The One Surprising Tool, To Help With Your Eating

The One Surprising Tool, To Help With Your Eating

Filed Under: Change

28 June 2024 | Written by Xenia Ayiotis

Do you often find yourself judging your food choices or feeling guilty about your eating habits? Do you blame yourself for the diets and eating plans you’ve followed and stopped? I used to think I wasn’t judging myself, until I became aware of the running commentary in my mind.  Maybe you’ve also noticed a constant inner dialogue?

“Why did I eat that?”
“I can’t believe I’ve gained that weight back again!”
“I should have resisted the urge to snack…”
“I feel so ashamed”
“Why can’t I stop bingeing?”

As I allowed these thoughts to become automatic and habitual, I started believing them, they felt so normal. It wasn’t until I was able to recognise this destructive narrative that I truly understood the effect it was having on my life. These thoughts led to feelings of shame and lack of self-worth. These thoughts and beliefs undermined my confidence, they made me hide and play small. The cycle of beating myself up each time I would binge or eat too much had become so pervasive that I needed a countermeasure.

Anne Lamott says, “My mind is a bad neighbourhood that I try not to go into alone” In my case, I lived there permanently.

When I started to learn about the power of observing my thoughts, I also learned about self-compassion as an approach to healing. I used this approach to diffuse destructive thought patterns. Working skilfully with thoughts is like training a puppy. I learned to see my thoughts as thoughts and not facts. I also treated my thoughts with the same kindness I showed to my dog when we would go to puppy training, using an encouraging and supportive tone. The thought that I was a failure because I couldn’t stick to any diet and that my happiness depended on a number on the scale would dominate my days blocking any possibility for joy. As I started working with these thoughts and beliefs, challenging them and offering alternative thoughts that were equally true, the thoughts began to surface less frequently, with less intensity.  With time my binges reduced and the way I cared for myself changed for the better. It is not easy to do this, it’s hard work shifting thought patterns but it was so worth it. It changed my relationship with food and myself.

I invite you to use a similar approach with yourself regarding your relationship with food. Every time you judge yourself, you establish neural pathways that create a closed and critical mind instead of an open mind.

There’s a freedom that comes from reducing judgements.

“Feeling compassion for ourselves in no way releases us from responsibility for our actions. Rather, it releases us from the self-hatred that prevents us from responding to our life with clarity and balance.”

Tara Brach

Why practice self-compassion in your food journey?

Some of you may argue that you are “letting yourself of the hook”, it’s indulgent or that you will never change. Self-compassion has been shown to calm the nervous system and reduce shame. The practice is to gently interrupt the harsh judgements and offer ourselves acceptance and kindness instead. Some people think that self-compassion is complacent, for me it has allowed me to have my own back in order to show up more fully in life. Self-compassion also provides the safety we need, to admit mistakes rather than needing to blame others. Self-compassion is not ignoring what’s difficult and challenging, it helps you deal with what is not working for you and to change that from a place of kindness. It strengthens our resilience, allowing us to bounce back from setbacks and navigate challenges with grace.

By cultivating self-compassion,  we can learn to embrace eating with joy. It allows us to reclaim the joy of eating and savour each moment without guilt or shame.

When used with intention, self-compassion is a powerful tool for transforming your relationship with food, your body and yourself. With practice and patience, you can transform your relationship with food and cultivate a mindset of kindness and self-compassion.

I have included a guided meditation that invites you to offer your mind some kindness. Try it and let me know what you think?

May we all learn to be kinder to ourselves.


💙 Are you ready to change how you eat with kindness? Email me to book a free coaching session and I will get back to you in 24 hours with the next steps.

