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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, www.mayoclinic.org/what-are-probiotics/art-20232589. [2] https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-benefits-of-probiotics [3] https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/ss/slideshow-probiotics   [4] https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-benefits-of-probiotics [5] Kobyliak, Nazarii, et al. Advances in Pediatrics., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2016, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4761174/. [6] MacKenzie, Macaela. “Probiotics May Not Help You Lose Weight-but Prebiotics Might.” Prevention, Prevention, 14 June 2018, www.prevention.com/weight-loss/a21528828/probiotics-weight-loss/. [7] https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2018/08/06/635362706/diet-hit-a-snag-your-gut-bacteria-may-be-partly-to-blame [8] https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2018/08/06/635362706/diet-hit-a-snag-your-gut-bacteria-may-be-partly-to-blame [9] https://www.livescience.com/35945-probiotics-good-bacteria-inflammation.html [10] https://www.livescience.com/35887-how-inflammation-affects-your-health-.html [11] https://nccih.nih.gov/health/probiotics/introduction.htm
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How to Safely Lose Weight After Having a Baby

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!     Sources: [1] https://www.marchofdimes.org/pregnancy/your-body-after-baby-the-first-6-weeks.aspx 2 https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000586.htm. 3 https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/expert-answers/breastfeeding-and-weight-loss/faq-20094993 4 https://www.llli.org/breastfeeding-info/weight-loss-mothers/ 5 https://consumer.healthday.com/vitamins-and-nutrition-information-27/dieting-to-lose-weight-health-news-195/fast-weight-loss-may-mean-muscle-loss-688222.html 6 Lauwers, J; Swisher, A: Counseling the Nursing Mother: A Lactation Consultant’s Guide. Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2011: pg. 171 7 https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/breastfeeding/conditioninfo/calories 8 https://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/ucm393070.htm 9 http://www.dhcs.ca.gov/formsandpubs/publications/CaliforniaFoodGuide/8MaternalNutritionduringLactation.pdf 10 https://www.bones.nih.gov/health-info/bone/bone-health/pregnancy 11 https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/mayo-clinic-minute-why-breakfast-may-be-key-to-trimming-your-belly/ 12 Lauwers, J; Swisher, A: Counseling the Nursing Mother: A Lactation Consultant’s Guide. Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2011: pg. 169 13 https://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Exercise-After-Pregnancy
Eat Well ·

The 7 Best Foods for Sleep

If you’re reading this while rubbing your eyes with coffee in hand, you’re not alone. The average American is sleep deprived—logging around 6.8 hours a night, with 40 percent getting under six hours.
Eat Well ·

Back to School, Back to Your Game Plan

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. Get Inspired 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 Find Support 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.     Sources: [1] https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/12/171207182512.htm
Eat Well ·

