If you’re new to motherhood, there may be a few things you’ve been taken aback by: the never-ending feedings and diaper changes, the distant memory of a good night’s sleep, the unpredictability of a newborn’s schedule—not to mention a body that is constantly changing. But chances are you’ve also been amazed by the delightfully unexpected things: the tiny toes, the sweet breath, the little sighs of contentment. And of course, a pure, deep love so powerful it can take your breath away.
Amidst it all, your body has been recovering from the rigors of pregnancy and childbirth while undergoing dramatic hormonal changes. And if you’re breastfeeding, it’s been working hard to produce enough milk to nourish another human being. You—and that miraculous body of yours—are working hard and going through a lot.
Still, you may be wondering if the pregnancy pounds—and your post-pregnancy body—are here to stay. We’re happy to say that returning to your pre-pregnancy weight is possible. Read on as we discuss when it’s healthy to start trying to lose the extra pounds … and the healthy way to do it.
1. Keep your weight gain (and loss) in perspective.
As alarming as the relentless creep of the scale was throughout pregnancy, you may not have as much weight to lose as you think. According to the March of Dimes1, most women lose about 10 pounds right after birth and a bit more in the first week as they shed the placenta and other artifacts of pregnancy. Weight loss often continues in the following days and weeks; according to the National Institutes of Health2, most women lose half of their pregnancy weight by about six weeks after delivery. If you are breastfeeding, this may also increase weight loss, as you use stored fat, along with calories from your diet, to make milk.3
2. Don’t try to lose weight right away.
According to experts, you’ll need to wait six to eight weeks after delivery to start trying to slim down.4 Your body needs that time to recover from pregnancy and childbirth; plus, if you lose weight too soon, it may take your body longer to fully recover. And if you are breastfeeding, you need time to establish a healthy milk supply before starting to limit calories.2
3. Aim for gradual weight loss.
Even though you may be itching to fit back into your old jeans, you need to plan on losing weight gradually. Dropping pounds too quickly can not only lower your energy level at a time when you’re already fatigued, but it can also cause you to lose lean muscle.5 Also, if you’re breastfeeding, losing too rapidly can put your milk supply at risk and potentially affect your baby’s growth.6
Aim to lose up to 1 to 2 pounds per week if you aren’t nursing and ½ to 1 pound per week if you are.6 Since breastfeeding requires an extra 450 to 500 calories daily7, try not to dip below 1,800 calories per day, or your milk supply could suffer.6
4. Choose a well-rounded, sensible eating plan.
Steer clear of fad diets or ones that overly restrict calories; instead, focus on a plan that is balanced and emphasizes a healthy rate of weight loss, such as Jenny Craig. Other important tips:
Steer clear of higher-mercury fish such as king mackerel, orange roughy, shark and swordfish if you are breastfeeding. Use lower-mercury seafood such as catfish, pollock, salmon, shrimp and canned light tuna instead, but limit to 12 ounces per week.8
Include extra protein and calcium in your diet if you are breastfeeding. The RDA for protein during lactation is 71 grams9; calcium is 1,000 milligrams10. Jenny Craig follows expert guidelines that meets or exceeds the recommendations for breastfeeding mothers on the program
5. Don’t skip meals.
It can be a challenge to take proper care of yourself with a new baby in the house. Be sure to make time for healthful meals and snacks—especially breakfast, as research has shown that regularly skipping breakfast not only puts you at higher risk for gaining weight, but for developing dangerous visceral belly fat.11
6. Load up on fluids.
Drinking ample fluids is important for all people, but particularly breastfeeding moms, as it helps to keep your baby hydrated.12 Aim to drink about 6 to 8 cups of fluids per day—water is best if you’re watching calories—and even more if the weather is hot or you’re feeling thirsty. (Experts refer to this as “drinking to thirst.”) If the demands of taking care of a newborn are making it hard to drink enough, keep a glass where you feed the baby so you can sip on it every time she eats (which is often!).
