If you’re thinking about those upcoming Labor Day festivities with a mixture of excitement and angst, we understand. It’s the last hurrah of summer, after all, and there’s nothing like a relaxing get-together with family and friends to celebrate the end of one season and the beginning of another. But there’s also the potential downside: namely, the tempting, yet less-than-healthy food and drinks that are sure to be in abundance.
Well, the good news is you can enjoy Labor Day—or virtually any holiday or celebration, for that matter—without undoing the progress you’ve made on your journey to better health and weight loss. It just takes planning, some smart strategies and some firm resolve to stay in your groove. Read on for eight ways to keep your momentum going over Labor Day weekend.
1. Be picky about your parties.
It may be tempting to accept every party invitation, but try to keep the end goal in mind: better health and weight loss success. By thoughtfully choosing one celebration to attend, you may feel less stressed—you won’t need to worry about making multiple dishes and you can focus your energy on enjoying the company by your side—instead of worrying about the next party!
2. Consider hosting a celebration yourself.
Worried about all the not-so-healthy dishes that are bound to end up on the buffet line or picnic table? See if you can organize and host a Labor Day party so you have more control over the food and drinks that get served. To get a few ideas, check out our Simply Inspired recipes!
3. Playing host? Focus on your plate—and fork—size.
In addition to following the tried-and-true advice to use smaller plates when serving food (which research1 shows can reduce the amount of food you eat when you’re serving yourself), consider the size of fork you put out as well. In a field study2 of people eating in a restaurant, researchers found that the study subjects actually ate less when using large forks as opposed to small ones. The thought is that visual cues led people to eat less: By seeing the amount of food on their plate shrink more quickly by taking larger bites, they tended to stop eating sooner.
4. Fill up on healthy food before the party.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can compensate for calories eaten later by skipping meals earlier in the day. Doing so can make you ravenous later on and cause you to make poorer food choices.3 So make a point to eat a healthful breakfast and snacks before the festivities begin.
Eating breakfast isn’t only important over Labor Day weekend to stay healthy. Researchers at the Mayo Clinic4 have found that regularly skipping breakfast not only puts you at higher risk for gaining weight, but for putting on dangerous visceral “belly” fat.
5. Check out the food before loading up your plate.
Instead of wandering up and down the food line and filling your plate with everything that looks good, take a close look at all the foods being offered before getting in line, then come up with a plan for what foods you will eat. Along those same lines, choose only the foods that you really want—you don’t have to try everything just because it’s there. And, of course, make an effort to watch your portion sizes.
6. Take calorie-cutting steps where you can.
Little things can add up, so reach for snappy vegetables instead of crunchy chips. Grab a water over juice, fruit over cake—every little swap can help! Instead of sipping on empty calories packed in wine, beer and sugary laden mixed drinks, grab a refreshing seltzer water and add a lime or other fruit for a satisfying thirst quencher.
7. Get some exercise before the party—and the day after.
Getting a good workout in before you head off to the festivities will not only burn extra calories, but it may also put you in the right frame of mind to keep you from overindulging. (But working out also doesn’t give you the option to throw your healthy eating habits out the window!) Also, schedule a heart pumping activity for the following day so you can get right back into the swing of things.
8. Bring along healthy activities.
Instead of chatting around the buffet line, strike up a game of volleyball, play tag with your kids, throw a ball for your dog—enjoy the company that surrounds you!
Above all, remember that Labor Day is a time for celebration, a time to rest and relax with friends and family. We hope these tips give you a plan for how to handle the temptations that may arise—and ways for you to enjoy the holiday to the fullest, while still staying on track with your weight-loss goals.
Do you need help with your weight-loss efforts? Book your free appointment with a Jenny Craig personal weight loss consultant to get started!
2 https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/660838?seq=1 - page_scan_tab_contents
Let’s be real—usually, you need a vacation from your vacation. Why? Most likely, you’ve been skimping on sleep during your travels. And because adequate rest keeps our brains and body functioning, a lack of it may have you feeling sluggish upon your return.1
But there are ways you can get good sleep while on vacation or a work trip, and come home feeling rested. Use these tips to help you get quality sleep while traveling.
Be Mindful Of What & When You Eat
Did you know that what you eat, but also when can affect your sleep?2 Fast food and changes in time zones can throw off your normal eating routine, so it can be easy to get off track and reach for the sugar. Here’s how your sleep may be impacted:
● Sugar and caffeine are both stimulants that keep your mind active, and can make it more difficult to nod off, especially if consumed too close to bedtime.3
● As tempting as it may be to grab an evening snack while on vacation, you may want to reconsider: late-night snacking can lead to weight gain. Research has also shown that eating late at night may impact the quality of your sleep.4
Our suggestion: load up on a hearty, healthy breakfast (it may help keep you feeling satiated throughout the day), and be mindful of when you eat. By following a daylight nutrition strategy, such as time-restricted feeding, you can focus on eating within a 12-hour time frame and then letting your body rejuvenate for the following 12-hours (which includes sleep), by abstaining from food or beverages besides water and herbal tea. Learn more about following a daylight nutrition strategy and how you can integrate it into your routine.
