Stress: it’s the looming work deadline, the overdue bill, juggling friends, family and you-time – the list seems endless. So, it may not shock you to learn that stress can have a dramatic impact on your weight. What may come as a surprise though is the fascinating science behind stress-induced weight gain.
We’re exploring what’s really going on inside your brain and body when you’re experiencing stress, along with a few helpful tips to get both your mind and eating habits back on track.
The Stress Hormone: Cortisol
In order to understand the mechanisms of stress-induced weight gain, one only has to follow the so-called chemical trail—and it all leads back to cortisol. This essential hormone is produced by the adrenal glands and released into the bloodstream at the first sign of perceived danger. As our “fight or flight” hormone, cortisol helps to suppress inflammation, regulate blood pressure, maintain glucose levels and provide your body with the instant energy boost it needs to navigate sudden emergencies.1
This mechanism was incredibly useful for our cave-dwelling ancestors, whose emergencies tended to be life-threatening events like fending off wolves; it continues to aid today’s society in situations of extreme physical duress—like escaping a house fire.
Unfortunately, the complexity of modern life can be a little confusing for our ancient body chemistry. Though today’s stressors are often emotional, they still trigger the same physiological response—one that is now believed to cause weight gain. A British study published in the American journal Obesity found that high cortisol levels associated with chronic stress are also linked to high BMI and obesity.2
How Cortisol Works
If cortisol is basically a “punch” in the adrenals, why isn’t it supercharging your metabolism? (Wouldn’t that be nice!) What actually happens when cortisol enters the bloodstream is the opposite: it’s telling your body that resources are scarce, which automatically slows your metabolic rate to survive the period of perceived famine. Cortisol also has the ability to convert itself to glucose, triggering a spike in blood sugar that’s likely to go unused and be stored as fat.3
A Complex Mixture
The stress response is a complex mixture of chemical reactions, physiological triggers and emotional responses—and like you, your individual response is 100% unique. For some of us, stress causes mindless eating—which studies back up4—and why reaching for a bag of chips or sugary snack might seem more tempting when you’re frazzled. By contrast, stress might make others accidentally skip a meal; however, this can set you up for eating more later in the day when you realize you’re famished and can result in overeating or late-night snacking.
What’s worse, the stress cycle can also be a frustrating, vicious circle. Worrying about a stressful event or situation can cause you to lose sleep, which is an essential part of maintaining a healthy weight. When you’re tired, you may be more likely to skip your workout or make emotional food choices at a restaurant or grocery store. And when you’re overtired and overworked, both of which can lead to additional stress, you’re more likely to rely on caffeine to get you through the day. A recent study4 linked insulin spikes and weight gain to excess coffee consumption, which researchers defined as 5–6 cups per day.
Breaking the Cycle
So how can you break the stress cycle? As it turns out, there are lots of simple habits that are scientifically proven to help us deactivate stress before it wreaks havoc on our sensitive systems. Here are our top five:
1. Walk it Off.
Walking, especially in nature, can put your body in a peaceful, meditative state. Studies have shown aerobic exercise can reduce levels of cortisol and adrenaline.5
2. Take a Breath.
Deep breathing exercises can help lower blood pressure and calm the nervous system.6
3. Turn it Up.
Playing music you love instantly floods your brain with happiness-inducing neurochemicals7 – so crank up the tunes!
4. Tell a Friend.
Studies suggest8 spending time with close friends actually reduces cortisol production.
5. Have a Laugh.
Just anticipating a good laugh spikes endorphins by nearly 30%9...so giggle it up!
For more information on how Jenny Craig can help you with your weight loss journey and stress coping skills, contact your local neighborhood Jenny Craig center.
If you’re trying to lose weight, you’re likely not a stranger to thinking about what you eat during the day, but are you thinking about when you eat? A common pitfall during weight loss is to start off the day motivated, thinking that a small breakfast and salad for lunch will put you on the right track. The trouble happens when the hunger pangs start mid-afternoon and then the motivation wanes. Succumbing to the hunger, a large dinner and unhealthy snacking in the evening may be the way the day ends, which offsets all of the effort you put into the beginning of the day. Sound familiar?
There may be a solution for this; try eating more, earlier in the day. Read on to discover how frontloading your calories could aid in your weight loss efforts with helpful tips that you can start implementing today.
Research Supports Eating Early
Research has shown that people have a better chance of losing weight if they eat earlier in the day.1 Why? Because eating earlier can help you feel more satiated in the evening, which can prevent overeating at night. Since your body is primed to burn more calories in the morning than at night, by eating earlier in the day, you’re working with your metabolism and leveraging your natural fat burning abilities.
