One of the most amazing things we can do on our journey of body neutrality is allowing ourselves to be brave enough to be a compassionate witness to ourselves. 

What does this mean? 

Well, for today’s purposes we’re talking about being able to discern when your feelings and food feel like a threat vs. what is the discomfort of change.

Image of a plate of food. Text reads "food is food. Working through feelings of threat and discomfort in food recovery."

Doing something different than what you’re used to or what you’ve been programmed to do can bring discomfort and can feel like a threat, but it doesn’t have it. 

As we do new things that are counter to what we’re used to, it’s natural to come up against old feelings. This includes wounds, fears and rejections that possibly made you run to dieting or overeating to begin with. 

Where compassionate witnessing comes into play is the ability to be grounded in the ‘now time’. It’s about being able to orient to what is safe enough so that you can see and understand, despite the discomfort, what is going on in your head. It’s about knowing that those feelings are not threats but unprocessed experiences of you being too much or not enough. 

So how do we move past this to develop new neuropathways that allow us to be a witness and to know that we have our own backs (even if no one else does)?

  1. Start working on co-regulatory, safe relationships (with other people and in your own environment). 
  2. Continue to renew your mind around what is good, lovely and life-affirming truth.

I’ll end today with this : Doing something different is a requirement for change and will bring discomfort, but it doesn’t have to equal a threat.

Let’s recognize that we didn’t have anything in the past that kept us safe when things felt like ‘too much’. Now, we don’t have the neuropathways to know what it’s like for someone else or ourselves to have our own backs. That’s okay.

But knowing that will allow you, again, to be a compassionate witness and keep you from running back to dieting or overeating to settle the overwhelm. 

Stay present. Recognize your thoughts. Provide yourself with what you need.

You’ve got this.

Want to learn more about working in co-regulatory, safe relationships? Check out this blog post on support and relationships.