Celebrity Chef Serena Poon On The 5 Things You Need To Do To Achieve a Healthy Body Weight, And Keep It Permanently

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Authority Magazine

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Love your body — Imagine that you had a friend who was having a hard time achieving a goal. Would you tell that friend that they are worthless, that you hate them, and that you won’t be their friend until they achieve their goal? Of course not! So often I see people speaking to themselves in this negative way. Have you ever said to yourself anything along the lines of “I hate my body,” “If I could just lose 10 more pounds I would be worthy of love,” “If only I looked like her…” This type of self-talk is counterproductive. Telling your body that you hate it will only create an unhealthy psychological spiral. Practice speaking to yourself with love. Create a space where it is possible to love your body and work to develop healthier habits at the same time.

So many of us have tried dieting. All too often though, many of us lose 10–20 pounds, but we end up gaining it back. Not only is yo-yo dieting unhealthy, it is also demoralizing and makes us feel like giving up. What exactly do we have to do to achieve a healthy body weight and to stick with it forever? In this interview series called “5 Things You Need To Do To Achieve A Healthy Body Weight And Keep It Permanently” we are interviewing health and wellness professionals who can share lessons from their research and experience about how to do this.

As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing certified nutritionist and celebrity chef Serena Poon.

Serena Poon combines her expertise as a celebrity chef, certified nutritionist and Reiki Master to serve her A-list clientele, which includes Kerry Washington, Jerry Bruckheimer, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, and other high-profile individuals. Her passion for integrative health and holistic nutrition led her to create Culinary Alchemy®, a method of functional and spiritual nutrition that integrates how food affects our bodies on a physiological and energetic level. Her work optimizes and heals the physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing of her clients. Serena is practical too, offering real-life tips to transform daily moments into lifelong healthy habits. She understands busy professional lives and creates ways to make wellbeing realistic.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your backstory?

My story began with my heart and soul, my parents. While I was in college at UC Berkeley, my father was diagnosed with Stage 4 liver cancer. It was a genetic disease, the same thing his grandfather had passed of years before. He fought but lost a very painful battle after just a year and 3 months. He was 48 years old. Two months later, my mother was diagnosed with a very rare and extremely aggressive form of ovarian cancer. She was 45 years old at the time. So, before we even had a chance to grieve my father, we were in another surreal battle to save my mother, who could hardly process the death of her soulmate, let alone her own mortality. With experimental treatment and my father in heaven watching over her (I truly believe that), my mother is still with us today.

As you can imagine, this completely changed my perspective on life. All that mattered was the health and happiness of my loved ones. Both of my parents incorporated Western and Chinese medicine in their cancer therapy, but our knowledge at the time was limited when it came to nutrition and using food as healing.

What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.

While my father was sick, I began looking into holistic, herbal and natural remedies for everything from his cancer symptoms, to alleviating the side effects of his treatments. Experiencing firsthand, the suffering that he and other cancer patients go through — I knew there had to be more that we could do, if we only had the information and resources. I studied Nutrition at college, but this drove my passion further and I decided to go to Le Cordon Bleu. I wanted to study the culinary arts to understand food and nutrition and to create ways to heal and comfort people through the power of food.

What I didn’t yet understand at the time was that full health and true wellness is about the healthy balanced systems of the whole mind, body and soul. I decide to study Reiki, a Japanese energy healing technique that channels universal life force energy to areas that need support and balance. I began to incorporate this healing modality into my practice with food and nutrition and Culinary Alchemy® organically came to life.

Throughout my journey, my business evolved to include more than just private chef and catering services. As I began practicing my Culinary Alchemy®, I became a nutritionist, wellness expert, coach and reiki master to my clients. I was inspired to launch my health and wellness line of super nutrient-dense super foods, Just Add Water®. As my consulting practice grew and I became aware of my influence within my own community and I realized that I could effectively teach and help so many more people by expanding my platform. Through the power of social media, I expanded my personal brand into a lifestyle brand, Serena Loves, which offers products and tools to support the spiritual and emotional body, as well as therapeutics and supplements to support the physical body. My journey has taught me that the power of knowledge, information and sharing experiences can literally help save lives. In an effort to provide more value to my community, I also host a regular streaming TV show and podcast, Serena Loves TV, where I interview entrepreneurs, visionaries, healers, and nutrition and wellness thought leaders as a resource to others.