One study followed 420 overweight and obese individuals over a 20-week period. Some of the individuals were early eaters, which meant that they ate lunch before 3 p.m., and others were late eaters, eating lunch after 3 p.m. The study found that the late eaters lost less weight than the early eaters (17 versus 22 pounds on average).2 Additionally, the evening eaters lost weight more slowly than their earlier counterparts. What made these findings telling? Both groups ate the same number of calories, carbohydrates, fat and protein.
Another study followed 1,400 overweight women with metabolic syndrome (a group of conditions that occur together such as increased blood pressure, excess body fat and abnormal cholesterol levels which increase your risk for heart disease among other diseases3) for 12 weeks. They all followed identical diets, with one fundamental difference. One group had a 700-calorie breakfast and a 200-calorie dinner, while the other had a 200-calorie breakfast and a 700-calorie dinner.
The women who ate more in the morning lost two and a half times more weight than the group who ate most of their calories at night.4 But weight loss wasn’t the only benefit the early eaters experienced: they also lost more inches around their waist, saw a 33% drop in triglyceride levels (which is an indicator of heart disease) and saw a more significant decrease in fasting glucose, insulin and insulin resistance scores – all of which, when are at elevated levels, may contribute to the development of diabetes.5
The Science of Your Circadian Rhythm
These studies are a part of a growing body of research that suggests when you eat is as important as what you eat. This relates to the science of your body’s circadian rhythm, or natural internal clock, which is the physical, behavioral and mental changes that occur in response to light and darkness during a 24-hour cycle.6
Due to circadian rhythm, your body experiences variations in hormone, enzyme and glucose levels throughout the day.7
These changes can affect how you process calories, fat and carbohydrates. Following your circadian rhythm, your body burns more calories in the morning from digesting and absorbing the nutrients in your food than it does later in the day.8
Jenny Craig’s newest program, Rapid Results, leverages your natural circadian rhythm in conjunction with a nutritionally sound meal plan which can lead to accelerated weight loss. Members can lose up to 16 pounds in just 4 weeks. First 4 weeks only. Average weight loss in study was 11.6 lbs. for those who completed the program. Additionally, research demonstrates that there are additional health benefits of following your body’s circadian rhythm and taking a break from digestion (which includes sleep time9-10), such as improvements in immune function and mood, management of appetite and hunger11, preservation of muscle mass12 and potentially decreased risk of dementia.13 Additionally, there is evidence to suggest that the reduction in belly fat that comes from taking a digestion break also decreases the risk for obesity and type 2 diabetes.14
4 Easy Tips for Eating with Your Circadian Rhythm
Eating in sync with your circadian rhythm can lead to weight loss success, but what’s the best way to do it? Follow these four tips to eat when your metabolism is working most efficiently:
#1. Don’t Skip Breakfast
Breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day. For maximum impact, pick a breakfast that is at least 300 calories and includes fiber, carbohydrates and protein.
Need some help with breakfast planning? Try a cup of oatmeal with low-fat milk and a handful of nuts or a two-egg veggie omelet with fruit and a slice of whole-wheat toast on the side.
If you’re following the Rapid Results program, our Egg, Cheese, & Turkey Sausage Burrito is a delicious and easy option.
#2. Include a Substantial, Balanced Lunch
Just like breakfast, eating lunch is important to keep you satisfied during the day, so don’t settle for only a small salad. Try filling half of your plate with non-starchy veggies, a fourth with lean protein such as grilled chicken and the remaining fourth with substantial carbs such as rice or legumes.
If you love salads, try adding chicken and including a side such as a broth-based soup. If you’re a sandwich fan, pair one with soup or veggies with hummus. The goal is to create a healthy, filling and well-balanced meal.
If you’re following the Rapid Results program, try our delicious Classic Cheeseburger or Turkey and Wild Rice with a side salad and Jenny Craig dressing.
#3. Remember Snacks
Keep your metabolism working with a nutritious snack. Spacing a couple of snacks throughout your day – mid-morning and afternoon – is a great way to keep your metabolism humming. Try to pick a snack that is around 200 calories and contains fiber and protein.
A few examples include an apple with 1 ½ teaspoons of nut butter, a hard-boiled egg, or low-fat or nonfat Greek yogurt with fruit. If you’re on the Jenny Craig program, try the Anytime Bars and Chocolate Dream Shakes.
#4. Review Your Dinner Choices
As your metabolism starts winding down from the afternoon into the night, it is important to keep your evening meals light and healthy. A couple ideas are fish and cooked vegetables or a turkey burger with a salad and light dressing. Don’t forget to eat dinner early, if you want to stay aligned with your metabolism!
