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5 Causes of Menopausal Weight Gain & Proven Ways to Keep the Pounds Off

If you feel like you’ve gained a few pounds now that you’re in menopause, you’re not alone. It’s common for women to gain weight during midlife—an average of 1.5 pounds per year, research shows.1   But concerns around weight gain during menopause isn’t just about being able to fit in your favorite pair of jeans—it can be bad for your health. According to the North American Menopause Society, obesity—particularly abdominal obesity—puts postmenopausal women at increased risk of developing chronic medical conditions, including high blood pressure, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and breast and uterine cancer.2 And those with Type 2 diabetes may find that weight gain worsens their symptoms.3   But why does midlife weight gain happen in the first place? And is there anything you can do to prevent the pounds from sneaking on? Read on for the 5 most common causes of menopausal weight gain, along with sensible ways to keep the pounds in check.           #wistia_chrome_25 #wistia_grid_32_wrapper .w-css-reset{font-size:14px;} #wistia_chrome_25 #wistia_grid_32_wrapper div.w-css-reset{box-sizing:inherit;box-shadow:none;color:inherit;display:block;float:none;font:inherit;font-family:inherit;font-style:normal;font-weight:normal;font-size:inherit;letter-spacing:0;line-height:inherit;margin:0;max-height:none;max-width:none;min-height:none;min-width:none;padding:0;position:static;text-decoration:none;text-transform:none;text-shadow:none;transition:none;word-wrap:normal;-webkit-tap-highlight-color:rgba(0,0,0,0);-webkit-user-select:none;-webkit-font-smoothing:antialiased} #wistia_chrome_25 #wistia_grid_32_wrapper 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33% { opacity: 1; } 66% { opacity: 1; } 100% { opacity: 0; } } @keyframes VOLUME_LARGE_WAVE_FLASH { 0% { opacity: 0; } 33% { opacity: 1; } 66% { opacity: 1; } 100% { opacity: 0; } } .volume__small-wave { animation: VOLUME_SMALL_WAVE_FLASH 2s infinite; opacity: 0; } .volume__large-wave { animation: VOLUME_LARGE_WAVE_FLASH 2s infinite .3s; opacity: 0; } Click for sound                               #wistia_grid_32_wrapper{-moz-box-sizing:content-box;-webkit-box-sizing:content-box;box-sizing:content-box;font-family:Arial,sans-serif;font-size:14px;height:100%;position:relative;text-align:left;width:100%;} #wistia_grid_32_wrapper *{-moz-box-sizing:content-box;-webkit-box-sizing:content-box;box-sizing:content-box;} #wistia_grid_32_above{position:relative;} #wistia_grid_32_main{display:block;height:100%;position:relative;} #wistia_grid_32_behind{height:100%;left:0;position:absolute;top:0;width:100%;} #wistia_grid_32_center{height:100%;overflow:hidden;position:relative;width:100%;} #wistia_grid_32_front{display:none;height:100%;left:0;position:absolute;top:0;width:100%;} #wistia_grid_32_top_inside{position:absolute;left:0;top:0;width:100%;} #wistia_grid_32_top{width:100%;position:absolute;bottom:0;left:0;} #wistia_grid_32_bottom_inside{position:absolute;left:0;bottom:0;width:100%;} #wistia_grid_32_bottom{width:100%;position:absolute;top:0;left:0;} #wistia_grid_32_left_inside{height:100%;position:absolute;left:0;top:0;} #wistia_grid_32_left{height:100%;position:absolute;right:0;top:0;} #wistia_grid_32_right_inside{height:100%;right:0;position:absolute;top:0;} #wistia_grid_32_right{height:100%;left:0;position:absolute;top:0;} #wistia_grid_32_below{position:relative;} The Top Causes of Menopausal Weight Gain 1. Hormonal Changes The drop in estrogen and progesterone that causes the cessation of your period, along with the classic complaints of menopause—mood swings, hot flashes, an altered sex drive, just to name a few—is also a cause of menopausal weight gain.4 This hormonal shift, particularly as it relates to estrogen, is also why you’re more likely to gain weight around your abdomen, as opposed to your hips and thighs.5   But weight gain can start to happen before you’re in full-blown menopause. Many women notice weight changes during the period of time leading up to menopause—called perimenopause—when hormone fluctuations and symptoms start to occur. 2. The Natural Aging Process You can’t blame hormones alone for menopausal weight gain; you are also more likely to gain weight as you grow older because muscle mass naturally diminishes with age.6 Losing muscle mass affects how quickly your body can use calories and lowers your resting metabolism rate, making it more difficult to maintain a healthy weight. This is why you might find that you’re eating the same but still gaining weight.   In addition to losing muscle, women are more likely to become insulin-resistant as they age.7 Insulin – a hormone that plays a key role in stabilizing blood sugar levels – when unregulated, can make weight gain more likely and weight loss more challenging. 3. Poor Sleep Habits Your body needs sleep in order to function properly, but many women, particularly perimenopausal and menopausal women, find that they have trouble getting enough rest.8 The reasons for sleep disturbances at this age vary—some women have sleep apnea or other sleep disorders, while others struggle with mood and anxiety disorders, restless leg syndrome or hot flashes.   Regardless of the reason, a lack of sleep is associated with weight gain.9 Being sleep-deprived can also lead to snacking and eat more calories all around.10 4. A Poor Diet and Lack of Exercise Eating a healthy diet and getting the recommended amount of exercise each week is important at any phase of life. However, it becomes even more critical in helping to fight weight gain during menopause.   Although you know you need to eat right and exercise, you may not always do it as you struggle to balance your career, family needs and social life. With so many priorities competing for your time and attention, it can be easy to grab unhealthy food and skip exercise. Although your body may let you get away with this in your teens, 20’s or even 30’s, it isn’t so forgiving once you reach menopause.   5. Genetics Your genetic legacy can also influence menopausal weight gain. If your mother struggled with her weight during menopause, you may also have difficulty managing yours during this time.11 Additionally, if a parent or another close relative carries extra weight around the middle, you’re more likely to follow in their footsteps.12   How to Keep the Pounds Off   1. Make Dietary Changes Due to all the changes associated with menopause, you may need to eat a couple hundred calories less per day than you did in your 30s and 40s.13 This might sound daunting, but it can be easier than you think. For example, replace beverages such as soda and juice with calorie-free options. Be sure to drink water throughout the day—eight 8-ounce glasses or more—to help promote a feeling of satiety, and for overall good health. And steer clear of alcoholic beverages—like sodas, they are empty calories, devoid of any nutritional value.   