The Importance of You
Developing self-care practices can help with weight loss and protect against weight regain.
Self-care means managing emotional and physical needs. In many ways, it can be thought of as an investment in health and well-being. Yet, some people who strive to lose weight are often focused on the caring and nurturing of others, rather than themselves.
Taking action in ways that promote good health is a hallmark of "self-care." Establishing a self-care routine includes trying to eat healthfully and exercise regularly, and being aware of risk factors for diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.
Practicing self-care does not happen automatically. It requires attention. Research shows that even nurses—individuals who are involved professionally in the care of others—benefit from being given structured time and information to develop their own personal self-care practices.1
Self-Care and General Well-Being
To improve well-being, a primary focus needs to be on improving areas in lifestyle behavior that impact health. This is an essential component of self-care. And, an ongoing focus on self-improvement can help to enhance factors that affect weight loss, physical activity levels and even relationships with spouses.2
Having a good sense of self is also associated with losing weight and maintaining weight loss. In a study of people who experienced fluctuations in weight, those who maintained a stable weight were more likely to have a heightened sense of well-being, make wiser food choices and have lower levels of stress. 3 On the other hand, researchers found that within a group of women who neglected self-care, experienced depression or had weight-related issues, these factors were associated with less healthful diets and lifestyle practices. 4
Self-Care and Weight Management
Self-care and healthy weight management fit together in positive ways for achieving a healthy weight. Practicing self-care fosters the development of behaviors that help with weight loss and weight maintenance. This is seen in studies of people who successfully changed their eating behavior. For example, experts found that when a group of women focused on improving their total lifestyle, including stress management and social support in addition to eating and exercise, they were able to boost their weight loss. 5 In another study, people who worked on practicing self-care were able to increase their physical activity levels and improve their well being.6
Successful weight management requires an investment in self-care. Developing self-care practices can help with weight loss and protect against weight regain. According to experts, actively practicing self-care has numerous benefits that can be beneficial for weight management.
|The Weight Watchers Approach:
Learning to practice self-care is part of the Weight Watchers philosophy and there is focus on helping to teach skills that enhance and build self-care strategies. This, in turn, supports continued commitment to making wise food choices and being physically active.
This content is reviewed regularly. Last updated November 12, 2012.
Other Science Library Topics:
Creating a Healthy-Weight Environment
The Science Behind Self-Monitoring
1Stark MA, Manning-Walsh J, Vliem S. Caring for self while learning to care for others: a challenge for nursing students. J Nurs Educ. 2005 Jun;44(6):266-70.
2Alemi F, Neuhauser D, Ardito S, Headrick L, Moore S, Hekelman F, Norman L. Continuous self-improvement: systems thinking in a personal context. Jt Comm J QUal Improv. 2000 Feb;26(2):74-86.
3Foreyt JP, Brunner RL, Goodrick GK, Cutter G, Brownell KD, St Jeor ST. Psychological correlates of weight fluctuation. Int J Eat Disord. 1995 Apr; 17(3):263-75.
4George GC, Milani TJ, Hanss-Nuss H, Freeland-Graves JH. Compliance with dietary guidelines and relationship to psychosocial factors in low-income women in late postpartum. J Am Diet Assoc. 2005 Jun;105(6):916-26.
5Toobert DJ, Strycker LA, Glasgow RE, Barrera Jr M, Angell K. Effects of the Mediterranean lifestyle program on multiple risk behaviors and psychosocial outcomes among women at risk for health disease. Ann Behav Med. 2005 Apr;29(2):128-137.
6Foreyt JP, Brunner RL, Goodrick GK, St Jeor SST, Miller GD. Psychological correlates of reported physical activity in normal-weight and obese adults: the Reno diet-heart study. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1995 Oct;19 Suppl 4:S69-72.