If you’ve ever experienced acid reflux—that uncomfortable burning sensation in your chest and throat—then you know how much of an impact it can have on your life, from the foods you eat to the quality of your sleep. Although it may be tempting to reach for a bottle of antacids to calm your symptoms, making a few lifestyle changes may drastically reduce or even eliminate your acid reflux irritation.1 Keep reading to find out what acid reflux is and ways you can naturally combat your symptoms.
What is Acid Reflux?
Have you ever felt a burning sensation in your chest or throat after eating a large meal or one that was high in fat? If so, you’ve likely experienced acid reflux, and you’re not alone. Over 15 million Americans report experiencing these types of symptoms daily.2
What causes it? Acid reflux is caused by the backward flow of stomach acid into the esophagus through the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). In other words, when you have too much acidic content in your stomach, your esophagus can become irritated, leading stomach acid to rise. If symptoms persist, they may even lead to other chronic health issues.3
5 Ways to Naturally Reduce Your Symptoms
While reaching for a pack of antacids may be a quick fix to mask the symptoms of acid reflux, there are ways to naturally alleviate your symptoms as well as improve your overall health. Check out these 5 ways that may improve your symptoms:
1. Shed excess body weight
Studies4 have shown that there is a correlation between being overweight and experiencing acid reflux. Specifically, carrying extra weight in your abdominal area, known as visceral fat, may increase the likelihood of experiencing symptoms.5 How? When additional weight is held around the belly, it can increase the pressure on internal organs, which can result in the backflow of stomach acid. The good news, however, is that losing just 5-10 percent of overall body weight can significantly reduce symptoms in overweight individuals.6
2. Consider your portion sizes
Larger meals, especially ones with high-fat content, can lead to stomach bloat and increase pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), causing acid reflux.7 By keeping your portions in check you can reduce these symptoms. With Jenny Craig, you don’t have to worry about portion sizes, everything is laid out for you and includes the perfect balance of
carbs, protein and fats.
3. Drop the cigarette habit
For regular smokers, kicking the cigarette habit may not be the easiest item on the list, but it offers an incredible array of health benefits. In addition to easing acid reflux, quitting smoking can reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, lung disease, and more.8
4. Avoid eating late at night
Have you ever laid down right after a large meal? It’s not very comfortable – and for a reason: your stomach needs time to digest food. By eating meals or snacks late at night, before going to bed, your likelihood of experiencing acid reflux symptoms increases as it’s easier for the backflow of stomach acid to rise when you’re lying down, rather than standing up. Experts recommend having your last meal 3-4 hours before turning in for the night.9
5. Sync up with your circadian rhythm
Circadian rhythm refers to the body’s mental, behavioral and physical changes over a 24-hour cycle.10 In simplest terms, it’s our body’s internal clock. This rhythm dictates the way every cell in the body functions and is typically divided into two, 12-hour periods, roughly daytime and nighttime. In today’s modern world, full of electronics and late-night snacks, it’s easy to get out of sync with your natural rhythm. Unfortunately, this can lead to weight gain and other health problems, such as acid reflux.11 But by eating in alignment with your circadian rhythm and allowing your body to rejuvenate for 12-hours, you may experience a host of other health benefits, including optimizing your metabolism, while also reducing symptoms associated with acid reflux.12 Jenny Craig’s newest program, Rapid Results, was created to work in sync with your natural circadian rhythm.
If you’re looking to improve your eating habits to lose weight and achieve a healthier lifestyle or want to try our newest Rapid Results program to get in sync with your circadian rhythm, contact Jenny Craig for your free appointment and get started today.
 Longo, Valter D., and Satchidananda Panda. Cell metabolism, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 14 June 2016, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5388543/.
Recently, carbs got a much-needed break when it comes to being correlated with weight gain. Pasta can actually help contribute to weight loss, if eaten in moderation.1 We sat down with our Registered Dietitian, Janet Nash, to talk about how carbs can be part of a healthy diet and may even help you lose weight.
