Self Care: The First Step in Weight Management

Put simply, if you are too busy to look after your basic self care then you are more likely to struggle with your weight.


First off, managing our appetite requires us to be attuned to our body and its messages. If we are not mindful of our basic self care needs, we lose that connection with our body and messages get lost or mixed up.

Second, self care activates the reward pathways in the brain leading us to feel satisfied, happy and motivated. When we are too busy to practice regular self care, it can drain some of our feel good neurotransmitters and activate cravings for foods that are higher in sugar and fat. The body is looking for some way to activate those reward pathways and food is an easy option.

If this happens once or twice, it isn’t likely to cause many problems. However, using food as a quick fix to feel better or take a break deregulates the reward system, perpetuating this behavior.

10 Question Self Care Test

Consider the following 10 questions adapted from a self care assessment tool designed by  Evelyn Tribole RD

  • Do you get more than 7 hours of sleep a night?
  • Do you get together regularly (i.e. at least weekly) with friends?
  • Do you get outdoors regularly?
  • Do you drink less than 2 servings (or 10 per week) of alcohol per day?
  • Do you have any spiritual practices?
  • Do you take time daily to relax?
  • Do you engage in daily physical activity? (such as walking, gardening, dancing, etc)
  • Do you set limits with people such as your friends, coworkers, family?
  • Do you say yes to the little things and then find they tend to pile up?
  • Do you feel guilty if you are ‘not productive’?

If you found you checked off most of the first 8 statements then you are likely already practicing good self care! If you didn’t check many of the first eight statements and then checked off the bottom two, it is an indication that you may need to start spending more time on your self.