Coming up with a self-care plan rather than a diet or weight loss plan is SO important!  It is far more effective for individuals to learn how to work with and care for their bodies rather than manipulate their shapes and sizes with diets.  It’s also common for individuals to disengage in healthy behaviors once they feel like weight isn’t coming off as fast as they feel they should.  Changing the mindset from “wanting to lose weight” TO “wanting to feel good” means long-term success, given that success means taking better care of yourself rather than a number on a scale.  It is very possible to lose weight and not be any healthier, especially if losing weight has meant falling deeper into the restriction/chaos cycle.

If you choose to now see that health is determined by healthy behaviors and not by weight, what are healthy behaviors?  What would a self-care plan look like?  It’s likely to look different for everyone.  A healthy lifestyle is one that incorporates physical, emotional and mental health. That might mean rest and relaxation at times and it also might mean pushing through something hard to accomplish a goal. Here are some other ideas:

  • Develop a sleep routine and structure to ensure you are allowing your body rest and rejuvenation.
  • Identify negative self-talk and set boundaries that you WILL NOT say mean things to yourself about yourself.
  • Along those same lines, a healthy mind doesn’t speak or think negatively about others either. That might be something to think about for your own mental well-being.
  • Moving your body in a way you enjoy – could mean yoga, running, walking, dancing…you decide!
  • Avoiding people, social media feeds, magazines or shows that play on your insecurities, shame food choices or trigger comparisons.
  • Set a concrete nutrition goal such as “add a fruit or vegetable to each meal and snack” or “eat regular balanced meals three times a day” or “slow down to eat more mindfully and notice hunger and fullness signals”.
  • Allow yourself to feel and understand negative and positive emotions when you feel tempted to avoid them or distract them with food.
  • Practice meditation 5 minutes each day.
  • Allow yourself time each day or each week to do something you enjoy but don’t usually make time for.
  • Learn a new skill, take a new exercise class, or take up a hobby you have been wanting to try.
  • Wake up early to increase productivity during daylight hours.
  • Make or keep a scheduled appointment with a therapist to discuss unresolved trauma or emotional concerns.
  • Create a budget.
  • Meal plan, grocery shop and do basic food prep on the weekend to make healthy meal assembly easier and more convenient.
  • Say no to things that will cause unnecessary stress.
  • Say yes to things that will be hard but allow you to grow.
  • Clean your house and de-clutter.
  • Take a nap.
  • Make realistic to-do lists to help you keep on task.
  • Serve someone else to increase your own attitude of gratitude and abundance.
  • Make a gratitude list!

Ultimately, your healthy lifestyle may look different than someone else’s. Isn’t that the beauty of it? YOU create YOUR life and you always have the choice to make decisions that are in your best interest. I hope you will take some time to evaluate where you are and what you might want to improve in your physical, emotional and mental health. Allow yourself to take time the time do it for yourself… you are worth it! I’m sure you may have some to add to this list, and I hope you will! What is on your self-care plan?

Adapted from a blog post written by Emily Fonnesbeck RD, CD