Also, consider whether you should reduce your consumption of sweets and food filled with empty calories. We all have our temptations when it comes to treats, but moderation is key. This means that you can indulge in your favorites every now and then, but in order to prevent weight gain, you need to make it the exception, not the rule. Need more convincing? Research shows that nearly 300 calories come from added sugars each day in the average American diet!14 Half of these calories are from juices and soft drinks, while the rest come from desserts like cookies and ice cream. Another reason why portion-control is key!   If you’re following the Jenny Craig menu, we’ve got you covered as your snacks and desserts are already accounted for in your overall weight loss plan, so you don’t need to worry about enjoying a slice of that Chocolate Lave Cake.   Overall, your diet should include more fruits, vegetables, calcium sources such as nonfat yogurt, and healthy proteins. Lean meats, eggs, low-fat dairy and legumes are some of the protein sources we love. 2. Eat With Your Circadian Rhythm in Mind To achieve maximum weight loss, you’ll also have to think about the timing of your meals and snacks. Cutting-edge research shows that when you eat is just as important as what you eat.15   Your body and metabolism are regulated by your circadian rhythm. This refers to the behavioral, mental and physical changes you experience over a 24-hour period.16 These changes are divided into two 12-hour periods, which are dictated by light and darkness. It turns out that your metabolism follows a predictable curve each day that matches these periods: your metabolism peaks in the middle of the day and decreases as the day goes on.   To help you on your weight loss journey, Jenny Craig has developed the Rapid Results program, which divides the day into a 12-hour nourishment period and a 12-hour rejuvenation period. You eat six times a day during the nourishment period and take a digestion break during the rejuvenation period. By following a program such as this, you will find that you’re eating in sync with your body’s natural rhythm, which can lead to greater weight loss.17   3. Keep Moving If breaking a sweat isn’t part of your normal routine, now is the time to start. Even if you work out regularly, it may be a good time to re-evaluate your exercise routine to make sure it includes both aerobic exercise and strength training. Not only will this type of variety keep you from getting bored with your workout routine, but it is also necessary to maintain health and promote weight loss.   Aerobic exercise is any activity that gets the large muscles in your body moving for an extended period of time. Some examples include walking, running, dancing, swimming and cycling. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise every week.18 Even small bursts of activity throughout your day can help you reach this number. Try a brisk walk on your lunch break or after work a few times a week – little changes throughout your day can make a big difference!   As for strength training, this includes any exercise that increases skeletal muscle strength, mass, power and endurance. The CDC recommends that adults do muscle-strengthening activities that work all major muscle groups at least two days a week. You don’t need to be a bodybuilder to reap the rewards: try incorporating weights in a simple circuit based workout with stretching and cardio. Not only does strength training prevent muscle loss, but it can also help you rebuild muscle and prevent osteoporosis.19   All forms of exercise also offer a number of other health benefits, including a lower risk of metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease, enhanced joint and muscle health, and relief from depression and anxiety.20 4. Get More Sleep Because lack of sleep can contribute to weight gain during menopause, it’s important to get enough rest each night. According to the CDC, adults between the ages of 18 and 60 need seven or more hours of sleep each night.21 If you’re not getting enough rest, try figuring out why and take steps to solve for it.   If your busy schedule is keeping you from getting to bed at a reasonable hour, try to simplify it. Don’t be afraid to start saying no to certain activities or delegate some responsibilities. Take a hard look at your schedule and see where you can cut items to make room for more sleep. 5. Seek Support It can be difficult to make lifestyle changes on your own, so why not get some support? Surround yourself with friends and loved ones who will support you on your journey to lose weight and get healthy. You may want to consider the benefits of having your own personal weight loss consultant, who is there to support you every step of the way.   Also, consider enlisting a friend to be your workout buddy and make lifestyle changes together. It’ll make sticking with these changes even easier—and more fun.   Although menopause can cause weight gain, you can take steps now to help prevent or minimize it. By understanding why you gain weight during this time and implementing simple lifestyle changes, you can continue on a healthy path – weight gain is not inevitable! You may even lose weight if you implement healthier choices that you weren’t making before.   If you’re ready to take the next step in your weight loss journey, contact Jenny Craig today to schedule your free appointment.     Sources: [1] https://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196(17)30602-X/fulltext [2] http://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopause-take-time-to-think-about-it [3] https://www.healthline.com/health/menopause/weight-gain#complications [4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3964739/ [5] https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/ob-gyn/gynecology/menopause-blog/may-2015/what-does-estrogen-have-to-do-with-belly-fat.aspx [6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19949277 [7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1330412 [8] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26742674 [9] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22972835 [10] https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/11/161102130724.htm [11] https://www.healthline.com/health/menopause/weight-gain [12] https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/womens-health/in-depth/menopause-weight-gain/art-20046058 [13] https://www.mayoclinic.org/menopause-weight-gain/ART-20046058?p=1 [14] https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/womens-health/in-depth/menopause-weight-gain/art-20046058?pg=2 [15] https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/03/10/389596946/circadian-surprise-how-our-body-clocks-help-shape-our-waistlines [16] https://www.nigms.nih.gov/education/pages/Factsheet_CircadianRhythms.aspx [17] Cell metabolism 23.6 (2016): 1048-1059. DOI: 10.1016/j.cmet.2016.06.001 [18] https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/adults/index.htm [19] https://www.bones.nih.gov/health-info/bone/bone-health/exercise/exercise-your-bone-health [20] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1402378/ [21] https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/how_much_sleep.html
Recipes ·