Plan for Jet Lag
Jet lag, also known as flight fatigue, can cause exhaustion and insomnia as your body adapts to a new time zone. One of the main reasons this happens is due to a disturbance in your natural internal clock, also known as your circadian rhythm.5 According to the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, circadian rhythms are physical, mental, and behavioral changes that follow a daily 24-hour cycle, divided by light and dark phases.6 Throwing it off can impact our levels of energy, metabolism, and more.7
If you’re trying to combat jet lag and get sufficient sleep while traveling, consider the following:
● If there’s a considerable gap in the time difference, try not to have too many pre-planned activities the day after you arrive—so you can make sure to catch enough Z’s once you’re done unpacking. Be careful not to sleep in too much, as you’ll want to adjust to the hours of your new location naturally.
● If traveling by plane, try to book a flight that will help you transition well into your destination’s time zone. For example, if you depart late at night and arrive midday, try to catch some shut eye on flight, so that you can adjust a little more seamlessly.
Keep Afternoon Naps Short
Although ducking into your hotel for an afternoon nap may be tempting if you’re feeling rundown, sleeping too late in the day can interfere with your sleep.8 The National Sleep Foundation recommends keeping naps to around 20 - 30 minutes.9 A short nap can be helpful to give you a boost of energy without ruining your chances of falling asleep in the evening.
Try to Destress
Although traveling can be exciting, it can also lead to stress. From feeling like you’re falling behind when you’re out of the office, to worrying about future obligations upon your return—your mind can start to run wild just as you’re trying to fall asleep.
If you’re having difficulty sleeping at night while traveling, meditation or breathing techniques may help quiet your busy mind and ease into slumber. Here are a few ideas to try:
Sit somewhere comfortable before getting into bed and practice focusing on your breath. Take a long, slow breath in through your nose, then, a long, slow exhale out. Repeat this a few times through or however long it takes to help you feel a little more relaxed.
Use a visual breathing method. Imagining a picture may help your mind have a point of focus for relaxation.
When you inhale, imagine you are filling up a balloon. Keep sipping in air, blowing up the balloon ever bigger. The rubber stretches thinner and thinner. Then, when ready to let go, exhale and imagine the balloon shrinking back down.
Imagine your inhale as a wave rippling across the ocean towards the tide. As you exhale, the wave crashes and foam rolls up onto the sand.
If you’re still feeling anxious while on the road, here are a couple of helpful tips on how to stop worrying.
We hope that with these tips in mind, you may be able to sleep a little sounder while traveling. Bon voyage!
If you’re looking to start eating healthier and improve your sleep, Jenny Craig is here to help. Book your fr ee appointment to meet with a personal consultant to get started.
 Source: Medicine Net https://www.medicinenet.com/jet_lag/article.htm#what_are_other_symptoms_and_signs_of_jet_lag
 Source: The National Sleep Foundation https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/napping
If you’ve ever stubbed your toe or whacked your funny bone (ouch!), you have experienced a touch of acute pain. And while it’s never fun to experience, thankfully, the pain passes, and you can resume your daily routine. But while acute pain is your nervous system’s standard “alert system” to notify you of an injury, chronic pain is the persistent firing of pain signals for weeks, months or years, even after any evidence of bodily harm has vanished.1
And it’s more common than you may think—affecting around 100 million Americans—more than diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined.2 Although the absence of visible injury can make chronic pain challenging to treat, there are a number of lifestyle changes that may help your symptoms become more manageable. Here are four simple shifts you can make to help reduce chronic pain.
1. Nourish Your Body.
If you’re living with chronic pain, one of the best things you can do to manage your symptoms is to focus on your diet. Why? Inflammation is the body’s natural response to substances it perceives as toxic—and sometimes, these “toxins” are in unexpected places, like junk foods such as candy and soda.3
According to pain management experts, a healthy diet can help control insulin, cholesterol levels and potentially reduce inflammation.4 So what’s on the menu? Fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, nuts, legumes and fish, with moderate amounts of poultry, dairy, eggs and red meat.
If you’re looking for ways to cut down on prep time while improving your diet, Jenny Craig follows expert guidelines with chef-crafted, nutritionally sound, ready-made meals.
