We all have busy lives that require us to play many roles—from parent to spouse to business professional and more, our time is usually spread thin between all of life’s demands. On top of the daily hustle and bustle, life can even throw at you very stressful events such as moving or buying a house, taking on care for parents as they age, or life-changing illness, suffered by you or a loved one.
Over time, chronic stress can take a toll on not only your body but also your mind.1 What’s more, it may be increasingly difficult to take care of your own health and reach your weight loss goals if you’re constantly feeling overwhelmed.2
Although it’s nearly impossible to control every stressor in your life, you can take steps to help monitor your response. Read on as we explain why it’s important to monitor your stress and provide healthy tips to help you unwind.
How Stress Affects Your Body
Your mind and body go hand-in-hand, and uncontrolled stress can wreak havoc on both.3 Stress can show up in a variety of ways, from physical symptoms to emotional and mental symptoms, and it’s not uncommon to experience a combination of all three.
Some of the most common physical effects of stress are fatigue, digestive problems, headaches, sleep problems, and muscle tension. Long-term, unmanaged stress may lead to diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and obesity.3 Stress may also be responsible for anxiety, inability to focus, and restlessness.3
These physical and mental changes may impede your weight loss progress, especially because food can be used as an outlet to cope.
How to Monitor Stress Levels
You might feel overwhelmed by the idea of monitoring your stress levels, but know that you don’t have to solve all your stressors right now. That you are bringing awareness to the fact that you are stressed and that there are triggers for those stressors can help you get on the path for stress management. Think of it as taking a step back and evaluating your feelings and emotions, to help you become more in tune with your body.
Understanding Your Response to Stress
The first step in monitoring your stress is to understand your body’s response to it. When you encounter a stressful situation, your body’s fight-or-flight response is activated: your heart rate and blood pressure increase and several hormones enter your bloodstream, including adrenaline and cortisol.4 These hormones and bodily changes may boost our performance to a certain extent. However, our focus and memory can take a hit when our stress exceeds a certain level.5
Everyone’s reaction to stress is different, and not all stress is bad. Someone may find a high-pressure situation to be invigorating, while someone else may find it taxing. How people exhibit symptoms of stress also varies.6
Part of monitoring your stress and acknowledging when it’s not serving you involves knowing how you respond to it. The following questions may help you in this process:
● Attention. Is it hard to maintain your focus?
● Mood. Do you feel overwhelmed and pessimistic?
● Stamina. Do you feel exhausted or like you’re running out of steam?
● Body. Do you have heartburn, a headache, a racing pulse or dizziness?
● Thoughts. Are you falling into negative thought patterns?
Once you understand how you react to stress, you can identify when your stress levels are heightened. When you feel feelings of anxiety creeping up, you can take steps to help control the stress before it becomes overwhelming.
If you’re in the middle of an intense activity, such as finalizing an important project for work, take a moment to step away from it. Taking a walk or the time to stand up and stretch may help reset your mind and body.
You can also take a few minutes to meditate. It doesn’t have to be time intensive or complicated. All you need is a relatively quiet place to focus on a repetitive activity, such as a breathing pattern or a word. When you recognize thoughts popping into your mind, calmly disregard them and go back to focusing on your breath.
Meditation may activate the relaxation response by breaking the train of everyday thought.7 It may also help lower your blood pressure and slow your heart rate and breathing.8
In addition to taking breaks or using meditation, you can also adopt lifestyle changes to help minimize stress. Some examples include getting at least seven hours of sleep each night9, engaging in at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week10 and eating a balanced diet.
Although it’s close to impossible to eliminate stress entirely, you can take steps to monitor it and help reduce its adverse effects. When you monitor your stress levels, you may feel more in control of your response to situations and know when it’s time to de-stress and take a break.
Did you know that at Jenny Craig, you get a personal consultant to help guide you on your path to better health and help you navigate any stressful situations that may impact your weight loss goals? Contact Jenny Craig for a free appointment to get started and being your journey today!
