10 Simple Tricks to Increase Happiness Daily

Don’t Worry Be Happy? That’s how the song goes right? Well easier said than done! I wanted to add a few tricks I have learned to increase happiness and positivity into everyday life. I use these tricks with myself and my patients. They really do work and I receive excellent feedback on all of them. I find increased happiness will help you get to your health goals faster. It increases you motivation and overall mood. Without this, its hard to get motivated to do anything healthy! Looking back when you were at you healthiest , I bet you were highly motivated, positive, and happy. So here are a few simple tips to get us there!

1. Exercise your Strengths

What are you good at? Make a list. Everyone has at least 3! Can you take these strengths and use it to help someone else? Such as showcasing your cooking skills as a volunteer? Or maybe it’s a sport you are good at? Could you start at team? Don’t let your natural born skills go to waste! Use them wisely, and in turn possibly pass that skill down to someone else that could use it and will be appreciative. This will make you feel happier when you are utilizing your natural born skills

2. Plan Activities or Events to Look Forward To

Having something to look forward to is another way to increase your positivity. Even if that event or thing is far away, you will still have an end goal in sight. Why not plan a trip, to see friends/family, a sporting event, participate in a race, or get involved in a local group or event? What do you have to look forward to right now? When you have something planned how does that make you feel?

3. Exercise

This is no secret. Exercise has been proven to increase happiness. Why? Because we release endorphins as we get moving, and this increases our mood. Why not find an activity you enjoy and incorporate into your schedule 3-4 times per week? Find a buddy or perhaps look forward to meeting new people or trying a new exercise or hobby you have not done before!

4. Meditate

There is a reason meditation has become so popular! It works to reduce stress and increase mental clarity. In turn, this will increase our positivity and happiness. Try meditating 5 minutes per day and increase by a few minutes gradually. Find the balance that works for you. If you have trouble getting started there are local meditation groups, apps , and podcasts that can help guide you to getting started.

5. Take a Walk Outside Even if It’s Just for 20 min During Your Work Day

Yes it has been shown that people that get up from their desk and get moving return back to work much happier, energized, and productive than those who just stayed sitting all day. Why outside? Because getting that sunlight, vitamin d, and fresh air will energize you! Even when you are feeling very tired try to find the motivation to get out there! I promise you will feel a lot better that you did once you get back!

6. Spend Money on People and Events Not Things

When you are able to, aside from the things you absolutely need, try to see what it feels like to spend money on taking another person or group to an event, or taking yourself to a vacation! While it can feel good to buy things for yourself, it has been shown that when you are able to help others out, for example inviting a friend to a show and paying for them , it increases your happiness and well-being. Why? Because you are giving and not expecting anything in return!

7. Make a Point of Committing Random Acts of Kindness

On that note, why don’t you plan on committing to randomly helping a stranger at least once per week? That may be the guy on the subway or paying for the person’s coffee behind you in line randomly. Again, you are giving without expecting anything in return. The universe will  return that favor back to you in other ways

8. Watch Less TV

Instead of engaging in mindless TV watching why not do an activity, exercise, talk to loved ones, listen to music, play sports, teaching, reading, volunteering, blogging, cooking,  or some other productive activity? While watching TV is enjoyable, putting a limit on how much you are watching per day is ideal. Don’t forget our brains are wired to do so much more than stare at a screen; we are thinkers, make sure you are using your brain to the fullest capacity

9. Infuse Positivity into Your Work and Home Environments by Displaying Pictures of Your Loved Ones

Place reminders all over, of your family, friends, pets, co workers, team mates, church friends, or whomever you call your loved ones or close knit group. This is a constant reminder of all the external forces you have outside of yourself that are there for you. These are the people that bring joy into your life. Just by seeing a picture of them, you will feel a sense of happiness.