2. Stay Active.
You probably know that regular physical activity is an integral part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but did you know research has found that exercise may help decrease inflammation markers in patients with chronic pain?5-6 Not only is it possible to potentially reduce inflammation, but your pain perception may also improve with a consistent exercise program.7 Although moving when you’re in pain may not be your first choice, try finding an activity that you enjoy, such as walking or swimming—you may be more likely to stick with it. But make sure to consult your healthcare provider before starting a new exercise program.
3. Get in the Rhythm and Eat with the Sun.
Following your body’s natural circadian rhythm, by staying active when it’s light out, sleeping when it’s dark, and eating with the sun—can have a dramatic, positive impact on your overall health.8 So it should come as no surprise that staying in sync with your natural rhythm may also help ease your chronic pain in a couple of different ways.
First, following a daylight nutrition strategy, such as time-restricted feeding, may help you manage insulin levels9 and reduce inflammation10, which are often key players when it comes to chronic pain. How can you get started? Focus on eating the majority of your food during daylight hours, specifically during a 12-hour time frame and letting your body rejuvenate for the remaining 12-hours, which includes sleep (making sure to refrain from late-night meals). So, if you have your first meal of the day at 7 a.m., you would have your last by 7 p.m. and then resume your routine the following day. Jenny Craig’s newest program, Rapid Results, was developed with this daylight nutrition strategy in mind.
Researchers also believe that getting enough sleep (7–9 hours a night) may help keep pain levels in check.11 It’s during these evening hours that the hormone melatonin is naturally produced, and can serve as a powerful anti-inflammatory.12-13
4. Practice Self-Care.
Living with chronic pain can be frustrating and stressful at times. Making time for yourself and regularly practicing self-care, along with your other healthy lifestyle habits, may help provide some stress relief and calm in your everyday life. While self-care may look different for everyone, a few ideas include a warm bubble bath, yoga, meditation, massage therapy or even a carefree afternoon of retail therapy. Focusing on your well-being can nourish your mind and body in significant ways.
For more information on how Jenny Craig can help you start living an active and healthy lifestyle, book a free appointment to meet with one of our personal weight loss consultants.
 Longo, Valter D., and Satchidananda Panda. “Fasting, Circadian Rhythms, and Time-Restricted Feeding in Healthy Lifespan.” Cell Metabolism, vol. 23, no. 6, 14 June 2016, pp. 1048–1059., doi:10.1016/j.cmet.2016.06.001.
If you’re just beginning a weight loss journey, your emotions can range from excited, to motivated to anxious. And while it’s perfectly normal to feel an array of emotions before committing to any big change, sometimes negative self-talk can hold you back from achieving your goals. We’ve compiled some of the most common excuses that can impact your journey to a healthier life—and ways to reframe your perspective.
Fear of failure, experts consistently point out, is commonly based on a negative perception of one’s self.1 The remedy? Flip the fear of failure to trust in success. Work on thinking positively. Know that you can and will reach your goals with dedication and hard work. When you’re faced with a small challenge—such as a happy hour after work—remember how good it feels to opt for a healthier option instead of something that will have you feeling less than stellar a few hours later. Trust in the process: every little choice can add up to significant changes.
Everywhere you turn, there seems to be new or conflicting information on nutrition, exercise and the latest diet trends. It can be easy to feel stressed or overwhelmed by just the thought of where to begin. If information overload has you feeling frazzled, try finding a program that is simple and straightforward—one that takes the guesswork out of the equation. If you’re unsure where to start, Jenny Craig does the meal planning for you and offers healthy, ready-made meals and a personal consultant to be your support system throughout your journey.
In today’s fast-paced world, there’s not much downtime. Between work, family and social obligations, making yourself a priority may fall by the wayside. But by taking a step back and putting your health first, you’ll gain quality self-care that will be worth every minute. Here are a couple of idea starters:
Replace time-consuming habits with more constructive ones. Instead of couch and television time, take a walk. Skip scrolling through your social media feed first thing in the morning and take the time to journal—or enjoy a warm cup of tea while you lay out your plans for the day.
Make a checklist or keep a calendar. Commit in writing when you will see your Jenny Craig consultant, or get your heart pumping with some exercise, and take some time for yourself—soon these habits may become automatic.
While it’s certainly important to focus on consuming the majority of your calories from healthy sources such as complex carbohydrates, lean meats, dairy, eggs, and a variety of fruits and vegetables, you shouldn’t have to give up all your favorite foods entirely, as long as they are enjoyed in moderation. In fact, a program that eliminates entire food groups should raise concern.2
If you’re following the Jenny Craig plan, expect to enjoy satisfying meals, snacks and desserts like pepperoni pizza, kettle corn and chocolate lava cake. With the right portions, you can still eat your favorite foods and not feel deprived.
