When I heard about a new diet book by a psychotherapist, I couldn’t decide whether I thought that sounded like a brilliant idea or an odd thing. I was definitely intrigued, though.

Harvard psychotherapist Jean Hain’s The Self-Compassion Diet recommends being kind to yourself rather than attempting to beat yourself into submission in hopes of losing weight.

“The secret to sustainable weight loss isn’t counting calories or depriving yourself at the dinner table. Jean Fain tells us it’s about cultivating awareness and self-acceptance wherever you are. With The Self-Compassion Diet, this Harvard Medical School-affiliated psychotherapist prescribes a practical program for transforming the way you think and feel about food and your whole self — a shift that, paradoxically, inspires physical change. Combining loving-kindness, self-hypnosis, and other winning weight-loss strategies, she shares eleven guided meditations and trance sessions that have helped her clients change for good, including: 1) Satisfaction: a practice for appreciating the everyday activity of eating, and learning to trust your body’s signals that it’s nourished 2) Gradual change: a guided visualization for developing mindful eating habits 3) Wise: a meditation for getting to know the diet coach who knows you best — your compassionate “inner advisor.” “Most dieters try to `kill cravings’ and break habits with self-discipline,” teaches Fain. “Self-kindness can help quiet the shame that traditional diets instill, and establish a harmonious relationship with food.” Here is a treasury of heart-opening mind-body practices for improving the way you live, breathe, and eat.”


Though some people may prefer the Skinny Bitch approach, I’d be more likely to recommend something like this to someone who wants to lose weight. No single method works for everyone, but if you can improve a client’s self-esteem in the process, I say give it a shot. It’s not all about the number of the scale or attaining some “cleaner/greener than thou” diet plan. The journey is really important.

My aunt told me once about a dream she had where she was told to treat herself “like a new pet,” and I think that’s a great way to approach making lifestyle changes.

You can read an interview with the Jean Hain here.

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