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Risks of Sitting Too Much

August 15, 2017

Studies show that sitting for long periods of time is linked to poor health such as obesity, weight gain around the waist and increased risks of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, cholesterol, and cancer.  Let’s reduce these preventable risks by moving a little more.  Here are some ideas:

  • Stand up alarms.  Set an alarm to stand up and move at least every 90 minutes if not more often. 
  • Track it.  Wear a device to track your steps.  My clients who start wearing these end up walking more (and maybe even a little bit competitive).
  • Stairs.  Skip the elevator/escalator and use the stairs.
  • Standing desks.  Use a standing desk although keep in mind that just standing up for long periods  instead of sitting results in other issues (varicose veins, back problems, etc.) so make sure you move and not just stand all day. 
  • Walk it over.  Schedule walking meetings or walk over to your co-worker instead of sending an email. 
  • Stand & talk.  Stand up and pace around when you’re on the phone.
  • DIY.  Do it yourself.  Mow the lawn, pick up food/grocery (instead of delivery), fixing things.  Don’t outsource everything. 
  • Join your kids.  If they are playing a sport, join them or if you’re cheering, get up and walk the side lines.  You’ve had enough sitting all day. 
  • Shoes.  Oh and don’t forget the comfy shoes.  Bad shoes will surely promote us to sit more. 

Just replacing 1 hour a day of sitting with standing, you burn 330 calories a week which is more than an hour of moderate-paced walking.

Try not to sit for more than  90 minutes at a time.  Stand up and move.  Love the body that allows you to be mobile.  The more you move, the better you feel.  The better you feel, the more active you become and the better you’ll eat.  Then, the better you’ll sleep and the better you’ll focus and interact which leads to more confidence and weight loss…and it keeps going.  Making it a healthy snowball effect because it can easily become an unhealthy one too.  

If there are changes you’d like to make in your stress level, eating habits, exercise, and overall health and happiness, start with a free health consultation at www.HappyFoodHealth.com or (619) 876-2655. See if this is the right match for you. I do things very differently to make health a natural lifestyle and this is not for everyone. Check out Yelp for other people’s opinion of Happy Food.

~ Samantha Hua, Nutrition & Holistic Health Coach, San Diego, CA

Your Breakfast Is Making You Gain Weight

August 1, 2017

American breakfast staples such as cold cereal, donuts, yogurt, bagels, cream cheese, orange juice, frappuccino are all corporate scams making them lots of money and packing on weight for us. 

In 1894, Michigan Seventh-Day Adventist surgeon John Kellogg developed the process of flaking cooked grains. (Corn Flakes & Rice Krispies). Cold cereal was first invented by a vegetarian (Kellogg) and the health industry but C.W. Post stole the idea and shifted it towards targeting adults and children who love sugar.  Cold cereal is totally an American invention that is now extremely unhealthy. 

The same scams in marketing sugary breakfast goes for these staples.  You are basically eating dessert.

 

“BREAKFAST” DESSERT
Chobani blueberry flavor (1 serving, 15 g, 130 calories) Breyers French vanilla ice cream (1/2 cup, 14 g, 140 calories)
Dunkin Donuts banana chocolate chip muffin (1 serving, 46 grams sugar, 510 calories) Starbucks vanilla cupcake (34 g. sugar, 400 calories)
IHOP NY cheesecake pancake (1 serving, 55 g sugar, 940 calories) Cheesecake Factory chocolate tower cake (51 g sugar, 1,679 calories)
Quaker Oats and Honey granola (1 cup, 26 g. sugar, 420 calories) 5 Oreo cookies (23 g. sugar, 266 calories)
General Mills Nature Valley sweet and salty nut granola bars (1 bar, 12 g. sugar, 170 calories) Oh Henry! Candy bar (fun size, 14 g. sugar, 120 calories)

 

These are just a few examples.  American breakfasts are loaded with sugar.  Try eggs with veggies, hot oats, Siggi’s yogurt (an Icelandic brand) is 25-50% less sugar, and the Japanese consume fish, rice, miso for breakfast.  American breakfast made us even more addicted to sugar and therefore gaining more weight.  Get out of this trap! (numbers adapted from Vox). 

If there are changes you’d like to make in your stress level, eating habits, exercise, and overall health and happiness, start with a free health consultation at www.HappyFoodHealth.com or (619) 876-2655. See if this is the right match for you. I do things very differently to make health a natural lifestyle and this is not for everyone. Check out Yelp for other people’s opinion of Happy Food.

