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Live Life ·

What is ALS and Can It Be Prevented?

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a rare condition that affects the function of nerves and muscles. A little over 5,000 cases of ALS are diagnosed each year. In 5 to 10 percent of cases, ALS is considered hereditary, while the rest of cases have no known cause.   There is a need for increased awareness of what ALS is, what causes it, and whether it can be prevented so more people can recognize its symptoms and implement ALS prevention measures in their lives.1 It’s a very challenging disease that has broad-reaching impact on the people living with ALS, their families, friends and communities. Our family at Jenny Craig has been impacted by this disease, and we hope that by bringing awareness to ALS, we can help support the pursuit of a cure.   Read on as we discuss ALS symptoms, risk factors and research around ALS prevention. ALS defined The word “amyotrophic” is rooted in Greek and provides clues to ALS’ side effects. According to the ALS Association, “a" means “no.” "Myo" refers to muscle and "trophic" means nourishment. Together, these elements are translated as "no muscle nourishment.”   ALS is a neurodegenerative disease, where the nervous system’s or brain’s cells lose their ability to function.2 ALS is progressive in nature, meaning that it becomes more severe as it develops. ALS affects the nerve cells in both the spinal cord and the brain. When an individual develops ALS, muscles begin to lose their nourishment, which leads to muscle atrophy. As muscles atrophy, their fibers shrink, which causes them to slowly deteriorate.3   As its name indicates, ALS affects the lateral area of the spinal cord. This lateral region houses the portions of nerve cells that control and signal muscles within the body. As nerve cell degeneration occurs, the area becomes hardened or scarred, which is referred to as sclerosis.4  Two types of ALS There are two different types of ALS that can affect individuals: sporadic ALS or familial ALS. Sporadic ALS: is the most common form of ALS in the United States and accounts for 90 to 95 percent of all cases. Sporadic ALS can manifest itself in anyone at any given time during their life.5 Familial ALS: is inherited. In families with a history of familial ALS, there is a 50 percent chance that a child will inherit the gene for ALS and may develop the disease. Familial ALS accounts for five to ten percent of all ALS cases in the United States.5 Common symptoms of ALS ALS symptoms can vary depending upon how quickly the disease progresses and the unique manifestation of its symptoms.6 However, the ALS Association identifies several common symptoms associated with the onset of ALS, including: Progressive muscle weakness Tripping Dropping things Abnormal fatigue of the arms and/or legs Slurred speech Muscle cramps and twitches   As ALS progresses, individuals typically experience muscle weakness and paralysis. Once the muscles that control breathing are impacted, individuals with ALS often require permanent support to assist with and maintain normal breathing patterns.6 ALS risk factors While there is still much to learn about this disease, scientists and researchers have been able to identify several risk factors: ALS often develops in individuals between the ages of 40 and 70 and the average age of diagnosis is 55. Military veterans are roughly twice as likely to develop ALS compared to the general public. Researchers believe this may be connected to physical trauma or exposure to toxins.7 ALS is 20 percent more likely to occur in men than in women.8   With this knowledge, recent studies continue to uncover information about treatments and methods to reduce the risks of developing ALS. Reducing the risk for developing ALS Scientists and researchers have not yet found methods to prevent or cure ALS, but they continue to make progress with different treatments and medications to lessen the risk of its development and ease its symptoms. One study published in the Annals of Neurology indicated that a greater consumption of carotenoids, specifically beta-carotene, may be associated with a reduced risk of ALS.9 Beta-carotene is found naturally in pumpkin, spinach, sweet potato, collard greens, kale, turnips, winter squash, and cantaloupe.10 Adding more of these foods to your diet is a healthy way to get more essential vitamins and antioxidants and maybe help fight against developing or potentially delaying this disease.11 Raising awareness with Augie’s Quest One of Jenny Craig’s board members, Augie Nieto, was diagnosed with ALS in March 2005. As one of the most successful innovators and entrepreneurs in the fitness industry, Augie’s diagnosis of ALS gave him a new mission: conquering his devastating disease. Augie’s Quest, together with the ALS Therapy Development Institute, is an aggressive, cure-driven effort singularly focused on ALS treatments and cures. To date, the nonprofit institute has identified a potential treatment for the disease, developed in-depth research databases, and launched the Precision Medical Program to bridge the gap between scientists and those with ALS.11     Sources: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11]
Live Life ·