Summer Salsa

Transform these fresh and free ingredients into a delicious salsa for a refreshing summer side! Ingredients: 2 small tomatoes, diced 1 green pepper, chopped ¼  red onion, diced ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped 2 small garlic cloves, crushed Juice from ½ lime Pepper, to taste Directions: Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Serve with your Jenny Craig street tacos or use it as a dip with carrot chips!   *Counts as 1 cup veggie serving
Inspiration ·

Parisa A. lost 102 Lbs.* and is the Happiest and Healthiest She’s Ever Been

*Members following our program, on average, lose 1-2 lbs. per week. Parisa received promotional consideration.   Parisa was featured in Women’s Health Magazine and explains her story in her own words: <br>     My name is Parisa, I’m 28 and I’ve struggled with my weight for most of my life. At 17, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease which is a chronic autoimmune, inflammatory bowel disorder. I relied on medication to control the pain and the severe digestive problems I was experiencing. Once achieving remission and having no active symptoms, I quickly began to overeat, gaining over 50 lbs. I coped with stress by eating and during my years of college, graduate school, and job hunting, the pounds continued to pile on. Eating a large package of double stuffed cookies and a family size bag of potato chips were frequent snacks that I thoroughly enjoyed.   I was married in October 2015 weighing 270 lbs., which was the heaviest that I’d ever been. I was excited about my wedding, but being a size 22 made bridal gown shopping a challenge. The gown I chose was lovely, but wearing it did not make me feel like a beautiful bride. I had pangs of remorse that I had not lost weight for my big day. I blew it off by making jokes about my appearance and let it go to enjoy my wedding. Weeks later when I was looking at my wedding pictures, I was overcome with strong emotions that hit me hard. I saw my groom and bride maids looking healthy and happy. When I looked at myself in the photos, I felt little joy. I was immersed in regret, disappointment and sadness. Fortunately, those feelings changed quickly to a fierce resolve to take back control of my life and make changes that would have me looking and feeling the way I wanted. I was ready to make a change and I vowed to commit to choices in my life that would make that change happen. There would be no more excuses. A commercial for Jenny Craig came on as I was processing all of this, and I felt it was a sign. I made an appointment right away. The way to success was to be accountable, get support, and learn new eating habits. At Jenny Craig, I would have my own consultant to help me achieve these goals. The date was January 6, 2016, and it was a new beginning!   The Jenny Craig Program gave me the tools I needed to change my eating habits. The food was delicious, and I ate six times a day which helped me from feeling deprived and kept the hunger away. I stayed accountable to myself and my consultant by keeping a weekly menu planner to track what I ate and to record my weight. I stayed motivated by taking pictures documenting my weight loss and comparing them to pictures of me at my heaviest. When I needed extra motivation, I would look at those and remind myself of how far I’d come.   My consultant, Rosetta, has been one of my most enthusiastic cheerleaders, supporting me through the challenges and providing tips and strategies to keep me on the road to success. Most importantly, we became friends. Her reassurance and support gave me the encouragement to keep going and not give up. I don’t know what I would do without her.     I lost 102 lbs.* on Jenny Craig! During my journey, I achieved one of my most important goals which was to weigh less than 200lbs. on my first wedding anniversary. My health has improved tremendously and my medications for my Crohn’s disease have been drastically reduced. I’m able to walk up and down stairs and I no longer need my emergency inhaler. I’m able to exercise comfortably and have taken up several different activities including belly dancing and aerial yoga. Clothes shopping is fun now and I love that I can walk into any store and find something that fits. Gone are the days of endless snacking on double stuffed cookies and potato chips. I am now the happiest and healthiest I‘ve ever been. I feel back in control of my life and feel proud of my accomplishments that have given me back my life!     *Members following our program, on average, lose 1-2 lbs. per week
Live Life ·