~ Samantha Hua, Nutrition & Holistic Health Coach, San Diego, CA

 

Self-care Tips for Weight Loss

July 15, 2017

After more than 8 years of starting Happy Food, I realized the #1 issue that people struggle with when trying to lose weight and simply be healthier.  It’s self-care.  Self-care is pretty broad.  I’d say all my clients struggle with more than 1/2 of these and some struggle with all of them.  We are hard on ourselves.  We don’t trust ourselves.  We please others before we take care of ourselves.  How many of these do you struggle with?

  • Never speak badly of yourself
  • Be kind to yourself
  • If it feels wrong, don’t do it
  • Don’t be a people pleaser
  • Don’t be afraid to say no
  • Don’t be afraid to say yes
  • Trust your instincts
  • Let go of what you can’t control
  • Stay away from drama & negativity
  • Say exactly what you mean
  • Never give up on your dreams
  • LOVE

I read these tips awhile ago (and don’t remember from where), but I wanted to share because it’s so relevant to weight loss.  When we feel balanced and happy, we treat ourselves better.  We eat better; we take better care of ourselves.   

If there are changes you’d like to make in your stress level, eating habits, exercise, and overall health and happiness, start with a free health consultation at www.HappyFoodHealth.com or (619) 876-2655. See if this is the right match for you. I do things very differently to make health a natural lifestyle and this is not for everyone. Check out Yelp for other people’s opinion of Happy Food.

~ Samantha Hua, Holistic Health Coach & Nutrition Coach, San Diego, CA

Happiness Affects Brain Activity for Weight Loss

July 1, 2017

Mostly, people come to me to lose weight, but they walk out gaining more.  I am not a therapist, and I openly share my struggles with past depression and childhood trauma.  Because I’m not a therapist and I’m unable to diagnose my clients, somehow this ends up being beneficial (at least in my office).  It provides me more time to focus on tangible action.  That’s what really helped me get out of my “dark space.”  What can I do NOW (stop digging up the past)?

I have so many clients that feel guilty telling me their problems since they came to me primarily for nutrition, and I have to reassure them over and over again that this is how we lose weight; that this psychological talk is an essential part of the weight loss journey.  We have to figure out the root cause.  Sometimes, the answer is so simple.  We just needed someone to see it from a different perspective.  Other times, it’s deep and tough; potentially years and decades of rewiring the brain and working through life struggles. 

When we experience emotional “pain,” we don’t have energy for making healthy choices.  We are in survival mode.  Plus, all that sugar, fat, and comfort food rewards our brain temporarily to feel better so we constantly repeat “what works” (what makes us feel better) which leads to weight gain.  Here are just 3 things to start practicing.  Let me know how it goes and if you need further support.

  1. Touch.  I give hugs to everyone in my office.  Touch is powerful.  Rejection hurts not just to the heart but physically.  Touch or massage reduces pain.  By the way, studies show that in-person touch or talking on the phone works but texting does NOTHING.  It’s like not getting support.  Reach out and get hugs!
  2. Label Your Emotions.  Suppressing emotions backfires.  Describe how you feel in 1 or 2 words.  Validate how you feel and re-engage your “logic” brain (prefrontal cortex).  This calms the amygdala (region that processes emotional reaction). 
  3. Rid Guilt & Shame.  It’s crazy that guilt and shame actually activates the reward center of our brain which explains why so many of us are obsessed with shaming and imposing guilt on ourselves.  The brain likes to worry too because at least we are doing something versus nothing at all.  This calms that limbic system which processes emotions.  At Happy Food, we heavily focus on gratitude because it boosts dopamine and serotonin. Every diet program is about guilt & shame. Let’s find more room for gratitude instead. 

If there are changes you’d like to make in your stress level, eating habits, exercise, and overall health and happiness, start with a free health consultation at www.HappyFoodHealth.com or (619) 876-2655. See if this is the right match for you. I do things very differently to make health a natural lifestyle and this is not for everyone. Check out Yelp for other people’s opinion of Happy Food.

~ Samantha Hua, Nutrition & Holistic Health Coach, San Diego, CA

 

Sleep & Health Risks

June 15, 2017

We all know too well how we feel if we lack sleep but do you know the huge health consequences?  You don’t just feel crabby and mentally impaired, you also raise the risk of weight gain, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, reduced pain tolerance, and more colds. 

