Weight loss is like a roller coaster—you jump into the cart of your life, venture up the hill before the big drop with anticipation about what your weight loss journey will be like, and then the drop comes toward success!
If you haven’t started the Jenny Craig program yet, you might be surprised to learn that there are a few sneaky things that can lead to weight gain (or what appears to be weight gain). See what habits can potentially increase your numbers on the scale and what you can do about it.
1. Sitting all day
Don't underestimate the power of a walk. "Sitting all day is not natural and to blame for all kinds of ailments, including obesity," says Dr. James Levine, director of the Mayo Clinic-Arizona State University Obesity Solutions Initiative. Schedule some time to take a walk around the block or office building, and find time throughout your week for longer outdoor or fitness activities. Even if it is just a few 5 minute breaks throughout the day, or a quick walk around your desk every hour, getting up to stretch and move is important.
2. Water retention
Water retention can occur for many reasons, temporary sodium imbalance from too much salt in your diet or the normal cycle of hormones each month. Some women, can sometimes experience sudden weight gain during their menstrual cycle. While this is not actual weight gain, it could show on the scale. Make sure to drink plenty of water (at least eight 8 oz. glasses a day is a good goal) to help your body remove toxins and metabolize nutrients.
During stress, your body produces a hormone, cortisol, which cues the “fight or flight” response that typically goes away if the body uses that energy up. Cortisol can affect how the body stores fat including abdominal fat. Find a physical activity or non-food treat that allows you to step away from the stressful parts of your day, such as taking a few deep breaths or treating yourself to a massage or movie outing. While these practices won’t necessarily make you lose any actual weight, keeping your cortisol levels in-check may help with how your body stores it.
4. Not getting enough sleep
Sleep is when your body recovers from the day. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body cannot perform to its optimal potential, which includes a functioning metabolism. Professor Shahrad Taheri noted in her 2015 presentation at the Endocrine Society’s annual meeting that even 30 minutes of sleep loss a day makes you more likely to gain weight. Aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night, which will also help with your stress levels, too!
5. Medical Issues
Another factor to keep in mind is that certain medical conditions can contribute to weight gain or weight loss. Conditions such as having an underactive thyroid, Cushing syndrome and diabetes can affect metabolism and possibly lead to extra pounds. With an underactive thyroid, your thyroid gland isn’t able to produce enough thyroid hormones. These hormones play an important role in regulating your metabolism, and with this hormonal imbalance it can contribute to unintentional weight gain.1 By maintaining regular medical appointments with your healthcare professional, they can potentially flag any medical issues that may cause weight gain and speak to you about treatment options.
In addition to some medical conditions, some medications may affect appetite and/or metabolism. Discuss your medication’s side effects with your doctor, especially if it’s a new prescription and you are experiencing unexpected weight gain. For example, certain insulin medications, some antidepressants, and a handful of steroid hormones can affect weight as a side effect.2
7. Portion size
Your choice of dish size can make all the difference! Our brains sometimes trick us to not understand appropriate portion sizes, we might think we should fill the plate with each item until there's no space left.
Luckily, Jenny Craig has already done the work to help out with this one. Our 100+ menu options are pre-portioned to teach you what your plate should look like. If you're following the Jenny Craig program, you're setting yourself up for success. If you're ready to surprise yourself with weight loss, call us at 866-706-4042 or find a location near you!
Ah, February: A month dedicated to love and that pitter-patter feeling you get when you set your sights on your sweetheart. But February also marks American Heart Month, a reminder to love your own heart by keeping it healthy and to raise awareness of heart disease, the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. So what’s smart for your heart? Here are five habits to keep your heart healthy.
You won’t know if you have high blood pressure (hypertension) or high cholesterol if you don’t get tested. Heart disease is a silent killer and can go unnoticed until it’s too late. Plus, it can begin at any age, so schedule a yearly check in with your doctor to keep tabs on how your cardiovascular system is working.