Sometimes, you just need to twirl your fork in a bowl of spaghetti with meatballs and enjoy. And that is perfectly O.K. While many weight loss trends suggest that you need to cut out this food group entirely, carbs, in moderation, can actually help some people lose weight. Here are five truths you need to know about carbs and weight loss:
Eat within reason
Let’s not get carried away–eating heaping bowls of spaghetti every night isn’t going to help you achieve your weight loss goals. But if you stick to a serving size no bigger than your fist and watch what you put on top, pasta may aid in weight loss. In a recent study2, participants ate a little over three half-cup servings of noodles each week, and researchers found that pasta did not contribute to weight gain. Instead, participants saw the number on the scale slightly decrease, likely due to pasta’s low glycemic index (GI).
Nash explains, “Glycemic Index is a value assigned to foods based on how slowly or quickly they cause blood sugar levels to rise. Foods with a lower glycemic index (55 or less) that take longer to digest and absorb, lead to a slower rise and contribute to lower levels of blood sugar compared to foods with a higher glycemic index (70 or above).” She continues, “Generally, pasta has a glycemic index of around 44, with whole wheat versions being even lower, so it falls within the “low” category. Because balancing your blood sugar levels is imperative for weight management, eating foods with a lower GI can help prevent weight gain.”
What gives pasta a low glycemic index? The presence of “resistant starch.” So, what exactly is resistant starch?
“Resistant starch has a structure that is “resistant” to your digestive enzymes and does not break down for absorption,” says Nash. “It passes from your small intestine right into the large intestine where your gut bacteria will ferment it. This process provides many health benefits including weight control.”
Other foods containing resistant starches include barely ripe bananas, brown rice, potatoes and legumes.
Nash also points out, “If you cook these types of foods and then let them cool down, it may actually increase their resistant starch content. So, if you’re debating reheating your leftover pasta–go right ahead– it won’t reduce the amount of resistance starch it contains.”
Satiate your appetite
If you find yourself hungry throughout the day, you may want to incorporate more healthy carbs into your routine. Nutrient-rich carbs containing resistant starch, act a lot like fiber, they keep you feeling full and satisfied after eating, so you’re less likely to munch on unhealthy snacks in between meals.
Naturally Burns Fat
“It’s a common misconception that carbs are solely at fault for weight gain,” says Nash.
“Because resistant starches are fermented by the gut bacteria in the large intestine, beneficial fatty acids are produced which help nourish good bacteria and supports a healthy immune system. One particular fatty acid that is produced by this process, butyrate, encourages your body to burn fat over carbohydrates,” continues Nash.
So healthy carbohydrates may be aiding your weight loss efforts, not hindering them.
Good news: according to research2, people who consumed the most nutrient-rich carbs from “whole” sources like vegetables and whole grains, and fish were found to be slimmer than those who restricted the food group. It’s no coincidence that the US Dietary Guidelines for carbohydrates is 45-65 percent of your total daily calories.3-4
Feel good about your food
Perhaps the best reason for incorporating healthy carbs into your diet is the feel-good factor.
“If you don’t have to cut out your favorite foods while following a weight loss program, you’ll be more likely to stick to your goals,” says Nash.
By incorporating nutrient-rich carbs in moderate amounts, you won’t feel like you’re missing out or being deprived.
If you’re ready to start a weight loss program that doesn’t cut out any food groups and incorporates healthier versions of your favorites, make your free appointment with Jenny Craig today.
 Chiavaroli, Laura, et al. “Effect of Pasta in the Context of Low-Glycaemic Index Dietary Patterns on Body Weight and Markers of Adiposity: a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomised Controlled Trials in Adults.” BMJ Open, British Medical Journal Publishing Group, 1 Mar. 2018, bmjopen.bmj.com/content/8/3/e019438.
