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5 ways to kick-start your weight loss goals

Discover a few simple lifestyle changes that can help you shed pounds, feel great and get on the path to optimal health.

1. Start with a clean slate  

"A cleanse is an awesome way to kick off a new lifestyle," says Sunny Rose, Ayurvedic practitioner at our Albuquerque store. "It completely changes your perspective, and it helps pull out toxins that can cause unnatural cravings." Sunny recommends Renew Life Diet Start Cleanse, or the Heel Detox Kit. (Learn more about the dos and don'ts of cleansing.)

2. Ease into exercise

Exercise is a no-brainer, right? But finding time and motivation can keep us from fulfilling all of our best intentions. Make an easy transition with fitness products from Gaiam. Their Walking Fit Kit pairs a pedometer with a guided workout by celeb fitness trainer Debbie Rocker and fun music--a great way to get motivated and stay motivated (and easy to do over the lunch hour!). For indoor exercise days, grab one of Gaiam's yoga mats or blocks.  

3. Watch what you eat (and drink)

Another no-brainer, but most of us still don't get optimal nutrition. Since we burn more calories when we have more protein in our diet, it's a good idea to fuel your system with high-protein, high-fiber foods. We love Jay Robb's Whey Protein Powders for a quick post-exercise shake or as a meal replacement. Just add to water in a Sundesa Blender Bottle and shake--the unique wire whisk ball inside does all the work for you!

Dr. Livia Lee, naturopathic doctor at our Portland store, recommends cutting out empty calories from products like soda, but also suggests reducing alcohol consumption. "When you drink two to three beers a night, you're adding 600 calories to your daily intake, so stopping that makes a huge difference," she says. Replace those beers with a healthy, low-calorie (and delicious) drink like GT's Kombucha, and you can drop up to a pound a week.

"Our fast-paced lifestyle also means we don't take the time to cook well for ourselves, we go for the quick fix," says Dr. Lee, citing processed and high-sugar foods as a culprit in packing on the weight. Instead, make sure you've always got healthy snacks around that provide solid energy--without the sugar--to keep you going throughout the day. Check out these homemade tips from Whole Living, or grab one of Pharmaca's healthy snack bags, including protein-rich nuts and antioxidant-rich fruits.

4. Boost your metabolism

It's enticing to think that we can shed pounds just by reducing our calorie intake, but it can often have the opposite effect. "Don't go into starvation mode," says Dr. Lee. "The weight will come off but it will just come right back on."

Instead, she recommends eating smaller meals four to five times per day to keep blood sugar levels consistent, and adding a supplement like New Chapter's Diet & Energy. "It's a blend of thermogenic herbs, which means it creates heat and burns calories," says Dr. Lee. This in turn increases metabolism and keeps blood sugar level, enhancing weight-loss efforts.

5. Be happy

Sleeping well, reducing stress and finding activities that increase your feelings of fulfillment are good for overall health, and can also be helpful in weight-loss pursuits. The best of all worlds? Finding a fitness activity, like hiking with friends or rollerskating, that makes you happy and burns calories. (Other good news: laughing increases your heart rate and helps you burn calories. So make sure a few giggles are part of your daily routine.)

Meditation can also be a great way to create calm and contentment. Pharmaca offers a variety of CDs that can guide everyone from the meditation beginner to the om-aficionado. Light a few candles, breathe deeply and bliss out.  

Learn more from our practitioners. Have other good weight loss advice? Share with us here.

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