There’s a reason cigarettes are fatalistically called “death sticks.” Smoking doubles your risk for having a heart attack. It also narrows your arteries, causes clotting, and raises both your blood pressure and cholesterol. Secondhand smoke is just as harmful. Chemicals released in smoke can speed up the development of plaque in your arteries, increasing your risk of heart disease by as much as 30 percent.
Sweat it out
The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every week. That’s just a 30-minute brisk walk at lunchtime, five days a week. Doable, right? We think so, too. Not only will you be giving your heart a workout, but you’ll also notice a positive and healthy difference on the scale and in your mood. Get moving throughout the day by parking farther away, taking the stairs and doing a few exercises at your desk. A sweat session at the gym to pump up your muscles and your heart is the best medicine to combat heart disease.
An apple a day
Healthy food equals a healthy heart. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and find inspiration with Fresh & Free Additions you can add to your Jenny Craig meals. Additionally, whole grains, legumes, low fat dairy and lean protein are heart healthy foods that will also shrink your waistline. You can boost good cholesterol (HDL) and lower bad cholesterol (LDL) by avoiding saturated fats and trans fats and incorporating unsaturated fats, like polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, into your meals. These good fats are found in olive and canola oils, almonds, hazelnuts, olives and avocados. Eating oily fish (salmon, mackerel, trout) rich in omega-3 fatty acids twice a week is a heart-healthy way to mix up your weekly menu and effectively lower LDL levels, according to the American Heart Association.
Life can be hectic, leading to lots of stress and potentially negative impacts on your health (and your heart). Find time for yourself to relax and recharge every day. Relieve stress by exercising, dancing to your favorite song, meditating or taking a bubble bath. Not getting enough sleep could also adversely affect your heart, increasing your risk for heart disease, obesity, stroke and Type 2 diabetes. Aim for at least seven hours of beauty rest, so you feel refreshed and ready to take on the day.
Exercise, nutrition and life balancing are fundamental to a healthy heart, but also key in the Jenny Craig program for weight loss. Make strides in your efforts for a healthier and happier you today!
A healthy lifestyle consists of making careful food and exercise choices. Jenny Craig can help you with your food options, as we have over 100 menu items to serve your breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack and even dessert needs! For the latter, while walking outside on your lunch break or going on a weekend hike are great ways to get moving, there are many opportunities at your local gym that you may be missing out on! Here are 5 reasons you’ll love going to the gym:
1. Classes. Many workout facilities, like Curves, offer a variety of classes for all fitness levels. You can train with a fitness instructor in a group environment that will encourage you to work harder together!
2. Variety of machines. Based on your fitness goals, you can focus on cardio and/or strength training with all of the different machines and weights a gym provides. Variety is the spice of life, as the saying goes, so spice up your routine with different machines or variations on cardio (bike, treadmill or elliptical) every week!
3. Stress relief. Exercise pumps up your endorphins (your feel-good neurotransmitters). Focusing on yourself at the gym allows you to think less about external factors that may be causing you stress. Your exercise will be crafting a healthier you, which can lead to a happier you.
4. More energy during the day, better sleep at night. The gym helps you have more energy during the day to run errands, work or spend time with friends and family. If you’re going to the gym in the evening, a study published in Mental Health and Physical Activity journal notes that exercise is linked to more quality sleep.
5. Community. It’s great to be exercising with others as they work toward their health goals as well. Invite a friend who doesn’t have a membership to go with you as well. Plus, if you become a regular in a class, you can make new friends, too.
Gym time can truly be you-time when you focus on creating a fun plan for yourself!
Because weight loss is a journey, there may be some bumps in the road. One of those bumps can come in the form of lapsing on your food plan—a glass of wine, a bag of chips with queso dip or a few slices of pizza. “The biggest challenge is that lapses turn into relapses. The sort of ‘oh, what the heck’ effect where someone has a slip and throws away the day or even the week,” said a weight loss consultant. “A lapse is just an event where you get out of touch with your goals and the why behind your goal. If you don’t get caught up in the shame and guilt game, it can be a positive learning experience.” Here’s what to do when you have a lapse:
There were a lot of steps and choices that got you to the point where you were, and there are a lot of steps and choices that have brought you to where you are now. One slip will not affect your weight loss journey, so make sure to forgive yourself so you can clear your mind of any guilt and get back on track. Remember, it’s about progress, not perfection. It’s what you learn from the experience that matters.