6 Ways to Stay Fit as a New Dad

Being a new father is exciting, but between diaper changes and sleepless nights, it can be difficult to focus on your health. You might be wondering how you can find the time–and energy–to make healthy dinners and stay in shape (because with or without kids, finding the time to prioritize your health can prove challenging!).   Many new dads experience this same dilemma. It’s probably one of the reasons “dad bod” became a trending term. A recent study showed men entering fatherhood were more likely to see their BMI increase as compared to their single counterparts—who actually tended to lose weight over the same period of time.1   As you focus on caring for the newest member of your family, don’t forget to care for yourself—being mindful of your health is one of the best ways to make sure you’ll have the energy to keep up with your little one. Use these helpful tips to help stay on a healthy path while still spending lots of time with your new bundle of joy. 1. Make better health your goal While losing weight is a common goal to set that can lead to better health, when you’re in the midst of living around a newborn’s schedule, it may be more helpful to reframe your goals around just getting healthy. Start small. During nap time, cut up some fresh vegetables and keep them in the fridge for easy access. And if you can, meal plan every weekend for the week, so you’re not making impulse decisions at the drive-through. Outsource meal-planning if possible, and get the support you need to help you with your health goals. And remembering why you want to get healthy is always a good way to keep up your motivation, so write down your “why”; is it to be able to play with your kids without getting out of breath? Being a good role model for them? Keep those motivations in a spot that you’ll see often. 2. Eat according to your circadian rhythm Life is busy, especially with a new baby. Focusing on feeding your baby may have you putting your mealtimes on the back burner! In fact, a recent survey found that parents eat approximately 156 meals while standing up each year. One way to help prevent excess weight gain and to assist with weight loss is to eat with your circadian rhythm.2   Your circadian rhythm refers to the mental, behavioral and physical changes that occur in your body over a 24-hour cycle.3 When you have limited time, working with your body’s circadian natural rhythm may help maximize your metabolism’s efficiency.4 When you eat and what you eat both contribute to weight loss.   To eat in accordance with your circadian rhythm, make sure to start your day with a healthy breakfast. Researchers have found that regularly eating breakfast may help with weight loss by reducing hunger, providing you with more energy and setting you up to make smart food choices throughout the day.5 Another tip: Avoid late-night snacking to allow your body the time to properly rest and focus on repairing its cells rather than digesting food. Ideally, allowing 12 hours between your last meal and first meal of the day can help this repair process.  3. Don’t skimp on sleep Shut-eye is a precious commodity for most new parents, and studies show getting enough sleep may be essential to achieving a healthy weight.6 Sleep and weight loss have a strong connection: too little may make you more likely to reach for unhealthy snacks and eat more between meals.7 In one study, adults who slept only four hours a night reported they were hungrier than those who slept for 10 hours.8 Why? Lack of sleep tends to lead to an increase in the production of the hunger hormone, ghrelin.9 What’s more, those who sleep less may also be more likely to feel fatigued and engage in less physical activity.10 So while healthy eating and staying active is important to improve your health, getting enough z’s each night is just as crucial.    4. Hydrate with water Taking care of a newborn can be exhausting, which may motivate you to reach for a that extra-sweet latte or sugary energy drink. While delicious, your favorite caffeine-packed drink can hold hidden calories, contributing to weight gain without you even realizing it.11   The best way to avoid these liquid calories is to drink more water and cut back on beverages like soda and energy drinks. Drinking water nourishes your body and can quench your thirst. Want extra flavor? Try adding a lemon wedge or sliced cucumbers for a refreshing twist without the added sugar.   Like sugary drinks, alcohol may also set back your weight loss goals. Reaching for a nightcap after a long day might be tempting, but alcohol may hinder your weight loss by interfering with sleep, adding extra calories to your diet and impairing your ability to make good food choices. Try a healthier alternative: unwind with a soothing herbal tea instead. 5. Stress less It can be stressful to balance family time, work obligations and other responsibilities when you welcome a new baby into your busy life. But be wary: Chronic stress may lead to weight gain by increasing cortisol levels, a hormone that is naturally produced in response to a crisis.12-13 Increased levels of cortisol may boost your insulin levels, leading to a drop in blood pressure. As a result, you may be more likely to reach for foods high in fat and sugar that you’d usually avoid.14   To help reduce your stress levels, make time for yourself to do something you enjoy. Whether it’s shooting hoops with your friends, or taking a walk just to gather your thoughts—it’s a great way to combat stress and ensure that you’re taking care of yourself! When you’re happier and healthier, you can better support your family and enjoy your time with them. 6. Get moving Finding time to be active doesn't mean you need to spend less time with your little one. Get the best of both worlds by choosing an activity you can do together. Grab the stroller or baby carrier and go for a walk together around the neighborhood. Once your child is old enough, spending the day at the park or playground will keep you both moving.   Finding ways to increase your activity in little ways can add up and help keep you on track toward better health. Say hello to healthy habits Welcoming a baby into the world is an exciting and busy time, so to make time for yourself, you might have to get a little creative! When you strive to get more sleep and pay more attention to the foods you’re eating, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the way your body responds. As a new dad, it’s important you create healthy habits to keep up with your little one for years to come–the physical benefits are the nice bonus!   Ready to take the next step? Learn more about improving your health with a weight loss program backed by scientific research. Contact Jenny Craig for a free appointment to get started!     Sources: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14]
Live Life ·