“From our first meeting - two faces on Zoom across the world from each other, there was a sense of familiarity and comfort that was a healing balm for a lifetime of food struggles and dieting. Without realizing how much damage I had done to myself by adhering, for decades, to restrictive food plans and rigid diet programs, Xen had a way of redirecting the harsh and negative self-talk and sending me forth each week with compassion, mindfulness and a new way of seeing myself in the here and now. Gone are the maybe somedays, and if-only, and when-I’m-smaller thinking. Now I am committed to the imperfect and rocky path to listening to my body, accepting my perfect imperfections, and rejecting diet mentality. Those negative voices will revisit me from time to time, I know, but Xen has offered valuable tools for meeting each day as a fresh start - another choice, another chance. Her devotion to this work and her belief in her clients is a remarkable gift; I am so fortunate to have found her. It is never too late to let go of the drama and embrace joy, ease and self-acceptance.”

Karen L, Denver, USA

“I felt hopeless and helpless in my daily struggle with mindless eating for many years. Then I found Xen which is exactly what I needed! My decision to work with her helped me to finally repair my relationship with food. It's changing my life for the better, one day at a time. Now I have control over the food, instead of it having control over me, which is the way it should be. I highly recommend Xen to anyone who has a desire to overcome similar food struggles. Xen, thank you from the bottom of my heart!”

Karen J, Colorado, USA

“I reached out to Xenia because 2021 started on a tumultuous note for me. Between deaths, businesses suffering, hospitalizations, and job losses in our personal circle, I felt depleted and found myself being available for everyone but myself. Then I was hit with an unexpected health diagnosis, which was the last straw as it meant giving up “healthy foods” and workouts that I leaned on for my well-being and stability. Despite working in wellness (Yes, coaches and healers are vulnerable too!), I found myself reaching out to desserts for comfort. I like to live a life of permissions (not labels or deprivation leading to bingeing), so I wanted to work with someone who approached healing from a place of mindful compassion. I didn’t want to be my own client. Xenia was great in reminding me to be kind to myself. Working with her, brought me peace and helped shift my mindset. I love how desserts and I look at each other now.”

Sweta Vikram, New York, USA

“Working with Xenia was amazing. She armed me with a bunch of tools to help me through difficult times. Xenia is the kind of person who really cares for helping you in the long run. Her work will forever have an impact in my life.”

Daniela Velásquez, Ottawa, Canada

“Working with Xen was a game changer for me. After working together for a few months my relationship with food radically changed. I no longer felt like a failure. I now have the tools to nourish my body with foods that feel good in my body. I don’t feel guilty about eating cake or chocolate, I also don’t overeat cake and chocolate. I no longer feel the need to exercise to compensate for my eating. I feel much more free around eating and I am more accepting of my body. Xen has a nonjudgmental and compassionate approach to coaching and really supports you in the process.”

Rachel, Dublin, Ireland

“Working with Xen has been very empowering. Her approach is so refreshing from the usual. I have learned that I am in charge and that I get to choose what I put in my body and how to move my body in a way that I like! I get to make my own choices. It’s so liberating. Once you get a taste of freedom with food, there is no turning back to old ways! Thanks Xen for guiding me along the way to freedom.”

Heather B, Cork. Ireland

“This is the answer for those of you that struggle with food and all that surrounds it. Xenia said that I could make peace with food and it seemed at the time like an impossible dream. Turns out it isn’t. I recommend Xen and the mindful eating / intuitive eating approach unreservedly. If you have any questions about my experience, please get in touch. Thank you Xen. My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”

Michelle, Johannesburg, South Africa

“Xenia was a walking, living, breathing example of what can be done. I laughed and cried my way through a short course in this fascinating and invigorating programme with her, and have gained a designer tote full of coping skills that go way beyond containing kilogrammes. I feel infinitely lighter. I am doing this for me and, yes, you can do this for you too! And believe me, I’m cynical!”

Diana, Vancouver, Canada

“I don’t obsess about food like I used to. I am thinking differently about food and feeling so much more relaxed around all types of food. It’s wonderful to have pleasure and satisfaction from eating.”

Sarah, Illinois, USA

“I learned a new way of thinking about food. I have learned that food is not the enemy and that it can actually be enjoyed with no guilt.”

Sandy, London, United Kingdom

Certified by The Life Coach School Certified and Trained by The Original Intuitive Eating Pro Professional Member of The Center for Mindful Eating