If you’re following the Rapid Results program, you can enjoy favorites such as Chicken Fettuccine or Loaded Baked Potato with a side salad.
When you keep your meals in sync with your circadian rhythm, you’ll find that your weight loss and health goals may become more attainable. By using these tips, you’ll be working with your metabolism by eating food when your body is burning calories with more efficiency. Try taking the first step by planning your meals and snacks within a 12-hour period to align with your circadian rhythm. You may find additional health benefits beyond just weight loss!
Do you need help on your weight loss journey? Jenny Craig’s award-winning program is based on scientific research and great results. Contact us today for your free appointment.
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.
 Vyazovskiy, Vladyslav. “Sleep, recovery, and metaregulation: explaining the benefits of sleep.” Nature and Science of Sleep, 17 Dec. 2015, p. 171-184., doi:10.2147/nss.s54036.
 Cirelli, Chiara, and Giulio Tononi. “Is Sleep Essential?” PLoS Biology, vol. 6, no. 8, 2008, doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0060216.
 Peterson, C. Pennington Biomedical Research Center. “Time-Restricted Feeding Increases Fat Oxidation and Reduces Swings in Appetite Levels in Humans.” Oral abstract presentation at: The Obesity Society Annual Meeting at ObesityWeekSM 2016; October 31 – November 4, 2016. www.obesityweek.com.
 Moro, Tatiana, et al. “Effects of eight weeks of time-Restricted feeding (16/8) on basal metabolism, maximal strength, body composition, inflammation, and cardiovascular risk factors in resistance-Trained males.” Journal of Translational Medicine, vol. 14, no. 1, 2016, doi:10.1186/s12967-016-1044-0.
 Peterson, C. Pennington Biomedical Research Center. “Time-Restricted Feeding Increases Fat Oxidation and Reduces Swings in Appetite Levels in Humans.” Oral abstract presentation at: The Obesity Society Annual Meeting at ObesityWeekSM 2016; October 31 – November 4, 2016. www.obesityweek.com.
 Chaix, Amandine, et al. “Time-Restricted Feeding Is a Preventative and Therapeutic Intervention against Diverse Nutritional Challenges.” Cell Metabolism, vol. 20, no. 6, 2 Dec. 2014, pp. 991–1005., doi:10.1016/j.cmet.2014.11.001.
If you’ve achieved weight loss success with Jenny Craig, we want you to share your story to help inspire others and celebrate your accomplishment – you could even be our next star!
Enter Jenny Craig’s Success Story Contest for a chance to appear in our National Advertising Campaign & win up to $10,000 in fabulous prizes*, including:
All-expense paid trip to LA
Potential appearance in our TV commercial
Photoshoot with a celebrity photographer
$7,000 Cash †
Here’s how to enter:
1. Visit: JennyCraig.com/MyStory
2. Follow the prompts and enter your basic information
3. Upload a before and after photo (read our tips below!)
4. Tell us your Jenny Craig Success Story
5. Include your program start weight and your current weight
6. Submit your information for your chance to win!*
When telling us about your success, consider all the benefits you’ve gained since joining the Jenny Craig family – have you noticed you’ve been sleeping better at night? Do you have more energy than you did before starting the program? We hope you’re feeling amazing inside and out!
Tips and Tricks for Taking a Before and After Photo
Ready to show us how far you’ve come? Read these simple tips on how to take a stellar photo to show off your success!
Include a Full Body Shot. Make sure to capture your entire body in the shot – from head to toe! Whether you take the picture in front of a mirror or have a friend snap it – make sure to include an image that shows off all your success!
Shoot Vertically. To ensure you capture your full body, we recommend taking your photo vertically on your phone or camera. If you’re photographing yourself, make sure to hold your camera at an angle that doesn’t block your face in the mirror.
Lighting is key! If someone else is taking your photo, try to shoot in natural light either outside or near a window, rather than using a flash. If you’re taking the shot in front of a mirror, make sure you have adequate lighting so the image isn’t too dark.
Attire: Wear clothes that show off your results! Avoid wearing baggy clothing.
Take a Few Different Shots. Don’t be afraid to take a few different shots to ensure you get the best one that shows off your weight loss. Remember, pictures can always be deleted afterwards, but it’s great to have options from different angles.
Keep it simple. You’re the star of this photo – by keeping the background simple, your results will shine through!
Ready to become our next star?