5 Reasons Why You Need Self-Care in Your Life

Two words: Treat yourself (in a healthy way, of course!) .   When was the last time you did something you enjoyed, just for you? Juggling everything in your life can feel overwhelming—from family, to work, to trying to maintain a social life— you’re probably left with very little “me time.” Whether you’re busy and single, a working mom or stay-at-home parent, these self-care tips are easy to incorporate into any lifestyle.  What is Self-Care? Self-care is just what it sounds like–taking the time to care for yourself. Feeling stressed can make you feel exhausted, irritable and even impact your physical health!1 The simplest way to think about self-care is to take a note from the Golden Rule: Treat yourself the way you’d treat someone you love. Benefits of Self-Care    Stop putting yourself last. To appreciate the benefits of self-care, you’ll need to put yourself first, so don’t be shy–you deserve it! 1. You'll Stress Less Stress causes the body to release a hormone called cortisol into the bloodstream, which may lead to a number of different negative side effects, including weight gain.2 While some stressors are normal, learning to manage and monitor stress can help get you through difficult times. 2. You’ll Be a Better Caretaker Let’s set the record straight: Self-care isn’t selfish. Sometimes putting your needs first can help you to take care of others in healthy and productive ways, and that’s nothing to feel guilty about!3,4 3. You’ll Be Present   By making self-care a priority, you’ll force yourself to take stock of the simple things you enjoy, helping you to feel present mentally and physically. Need a little help? Breathe in slowly for five seconds and breathe out for another five seconds to clear your mind and refocus. 4. You'll Be More Productive   A little self-care goes a long way! Taking care of yourself mentally and physically, by getting enough sleep and eating wholesome food, may help boost your productivity.5 5. You'll Boost Your Focus   It’s tough to give tasks your full attention when you feel overworked and tired. Start changing this by prioritizing rest periods and giving your body the time it needs to recharge.6 Self-Care Tips for Everyone   There are so many ways you can practice self-care–just remember to keep it simple! Self-care doesn’t need to disrupt your schedule or be expensive. Check out these great self-care ideas to help you get started: Enjoy a relaxing massage. Sit somewhere peaceful and read a book. Spend ten minutes meditating. Incorporate light walking into your weekly routine. Take a long bath without distractions. Mindfully enjoy a healthy version of the foods you love. Take a break from your electronics for an hour. Take a 20-minute nap.7 The Importance of Self-Care Just remember: You can’t pour from an empty cup. If you’re spending all your time and energy on everything and everyone around you, you might not be taking the best care of yourself or the people you care about. Making time for self-care sets you up for success. When you feel happier and more content, it’s easier to share that positivity with everyone around you.   Looking after your health is one of the best ways to practice self-care! To learn more about the positive effects a weight loss program can have on your health goals, contact Jenny Craig for a free appointment today.     Sources: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]
Eat Well ·

