How to Tame Your Inner Critic & Build Self Compassion
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Building self-compassion against that negative voice inside

Tame your inner critic and building self-compassion image

Have you ever wondered why it is so hard to feel proud of yourself or to feel just okay as you are?  

Self-compassion is a difficult skill. Even though we are often so incredibly compassionate towards others, we can have a hard time giving ourselves that same non-judgemental support. 

When it comes to food and our body, so many of us have grown up mistakenly learning that we are supposed to feel bad for not eating a certain way or when we eat certain foods. Many of us learn to be self-critical if we are not exercising all the time or working to make sure our body looks a particular way.  

In my practice, sometimes people want to shift this but feel scared about what might happen if they didn’t hate on themselves. A common misconception that I see is that clients feel they will never be happy and healthy in their own skin if they start to be okay with taking a day off the gym or allowing themselves to have soulful foods when they really want it.

And yet, what I know to be true, is the opposite!  

When clients start taking care of themselves in a way that makes them feel proud, when they stop punishing themselves for just being them, they actually feel better! They don’t “let themselves go” and “only eat soulful foods” or “never workout again.” Instead, they start practicing trust and listening to their own bodies. This is key to building self compassion when it comes to your relationship with food and your body.

So, how do you build self compassion and tame your inner critic?

Start with this three-step simple self compassion exercise below:

1. Awareness

First, we need to start noticing how often this critic is showing up. Start by asking yourself the following questions:

  • When do you notice this voice?  
  • What are the things it is usually commenting on? (body size, food choices, parenting, intelligence, exercise habits, etc.) 
  • Is it saying the same things all the time? 

2. Explore why it is there 

  • The odd part about the critic is that it is often there to protect us in some way. The critic is there to serve a purpose, so our job is to start figuring out why. Curiosity is essential 
  • Remember, shame and torture are not good motivators. True motivators are things that make us feel better or feel good in our skin.  
  • For example, a good motivator for going to the gym might be to catch up with your friend at the end of a tough work day.  

3. Decide what to do with your inner critic

  • Do you want to prove it wrong? Some people find it helpful to fact-check the things that the inner critic is saying. For example, it is NOT true that you will “lose all your fitness and have to start over” if you don’t go to the gym today when you don’t feel like being there.  
  • Do you want to become a rebel? You can act in an opposing manner to what the inner critic is saying. For example, if it is saying you “shouldn’t eat dessert” even though you are not full and the dessert looks really tasty, then eat the dessert is exactly what you can do to.   
  • Do you want to just let it pass? Now that you have an awareness of the inner critic and the things it says, you may find it easier to simply notice the thought and then let it go. This might look like thinking, “oh, that is just my inner critic again. I don’t need to pay attention to that”.  

Building self-compassion and challenging your inner critic may be a simple exercise or it may feel much tougher. If you start some of these self compassion exercises and you feel your inner critic is just not budging, it might be helpful to reach out for some counselling or even to a registered dietitian who can help you prove your inner critic wrong. We would be happy to share our nutrition knowledge with you and some of our compassion as well! Compassion is one of our key core values here at Health Stand Nutrition.

Need help proving your inner critic wrong and want to get personalized support to improve your relationship with food and your body?

At Health Stand Nutrition, we nourish self-love. Eating well isn’t always easy, and since you are not a robot, we’ll never expect perfection. Our kind dietitians will remind you that the best recipe for success is non-judgment and kind compassion.

Our Registered Dietitian team specialize in intuitive eating, nutrition for children, weight concerns, mental health, meal planning, emotional eating, eating disorders, digestive health and more.

Find out more about our Dietitian Nutrition Counseling Programs here.

Self Compassion Resource  


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"I am a psychologist in private practice and it is very important to me that my clients have the best care with other health care professionals. For that reason Health Stand Nutrition is my only source for exceptional Dietitians. Andrea and her team provide highly knowledgeable, compassionate, and real world support to my clients who require assistance with food lifestyle. I trust my clients to them and you would be in excellent hands making them part of your health care team."
Adele Fox, Psychologist
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Rhonda Jenkins, Nutrition Counseling Client
“The Dieticians at Health Stand Nutrition help you to take action on the science behind eating well by making it practical, understandable, and fun. Their office is cozy and not at all clinical or intimidating. I felt like I was sitting down with a really smart, caring friend who wanted to help me make the best choices for my lifestyle and food preferences. They really are the best in the business.”
Marty Avery, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I have come to think of the program as a one stop shopping excursion for everything one needs to know about creating a joyous relationship with food and our bodies. In a single word, the course has gifted me with freedom from the punishing rigidity of disordered eating, old stories that never were true, and body dysmorphia that did nothing but make me lose sight of a body that has done everything I've asked, despite my careless dismissal of her needs. Now when I look in the mirror I find myself shifting from harsh criticism to gentle gratitude.”
Lynn Haley, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“I spent 3 hours when first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I learned more from my Dietitian about food in those 3 hours than I had learned in all the years of my life. I also love the newsletter, there is always something to learn.”
Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I didn’t realize how strong my “diet mentality” was, and all the rules I had in my head about food. I was in a cycle of reward/punish/binge/cringe. I booked with your business very reluctantly, on the repeated advice of my doctor, to get my slowly rising cholesterol levels in check. I thought I knew everything about food, and my behaviour with food, but I was definitely re-schooled. My weight is creeping down, I feel good about my diet, exercise, body image, and lifestyle.”
Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

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I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
Dr. Deb Putnam, Family Physician

Nutrition Counseling Client & Referring Physician

“I am a busy mom, with kids in high level sports, working full-time downtown, and running our home acreage outside the City. I now have the knowledge and tools I need to plan for and manage the chaos of meal planning.”
Gillian Gray, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
Stephanie Wood, HR and Safety Manager

Fisher Construction Group, Burlington, WA

I found my Dietitian warm, funny, and skilled at teaching nutrition concepts without the overwhelm. The general approach of each session was to mix science with emotion, which was exceedingly effective in helping me shift my perspective on food from one of anxiety to one of joy and curiosity.”
Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Excellent presentation! What a refreshing change to have a speaker inspire rather than “lecture” about nutrition. Your captivating stories, tips and overall approach to healthy eating uplifts and puts people at ease. It was great to hear we don’t need to strive to be perfect eaters, and that small changes really can make a difference in how we feel and in our health. Thanks to Andrea, we have solutions to our everyday nutrition challenges that can actually work in real life!”
Tina Tamagi, Human Resources

ARC Resources Ltd.

“Had I not joined this course I would have struggled with no focus, low energy, and mindless eating. Excellent teaching and motivation. This is not just a course, it is a nutrition club with mentorship, support, and connections with other people with similar situations.”
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