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8 Habits of Healthy Families

As a parent, you are undoubtedly determined to create the best life possible for your children. And chances are, helping them to live a long, healthy life is part of the plan. This prospect can be daunting, however, especially if you are new to parenthood: After all, you are responsible for determining how to raise healthy children—and then doing it!   Rest assured, that you can raise healthy kids. It starts with focusing on being healthy yourself and creating an environment that instills healthy habits in your children. Read on for eight habits of healthy families. 1. Instill Healthy Habits Early On  To instill lifelong positive habits in your kids, it’s good to establish healthy patterns at an early age. If your children become accustomed to eating unhealthfully during their early years, it can make it more difficult to change their eating patterns later-on. By introducing their palates to various fruits and vegetables at an earlier age, they may grow more accustomed to the different tastes and come to like them, maybe even prefer them to unhealthy alternatives (it can happen!).   Exposure to different flavors, textures, herbs and even mild spices at a young age can also help build their palates to foods that are flavored by more than oil and salt. If they are hesitant, try introducing a new food in conjunction with something they already like. 2. Practice Mindful Eating  When considering different ways to be healthy for kids, consider when and where you eat. Eating while distracted by a TV, phone or computer is not ideal for either parents or kids, as distracted eating can lead you to eat more.1   Things can get complicated when food is used as a reward or punishment for certain behaviors, a method to soothe oneself or as a distraction.2,3 By changing to a mindful-eating mindset, focus on dedicating the time of consuming food to nourish your body. Try to set an example for your kids that eating is a mindful experience, paying attention to hunger cues and that when you feel satiated, you can stop eating.4 3. Plan Healthy Choices in Advance If you want your children to make healthy food choices, make it easy for them by keeping an abundance of healthy foods in the house. Even better, have those foods prepared and ready to go so that eating something unhealthy does not become an easier option than choosing healthy alternatives.   When your children are hungry and looking for something to eat, make it easy for them to make a healthy choice. Whether it’s celery with almond butter, low-fat yogurt with fruit, carrots with hummus or a dozen different options in between, there are many healthy snacks that your kids are likely to enjoy. 4. Encourage Daily Activity Exercise and movement are an important part of daily life. A good habit to develop is taking an evening walk or a bike ride as a family, go to the park or play a family sport—the possibilities are virtually endless. Team sports are also a great way to keep your children active—and they’re a good way to get social interaction, both for your children and you.   Whatever you do, make it fun and keep it consistent.  The earlier you start, the more your kids can have the groundwork to continue living an active life, well into adulthood. 5. Eat Meals Together Schedules can get crazy, and dinnertime usually is a hectic time with the race of commuting from work, after school activity and homework. But by creating a family dinner routine, it can help you and your children get much-needed time to reconnect after the busyness of the day.   If you can lead by example and sit with them, eat with them, talk with them, and be relatively consistent with dinner timing, this can be a time that you all can look forward to and try new foods together. As they watch their family eat and enjoy a food they may be unfamiliar with, they may be more willing to try it and enjoy it.   Eating together as a family can also improve your children’s nutritional health. According to the American Psychological Association5, when families eat at least three meals together per week, the children are 24 percent more likely to eat healthy foods when compared to families in which few or no meals are eaten together. The children are also 12 percent less likely to be overweight. 6. Make Sure Everyone Gets Enough Sleep  While eating healthy food and getting enough exercise is important, it’s also vital for children to get the right amount of sleep each night to function optimally.6 It’s good to start as early as possible on helping your little ones get good sleep and setting a nightly routine that they can come to expect, so that a focus on adequate, healthy sleep becomes a habit and a normal part of life. Also, if they know that every night they have the same routine, it may cut down on the “bedtime negotiations” of trying to get a later bedtime.   To help establish healthy sleep, try following your circadian rhythm, or the natural 24-hour cycle of light and darkness. The premise is fairly simple: Sleep when it’s dark and rise when it’s light; doing so not only helps ensure better sleep, but it can also help facilitate weight loss and improve many aspects of your health.   In addition to following your circadian rhythm, it can be helpful to create routines surrounding bedtime: Institute regular bedtimes. When getting ready for bed, remove electronics, which may interfere with restful sleep. Cultivate an environment of rest and relaxation that promotes restful sleep. This may include a bath or shower before bed, storytime, and then a dark, cozy room to sleep in.   