Analyze the situation/your typical response.
After the lapse, think about where you were, who you were with, what the situation was, what your action was and how it made you feel. Were you at a party with friends and everyone was enjoying the appetizers? Did you get caught up in the moment and think, “Well, I’ve been good all week, so I deserve a treat?”
Asking yourself these questions and recognizing how you were feeling before your actions will help you recognize what this situation was, and help you plan for next time. That being said…
Plan your strategy for next time.
There’s another party next week. What will you do to plan for success? If it’s a potluck, bring a veggie plate with you and a bottle of sparkling water so you can enjoy those instead. Or, enjoy your Jenny Craig entrée before you go so you feel full and satisfied and won’t be tempted to snack on items not on your free foods list. Allow yourself to feel proud of where you are in the moment, as you’ve already taken so many steps to get to where you are today. And remember, you make your own choices, so going in with a plan can help you stay on track toward success!
Summarize and rehearse your plan.
Having your plan and repeating it with someone can help you feel more prepared. It can be a friend who is going to the event with you who can keep you accountable, but you can also rehearse your plan with a Jenny Craig consultant, too. Many consultants have been former members, so they understand the journey and can discuss strategies that they used in similar situations.
You can discuss your plans with a consultant by scheduling a consultation at any of our 500+ locations, or meet via phone or video chat!
Just like choosing healthy foods and watching your portions is important for weight loss, incorporating activity is just as important for your overall health. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, physical inactivity for long periods of time can impact many health factors, such as blood pressure and blood sugar.
Here are nine ways to get some activity—all for free:
1. Warmer weather means you can get out to the park.
Meet friends or family at the park for a day of play. You can bring a ball or Frisbee to toss around or climb on the play structures with your kids or grandkids, then eat a delightful picnic (don’t forget your Jenny Craig-friendly snacks!). <br>
2. Get a dog.
Dogs are great companions for walks, and also love to play with toys. You can toss balls, play tug-of-war or run around with your dog—and then relax together! <br>
3. Soup can arm lifts.
Instead of having your cans of soup sit in your pantry, use them for some arm lifts during a commercial break. You can also substitute the soup for milk, laundry detergent or water jugs as well. Simply sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor and your elbows straight and at your sides. Bend your right elbow lifting your right hand toward your shoulder. Be sure to focus on your bicep muscle. Lower your hand back to your side, and repeat on the opposite side. <br>
4. Watch a workout video.
Whether it’s a stretching video or a simple leg workout, watch something that will inspire you to get moving. You can work out at your own pace and you’ll feel great afterwards too! Check local programming or online for some free options. <br>
5. Make chore time workout time.
Need to scrub the bathroom down, dust the house or vacuum? Turn on some upbeat music and try to do these activities as quickly as possible. You can also throw in a few push-ups, jumping jacks or squats between rooms or floors if you want as well! <br>
6. Stretch with some yoga.
These stretches can make your body and mind feel refreshed. You can learn many yoga poses by looking up images online or watching a video. <br>
7. Speed walking.
Aim to get 10,000 steps a day. If you have a break during work or running errands, incorporate some speed walking to get your heart pumping. If you happen to be shopping, try to take the stairs instead of an elevator. You might also consider taking an extra lap around the mall while running errands as a way to get in some extra steps. <br>
8. Dance at home.
It’s fun to let loose and dance the night away—especially from the comfort of your own home. If you have kids at home, you can put on some music and get everyone involved in a dance party. <br>
9. Download an app.
There are plenty of apps out there that encourage you to exercise. You can find ones with unique workouts to match your goals or even an app that encourages you to walk by setting up friendly competition amongst your friends. Spend some time looking for the right app for you.
If you’re looking for more ways to get moving, talk to your personal consultant at your nearest neighborhood Jenny Craig center. We look forward to helping you eat—and move—your way to a healthier you.