Updated: Aug 24
The important relationship between weight loss and self-care
Why is self-care so vital?
Do you take care of yourself enough? Do you know what self-care looks like for you?
When we’re talking about your eating habits, your self-care habits are just as important.
When we don’t allow ourselves to do the things that serve our physical and mental state, the only other source of comfort we have is food.
This happens all the time with healthcare workers. We’re bred to take care of and serve others. Some might not even know where to start with self-care because they’ve never done it. Food is the “self-care”.
I used to use food in an attempt to ease my feelings all the time. During a 12+ hour shift in the ER, the only thing I could think of that would comfort me was food. I realized I wasn’t helping myself by eating and overeating foods that didn’t serve me and carrying more energy on my body than I needed.
Once I started allowing myself to take care of myself in other ways the desire for food softened.
During those long and chaotic shifts I took advantage of the little moments I had to myself like while pulling meds or prepping a room for the next patient. I took deep breaths and tried to reconnect my brain with my body. I observed my feelings plus the thoughts that were creating those feelings and questioned them with intent. I decided I was going to stop thinking I was sole responsibility for co-workers, patients, and family members' feelings, giving their negative energy or feelings back to them instead of absorbing them. I let go of things that were outside of my control. I am not God and I can not change all trajectories.
Outside of work, instead of feeling tired and thinking eating will fix it, I tried to ask myself what I really needed - time outside, little rests mid day, and listened to music that gave me positive energy. Relaxing baths helped me reconnect my brain with my body. If I found myself replaying stressful events from work in my head, I would analyze my thoughts around it and meditate or journal. I swapped out intensive exercise attempting to “make up for” my poor diet and ultimately created more pain and fatigue for leisurely walks. I began drinking a lot more water. I changed the idea of “having” to eat better food to playing with new recipes and learning to cook food I liked.
#1 “Treating” yourself with food is 100% not self-care.
Think of ways you can replace the comfort of food with something else. Some examples:
Time with friends or family
Time on phone with friends or family
Change from fluorescent lights and go outside
Take a walk
Spiritual or Religious practices
Notice thoughts and question them
Listen to a podcast (I heard Weight Loss by Brittany is good 😉)
Sit and just be (allow yourself to have unproductive time)
Take a WELL deserved vacation
Do it for yourself. Do it!
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