  • Weight Gain.  Studies consistently show increased risk of obesity from insufficient sleep.  A study showed that women who slept no more than 5 hours a night were 28% more likely to gain at least 30 lbs over 16 years than those who slept 7 hours a night.  We eat more.  Ghrelin, hormone that increases appetite, are higher and leptin, hormone that curbs appetite is decreased due to lack of sleep. 
  • Diabetes.  In a study, those that slept less than 6 hours a night were 30% more likely to suffer from type 2 diabetes than those who slept 7 hours a night.  Your body is less insulin sensitive.  You eat more and more high carb, high fat foods and your body is less able to process them. 
  • Heart Disease.  Those who sleep less than 6 hours per night have a 50% higher risk of heart disease than those who get at least 7 hours per night.  Scientists believe it’s due to inflammation. 
  • Colds. In an experiment, those who slept less than 7 hours per night were 3 times more likely to get a cold than those who got at least 8 hours of sleep. 
  • Pain.  Those who slept 1.8 hours more than usual were less sensitive to pain.
  • Mental Clarity.  We have all experienced brain fog due to lack of sleep.  It impairs our ability to focus, pay attention, and make good decisions. 

If there are changes you’d like to make in your stress level, eating habits, exercise, and overall health and happiness, start with a free health consultation at www.HappyFoodHealth.com or (619) 876-2655. See if this is the right match for you. I do things very differently to make health a natural lifestyle and this is not for everyone. Check out Yelp for other people’s opinion of Happy Food.

~ Samantha Hua, Nutrition & Holistic Health Coach, San Diego, CA

How to Prevent Overeating

June 1, 2017

Many of us overeat due to emotions or because we’ve created a habit of large portions at each meal/snack.  We are also constantly reminded of food with food messages everywhere and food for sale everywhere, at all times.  This makes us eat when we are not hungry, eat more, and end up gaining weight. Here are 3 strategies to help you conquer overeating:

  1. Eat with your eyes too.  Look at your food and just eat. Studies show that we eat more when we multitask.  Make it a technology-free meal, eat away from your desk, stop working, and unplug.  It is your time to relax and recharge so you can continue your day, full of energy.  Don’t let other people take that from you.
  2. Respond to cravings.  Many of us can relate to eating when we are stressed, angry, bored, sad, or anxious.  We immediately gravitate to comfort food when these emotions come up.  Interestingly, studies show that people with high stress have less emotional control and strategic planning.  How can you feed your soul through nonfood ways?  Maybe a walk, talk with a friend, meditate, use music/art, exercise, etc? I always suggest drinking a glass of water, go doing something for at least 10 minutes, and most of the time, you’ve gotten over your craving and curved the immediate urge to medicate with comfort food.
  3. Watch out for addictive ingredients.  Salts, sugars, and unhealthy fats (aka, processed foods) can trick our brain to eating more.  Everyone in my office changes their palate through healthy eating and understanding nutrition, then we consume less processed junk, and therefore stop overeating and gaining weight.

If there are changes you’d like to make in your stress level, eating habits, exercise, and overall health and happiness, start with a free health consultation at www.HappyFoodHealth.com or (619) 876-2655. See if this is the right match for you. I do things very differently to make health a natural lifestyle and this is not for everyone. Check out Yelp for other people’s opinion of Happy Food.

~ Samantha Hua, Nutrition & Holistic Health Coach, San Diego, CA

Are Fruits Bad?

May 15, 2017

Are fruits bad to eat?  Is it too high in sugar and cause weight gain?  I get asked this question all the time in my office.  Here are my answers:

  • Fruits are high in nutrition.  Besides vitamin C, fruits have carotenoids, folate, potassium, fiber, vitamin K, calcium, iron, and magnesium. 
  • Low in calories.  Fruits are mostly water (85%) unless it’s dried fruit so it’s a low calorie treat.  Nature’s sugar is much better than restricting fruit followed by eating processed sweets. 
  • Inexpensive.  If you eat seasonally, your fruit will be inexpensive.  If you want blueberries all year long (which by the way isn’t good for us), then it gets expensive.
  • Convenient.  Fruit as a snack is so easy to pack. 
  • Physical health.  Studies show that those who consume more fruit have fewer instances of heart attack and strokes and potentially also improve the aging brain. 
  • Eating over drinking.  Eating fruit is more satiating for the body than drinking it; therefore, we don’t over-consume.

I hope that clarifies the fruit war.  Moderation is always your best friend.  Eat seasonally and aim for organic when possible (for you, the planet, and farmers). 