4 Of The Worst Foods for Weight Loss

If the number on the scale isn’t budging, there may be a few foods and drinks that are undermining your weight loss goals. Added sugars, seemingly healthy snacks, and empty calories hidden in after work cocktails could be slowing down your progress. Read on to learn about four of the worst foods for weight loss. 1. Granola While it certainly sounds healthy, pouring yourself a bowl full of granola in the morning may not be the best way to wake up. While there are various types of granola, generally, this high-calorie cereal is usually low in fiber and high in sugar and can contain up to 600 calories in just one cup.1   2. Dried Fruit Your mom was right–you should eat your fruit and vegetables; however, you should also avoid snacking on dried fruit and stick to the fresh kind. Although dried fruit still contains most of the vitamins and nutrients found in its fresh counterpart, this snack is typically calorie-dense since all of the water is removed and can be packed with added sugar.2 A simple example: eating a grape vs. a raisin. Although they're the same fruit, eating a handful of grapes will likely fill you up quicker than the raisins. You'd have to eat more raisins to feel just as satiated. And since dried fruit can taste as sweet as candy, it can be easy to eat more than the recommended serving size.   3. Soda It’s a habit that can be hard to kick–but soda can interfere with your weight loss goals. According to WebMD, the problem usually stems from excess consumption of the sugary beverage and how quickly the extra calories can add up.4 And while most of us know sodas aren’t great for our health, the average adult consumes around 145 calories a day from sugar-sweetened beverages, such as soda.5   4. Alcohol Not only can excessive consumption of adult beverages damage your liver, heart, and immune system6, but that nightly glass of wine or a weekly happy hour with friends could also be impairing your weight loss goals. Alcoholic beverages can be chalk full of empty calories that can add up quickly, especially with the sugar-laden mixers most cocktails contain. The good news is that cutting out 250 calories worth of wine a night (subsequently eliminating nearly 2,000 calories each week), you could almost lose a pound without doing much else.6     Are you ready to try a weight loss program with balanced, healthy meals that still lets you enjoy your favorite foods? Contact Jenny Craig to book your free appointment to get started!     Sources: [1] Rope, Kate. “7 Secretly Unhealthy Foods.” Real Simple, www.realsimple.com/health/nutrition-diet/healthy-eating/secretly-unhealthy-foods. [2] http://igrow.org/healthy-families/health-and-wellness/dried-fruit-facts/ [3] https://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20709014,00.html [4] Magee, Elaine. “How Can I Stop Drinking So Much Soda?” WebMD, WebMD, www.webmd.com/diet/features/how-can-i-stop-drinking-so-much-soda#1. [5] https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/data-statistics/sugar-sweetened-beverages-intake.html [6] Rappold, R. Scott. “Should You Stop Drinking?” WebMD, WebMD, 16 Mar. 2016, www.webmd.com/diet/news/20160316/stop-drinking-alcohol#1.  
Eat Well ·

Does Jenny Craig Work for Men?

Male or female, identifying the best plan to lose weight that meets your needs and then committing to it can be challenging, especially when there are so many choices out there with question marks around whether they’re proven to be effective. We tapped one of our regular fitness and wellness contributors, Michael Smith, to help explain why Jenny Craig works for men and share the proof to back it up.   When you hear of “Jenny Craig,” you may think of a long-standing, proven weight loss program, but the name may also mislead you to think that it has a female-only focus and clientele. Not true. In fact, Jenny Craig is an effective program for both men and women alike, as U.S. News & World Report, who publishes annual “Best Diets” rankings, named it as also geared toward men.1 Scientific research also supports the effectiveness of the Jenny Craig program.2 If you’re a guy trying to figure out which weight loss plan will work best for you, you may be surprised to learn about the delicious food, easy-to-follow plan and support that Jenny Craig offers. Read on as we discuss why Jenny Craig is one of the best weight loss options for men.  Easy to Follow Jenny Craig provides expertly prepared, easy-to-follow meal plans. No need to track calories, count, or measure and weigh your food. All you need to do is stick to the program outlined by your personal consultant. It’s simple, straightforward, and takes the guesswork out of the equation. No Meal Prep Required If you’re like most guys, you probably have a lot going on, with little time to do it. Between juggling work, a family and a social life, it can be tough to find the time to meal prep. With Jenny Craig, you don’t have to spend all your free time in the kitchen, as the program offers over 100 ready-made, nutritionally-balanced and delicious chef-crafted meals. So there’s no need to worry about slicing, dicing and cooking for hours. You’re welcome to add a side of your favorite vegetables to any meal, but Jenny Craig handles the heavy lifting—and lets you have those hours back to read a book, catch up with your family or meet a friend for basketball after work.   Enjoy Your Favorite Foods and Eat Six Times a Day You don’t have to give up your favorite foods or go hungry to achieve your weight loss goals. Jenny Craig includes a wide range of satisfying food options, including cheeseburgers, pizza, desserts, and much more. Not only can you enjoy a variety of your favorite foods in healthy servings, but you’ll also eat six times a day to keep your energy levels up and your stomach from growling.   Your Very Own Personal Consultant Just like a personal trainer or coach, your consultant is there to guide and motivate you, answer any questions that might come up, and keep you moving in the right direction so you can work towards achieving your goals. Learn Healthy Habits The Jenny Craig program provides you with essential weight management skills that are designed to help you learn how to keep the weight off. You’ll receive expert tips on portion control, physical activity, and creative ways to dial up the healthy options in your everyday life.     Are you interested in meeting your consultant? Book your free appointment to get started!       Sources: [1] https://health.usnews.com/best-diet/articles/2012/02/10/6-diets-for-men [2] https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/186793
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