*No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Contest open to legal residents of the US, Canada (excluding Quebec) age 21+. Essay and photo submission required to win. 8 Grand Prize Winners receive $7,000 cash + Jenny Craig food + gift pack + photo shoot and travel (ERV of $10,000). Entries accepted 4/16/2018-6/1/2018. Sponsored by JC USA. Contest is subject to official rules, visithttp://bit.ly/SuccessStoryContestRules
While what you eat directly impacts your weight loss progress–what’s in your glass matters too. Is alcohol hindering your weight loss goals?
Happy hours with co-workers, wine with dinner, and a beer (or two) with friends on the weekend can be a common occurrence - but how are those drinks affecting your weight loss goals? The glass is half-empty on this one: alcohol consumption can considerably slow down weight loss. From derailing your healthy eating habits to potentially harming your vital organs, here are five reasons why you should put the glass down:
Poor Food Choices
Alcohol not only loosens inhibitions, but it can also impact your judgment when it comes to your food choices. If you’ve had a few drinks, you may be more easily tempted to eat salty and sugary foods, and you might even feel hungrier than if you hadn’t sipped a cocktail.1
Just like soda and juice, a glass of alcohol is chalk full of empty calories, which aren’t helpful if you’re trying to lose weight. From sugar-laden margaritas to high-carb beers, these beverages contain little to no beneficial nutrients. Additionally, alcohol has almost twice as many calories per gram as healthy proteins and carbs, without the satiety.2 On average, a 5oz glass of wine or a bottle of beer contains around 150 calories,3 which means two glasses of wine every day is almost enough to gain one pound a week. By replacing your nightly drink with a no-calorie, flavored sparkling water, it may help your weight loss efforts.
When your body is burning alcohol, it’s not burning fat.4 As you imbibe, your body sees alcohol as energy before anything else that is nutritious, therefore postponing its metabolic process to burn fat. Skipping happy hour will help realign your metabolic processes and allow your body to go back to expending energy from your food intake.
Impairing Your Body
Not only can booze hinder your weight loss journey, but it can also hurt your heart, kidneys, immune system, skin, and brain. Alcohol can even irritate the lining of your stomach, interfering with the way food is digested, impacting healthy metabolic processes. But drinking is most destructive to your liver and can cause permanent damage to it over time, especially when binge drinking. The liver filters out toxins and processes the majority of the alcohol as energy, while the rest is expelled through urine, sweat, and breathing.5 Consuming more alcohol than your liver can process can lead to serious consequences, including alcoholic fatty liver disease, alcoholic hepatitis, and alcoholic cirrhosis.6
It may be tempting to unwind after a long day with a glass of wine on the couch. However, one drink can easily turn into more which can lead to an unrestful night. Consuming alcohol has been shown to disrupt as well as impact your quality of sleep.7
Instead of grabbing that glass of wine at the end of the day, try meditating, reading a book, or taking a walk to relax - you may find yourself getting a better night’s rest.
Try one of these simple swaps to save yourself some calories. You may even find yourself feeling more refreshed and energized!
Flavored Water – add cucumber, lemon or lime to water or seltzer water for a tasty twist.
Iced Tea – add lemon to unsweetened, iced tea for a refreshing beverage at any time of the day. Try herbal variations such as passion tea for a different flavor.
Kombucha – this bubbly, sparkling drink is made with fermented tea and may aid in digestion among other possible health benefits.
Skipping the cocktails and opting for an alternative healthy beverage can help you stay on track with your weight loss goals, and your liver will thank you!
Are you ready to commit to a healthier lifestyle by losing weight? Contact Jenny Craig for your free appointment!
For nearly 35 years, Jenny Craig has been helping people lose weight, gain confidence and reclaim the healthy, active lifestyles they want to live. Our personal consultants play a huge part in our members’ journeys—their compassion, expertise and support are key factors in Jenny Craig’s unique approach to weight loss success. Having a weight loss coach means that someone will always be there for you on the good days to celebrate your successes and on the hard days, with support and motivation to help keep you on track. Not only will your personal weight loss coach help you with your food and physical activity planning during weight loss, but they can also help with your weight maintenance goals after you’ve lost the weight through our maintenance program.
Here are a few ways your personal consultant can make a difference on your weight loss journey:
#1. Always There for You
Whether you’re meeting in-person with one of our private weight loss coaches at one of our 500 neighborhood Jenny Craig weight loss centers, over the phone or video chat through Jenny Craig Anywhere, your consultant is always there for you.
Did you have a stressful week at work and find it hard to stay committed to your plan? Your consultant will be there to talk through your challenges, so you can recognize and avoid pitfalls to your success on your weight-loss journey.
Want to celebrate an amazing week of willpower and weight loss? Your coach will be right by your side, cheering you on. Did you reach your weight-loss goal and wondering about next steps? They’ll help guide your daily menu plans with healthy principles, so you’re ready for your next chapter. Our ultimate goal is to give you the tools to help you lose weight and learn how to keep it off.