6 Self-Care Practices for Mother's Day : Celebrating Mom Series

If you’re a mom, chances are you’re busy … really, really busy. So busy, in fact, that you might be tempted to neglect your own needs in favor of driving the carpool, ferrying kids to and from athletic events, making healthful school lunches, walking the dog, cleaning the litterbox … you get the idea. But putting yourself last can take a toll on your physical and emotional health. It can also become so ingrained that you actually forget how to practice healthful self-care.   So this May, how about dedicating some time and attention to yourself? Forget the nagging to-do list or the idea that you’re being self-indulgent (you’re not!) and take the time to invest in some restorative practices like those listed here. It’s time to practice some self-love—not only on Mother’s Day, but for the many days ahead. 1. Head to the park. Rather than going to the Mother’s Day buffet at a crowded restaurant, why not gather your family, pack a healthy picnic (make sure someone else does it!) and head to a local park? Not only will you get some healthy vitamin D, but you can get some fun exercise with your kids as well. Have fun and relax—can you remember the last time you got on a swing? Put on a broad-spectrum sunscreen— experts recommend an SPF of at least 30 that is sweat- and water-resistant1—and a hat and sunglasses to shade your eyes, then enjoy!   2. Plant a garden. There’s a reason that growing your own fruits and vegetables is gaining in popularity: Just-picked produce is mouth-wateringly good; it’s less expensive than store-bought produce; and there’s something infinitely satisfying about planting seeds and watching them grow. Bonus: Your children can get in on the act … and they might even eat more veggies if they participate in the growing and picking. 3. Take a nap. There’s probably not a mother around who doesn’t wish she could get more sleep. So grant yourself this wish and grab a few Z’s … and make it a habit. 4. Get a massage. In addition to being extremely relaxing, massage may help with anxiety, insomnia, digestive problems, headaches and more.2   5. Practice yoga or meditate. Practicing the relaxation techniques associated with yoga can improve lower-back pain, headaches and arthritis while lowering blood pressure and reducing weight.3    6. Go for a walk.   Head to a local trail or your favorite outdoor spot and enjoy some time outdoors with the added bonus of getting your heart pumping. You don’t have to hike a mountain to reap the benefits of this activity—just 12 minutes of walking a day has been found to offer mood-boosting benefits.4   News on the Sunshine Vitamin – Vitamin D While vitamin D is an irrefutably vital nutrient—helping to protect against bone density loss and numerous health problems, perhaps even obesity5—experts are somewhat divided on the best way to get it. The sun is one source: the American Osteopathic Association recommends spending 5 to 30 minutes in midday sun twice a week to maintain healthy Vitamin D levels.   According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, getting outside is good for the body and soul. “Spending time outdoors can improve overall health and wellness,” the organization states.   However, the American Academy of Dermatology states that vitamin D is best obtained through food. Incorporating foods such as tuna, eggs and cheese can help you achieve your daily needs. Bottom line: Check with your doctor to see what is best for you, and be sure to wear proper sunscreen if you opt for getting outside.   We hope you take one of these ideas and make your Mother’s Day a healthy and fun day you won’t soon forget. Try taking these tips and integrating them into your daily routine—you deserve it!   Sources: [1] https://www.aad.org/media/stats/prevention-and-care/sunscreen-faqs [2] https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/massage/art-20045743 [3] www.osteopathic.org/osteopathic-health/about-your-health/health.../yoga.aspx [4] https://www.rd.com/health/wellness/walking-boost-mood/ [5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3705328/  
Live Life ·

Celebrating Mom Series

To celebrate moms this May, we are sharing some helpful articles to help make their day a little easier. Check back every week for a new post! 6 SELF-CARE PRACTICES FOR MOTHER'S DAY   9 SIMPLE TIPS FOR MODERN MOMS   HOW TO MAXIMIZE YOUR SLEEP AS A NEW MOTHER   SIMPLE TIPS TO HELP YOU BALANCE WORK AND MOTHERHOOD    
Recipes ·

Simply Inspired: Carnitas Lettuce Wrap Tacos

Add vibrant veggies to your Pork Carnitas Bowl to create these fun and delicious Carnitas Lettuce Wrap Tacos! This handheld dish is perfect for Taco Tuesday while keeping you on track with the program. Ingredients: 1 Jenny Craig Pork Carnitas Bowl 1/3 cup of diced tomato 1/3 cup white onion 3-4 butter lettuce or romaine leaves 1 tsp nonfat Greek yogurt* Pinch of cilantro  Pinch of Black Pepper Instructions: Prepare Jenny Craig Pork Carnitas Bowl as directed on packaging. Combine the Pork Carnitas Bowl, white onion, diced tomatoes, nonfat Greek yogurt, and black pepper on top of lettuce leaf like a cup. Garnish with cilantro, fold over and hold like a taco to enjoy!   *Limited food items for Classic Menu only
Live Life ·

