Did you know that self-care is essential at any time of life and especially when trying to lose unhealthy weight? Self-care can be any activity we do to take care of ourselves. It is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as “the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress”. Your weight-loss journey is as much of an emotional journey as it is a physical one. Committing to self-care is one of the most important things you can do for yourself as it will help you to decompress and destress during difficult times. Being kind and gentle to one’s self is crucial during any life or nutritional journey.
Why is Self-Care Important?
Stress is the body’s response to physical, mental, or emotional pressure. Everyone experiences stress in their lives, but it is the way you respond to stress that makes a difference to your overall well-being. Sometimes stress can come from an obvious source, but sometimes small daily pressures from work, family, and friends can add up and take a toll on your mind and body. Stress can trigger the body’s fight or flight response which is driven by your sympathetic nervous system. It is your body’s reaction to danger and was designed to keep us alive during a perceived threat or dangerous situation. Your body releases different hormones during this response to help you flee from a suspected threat. It will prioritize bodily functions to help keep you alive such as increasing your heart rate and blood pressure. This also means your body will slow down other bodily functions that are seen as not necessary for survival such as metabolism, digestion, and repair. Unfortunately, in today’s busy society, many people are under constant stress from everyday life. The fight or flight response isn’t only activated because you are being chased by a bear but may be activated from mental and emotional stressors as well. Living in a prolonged state of stress can be harmful to your physical and emotional health.
Common Signs of Stress
Stress is not always easy to recognize. However, look for these common signs of stress. Your body could be hinting that you are taking on too much!
Changes in mood – feeling irritated, moody, and frustrated
Psychological signs – feeling anxious, worrying, having difficulty concentrating
Changes in menstrual cycle and libido
Muscle tension, especially in the neck and shoulders
Frequently sick – colds/flus
Grinding your teeth
Weight gain or inability to lose weight
Insulin resistance (high blood sugar levels)
Poor dietary choices (cravings for fatty, fried, and salty foods)
What are Some Self-care Tips?
Everyone is unique and requires different things. Find what works best for you!
Be kind to yourself
Many people put a lot of pressure on themselves during their weight loss journey. Even though it seems like everyone is losing weight around you, remember that everyone’s body is different. What works for one person, might not work for another. We all have a set of circumstances that might make it challenging to lose weight and keep it off. You are not alone. Be understanding and supportive of yourself. Notice when you are self-doubting, critical, and passing negative judgement on yourself. This is one of the most challenging journeys in your life physically and mentally. Remember to be gentle and compassionate with yourself to create a healthy emotional environment. Try treating yourself as you would a friend. Respond to yourself in the same way you would respond to a close friend. What words would you use? What about your tone? Be kind to yourself and remember that no one is perfect.
Finding happiness in small things
To ease stress, take the time to do one thing every day that makes you happy. Joy can come from many things. Everyone is unique in what brings them joy. Reflect on what brings you happiness. Is there something that brings you a sense of calm and wellbeing? It can be anything from spending an afternoon with a friend, treating yourself with a good book, going for a walk, listening to music, or taking a warm bath. Even the smallest things can boost your mood and relieve some stress.
Take a break
We live in a society where people are constantly busy and running around. Remember that you do not always need to be doing something. It is important to slow down to take time for yourself. Make sure your tank remains full. Tell yourself it is ok to clear your schedule of non-essentials. Ask for help when you are feeling overwhelmed. Let yourself take that nap, relax in a warm bath, and watch your favorite show! Do these things and do not feel bad about it. Destressing and decompressing is so important during times of stress and uncertainty.
Getting enough sleep is a high priority for everyone! Your body is going through a lot right now and needs sleep to help you stay physically and emotionally healthy.
Mindfulness and Meditation
This can encompass many forms from deep breathing to meditation. All forms are stress relievers and can leave you feeling more content, relaxed, and balanced. There are numerous websites and apps that can help with guided meditations ranging from 5-60+ minutes.
Yoga teaches you to calm your mind, gain strength and focus on positive thinking. It has been found to reduce anxiety by teaching you breathing exercises that can lower stress levels. Some of the movements and poses focus on digestion as well.
Everyone is different when it comes to weight loss. Remember to do what works best for you to keep your stress levels to a minimum. Visualize your success and take time to recognize and feel your energy levels changing, notice the subtle physical changes you experience from week to week.
Supplements to Help Reduce Anxiety:
5 HTP by NFH: Mood imbalance is one of the most prevalent concerns affecting an individual’s quality of life. Serotonin or 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) is a monoamine neurotransmitter involved in several crucial physiological processes, especially in modulating mood, cognition, sleep, appetite, learning, memory and vasoconstriction.
Ashwagandha SAP by NFH: Commonly known as ashwagandha, ‘Indian ginseng’, or winter cherry, Withania somnifera has been used as a staple ingredient in Ayurvedic preparations due to its numerous therapeutic properties for over 3000 years. Ashwagandha is a unique herb with adaptogenic benefits, which helps modulate mood responses to external and internal stimuli Ashwagandha is traditionally used in Ayurveda for memory enhancement, to balance aggravated Vata (nervine tonic, sedative), as a sleep aid.
GABA: GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) is an amino acid that functions as a neurotransmitter in the brain. GABA is synthesized in the brain from another amino acid, glutamate, and functions as an inhibitory neurotransmitter _ meaning that it blocks excitatory nerve impulses. Through GABA’s role in the brain as an inhibitory neurotransmitter, GABA is able to temporarily promote relaxation in the body. In randomized control trials, GABA has demonstrated its role in promoting relaxation by decreasing sleep irregularities such as not being able to fall asleep or waking during the night.
Blog Written by: Kacia Mongeau
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