Salads are a great way to mix in Fresh & Free Additions as a side dish, but how about integrating your meal plan entrée into a fresh salad of greens, herbs and other vegetables? Here are 4 Jenny Craig entrees that make great salads.
Tuna Dill Salad Kit. Our Tuna Dill Salad Kit is packed with flavor. It comes with tuna, a dill and Greek yogurt dressing and wheat crackers to add some crunch. You can wash some Romaine lettuce to create your own lettuce wraps topped with freshly sliced tomatoes, or mix in some onions, avocado, cucumber and cilantro to add some brightness and texture.
Chicken Sandwich. Our Grilled Chicken Sandwich is packed with protein, and the boneless, skinless chicken breast has been grilled and seasoned to perfection. Bring the grill to your salad by adding your chicken to a bed of grilled vegetables, like zucchini, squash and peppers, or mix the chicken breast into any greens your heart desires.
Green Beans with Garlic & Olive Oil. While featured as one of our favorite Jenny Craig side dishes, our Green Beans with Garlic & Olive Oil are already dressed for salad perfection. Finely chop red onion (or shallots) with basil and add them to your green beans.
Ramen Noodles. Our delicious Ramen Noodle Bowl with Chicken & Veggies is a classic comfort meal with a rich broth and succulent chicken and mushrooms that are complemented by the crisp carrots and red peppers. You can transform your ramen into a noodle salad by straining the noodles and accouterment from the broth, then letting it chill. You can add some crunch with coleslaw mix and scallions, and a touch of sweetness with mandarin oranges.
Transforming these Jenny Craig entrees into salads allows you to experiment with different Fresh & Free additions all year long. Continue to check the Perfect Portion for more delicious ways to pair your Jenny Craig menu with other sides or enhance your meal with seasonal flavors—it’s one more way Jenny Craig makes food even more fun!
Do you have questions about the right foods to eat, portion sizes, weight loss, or the how-to’s of a healthy lifestyle? Sarah V., our Jenny Craig Nutritionist, answers some of the most commonly asked questions. Please use the comment box below if you have any additional questions!
1. Is eating gluten-free healthier?
Gluten-free diets are typically followed by people with celiac disease, an inherited autoimmune condition. Eating a gluten-free diet without having celiac disease, or a sensitivity to gluten, does not necessarily contribute to weight loss or a healthier diet.
2. How can the Jenny Craig program work with foods such as cupcakes, lasagna, etc?
We seek to emphasize healthy ingredients, while minimizing added sugar, non-nutritive sweeteners, sodium and saturated fat. The Jenny Craig program is designed by nutritionists to incorporate whole-grains, lean protein, healthy fats, low-fat dairy, vegetables and fruits which reflect the guidelines of major government and health organizations for a proven and balanced approach for weight management.
3. Why can’t I eat a lot of fruit to lose weight?
Of course, fruits are rich in water, high in fiber and full of nutrients. Members should be encouraged to eat whole fruits rather than juice or dried fruits. However, fruits do contribute calories (about 60 calories per serving) and sugar to your diet and therefore should be consumed in moderation. It is important to consume healthy amounts of each food group so that you have a well-balanced diet.
4. How much does fitness and exercise matter?
Physical activity, whether moderate/vigorous, natural, recreational or strengthening, contributes to various health benefits as well as assisting your body in maintaining weight loss.
To achieve the health benefits of physical activity, 30 minutes of moderate activity on most days is suggested. However, on maintenance it is recommended to strive for 45-60 minutes.
5. Do you need to adjust your diet as you age?
Yes. As you age it is important to continue to consume a healthy diet, stay active and monitor your health. Nutritional needs do change as you age, and it is important to educate yourself and understand nutrient requirements specific to your body.
6.What’s the most important tip, post-Jenny Craig?
Portion control. Moderation is key to enjoying your life and maintaining your healthy weight. Use visual cues to remind yourself of proper portion sizes.
It’s important to continue those healthy habits that you have acquired along your weight loss journey, while maintaining a good support system.
7.How can I watch for sodium?
Staying mindful, monitoring your food and paying attention! Keeping yourself aware of your sodium intake is important. Reading the nutrition labels on your foods and keeping track of how much salt you add to your cooking can help you monitor your sodium intake.
8. What are the most notorious things that cause weight gain on maintenance?
Old habits are one of the biggest reasons why people can’t lose weight or keep it off. Stay motivated, be consistent and continue to incorporate positive changes into your life.
9. Why is there so much bread on the program?
The program currently consists of 50-60% carbohydrate, 20-25% protein and 20-25% fat. The menu balances a variety of grains, as well as vegetables, fruits and low-fat milk products that all contribute to the carbohydrate content. These parameters reflect the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Dietary Guidelines and are not considered high in carbohydrate.