#2. Your Personal Expert
Weight loss is personal. Weight loss is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Your consultant can help you tailor the program to fit your needs.
A consultant is so much more than a great cheerleader. They take the time to get to know you—your food preferences, your physical activity needs, your lifestyle, and your personality. When you find yourself up against a weight loss challenge, whether you’ve hit a plateau or want to mix up your regimen, your consultant can be an amazing resource and weight loss life coach. They can help you explore new foods, identify ways to get physically active that fit within your lifestyle and make sure you’re feeling satisfied in order stay on track. Having someone that isn’t only an expert weight loss coach, but someone who considers your personal needs can set the foundation for success.
#3. Better Together - It’s Science
A study published in the Journal of American Medicine1 showed that Jenny Craig members are much more successful when they work one-on-one with a personal consultant. It’s part of the “secret ingredient” that has Jenny Craig revered as a top weight loss program over the years—including being ranked a best diet for EASY to follow & FAST weight loss for 8 years by U.S. News & World Report.
Once you establish that one-of-a-kind relationship with your weight loss life coach, your consultation can become a place where you’re excited to share your weekly milestones.
Weight loss coaching programs go beyond body weight, diet, and physical activity. Having a consultant is almost like a personal life coach. You gain an accountability partner, someone who is there to celebrate the smallest victories and help you stick to your plan when life gets a little hectic. If you’re feeling stuck, you can always lean on your consultant to add in new free foods, healthy recipes and other ideas to ensure you accomplish your goals in a way that works best for you. Furthermore, your weight loss coach will help you track your progress and learn the skills you need to reach your goals and help maintain them in the future.
#5. Experience & Knowledge
Many of our consultants are former Jenny Craig members, so they’ve probably been where you are at any given point in your journey—and all of them have gone through training to provide the best service as possible.
We want you to be knowledgeable as you embark on your weight loss journey. We know the process can be an intimidating, exciting, and challenging at times. Whether you’re looking for help on how to get started or what to do next, your weight loss coach can supply the information you need. Anytime you have a question, your consultant will be there to provide you with answers.
#6. More than a Weight Loss Program – It’s a Lifestyle Change
We all know yo-yo dieting is not a long-term solution, it’s about making a lifestyle change. Your consultant will focus on your health and well-being to help you create new habits and lifestyle changes that you can follow for years to come in order to maintain your results. During your one-on-one coaching sessions, our consultants walk you through every process, so you understand why and how it’s important to lose body fat, change your diet, and create a healthier way of living. Members find this support extremely beneficial during their weight loss journey. As studies have shown, having a dedicated personal consultant and a support system can make the difference in long-term weight loss success.
With Jenny Craig, you never have to be alone. There is a reason our weight-loss program works and why we’ve been ranked a best diet for EASY to follow & FAST weight loss for 8 years by U.S. News & World Report. Not only do we give members the skills necessary to reach their goals, but we’re also there every step of the way; the first step is up to you.
Find out how one of the Jenny Craig personal consultants can help you reach your weight loss goals by booking your free appointment.
*Members on our program, on average, lose 1-2 lbs. per week. Weight loss current as of November 2017
My mother put me in my first beauty pageant at the age of two. As competing became my passion, I found the shows helped me grow and develop as a person. Self- confidence, an affinity for volunteerism, friendships, and character building experiences were some of the many benefits of my passion. There was, however, one challenge that I never overcame, and that was the swimsuit competition. I had a naturally thick build, and an appetite to go with it courtesy of my Italian grandmother’s cooking.
I’d crash diet to prepare for a pageant but never made any long-term changes. As I got older, I stopped participating in strenuous sports to counter my high-calorie intake, and there were fewer pageants to serve as my weight loss motivation, leading me to gain weight. When my boyfriend proposed, I continued my event-based motivation for weight loss. I was excited to plan my wedding and had a definite picture in my mind of how I wanted to look on my special day. I joined Jenny Craig and went to my first consultation holding a magazine photo of a form-fitting wedding gown from my “fairy tale” file. <br>
I couldn’t believe how much success I had on the Jenny Craig program. The food was delicious, and I looked forward to my favorites each week. When I look at my wedding album, I feel so proud of the progress I made for that memorable day. I was so grateful I found a program that worked!
After our wonderful wedding, it was on to another milestone: bringing a baby boy into the world. My son was born a year after we’d been married and I weighed the most I had ever been. Instead of recommitting to losing weight, I did the opposite and gained more. I felt uncomfortable in anything but sweatpants and continued to wear maternity clothes. I avoided going out with my friends and eliminated full body social media photos out of my crippling insecurity.