Pumpkin Everything! Surprising Health Benefits of the Superfood Squash

It’s finally time to put away your summer clothes and start pulling out your layers…because fall is officially here! And with every autumn leaf that hits the ground, it seems like there’s another pumpkin dish or drink on display. Luckily, pumpkin isn’t just delicious, it is actually a superfood. Check out these great reasons to enjoy more pumpkin this season! Feel full and satisfied Pumpkins are rich in fiber, which helps you to feel more full and satisfied. New, preliminary research even showed that fiber appears to benefit gut health by nurturing the good bacteria that live in our bodies.1 Plus, a single cup of pumpkin delivers almost 2 grams of protein, which also can contribute to feelings of fullness.2   When considering your next pumpkin purchase, be sure to buy fresh or unsweetened pureed pumpkin to avoid added sugars. Look for the smaller “sugar” pumpkins to get the best flavor. Large decorative pumpkins, like the ones used to carve jack-o’-lanterns, will often be stringy and bland. Fresh pumpkin is surprisingly versatile and can be added to soups, smoothies and oatmeal for a mildly sweet flavor enhancer. Great source of amino acids & protein Despite their small size, pumpkin seeds are packed with powerful nutrients. You’ll enjoy amino acids, protein and vitamins with every serving.3 Pumpkin seeds are also a good source of magnesium, zinc and potassium, among other beneficial minerals.4 And with only 18 calories per tablespoon5, a dash of seeds can add a tasty crunch to any meal, without hindering your weight loss goals. Just be sure to use a measuring spoon to keep the portion in check. Balance your immune system A pumpkin’s vibrant orange color comes from beta-carotene, an antioxidant that your body turns into vitamin A.6 Not only is Vitamin A beneficial for eye health, helping your retina absorb and process light, but it can also help your body fight harmful infections, potentially boosting your immune system.7 Support your skin’s health While pumpkin will never replace sunscreen, some studies suggest that beta-carotene may help to prevent skin irritation caused by UV rays.8 What’s more, the vitamin C found in pumpkin may also promote a healthy complexion. Although beauty products containing vitamin C are popular, most topical applications can only reach surface layers of the skin. One of the best ways to experience vitamin C’s benefits is to consume it: Eating fruits and vegetables, like pumpkin, allow the vitamin to be absorbed into your bloodstream, where it can directly impact the deepest layers of skin.9 New Research Says It Might Help Regulate Blood Glucose Researchers are finding that active ingredients in pumpkins’ pulp and seeds may be the keys to developing new treatments for those with diabetes. In one test, pumpkin seeds showed hypoglycemic properties, which could eventually be used to help regulate blood glucose levels;10 however, more studies are needed to further these findings. Enjoy a Healthy Seasonal Treat With the holidays quickly approaching, you may be looking for healthier alternatives to sugar-laden dishes. This succulent squash is versatile enough to be included in a variety of meals, while keeping you on track with your weight loss goals.   Pumpkin’s lightly sweet and mellow flavor adds a seasonal touch to any dish. It pairs wonderfully with spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, so there’s no need to reach for high-calorie, artificially-flavored pumpkin products. Love pumpkin spice? Our limited-time Pumpkin Spice Cakes and Pumpkin Loaf are two delicious ways to indulge in the best fall flavors.   Are you ready to start improving your health in time for the holidays? Contact us to book a free appointment where you’ll meet with a personal weight loss consultant to discuss your goals.     If you are following the Rapid Results program, be sure to check with your consultant before making any modifications to your plan.   Sources: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10]
Eat Well ·

The 7 Best Foods for Healthy Skin

Scroll through our slideshow to see the 7 best foods for healthy skin!
Live Life ·