10. Do you recommend meal prep?
Post-Jenny Craig, meal prepping allows you to incorporate a healthy and balanced diet into your busy lifestyle. It is a helpful way to plan pre-portioned meals and have them ready for you throughout the busy week. Preparing your own meals in advance puts you in control of what you eat and provides you with simplicity and convenience.
We were impressed by all the entries for our third annual Simple Inspirations Recipe Contest, where Jenny Craig members created fun dishes to tantalize our taste buds and demonstrated what’s possible with a little inspiration, creativity and Fresh & Free Additions. Recipes were submitted for the following categories: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner, Snacks & Sides, Desserts & Shakes, and Fresh & Free Additions.
Here is a sneak peek at the winning recipes in each of the categories, as well as a few special categories we added on. The full recipes will be available soon in our upcoming e-book that will be featured on our website!
This Very Berry Barscotti Parfait submitted by Jamie B. combines sweet cherries with a crunch using our Barscotti with Cranberries and Almonds. It’s smoothed out with nonfat Greek vanilla yogurt, which adds another sweet and protein-packed punch. Not only do you get a delicious texture from all the ingredients, but you also get a crumble from the bar and the bite from the cooked cherries. It’s also gorgeous to look at with its deep red syrup and layers of flavor.
Lunch & Dinner
Cooking a Jenny Craig entrée into two different dishes was a clever way to go for our Lunch & Dinner category. Maria R. created a Chicken Zoodle Soup using our Chicken Pot Pie. She removed the crust and heated up the filling in combination with chicken broth and zucchini noodles to create a warm, hearty meal. She then took it a step further, using the crust for an Apple Tart! With a bit of apricot preserves, cinnamon and apples, she baked up the perfect ending to a delightful lunch or dinner, and showed anything is possible with one Jenny Craig entrée!
Snacks & Sides
Nothing gets our mouth watering like crunchy snacks, and these Snappy Ranch Rings created by Robin W. had us savoring this snack down till the very last bite! These Snappy Ranch Rings replace your typical fried onion rings with Ranch Snaps for a crunchy, flavorful coating that works perfectly when baking these onion rings in the oven.
Desserts & Shakes
Chocolate on its own is already a treat, but Cheryl B. created this Velvety Chocolate S'Mores Shake that had us feeling like we were indulging on a decadently delicious dessert. Not only does this shake combine our S’mores Bar and Vanilla Dream Shake, but it also has two surprising elements: A can of diet cream soda and frozen riced cauliflower. The cauliflower provides a velvety texture without as much sugar as a banana would!
Fresh & Free Additions
This Tasty Mediterranean Veggie Tomato Soup recipe created by Shelley B. is a savory starter and takes only minutes to prep and cook, thanks to sautéing vegetables like yellow squash, peppers, mushrooms and zucchini and adding it to our Creamy Tomato Vegetable Soup.
We had our very own Jenny Craig employees participate as well and found two recipes we couldn’t get enough of! Sherry S. took our Grilled Chicken Sandwich and Creamy Tomato Vegetable Soup to create a Cajun Style Gumbo (pictured below) bolstered with okra, peppers, onions and Cajun seasoning for a warm, spicy bowl of flavor. Olivia V. surprised us with her Breakfast Burrito Bowl, where she takes our Egg, Cheese & Turkey Sausage Burrito and, with the help of a tortilla pan, creates a shell that holds the filling along with some spinach and delicious salsa.
A picture is worth a thousand words, and with food pictures being all the rage on social media, we wanted to award someone for appearance and making our mouths drool. Daphne L. submitted her recipe for a Salisbury S hepard Pie in our Lunch & Dinner category. We were drawn to all the colors of this dish that included Salisbury Steak, mixed vegetables, rosemary, and garlic, followed by a fluffy layer of mashed cauliflower and potato, and then sprinkled with crushed Cheddar Cheese Crisps to top it off!
No Thanks to Cake Choice
This was a bonus winner, picked by one of our blogger’s No Thanks To Cake. Jessica H. submitted the Game Day Trio for the Lunch & Dinner category. Jessica took our Loaded Baked Potato and transformed it into bacon-cheddar potato balls and a stuffed potato with spinach and artichoke, plus baked some cauliflower with a red pepper hot sauce that she blended herself!
Congratulations to our winners, and thank you to all who entered! Keep an eye out for our Simple Inspirations Recipe book to be released later this year. In additional to including these delicious winning recipes, we’re also including all types of tasty ideas to inspire your Jenny Craig creations year round.
You deserve to feel good about your body. Although it may be hard to believe, you can move past self-criticism to self-acceptance to even appreciating your body and all it can do. Here are six ways to better befriend your body.
1. Make a Body Can-Do List
If you’ve long-held a negative image, you might have overlooked all the things your body has been able to do. Make a list of all the physical or sensual pleasures you can enjoy regardless of your weight. Do you like how it feels to walk, run, dance or do yoga? Do you feel good when someone hugs you? These things are a result of what your body does/has done for you – allow yourself the time to appreciate it fully.