When I pictured myself as a mother, I saw myself chasing my children around the house, playing with them and caring for their every need. If the energetic woman in my daydreams would become my future reality, I knew I needed to make major dietary changes.
For extra motivation, I entered a “Mrs.” Pageant and then I immediately called Jenny Craig – knowing they could help me reach my new goal. My consultant, Dottie, had a positive and honest energy I found refreshing. She was an excellent source of support and inspiration. After our weekly consultations, she would tell me, “I will see less of you next week” which was always motivating to hear.
I successfully lost 35 lbs.* preparing for the competition and I feel outstanding! I am proud to say I was named Mrs. Long Island America! My next goal is competing for the title of Mrs. New York. I now purchase clothing styles I had previously trained my eyes to scroll past, and I can’t see a friend or co-worker without hearing them say, “have you lost weight?” I feel lighter in life, have more energy to work out, and I am instinctively making healthier food choices.
The evidence of holding myself accountable for my weight loss and exercise plan is my reflection in my new full-length mirror, and the two-piece swimsuit I wore proudly on my family vacation. Furthermore, having succeeded in this makes me so proud that my children have a healthier mom who feels good about herself, and I want my newfound confidence to rub off on them.
*Members on our program, on average, lose 1-2 lbs. per week. Weight loss current as of November 2017.
Most of us have heard the term body mass index, or BMI, but do you know what it is? If you don’t, you aren’t alone. “What is BMI?” is a common question for people who are looking to lose weight and achieve a healthier lifestyle.
Although BMI might seem mysterious, it can be a helpful tool when considering your health. Read on as we explain how BMI is used as a measurement and offer a few tips for reaching and maintaining a healthy BMI.
The Basics of Body Mass Index
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “BMI is a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters.”1 While this may sound complex, in simplest terms, it means that BMI considers your weight in relation to your height.
Although there is a formula for calculating BMI, you don’t have to be a math expert to do the calculations. In fact, there are many reliable BMI calculators. Jenny Craig offers a BMI calculator that is easy to use.
What Does BMI Measure?
It’s important to note that BMI does not directly measure body fat or your health. But research has shown that it moderately correlates with more direct measures of body fat that can be more invasive or expensive.2
BMI is a common measure of health and fitness because it is an inexpensive and simple way to help assess whether a person is underweight, at a healthy weight, overweight, or obese. The following guide shows which BMI ranges correspond to which BMI categories3:
● Underweight: BMI of less than 18.5
● Healthy weight: BMI of 18.5-24.9
● Overweight: BMI of 25-29.9
● Very Overweight: BMI of 30.0 or greater
BMI & Your Health
Although BMI does not directly measure your body fat, the correlation between BMI and body fat is relatively strong. A high BMI is also associated with a number of health problems, including high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, high LDL cholesterol and some cancers.4 However, even if two people have the same BMI, their levels of body fat may vary. Research cited by the CDC reports that gender, ethnicity, age, and muscle composition can affect whether two people with the same BMI have different levels of body fat:5
● Women tend to have more body fat than men of the same BMI6
● Older individuals generally have more body fat than younger adults of the same BMI.7
● Because athletes tend to have more muscle than non-athletes, they tend to have less body fat than non-athletes of the same BMI.8
Keeping Your BMI in Range
Your weight is influenced by many factors, including environment, genetics, metabolism, and lifestyle choices.9 Although you can’t control certain factors like your genes, you can make healthy changes in your lifestyle that can help you achieve and maintain a healthy BMI range.
Since diet is a key component of weight loss, it’s important to make sure you’re getting the right mix of carbohydrates, protein, and fat from the foods you’re eating. Incorporating more non-starchy vegetables into your meals is a great way to get added vitamins and nutrients. If you’re unsure about how to integrate healthier eating practices, a program such as Jenny Craig takes the guesswork out of meal planning while teaching you valuable tools to lead a healthier lifestyle.
Additionally, taking into account not just what you eat, but also when you eat can impact your weight. Eating earlier in the day can help you get in sync with your body’s natural clock, also known as your circadian rhythm, which can lead to greater and more effective weight loss.10
Another factor to consider is exercise. Regular physical activity can help you reach and maintain a healthy BMI. Expert guidelines suggest at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week as well as two days a week of muscle-strengthening activities.11
By understanding more about your BMI, you may be better able to achieve and sustain a healthy range and furthermore, a healthier lifestyle.
Are you ready to commit to a weight loss program that can help you reach your weight loss goals and a healthy BMI? Book your free Jenny Craig appointment today.