5 Ways Natural Remedies for Acid Reflux

If you’ve ever experienced acid reflux—that uncomfortable burning sensation in your chest and throat—then you know how much of an impact it can have on your life, from the foods you eat to the quality of your sleep. Although it may be tempting to reach for a bottle of antacids to calm your symptoms, making a few lifestyle changes may drastically reduce or even eliminate your acid reflux irritation.1 Keep reading to find out what acid reflux is and ways you can naturally combat your symptoms. What is Acid Reflux? Have you ever felt a burning sensation in your chest or throat after eating a large meal or one that was high in fat? If so, you’ve likely experienced acid reflux, and you’re not alone. Over 15 million Americans report experiencing these types of symptoms daily.2   What causes it? Acid reflux is caused by the backward flow of stomach acid into the esophagus through the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). In other words, when you have too much acidic content in your stomach, your esophagus can become irritated, leading stomach acid to rise. If symptoms persist, they may even lead to other chronic health issues.3 5 Ways to Naturally Reduce Your Symptoms   While reaching for a pack of antacids may be a quick fix to mask the symptoms of acid reflux, there are ways to naturally alleviate your symptoms as well as improve your overall health. Check out these 5 ways that may improve your symptoms: 1. Shed excess body weight Studies4 have shown that there is a correlation between being overweight and experiencing acid reflux. Specifically, carrying extra weight in your abdominal area, known as visceral fat, may increase the likelihood of experiencing symptoms.5 How? When additional weight is held around the belly, it can increase the pressure on internal organs, which can result in the backflow of stomach acid. The good news, however, is that losing just 5-10 percent of overall body weight can significantly reduce symptoms in overweight individuals.6 2. Consider your portion sizes Larger meals, especially ones with high-fat content, can lead to stomach bloat and increase pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), causing acid reflux.7 By keeping your portions in check you can reduce these symptoms. With Jenny Craig, you don’t have to worry about portion sizes, everything is laid out for you and includes the perfect balance of carbs, protein and fats. 3. Drop the cigarette habit For regular smokers, kicking the cigarette habit may not be the easiest item on the list, but it offers an incredible array of health benefits. In addition to easing acid reflux, quitting smoking can reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, lung disease, and more.8 4. Avoid eating late at night Have you ever laid down right after a large meal? It’s not very comfortable – and for a reason: your stomach needs time to digest food. By eating meals or snacks late at night, before going to bed, your likelihood of experiencing acid reflux symptoms increases as it’s easier for the backflow of stomach acid to rise when you’re lying down, rather than standing up. Experts recommend having your last meal 3-4 hours before turning in for the night.9 5. Sync up with your circadian rhythm Circadian rhythm refers to the body’s mental, behavioral and physical changes over a 24-hour cycle.10 In simplest terms, it’s our body’s internal clock. This rhythm dictates the way every cell in the body functions and is typically divided into two, 12-hour periods, roughly daytime and nighttime. In today’s modern world, full of electronics and late-night snacks, it’s easy to get out of sync with your natural rhythm. Unfortunately, this can lead to weight gain and other health problems, such as acid reflux.11 But by eating in alignment with your circadian rhythm and allowing your body to rejuvenate for 12-hours, you may experience a host of other health benefits, including optimizing your metabolism, while also reducing symptoms associated with acid reflux.12 Jenny Craig’s newest program, Rapid Results, was created to work in sync with your natural circadian rhythm.   If you’re looking to improve your eating habits to lose weight and achieve a healthier lifestyle or want to try our newest Rapid Results program to get in sync with your circadian rhythm, contact Jenny Craig for your free appointment and get started today.     Sources: [1] https://www.pcrm.org/sites/default/files/17066-NTR-GERD-Factsheet.pdf [2] http://patients.gi.org/topics/acid-reflux/ [3] http://patients.gi.org/topics/acid-reflux/ [4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15929752 [5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4398239/ [6] http://www.obesityaction.org/educational-resources/resource-articles-2/obesity-related-diseases/obesity-heartburn-what-is-the-link [7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5497367/ [8] https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips/quit-smoking/index.html?s_cid=OSH_tips_D9320 [9] https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2015/02/23/acid-reflux-foods_n_6723744.html [10] https://www.nigms.nih.gov/education/pages/Factsheet_CircadianRhythms.aspx [11] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3499064/ [12] Longo, Valter D., and Satchidananda Panda. Cell metabolism, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 14 June 2016, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5388543/.
Eat Well ·

The Truth about Carbs and Weight Loss

Recently, carbs got a much-needed break when it comes to being correlated with weight gain. Pasta can actually help contribute to weight loss, if eaten in moderation.1 We sat down with our Registered Dietitian, Janet Nash, to talk about how carbs can be part of a healthy diet and may even help you lose weight.   Sometimes, you just need to twirl your fork in a bowl of spaghetti with meatballs and enjoy. And that is perfectly O.K. While many weight loss trends suggest that you need to cut out this food group entirely, carbs, in moderation, can actually help some people lose weight. Here are five truths you need to know about carbs and weight loss:  Eat within reason Let’s not get carried away–eating heaping bowls of spaghetti every night isn’t going to help you achieve your weight loss goals. But if you stick to a serving size no bigger than your fist and watch what you put on top, pasta may aid in weight loss. In a recent study2, participants ate a little over three half-cup servings of noodles each week, and researchers found that pasta did not contribute to weight gain. Instead, participants saw the number on the scale slightly decrease, likely due to pasta’s low glycemic index (GI).   Nash explains, “Glycemic Index is a value assigned to foods based on how slowly or quickly they cause blood sugar levels to rise. Foods with a lower glycemic index (55 or less) that take longer to digest and absorb, lead to a slower rise and contribute to lower levels of blood sugar compared to foods with a higher glycemic index (70 or above).” She continues, “Generally, pasta has a glycemic index of around 44, with whole wheat versions being even lower, so it falls within the “low” category. Because balancing your blood sugar levels is imperative for weight management, eating foods with a lower GI can help prevent weight gain.”   What gives pasta a low glycemic index? The presence of “resistant starch.” So, what exactly is resistant starch?   “Resistant starch has a structure that is “resistant” to your digestive enzymes and does not break down for absorption,” says Nash. “It passes from your small intestine right into the large intestine where your gut bacteria will ferment it. This process provides many health benefits including weight control.”   Other foods containing resistant starches include barely ripe bananas, brown rice, potatoes and legumes.   Nash also points out, “If you cook these types of foods and then let them cool down, it may actually increase their resistant starch content. So, if you’re debating reheating your leftover pasta–go right ahead– it won’t reduce the amount of resistance starch it contains.” Satiate your appetite If you find yourself hungry throughout the day, you may want to incorporate more healthy carbs into your routine. Nutrient-rich carbs containing resistant starch, act a lot like fiber, they keep you feeling full and satisfied after eating, so you’re less likely to munch on unhealthy snacks in between meals. Naturally Burns Fat “It’s a common misconception that carbs are solely at fault for weight gain,” says Nash.   “Because resistant starches are fermented by the gut bacteria in the large intestine, beneficial fatty acids are produced which help nourish good bacteria and supports a healthy immune system. One particular fatty acid that is produced by this process, butyrate, encourages your body to burn fat over carbohydrates,” continues Nash.   So healthy carbohydrates may be aiding your weight loss efforts, not hindering them. Weight maintenance Good news: according to research2, people who consumed the most nutrient-rich carbs from “whole” sources like vegetables and whole grains, and fish were found to be slimmer than those who restricted the food group. It’s no coincidence that the US Dietary Guidelines for carbohydrates is 45-65 percent of your total daily calories.3-4   Feel good about your food Perhaps the best reason for incorporating healthy carbs into your diet is the feel-good factor.   “If you don’t have to cut out your favorite foods while following a weight loss program, you’ll be more likely to stick to your goals,” says Nash.   By incorporating nutrient-rich carbs in moderate amounts, you won’t feel like you’re missing out or being deprived.   If you’re ready to start a weight loss program that doesn’t cut out any food groups and incorporates healthier versions of your favorites, make your free appointment with Jenny Craig today.   Sources: [1] Chiavaroli, Laura, et al. “Effect of Pasta in the Context of Low-Glycaemic Index Dietary Patterns on Body Weight and Markers of Adiposity: a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomised Controlled Trials in Adults.” BMJ Open, British Medical Journal Publishing Group, 1 Mar. 2018, bmjopen.bmj.com/content/8/3/e019438.  [2] http://jandonline.org/article/S0002-8223(09)00451-9/abstract [3] http://jandonline.org/article/S0002-8223(09)00451-9/abstract [4] https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/carbohydrates/art-20045705?pg=2
Move More ·