If you’re one of the more than 30 million Americans who suffer from osteoarthritis1, you probably already know that maintaining a healthy weight is one of the most important steps you can take to manage your condition.2 Carrying excess weight not only adds to the pain so common to this chronic degenerative joint disease, but can also cause further joint damage.2
And if you don’t have osteoarthritis, losing weight now could help keep you from developing it in the future. According to the American College of Rheumatology, you can reduce the chance of developing osteoarthritis of the knee—one of the most common forms—by up to 50 percent for every 10 pounds you lose over 10 years.3
But staying at a healthy weight—or losing weight if you are overweight—isn’t the only way to help you stay in top form. Read on for four other tips to help you live a vibrant, healthy life with osteoarthritis.
Tip #1: Get Moving
Although the thought of moving your joints when you’re in pain may not sound appealing, it’s important to undertake a regular exercise routine, as staying active can not only help reduce pain, but improve your overall health and keep your weight in check. According to the Arthritis Foundation4, a combination approach is best:
Aerobic exercise, such as walking or swimming, to improve your stamina.
Muscle-strengthening activities, such as weight training, to build muscle around your joints.
Range-of-motion exercises, such as shoulder rolls or arm raises, to improve flexibility in your joints and help with stiffness.
Stretching exercises, such as yoga or tai chi, to lessen stiffness and improve flexibility.
Whatever exercise you choose, be sure to check with your doctor first. Also, start slowly; even a slow, gentle walk around the neighborhood can be helpful.
Tip #2: Pay Attention to Your Circadian Rhythm
Research abounds on the many ways that living your day-to-day life in accordance with your circadian rhythm—the 24-hour cycle of light and darkness—can improve your health, from aiding with weight loss, to regulating digestion and eating habits, to helping with depression and perhaps even enhancing your memory.5-7
Research also indicates that circadian rhythms may play a role in osteoarthritis, with numerous studies suggesting that disrupted rhythms are linked with the development and progression of the disease.8-12 Disrupted rhythms may also affect the severity of symptoms in nearly all rheumatic diseases, including osteoarthritis, according to the Arthritis Foundation.13
So follow your circadian clock—sleep when it’s dark, rise when it’s light—not only for your overall health, but to help manage your osteoarthritis symptoms. Also do everything you can to protect your sleep, as disordered sleep likely increases the inflammation associated with osteoarthritis—and, hence, your pain.13
Tip #3: Consider When You Eat
If you need to lose weight to improve your arthritis symptoms, consider trying what’s known as time-restricted feeding, or a daylight nutrition strategy, which has been shown to aid with weight loss.14 The premise is fairly simple: Eat within a 12-hour time frame each day, then abstain from food, besides herbal tea and water for 12 hours. This gives your body a 12-hour break from the digestion process, which allows it to burn stored fat.15
The guidelines are simple: Eat according to your circadian rhythm (mainly during daylight hours); avoid late-night snacking; and limit your meals to a span of 12 hours. So if you eat your first meal of the day at 7 a.m., finish your last one by 7 p.m. Jenny Craig’s newest program, Rapid Results, uses this science-based strategy that comes with many other health benefits such as improved sleep16, boosted energy17 and enhanced mood.17
Time-restricted feeding has also been shown to improve sleep18—an important benefit for all people, but perhaps even more so for those with osteoarthritis.
Tip #4: Load Up on Antioxidants
Not only can regularly adding fruits and vegetables to your plate help with your weight loss goals19, but research also shows that vitamins C and E, glutathione and plant polyphenols may help decrease the progression of arthritis.20
A few of the top foods loaded with vitamin C include bell peppers, brussels sprouts, oranges, broccoli and strawberries. Spinach, avocado and mango are a few excellent sources of vitamin E.
As painful as osteoarthritis can be, rest assured that it doesn’t have to rule your life. We hope these simple lifestyle tips can help you manage your symptoms and live your life to the fullest.
If you’re interested in losing weight, Jenny Craig is here to help. Book your free appointment to start your journey to better health today.