Maintaining a regular exercise schedule can be challenging for everyone, no matter your age. However, as we get older, joints and muscles can become more at-risk for inflammation and soreness–and aches and pains can make it harder to want to get moving. We get it–sometimes it just feels good to lounge on the couch! But did you know that one of the five major risk factors for developing cardiovascular disease is a sedentary lifestyle?1 Keeping up with a workout routine that makes you feel great can also help to strengthen your heart muscle as well as improve your overall lifestyle. By finding an activity that you enjoy, it may be easier to incorporate it into your daily routine. Here are 5 different heart-healthy exercises to try at any age:
Build Your Strength
Strength training is an important cardiovascular exercise for keeping your heart healthy.2 This doesn’t mean you have to lift heavy weights or incorporate high-intensity sessions. You can try a simple circuit-based heart-pumping workout, by combining weights with cardio and stretching. If you’re unsure which exercises to do, weight-bearing exercises in a class setting can be a great option; as the instructor can modify your activities for safety. Even if it is only for 30 minutes, strength training is a great healthy-heart fitness option that will keep your blood flowing.3
Walk it Out
Walking is one of the simplest heart-healthy cardio exercises, and anyone can benefit from a 30-minute brisk walking session a few times per week.4 Walking is the perfect low-impact aerobic exercise for those who want to maintain their muscles as they age.5 Plus, it's a great heart-healthy exercise to enjoy with friends or a partner. So, meet a walking buddy at a local park, catch up, and get moving together!
Hop on a bike for a heart-healthy, high-energy workout that will give your body and mind a quick boost. Whether indoors on a stationary bike or outside in the fresh air, this low-impact exercise helps increase the heart rate while strengthening the lower body.6 Another benefit: it’s easy on the joints.7 Plus, it’s a great way to de-stress and relax!
Stretch & Tone
Stretching and toning exercises like yoga are ideal for keeping you and your healthy-heart strong. Gentle stretching can help increase blood circulation throughout your body and can also help improve flexibility.
Hit the Pool
Swimming is another low-impact cardio exercise that can offer several benefits, such as torching calories and increasing your lung and heart function.8 Hopping in the pool just a couple of times a week can also give you a total body workout. Not only is swimming joint-friendly, but it also doesn’t require any special equipment beyond a bathing suit.
Consistent exercise is one of the easiest ways to lead a heart-healthy life.9 Always consult with your doctor before starting an exercise program. If you are trying a new physical activity routine for the first time, consider working with a fitness instructor so that you can monitor any potential injury risk.
Are you ready to improve your heart health by incorporating not only fitness but also a nutritionally balanced meal plan to help you lose weight? Call us for your free appointment to learn more about how Jenny Craig consultants can help you add more activity into your life and get you on your way to achieving your weight loss goals.
How often do you reach for a midnight snack if you’re up late watching a movie or working? It might seem harmless enough, but regularly eating late at night can lead to a variety of problems, including weight gain and insomnia.1
We’re sharing the health effects of late-night snacking and simple ways that you can overcome your evening eating habit.
The Health Implications of Eating Late at Night
Many people eat late at night now and then. Sometimes our daily routines get interrupted due to work, travel, or taking care of the family and late night snacking or meals happen. But eating excessive calories or junk food late at night can lead to a handful of problems:
1. Weight Gain
After a long day, it may be tempting to resort to snack foods, such as ice cream and potato chips, but these foods are high in calories and low in nutrients. It also can be easy to eat more than the recommended serving size if you’re snacking on cookies or chips straight from the container late at night when satiety is lower. We’ve all been there – you look down and half the bag is gone! Eating these types of foods consistently can lead to an overconsumption of calories and eventually weight gain.
Another adverse effect of eating junk food at night is feeling the need to make up for it the next day. However, this practice can contribute to weight gain for multiple reasons. First, limiting your calorie intake the next day to try and reverse excess calorie consumption the night before can lead to a cycle of eating again at night.2 Additionally, because late night snacks and meals tend to not be as nutrient dense, your body can’t always process them as quickly which can lead to indigestion.3
2. Metabolism Issues
Due to circadian rhythms, the body’s natural internal clock, our bodies are designed to consume more of our calories during the day as this is when our metabolism processes food most efficiently. When you eat well-balanced meals and healthy snacks in the daytime, you are leveraging your body’s natural circadian rhythm and optimizing your metabolism. This schedule helps keep your body functioning efficiently, and it can promote weight loss, energy, appetite control, and wellness.4 Alternatively, when you eat most of your calories at night, you can throw off this balance, which can lead to a variety of issues.
