Proactive Self-Care During Weight Loss
A therapist on social media by the name of Nedra Glover Tawwab (@nedratawwab) has a very interesting presentation on the topic of self-care and how self-care should be proactive, not reactive. Most people mistake self-care for after-care. After-care is what people do once they are diminished and depleted. Self-care is preventive meaning it is used to stay well and maintain your peace. It is better to practice self-care because when negativity comes up you are in a better mental state to take it on, unlike after-care where you are likely not in a healthy emotional, mental, and/or physical state to handle the situation. After-care often occurs as damage control when someone is not in a healthy physical and/or mental state.
This topic relates very much to weight loss and weight management. Many of our new patients we see in consultation are coming to us after they have gained an excessive amount of weight, developed a weight related comorbidity (i.e. diabetes, hypertension, etc), or have developed new or worsening depression or anxiety. This is a very clear example of after-care and not self-care. Once a patient begins the program, they then start to practice self-care on a daily basis by improving their diet, focusing on their physical and mental health, attending group classes, and prioritizing themselves.
We try to promote lifelong self-care by encouraging all of our patients to attend weight management classes so that they can continue to receive ongoing accountability/support and not fall back into old unhealthy habits. When our patients exit weight loss and go into weight management, we remind all of them to continue to prioritize their mental, emotional, and physical self. In addition, we advise them not to wait until they hit rock bottom before returning to us for support. It is easy to get caught up in the daily stress or demands of your professional and home life, but we must always remind ourselves that we need daily care as well in order to be our very best for those we love and ourselves.
Lastly, we encourage our patients to bring up any additional concerns to their provider or behavioral health educator so that they can help make the best possible assessment for a patients’ lifestyle, habits, and specific circumstances. Every individual case may require different needs and special attention.