If you’re like most people living in today’s warp-speed world, you’ve got dozens of tasks to be handled on any given day, many of them important and urgent at the same time. All of these priorities can leave you feeling a bit (or very) frazzled … and stressed.
To help manage the madness, many productivity experts recommend instituting to-do lists and schedules for virtually every aspect of your life, from work to home to family to school. But there are plenty of ways to keep your life, and yourself, organized and productive—and, hopefully, less stressed. Read on for 10 of the best.
1. Get up early.
Whether it’s to avoid distractions, get some quiet focus time or simply maximize the number of daylight hours, consider waking with the sun (if not earlier) to bring more order and productivity to your life. You can use the time gained for any number of things, whether it’s to exercise, make your to-do list or calendar for the day, or manage your email.
Getting up with the sun also allows you to live your life in accordance with your circadian rhythm, which has been shown to assist with weight loss1 and improve many aspects of your physical and mental health.2
If you are accustomed to a later wake time, start slowly—set your alarm clock 15 minutes earlier for a few days, then another 15 minutes, and so on until you are a full-fledged early riser. You may find your days are better structured and more productive.
2. Consider scheduling virtually everything.
Time-management gurus recommend putting all of your day’s activities into a schedule—not only to keep yourself on track and to eliminate those inevitable “what do I need to do next?” decisions, but to make sure those activities and tasks actually get done. If you have a particularly busy life or a large number of tasks to accomplish, try scheduling your day in 30- to 60-minute blocks.
Doing this type of scheduling can also help you analyze exactly how long certain activities take. For instance, if you allot 30 minutes for email but it takes longer, you’ll get a better idea of exactly where your time is being spent … and where you can trim or extend your time blocks.
3. Avoid scheduling leisure activities.
While some people recommend scheduling time for fun, research3 shows that doing so can actually turn leisure activities into more of a chore—and just one more item on your to-do list. Instead of allocating specific time for fun, the researchers recommend being more flexible. For instance, you might allocate a specific day but not a specific time to leisure—this ensures that you actually make time for rejuvenation but are making it feel less like work.
4. Create routines for your kids, too.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children need regular, predictable and consistent routines to do their best.4 So establish healthy bedtimes and wake times, and don’t forget to schedule specific times for homework, sports and the like. Also, plan dinnertime with the family—without the distraction of TV or cell phones.
5. Schedule a weekly family meeting.
Sitting down together as a family allows all parties to discuss the goings-on for the coming days so everyone knows what to expect. Priorities can be discussed, as well as challenges and successes—it’s a great way not only to stay on top of things, but to connect with one another.
6. Start a family calendar.
Whether it’s on paper, online, on a blackboard or via an app, having one centralized place for all activities for everyone in the household can keep all involved in the know—which in turn, may alleviate some stress around figuring out who needs to be where and when.
7. Set boundaries for yourself.
If you find you tend to get sucked into certain activities (social media, for example), set limits for yourself on how much time you can spend on them—and stick to those limits.
8. Schedule regular “walk and talks.”
Whether it’s with your significant other or your co-worker, discussing important issues while getting some exercise can accomplish two important tasks at once. Getting outside may also help clear your head and get those creative juices flowing.
9. Keep your home organized.
You know the old adage, “a place for everything, and everything in its place”? Knowing where things belong, and making a commitment to keeping them there, can be a huge help in staying organized. Think of how much time you may waste trying to find your phone, or your keys, or your running shoes … and how your stress level may spike when you can’t locate them.
10. Consider hiring a productivity pro.
It can be hard to step back and analyze all the different priorities and activities in your life—especially if you’re too busy to find the time to do it! If this sounds like you, consider bringing in an expert to help you organize your home or work life, and to help you come up with strategies to deal with life’s inevitable chaos.
We hope these tips prove helpful and that you are soon on your way to being more productive and more organized, with more balance in your home, work and family life.
Want to take one item off your to-do list? With delicious, chef-crafted prepared meals, Jenny Craig takes the guesswork out of healthy eating. Sign up for your free appointment to get started today!