The more specific and challenging your goals are, the better your chances of succeeding at them.3 Creating a vision board of what you want from your new healthy lifestyle may help you reach those goals4: places you want to go, physical challenges you want to accomplish, opportunities you’ll gain. Even if it’s a small collage on your fridge, keeping your inspiration close by and revisiting it daily or weekly can help you stay motivated—and remind you why you started this journey in the first place.
Taking on a big challenge doesn’t mean that success comes only at the finish line. Enjoy the victories along the way, and reward yourself for them. Be open about your achievements with people you trust and share your excitement!
Are you ready to start a weight loss program that lets you enjoy your favorite foods while giving you the support you need to reach your goals? Book your free appointment with Jenny Craig to get started.
 Locke, E. A., Shaw, K. N., Saari, L. M., & Latham, G. P. Goal setting and task performance: 1969–1980. Psychological Bulletin. (1981). http://psycnet.apa.org/record/1981-27276-001.
Daylight saving time is in full effect, and the long stretches of daylight paired with a break from the normal routine can impact the best of intentions for losing weight, which can lead to weight gain during the summer. But fear not, with deliberate planning, you can keep on track with your weight loss goals during the warmer months.
Several seasonal factors can contribute to summer weight gain. When there are more daylight hours, your usual routine may be shifted or altered, which can impact your eating habits. For example, it can be easy to dismiss dinner until the sun has gone down. But there’s a good reason to be mindful of when you eat: late-night meals and snacks have been linked to weight gain.1
What’s more, as our bodies are conditioned to wake and sleep with the sun, fewer nighttime hours may lead to less sleep. Sleep is a crucial part of your maintaining your body’s natural circadian rhythm, also known as your internal clock, and can have a significant effect on your health, mood, immune function, and even your weight.2
Here are a few ways to get more sleep during the summer and work with your natural rhythm:
Stick to a Schedule.
If your kids are on summer vacation, it can be easy to stay up late watching movies or playing games, but having a schedule that consists of a similar bedtime and wake time each day may help your body ease into sleep—and out of it—more regularly.3
Be mindful of your caffeine intake.
If your go-to afternoon pick-me-up includes an iced coffee, you may want to reach for something else like an herbal iced tea. While caffeine affects everyone differently, having it later in the afternoon can make falling asleep at night more difficult.4 Most experts recommend avoiding caffeinated beverages in the late afternoon or evening.5
How Does Heat Affect Weight Loss?
Even though the summer season is filled with outdoor activities, treats like ice cream and sugary drinks to cool down in the heat can add up. Luckily, it may be simpler than you think to replace those decedent summer foods with healthier options.
Summer Treats to Avoid and Healthy Swaps
Lemonade, fruit juice, and soda, just to name a few, can be packed with empty calories. A healthier alternative is to infuse water with fruit like watermelon or cucumbers for a similar, satisfying thirst quencher.
Not all yogurt is created equal. Sweetened yogurt can contain upwards of 20 grams of sugar in one serving, which is almost an entire day’s worth of the recommended amount for women.6-7 Instead, reach for a Nonfat Plain Greek yogurt for an excellent source of protein and calcium.8 Add your own natural sweetness by throwing in some fresh fruit.
Fried chicken, French fries and the like are usually served everywhere you turn during summer street fairs. Instead, try a flavorful rub on lean meats such as chicken or pork, and toss them on the grill.
Happy hour cocktails
Forgo the sugar-laden mixers and booze—not only can alcohol impair your judgment when it comes to making healthy food choices, but it can also pack on unwanted calories. Instead, opt for club soda with a lemon or lime.
Decreased Motivation to Exercise in High Heat
When it’s hot outside, it can be easier to lose the motivation to exercise. So if you know midday walks will feel unpleasant, try adjusting your routine. Walk earlier or later in the day to beat the heat and still reap the benefits!
Tips for Summer Weight Loss
With a little planning, you can stay on track! Here are a few other tips to keep up your healthy lifestyle this summer:
Get Inventive with Veggies
Sneaking more vegetables into your routine will not only help fill you up on fewer calories, but it’s also a great way to get more essential nutrients. Not sure how to creatively add more greens to your plate? Here’s a quick guide on how to incorporate veggies into any meal.
Become Sugar Savvy
Start by checking out nutrition labels to become aware of how much added sugar may be hidden in your food. Learn more about sneaky sugar-packed foods and how to cut down on them.
Be Mindful When Eating
There are numerous benefits to eating mindfully. Slowing down and eating with intention may even reduce the amount of food you consume.9 Why? Because when you eat slower and savor your food, your stomach has the time to signal to your brain that it’s full, which can take up to 20 minutes.10
Are You Ready to Lose Weight this Summer?
If you want to learn how to use your body’s natural clock to improve your overall health and wellness, Jenny Craig can help. Book a free appointment with a weight loss consultant and begin making strides toward a healthier you!