Nurturing yourself is a key part of weight loss success.
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There's a reason why flight attendants tell us that in the event of an emergency, we need to put on our own oxygen masks before helping others. To tackle a stressful situation, make a life change, or simply keep ourselves healthy while caring for others, we need to take care of ourselves, too.

Losing weight—or living a certain lifestyle in order to maintain a healthy weight—can be challenging. And while determination and perseverance contribute to your success, nurturing yourself is also essential.

That said, we talked with two healthy lifestyle experts to bring you 6 suggestions for how to effectively practice self-care.

1. Know what you need.

Food often serves as much more than fuel. We use food as a reward, to help us feel happy, more awake, less lonely—the list goes on. Knowing what you need in any given moment gives you the power to address your need directly rather than distract from it with food. Ask yourself, "What do I need right now?" Is it sleep, to talk to a friend, journal your thoughts, yell your frustrations, voice your worries, etc. —Kara Mohr, PhD, FACSM, co-owner

2. Get some accountability.

Put self-care on your calendar and tell a friend what you intend to do for accountability. Better yet, book a massage, pedicure, or a workout class that would result in a financial penalty if you didn't go. Self-care can sometimes feel stressful in terms of execution, but you'll always be so glad you did it after the fact! —Shannon A. Garcia, MDS, RD of KISS in the Kitchen Blog

3. Get plenty of rest.

One of the best ways to practice self-care is to give your body the rest it needs. Aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. Not only will you have more physical energy—meaning you won't need to turn to food for a "pick me up" during the day—but you'll also feel more emotionally centered and mentally focused. What better way to practice self-care than by making it easier to activate your best self every day? —Mohr

4. Establish a routine.

Whether it's quiet time in the morning or a nighttime skin-care regimen, identify a short, 5-minute routine that brings you enjoyment and that allows you time to reflect in silence before the day begins or as you peacefully wind down at night. Before you know it, that routine will become second nature and you'll truly grow to cherish that time. —Garcia

5. Keep a gratitude journal.

Whenever we make changes, it's easy to long for the past and what we used to do. To help counteract that, keep a gratitude journal. Each day, write down 10 things that make you grateful, proud, or happy, especially as they relate to changes you're making. Gratitude creates a mindset of positivity and possibility that can help fuel your motivation to carry on. —Mohr

Tip #6: Subscribe to the Cooking Light Diet today and start receiving customizable meal plans that will take all the stress out of wondering what you'll eat this week (or the next)!