7. Ask your doctor about exercise.
While experts used to recommend not returning to your usual physical activity routine until six to eight weeks after giving birth, that’s no longer the case. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists13, you should be able to start exercising soon after giving birth, or whenever you feel ready—as long as you had a healthy pregnancy and a normal delivery. (If you had a Cesarean section or other complications, wait until your doctor gives you the go-ahead.) Chances are you won’t have the same stamina as before pregnancy, so be sure to start back slowly and not overdo it—taking a walk with the baby in a stroller is a great way to start.
8. Be realistic.
Just as it took nine-plus months to gain your pregnancy weight (and to grow that sweet baby), it can take some time to lose it. So be patient, be kind to yourself, and be realistic. Most women are able to return to their pre-pregnancy weight by six to 12 months after delivery.12
Above all, remember that while those lingering pounds may be discouraging, they’re a reminder of what your body was able to do: grow and nourish your beautiful baby. So take it slowly, be kind to yourself, and treasure these days with your child. They’ll be gone before you know it—and so will your baby weight!
Want to take something off your plate as a new mom? Leave the meal planning and prep to us! The Jenny Craig program is a safe and effective way to lose those pregnancy pounds—you just need to be at least six weeks post-delivery to participate. Book your free appointment to get started today!
6 Lauwers, J; Swisher, A: Counseling the Nursing Mother: A Lactation Consultant’s Guide. Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2011: pg. 171
12 Lauwers, J; Swisher, A: Counseling the Nursing Mother: A Lactation Consultant’s Guide. Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2011: pg. 169
While adjusting your diet is a critical part of your weight loss journey, physical activity can be a great way to boost your weight loss efforts—and help maintain your progress. One of the simplest ways to stay active is to take a daily walk; not only is it safe and effective, but it’s also convenient—and free!
In addition to weight loss, walking offers other benefits:
It boosts your mood. Walking is a light form of exercise that can improve your mood and reduce anxiety, research shows.1
It strengthens your bones. As we age, we become more prone to osteoporosis, a condition that involves bone loss. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation,2 this is especially true for women. As a low-impact, weight-bearing exercise, walking helps to keep bones healthy by slowing age-related declines in bone density.3
It helps curb cravings. Studies show that a walk as short as 15 minutes can reduce cravings, such as chocolate.4
It cranks up your immune system. Research5 found that people who took a 20-minute walk five days or more per week had 43 percent fewer sick days than those who walked one day a week or less. What’s more, if the frequent walkers did get sick, they had milder symptoms and their illnesses didn’t last as long.
Ready to start moving? Use these 12 tips to start a walking routine that can help support your weight loss journey!
Tip #1: Make Walking a Part of Your Daily Routine
One of the easiest ways to walk more is to make it a daily habit. Start off by setting specific days and times when you will walk. If you are new to exercise, avoid less-realistic goals, such as walking twice a day. Unrealistic goals are more likely to deflate your spirit than challenge you to push ahead, so set attainable and measurable goals that can help you stay motivated.
Use these ideas to make walking a daily habit:
Take a 30-minute walk before or after dinner each evening.
Walk a few laps around the neighborhood after you drop the kids at school.
Take a lunchtime walk a few times a week.
Treat yourself to a gentle hike over the weekend.
Experiment with the days, times and routes that work best for your fitness level and schedule. Walking should be an enjoyable activity that motivates you to continue.
Tip #2: Find a Walking Buddy
Have your spouse, co-worker or neighbor (or your dog!) join you for a regular walking date, and you’ll kill two birds with one stone. After all, what’s better than spending time with a friend while staying on track with your fitness goals? You’ll also get the following benefits of a fitness buddy:
Accountability: With a partner, you no longer walk just for yourself. You show up on the right day and time to be there for your walking partner.
Enjoyment: Walking alone lets you process your thoughts, which is great. However, walking with a partner is not only fun—it gives you the opportunity to catch up and discuss what’s going on in your lives. Chances are the walk will go by faster than you expected and make it even easier to meet up the next time.
More miles: You may log more miles when walking with a friend. You may get so engrossed in conversation that you find yourself walking farther—and perhaps even faster—than expected.