 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
Ah, digestion—a bodily function almost everyone wants a better handle on. The digestive tract comprises four major parts: the gastrointestinal tract, liver, pancreas and gallbladder.1 Together, this master system of processing nutrients keeps your body running. If one or more of these components gets stuffed up or compromised, digestive issues can arise.
When gut grievances do pop up, instead of reaching for the usual over-the-counter suspects, try some natural ways to help get your stomach back on track. Follow these tricks to safely clear the way and boost your overall health.
Follow an eating schedule
Paying attention to your circadian rhythm can benefit your digestion in significant ways. Our bodies feel hunger based on an internal clock,2 also known as our circadian rhythm. The National Institute of General Medical Sciences defines circadian rhythms as one’s mental, behavioral and physical changes over a 24-hour cycle, dictated by lightness and darkness. By eating the majority of your calories during daylight hours when you’re most active and giving your body adequate time to rejuvenate during the night, you can work with your metabolism to optimize not only your digestive process but also to promote weight loss.3 What’s more, eating according to this timeline can keep your system regular and your metabolism functioning efficiently.3-4
How can you incorporate eating with your natural circadian rhythm into your daily routine? Start by following a daylight nutrition strategy, or time-restricted feeding pattern. Consume your calories within a 12-hour time-period and then refrain from consuming food besides herbal tea or water for the next 12-hours, which includes sleep. For example, if you start your day with breakfast at 7 a.m., you would have your last meal by 7 p.m., resuming your consumption of food the next morning at 7 a.m. Rapid Results, Jenny Craig’s newest program, incorporates this daylight nutrition strategy.
Manage your stress
Many of us have heard time and again: stress can wreak havoc on your body. Your digestive system is no exception. Stress can trigger our "flight or fight" response,5 which can interfere with digestion while your body uses all its energy to fight against the stressor instead. Keeping your stress levels in check can help ensure things keep moving smoothly.
Drink more water
Your gut needs water to keep moving your meals along. Fibrous foods absorb the water that helps them do their job: keep things moving through your system.6 Think of it as a constant stream of water to clear the pipes and help all the things you eat move efficiently and easily through.
These are the good guys—also known as the good bacteria that boosts gut health. Studies have suggested that consuming more of these live bacteria can help aid digestion, promote regular bowel movements and help alleviate symptoms of IBS or IBD.7 Looking for an easy way to incorporate probiotics into your day? Grab a cup of yogurt to accompany your breakfast. Look for the phrase “live active cultures” on the packaging and try opting for one that is low in added sugar. Not only is yogurt an excellent source of protein, but it’s also a valuable source of calcium—which may help prevent the onset of osteoporosis.8
Regular exercise can help you stay, well, regular. Going for a walk can help move things along if you're feeling constipated, and a normal routine can promote ongoing healthy digestion. The more frequently you get your heart pumping, the stronger you and your digestive system can get as well. Stronger muscles mean less blood diverted from your digestive tract during movement because your muscles are working more efficiently.9
For more information on how Jenny Craig can help you achieve your health goals, contact us to book your free appointment.
 National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, Your Digestive System & How it Works, December 01, 2017, https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/digestive-system-how-it-works
 Advances in pediatrics, Gut clock: implication of circadian rhythms in the gastrointestinal tract, April, 2011, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21673361
 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.
 CNN, How your gut's circadian rhythm affects your whole body, January 02, 2017, https://www.cnn.com/2017/01/02/health/gut-microbiome-circadian-rhythm/index.html
 Harvard Health Blog, Stress and the sensitive gut, https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/stress-and-the-sensitive-gut
 NHS Choices, https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/good-foods-to-help-your-digestion/
 Harvard Health Blog, Health benefits of taking probiotics, https://www.health.harvard.edu/vitamins-and-supplements/health-benefits-of-taking-probiotics
 Manhattan Gastroenterology, How Exercise Affects Your Digestion, July 18, 2017 https://www.manhattangastroenterology.com/exercise-affects-digestion/
Before I sat down to write this article, I searched high and low for my glasses, looking in every imaginable drawer, upturning couch cushions, even taking a furtive peek in the refrigerator. Well, it turns out my readers were perched smack-dab on top of my head, as my kids were all too happy to point out. And I have zero recollection of how they got there.
