to yourself. You're typically more kind to others than you are yourself. Also - a note to the wise... stop treating your friends with food if this is your pattern because it's likely coming back to you this way too. Start looking for new ways to practice love to others, and in turn to yourself. Non-food related treats are good!

Step 2: What does tough love look like to you? In my world tough love looks like this:
Self, you know you want to reach this goal. You slept in yesterday and today it's time to do the work. I'm going to kick your butt to achieve this today because I DO love you, not because I don't. I believe in you, and it's go time!

Tough love is about encouragement, support, love, and calling yourself OUT on the carpet when needed. It's about getting super real with yourself and not sugar-coating anything!

Step 3: Learning how to vacillate between the two. At first you might not know which to call upon - loving kindness or a swift kick in the booty? So take out a sheet of paper and write down what each looks like. On the left side write: Tough love; On the right side write: Compassion

What do each of these practices look like when it comes to : eating out, going to the gym, setting boundaries with people, etc.

This will help you to practice this.

Step 4: If you need help - get a buddy to work through this process with. Get someone to help you call you out when your kindness turns into indulgence, or your tough love needs to be tougher. Find someone in the bari-community so you guys can support each other in learning these new skills.

Step 5: Remember that this takes time and this is a practice. If you are struggling, write out what you're struggling with, and use the tools of tough love, and compassion to call yourself out, or give yourself a break when needed.

This married couple of compassion and tough love is about you learning how to step into your power, so you can feel more confident in trusting yourself. Self-trust is a big element in this process that we'll talk about next time.. and its needed when you implement tough love and kindness..