Heart-Healthy Exercises at Any Age

Maintaining a regular exercise schedule can be challenging for everyone, no matter your age. However, as we get older, joints and muscles can become more at-risk for inflammation and soreness–and aches and pains can make it harder to want to get moving. We get it–sometimes it just feels good to lounge on the couch! But did you know that one of the five major risk factors for developing cardiovascular disease is a sedentary lifestyle?1 Keeping up with a workout routine that makes you feel great can also help to strengthen your heart muscle as well as improve your overall lifestyle. By finding an activity that you enjoy, it may be easier to incorporate it into your daily routine. Here are 5 different heart-healthy exercises to try at any age: Build Your Strength Strength training is an important cardiovascular exercise for keeping your heart healthy.2 This doesn’t mean you have to lift heavy weights or incorporate high-intensity sessions. You can try a simple circuit-based heart-pumping workout, by combining weights with cardio and stretching. If you’re unsure which exercises to do, weight-bearing exercises in a class setting can be a great option; as the instructor can modify your activities for safety. Even if it is only for 30 minutes, strength training is a great healthy-heart fitness option that will keep your blood flowing.3   Walk it Out Walking is one of the simplest heart-healthy cardio exercises, and anyone can benefit from a 30-minute brisk walking session a few times per week.4 Walking is the perfect low-impact aerobic exercise for those who want to maintain their muscles as they age.5 Plus, it's a great heart-healthy exercise to enjoy with friends or a partner. So, meet a walking buddy at a local park, catch up, and get moving together!   Pedal On Hop on a bike for a heart-healthy, high-energy workout that will give your body and mind a quick boost. Whether indoors on a stationary bike or outside in the fresh air, this low-impact exercise helps increase the heart rate while strengthening the lower body.6 Another benefit: it’s easy on the joints.7 Plus, it’s a great way to de-stress and relax!    Stretch & Tone Stretching and toning exercises like yoga are ideal for keeping you and your healthy-heart strong.  Gentle stretching can help increase blood circulation throughout your body and can also help improve flexibility.   Hit the Pool Swimming is another low-impact cardio exercise that can offer several benefits, such as torching calories and increasing your lung and heart function.8 Hopping in the pool just a couple of times a week can also give you a total body workout. Not only is swimming joint-friendly, but it also doesn’t require any special equipment beyond a bathing suit. Consistent exercise is one of the easiest ways to lead a heart-healthy life.9 Always consult with your doctor before starting an exercise program. If you are trying a new physical activity routine for the first time, consider working with a fitness instructor so that you can monitor any potential injury risk.   Are you ready to improve your heart health by incorporating not only fitness but also a nutritionally balanced meal plan to help you lose weight? Call us for your free appointment to learn more about how Jenny Craig consultants can help you add more activity into your life and get you on your way to achieving your weight loss goals.       Sources: [1] http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/107/1/e2 [2] http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/PhysicalActivity/FitnessBasics/Strength-and-Resistance-Training-Exercise_UCM_462357_Article.jsp#.WtoX52uweUk [3] http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/PhysicalActivity/FitnessBasics/Strength-and-Resistance-Training-Exercise_UCM_462357_Article.jsp#.WtoX52uweUk [4] http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/walking/art-20046261 [5] https://americanbonehealth.org/exercise/is-walking-good-for-bone-health/ [6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19387377  [7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5332914/  [8] https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/take-the-plunge-for-your-heart [9] https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/5-ways-exercise-helps-men-live-longer-and-better
Eat Well ·

Does Late-Night Snacking Lead to Weight Gain?

