Self-Care and Your Weight


In weight management, eating food is not the problem. Often, the lack of eating and self-care are the true culprits. Eating Free™ encourages eating whole, quality foods and eating what you enjoy but weight management is not just about food or calories. Eating Free™ also focuses on self-care, an important component of weight loss often overlooked. A change in diet can only come about with a change in lifestyle. In my practice, change starts with one’s FreeQ™. FreeQ = food + rest + energy expenditure. To evaluate one’s self-care, the rest component is broken down into four self-care practices


Stress is one of the biggest pitfalls in weight management. Your body views stress as anything from meeting a deadline to skipping a meal or even just emotional distress. Knowing your limits, managing your time, and including time to relax allow your body to refresh. Mindfully eating by smelling, chewing, savoring, and eating guilt-free not only minimizes your digestive efforts but also nourishes the body to support your daily activities.


Your body is working every second of every minute of every day and requires an enormous amount of support. Staying hydrated with a cup of water per hour keeps your muscles and joints flexible and your blood flowing. Controlling your hunger hormone, Grehlin, by eating every 3-4 hours, not delaying or skipping meals, and combining your food groups will keep your blood sugar level and your brain and body at peak condition. Your meals should uplift and energize you.


Sleep is just as important as exercise. Lack of sleep has been shown to increase weight. Studies have shown that those who sleep less than 5 hours per night have a 73% chance of becoming obese and those who sleep 6 hours per night have 27% more likelihood of becoming obese. Those who sleep least, weigh the most!

Time for You

Cooking, chopping, slicing, and planning meals – sorry, but there is just no way out of it! Many times when clients tell me they exercise 6 days a week, 1-1.5 hours each day and don’t have time to sleep, cook, or shop, my response is to cut their exercise time in half and use the extra time to sleep more and to shop, cook, prepare and eat their meals. Let go of the idea that preparing and eating is a chore. If you do not prioritize your health, your health will not prioritize you!

It may come as a surprise, but the Eating Free movement aims to bring eating back! Eating Free to health and weight loss involves self-care practices in renewal, energy, sleep and time. Eating and living well was never meant to be separate.

Check your FreeQ Score and start Eating Free.

Eating is for survival, but Eating Free is your choice!

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About The Author

Manuel Villacorta is a registered dietitian (RD) and certified specialist is sports dietetics (CSSD) with more than 16 years of experience. He was recently appointed national media spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, which identifies him as one of the United States’ leading weight loss and nutrition experts. Villacorta is the owner of San Francisco-based private practice MV Nutrition, the recipient of two consecutive “Best Bay Area Dietitian” awards (2009 and 2010) from the San Francisco Chronicle and Citysearch, and the creator of the Eating Free™ weight management program. Villacorta also developed MV Professional Nutrition (a software suite designed to assist RDs with their own private practices) and created (an international, Internet-based weight loss and weight management program). Villacorta is a compelling, charismatic communicator—a public speaker, who is often praised for making audiences feel, heard, motivated, and engaged. His warm, approachable style, alongside his strong bilingual proficiency in both English and Spanish, have made him an in-demand health and nutrition expert on both local and national television and radio, and in articles in print publications and online. Villacorta worked closely with Dr. Nancy L. Snyderman, chief medical editor of NBC News, to provide expert nutrition advice on a number of topics for the BeWell network. He is often invited to speak at annual state and national conventions such as The Oregon Dietetic Association (where he was the keynote speaker), and The American Dietetic Association (where he spoke to other dietitian professionals about his successful private practice). Villacorta has acted as a media representative for food companies such as Foster Farms (one of the largest chicken producers on the West Coast) as well as for such California statewide health campaigns as the “California Latino 5-A-Day Program” and “Got Milk.” Prior to setting up his private practice, Villacorta worked as a public health dietitian for California Children Services and the Prenatal to Three Initiative, where he offered prenatal, infant, and childhood nutrition consulting. He has worked as a clinical dietitian for Kaiser Permanente in San Francisco and has held a faculty position with the School of Nursing at the University of San Francisco. Villacorta received his bachelor of science in nutrition and physiology metabolism from the University of California, Berkeley, and his master of science in nutrition and food science from San Jose State University. He has been the recipient of numerous prestigious awards for his research, including the Outstanding Master of Science Degree Award from San Jose State University’s Department of Nutrition and Food Science.

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