2. Check Yourself Out – In New Ways
People who have a negative body image often engage in negative self-talk, especially in front of the mirror. Next time you start to “over-check” yourself in the mirror, pause to practice the S.T.O.P. technique to take a pause and practice something more positive.
I have choices here.
What am I thinking, feeling and saying to myself? “I look so fat in these jeans. I should be embarrassed to be seen in public.”
How true is this? What do I deserve to feel? “Truth is, 6 months ago, I couldn’t fit into these jeans. I am looking more fit and healthy than I have in ages. I deserve to enjoy how I feel in well-fitting clothes.”
Pick a more balanced view. “I’m looking pretty good today, and I’m proud of all the changes I made to get here.”
3. Tune-In to Your Physical Experience
When you walk, lift weights, practice yoga, etc. focus on the flex of your muscles and the energy of your movements. Simple activities like raising a barbell, stretching in the morning or relaxing in bed at night enable you to positively experience your body in motion.
4. You Can Wear It Well
The same physical confidence you exhibit while working out can be transferred to the rest of your activities. Make it a practice to stand tall, walk briskly, hold your head high, and you will begin to communicate body-mind confidence.
5. Enjoy the Pleasure of Touch
Deep tissue massage can release tension, relax your muscles. It also enables you to practice being kind to your body.
6. Give Yourself a Makeover
Practice a double act of compassion – donate your larger size clothes to charity and then invest in clothes that flatter your body type, reflect your personal style and express your confidence in maintaining your healthy changes. Updated cosmetics, skin-care products and haircuts can also strengthen body confidence.
Friends for Life
You and your body can become good friends. The friendship requires love, attention and patience to grow and overcome often years of bad feelings. Know that you can let go of these negative feelings, come to enjoy your body and find it easier to maintain your healthy choices for life!
Food trends are fun to follow, as they’re a way to explore various ways that food can be prepared to bring out its flavor and versatility. We’ve highlighted gadgets like the air fryer and the many ways cauliflower can be used as a nutrient-rich substitute for carbs, and now it’s time to shine the spotlight on a small vegetable that packs a spicy punch: Radishes. Let’s find out why everyone loves radishes right now, and the various ways to enjoy them.
You’ll typically see radishes as small, bright pink bundles in the produce section of grocery store, but did you know that there are multiple varieties with different spice levels? Here’s a list of the variety of radishes you can choose from: <br>
· Watermelon Radishes: When cut, you’ll see patterns of pink and white, which makes for a stunning presentation.
· Cherry Belle Radish: This is your standard supermarket radish.
· French Breakfast Radish: The name alone sounds delicious! This variety is mostly oblong in shape with a white tip and roots.
· Easter Egg Radish: These are more petite than Cherry Belles, but have a similar taste and texture. You’ll also see them in a variety of colors, like purple, white and crimson color.
· Black Spanish Radish: The spiciest—and largest—radish of them all! You’ll see them with a black or brown skin.
Consumable from leaf to radish
You can even use the leaves and stems to make a quick salad, or sauté the greens into eggs or as a side dish with some ginger, garlic and shallots.
When we say spicy, we don’t mean that the radishes will heat you up like a pepper. Rather, the radish has a bite that can be peppery or similar to horseradish, with a spicy tingle typically felt in your nose.
Raw preparations of radishes are very easy and fun, as you just have to wash the radish then slice or dice however thinly you’d like. You can use the watermelon radish for a bright, colorful salad, or some Cherry Belles on your Chicken Street Tacos to add some crunch. Black radishes and watermelon radishes are particularly delicious when pickled, which can lend itself to a salad or adding it on top of a sandwich or Turkey Burger.
When cooked, radishes lose their heat and become sweet with a slight kick. The French Breakfast radish is particularly delightful when roasted, but you can also roast Cherry Belles. You can add cooked radishes to your Turkey & Wild Rice to elevate a fall favorite, or complement the pecans in your Pecan Glazed Chicken, as radishes can be a touch nutty. You can also use an air fryer to lightly fry a radish to add a crispier component to a salad or other meal!
You always have options to add some spice to your culinary life, and now you have another Fresh & Free Addition to explore! And when you find a radish preparation or recipe you can’t get enough of, be sure to share it with your Jenny Craig Community.
“A friend is someone who knows your song in your heart and can sing it to you when you have forgotten the words.” -Author Unknown
Ongoing support is critical to helping weight loss success. Researchers in one study compared people who decided to lose weight with the support of family and friends to those who decide to go it alone. Ninety-five percent of those who joined with support completed the program, while only 76% of those who joined alone followed through*.
Thinking back on your weight loss journey, did you have a friend and/or family member who supported your weight loss efforts, volunteered to be your walking buddy, encouraged you to stick with your program, etc.? How did having their support make a difference in your success?
During your weight loss, it will be important for you to identify friends and family who will continue to positively reinforce your goals and actions.