Granted, I am in the middle of moving, and as anyone who has been through such an aggravating experience can attest, stress can cause a fair amount of distraction, perhaps even a lapse in memory.1 But is there anything you can do, beyond managing your stress, to help improve your memory? Turns out there is.
Read on for eight ways to keep your memory sharp—and your glasses, your keys and the remote control where they should be.
1. Follow your circadian rhythm.
Not only does eating according to your circadian rhythm—the body’s natural 24-hour cycle that follows light and darkness—assist with weight loss2, it also can improve many aspects of your health, affecting hormone release, digestion, depression and more.3
In addition, research4 suggests that the circadian system has a “pronounced influence” on memory and learning. Researchers also have found a link between disturbances in circadian rhythm and Alzheimer’s disease, although they note that they are unsure whether disrupted rhythms increase the risk of the disease, or if the disease itself causes disrupted rhythms.5
So do as your ancestors did: Rise (and eat) with the sun, sleep when it’s dark and avoid late-night snacking … not only will your waistline and your overall health thank you, but so may your memory.
2. Go for a walk.
In a study6 of older women with probable mild cognitive impairment, aerobic exercise improved spatial memory and significantly increased the volume of the hippocampus, the part of the brain involved in memory and learning. A few simple ways to sneak more cardio into your day: take a walk on your lunch break, choose the stairs instead of the elevator or park at the back of the lot when running errands.
3. Eat your spinach.
Research7 suggests that folic acid, (the synthetic version of folate, which is a naturally-occurring B vitamin found in dark leafy green vegetables), may improve cognitive function such as memory and thinking skills. You can find folic acid in supplement form, or if you want to go the natural way, some of the best food sources of folate include spinach, asparagus and Brussels sprouts.8 Compliment your next lunch with a side salad made with spinach or add grilled asparagus to your next meal for an extra crunch!
4. Don’t forget the berries!
Evidence9 suggests that flavonoids, a group of compounds found in many plant-based foods, may help improve memory impairment. An extensive study10 of approximately 124,000 people, conducted over 24 years, also suggests that they could help with weight maintenance. Berries, grapes, broccoli, citrus and legumes are good sources; so are teas, particularly white and green.11
5. Get enough vitamin D.
Researchers suggest that increased levels of the “sunshine vitamin” may help improve memory, although they say more research is needed.12 Some good food sources include seafood such as tuna, vitamin D-fortified milk, yogurt, and eggs.13
6. Don’t Be Afraid to Giggle.
That’s right: Find something to laugh at. Not only does it make you (and others) feel good, but having a good belly laugh can help reduce the stress hormone cortisol.14 That, in turn, can improve your short-term memory, researchers have found.15
In a study16 of college students, researchers found that just two weeks of mindfulness training, such as meditation, significantly enhanced working memory. Reading ability and the ability to focus on tasks also improved after meditation.
8. Don’t Skimp on Rest.
Research abounds on the importance of sleep to your memory—more than a century’s worth, in fact. According to the American Physiological Society17, sleep is a brain state that optimizes the consolidation of memories. What’s more, sleep—specifically napping—can be especially good for the adolescent mind, improving so-called verbal declarative memory, a recent study found.18
As frustrating as memory lapses can be, keep in mind that they’re common among all ages and all types of people. And, by following the tips here, you’re making good progress toward keeping your mind sharp and your memory in top form.
Want more information on how eating according to your circadian rhythm can help you work towards your weight loss? Book your free appointment and start your journey today.
More than 30 million people in the United States have diabetes and 1 in 4 of them don't even know it.1 Though researchers are still working to gain a full understanding of Type 2 diabetes, certain factors are known to increase one’s risk of developing this potentially harmful condition. Some of these factors are out of your control, like your family history, age and where you carry extra weight,2 but some factors you may be able to control by changing some lifestyle behaviors.