Tip #3: Short Walks Are Better Than Nothing
Strapped for time? That’s okay. Life gets busy and overwhelming. It’s important to know that even a few minutes of activity is better than nothing. For instance, just 10 minutes of walking per day brings health benefits, research6 shows. And a new study found that 10 minutes of physical activity can also boost your mood.7
So when you’re rushing through errands and driving to the next item on your list, try taking a moment for you. Explore a new neighborhood or park for a few minutes, or park farther away so you can work in some extra steps. If you’re squeezing in a walk at work, try a walking meeting; chances are the change of scenery—in addition to the exercise—will do you and your co-worker good.
Tip #4: Find Your ‘Why’
Everyone has a reason why they want to start living a healthier lifestyle and lose weight—what’s yours? Take some time to think about the real reasons that have motivated you to adopt healthier habits—perhaps grab a pen and write them down. Here are a few idea starters:
To have the energy you need to tackle your day.
To ensure you’ll be able to keep up with your kids or grandkids for years to come.
To be a role model for your children.
To be healthier overall or relieve health issues due to excess weight.
When you are feeling a bit weary or unsure if you want to lace up those sneakers, remember your ‘Why.’ To get more inspiration, check out these motivation tips.
Tip #5: Get Good Walking Shoes
You will be even more motivated to go walking if you have shoes that are comfortable and fit correctly; properly fitted shoes can also help prevent pain and injuries. If you suffer from back, hip or knee pain, it might be worth going to a specialty shoe store to have your step assessed and get recommendations for what shoes are best for you. Keep in mind that you’ll need to replace your walking shoes periodically.
Tip #6: Set the Pace With Music
On days when you’re not feeling motivated to walk at a brisk pace, help set the mood with the right playlist. Put together a list of songs that motivate you to move and keep you going when you need a little inspiration.
Tip #7: Plan for the Weather
Get in the habit of checking the weather forecast regularly and planning your attire and walking schedule accordingly. Here are a few tips:
Get the right layers, such as activewear sweatshirts and beanies, to keep you warm in cold weather.
For hot days, plan to walk earlier or later in the day.
Try to walk during the day in the winter months to take advantage of the sun’s warmth.
If you live in an area where it’s not possible to walk outside for much of the year, consider joining a gym and using the treadmill there; or try walking at a local mall.
Tip #8: Up the Pace
Walking faster means more calories burned. So the next time you’re out on a walk, see if you can increase your pace. If you have trouble keeping a brisk pace for the entire walk, try varying your speed for a specified amount of time; or use markers such as streetlights or mailboxes. With time, you’ll build up your stamina and be able to maintain a faster pace for longer.
Tip #9: Vary Your Walking Routes
It’s important to change up your walking route. Here’s why:
Going on the same walk every day can lead to boredom, which, in turn, can lead to less motivation to walk.
Different types of terrain keep your body challenged. Walking hills is a lot more rigorous than a flat path.
Walking can become a tool for expanding your horizons and seeing new places. Make your walks a means of exploring areas you might not usually visit.
Tip #10: Take the Stairs!
Many of us have heard it before: Instead of the elevator, take the stairs. It sounds simple, but this one tactic can add up to more steps per day and can support your weight loss efforts.
Try these other tips to help increase your steps per day:
Add walking into activities with friends and family. Rather than going to a movie, suggest a walk!
Choose public transportation when possible. If you arrive somewhere by bus or train, the block or two to get to your destination adds up to more exercise.
Tip #11: Monitor Your Walks
Many of us are motivated by results. To keep yourself accountable, try keeping track of your walking routes, your distance and how you’re feeling. Whether you write it down daily or use your smartphone or wearable fitness device to track your steps, it’s easier to stay motivated when you can track your progress. After a few weeks, look back to your first walks. Do you notice any changes? Perhaps you can walk longer, more often or don’t feel as tired after your walks.
Tracking your walks is especially helpful if you sit a lot at your day job and are seeking ways to increase your daily steps. In fact, sitting all day is one of the surprising things that can cause weight gain.
Tip #12: Use Walking as a Tool to De-Stress
Remember: Walking is not just for physical fitness. It also helps improve your mood and is a great way to reduce stress. Before you begin a walk, take a moment to notice how you are feeling. Then, after going on your walk, pause and reflect again. Process your current mood. Are you feeling different after your walk? How do your heart rate and breathing compare?