To maximize the benefits of these relationships focus on two skills:
When juggling a variety of roles as spouse, partner, parent, friend and/or working professional, it’s easy to fall into a pattern of telling, informing or instructing versus connecting, where both parties are truly heard and understood.
Remember the real intent of communication: to make a connection. That means expressing yourself in a way that you are heard and understood, and actively listening so that your partner is heard and understood also.
To Be Heard + To Hear = To Connect
It’s not what you say…it’s how you say it!
Often, unintentional meaning creates miscommunication. Determine which words match your current style. Which ones would best express your intention to connect?
“You make me so angry I could scream!”
“I am so angry I could scream!”
“You” statements generate defensiveness.
They minimize your ownership of your feelings.
“I” statements generate concern.
They reinforce you own your feelings.
“You should get your weight back in control.”
“I’m worried that your weight is affecting your health.”
“Should” statements generate resentment. They put you in an authoritarian position.
“Feeling” statements generate concern.
They show you genuinely care.
“I think you’re rude to tease me about my weight.”
“I feel hurt by what you said about my weight.”
Thoughts are debatable.
A common response:
“No, I’m not rude…I was just kidding”
Feelings aren’t arguable.
A common response:
“I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean for you to feel that way.”
What does it mean to be supported through change? It means being accepted, cared about, listened to, understood and believed in – even when you are challenged to believe in yourself. During your weight loss, your Consultant supports you, empathizes with you and helps fuel your motivation to reach your goals. However, it is key to have a supportive environment outside as well.
Expand Your Network
If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to build a wider network of family, friends and others who can support you in strong, positive, nurturing ways. Start by assessing your current relationships.
Do You Have a Supporter or a Saboteur?
This is an important question. Sometimes the most logical person - your spouse, partner, friend or family member – isn’t necessarily your best bet. Changes in your looks and lifestyle can upset the previous balance of your relationships. For some, your changes are exciting; for others, they may be a bit threatening. Give everyone time to adjust. In the meantime, ask for support from those who can easily give it.
Here are some questions to help separate potential supporters from saboteurs:
Does this person understand what I am going through?
Will this person be there for me when I need them?
Is this the right person to talk to if I was struggling?
Does this person know when to be “tough” and when to be “tender”?
Can this person and I openly communicate?
Good to Know…
In a study comparing weight maintainers to weight re-gainers, researchers found that weight maintainers received more compliments on their healthy eating habits and higher levels of dietary support**. Weight re-gainers, though, received more verbal reminders, encouragements and offers but few compliments or shared participation with their eating and activity behaviors. The takeaway: positive versus instructive support may be more helpful to supporting successful weight maintenance – and if that’s the case for you, it’s important you ask for it!
Make Your Own Personal Support Checklist
Affirms me when I do well.
Eats healthy meals with me.
Participates in physical activity with me.
Compliments me on my physical activity habits.
Shares healthy self-care activities with me.
Listens to wins and challenges.
Assert Yourself Graciously
To be assertive means to express yourself in a way that is neither passive or aggressive, but balanced. It requires you to be clear and direct about your wants and needs while considering the wants and need of others. It takes practice to find the middle ground, but when you do, you are more likely to stay on top of your weight goals and gain the support you need.
1. Recognize the other person’s point of view.
2. Take responsibility for your thoughts, feelings and actions.
3. Be direct and specific when stating your wants and needs or refusing a request.
4. Invite the other person to support your decision.
When Others Try to Change Your Mind
Husband eats ice cream in front of you
Walk away hurt.
“You’re just trying to tempt me to fail.”
“I know how much you love your ice cream.Still, it’s easier if I am not exposed to it.It would mean a lot to me if you ate it when I wasn’t around.”
Friends at work want to go and eat fast food for lunch.
Say nothing and eat high-calorie food.
“The only place we ever go is where I can’t find a healthy choice. I guess I’ll just skip eating out with you.”
“I love going out to eat every week. My challenge is that I have trouble finding food I like to eat. Why don’t we try a new place this week? That would help me find some new healthy options.”
Wife wants you to skip your walk for a TV show.
“You’re trying to make me feel guilty for walking instead of spending time with you.”
“I understand how much you want some time together, but I know I’ll be much better company if I go on my walk first.”
Partner urges you to have seconds at a dinner party.
“Alright, if you insist.”
“Just because you want to go crazy with the appetizers doesn’t mean I have to!”
“It’s delicious, isn’t it? I’ve had enough though, thanks anyway.”
Forgive and Move On
Ultimately letting go of those who can’t support your efforts and be focusing on those who can and will serve your weight maintenance efforts best. Hanging on to frustration, anger and resentment drains your emotional energy, can take a toll on your physical health and may set you up for weight regain. Forgiving doesn’t mean forgetting; it just means freeing yourself up from the influence others have over your success so that you can move on to maintain your goals. That means expressing yourself in a way that you are heard and understood, and actively listening so that your partner is heard and understood also.
