I have been, at times in my life, the absolute champion of beating myself up. I berate myself for putting something unhealthy in my mouth, for not exercising, for not exercising enough, then when I do exercise more I beat myself up for making my back and hip hurt. Even writing this I can see how unproductive it is, but it can be so automatic I don't even think about it. I was in therapy years ago for issues relating to the car accident I was in in 1992, and the therapist really stressed to me that the automatic negative "tape" I was playing in my head was not only a huge drain of my energy (and in those days, my energy was very low so I needed to conserve whenever I could), but was also counterproductive. The more I berated myself, the more junk I ate to prove I was a loser. No wonder my weight shot way over 300 pounds.
I still have to work really hard, and be constantly aware of treating myself well, but I'm getting there. I try to eat carefully at home, not keep junk food in the house. When I am out, however, if I want a few french fries with lunch, I have them, and I don't spend the rest of the day oinking at myself. I exercise pretty much every day, but occasionally I skip a day, and now that's ok too. I used to worry if I missed one day at the gym I would never go back, but now working out is as much a part of my life as breathing I don't worry anymore.
I loved this article in today's Charlotte Observer----it talks about self compassion. It's worth reading (but don't beat yourself up if you don't get to it today!) :)