In the bustle of a busy schedule, it’s easy to forget to process how we are feeling in the moment and what truly affects us in daily life. By increasing our awareness, it may be easier to pinpoint our stress—and reap the health benefits of doing so.
We hope these tips help you enjoy one of the easiest, safest and most convenient ways to support your weight loss journey and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Ready start a weight loss program that is safe, convenient and delicious? Learn how Jenny Craig can help you reach your goals. Book a free appointment to get started today!
Bursting with color and flavor these roasted veggies brighten our Margherita Pizza with a new set of fresh textures, just in time for summer!
1/4 cup of yellow peppers sliced
1/4 cup of portabella mushrooms sliced
1/4 cup of zucchini sliced
3-4 slices of red onion
Pinch of ground pepper
Jenny Craig Margherita Pizza
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Chop veggies and season if desired.
Roast veggies in oven for 15 minutes in greased pan.
Prepare Jenny Craig Margherita Pizza as instructed on box.
Layer the veggies on top of the pizza and enjoy!
Summer probably went way too fast, as it always does, but there is an upside to vacation being over and kids going back to school; you get your routine back. And with routine, can come healthy habits. And although the new school year can bring new duties (hello carpool!) too, now is the time to set your schedule so that you get in some essential self-care.
The beginning of the school year is also a great time to focus on your weight loss goals and make strides towards a healthier you! Keep reading for our best tips to get back to your weight loss goals this fall.
Talk yourself into it
If you’re struggling with negative self-talk when it comes to committing to your weight loss goals, you’re not alone. There are many common excuses that can impact your journey to better health. But for each reason you may come up with, generate two or three actionable ways you can prevent these thoughts from getting the best of you.
For example, you may think, “I don’t have time to commit to exercising and eating healthy.” But with a few ideas, you can combat this mindset: Keep a calendar and schedule time for yourself to workout, prepare a simple, healthy breakfast, or to take a walk around the neighborhood before taking your kids to school. Or, replace your usual TV time in the evening with something active or productive instead. By writing down actionable items, you’ll have a plan in place when negative self-talk bubbles up.
No matter the time of year, juggling the demands of parenthood, work and life can lead to putting your well-being on the back-burner. Especially during the summer months, it can be easy to let routines slide—which may impact your sleep schedule and your best intentions to eat mindfully. Take some time to reflect on the last few months to determine if there are any habits that no longer serve you. It could be as simple as tucking in earlier, to avoid late-night snacking and screen time, or swapping sugary sodas for unsweetened iced tea.
Once you’ve reflected, grab a pen and notepad and write down your motivation for focusing on your health and beginning this weight loss journey. Keep your list somewhere accessible, so if you’re ever feeling discouraged, you can remind yourself why you started. Here are a few idea starters for inspiration:
● To improve my health.
● To keep up with my kids.
● To fit into my clothes more comfortably.
● To feel more confident in my own skin.
Brainstorm New Ideas & Get Your Kids Involved
While getting back into the swing of a new routine can prove challenging, making simple changes may help you adjust a little easier. Getting your kids involved with your new healthy habits can also make it a family affair! Here are a few idea starters to start implementing this school year:
After school, take the time to go for a walk and talk about your child’s day. Not only is it a great way to connect as a family, but you’ll be getting some fresh air and add some activity to your day.
Have your kids help pack their lunches. You’ll not only be giving your kids some responsibility, but you can help guide them to make healthier choices.
Play a game instead of watching TV after dinner. Instead of lounging on the couch after the dishes have been cleared, try playing a board game instead. Not only is it a great way to have a few laughs with your family, but you may be able to nod off earlier by avoiding screen time.1
During a weight loss journey, having extra support can help hold you accountable. Seek out a friend or family member that may be looking to tackle similar health goals and see if they would be interested in joining forces. This person may even be a fellow parent from your child’s class!
If you’re looking for weight loss coaching, Jenny Craig’s personal consultants are dedicated to helping you improve your health and will work with you to reach your goals.