* J Consult Clin Psychol. 1999;67: 132-138.
** J Behav Med. 2016 Jun;39(3):511-8
Leafy greens are great for filling you up without feeling muddled down or heavy. One green that can be found all year long is spinach. Whether it’s served raw or cooked, this dark leaf provides nutrients, like vitamins A, C and K, and iron, fiber and magnesium in just one cup—no wonder Popeye couldn’t get enough!
As the weather cools down, we decided to look at ways on how we could incorporate spinach into our meals outside of the typical (yet delicious) salad. Here are 7 ideas we’ve come up with! <br>
1) Stir into soups and stews. You can either add your spinach toward the end of the soup-making process or cook it down before adding it to the broth. You can also substitute spinach into recipes that call for other leafy greens, like kale. <br>
2) Spin in your smoothies. Spinach doesn’t have a distinctly strong taste, and as our other suggestions have shown, it’s easy to mix into recipes you love. You can create a great smoothie and get extra nutrients by taking spinach, blending it with water, then adding a ½ cup of banana, mango or pineapple for a touch of sweetness. <br>
3) Top your pizza. Spinach is not only a great topping for pizza as it pairs with tomatoes, but it can be used raw to dress a pizza as well! Take spinach, raw onion, tomato and a dressing of your choice for a simple way to add more veggies to your pizza.
4) Toss into pasta. Pasta is a great vessel for many flavors. You can keep your dish simple by tossing the spinach with the noodles once they’re cooked, then add some tomatoes and a touch of oil for seasoning. You can also add spinach straight into your sauce, and let it cook down. <br>
5) Blend into pesto. One fresh sauce to consider for adding spinach is pesto, which can be used on pasta, as a salad dressing or cooked meat. You can also cut some of the basil out and substitute that amount with spinach as well.
6) Sautée into eggs. Spinach cooks down very quickly—you can take a few handfuls and it wilts down in minutes. Try it scrambled in your eggs, or make an omelet with mushrooms and diced tomatoes for a veggie-packed breakfast.
7) Stir-fry your spinach. While stir-fried sides typically consist of peppers, onions, garlic and snap peas, adding spinach is another way to gain more density and nutrients in your side dishes can help you feel fuller longer.
Spinach has so many possibilities, and all it takes is adding a handful (or more!) to add some additional brilliance to your dishes.
It’s important to find moments that commit you to the reason why you’re losing weight in the first place, especially when you’re finding yourself unmotivated.
You may have heard the travel saying, “It’s not about the destination, but about the journey.” Weight loss is results-oriented and we all love seeing the results every week to keep us motivated.
However, weight loss is about getting to know yourself—and your body—as you go through a lifestyle change. And when change comes into play, you should keep your sources of inspiration nearby as weight loss isn’t always a straight road.
Inspiration can come up in the most surprising ways, and here are simple ways to re-ignite your motivation to keep you going.
Focus on your “why.” As mentioned above, make sure the reason why you’re wanting to lose weight is clear. Write it down somewhere where you can read it every day to motivate you. <br>
Keep a weight loss journal. Write about your experience and feelings, and keep track of sources of inspiration. You can then look back on where you started, and discover how far you’ve come! <br>
Use your social network. You have support all around you, and can choose how to use it to your motivational advantage. Whether it’s talking to friends and family or posting progress photos on social media, you’ll discover a group of cheerleaders to keep you going. <br>
Self-care. Sometimes life can come in with something that may throw your planning out the window. This is where you have to remember that you are human, and life happens. Try and plan for stressors or those moments where you do go off plan, and re-commit to your future decisions and reactions.
You have many opportunities to focus on goals outside of your scale. We like to call these “small wins,” and when you think about all the times this has happened to you, it can help put your journey into perspective and show that you’re making progress!
Turning down a fattening food. Did your friend offer you a piece of cake, or are you at a potluck that is full of fries, nachos and cookies? You have all the tools to turn it down politely—and give yourself a high five for doing so.
Going on a longer walk. Getting your body moving is a great way to clear your head and feel powerful, and one activity that is great for both is walking. Not only is it free, walking can be done at a leisurely pace or quickly during a break at work. You can increase your distance gradually, or even go for different elevations—either way, it’s a way to track your journey and feel great as you are literally going the distance. <br>
Trying out a new veggie. Adventure is out there, and available to you via your local grocery store. Trying out a new veggie, like artichokes or cauliflower, allow you to experiment in your kitchen and discover how enjoyable it is to try something new. <br>
Looser pants. One of the easiest ways to track progress outside of weight is the sensation of recognizing that your clothes are no longer fitting you. Plus, it offers a chance to reward yourself with new items that can transition with you while you’re losing weight. <br>
When you re-ignite your inspiration, you can find ways to seize opportunities and moments that have been in front of you all along. We’re inspired by your weight loss journey and are always happy to share other moments of inspiration with you as we cheer you on.
http://www.healthline.com/nutrition/weight-loss-motivation-tips - section18
The aging process varies from person to person and depends on various factors, such as genetics and lifestyle choices. One thing that is consistent, however, is that lean tissue (your muscles and organs) begins to shrink through a process called atrophy, where cells shrink in size. In turn, fat goes up steadily, especially around the center of the body, and combined with a slowing metabolism, you’ll most likely experience weight gain.
