Don’t Forget These Self-Care Practices When Trying to Lose Weight

A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) states that about 49 percent of American adults surveyed between 2013 and 2016 reported trying to lose weight at some point during the previous year.  There are many valid reasons a person might want to drop some extra pounds– and few of them have anything to do with the way you look.  Excess body weight puts undue stress on joints and can reduce mobility over time.  Losing extra body fat reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, pulmonary issues, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.  Furthermore, losing excess weight can help boost your self-esteem and improve your mental health on top of your physical well-being.

When you start your weight-loss journey, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the fitness lifestyle. However, going full speed ahead and not taking the time to care for yourself in other ways can lead to burnout and relapse, undoing all your hard work.  When you’re pursuing your weight-loss goals, don’t forget these self-care practices to support your happiness and health.

Relax More

Weight loss is about making sure every day ends with you either burning more calories than you consume or consume fewer calories than you burn– it’s called a calorie deficit.  When burning calories is constantly at the forefront of your mind, it’s easy to overlook relaxation during your daily routine.  However, taking time to relax can actually support your weight-loss goals.  Daily relaxation supports weight loss in two ways:

  • Behavioral – People who are more relaxed than stressed are less likely to engage in activities that derail their weight loss goals, such as eating comfort foods, drinking, and being sedentary.
  • Hormonal – Stress releases the stress hormone cortisol, which raises your blood sugar and causes fat cells to grow larger, leading to weight gain.

Staying organized is the best way to reduce stress, but regular meditation can help create a mindset that prevents it altogether.  If you want a little reminder to relax every day, set up an area in your home as a meditation space.  Make sure it is out of the way in a quiet and comfortable spot.  Have somewhere you can sit or lie comfortably to meditate. You may want to decorate with a candle or incense holder that you can concentrate on when beginning your practice.

Sleep Well

If you are sticking to your eating plan and exercising regularly but you’re still not hitting your weight loss goals, you may want to re-evaluate your sleep routine.  Poor sleep will sabotage your diet and exercise plans.  It makes you crave high-carb junk foods while discouraging you from being active in the name of being tired.  Furthermore, a lack of sleep changes your fat cells.  Poor sleep disrupts your body’s insulin production, which triggers your body to store more fat.

To avoid these weight loss pitfalls, try the following tips for better sleep:

  • Expose yourself to plenty of sunlight during the day.
  • Turn off electronics at night to reduce blue light exposure.
  • Do not consume caffeine in the afternoon, or consider cutting it out altogether.
  • Stick with consistent times for waking up and going to bed.
  • Avoid alcohol before bed.
  • Create a comfortable bedroom environment free from light and noise pollution. Curtains that block out both light and noise can help.
  • Turn your bedroom temperature down to 60 to 68 degrees F.
  • Try taking a sleep-inducing supplement such as melatonin, or sip on a decaffeinated tea with lavender or chamomile before bed.
  • Take time before bed to relax and release worries that cause anxiety– this is a great time to use that meditation space discussed earlier!

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Believe it or not, being active isn’t the only key to losing weight.  If you want to drop some pounds, you have to be still every once in a while as well.  Relaxation reduces your chances of burnout as well as reducing your cortisol levels.  The quality of your sleep also directly affects your weight-loss goals.  If you want to stay on your fitness track, be sure to take some time to center and rest each and every day.



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