Be Kind to Yourself
Lastly, remember to stay positive on your weight loss journey and be kind to yourself. You don’t need to be perfect to achieve your goals; you just need to be persistent and dedicated. So if you have an off day, instead of letting it spiral into an unhealthy week, accept your misstep and move on—it happens! Remember, you’re capable of achieving your goals, you just need to believe you can.
The back to school time is an excellent opportunity to start fresh and implement new habits for both you and your family. By following the steps above, we hope you can create a new routine that will keep you focused on your health and well-being.
Want a little extra help? Contact Jenny Craig to learn how our weight loss consultants can create a plan that works for your lifestyle.
If you’re thinking about those upcoming Labor Day festivities with a mixture of excitement and angst, we understand. It’s the last hurrah of summer, after all, and there’s nothing like a relaxing get-together with family and friends to celebrate the end of one season and the beginning of another. But there’s also the potential downside: namely, the tempting, yet less-than-healthy food and drinks that are sure to be in abundance.
Well, the good news is you can enjoy Labor Day—or virtually any holiday or celebration, for that matter—without undoing the progress you’ve made on your journey to better health and weight loss. It just takes planning, some smart strategies and some firm resolve to stay in your groove. Read on for eight ways to keep your momentum going over Labor Day weekend.
1. Be picky about your parties.
It may be tempting to accept every party invitation, but try to keep the end goal in mind: better health and weight loss success. By thoughtfully choosing one celebration to attend, you may feel less stressed—you won’t need to worry about making multiple dishes and you can focus your energy on enjoying the company by your side—instead of worrying about the next party!
2. Consider hosting a celebration yourself.
Worried about all the not-so-healthy dishes that are bound to end up on the buffet line or picnic table? See if you can organize and host a Labor Day party so you have more control over the food and drinks that get served. To get a few ideas, check out our Simply Inspired recipes!
3. Playing host? Focus on your plate—and fork—size.
In addition to following the tried-and-true advice to use smaller plates when serving food (which research1 shows can reduce the amount of food you eat when you’re serving yourself), consider the size of fork you put out as well. In a field study2 of people eating in a restaurant, researchers found that the study subjects actually ate less when using large forks as opposed to small ones. The thought is that visual cues led people to eat less: By seeing the amount of food on their plate shrink more quickly by taking larger bites, they tended to stop eating sooner.
4. Fill up on healthy food before the party.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can compensate for calories eaten later by skipping meals earlier in the day. Doing so can make you ravenous later on and cause you to make poorer food choices.3 So make a point to eat a healthful breakfast and snacks before the festivities begin.
Eating breakfast isn’t only important over Labor Day weekend to stay healthy. Researchers at the Mayo Clinic4 have found that regularly skipping breakfast not only puts you at higher risk for gaining weight, but for putting on dangerous visceral “belly” fat.
5. Check out the food before loading up your plate.
Instead of wandering up and down the food line and filling your plate with everything that looks good, take a close look at all the foods being offered before getting in line, then come up with a plan for what foods you will eat. Along those same lines, choose only the foods that you really want—you don’t have to try everything just because it’s there. And, of course, make an effort to watch your portion sizes.
6. Take calorie-cutting steps where you can.
Little things can add up, so reach for snappy vegetables instead of crunchy chips. Grab a water over juice, fruit over cake—every little swap can help! Instead of sipping on empty calories packed in wine, beer and sugary laden mixed drinks, grab a refreshing seltzer water and add a lime or other fruit for a satisfying thirst quencher.
7. Get some exercise before the party—and the day after.
Getting a good workout in before you head off to the festivities will not only burn extra calories, but it may also put you in the right frame of mind to keep you from overindulging. (But working out also doesn’t give you the option to throw your healthy eating habits out the window!) Also, schedule a heart pumping activity for the following day so you can get right back into the swing of things.
8. Bring along healthy activities.
Instead of chatting around the buffet line, strike up a game of volleyball, play tag with your kids, throw a ball for your dog—enjoy the company that surrounds you!
Above all, remember that Labor Day is a time for celebration, a time to rest and relax with friends and family. We hope these tips give you a plan for how to handle the temptations that may arise—and ways for you to enjoy the holiday to the fullest, while still staying on track with your weight-loss goals.