The primary risk factor for Type 2 diabetes is obesity—something that can be controlled with education and the right support system.3 The more fatty tissue you have, the more resistant your cells become to insulin, the hormone that helps your body absorb and utilize sugar.2 With insulin resistance, sugar builds up in the bloodstream, ultimately wreaking havoc on all your body’s systems.2 So what can you do about it? Here are four natural ways to potentially reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
1. Eat Well
You likely already know that a healthy, balanced diet is essential to maintaining a healthy weight. And, as it turns out, the nutritional guidelines4 for people with a high risk of developing or currently living with Type 2 diabetes include recommendations that basically benefit everyone. So what’s the secret for healthy eating?
The American Diabetes Association recommends the majority of an individual’s carbohydrate intake should come from vegetables, whole grains, fruits, legumes and dairy products.3 Trans and saturated fats should be limited or avoided, while good fats (found in foods like olive oil and nuts) can be enjoyed in small amounts.3 In addition, added sugars should be limited, and an individual’s sodium intake should fall under 2300 mg per day.3
All of Jenny Craig’s menus, including our Type 2 diabetes menu, follow expert guidelines and are also suitable for those with Type 1 diabetes and pre-diabetes.
2. Move More
Keeping active is another component of maintaining a healthy lifestyle—regular exercise can help lower blood pressure, control your weight, tone your muscles, prevent bone loss, and improve your mood—to list a few of the benefits.5 But did you know: staying active could also help lower your blood glucose levels?6 When your muscles contract during physical activity, your cells can more efficiently absorb glucose and use it for energy—with benefits that can last up to 24 hours following each period of activity.7
3. Stress Less
You may associate stress with an increased heart rate, so it feels like exercise—but it’s actually having the opposite effect on your body. When your brain signals stress, your body reacts by releasing the hormone cortisol into the bloodstream.8 A holdover from our caveman days, cortisol is released during a “fight-or-flight” situation—and can slow other systems that aren’t needed during a crisis—including digestion.9 What’s more, cortisol can provide the body with glucose, which may lead to increased blood sugar levels over time.10 By finding ways to de-stress, you may be able to decrease your cortisol levels, potentially reducing your risk for developing diabetes.
4. Catch More Z’s and Follow Your Rhythm
Researchers around the world have long understood that lack of sleep can contribute to poor nutritional choices—which may, in turn, lead to weight gain.11 But recent studies have uncovered even more information: lack of sleep may disrupt your natural circadian rhythm, also known as your body’s internal clock, which can cause further health consequences, including a potential risk for developing diabetes.12
A recent study13 found that sleep disruption from rotating shifts, overnight work, artificial light and erratic eating patterns can affect our body’s internal clock mechanisms—and ultimately have an adverse effect on the way our bodies metabolize blood glucose. Further aggravation was caused by inconsistent bedtimes and eating just before bed—contributing to obesity, increased insulin resistance, reduction in lean muscle mass and a higher concentration of body fat.13
So how can you follow your natural rhythm? Start by trying to integrate a daylight nutrition strategy into your routine. Focus on eating during a 12-hour time period (for example, from 7a.m. – 7 p.m.) followed by a 12-hour break from the consumption of food or caloric beverages (this time includes sleep). During this rest period, your body has time to rejuvenate and “clean house”—repairing and regenerating cells so your body can optimally function the next day.14 Jenny Craig’s newest program, Rapid Results, incorporates this science-based daylight nutrition strategy.
For more information on how to lose weight and potentially reduce your risk for diabetes, book your free appointment today.
Ah, vacation. It’s the break most of us look forward to every year. A time when we can press pause on our busy lives and put our never-ending to-do list on hold. A time when we’re supposed to relax and recharge. However, because vacations take us out of our usual routine, staying healthy while traveling can prove challenging.
So how can you enjoy your break from reality without hindering your weight loss progress? We’ve compiled six healthy travel tips to help you stay on track—from eating healthy on vacation to staying fit while on the road. So that no matter where you are, you can feel good about keeping up your healthy lifestyle—while still enjoying everything vacation has to offer.