One way to combat the aging process is through keeping a healthy lifestyle—especially when it comes to your diet. Losing weight after 40 years old doesn’t have to be hard. If you’re not following the Jenny Craig program, here are a few diet changes you should make when you’re 40 to help deter weight gain:
Eat regular meals—and snack, too. If you’ve been one to typically skip meals, now is the time to commit to eating three meals with snacks in between. Skipping meals makes you more susceptible to eating higher calorie foods, especially when you’re on the go and fast food options are everywhere. So, make sure to eat and have healthy snacks on hand to keep your blood sugar even to avoid an energy crash later.
Eat healthy fiber. Foods that are high in fiber help keep you fuller longer, and can help with weight loss and maintenance. Vegetables, fruits and whole grains are high in fiber, and vegetables and fruits are also high in water content. Some delicious vegetables to start with are carrots, broccoli, leafy greens (spinach, kale) peppers and onions.
Eat lean protein. Protein can help with muscle health. Your protein choices also contribute to your overall health, such as the omega-3s from fish, which helps with heart health. Choose lean proteins like chicken, fish, legumes and Greek yogurt, but also keep an eye out for how they are prepared, as each preparation adds calories, too. When it comes to preparations, look out for words like “grilled” and “baked” and limit choosing the “fried” option.
Drink plenty of water, and monitor other drinks. Water flushes your system and helps nutrients circulate around your body to help with normal bodily functions. Keep an eye out for how many alcoholic beverages you may be consuming, too, as those can be calorie-laden choices. If you are going to drink, consider using seltzer water as your mixer, and have a glass of water next to you to ensure you’re hydrated.
Know your portion sizes. While choosing leaner, lower calorie foods is great, it may all get thrown off by overindulging. For example, you may have a square of dark chocolate, but if you know that once you have one square you typically eat a whole bar, then that’s something to be mindful over. If you find that you’re still hungry even after eating your portioned-out meal, consider drinking water since hunger can sometimes be mistaken for thirst, or bulking up on more vegetables since they are low in calories.
Health Risks to Be Aware of As You Get Older
Knowing the health risks that are common in women in their 40s and older is important in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Here are two of the most common health concerns:
High Blood Pressure - A woman’s risk of developing high blood pressure, or HBP, increases once menopause is reached, if she is overweight or if there is a family history of it. It’s often hard to catch because it carries no signs or symptoms. High blood pressure makes the heart work harder than normal and if left untreated, it can lead to several other health problems, including heart disease and stroke. High blood pressure is preventable by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, which includes a healthy diet and regular physical activity.
Heart Disease - Heart disease is the most common cause of death for women in the United States. Symptoms of heart disease include pain, pressure, or discomfort in the chest. Other symptoms may be completely unrelated to chest pain, such as nausea, pain in arms, or unusual fatigue. Heart disease risk factors include pregnancy complications, diabetes, and inactivity, among many others. In order to reduce these risks be sure to get the recommended amount of exercise, maintain a healthy weight and eat a healthy diet.
If you are approaching the 40th mark, these diet changes are all wonderful places to start, but remember that your overall lifestyle plays a role in how aging affects you. Stress and lack of movement may allow signs of aging to become more prevalent, so find ways to deal with stress and move more throughout the day. Whether you’re making these changes earlier or later than 40, the important thing is that you’re starting now to help your body stay strong, healthy and active to experience all life has to offer.
So, you’re cruising right along in your weight loss journey, and the pounds are coming off every week. You feel great! You’ve got this! And then, seemingly out of the blue, you stop losing. Or even worse: you gain a pound. Yikes! What happened? It’s not like you’re doing anything differently... or are you? Here’s a rundown of nine potential reasons you could be gaining weight on a diet rather than losing, and what you can do to reverse the trend.
#1. You’re Eating Too Much (Quality vs. Quantity)
If you have made the transition to halfway, you may be eating out more frequently or cooking more for yourself. That’s great—this gives you practice with your healthy food prep skills, as well as more freedom and variety in your food choices! But it may also be exposing you to risk of “portion distortion,” so make sure you’re using visual cues to determine how much you should be eating. Also, ask questions on how the foods you order out are being prepared to avoid hidden fat calories.