Do you need help with your weight-loss efforts? Book your free appointment with a Jenny Craig personal weight loss consultant to get started!
2 https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/660838?seq=1 - page_scan_tab_contents
Let’s be real—usually, you need a vacation from your vacation. Why? Most likely, you’ve been skimping on sleep during your travels. And because adequate rest keeps our brains and body functioning, a lack of it may have you feeling sluggish upon your return.1
But there are ways you can get good sleep while on vacation or a work trip, and come home feeling rested. Use these tips to help you get quality sleep while traveling.
Be Mindful Of What & When You Eat
Did you know that what you eat, but also when can affect your sleep?2 Fast food and changes in time zones can throw off your normal eating routine, so it can be easy to get off track and reach for the sugar. Here’s how your sleep may be impacted:
● Sugar and caffeine are both stimulants that keep your mind active, and can make it more difficult to nod off, especially if consumed too close to bedtime.3
● As tempting as it may be to grab an evening snack while on vacation, you may want to reconsider: late-night snacking can lead to weight gain. Research has also shown that eating late at night may impact the quality of your sleep.4
Our suggestion: load up on a hearty, healthy breakfast (it may help keep you feeling satiated throughout the day), and be mindful of when you eat. By following a daylight nutrition strategy, such as time-restricted feeding, you can focus on eating within a 12-hour time frame and then letting your body rejuvenate for the following 12-hours (which includes sleep), by abstaining from food or beverages besides water and herbal tea. Learn more about following a daylight nutrition strategy and how you can integrate it into your routine.
Plan for Jet Lag
Jet lag, also known as flight fatigue, can cause exhaustion and insomnia as your body adapts to a new time zone. One of the main reasons this happens is due to a disturbance in your natural internal clock, also known as your circadian rhythm.5 According to the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, circadian rhythms are physical, mental, and behavioral changes that follow a daily 24-hour cycle, divided by light and dark phases.6 Throwing it off can impact our levels of energy, metabolism, and more.7
If you’re trying to combat jet lag and get sufficient sleep while traveling, consider the following:
● If there’s a considerable gap in the time difference, try not to have too many pre-planned activities the day after you arrive—so you can make sure to catch enough Z’s once you’re done unpacking. Be careful not to sleep in too much, as you’ll want to adjust to the hours of your new location naturally.
● If traveling by plane, try to book a flight that will help you transition well into your destination’s time zone. For example, if you depart late at night and arrive midday, try to catch some shut eye on flight, so that you can adjust a little more seamlessly.
Keep Afternoon Naps Short
Although ducking into your hotel for an afternoon nap may be tempting if you’re feeling rundown, sleeping too late in the day can interfere with your sleep.8 The National Sleep Foundation recommends keeping naps to around 20 - 30 minutes.9 A short nap can be helpful to give you a boost of energy without ruining your chances of falling asleep in the evening.
Try to Destress
Although traveling can be exciting, it can also lead to stress. From feeling like you’re falling behind when you’re out of the office, to worrying about future obligations upon your return—your mind can start to run wild just as you’re trying to fall asleep.
If you’re having difficulty sleeping at night while traveling, meditation or breathing techniques may help quiet your busy mind and ease into slumber. Here are a few ideas to try:
Sit somewhere comfortable before getting into bed and practice focusing on your breath. Take a long, slow breath in through your nose, then, a long, slow exhale out. Repeat this a few times through or however long it takes to help you feel a little more relaxed.
Use a visual breathing method. Imagining a picture may help your mind have a point of focus for relaxation.
When you inhale, imagine you are filling up a balloon. Keep sipping in air, blowing up the balloon ever bigger. The rubber stretches thinner and thinner. Then, when ready to let go, exhale and imagine the balloon shrinking back down.
Imagine your inhale as a wave rippling across the ocean towards the tide. As you exhale, the wave crashes and foam rolls up onto the sand.
If you’re still feeling anxious while on the road, here are a couple of helpful tips on how to stop worrying.
We hope that with these tips in mind, you may be able to sleep a little sounder while traveling. Bon voyage!
