Self-care is an important practice in many weight loss programs. Incorporating it into your overall weight loss journey can have tremendous benefits. Yet some people scoff at the very idea of spending more time and energy on themselves as it is deemed as selfish.

What is Self-Care?

Self-care describes the process of managing your own individual physical and emotional needs. It’s the time when you focus on the whole you – mind, body and spirit. Favorite self-care activities include monthly massages, daily exercise and meditation. This concept may seem obvious and come naturally to some, but many individuals struggle with this concept.

Is Self-Care Selfish?

Practicing self-care means prioritizing your needs and placing a much higher importance on yourself. Many people feel that practicing self-care equates to selfishness because one’s individual needs become a top priority. Caregivers, like parents, commonly struggle with such concepts because they are most likely to put other’s needs above their own.

It is important to recognize that practicing self-care does not mean that your own well-being is your only priority, and there is a great distinction between being selfish and taking care of yourself. Selfishness requires a malicious component and a desire to take from another in order to propel yourself forward. Self-care, on the other hand, involves replenishing yourself without taking away from anyone else.

Is Self-Care Necessary?

Many weight-loss programs focus on self-care strategies as a crucial part of losing weight. While self-care alone may not cause weight loss, it does foster behaviors and habits that will help maintain a healthier weight. Multiple studies have shown that when individuals focus on improving their overall total lifestyle, including reducing stress levels and increasing social support, they were able to successfully boost their weight loss. Studies also show that individuals who maintain a stable weight are much more likely to have a heightened sense of well-being than those who neglect to practice self-care. Similarly, research confirms that women who are neglectful with self-care often suffer from weight-related issues.

We have limited energy and can only operate with the finite resources we have, so not paying attention to your own needs can quickly lead to burn out, exhaustion, physical fatigue and even emotional breakdowns. Self-care is necessary because you can only help others when you are in a good state of physical, spiritual and mental health. Practicing self-care leaves you more equipped to support and help others.

Self-Care Tips

Self-care should begin by destroying the negative thoughts and emotions holding you back from caring for yourself properly. Negative self-talk includes thoughts like “no one cares about me, so why should I?” or “I don’t matter.” Such thoughts need to be replaced by empowering beliefs like “my body is my top priority.” Dedicating time specifically to you creates feelings of authenticity, empowerment, and purpose. It can create a shift into being a more mindful person. Self-care is not selfish, and a certain level of self-care is necessary to avoid physical and emotional burn out. Research proves that individuals with higher levels of self-care benefit physically, emotionally and spiritually. Start developing a self-care plan today and reap the benefits of putting you first.