1. Be Conscious of What You Eat
If thoughts of vacation bring-to-mind decadent meals, you aren’t alone. While there’s nothing wrong with enjoying yourself in moderate amounts, being conscientious of the food you’re consuming during a trip can help you stay on track. Try to opt for healthy food choices the majority of the time—and load up on extra veggies when you can, so that you’re consuming good nutrients that help support satiety. When it comes to the occasional indulgence, try a couple of mindful eating practices—savor each bite and enjoy the experience with those around you.
It’s also common to eat out frequently while traveling or on vacation. And while you may try to choose the healthiest looking dish on the menu, restaurants typically serve high-calorie dressings and include extra cheese and butter in their meals.1 There are several tips for dining out while trying to lose weight, but a few simple ones include planning ahead, making substitutions and asking for the dressing on the side. Another tip: don’t be afraid to ask about the menu! It’s easier to make smart choices when you know what’s going on your plate.
2. Start Your Day with Breakfast
While there are numerous benefits of eating breakfast, one of the best reasons to fuel up in the morning is to potentially stave off hunger later in the day, furthering your weight loss efforts. By front-loading your calories, you may be less likely to reach for late-night snacks. One study found that those who ate more calories in the morning compared to those who ate more at night experienced almost a two and a half times greater weight loss.2
3. Sleep Well
While it may be tempting to stay up late and sleep until noon during vacation, it may not be doing your body any favors. When your sleep schedule is inconsistent it can affect your natural circadian rhythm, also known as your body’s internal clock.
The National Institute of General Medical Sciences defines circadian rhythms as one’s mental, behavioral and physical changes over a 24-hour cycle.3 The patterns are typically divided into two 12-hour periods, which are dictated by daytime and nighttime. Usually, you’re likely to follow this rhythm by being most active during daylight hours and then allowing your body to rest and recover during sleep. However, when you stay up late or sleep well into the day, you may be throwing off your natural rhythm.
What happens when your rhythm is out of whack? It may impact your health—chronic health conditions such as obesity, diabetes and depression have been linked to irregular circadian rhythm patterns.4 What’s more, your circadian rhythm could affect your metabolism. One study found that people experienced a drop in their metabolism when they reduced their sleep to four hours a night.5
As tempting as it may be to throw caution to the wind when it comes to your sleep schedule on vacation, try to stick to a routine. Your body will thank you!
4. Stay Hydrated
Did you know your body is made up of almost 60% water?6 Staying hydrated not only helps keep your body functioning properly, it could also be beneficial for weight management.7 While it can be easy to forget to sip water when you’re on the road, try making a reusable water bottle your new travel companion. An added bonus: it may help you save money if you’re not spending it on plastic water bottles. Lastly, when thirst calls, try to avoid reaching for juices, blended drinks and regular sodas. These beverages are typically loaded with empty calories and sugar.8
5. Walk When You Can
Opt to walk instead of drive when you’re on vacation. Not only does walking help burn calories,9
but it can also be a great way to experience your destination. If you aren’t pressed for time and you’re in a safe area, skip hailing a cab and explore by foot!
Another way to sneak in exercise while traveling is to take the stairs. As tempting as it may be to hop in the elevator, taking the stairs is a quick and easy form of cardio that gives your heart rate a boost and gets your muscles working.10 It’s a practical way to keep active while you’re on vacation and you can do it almost anywhere!
6. Try Something New That Gets You Moving
Traveling is the perfect opportunity to try new things. If you’re on a tropical getaway, you can try snorkeling or paddle boarding. If you’re enjoying a winter escape, consider skiing or snowboarding. These activities can not only help you stay active, but you could also pick up a new hobby!
No matter what you do, or where you go, vacations are a chance to unwind and rejuvenate. Take the time to focus on you while staying on track with your wellness goals. Use these healthy travel tips for your next vacation or any other trip you may have lined up—they can work all year round.
Learn how Jenny Craig can help you get started on your weight loss goals whether it’s for your next vacation, a big event, or to live a healthier lifestyle. Book a free appointment to get started.