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This One Skill is Mandatory for Permanent Weight Loss



There was an academic clinical psychologist who became president of his professional association. This was awesome except for one thing . . . he had a crippling fear of public speaking.


Sweating, nausea, dry mouth, light headedness, even losing his voice. He felt it all. To his credit, he did it anyway, but it was not fun.


He tried everything to get rid of the anxiety. After all, he was a psychologist who dealt with people’s anxiety everyday.


He learned deep breathing techniques, tried visualizations, systematic desensitization, cognitive behavioral therapy he even used medications and none of it touched the hot fear that overwhelmed him at speaking engagements.


Not to mention the dread he would feel weeks before the event.


A big psychology conference at Harvard Medical School was coming up and he was working himself into a frenzy about his speaking gig. He happened to be going on a meditation retreat prior and decided to talk to the experienced teacher about the anxiety.


Here’s the advice she gave:


Practice a Loving Kindness Meditation.


So, during his meditation times at the retreat and once home he would say these words to himself over and over:


May I be safe

May I be happy

May I live with ease


That’s it.


May I be safe

May I be happy

May I live with ease


The benefits were dramatic.


First, he felt great in the moment.


But then the real payoff: at the Harvard event as he was announced, he rose and so did the terror.


But this time another voice joined the inner party and it said, “oh, Sweetie, may you be safe, may you be happy, may you be peaceful” and with that, he says, the fear washed away never to return.


He was thrilled!


And curious.


How/why did that work? After everything that hadn’t?


What he discovered is that his public speaking anxiety was not an anxiety disorder, it was a shame disorder.


His fear was around judgment and rejection; fear of being thought of as a fraud, or incompetent, or laughable.


The shame felt a lot like anxiety, nervousness. But at the core was shame.


As Brene Brown, a shame researcher, says, “the antidote to shame is empathy.”


When he could hold himself in kindness and understanding of his humanness and imperfection, he could find the peace to do what he wanted and needed to do.


The Loving Kindness he had been practicing daily rewired his brain to empathize with instead of judge HIS OWN SELF.


This is the heart of Self-Compassion.


Treating yourself like you would a beloved friend. With love and understanding.


Self-compassion is a NECESSARY skill for weight loss maintenance. Without it, we are doomed to the yo-yo cycle of weight gain.


Chris Germer, PhD was the man in the story. He joined Dr. Kristin Neff to create the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion (learn all about it here). It’s a great place to start to learn ways to build that self-compassion muscle.


May you be safe.   May you be happy.   May you live with ease.


May you watch the Ounce of Prevention Chat right here where we talk about how to get yourself some more self-compassion.






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