There’s a lot of shame associated with weight loss. You may feel pressure to lose weight as soon as possible without considering the biological or environmental factors affecting your efforts. Because of this, it’s important to practice self-care on your weight loss journey.

While self-care can sometimes feel selfish, our article 8 Ways to Wellness notes that prioritizing yourself and making time for what you need is essential for growth. It increases your energy and capacity to help others, enables you to celebrate fully all you’ve accomplished, and pushes you to improve your life.

If you’re planning to lose weight for the sake of your health and happiness, here are 5 ways you can practice self-care in the process:

Tips for self care

Be compassionate with yourself

The first step of self-care is assuming an essential mindset of self-compassion. If you decide to treat yourself with kindness and acceptance from the get-go, you’ll be equipped to face the obstacles you’ll encounter along the way—such as if your progress on the scale isn’t as straightforward as you’d hoped. In these cases, practicing self-compassion will serve as an effective motivation for weight loss. By being kind to yourself and accepting that these things happen, you can bounce back stronger. Try speaking to yourself like you would a close friend going through a struggle and see how it helps you care for your well-being as you tackle weight loss.

Choose an exercise you enjoy

Exercise is vital for self-care. Investing in a sport strengthens your connection to the world and builds your self-esteem. However, if you feel like you’re forcing yourself to work out, your efforts at self-care may not give you the benefits you need. Instead, establish the importance of personal enjoyment by selecting a sport you’ll engage with more frequently. To find the right exercise, do a few sports on a trial basis. This can range from playing soccer with your friends on weekends to trying our yoga workshops here at Olotita. If you don’t like the experience, you’ll still have additional data to decide what you’d prefer to try next. If you do have fun, you’ll have an exercise that’s both enjoyable and beneficial for weight loss.

Take time to recover

Exercising every single day won’t help your weight loss goals. You’ll get exhausted, deplete the glycogen—or energy—levels stored in your muscles, and put yourself at a higher risk of injury. Practice self-care by taking breaks. Scheduling a rest day every 7-10 days at a minimum will help your body repair and recharge itself. When you’ve exercised for a week straight, or are tired, don’t be afraid to spend time with a book or Netflix show to relax. Your body will thank you for it.

Eat foods that you like

Nowadays, restrictive diets that promise rapid weight loss are all the rage. To take proper care of yourself, ignore them. Cutting out food groups usually leads to cravings and overeating, which results in more weight gain. It can even lead to nutritional deficiencies detrimental to your health and well-being. Instead, eat what you love mindfully. Integrate your favorite foods into balanced meals with a good mix of produce, grains, dairy, and meat. Before the first bite, ask yourself if you truly are hungry, and notice, when you’re eating, the point you’re sated and stop there. These steps can help you delight in the food that nourishes you and build a better relationship with your diet.

Get enough sleep

Sometimes, it may seem there aren’t enough hours in the day to fulfill all your tasks. Rather than succumbing to the temptation of staying up, practice self-care and sleep during your bedtime. Doing so works wonders for your weight loss goals—it’ll help regulate your hunger hormones and improve your metabolism while helping your body recover in time for your next workout. Sleep 7 to 9 hours at night to enjoy these benefits.

While it may be uncomfortable at first, practicing self-care is worth it. Follow the steps above to enhance your weight loss efforts and become a happier, healthier version of yourself.