How many minutes of physical activity do you get each day? If it’s less than 30 minutes, you’re not alone. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), only 1 in 5 adults meet the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, which includes 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity.1
We know physical activity is beneficial for our health, so why aren’t we getting more of it? In today’s fast-paced world, most people don’t have the time to fit as much regular physical activity into their busy schedules as they’d like. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t find simple ways to incorporate more movement into your routine. Did you know that non-exercise activity (no sweating required!) can burn up to an additional 350 extra calories per day?2
We’ve compiled a list of 6 simple and creative ways to sneak more activity into your everyday routine:
Park farther away
Every step counts, so why not park a little farther away from your destination? This will allow you to get some quality steps in, and as a bonus, you’ll be able to enjoy a little more time outside. Plus, it can alleviate any stress you may have about finding the closest available parking spot.
Take a lap on the way to the loo
Though it might be tempting to use the closest bathroom at the office, making the time to walk to the other end of the building can accumulate more steps than you’d imagine. Take it a step further, use a bathroom that is up or down a flight of stairs.
Replace your water bottle with a smaller cup
Drinking water throughout the day is essential, as is regular movement. Instead of filling up a large water bottle and slowly sipping it throughout the day, try using a regular-sized glass, and fill it up regularly. Even small, frequent trips to the kitchen can boost your overall daily activity.
Stand up and stretch every hour
The adverse effects of prolonged sitting include an increased risk of high blood pressure or coronary heart disease and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.3 Try setting an alarm or reminder on your phone every 30-60 minutes to take a minute or two to stand up and stretch your legs before getting back to work.
Replace emails with face-to-face conversations
If you’re writing a lengthy email – you may want to hit pause. Could your question be resolved with a discussion? Try taking a break from your screen and walk over to your co-worker to chat. Not only will this get you moving, but it could also increase your productivity, as replacing emails with in-person conversation has been shown to reduce distractions and stress levels.4
Take a walk on your lunch break
You may feel like a mid-day break will halt your work progress, but taking the time to get some fresh air and go for a walk at lunch can reduce your stress levels.5 Feeling like you’re in a creative slump? A recent study6 found walking could enhance your productivity and creativity. Try partnering with a friend for added accountability and to make your time outside a bit more fun.
Ready to incorporate more movement and nutritionally balanced meals into your routine? Book your free appointment with Jenny Craig and start achieving the results you want!
You may be sleeping for 7-9 hours a night, but why are you waking up tired and groggy? Here are some reasons why you may feel tired even if you slept through the night and changes you can make to feel well-rested.
Why do you still wake up feeling tired and groggy, even if you got the National Sleep Foundation’s recommended 7-9 hours of sleep per night? You may think it’s because your morning cup of coffee isn’t strong enough, but it’s actually the quality of sleep that determines how well your body functions during the day.
When you sleep, your body goes into a restorative mode that helps it recover from your daily activities and also regulates hormones that stimulate (ghrelin) and suppress (leptin) hunger.1 However, when you’re tired and don’t get enough quality sleep, these hormones can become unbalanced, which may lead you to eat more and impact your weight loss progress.
Below are a few of the reasons why you may be feeling tired even after a full night’s sleep – and ways you can improve your quality of sleep:
Screen time overload!
Everyone is continuously connected to their devices; on their computers all day, then catching up on social media and texting on their phones before heading off to bed at night. The bright lights from your electronics make your brain think it’s still daylight,2 and may also lead to stress or excitement to prevent you from going to bed as soon as you’d like—or worse, wake you up in the middle of the night with notifications.
Try avoiding screens at least an hour before bed to ease into sleep sooner. By picking up a book or practicing simple meditation, you may be less tempted to reach for your electronic device and in turn, drift off a little earlier.
Nightmares may be more real than we think.
Dreams—including your most vivid nightmares—are helping your brain work through stress and emotions, like anger, sadness and fear.3 While you may not be jolted wide-awake, you can still feel like you haven’t rested since your mind has undergone a stressful situation. <br> <br>
If you find yourself feeling anxious or stressed, try finding activities that can help you monitor your worries. Chatting with friends and loved ones can help you shift your mindset and open up about a stressful situation. Finding activities that bring you joy can also help you gain perspective and allow you to feel more relaxed.
Nighttime bathroom breaks.
While the old rule of thumb used to be drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day, the guidelines have been changing. Many experts now recommend half your body weight in ounces, which can seem like a lot depending on your activity level, work hours and how much water you’re used to sipping.
By increasing your water intake, you may notice your bathroom trips becoming more frequent, especially around bedtime. Try reducing your liquid intake 1-2 hours before you turn out the lights to avoid midnight trips to the restroom.