And practice good sleep hygiene. Even though you may not go to bed at the same time as your children, it’s important to model healthy sleep habits for your children so they understand and value the importance of sleep for the entire family. 7. Avoid Negative Body Talk Children are attentive to their parents and emulate what they see, so be kind to yourself and try not to dwell on negative aspects of your body. Instead, maybe focus on the parts of your body that you are proud of, and emphasize for them (and yourself) that everybody is different … and beautiful. 8. Be a Positive Role Model One of the most important steps you can take to create a healthy family is to model healthy behaviors for your children. After all, if you encourage your children to adopt healthy behaviors but routinely engage in unhealthy ones, you’re sending mixed messages. Show them how to be healthy through your own actions.   Creating a healthy environment for yourself and your children is built on making simple, consistent choices over time. By making the decision every day to engage in healthy habits, you are helping to ensure better health for you and your children—not only for today, but for the future.   These are just helpful tips for you and your family to develop healthy habits, each family is different and always consult your healthcare professional for any health-related concerns.   Need some help implementing healthy habits of your own? Jenny Craig can help! Our approach to weight loss combines delicious, nutritious meals and one-on-one guidance from your own personal weight loss consultant. Contact Jenny Craig for a free appointment to get started today.       Sources: [1] https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/distracted-eating-may-add-to-weight-gain-201303296037 [2] https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=160&ContentID=32 [3] https://www.ridgeviewmedical.org/services/bariatric-weight-loss/enewsletter-articles/finding-comfort-without-food [4] http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/teaching_kids_the_art_of_mindful_eating [5] http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/healthy.aspx [6] https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/children-and-sleep
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A Guide to Staying Healthy in Your 20s…and Beyond

In your 20’s, you may not be in the habit of thinking too much about your health and wellness long-term. After all, other than catching a common cold here and there, maybe a few strained muscles and a cavity now and again, you may feel like you’re in top form, with no major health issues yet. Plus, you’ve got other responsibilities competing for your time and attention, whether it’s finishing college, starting your career, tending to your family and personal relationships, or managing your finances.   We get it: It’s a lot to handle and a lot to figure out. Yet it’s important that you start prioritizing your health and wellness in your 20s—not only to stay healthy now, but to remain healthy later. Here’s a look at what you can do to help optimize your health and wellness in your second decade … and for decades to come. Stay on Top of Doctor’s Visits and Screening Tests While health concerns are generally less likely in your 20s than in your older years, certain conditions are more likely to develop now, such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and other immune-system disorders.1   To be sure you stay in optimal health, take the time to find a doctor while you are well rather than waiting until you are sick. Schedule a comprehensive physical exam so your doctor can do a thorough health assessment; be certain to let her know if you or members of your family have had any medical conditions, including cancer, diabetes, heart disease or high blood pressure.   In addition to regular checkups with your doctor, the National Institutes of Health2 recommends specific health tests and procedures beginning in your 20s, including the following:   Blood pressure: You should have your blood pressure checked every three to five years as long as your test results are normal. If it seems to be creeping up (with the top number—the systolic—reaching 120, or the bottom number—the diastolic—reaching 80), have it checked yearly. You may also need to have your blood pressure checked more often if you have diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems or other medical conditions; be sure to check with your doctor. Breast health: Ask your doctor if you should be doing monthly breast exams to help screen for cancer. Mammograms are generally not recommended until age 40, but if you have a close relative (mother or sister, for example) who was diagnosed with breast cancer at a young age, your doctor may recommend getting a mammogram earlier.   Cholesterol: Ask your doctor if you should have a cholesterol screening, which is recommended for women between the age of 20 and 45. Dental: Get a full exam and cleaning once or twice per year, per your dentist’s recommendation. Diabetes: You should be screened for diabetes if you have a body mass index over 25 and you have other risk factors, or if your blood pressure is above 135/80. Gynecological: Beginning at age 21, you should have a pelvic exam and Pap smear every three years to screen for cervical cancer. Immunizations: In addition to getting a flu shot every year, talk to your doctor about other vaccines you may need, including HPV (human papillomavirus); pneumonia; TdAP (tetanus-diphtheria and acellular pertussis); and varicella (chickenpox). Vision: You should have an eye exam every two years if you have vision problems, or more, per your optometrist. If you have diabetes, you need an exam at least once a year.   