How often do you reach for a midnight snack if you’re up late watching a movie or working? It might seem harmless enough, but regularly eating late at night can lead to a variety of problems, including weight gain and insomnia.1   We’re sharing the health effects of late-night snacking and simple ways that you can overcome your evening eating habit. The Health Implications of Eating Late at Night Many people eat late at night now and then. Sometimes our daily routines get interrupted due to work, travel, or taking care of the family and late night snacking or meals happen. But eating excessive calories or junk food late at night can lead to a handful of problems:   1. Weight Gain After a long day, it may be tempting to resort to snack foods, such as ice cream and potato chips, but these foods are high in calories and low in nutrients. It also can be easy to eat more than the recommended serving size if you’re snacking on cookies or chips straight from the container late at night when satiety is lower. We’ve all been there – you look down and half the bag is gone! Eating these types of foods consistently can lead to an overconsumption of calories and eventually weight gain.  Another adverse effect of eating junk food at night is feeling the need to make up for it the next day. However, this practice can contribute to weight gain for multiple reasons. First, limiting your calorie intake the next day to try and reverse excess calorie consumption the night before can lead to a cycle of eating again at night.2 Additionally, because late night snacks and meals tend to not be as nutrient dense, your body can’t always process them as quickly which can lead to indigestion.3   2. Metabolism Issues Due to circadian rhythms, the body’s natural internal clock, our bodies are designed to consume more of our calories during the day as this is when our metabolism processes food most efficiently. When you eat well-balanced meals and healthy snacks in the daytime, you are leveraging your body’s natural circadian rhythm and optimizing your metabolism. This schedule helps keep your body functioning efficiently, and it can promote weight loss, energy, appetite control, and wellness.4 Alternatively, when you eat most of your calories at night, you can throw off this balance, which can lead to a variety of issues.   Since your body isn’t primed to process heavy meals or snacks in the evening, by consuming food late at night, you’re not adequately leveraging your metabolism. Conversely, when you restrict your food intake during the day, you may find that you are hungrier at night, which may lead to overeating during evening hours.5 Leveraging your metabolism and eating more calories when your metabolism is burning the most calories based on your circadian rhythm is the science behind Jenny Craig’s Rapid Results program that can result in losing up to 16 pounds in just 4 weeks. †   †First 4 weeks only. Avg. weight loss in study was 11.6 lbs for those who completed the program.   3.  Sleep Issues Have you ever noticed that it’s difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep after indulging in a large meal or eating certain foods? There’s a good reason for it. When you eat a big meal, your body must work hard to digest everything. Not only can this cause you to have an upset stomach, but it can also make it more difficult to get a good night’s sleep.6   Other foods that can cause sleep disruption include beverages with caffeine, including chocolate, coffee and, energy drinks, as they may keep you awake with their energy-boosting effects.7 This lack of sleep can leave you feeling groggy the next day, which may inspire you to continue the cycle of caffeine consumption.   4.  Acid Reflux & Heartburn Have you ever felt a burning sensation in your throat after eating too much or consuming a meal high in fat? If so, you’re not alone, most people have experienced acid reflux, a condition that occurs when stomach acid rises into the esophagus after eating. A common side effect of acid reflux is heartburn, a burning sensation in your lower or middle chest.   Although it can be uncomfortable, occasional acid reflux symptoms aren’t unusual. However, if you experience these symptoms on an ongoing basis, it may be a sign of a chronic digestive disorder called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or other esophagus problems that can lead to more serious health issues later in life.8   When you lie down to go to sleep after eating, you are more likely to experience acid reflux and other symptoms associated with GERD.9 When you overeat, or you ingest high-fat, acidic or greasy food at night, your risk of experiencing these symptoms increase even more10 and sleeping while experiencing these symptoms can be difficult.   Ways to Avoid Late-Night Snacking Breaking the midnight snacking habit is possible. With these seven tips, you’ll learn that it’s easy and worthwhile to give up that late evening bite.    #1. Find Out Why   If you find that you’re regularly snacking late in the evening, the first step is figuring out why. Some people end up eating late at night because they restrict their daytime food intake too much, which causes them to feel ravenous when nighttime rolls around. Eating at night may also be due to boredom, emotions, stress, or habit.   Determining if you’re actually hungry is the key to weight loss regardless of when you’re eating. Learn how to tell the difference between hunger and emotions.    Once you discover the reason for your nighttime snacking, you can take the appropriate action to overcome the problem.   #2. Identify Challenges You might find it helpful to figure out what sparks your eating behavior once you determine what’s causing your late-night snacking. This could be a person, place or pattern of events. For example, perhaps your significant other loves a late-night dessert and you often indulge with them, or you enjoy a movie and popcorn at night.  Discovering what is provoking your late-night eating is especially helpful if you find that you’re eating when you are not hungry.   One of the best ways to find out what is causing your nighttime eating is to keep a food and mood journal.11 When you track your exercise and eating habits as well as your feelings you can identify patterns, which can help you take steps to stop eating late at night. If you’re a Jenny Craig member, discussing any trends you may be noticing with your consultant can help you pinpoint your challenges and help you avoid them in the future. Also, by following the Rapid Results menu plan, you can take the guesswork out of when to eat and help optimize your metabolism by leveraging your natural circadian rhythm.   #3. Establish a Routine Think that a routine sounds boring? Having set times for eating and sleeping can help you distribute your food intake throughout the day so that you are not as hungry in the evening.   Additionally, a routine can also help you improve your sleep, which is a critical component of weight loss and a healthy lifestyle. Lack of sleep has been linked to higher calorie intake, weight problems and chronic disease.12   By getting into a regular routine of eating and sleeping, you may find that you feel well-rested and less hungry throughout the day and night.   #4. Meal Plan & Prep While you’re setting a routine for yourself, you should also consider making meal planning a part of your life. Some people think meal planning sounds daunting, but it’s often easier than you might think. Meal planning doesn’t mean that you must create elaborate menus every day. It simply means thinking about what you’re going to eat and selecting healthier options for meals and snacks. When you have a plan, you’re less likely to eat on impulse and make poor choices.13   Another benefit of meal planning is it gives you the ability to spread out when you eat during the day, which can keep you feeling satisfied during the day and prevent you from feeling famished at night. Your body will also thank you because eating at regular intervals can help stabilize blood sugar levels, which can prevent you from feeling tired.14   Wondering what is the right number of times to eat each day? Studies have found that eating more than three times per day results in lower weight and better appetite control.15 In contrast, eating less than three times per day reduces your ability to control your appetite and may encourage binge eating.16 Since it matters when you eat, meal planning and setting a routine can help you make healthier choices. As a Jenny Craig member, the Rapid Results program handles the planning for you, as it not only includes what to eat, but when to eat to optimize weight loss by using your natural circadian rhythm.17   #5. Include Protein at Each Meal To feel fuller throughout the day, you’ll want to include protein in your meals and snacks.   Because protein helps manage hunger, it may help you avoid the temptation to munch late at night.18 One study found that regularly eating meals with protein reduced hunger by 60% and curbed the desire of participants to snack at night by 50%.19 Jenny Craig follows expert guidelines by including protein at each meal.   #6. Limit the Junk Food If you find that fatty and sugary foods call to you at night, it may be best to remove the temptation from your home. It’s a lot more difficult to eat a lot of junk food if it isn’t readily accessible. If you’re following the Jenny Craig program, you can enjoy a slice of Triple Chocolate Cheesecake or Chocolate Lava Cake knowing it’s perfectly portioned and won’t hinder your weight loss progress.   Otherwise, to fill the void, stock up your refrigerator and pantry with healthy foods that you enjoy eating, such as non-starchy vegetables and fruits (in moderate amounts). By having these healthy snacks convenient, you’ll be less likely to snack on less nutritious foods.   The best part about healthy snacks, such as veggies and fruits, is that they naturally include the nutrients you need to nourish your body and fiber to feel full. Because these foods satiate your appetite, you’re less likely to overindulge in them.   #7. Manage Stress Most of us have fallen victim to stress eating at some point. It turns out that stress is one of the most common reasons why people eat when they don’t feel hungry.20 However, it’s never a good idea to use food to deal with stress or other emotions.   If you’re someone who often eats when you’re facing stress or anxiety, try adopting some relaxation techniques. Some examples include meditation, exercise, yoga, deep breathing, massage and spending time with friends and family. We also love these fun activities that help reduce stress. In addition to these relaxation techniques, we encourage you to talk to your Jenny Craig consultant to help you develop a plan to overcome a stressful situation.   By understanding the pitfalls of late-night snacking and following these tips to cut back and stop your evening eating ritual, you’ll likely feel more satisfied and better rested while watching the numbers on the scale drop.   Are you ready to try a program that can help you curb your late-night snacking habit as well as help you lose weight? Contact Jenny Craig for your free appointment.       Sources: [1] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317790.php  [2] https://www.livescience.com/45990-morning-meals-cut-evening-food-binges.html [3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/behindtheheadlines/news/2017-09-12-avoid-eating-just-before-your-bedtime-study-recommends/ [4] Longo, Valter D., and Satchidananda Panda. “Fasting, Circadian Rhythms, and Time-Restricted Feeding in Healthy Lifespan.” Cell Metabolism, vol. 23, no. 6, 14 June 2016, pp. 1048–1059., doi:10.1016/j.cmet.2016.06.001. [5] https://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2017/05/22/reasons-youre-late-night-snacking-and-how-to-avoid-it_a_22102300/ [6] https://www.livestrong.com/article/524453-meal-plan-for-people-who-work-late-nights/ [7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3805807/ [8] https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/9615-long-term-complications-of-gastroesophageal-reflux-disease-gerd [9] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heartburn/symptoms-causes/syc-20373223 [10] https://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/26/opinion/sunday/the-dangers-of-eating-late-at-night.html [11] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25225489 [12] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26567190 [13] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23331770 [14] https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/food-to-balance-your-mood#1 [15] https://www.health.harvard.edu/diet-and-weight-loss/eating-frequency-and-weight-loss [16] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21123467 [17] Longo, Valter D., and Satchidananda Panda. “Fasting, Circadian Rhythms, and Time-Restricted Feeding in Healthy Lifespan.” Cell Metabolism, vol. 23, no. 6, 14 June 2016, pp. 1048–1059., doi:10.1016/j.cmet.2016.06.001. [18] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20339363 [19] Leidy, H J, et al. “The Effects of Consuming Frequent, Higher Protein Meals on Appetite and Satiety during Weight Loss in Overweight/Obese Men.” Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.)., U.S. National Library of Medicine, Apr. 2011, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20847729.     [20] http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/2013/eating.aspx  

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