 Gill S., Panda S. (2015, Nov 3). A Smartphone App Reveals Erratic Diurnal Eating Patterns in Humans that Can Be Modulated for Health Benefits. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26411343/
Each of us may have a different idea of what being healthy means, and this will likely evolve as we age. Some people might view vibrant health as the ability to run a mile, while others may simply want enough energy to keep up with their children or grandchildren. Regardless of what it means to you, we can all agree that we want the strength and energy to do what we love—and to feel good about ourselves while we do it.
Our bodies are different at age 20 than they are at age 60, but you can stay healthy at every age. Use this list of healthy aging tips to help you feel your best at every decade. After all, age is only a number—what matters most is how you feel.
Your 20s: Be Proactive
Many of us don’t think too much about preserving our health in our 20s. We’re busy finishing school, starting our careers, dating, spending time with friends, and figuring out who we are and what we want out of life. We also have youth on our side, so we generally don’t face the same health issues that can arise later. But it is essential to take steps to establish a healthy lifestyle now, or risk paying the price later.
Research shows that the choices we make in our 20s can have a dramatic effect on our health in later years. One study1 found that people who adopted a healthy lifestyle in their 20s—including maintaining a lean body mass index, not drinking excessively, not smoking, eating a healthful diet and getting regular exercise—had a lower risk for cardiovascular disease in their 40s.
We should think of our 20s as setting the foundation for our future health. Here are a couple of tips to start building a healthy lifestyle in your younger years.
1. Eat Meals at Home
Eating out can be a common occurrence in your 20’s, but it can be expensive and add unwanted extra calories to your diet. When you eat at home, you have more control over what you’re putting into your body, and it’s easier to avoid consuming excess calories.
Eating at home doesn’t mean you need to spend hours cooking or shopping for groceries. Try taking advantage of nutritionally-balanced, chef-crafted, nutritionist-created meals delivered to your door.
2. Make Healthy Choices Most of the Time
Late-night snacking can also happen more frequently in your 20s—with college exams and late-night parties. To maintain a healthy balance, you’ll want to incorporate exercise and practice good eating habits most of the time.
Since sleep can help prevent unwanted weight gain, make sure part of your recovery during the week includes getting enough Z’s. Not only can it be good for your waistline2, but making sure you get a good night’s sleep is one of the best habits you can develop for the future.
Your 30s: Make Wellness a Priority
In our 30s, many of us are established in our careers and focused on moving up the corporate ladder and/or starting families. With so much going on, it’s easy—and common—to put our health on the back burner, but paying attention to our wellness is important. Although we’ve survived the other less-than-healthy activities of our 20s, we’re starting to feel a little less indestructible.
In addition to focusing on our overall wellness, it’s also time to start getting regular screenings for health issues that may arise later in life.
1. Think About Your Heart—It Will Thank You Later
Aerobic exercise can help you maintain your cardiovascular health—and some studies even suggest that it may potentially delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease3 and reduce the risk of some types of cancer.4
And while it’s great to get your heart pumping, consider doing more than just cardio. Starting at around age 30, we begin to lose muscle mass—as much as 3 percent to 5 percent per decade—even if we are active.5 To fight back against age-related muscle decline, be sure to include strength training in your workout.
You may also want to include a full body stretching and strengthening routine in your regular exercise regimen, as it can not only help to keep you flexible, but can also help prevent and heal back pain.6
And, of course, make sure you’re doing weight-bearing exercises to keep your bones healthy. Examples include dancing, hiking, walking or jogging, tennis and weight training.7
Your 40s: Check in and Reset
Our 40s are a time when work and family may be more settled. But we may also find that we have many competing priorities, including demanding jobs, growing children and aging parents, which can make it easy to forget about our own health and wellness.
It’s also the time when your risk of developing certain diseases, including heart disease and diabetes, may increase.8 If you haven’t already, seize on this as the perfect time to take stock of your health.