Since your body isn’t primed to process heavy meals or snacks in the evening, by consuming food late at night, you’re not adequately leveraging your metabolism. Conversely, when you restrict your food intake during the day, you may find that you are hungrier at night, which may lead to overeating during evening hours.5 Leveraging your metabolism and eating more calories when your metabolism is burning the most calories based on your circadian rhythm is the science behind Jenny Craig’s Rapid Results program that can result in losing up to 16 pounds in just 4 weeks. †
†First 4 weeks only. Avg. weight loss in study was 11.6 lbs for those who completed the program.
3. Sleep Issues
Have you ever noticed that it’s difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep after indulging in a large meal or eating certain foods? There’s a good reason for it. When you eat a big meal, your body must work hard to digest everything. Not only can this cause you to have an upset stomach, but it can also make it more difficult to get a good night’s sleep.6
Other foods that can cause sleep disruption include beverages with caffeine, including chocolate, coffee and, energy drinks, as they may keep you awake with their energy-boosting effects.7 This lack of sleep can leave you feeling groggy the next day, which may inspire you to continue the cycle of caffeine consumption.
4. Acid Reflux & Heartburn
Have you ever felt a burning sensation in your throat after eating too much or consuming a meal high in fat? If so, you’re not alone, most people have experienced acid reflux, a condition that occurs when stomach acid rises into the esophagus after eating. A common side effect of acid reflux is heartburn, a burning sensation in your lower or middle chest.
Although it can be uncomfortable, occasional acid reflux symptoms aren’t unusual. However, if you experience these symptoms on an ongoing basis, it may be a sign of a chronic digestive disorder called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or other esophagus problems that can lead to more serious health issues later in life.8
When you lie down to go to sleep after eating, you are more likely to experience acid reflux and other symptoms associated with GERD.9 When you overeat, or you ingest high-fat, acidic or greasy food at night, your risk of experiencing these symptoms increase even more10 and sleeping while experiencing these symptoms can be difficult.
Ways to Avoid Late-Night Snacking
Breaking the midnight snacking habit is possible. With these seven tips, you’ll learn that it’s easy and worthwhile to give up that late evening bite.
#1. Find Out Why
If you find that you’re regularly snacking late in the evening, the first step is figuring out why. Some people end up eating late at night because they restrict their daytime food intake too much, which causes them to feel ravenous when nighttime rolls around. Eating at night may also be due to boredom, emotions, stress, or habit.
Determining if you’re actually hungry is the key to weight loss regardless of when you’re eating. Learn how to tell the difference between hunger and emotions.
Once you discover the reason for your nighttime snacking, you can take the appropriate action to overcome the problem.
#2. Identify Challenges
You might find it helpful to figure out what sparks your eating behavior once you determine what’s causing your late-night snacking. This could be a person, place or pattern of events. For example, perhaps your significant other loves a late-night dessert and you often indulge with them, or you enjoy a movie and popcorn at night. Discovering what is provoking your late-night eating is especially helpful if you find that you’re eating when you are not hungry.
One of the best ways to find out what is causing your nighttime eating is to keep a food and mood journal.11 When you track your exercise and eating habits as well as your feelings you can identify patterns, which can help you take steps to stop eating late at night. If you’re a Jenny Craig member, discussing any trends you may be noticing with your consultant can help you pinpoint your challenges and help you avoid them in the future. Also, by following the Rapid Results menu plan, you can take the guesswork out of when to eat and help optimize your metabolism by leveraging your natural circadian rhythm.
#3. Establish a Routine
Think that a routine sounds boring? Having set times for eating and sleeping can help you distribute your food intake throughout the day so that you are not as hungry in the evening.
Additionally, a routine can also help you improve your sleep, which is a critical component of weight loss and a healthy lifestyle. Lack of sleep has been linked to higher calorie intake, weight problems and chronic disease.12
By getting into a regular routine of eating and sleeping, you may find that you feel well-rested and less hungry throughout the day and night.