8 Habits of Healthy Families

As a parent, you are undoubtedly determined to create the best life possible for your children. And chances are, helping them to live a long, healthy life is part of the plan. This prospect can be daunting, however, especially if you are new to parenthood: After all, you are responsible for determining how to raise healthy children—and then doing it!   Rest assured, that you can raise healthy kids. It starts with focusing on being healthy yourself and creating an environment that instills healthy habits in your children. Read on for eight habits of healthy families. 1. Instill Healthy Habits Early On  To instill lifelong positive habits in your kids, it’s good to establish healthy patterns at an early age. If your children become accustomed to eating unhealthfully during their early years, it can make it more difficult to change their eating patterns later-on. By introducing their palates to various fruits and vegetables at an earlier age, they may grow more accustomed to the different tastes and come to like them, maybe even prefer them to unhealthy alternatives (it can happen!).   Exposure to different flavors, textures, herbs and even mild spices at a young age can also help build their palates to foods that are flavored by more than oil and salt. If they are hesitant, try introducing a new food in conjunction with something they already like. 2. Practice Mindful Eating  When considering different ways to be healthy for kids, consider when and where you eat. Eating while distracted by a TV, phone or computer is not ideal for either parents or kids, as distracted eating can lead you to eat more.1   Things can get complicated when food is used as a reward or punishment for certain behaviors, a method to soothe oneself or as a distraction.2,3 By changing to a mindful-eating mindset, focus on dedicating the time of consuming food to nourish your body. Try to set an example for your kids that eating is a mindful experience, paying attention to hunger cues and that when you feel satiated, you can stop eating.4 3. Plan Healthy Choices in Advance If you want your children to make healthy food choices, make it easy for them by keeping an abundance of healthy foods in the house. Even better, have those foods prepared and ready to go so that eating something unhealthy does not become an easier option than choosing healthy alternatives.   When your children are hungry and looking for something to eat, make it easy for them to make a healthy choice. Whether it’s celery with almond butter, low-fat yogurt with fruit, carrots with hummus or a dozen different options in between, there are many healthy snacks that your kids are likely to enjoy. 4. Encourage Daily Activity Exercise and movement are an important part of daily life. A good habit to develop is taking an evening walk or a bike ride as a family, go to the park or play a family sport—the possibilities are virtually endless. Team sports are also a great way to keep your children active—and they’re a good way to get social interaction, both for your children and you.   Whatever you do, make it fun and keep it consistent.  The earlier you start, the more your kids can have the groundwork to continue living an active life, well into adulthood. 5. Eat Meals Together Schedules can get crazy, and dinnertime usually is a hectic time with the race of commuting from work, after school activity and homework. But by creating a family dinner routine, it can help you and your children get much-needed time to reconnect after the busyness of the day.   If you can lead by example and sit with them, eat with them, talk with them, and be relatively consistent with dinner timing, this can be a time that you all can look forward to and try new foods together. As they watch their family eat and enjoy a food they may be unfamiliar with, they may be more willing to try it and enjoy it.   Eating together as a family can also improve your children’s nutritional health. According to the American Psychological Association5, when families eat at least three meals together per week, the children are 24 percent more likely to eat healthy foods when compared to families in which few or no meals are eaten together. The children are also 12 percent less likely to be overweight. 6. Make Sure Everyone Gets Enough Sleep  While eating healthy food and getting enough exercise is important, it’s also vital for children to get the right amount of sleep each night to function optimally.6 It’s good to start as early as possible on helping your little ones get good sleep and setting a nightly routine that they can come to expect, so that a focus on adequate, healthy sleep becomes a habit and a normal part of life. Also, if they know that every night they have the same routine, it may cut down on the “bedtime negotiations” of trying to get a later bedtime.   To help establish healthy sleep, try following your circadian rhythm, or the natural 24-hour cycle of light and darkness. The premise is fairly simple: Sleep when it’s dark and rise when it’s light; doing so not only helps ensure better sleep, but it can also help facilitate weight loss and improve many aspects of your health.   In addition to following your circadian rhythm, it can be helpful to create routines surrounding bedtime: Institute regular bedtimes. When getting ready for bed, remove electronics, which may interfere with restful sleep. Cultivate an environment of rest and relaxation that promotes restful sleep. This may include a bath or shower before bed, storytime, and then a dark, cozy room to sleep in.   And practice good sleep hygiene. Even though you may not go to bed at the same time as your children, it’s important to model healthy sleep habits for your children so they understand and value the importance of sleep for the entire family. 7. Avoid Negative Body Talk Children are attentive to their parents and emulate what they see, so be kind to yourself and try not to dwell on negative aspects of your body. Instead, maybe focus on the parts of your body that you are proud of, and emphasize for them (and yourself) that everybody is different … and beautiful. 8. Be a Positive Role Model One of the most important steps you can take to create a healthy family is to model healthy behaviors for your children. After all, if you encourage your children to adopt healthy behaviors but routinely engage in unhealthy ones, you’re sending mixed messages. Show them how to be healthy through your own actions.   Creating a healthy environment for yourself and your children is built on making simple, consistent choices over time. By making the decision every day to engage in healthy habits, you are helping to ensure better health for you and your children—not only for today, but for the future.   These are just helpful tips for you and your family to develop healthy habits, each family is different and always consult your healthcare professional for any health-related concerns.   Need some help implementing healthy habits of your own? Jenny Craig can help! Our approach to weight loss combines delicious, nutritious meals and one-on-one guidance from your own personal weight loss consultant. Contact Jenny Craig for a free appointment to get started today.       Sources: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]
Inspiration ·

Jenny Craig Weight Loss Consultants Reveal Their Top Tips

No matter if you’re embarking on a weight loss journey for the first time or you’ve tried countless other programs without success, finding the right plan to help you lose weight in a healthy and sustainable way can be challenging. With so much misinformation about weight loss and trendy new fads, it can be hard to sift through what’s fact or fiction. Our personal weight loss consultants are one of the cornerstones of our successful program. Not only do they provide unparalleled support, but they’re always there to answer any questions you may have along your journey.   We tapped three of our personal weight loss consultants: Amber, Belen and Renee, to give you their top tips on weight loss, Jenny Craig and why they love helping change people’s lives. What makes a consultant so important in a weight loss journey?   What do you think is the biggest dieting myth out there? What are your members most surprised about on the Jenny Craig program? What is the best part of your job? What question do you get most from your members, and what advice do you provide?   What inspired you to become a weight loss consultant?   Fill in the blank: Jenny Craig is…       If you’re ready to start focusing on your health, our personal consultants are ready to help! Book a free appointment to discuss your goals with one of our consultants.  
Live Life ·