The problem with "portion distortion" is that we may order or prepare one meal and think "Great, here’s one portion." The issue is that it’s often too large, and it may constitute two or even three portions. We just can’t recognize it because portion sizes have become so inflated over recent years. In fact, the average size of many of foods found in U.S. grocery stores, fast-food chains, and sit-down restaurants has grown by as much as 138% since the 1970s1.
Because of this, it’s important you familiarize yourself with proper portion sizes and pay attention to how much of each food you’re eating. One way to do this is by using a portion or divided plate. A Portion Plate uses the MyPlate healthy diet guidelines to divide your plate by food group and give you visual cues so you know exactly how much of each food to put on it. Or use this portion infographic to help visually know how much of certain foods you should be eating. Not watching your portion sizes could be one of the reasons you are eating healthy but still gaining weight.
Another way to control portions is through mindful eating, especially making sure to notice your hunger cues and stop when you’re almost satisfied, not completely full. Start with smaller portions, and eat slowly, savoring each bite. This will allow time for your body’s hunger hormones to communicate to your brain that you’re no longer hungry.2
#2. Not Eating Enough
You may be thinking wait—not eating enough can make me GAIN weight? YES, in a couple of different ways. First, skipping meals or snacks can cause you to get hungry enough to stray from your planned, healthy meals and snacks, or eating foods that don’t support weight loss. Second, not eating enough calories can encourage your body to go into "starvation mode," conserving energy and slowing the metabolism.
When you make significant cuts to your calorie intake, your body tries to conserve energy by reducing the number of calories you burn. This is called "starvation mode,"3 Although the name might indicate that your body is actually "starving," this isn’t exactly true. It’s just your body’s natural mechanism to help you maintain your energy balance. However, it can be quite frustrating to get stuck at this plateau. (Note, some weight loss plans use intermittent fasting in which there is a longer gap between dinner and breakfast to encourage the body to burn fat, while still eat the necessary number of calories per day.)
To help combat this and get your weight loss back on track, you can make sure your body is always properly nourished by snacking daily. Eating snacks cannot only help manage your hunger, but it can help prevent binging4. This doesn’t mean you should grab the potato chips and cookies. You should be very aware of what types of snacks you’re eating. You’ll want to eat low-calorie nutrient rich options that not only give you energy, but feed your body and support your weight loss goals.
Not all snacks are created equal, and being cognizant of this fact is important when choosing the best option to eat. First, you want a snack that’s low in calories. It is supposed to be a snack, not a full meal. You’ll also want to choose a snack that’s high in water and fiber, like fruits and vegetables, which can help fill you up5. In addition, it is important to make sure your snack has adequate protein. Nuts are another great choice when eaten in moderation; they are high in fiber, protein and healthy fat. Other healthy options include low-fat Greek yogurt, cheese, edamame, and avocado.
#3. Water Retention & Weight
Your body is mostly water and can hold onto excess water at times. If you’ve consumed too much salt — whether it’s from using the table salt at dinner or from eating processed foods — your body will retain water to help maintain a chemical balance. Water retention can also occur because of standing or sitting too long, hormonal changes in your body around your period, and even certain medication6 can have an effect.
The struggle is real, ladies. During and before your menstrual cycle, your body can retain enough water to show up on the scale. Sodium can aggravate the issue, so keep a close eye on your salt intake and boost your water intake to help flush the salt you do eat through your system.
Water retention can be annoying, but there are ways to minimize excess water weight. The first, and most obvious way, is to cut down on your sodium intake7. This includes not only using less salt at the table, but cutting down on processed foods like lunch meats. Check the labels when buying a product, and you might be surprised to find how much sodium is in everyday foods. High sodium foods include meats like cold cuts, bacon, sausages, hot dogs, etc., canned foods like soups, and salted nuts8.
So, what should you eat instead? Good alternatives include fresh and frozen meat, using dried beans that you have soaked in water instead of canned, unsalted nuts or low-sodium nut butter. Eating more whole foods in their natural state or those you prepare yourself is a great way to avoid too much salt.
In addition to cutting down on sodium, you can also increase your intake of foods rich in magnesium, vitamin B6, and potassium.9 These vitamins and minerals help with various body functions and have been shown in studies to help reduce fluid retention. Some foods rich in these nutrients include leafy greens, whole grains, avocados, and tomatoes. In addition to adjusting what you eat, you’ll also want to make sure you’re staying active enough and drinking plenty of water.
#4. Building Muscle
If you didn’t have a regular workout regimen prior to kicking off your weight loss journey, over time, there’s a chance you could be losing some body fat and gaining some muscle, if you have committed to a consistent workout regime. This is a good thing! Gaining muscle mass will ultimately help your body continue to burn fat more efficiently. Since muscle has a higher density than fat, (it weighs more – though it occupies the same amount of space).
One sign that this could be true for you: your weight holds steady or goes up a pound, but your clothes keep getting looser! While developing, more muscle will obviously affect how quickly you reach your goal, you’re still moving in a healthier direction. It’s so important to measure inches lost in addition to pounds lost to get the whole picture!