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?

One of my clients and mentors, the late Garry Marshall, is someone who helped me more than he knew. He started as my client and I quickly became a part of the family at the production company. I helped him with his health, while he was like a grandfather, advising me about life. Garry believed in me during a time I didn’t believe in myself. He was there before my life-threatening surgeries, during and after, guiding me through heartbreaks and healing. He shared with me so many stories from his youth, as a young man navigating Hollywood, as a husband, as a father and a grandfather. His life experiences were life teachings for me and I still reflect back on certain pieces of advice that he gave me. There is a magic that comes from someone who sees you for who you are, especially when no one else does, including yourself. There is an invaluable exchange of energy that occurs when someone believes in you, during your deepest moments of struggle, and you choose to believe them. Their unconditional love is so great that you begin to believe in yourself again. I am forever grateful for his soul and I know that he touched the lives of many in much the same way. Sometimes, we are lucky enough to meet earth angels and we are to pass forward that energy when we do.

Can you share the funniest story that occurred in the course of your career?

I was fortunate enough to begin my career as a private chef to some of the most recognizable faces on the planet. As such, I’ve become well-accustomed to the privacy concerns of my clients. You will seldom hear or see a whole list of my clientele. Some of my clients really do live their public lives under a magnifying glass, so when it comes to their homes and private lives, they will often go outside the box to ensure that their privacy is maintained. I once was hired to prepare a dinner party for a couple — who, at the time, were the most visible couple in the world, not just because they were famous, but because of the nature of how they became a couple….they met on set and they were not both single at the time. So, I was blind-folded upon pick up, driven to a small private airport, put on a helicopter and remained blindfolded the entire time until we arrived at the house. It only took about an hour and a half, but it felt like I was playing out a kidnapping scene in a movie. I’ve also been cast in some popular movies by my director clients, but the blind-folded experience was far more interesting.

Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?

I share this quote often because it’s still the one that I live by on a regular basis, “No one is you and that is your power”. It’s just a reminder that even when you are not feeling strong, or when you feel lost or uncertain, that the power is within you to rise and that this is your duty — because no one can be you. The other quote I live by, quite literally now, is that “opportunities come from obstacles”. Even in your darkest or most challenging days, know that there is a gift hidden between the layers of the challenge or obstacle that is right in front of you. This is what helped me pivot my business when I was recovering from my 4th surgery, when I had nearly died, and I was not able to use the upper left side of my body for months. Without the use of both my arms, how could I be a chef? How could I serve my clients? I realized I had so much knowledge in me from all my studies and research that I poured into the food — I could just pivot and pour into consulting and programs. Treating myself like I was my own client, I was able to use food and nutrition to raise my hemoglobin from barely a 9, back up to 13, in 2/3 of the time the doctors told me it would take to recover. I realized that I had to rise up and be of service to my clients and community, and I had to do it in a different way. I began offering pre-operative and post-operative healing protocols to clients and my business ended up making 3x more that year than the years before — and I did it without the use of my left arm for the 6 of those months. Opportunities were hidden in the obstacles.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you?

Can you share a story about why that resonated with you? The Alchemist. For so many reasons, but mostly because I resonate with the dreamer, the creator and the ones who believe in the power of magic. I am someone who is led by my heart, I believe in living in alignment with your soul and your purpose. I believe that kindness, love and gratitude are the foundation for our journey. These themes run throughout the book!

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

We are currently making several exciting updates to the Serena Loves App, which will be the platform to run multiple programs that are carefully designed for our community. These programs will include shopping lists, meal plans, gratitude journaling prompts, daily affirmations, and mantras to practice throughout the self-paced journey. Our goal is to show more people the path to healing by providing the knowledge and tools to address their specific health needs.