1. Get Regular Screening Tests
We may not have concerned ourselves with many doctor’s visits or screening tests in earlier decades. However, beginning in our 40s, there are a number of screenings to start considering, including the following:8
Blood pressure measurement
Diabetes blood glucose (sugar) test
Pap test and pelvic exam
Skin cancer screening
2. Update Your Diet and Load up on Fiber
You might notice that your same weight loss and maintenance strategies you used in your 20’s and 30’s may not be working as well as they once did. This is because our metabolism slows at around age 40, due in part to the loss of muscle mass we mentioned earlier.9
While eating fewer calories can help prevent unwanted weight gain, a balanced diet is critical. Understanding what you need to eat to stay healthy at 40 and beyond is important. For example, in our 40s, we can all benefit from getting more fiber. According to the Mayo Clinic, ample fiber can help us maintain bowel health, achieve a healthy weight, and control blood sugar and cholesterol levels.10
As we near our late 40s, some women start to transition to menopause, which can lead to weight gain. As a result of hormone changes, how we gain or lose weight during and after menopause often requires a slightly different approach in our 50s and beyond.
Your 50s: Focus on You
Although the health habits of your earlier decades may have taken a bit of a toll, there is still time to change any practices that are not serving your health. Consider your 50s as a time to make important changes—or simply keep up with good habits.
1. Boost Your Metabolism
If you find that you’re gaining weight more easily after your 50th birthday, you're not alone. Our metabolism tends to slow by up to 5 percent each decade, which adds up in our 50s.11 This might sound like the perfect formula for weight gain, but you can help avoid it by staying active and avoiding empty calories.
As we touched on earlier, nutrient-rich foods that include fiber can help with weight loss.
Your 60s and Beyond: Long-Term Health and Wellness
At this time, our children are most likely grown and we can almost taste retirement, if we’re not already unencumbered by work. In our 60s, it’s time to make a plan that will allow us to live a long and healthy life so that we can enjoy all the years to come.
1. Focus on Heart Health
Heart health continues to be a top priority in our 60s. Research shows that getting 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week can lower your risk of heart disease.12
2. Support Your Bones
As you age, your chance of developing osteoporosis increases. This condition causes bones to become more fragile, increasing the risk of fractures.13
Because our bodies are no longer able to create new bone as rapidly as our bone density is declining, our bodies become weaker and symptoms such as back pain and loss of height may slowly begin to occur.14 Eating a nutritious diet rich in calcium; getting regular physical activity, including weight-bearing exercises; ensuring that you get adequate amounts of vitamin D; and avoiding smoking, secondhand smoke and excessive alcohol are ways to help increase bone density.15 The more we can implement healthy, bone-strengthening habits, the more likely we are to stay strong for years to come.
3. Keep Your Brain Busy
A busy brain is a happy brain. Our minds love to learn, make new connections and solve problems; it’s what they were designed to do. And good news for those in the sixth decade: We continue to grow new brain cells into our 60s.16
Even if you have entered retirement and are enjoying the slower pace of not working, that doesn’t mean you should stop striving to keep your brain challenged. Research shows that constant intellectual stimulation is the best way to keep your mind sharp.17 With your newfound free time, try learning new skills. After all, you finally have the time to work on all those projects you’ve been putting off!
Rest assured that staying healthy as you age is possible—and may be easier than you think. We hope these tips can help you along your journey to better health at any decade. Just remember that at every stage of life, it’s important to see your doctor regularly to make sure you’re not only adjusting your diet and weight-loss plan for your specific needs, but that you’re staying healthy and vibrant as well.
Are you ready to improve your health with a weight-loss program that’s backed by scientific research? Contact Jenny Craig for a free appointment to get started today.