Some experts3 also recommend that you do a head-to-toe skin check monthly to look for new moles and make sure any existing ones have not changed shape, size or color. This is particularly important if you have a personal history of sunburns or a family history of skin cancer, or if you have a large number of moles. Commit to Sleep While staying out late on the weekends may happen regularly during your 20s: Remember that getting adequate sleep is vital to your short- and long-term health. Numerous studies4 have shown that insufficient sleep is linked to a number of serious health problems, including: Alcohol abuse Diabetes Heart disease High blood pressure Impaired immune function Mood disorders Obesity To ensure that you get healthy amounts of sleep, try to follow as closely as you can your circadian rhythm, the natural 24-hour cycle of light and darkness. The rules are simple: Sleep when it’s dark and rise when it’s light (within reason, of course). In addition to aiding with sleep, living according to your circadian rhythm may help with weight loss5 and can influence many aspects of your health, including hormone release, digestion, depression and more.6   In addition, be sure to sleep in a dark room to help boost levels of the “sleep hormone” melatonin. Also avoid screen time before bed, as the blue light emitted from electronic devices can impair sleep.7 Put Your Phone Away When Driving It goes without saying: Driving while distracted can be deadly. In 2015, nearly 3,500 people were killed nationwide in crashes involving distracted drivers, with an estimated additional 391,000 people injured.8   Distracted driving is particularly common among millennials. Research9 shows that large numbers of people within the 18- to 34-year-old group admit to “frequently” or “always” engaging in distracted behavior—such as sending or checking texts or e-mails—while behind the wheel. In fact, about 17 percent of millennials text or email while driving, compared with 4 percent of non-millennials.10   So for your own safety and that of the people around you: Put your phone away while driving. It’s just not worth the risk (and your friend won’t mind if you don’t respond immediately, we promise). Find a Job You Love Sure, everyone wants a job they’re excited to go to day in and out. But did you know the work you do beginning in your 20s can affect your mental health years later? According to researchers from Ohio State University11, people who reported low job satisfaction between the ages of 25 and 39 reported higher levels of depression, sleep problems and excessive worry in their 40s. They also scored lower on a test of overall mental health and were more likely to have been diagnosed with emotional problems.   Have a job you’re not thrilled about? The good news is that the researchers found that improvement in job satisfaction early on in one’s career helped mitigate the health problems listed above. Keep Weight Gain in Check & Adopt Healthy Habits The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention12 reports that people tend to gain a disproportionate amount of weight between the ages of 19 and 29, with women gaining an average of 12 pounds and men gaining an average of 9. Yet gaining weight in your 20s goes far beyond aesthetics and being able to fit in your favorite pair of jeans: It can affect your long-term health.   Research13 shows that middle-aged men and women who had gained between 11 and 22 pounds after the age of 20 were up to three times more likely to develop heart disease, high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes than those who’d gained 5 pounds or less.   What’s more, your weight and waist size—along with the amount of weight gained since your mid-20s—can increase your chances of developing several health problems, including: Arthritis Asthma Cancer Cardiovascular Disease Diabetes To help maintain a healthy weight, try incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet; limit the amount of sugar you eat (and watch out for it in these common places); eat plenty of lean protein; make exercise a part of your daily life; watch your portion sizes; and get adequate sleep. Find Work-Life Balance It can be hard not to burn the midnight oil when you’re relatively new to the workforce and are eager to prove your dedication to your career and your employer. But it’s important that you try to establish a healthy work-life balance—not only because it’s good for your social and emotional health, but because it can be hard to change habits once they’re established (and once your co-workers are accustomed to your 24/7 availability).   