To further this mission of optimal, sustainable health for all, I am in the final stages of launching a supplement line that will be available via the App and our website, serenaloves.com. I am extremely excited and grateful to be able to offer highquality, well-sourced products to my community. At the same time, we are also launching 5 more products in our Just Add Water® line. Four of the new products will be a deconstructed version of the current Just Add Water® signature formulation. Originally, the Just Add Water® recipe was designed to be “everything you need in a day” to Simplify Your Self-Care®. It was a simple, one action product — add water and drink! I decided to break down the original formation into 2 categories of pea protein (chocolate and neutral flavored), 1 category of all your super greens and super foods, and 1 category of all your antioxidants. The fifth product we are releasing in the Just Add Water® line is a fizzy, highly bioavailable vitamin C drink. It’s delicious, and perfect for children as well.

Finally, I am working on several courses that will be found on the Serena Loves website, as well as partner platforms. These courses will cover everything from Culinary Alchemy® basics to success as an entrepreneur, and even how to take control of your brain health. I am so excited and grateful for all that is to come.

For the benefit of our readers, can you briefly let us know why you are an authority in the fitness and wellness field?

As a chef, certified nutritionist, and reiki master, I have made it my mission to promote further education around the mindful combination of food, nutrition, and healing intuition through my unique Culinary Alchemy® programs.

I set myself apart in a saturated industry with my genuine passion for curating intentional healing and wellness programs designed to help people achieve optimal, sustainable health. Integrating energetic techniques with guidance and education on food nutrition, how food affects our bodies on a physiological level, and how it affects the emotional body, my goal is to optimize and heal the physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being of my clients. Alongside my Nutrition certifications, CN, CHC, CHN, I have degrees from both UC Berkeley and Le Cordon Bleu’s most esteemed programming, Grand Diplome. I am also certified as a Reiki Master for Usui Shiki Ryoho and in Quantum Touch healing. I have created contemporary meals, menus and nutritional plans for the likes of Jerry Bruckheimer, Kerry Washington, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, Hugh Hefner, and other high-profile clientele.

In addition to my client work, I have my own health and wellness line, Just Add Water®, intentional lifestyle brand, Serena Loves®, and television show Serena Loves TV, where I bring my Culinary Alchemy® philosophy to life for my broader community.

OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview about achieving a healthy body weight.

Let’s begin with a basic definition of terms so that all of us are on the same page. How do you define a “Healthy Body Weight”? A healthy body weight is not necessarily a number, but a way of being in which your body functions optimally, protects itself from disease, and allows you to move through your daily life with ease. In my work, emotional and spiritual health play a crucial role in determining a healthy body weight. If your body is functioning properly, and the number on the scale seems “good,” but you have emotional ties to food or psychological stress around body image or weight, this would not be a healthy weight. From a Culinary Alchemy® perspective, a healthy physical body encompasses a healthy mind and energy centers. Many philosophies seem to view the body as a machine that gets us through the necessary motions, but from my viewpoint, there is so much more complexity, nuance, and beauty to optimal health (and body weight).

How can an individual learn what is a healthy body weight for them? How can we discern what is “too overweight” or what is “too underweight”?

A lot of my work in Culinary Alchemy® is empowering people to find balanced vitality, a place where they feel great and everything works optimally. The weight that supports this feeling is going to be different for everybody, and it cannot necessarily be quantified by body weight. You can use the Body Mass Index as a general reference point, but a true healthy weight is going to be a little bit more dialed in than that. With my clients who want to lose weight, we look at a holistic system including markers such as blood panels, subjective feelings, nutrient deficiencies, energy blocks, and emotional health. True wellness goes beyond the numbers on the scale.

This might be intuitive to you, but it will be instructive to expressly articulate this. Can you please share a few reasons why being over your healthy body weight, or under your healthy body weight, can be harmful to your health?

Being overweight can lead to disease risk factors that can lead to serious conditions such as metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular and respiratory problems, inflammation, and joint pain. Being underweight can lead to issues such as nutrient deficiencies, problems with bone health, low energy and a weakened immune system. Often these problems happen in an extreme place and there are a lot of emotional, psychological, and energetic issues tied to this state of being.

Read the full article here.

 

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This content is strictly the opinion of Chef Serena Poon and is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Serena nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.

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