A Guide to Staying Healthy in Your 20s…and Beyond

In your 20’s, you may not be in the habit of thinking too much about your health and wellness long-term. After all, other than catching a common cold here and there, maybe a few strained muscles and a cavity now and again, you may feel like you’re in top form, with no major health issues yet. Plus, you’ve got other responsibilities competing for your time and attention, whether it’s finishing college, starting your career, tending to your family and personal relationships, or managing your finances.   We get it: It’s a lot to handle and a lot to figure out. Yet it’s important that you start prioritizing your health and wellness in your 20s—not only to stay healthy now, but to remain healthy later. Here’s a look at what you can do to help optimize your health and wellness in your second decade … and for decades to come. Stay on Top of Doctor’s Visits and Screening Tests While health concerns are generally less likely in your 20s than in your older years, certain conditions are more likely to develop now, such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and other immune-system disorders.1   To be sure you stay in optimal health, take the time to find a doctor while you are well rather than waiting until you are sick. Schedule a comprehensive physical exam so your doctor can do a thorough health assessment; be certain to let her know if you or members of your family have had any medical conditions, including cancer, diabetes, heart disease or high blood pressure.   In addition to regular checkups with your doctor, the National Institutes of Health2 recommends specific health tests and procedures beginning in your 20s, including the following:   Blood pressure: You should have your blood pressure checked every three to five years as long as your test results are normal. If it seems to be creeping up (with the top number—the systolic—reaching 120, or the bottom number—the diastolic—reaching 80), have it checked yearly. You may also need to have your blood pressure checked more often if you have diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems or other medical conditions; be sure to check with your doctor. Breast health: Ask your doctor if you should be doing monthly breast exams to help screen for cancer. Mammograms are generally not recommended until age 40, but if you have a close relative (mother or sister, for example) who was diagnosed with breast cancer at a young age, your doctor may recommend getting a mammogram earlier.   Cholesterol: Ask your doctor if you should have a cholesterol screening, which is recommended for women between the age of 20 and 45. Dental: Get a full exam and cleaning once or twice per year, per your dentist’s recommendation. Diabetes: You should be screened for diabetes if you have a body mass index over 25 and you have other risk factors, or if your blood pressure is above 135/80. Gynecological: If you're female, beginning at age 21, you should have a pelvic exam and Pap smear every three years to screen for cervical cancer. Immunizations: In addition to getting a flu shot every year, talk to your doctor about other vaccines you may need, including HPV (human papillomavirus); pneumonia; TdAP (tetanus-diphtheria and acellular pertussis); and varicella (chickenpox). Vision: You should have an eye exam every two years if you have vision problems, or more, per your optometrist. If you have diabetes, you need an exam at least once a year.   Some experts3 also recommend that you do a head-to-toe skin check monthly to look for new moles and make sure any existing ones have not changed shape, size or color. This is particularly important if you have a personal history of sunburns or a family history of skin cancer, or if you have a large number of moles. Commit to Sleep While staying out late on the weekends may happen regularly during your 20s: Remember that getting adequate sleep is vital to your short- and long-term health. Numerous studies4 have shown that insufficient sleep is linked to a number of serious health problems, including: Alcohol abuse Diabetes Heart disease High blood pressure Impaired immune function Mood disorders Obesity To ensure that you get healthy amounts of sleep, try to follow as closely as you can your circadian rhythm, the natural 24-hour cycle of light and darkness. The rules are simple: Sleep when it’s dark and rise when it’s light (within reason, of course). In addition to aiding with sleep, living according to your circadian rhythm may help with weight loss5 and can influence many aspects of your health, including hormone release, digestion, depression and more.6   In addition, be sure to sleep in a dark room to help boost levels of the “sleep hormone” melatonin. Also avoid screen time before bed, as the blue light emitted from electronic devices can impair sleep.7 Put Your Phone Away When Driving It goes without saying: Driving while distracted can be deadly. In 2015, nearly 3,500 people were killed nationwide in crashes involving distracted drivers, with an estimated additional 391,000 people injured.8   Distracted driving is particularly common among millennials. Research9 shows that large numbers of people within the 18- to 34-year-old group admit to “frequently” or “always” engaging in distracted behavior—such as sending or checking texts or e-mails—while behind the wheel. In fact, about 17 percent of millennials text or email while driving, compared with 4 percent of non-millennials.10   So for your own safety and that of the people around you: Put your phone away while driving. It’s just not worth the risk (and your friend won’t mind if you don’t respond immediately, we promise). Find a Job You Love Sure, everyone wants a job they’re excited to go to day in and out. But did you know the work you do beginning in your 20s can affect your mental health years later? According to researchers from Ohio State University11, people who reported low job satisfaction between the ages of 25 and 39 reported higher levels of depression, sleep problems and excessive worry in their 40s. They also scored lower on a test of overall mental health and were more likely to have been diagnosed with emotional problems.   Have a job you’re not thrilled about? The good news is that the researchers found that improvement in job satisfaction early on in one’s career helped mitigate the health problems listed above. Keep Weight Gain in Check & Adopt Healthy Habits The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention12 reports that people tend to gain a disproportionate amount of weight between the ages of 19 and 29, with women gaining an average of 12 pounds and men gaining an average of 9. Yet gaining weight in your 20s goes far beyond aesthetics and being able to fit in your favorite pair of jeans: It can affect your long-term health.   Research13 shows that middle-aged men and women who had gained between 11 and 22 pounds after the age of 20 were up to three times more likely to develop heart disease, high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes than those who’d gained 5 pounds or less.   What’s more, your weight and waist size—along with the amount of weight gained since your mid-20s—can increase your chances of developing several health problems, including: Arthritis Asthma Cancer Cardiovascular Disease Diabetes To help maintain a healthy weight, try incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet; limit the amount of sugar you eat (and watch out for it in these common places); eat plenty of lean protein; make exercise a part of your daily life; watch your portion sizes; and get adequate sleep. Find Work-Life Balance It can be hard not to burn the midnight oil when you’re relatively new to the workforce and are eager to prove your dedication to your career and your employer. But it’s important that you try to establish a healthy work-life balance—not only because it’s good for your social and emotional health, but because it can be hard to change habits once they’re established (and once your co-workers are accustomed to your 24/7 availability).   Use these tips to help establish a healthy work-life balance: Set reasonable limits. Try to establish sensible work hours—and expectations—from the outset. Let your co-workers know that you don’t routinely work during your off-hours … crises, deadlines and occasional heavy workloads notwithstanding, of course. Set healthy boundaries for yourself. Resolve not to check email or voicemail from home—and turn off your phone notifications if you have a hard time ignoring every text and email that comes in. Take your vacation time. Not only is it vital to unplug from work once-in-a-while, but taking a vacation may also be good for your health. Research14 has shown that among men who were at high risk for heart disease, those who took regular yearly vacations had a lower risk of dying during the study period, compared with those who didn’t take a vacation. Find ways to reduce stress daily. Exercise, meditation, listening to music—do whatever works for you to help reduce your stress levels. Also consider reading for pleasure: Research15 shows that doing so can reduce stress by up to 68 percent. And if you’re finding that you can’t quite make the commitment to work-life balance now, you may find the motivation to do it toward the end of this decade. Researchers16 have found that people in the last year of their 20s (as well as those in the last year of their 30s, 40s and 50s—what they call the "9-enders") often are more reflective of their lives and more likely to make dramatic changes.   We hope these tips help you start prioritizing your health and wellness starting now. Even though your later years may be a long way off, the steps you take today to safeguard your health can have dramatic impacts down the road.   Do you need more help instituting healthy habits? Contact Jenny Craig for a free appointment and get started today!     Sources: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16]
Eat Well ·