Use these tips to help establish a healthy work-life balance: Set reasonable limits. Try to establish sensible work hours—and expectations—from the outset. Let your co-workers know that you don’t routinely work during your off-hours … crises, deadlines and occasional heavy workloads notwithstanding, of course. Set healthy boundaries for yourself. Resolve not to check email or voicemail from home—and turn off your phone notifications if you have a hard time ignoring every text and email that comes in. Take your vacation time. Not only is it vital to unplug from work once-in-a-while, but taking a vacation may also be good for your health. Research14 has shown that among men who were at high risk for heart disease, those who took regular yearly vacations had a lower risk of dying during the study period, compared with those who didn’t take a vacation. Find ways to reduce stress daily. Exercise, meditation, listening to music—do whatever works for you to help reduce your stress levels. Also consider reading for pleasure: Research15 shows that doing so can reduce stress by up to 68 percent. And if you’re finding that you can’t quite make the commitment to work-life balance now, you may find the motivation to do it toward the end of this decade. Researchers16 have found that people in the last year of their 20s (as well as those in the last year of their 30s, 40s and 50s—what they call the "9-enders") often are more reflective of their lives and more likely to make dramatic changes.   We hope these tips help you start prioritizing your health and wellness starting now. Even though your later years may be a long way off, the steps you take today to safeguard your health can have dramatic impacts down the road.   Do you need more help instituting healthy habits? Contact Jenny Craig for a free appointment and get started today!     Sources: [1] https://healthcare.utah.edu/womenshealth/20s.php [2] https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007462.htm [3] https://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/early-detection [4] http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/matters/consequences/sleep-and-disease-risk [5] https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/03/10/389596946/circadian-surprise-how-our-body-clocks-help-shape-our-waistlines [6] https://www.nigms.nih.gov/Education/Pages/Factsheet_CircadianRhythms.aspx [7] https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/blue-light-has-a-dark-side [8] https://www.enddd.org/the-facts-about-distracted-driving/ [9] https://news.usc.edu/77316/fatal-attraction-we-cant-stop-texting-while-driving/ [10] https://www.orlandohealth.com/blog/5-tips-to-prevent-health-problems-in-your-20s [11] https://news.osu.edu/lousy-jobs-hurt-your-health-by-the-time-youre-in-your-40s [12] https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_11/sr11_252.pdf [13] https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-weight/ [14] https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/09/000922072149.htm [15] https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/reading-stress-relief [16] https://www.anderson.ucla.edu/faculty-and-research/anderson-review/milestones
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8 Tips for a Healthier Labor Day Weekend

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!     Sources: 1 https://foodpsychology.cornell.edu/JACR/Small_Plates_Lose_Weight 2 https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/660838?seq=1 - page_scan_tab_contents 3 https://www.health.harvard.edu/diet-and-weight-loss/eating-frequency-and-weight-loss 4 https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/mayo-clinic-minute-why-breakfast-may-be-key-to-trimming-your-belly/
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4 Essential Tips for Getting Good Sleep While Traveling

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. Balloon Imagery 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. Wave Imagery 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 free appointment to meet with a personal consultant to get started.     Sources: [1] https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-news/improve-your-memory-good-nights-sleep [2] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S019566631300024X [3] https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/why-soda-impacts-your-zzzs [4] https://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-michael-j-breus/eating-at-night-disrupts-sleep_b_7867760.html [5] Source: Medicine Net https://www.medicinenet.com/jet_lag/article.htm#what_are_other_symptoms_and_signs_of_jet_lag [6] https://www.nigms.nih.gov/education/pages/Factsheet_CircadianRhythms.aspx [7] https://www.jennycraig.com/rapid-results [8] https://sleepfoundation.org/insomnia/content/should-you-nap [9] Source: The National Sleep Foundation https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/napping
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4 Lifestyle Tips for Managing Chronic Pain

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.    Sources: [1] https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/guide/understanding-pain-management-chronic-pain [2] https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/news/20110629/100-million-americans-have-chronic-pain [3] https://www.health.harvard.edu/pain/can-diet-heal-chronic-pain [4] https://health.clevelandclinic.org/anti-inflammatory-diet-can-relieve-pain-age/ [5] https://www.practicalpainmanagement.com/meeting-summary/exercise-improves-chronic-pain-biomarkers [6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5931150/ [7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25988939 [8] 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. [9] https://www.endocrineweb.com/professional/diabetes-complications/circadian-rhythm-disruptions-may-alter-sleep-propelling-some-peo [10] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4549297/ [11] https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/news/20121130/more-sleep-less-pain#1 [12] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3001216/ [13] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4912970/
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