Diabetes—a disease that affects the body’s ability to convert sugar to energy—affects nearly 30 million people in the U.S.1 An estimated 90-95% of those affected have Type 2 diabetes1, which has been linked to lifestyle factors such as physical inactivity, smoking and being overweight. What’s more, an estimated one in four people living with diabetes don’t even know they have it.2
While diabetes can be managed, it requires meticulous attention to nutrition and physical activity to maintain a person’s health and overall quality of life. When diabetes is not controlled, unregulated blood glucose levels can have a damaging effect on the body—potentially causing harm to vital organs, including the brain.3
Recently, new evidence has linked Type 2 diabetes to Alzheimer’s disease, the most common cause of dementia.4-5 However, researchers haven’t concluded that diabetes is a direct cause for developing the disease, but rather people with diabetes have a greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s.4
What’s the Connection?
Although more research is needed to fully understand the role diabetes plays in connection with Alzheimer’s, there are a few key elements that may have an influence. According to the Alzheimer’s Association6, unregulated insulin levels could impact brain function over time, increase inflammation throughout the body and most notably, increase the risk of damage to blood vessels, including those in the brain which can impact thinking processes.7
How can you decrease your risk?
There are preventative measures you can take to potentially reduce your risk of developing both diseases. According to researchers, following your body’s natural circadian rhythm, also known as your body’s internal clock, may help.8-9 Read on to learn how you may be able to integrate a nutrition strategy around your body’s natural rhythm and the benefits of doing so.
Follow Your Circadian Rhythm and Integrate a Daylight Nutrition
As defined by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, circadian rhythms are the physical, mental, and behavioral changes that follow a daily cycle.10 Your circadian rhythm influences your sleep-wake cycles, hormones, eating habits and more.10 Since mounting research indicates that disrupted circadian rhythms could lead to weight gain, sleep disturbances and potentially various diseases11, adhering to your natural clock may be one of the most simple ways to achieve a healthier lifestyle.
So how can you follow your natural rhythm? Try integrating a daylight nutrition strategy. Also referred to as time-restricted feeding, a daylight nutrition strategy is basically doing what your body has evolved to do over millions of years: stay active while it’s light, sleep when it’s dark, and refrain from eating during your body’s natural resting period. By consuming your food within a 12-hour period, and allowing your body 12-hours of rejuvenation time, where only water or herbal tea is digested, you’ll not only be working with your metabolism, you’ll also be allowing your cells to “clean house” by letting them focus on regenerating and repairing themselves instead of metabolizing food.
For example, if you start your day with breakfast at 7 a.m., your last meal or snack of the day would be at 7 p.m. Assuming you’re sleeping close to the recommended seven to eight hours a night12 , putting this eating schedule into practice may not be as hard as you think.
How Does a Daylight Nutrition Strategy Help?
A daylight nutrition strategy may help foster health in a couple of ways that are relevant to the prevention of Type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. First, following this type of eating pattern may improve insulin sensitivity13, stimulating the production of enzymes known to fight cognitive decline. Furthermore, adhering to a daylight nutrition strategy could also help to reduce inflammation throughout the body14, potentially reducing your chances of various brain function and neurodegenerative disorders caused by inflammation.15
3 Other Healthy Habits To Follow
Abstaining from late-night meals and following your natural circadian rhythm are just a couple of ways to get started. According to Harvard Medical School16, three other lifestyle adjustments could also potentially help you reduce your risk of both Type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease:
1. Eat Right
Consuming a well-rounded diet may help combat the development of Alzheimer’s disease or at least slow its progression.17 There’s no need to cut out any particular food group—incorporating a variety of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, dairy, poultry and eggs is a great place to start.
2. Move More
Exercise is a key component of any healthy lifestyle, and experts recommend aiming for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, like brisk walking, most days of the week.18 Not only has physical activity been linked to a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease19, it’s also been linked to a reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes by helping to regulate blood sugar levels and cholesterol.20
3. Sleep Well
Mounting evidence points to the importance of a good night’s sleep for weight maintenance. There’s also a growing body of research that suggests sleep may help to clear the brain of amyloids, one of several proteins linked to Alzheimer’s disease.21 Lack of sleep has also been linked to a pre-diabetic state as the body can react similarly to when it’s experiencing insulin resistance.22
If you’re ready to focus on improving your eating habits, Jenny Craig is here to help. Contact us today to book your free appointment to get started!