If you’re looking to start eating healthier and improve your sleep, Jenny Craig is here to help. Book your fr ee appointment to meet with a personal consultant to get started.
 Source: Medicine Net https://www.medicinenet.com/jet_lag/article.htm#what_are_other_symptoms_and_signs_of_jet_lag
 Source: The National Sleep Foundation https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/napping
If you’ve ever stubbed your toe or whacked your funny bone (ouch!), you have experienced a touch of acute pain. And while it’s never fun to experience, thankfully, the pain passes, and you can resume your daily routine. But while acute pain is your nervous system’s standard “alert system” to notify you of an injury, chronic pain is the persistent firing of pain signals for weeks, months or years, even after any evidence of bodily harm has vanished.1
And it’s more common than you may think—affecting around 100 million Americans—more than diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined.2 Although the absence of visible injury can make chronic pain challenging to treat, there are a number of lifestyle changes that may help your symptoms become more manageable. Here are four simple shifts you can make to help reduce chronic pain.
1. Nourish Your Body.
If you’re living with chronic pain, one of the best things you can do to manage your symptoms is to focus on your diet. Why? Inflammation is the body’s natural response to substances it perceives as toxic—and sometimes, these “toxins” are in unexpected places, like junk foods such as candy and soda.3
According to pain management experts, a healthy diet can help control insulin, cholesterol levels and potentially reduce inflammation.4 So what’s on the menu? Fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, nuts, legumes and fish, with moderate amounts of poultry, dairy, eggs and red meat.
If you’re looking for ways to cut down on prep time while improving your diet, Jenny Craig follows expert guidelines with chef-crafted, nutritionally sound, ready-made meals.
2. Stay Active.
You probably know that regular physical activity is an integral part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but did you know research has found that exercise may help decrease inflammation markers in patients with chronic pain?5-6 Not only is it possible to potentially reduce inflammation, but your pain perception may also improve with a consistent exercise program.7 Although moving when you’re in pain may not be your first choice, try finding an activity that you enjoy, such as walking or swimming—you may be more likely to stick with it. But make sure to consult your healthcare provider before starting a new exercise program.
3. Get in the Rhythm and Eat with the Sun.
Following your body’s natural circadian rhythm, by staying active when it’s light out, sleeping when it’s dark, and eating with the sun—can have a dramatic, positive impact on your overall health.8 So it should come as no surprise that staying in sync with your natural rhythm may also help ease your chronic pain in a couple of different ways.
First, following a daylight nutrition strategy, such as time-restricted feeding, may help you manage insulin levels9 and reduce inflammation10, which are often key players when it comes to chronic pain. How can you get started? Focus on eating the majority of your food during daylight hours, specifically during a 12-hour time frame and letting your body rejuvenate for the remaining 12-hours, which includes sleep (making sure to refrain from late-night meals). So, if you have your first meal of the day at 7 a.m., you would have your last by 7 p.m. and then resume your routine the following day. Jenny Craig’s newest program, Rapid Results, was developed with this daylight nutrition strategy in mind.
Researchers also believe that getting enough sleep (7–9 hours a night) may help keep pain levels in check.11 It’s during these evening hours that the hormone melatonin is naturally produced, and can serve as a powerful anti-inflammatory.12-13
4. Practice Self-Care.
Living with chronic pain can be frustrating and stressful at times. Making time for yourself and regularly practicing self-care, along with your other healthy lifestyle habits, may help provide some stress relief and calm in your everyday life. While self-care may look different for everyone, a few ideas include a warm bubble bath, yoga, meditation, massage therapy or even a carefree afternoon of retail therapy. Focusing on your well-being can nourish your mind and body in significant ways.
For more information on how Jenny Craig can help you start living an active and healthy lifestyle, book a free appointment to meet with one of our personal weight loss consultants.
 Longo, Valter D., and Satchidananda Panda. “Fasting, Circadian Rhythms, and Time-Restricted Feeding in Healthy Lifespan.” Cell Metabolism, vol. 23, no. 6, 14 June 2016, pp. 1048–1059., doi:10.1016/j.cmet.2016.06.001.