New Research Supports the Link Between Probiotics and Weight

Many of us have heard the term 'probiotics' tossed around by doctors or peers, or plastered on labels at the local grocery store touting benefits of digestion and beyond. But what exactly are probiotics, and what part do they play in a healthy diet? Read on as we discuss the benefits and growing research around this beneficial belly bacteria.   Simply put, probiotics are the "good bacteria"1—the little guys that keep your gut health in tip-top shape, helping to balance the “good” and “bad” bacteria in your body. Your body needs an adequate amount of positive bacteria to stay healthy, so probiotics, whether occurring naturally in food or supplement form, may potentially boost your overall well-being2. The most widely known food source of probiotics is yogurt; others include some cheeses and other dairy products3. Another source—Kombucha—a drink rising in popularity, is also loaded with the beneficial bacteria.   Getting enough probiotics benefits your body in a number of ways, including promoting efficient digestion4. Because they contribute to the makeup of your gut health, probiotics may help monitor appetite and digestion from the inside5. Keeping your digestive system firing properly ensures that your body absorbs and processes all the key nutrients needed for healthy digestion and metabolism6—two things that also aid in maintaining a healthy weight.   What’s more, new research7 indicates there may be a mix of bacteria in your gut that may help—or hinder—your weight loss efforts. The study looked at how gut bacteria works to turn the parts of food you can’t digest into energy you can use—and suggests, depending on the mix of bacteria you have, that they could impact how many calories are produced.8 So depending on your microorganisms’ efficiency, your own gut bacteria may be supplying you with additional, unwanted calories. While the researchers acknowledge these findings are preliminary, they concluded the development of new probiotics might help further individualize dietary weight loss plans in the future.   Another potential health benefit from probiotics is its ability to reduce inflammation levels9. Chronic, high levels of inflammation in the body can impact digestion, the immune system and potentially the onset of a variety of diseases10. Probiotics are often considered an important component of promoting healthy digestion and while research is limited, findings have indicated that they may help reduce symptoms in conditions like irritable bowel syndrome11. By minimizing the inflammatory response inside your body, probiotics may help your system continue to process, absorb and excrete foods the way it should.   While more research on probiotics is needed to fully understand all of the health benefits, adding foods into your routine such as yogurt with live and active cultures is a great way to help keep your gut happy and your digestive process running smoothly.   For more information on how Jenny Craig can help you along your weight loss journey, contact your local neighborhood Jenny Craig center for a free appointment.   Make sure to discuss with a health professional before adding any new supplements or vitamins to your diet.     Sources: [1] “What Are Probiotics?” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 14 Apr. 2017, [2] [3]   [4] [5] Kobyliak, Nazarii, et al. Advances in Pediatrics., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2016, [6] MacKenzie, Macaela. “Probiotics May Not Help You Lose Weight-but Prebiotics Might.” Prevention, Prevention, 14 June 2018, [7] [8] [9] [10] [11]
Jenny Craig News ·