#4. Meal Plan & Prep
While you’re setting a routine for yourself, you should also consider making meal planning a part of your life. Some people think meal planning sounds daunting, but it’s often easier than you might think.
Meal planning doesn’t mean that you must create elaborate menus every day. It simply means thinking about what you’re going to eat and selecting healthier options for meals and snacks. When you have a plan, you’re less likely to eat on impulse and make poor choices.13
Another benefit of meal planning is it gives you the ability to spread out when you eat during the day, which can keep you feeling satisfied during the day and prevent you from feeling famished at night. Your body will also thank you because eating at regular intervals can help stabilize blood sugar levels, which can prevent you from feeling tired.14
Wondering what is the right number of times to eat each day? Studies have found that eating more than three times per day results in lower weight and better appetite control.15 In contrast, eating less than three times per day reduces your ability to control your appetite and may encourage binge eating.16 Since it matters when you eat, meal planning and setting a routine can help you make healthier choices. As a Jenny Craig member, the Rapid Results program handles the planning for you, as it not only includes what to eat, but when to eat to optimize weight loss by using your natural circadian rhythm.17
#5. Include Protein at Each Meal
To feel fuller throughout the day, you’ll want to include protein in your meals and snacks.
Because protein helps manage hunger, it may help you avoid the temptation to munch late at night.18 One study found that regularly eating meals with protein reduced hunger by 60% and curbed the desire of participants to snack at night by 50%.19 Jenny Craig follows expert guidelines by including protein at each meal.
#6. Limit the Junk Food
If you find that fatty and sugary foods call to you at night, it may be best to remove the temptation from your home. It’s a lot more difficult to eat a lot of junk food if it isn’t readily accessible. If you’re following the Jenny Craig program, you can enjoy a slice of Triple Chocolate Cheesecake or Chocolate Lava Cake knowing it’s perfectly portioned and won’t hinder your weight loss progress.
Otherwise, to fill the void, stock up your refrigerator and pantry with healthy foods that you enjoy eating, such as non-starchy vegetables and fruits (in moderate amounts). By having these healthy snacks convenient, you’ll be less likely to snack on less nutritious foods.
The best part about healthy snacks, such as veggies and fruits, is that they naturally include the nutrients you need to nourish your body and fiber to feel full. Because these foods satiate your appetite, you’re less likely to overindulge in them.
#7. Manage Stress
Most of us have fallen victim to stress eating at some point. It turns out that stress is one of the most common reasons why people eat when they don’t feel hungry.20 However, it’s never a good idea to use food to deal with stress or other emotions.
If you’re someone who often eats when you’re facing stress or anxiety, try adopting some relaxation techniques. Some examples include meditation, exercise, yoga, deep breathing, massage and spending time with friends and family. We also love these fun activities that help reduce stress. In addition to these relaxation techniques, we encourage you to talk to your Jenny Craig consultant to help you develop a plan to overcome a stressful situation.
By understanding the pitfalls of late-night snacking and following these tips to cut back and stop your evening eating ritual, you’ll likely feel more satisfied and better rested while watching the numbers on the scale drop.
Are you ready to try a program that can help you curb your late-night snacking habit as well as help you lose weight? Contact Jenny Craig for your free appointment.
 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.
 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.
 Leidy, H J, et al. “The Effects of Consuming Frequent, Higher Protein Meals on Appetite and Satiety during Weight Loss in Overweight/Obese Men.” Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.)., U.S. National Library of Medicine, Apr. 2011, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20847729.
You’ve reached a weight loss milestone – congrats! Now you may be wondering, how do I keep the weight off that I worked hard to lose? Read on for some helpful weight maintenance tips and inspiration to keep you on track.
Whether you’ve hit a weight loss milestone or reached your goal (virtual high-five), it’s time to celebrate! But you may also be thinking about how to maintain your new, healthy lifestyle and how to incorporate the healthy habits that have gotten you to your milestone. Similar to your weight loss journey, weight maintenance requires practicing mindfulness and dedication – read on as we discuss a few tips that our Jenny Craig consultants share with their members on the maintenance program to keep them on track and motivated.