Midnight munching and late-night meals.
It’s not only about what you’re eating, but when you’re eating. Because your body follows an internal clock, also known as your circadian rhythm, it’s primed to digest food more efficiently during the day as your metabolism naturally slows down at night. As a result, your body may have difficulty processing late-night snacks or meals, which may not only lead to inadequate sleep,4 but also to weight gain.5 By avoiding food consumption later in the evening, you may be able to rest more soundly throughout the night.
If you’re tired of tossing and turning or feeling groggy, give these tips a try and you may feel more rested in the morning.
Did you know that by following our newest program, Rapid Results, your sleep quality could improve? Contact us for your free appointment. Members following our Rapid Results program lost up to 16 pounds in the first 4 weeks! †
† First 4 weeks only. Avg. weight loss in study was 11.6 lbs for those who completed the program.
 Taheri, S., Lin, L., Austin, D., Young, T., & Mignot, E. (2004, December). Retrieved April 02, 2018, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC535701/
This year’s flu season has been a doozy, and it’s not over yet. Although cases of the flu often peak in February, the season can sometimes last into May.1 No one wants to put their life on hold to deal with the coughing, fever and body aches that come with catching this illness, so it’s important to take steps to boost your immune system which will, in turn, help you avoid getting sick.
In addition to getting an annual flu shot and washing your hands often, you can also take other precautionary actions to stay healthy during flu season and the rest of the year. We’ve compiled a list of the five best ways to boost your immune system.
#1. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Have you noticed that you’re more likely to get sick when you don’t get enough sleep? It’s not your imagination. Studies have shown that not getting enough z’s can result in higher levels of stress and more inflammation in your body.2 These issues spell trouble for someone who is trying to fight the flu. Studies have also found that well-rested people who receive a vaccine have stronger protection against the illness than their sleep-deprived counterparts.3
Wondering how much sleep you need to stay healthy? Adults need approximately seven to eight hours of sleep to boost the immune system.4 In today’s busy world, it can feel almost impossible to get this much rest. But just remember, it’s easier to schedule more time to catch some shut-eye than it is to be out of commission for a week or longer after catching the flu.
#2. Adopt Healthy Eating Habits
Eating right is important for more than just weight loss. Certain foods can actually help boost your immune system. Your body needs certain nutrients to function properly and fight off the germs you encounter in daily life.
Your diet should include a balance of high-fiber carbohydrates, fat and protein. It should also be rich in fruits and vegetables, which contain critical vitamins and minerals, including vitamins C and E, zinc and beta-carotene. When selecting fruits and veggies, go for brightly colored options, such as berries, apples, carrots and spinach.
#3. Try to Stress Less
Life can be stressful at times. But long-term stress can make you more vulnerable to everything from the common cold to serious illnesses.5 The reason why is simple. Chronic stress causes your body to be exposed to a constant stream of stress hormones that can suppress your immune system.6
You aren’t alone if you think it’s unlikely to get rid of stress entirely. Everyone experiences stress in life, but you can take steps to manage it. Some excellent options for stress management include meditation, connecting with friends and loved ones and working out. Find a combination of stress relievers that works best for you!
#4. Get Your Heart Pumping
Exercise can not only help alleviate stress and aid in weight loss, but it also has immunity-boosting benefits. When you break a sweat regularly, you are less likely to get colds than someone who does not exercise as frequently or who does not work out at all.7
For the biggest health benefit, aim for a total of 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as brisk walking and a couple days a week of muscle-strengthening activities that work all of your major muscle groups.8 Even including a few smaller intervals of activity throughout your day (10-20 minutes) can be beneficial. Not only can this help you fight the flu and other illnesses by boosting your immune system naturally, but it may also help you make progress in reaching your weight loss goals.
When you do hit the gym, make sure to take some extra precautions to protect yourself from germs, especially during flu season. Some helpful tips include wiping down machinery with a towel or a wipe before and after use, washing your hands consistently, and bringing your own water. Alternatively, you can opt for a workout at home or go for a run or walk to stick with your fitness routine.
#5.Toss the Cigarettes and Alcohol
It comes as no surprise drinking and smoking can make you more prone to illness. Research shows that cigarette smoke and viruses like the flu interact to increase lung inflammation and damage, which can make flu symptoms worse for smokers.9 As for alcohol, drinking too much of it can weaken your immune system’s response against the flu.10
By using these tips, you can help boost your immune system to fight the flu and other illnesses while simultaneously improving your health and wellness.
Are you looking to start a healthier lifestyle? Incorporate healthier foods and get started with your weight loss journey, by booking your free appointment with Jenny Craig.