Building muscles can help you burn more calories even when your workout is done.10 In fact, research from The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that women who completed an hour-long strength training workout burned an average of 100 more calories in the 24 hours afterward than those who didn’t use weights.11
It can be scary looking at the scale and seeing the numbers go up and stay the same, but gaining muscle does more than just change the composition of your biceps. Muscle-building exercises can help improve your blood sugar control, improve your sleep, improve your balance, and even help prevent osteoporosis.12
Picking the right type of exercise for you can help you get lean while also getting stronger. Some good choices include running, swimming, lifting weights, rowing, Pilates, and more.
#5. Unhealthy Drinks
When people decide to make a lifestyle change, they often think about how to eat healthier and exercise more, but they tend to forget about what they are drinking. However, it is important to pay attention to what beverages you are consuming because plenty of drinks can be unhealthy and loaded with calories that can derail your weight loss goals.
For starters, most of us know that drinks like soda are laden with sugar and can cause weight gain. But energy drinks and juices can also be culprits. These drinks should be limited or consumed in moderation, not with every meal. Alcohol is another drink many people forget is filled with calories. You might think you’re taking it easy at happy hour only have two glasses of wine, but that adds up to 350 calories. That’s the same as if you snacked on 4 chocolate biscuits.
Instead of relying on sweetened drinks or beverages, stick to water or soda water. Not only is it calorie-free, but it can help fill you up13 and keep you energized. It is recommended to drink eight 8 -ounces of water a day. Add a splash of lemon or lime juice to give your water a new flavor.
#6. Not Enough Sleep
It might seem like your sleep habits have nothing to do with your weight, but the two are connected. Feeling tired isn’t the only side effect of sleeplessness. When you don’t sleep well, your body can crave junk food rather than the healthy meal you had planned. Research shows that sleeping less than five hours a night increases the likelihood of weight gain14.
To avoid messing with your body’s hormones and craving foods that aren’t going to serve your health needs, you’ll want to make sure you get enough sleep. Adults between 26-64 years should be getting 7-9 hours of sleep each night15.
Chronic stress can also hinder your weight-loss goals. For starters, people often turn to unhealthy, comforting foods when they’re stressed. Not only that, but cortisol, the hormone released when you’re stressed out, can cause your body to hold on to more fat, especially16 belly fat.
Combat this by having some go-to stress-relieving hobbies like exercising, doing yoga, art, or reading. Turn to these activities instead of heading to the pantry.
Your age is another factor when it comes to weight gain. Unfortunately, as you age, your metabolism slows down and you burn fewer calories17. Additionally, women going through menopause often experience weight gain.
Just because you’re getting older, it doesn’t mean you’re stuck at an unhealthy weight forever. Healthy eating and exercise can help fight against unwanted weight gain. It means you just need to learn how to adjust your diet. Learn more about diet changes to make at age 40 and beyond.
#9. Not Enough Exercise
You can eat all the salads you want, but if you’re not getting up and moving, you probably won’t see the weight loss you desire. It’s recommended that you get 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week at the very least.18
Exercising does more than help you burn calories: It can also benefit your mental health and motivate you to make healthier choices in other areas of your life19. If you’re just getting started with exercise, you don’t have to jump right into a CrossFit class. Start with simple walking routines and easy stretches. Or if you love dancing, take a class at your local dance studio. It’s a great way to get moving, have fun, and do something you love. Plus, it can be a fun and healthy activity to do with friends instead of happy hour.
There are a lot of factors when it comes to weight loss and weight gain, but the healthier your lifestyle habits are, the better results you’ll see.
Sources <br>1http://www.businessinsider.com/how-much-have-food-portions-increased-2016-4 <br>2http://www.webmd.com/diet/obesity/features/slow-down-you-eat-too-fast#1 <br>3http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/diet-myth-truth-fasting-effective-weight-loss#1 <br>4http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/in-depth/healthy-diet/art-20046267 <br>5http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/in-depth/healthy-diet/art-20046267 <br>6http://www.webmd.com/diet/why-am-i-retaining-water#1 <br>7http://www.webmd.com/diet/why-am-i-retaining-water#2 <br>8https://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/guidelines_for_a_low_sodium_diet/ <br>9http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318396.php <br>10http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/build-muscle-better-health#1 <br>11http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/03/07/strength-training-women-benefits_n_4918772.html <br>12http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/build-muscle-better-health#1 <br>13http://www.webmd.com/diet/obesity/news/20150828/water-weight-meals-obesity <br>14http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/sleep-and-weight-gain/faq-20058198 <br>15https://sleepfoundation.org/press-release/national-sleep-foundation-recommends-new-sleep-times/page/0/1 <br>16http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/stress-weight-gain#1 <br>17http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/expert-answers/exercise/faq-20057916 <br>18http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/expert-answers/exercise/faq-20057916 <br>19https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1470658/