What Comes First: Weight Loss or Self-Love

Throughout February, the month of Valentine’s Day, I’m going to write about self-love, self-worth, and self-care. I’ve been working with women in the area of weight loss for a long time, and there are definitely certain patterns that I’ve seen over the years. I would like to pose an important question similar to the chicken or the egg debate as it relates to self-love and self-care. 

What comes first???

Losing weight followed by a higher sense of self-worth and self-love; 


A higher sense of self-worth and self-love followed by a successful weight loss journey??? 

Self-Love & Weight Loss
When I say “weight loss journey”, I’m not only referring to losing weight, but also being able to keep the weight off, which involves long-term lifestyle changes. So, which way do you think it goes: weight loss then self-love, or self-love then weight loss? From all my years working with women and weight loss, I would say that having a sense of self-love and self-worth is ultimately what contributes to losing the weight. It’s not the other way around. Now, they do feed off each other, and it goes a little back and forth over the course of the journey. But, there does need to be some sense of self-worth in order to lose the weight and develop the lifestyle habits to keep it off. 

Prioritizing Your Goals and Needs
There’s a common pattern that I often see that contributes to people gaining weight. Often, someone has been putting the obligations they have in life, and the needs of other people, ahead of their own needs. Everything else comes first – and they come last. As a result of this, often they’re overwhelmed and highly stressed, which affects metabolism and that state can  also feed the desire to turn to certain comfort foods or convenient foods. They feel they don’t have the time to think about food planning and prepping, even if that actually  isn’t immensely time consuming, but the feeling of one more thing to do can become overwhelming. Also, due to all the other priorities and distractions in their lives, they have reached the capacity within  their mental bandwidth so their ability to  focus on anything else is limited including remembering the additional new tasks related to healthy eating: keeping the kitchen stocked, packing a lunch, planning dinner etc. They need to be able to prioritize the practices that will help them maintain a healthy life and manage their weight well, and this can feel like it takes a lot of mental capacity especially in the early stages. In order to follow through on the habits necessary to lose the weight, they need to break that pattern. It’s very difficult to be successful in weight loss if they continuously put all other needs ahead of what they need and  their body needs. 

This is where having that sense of self-love and self-worth can help to make the changes to break the patterns that have contributed to weight gain. Self-worth embraces the  belief that you matter, your priorities matter, your goals matter, your opinions matter. You need to believe that these things matter, and have that sense of self-worth, in order to make the necessary changes and set the boundaries that will facilitate your weight loss journey. For example, if you work outside of your home, it’s very easy to just go out for lunch (pre-covid), or order in the same that colleagues are getting. You need to be able to recognize this potential challenge and prioritize working through it. Perhaps you choose to order from somewhere that offers healthier options or you avoid certain restaurants (post covid) because you know their menu will not support your journey. Or, you plan ahead and schedule enough time to pack a proper delicious lunch to avoid the temptation of convenient fast-food. These are just a few examples of what often trips people up and challenges their weight loss journey. This is why it’s necessary to prioritize yourself and really grasp that sense of self-worth. 

The Challenge of Prioritizing Your Own Needs
The challenge of not prioritizing oneself comes up frequently when I’m working with clients, and this can happen for a couple of different reasons. One reason is that they have just never done it before and they are used to letting other priorities take over. For example, I recently had a client who was having trouble taking enough time for a healthy, proper lunch, because she was very busy with back to back meetings – a very common phenomena currently with people working from home on Zoom. So, I asked her, is it possible to book a small time slot for lunch, or do you have absolutely no control over when your meetings are booked? And her answer was yes, she actually does have quite a bit of  control, but she has just never done things that way before. She has always made herself available for meetings at any time based upon the invites that arrive in her inbox. But now, she wants to prioritize herself and her ability to eat a healthy lunch each day, so she has had her assistant block book a time slot for lunch in her schedule and now majority of the time she can take that short break to eat her healthy lunch and include some brief “mental restorative” down time as well.   

The second reason I see that stops women from  prioritizing their needs in their weight loss journey is because they  actually feel uncomfortable asking for what they need. Often they feel it will be an  inconvenience to others if they  prioritize their own needs. This is where coaching and a support group is helpful.  It  provides a supportive gentle push to encourage them that they can do this and it really is not going to be a problem to at least ask for what they need. And nine times out of ten, it’s a non-issue for the other people in their life.  If you feel this is what holds you back then just realize that it can be uncomfortable at first but you just need to think of it as a form of self-respect and self-love.

Say to yourself:

 “I’m important, what I need is important, I care about myself enough. “

“I will be a better parent, a better leader, a better team player, a better boss, a better spouse, a better daughter, sister etc if I am healthier and happier.”  

Then, in a calm, confident way, you state what you need in order to prioritize yourself, so you can continue on this journey of self-love and self-care. 

Journey to Self-Love
The whole essence of everything I do with my clients is to support them on this journey towards Self-Love which  I do by encouraging them to value themselves and what’s important to them, which takes courage. For this reason, over the next few weeks during this month of Love, February, I’m going to be writing about other topics that relate to self-love and how to get into that mindset to support you on your weight loss journey or any journey that you are embarking upon towards self-improvement and fulfillment. 

Keep your eyes open for the weekly blogs this month where I’ll be talking about:

  1. Pleasure, because food is pleasurable, but we need to prioritize pleasure in other areas so that we’re not always turning to food for pleasure. I will discuss how  to give yourself permission to thoroughly enjoy indulgent food when you mindfully choose to enjoy it.
  2. Setting healthy boundaries so you can stick to your plan
  3. The power of compassionate self-talk so you can transform that inner critical, judgemental voice to one of compassion and self-love. 

In the meantime, I encourage you to give yourself a big hug and reflect on how you can bring more joy and more self-love into your life. How are you feeling about yourself? Do you have a sense of self-worth and self-love? And what do you think you need to do to raise that in your life, so that you can embrace an empowering mindset to help you move forward and be successful in your weight loss journey? Reflect on these questions as they will become more relevant in the coming weeks as we explore these topics further to help get you on the path towards self-worth and self-love.

I hope you found this information helpful. If you want to learn more:

  1. You can book a complimentary call, and discuss your challenges, and obstacles, and together we can determine if my program is right for you.
  2. You can also go to my Facebook page, @DrSherBovay, where you can find and join my Private Facebook group, The FastLane Mind Body Reset Mastery Group. Here, I host Facebook lives and frequent posts where you can engage and learn more.