10. Smile and Compliment Others, Including Yourself

Smiling is so under rated but yet it is everything and it is one of the first things people notice about you. When you smile more, you feel more happy, that is a fact! Compliment others daily. No fake compliments but real sincerity from the heart. Also, please don’t forget to compliment yourself. Write down 3 things you did well each day as a reminder

I hope these tips will help bring more happiness into your day! Don’t forget to share these with others! Knowledge is Power

How Starches Can Stall Your Weight Loss

Disclaimer: Always consult with your healthcare provider before starting any weight loss program.

Ever wondered why you start a new diet, begin losing weight, and then all of the sudden the weight loss stops or weight gain begins? Sometimes there is one thing you may be eating daily or even every other day that may be causing weight gain or no weight loss at all. Often times it takes some close examining to look back at your week and see what the “repeat offender” is. Often times there is one “repeat offender” that we are eating that we may think is “ok” that is actually stalling our weight loss. One “repeat offender” food group I find consistent across the board is starches.

So what is a starch?

Starches make up a large part of the carbohydrates consumed by Americans. Foods made from starchy vegetables, grains or their flours, such as French fries, baked potatoes, breads, pasta, rice, cookies and cakes, are all high in starches. Some starches can be metabolized as quickly and even quicker than sugar, which means that they can rapidly increase your blood sugar levels after eating. Reducing your starch and sugar intake is a good way to control your weight and blood sugar levels and improve your cardiovascular risk profile.

Sugars are simple carbohydrates. Example: grains (even “whole” grains), cereals, cornstarch breads, muffins, bagels, crackers, and “starchy” vegetables such as slow cooked beans (pinto, lima, black beans, etc.), carrots, parsnips, plantains, corn, peas, and potato chips.

Repeat daily offenders of any of the previously mentioned foods can cause mini spikes of insulin, which can result in fat storage overtime.

Often times when I ask people to cut something out, even something “healthy” such as beans, bread, bananas, or oatmeal, something they may be consuming on a daily basis, they will see weight loss the following week.

The best way to test this is to cut out the item you think may be triggering your weight gain.

If the item is starchy, and you are eating it frequently, reduce or cut it out for a week and sub with a protein item for a week.

If the item is “healthy”, such as nuts, and you are eating it frequently, reduce portion size.

Weigh yourself in a week after eliminating the item.

If you went down in weight you most likely were consuming too many calories from eating too much of a healthy item.

Or you have been eating an offending starchy item that is causing excess insulin secretion, also causing weight gain.

Some of the common ones I have seen that hinder weight loss are oatmeal daily, power bars daily, 3 bananas a day, daily plantains, cereal daily, wheat bread, large amounts of brown rice, and white rice every other day.

In these cases we eliminated the item and substituted a high protein item such as protein shake, egg omelets, boiled egg, turkey bacon, avocado, plain Greek yogurt with blueberries and almonds, berries and apples for fruits with almond butter, to name a few.

Keep in mind, any food item, even proteins or good fats items, when eaten in high consumption will cause excess fat storage. Portion control is critical.

Example: I recommend almonds for snacking in between meals, however, they should be eaten in small portion, that means about 20 almonds a serving, eating 50, and then maybe more than that once per day may cause some extra weight gain depending on your calorie expenditure.

Eating less carbs and sugar makes the taste for sugar and carbs decrease over time. The less you eat, the less you crave. Eat when you are hungry, stop when you are full. Learn to listen to your body. A low-carbohydrate diet has a natural appetite reduction effect to ease you into the consumption of smaller and smaller quantities comfortably. Therefore, do not eat everything on your plate “just because it is there.”

I recommend that you start your day with a nutritious low-carbohydrate meal. Example: Meat or other protein source (usually eggs) and a low-carb vegetable. Could be an omelet with veggies.

When you stop that sugar crashing cycle, you stop the addiction. Sugar is an addiction, and like any addiction when you reintroduce it, you go right back through the stages and cycles of addiction: the cravings, the high, the crash, the withdrawal, and repeat. So best just to eliminate the item so the cycle will break. And trust me , eventually it will!

These are my tips! Starchy items are easy to notice! After you eat a starchy item are you very full? Does your stomach expand? Does your body like that feeling is what you need to ask yourself!!