Many of us know the keys to weight loss. We’ve seen them on TV, read about them in magazines and talked about them with friends.  We’ve all heard the advice, “move more and eat less.” For many of us, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. We’re now beginning to understand that the answer is much more complex than that. Of course, diet and exercise are the fundamental first steps to losing weight, but what about all the other stuff? Self-care is often the missing piece of the puzzle.  You may be eating well and moving often, but are you also stressed, tired and fading fast? Have you lost your ‘glow’ despite leading a ‘healthy’ lifestyle? Self-care is all about finding balance in your body and your mind. It’s about managing your stress and treating yourself with the loving kindness you deserve. It’s about putting yourself first, before reaching out to help others. Maybe you’ve heard it before: you can’t fill up another’s cup if your own is empty!

By taking time each day to rest, relax and regroup, we increase our chances of happiness and well-being, which then allows us to lose weight with less effort and more ease. Below are a few self-care tips that can be incorporated easily into your daily routine. Try including one each day, or all, and feel the positive effects instantly!

1. Lemon water: Having a cup of lemon water each morning upon waking has become my favorite morning routine. When we start the day with a glass of warm lemon water we are hydrating our cells, kick starting our digestive systems, and getting a good dose of Vitamin C. It’s also a great time to take a few quiet moments to set our intentions for the day. Try squeezing a half of a lemon in warm (not boiling) water for a gentle morning wakeup.

2. Dry brushing: Did you know that the skin is the largest organ in the body? Or that almost a pound of waste is dumped from the skin each day? Dry brushing removes dead skin cells and stimulates the lymphatic system. It also activates your immune system and improves circulation. Less waste circulating in your system means weight loss becomes less of a challenge. As a bonus, it can also reduce cellulite and leaves your skin shiny and soft. Who doesn’t want soft, shiny skin?! Natural bristle brushes are best for this task, and can be found at most drug stores or natural grocers. You can also find one online here.  It’s recommended to start at the feet and use gentle circular strokes as you move toward the heart. I find that dry brushing right before jumping into the shower is most effective.

3. Oil pulling: Oil pulling has gotten a lot of press lately, but what is it? Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic technique used to draw (or pull) toxins out of the body. Swishing a tablespoon of coconut oil (or high-quality olive oil) in the mouth for 5-20 minutes can help the body detox, and also leaves the mouth feeling fresh, far beyond what any toothpaste can! This is another technique I like to include in my morning routine. I start swishing as I’m dry brushing, then spit out the oil at the end of my shower. Multitasking for the win!

Hectic schedules and busy lives can make it difficult to add new things into the mix. Aim to add one new self-care technique this week, and practice it each day till you feel you’ve got it down. Then when you feel comfortable, add something else. By approaching these techniques one at a time, we are more likely to make life-long, lasting changes. Find the ones that work for you and enjoy a happier, healthier life!

Stay tuned next week for more self-care tips in part 2!