If there are changes you’d like to make in your stress level, eating habits, exercise, and overall health and happiness, start with a free health consultation at www.HappyFoodHealth.com or (619) 876-2655. See if this is the right match for you. I do things very differently to make health a natural lifestyle and this is not for everyone. Check out Yelp for other people’s opinion of Happy Food. 

 

~ Samantha Hua, Nutrition & Holistic Health Coach, San Diego, CA

Resilience Equals Happy & Healthy

May 1, 2017

We all have a story.  Resilience is how we quickly recover despite setbacks.  The more resilient we are, the happier we are and believe it or not, the more healthy and fit we are.  When we are happy and balanced, we don’t abuse our bodies either by overeating, eating food that make us sick, or neglecting our body in general. 

Many people come to me with an “all or nothing” attitude.  They do great until they have a “treat” and then, they throw up their arms and say “I failed.”  No you didn’t!!!  You had a cookie after eating great for weeks.  This is great!  That cookie is not your ticket to jail and a downward spiral to eating 5 more cookies, ice cream, and chocolate until you’re sick and feel totally defeated.  Perfection is never our goal!

Here are some tips for gaining more resilience:

  • Positivity.  Focus on solutions instead of problems.  Get your brain neurons firing the right direction to create resilience.
  • Social Connection:  We need a tribe.  Seek community.  We are no good completely solo in the world.
  • Gratitude:  Appreciate and look for the good even during bad times.  It rewires our brain and makes us more resilient to adversity. 
  • Realistic:  Set realistic goals that you can achieve.  It’s overwhelming to think about all the changes you have to make.  I’m a big fan of baby steps that are easy and lasts.
  • Personal Growth:  Learn your triggers and patterns.  And, redirect or remove things that sabotage you. 
  • Purpose:  Build resilience not through resentment but by offering help to those worse off.  Make someone else feel good.

Quiet the voice that shames you from needing help.  We don’t need to be strong alone.  Find support! 

If there are changes you’d like to make in your stress level, eating habits, exercise, and overall health and happiness, start with a free health consultation at www.HappyFoodHealth.com or (619) 876-2655. See if this is the right match for you. I do things very differently to make health a natural lifestyle and this is not for everyone. Check out Yelp for other people’s opinion of Happy Food.

~ Samantha Hua, Nutrition & Holistic Health Coach, San Diego, CA

Why the Brain Resists Diets

April 15, 2017

I learned that 80% of 10 year old girls have tried dieting. What??!!!  I have a 2 year old daughter and I want to prevent this vicious cycle of dieting for her, for your daughter, and for you.  I hope I can convince you to never put yourself or anyone on a diet.

The brain controls hunger & energy automatically.  This is good that the brain works on an unconscious level because it would be exhausting if we had to remember to breathe, or relearn walking over and over again.  The brain also controls weight.  The hypothalamus brain regulates weight by telling the body to gain or lose weight to keep weight stable as conditions change much like a thermostat in our house.  If it gets cold, kick up the heat.  If it gets hot, kick up the AC and keep the set point the same.  

When we lose lots of weight , the brain thinks it’s starving and prompts hunger signals and tells the muscle to burn less energy.  The brain thinks food is scarce and conserves energy (no matter what our weight is).  When we get food, it prompts the body to store the fat to prepare for next “winter.”  This is evolution for survival.  Human evolution has seen more years of food scarcity than 24/7 drive-thru.   

Research shows that 5 years after a diet, we regain the weight back and 40% gain even more.  At worst, diets ruin lives with eating disorders.  Girls who diet in their early teenage years are 3 times more likely to be overweight 5 years later (even if they started out thin).  

In my office, we focus on eating mindfully and intuitively versus using willpower and control.  People who use the controlled method are more likely to be overweight and binge because willpower expires when you decide to focus on something else.  

Let’s tell our girls to eat when they are hungry.  Let’s eat when WE are hungry and stop eating when we are full.  Let’s learn the cues our body sends us constantly, listen, and figure out what makes our body feel good.  Give yourself permission to eat what you want.  Relax around food.  Your stress is making you binge! 

If there are changes you’d like to make in your stress level, eating habits, exercise, and overall health and happiness, start with a free health consultation at www.HappyFoodHealth.com or (619) 876-2655. See if this is the right match for you. I do things very differently to make health a natural lifestyle and this is not for everyone. Check out Yelp for other people’s opinion of Happy Food.

~ Samantha Hua, Nutrition & Holistic Health Coach, San Diego, CA