Editorial: Self-compassion is a hinderance on weight loss.


Our own lack of compassion for our selves is a key reason for weight loss failure.

Central Obesity
Central Obesity

Daily, millions of individuals seek to lose or maintain weight loss. Despite the fact that millions of Americans are struggling with obesity, we failur to understand the our own shortcomings. Although we will forgive others, we fail to forgive ourselves and we beat ourselves to the end of the earth for the same issues we forgive others.

Despite the plethora of weight management options available, the number of individuals living with overweight and obesity is increasing in the US and globally. Excess weight continues to grow and despite the fact that obesity is associated with many chronic diseases that can impact an individual’s health and quality of life, very little is being done to combat this illness. It is essential that weight management interventions evolve to improve better outcomes.

It is clear that physiologic or behavioral health aspect to weight gain and weight loss are essential to future success. Adding these psychological components to weight management interventions is a promising new aspect that might promote further success. The last 10 years has seen a surge in research on self-compassion as a means to improve health and promote weight loss. Self-compassion is treating oneself with kindness during times of failure or distress.

A research study evaluated self-compassion as means to promote a healthier weight​[1]​. The objective of this study was to evaluate the evidence assessing whether self-compassion interventions can support weight management outcomes, defined as healthier eating, increased exercise, and improved weight. A total of 20 studies were identified and reviewed. Participants were predominately female.

In the studies, self-compassion was a sub-component of a broader intervention Bus was still s significant part of the plan. Improvements were found in all studies that evaluated eating behaviours and physical activity. Six of studies reporting weight outcomes demonstrated improvements in weight-loss with self-compassion.

The bottom line: Self-compassion and flexibility assists with weight loss. The research is inconclusive sure to methodological weaknesses and variability in outcome measures limits the ability to make strong conclusions on the evidence of self-compassion in weight management. There is a need for more research on self-compassion, but the research and common sense dictates that compassion should assist with weight loss.


  1. [1]
    Brenton-Peters, Consedine, Boggis, and Serlachius, “Self-Compassion in Weight Management: A Systematic Review,” Proceedings, p. 1, Dec. 2019, doi: 10.3390/proceedings2019037001. [Online]. Available: http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/proceedings2019037001
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About the Author

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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