Know your food
Though you’ve reached your goal, it’s just as important now to pay attention to what you’re eating and the nutrients in the food you’re consuming. For example, when you grab a bottle of flavored water, two kinds may have the same flavor, but one might be loaded with added sugar, whereas the other uses natural flavoring. <br> <br>A helpful habit to adopt is reading the labels of the food you’re purchasing. Check the back of any packaged food, and you’ll find the Daily Values (DV) listed, such as the sodium, added sugar and portion size of an item, based on a 2,000-calorie daily intake.1
Ideally, you’ll want to continue to stock up on non-starchy, fibrous vegetables and lean proteins, while paying attention to sugar, fat and sodium. Most importantly, enjoy your food and keep your plate colorful! Try playing around with new recipes and meals for yourself and your loved ones.
Dining out for a special occasion? Don’t stress. When you’re enjoying a meal out, try to determine how the food is prepared. Opt for grilled or lean cuts of meat over fried or butter-based dishes. Another tip: ask the server to remove the bread basket after you have taken a slice before it gets too tempting. Balance is key to your weight maintenance journey!
Be aware of portion sizes & go in with a game plan
Paying attention to not only what you eat, but how much you eat is just as important now as it was when you were losing weight. Remember that restaurants often serve double or triple the recommended portion size, so asking for a to-go container to put half of your meal in is one way you can keep your portions in check. The added bonus is you’ll have lunch already made for the next day! <br> <br>
Even if you’re preparing food at home or going to a party, go in with a game plan. If the recipe you’re making has four servings, try portioning it out accordingly. If you’re attending a social gathering, ask the host what kind of options to expect and bring a healthy option of your own, like a veggie platter. Having a healthy snack before you attend can help curb your appetite – so you’re not as tempted to go all out on the appetizer selection and potentially overeat.
While food plays a major factor in weight loss and maintenance, physical activity shouldn’t be overlooked. Getting your heart pumping is a powerful tool for helping to maintain your weight loss as it helps keep your metabolism humming and is a great way to manage stress. <br> <br>
While 30 minutes of moderate activity a day is the standard for a healthy lifestyle, aiming for 45-60 minutes on most days of the week will help support your weight maintenance goals.
Just like with your food, variety is the spice of life! Mix up your activities between cardio, like walking or bike riding, strength training and restorative activities such as gentle stretching.
Manage your stress
Stress is a common occurrence in our daily lives – however, how you handle it can impact your health and weight maintenance goals. By learning how to think clearly through challenges and stay calm during a stressful situation, you can start to incorporate healthy stress management tools – instead of resorting to unhealthy habits such as mindlessly snacking to cope.
Try this: think about an activity that helps you unwind when you get home from a tiring day. Does a walk clear your mind? Maybe you find reading a book with a cup of tea relaxing. Finding ways to manage stress by focusing on what brings you joy allows you to stay in tune with your mind and body and can help you stay focused on your wellbeing and goals.
Be positive toward yourself
Maintenance may be the final destination on your weight loss journey, but just like that journey, there will inevitably be a few bumps in the road. There may be days when you wake up not feeling your best or days when you find yourself being too critical about your body and food choices; but remember, you have the tools to push through those thoughts. You’ve worked hard to achieve your goals and that work has paid off! Embrace your efforts, and find ways to celebrate and reinvigorate your body, mind and spirit when you need a little pep in your step.
Are you looking for ways to maintain your weight loss? Contact Jenny Craig for your free appointment to learn more about our weight loss maintenance program.
Stop by your local Jenny Craig center or give us a call to try our new Spring menu! With fresh flavors like our new Blueberry and Oats Bar to savory meals like our Grilled Chicken Teriyaki Bowl – you’ll enjoy every bite while achieving the results you want!
Scroll through to see each new dish we're introducing this Spring. Leave us a comment below - which food are you most excited to try?