8 Winning Recipes from the 4th Annual Simple Inspirations Recipe Contest

Warning: your stomach might start growling after reading this post!   We asked Jenny Craig members to dream up ways to make their Jenny Craig meals even more delectable—and they answered! It wasn’t easy, but we’ve finalized our winners for the fourth annual Simple Inspirations Recipe Contest.   Eight dishes were selected from four different categories: breakfast, entrees, snack & desserts and Fresh and Free Additions. Feast your eyes on a sneak peek of select winning recipes in each of the categories. The full recipes will be available soon in our upcoming e-book that will be featured on our website! Breakfast Berry Delicious Breakfast Bowl Charis R. wasn’t joking around when she named this creation, ‘berry delicious.’ This recipe takes Jenny Craig’s Classic Waffles and turns them into a pastry-like liner in a small glass. Once microwaved and rolled out, they’re placed in the oven to be baked until toasted perfection. Topped with a smoothie made with banana, strawberries, and almond milk and then sprinkled with a finely chopped Peanut Butter Chocolate Crunch Anytime Bar and fresh berries, this breakfast bowl is one of the best ways to start your day! New York Sesame Bagel with Honey Bacon “Cream Cheese” and Grilled Peaches Dreamed up by Kelly D., this modern, fresh twist on a classic bagel is sure to delight your taste buds in the morning. The stars of this dish include our New York Sesame Bagel, cooked peaches, and Greek yogurt. If you’re not drooling already, the ‘cream cheese’ is flavored with a little honey and bacon bits (Yum!). Simple to make and even better to eat, you can whip up this breakfast in under 20 minutes. Entrees Summer Chicken Salad Sandwich We think this sandwich can be enjoyed any time of year! Suzi G.’s creation features our Grilled Chicken Sandwich, fresh apple slices, non-fat Greek yogurt, spices and lemon juice for extra flavor. After dicing the chicken and mixing the ingredients, the toasted sandwich bread is layered with two crisp Romaine lettuce leaves before being topped with the creamy chicken salad mix. Spiced Up Chicken Chili Amber R. from Wisconsin sure knows how to make a hearty and flavorful chili! Made with an assortment of veggies ranging from mushrooms to green onions, this chili features bold flavors from spices such as cumin, chili powder and paprika. For the base, this dish features Jenny Craig’s White Bean Chicken Chili. Once you’ve cooked all the veggies over medium heat, add the chili and mix for a delicious meal – perfect for a cold day! Fresh and Free Additions Pappy’s Crunch Salad No Jenny Craig meal needed for this dish! Larry N. took onions, carrots, red, yellow, green and orange bell peppers, cucumbers, celery and cherry tomatoes to make this crunchy and satisfying salad. But it’s the dressing that steals the show: Made with hot sauce, garlic wine vinegar, lime juice and pepper to taste, it’s one zingy mix that makes eating all your veggies – enjoyable! O’Veggie Grilled Kebab’s If you’re looking for a delicious way to sneak more veggies into your day, Mary S. created the perfect side dish for you! Zucchini, yellow squash, and Bella mushrooms are sliced and seasoned with lemon juice and dry Italian seasoning. Then they’re grilled to perfection…and voila! Mary enjoys her kebabs with a side of Jenny Craig Creamy Herb Dressing. Snacks & Desserts Mocha Cheesecake Froyo Nicolle M. invented this decadent dessert. Starring Jenny Craig’s Triple Chocolate Cheesecake, chocolate milk, instant coffee and fat-free yogurt, this creamy froyo is made by whisking up the ingredients and freezing for 2 hours. As a bonus topping, you can drizzle it with a berry compote—or if you don’t feel like froyo, skip the freezing step and make this into a cheesecake shake. Vanilla Cream Shake In a rush? Do you have 5 minutes? Perfect, then you can make this shake by Suzi G. Start with a Jenny Craig Vanilla Cream Shake and add fresh spinach, ½ frozen banana, 1oz. avocado, a little vanilla extract and a pinch of cinnamon to whip up this creamy and satisfying shake. Take it with you on the go or enjoy it at home, this shake is perfect as an afternoon treat or snack!   Congratulations to all the winners who entered this year’s contest. Make sure to subscribe to our newsletter so you don’t miss out on all the recipes and cooking instructions when we release the full Simple Inspirations e-book later this year.   Not all recipe exchanges may fit in the Rapid Results program. Be sure to check with your consultant for any necessary modifications to stay on track.  

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