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Can Self-Compassion Boost Your Physical Health?

Making a change to develop healthier habits is never a perfect process. Instead, there are highs, lows, twists, setbacks, small and big wins. We know this, yet so often we expect ourselves to be perfect — and then beat ourselves up when we deviate from our plan. But rather than criticizing yourself, try some self-compassion. Doing so may help improve your physical health — find out how. What is self-compassion? Self-compassion is being a supportive, good friend to yourself when you struggle or notice something you don't like about yourself.1 There are three components of self-compassion:2   Common humanity: Recognizing that all humans suffer and feel inadequate, so you are not alone. Mindfulness: Observing your thoughts and feelings without judgment. Self-kindness: Being gentle with yourself when you experience difficulties, because you know it's inevitable.   Every one of us is deserving of compassion. And even if you struggle to practice self-compassion, you can learn to do so. What’s more, being kinder to yourself transcends beyond having a more positive attitude, it may also help you reach your health goals. The benefits of self-compassion  You may tell yourself that you need to “try harder” when you enjoy food that's not on your meal plan or if your schedule gets thrown off and you don’t have time to exercise. But research indicates that practicing self-compassion may be more effective at helping you reach your goals — and be better for your health than being hard on yourself.   One study found that people who are self-compassionate reported lower levels of stress, better overall physical health, and practiced healthy behaviors such as exercising regularly, practicing stress management and making healthy food choices. 3   Being more accepting of your struggles may also fuel your motivation to improve.4 In fact, one study found when adults experienced an exercise setback, those who were more self-compassionate were less likely to ruminate over their situation and more likely to try again or focus on a new goal.5   Accepting a set-back and pausing to reflect on it is key, as it allows you to not only assess if your current goal and plan are right for you, but it also means you may master a new skill in order to achieve your aspirations, which can give you a sense of accomplishment and confidence.6 Self-compassionate people also tend to have a better handle on stressful situations, which means they may feel less depleted and can put more energy toward managing their health and any medical problems that may arise.7 3 ways to be compassionate toward yourself The next time you find yourself being critical or thinking negatively, pause and consider one of these self-compassion practices.   1. Think about a friend If you were talking to a friend who was in your situation, how would you speak to him/her? How does that differ from what you are saying to yourself? Turning around negative self-talk takes time, but continue practicing, and you will find your inner voice becoming more like a friend and less like a judge.   2. Take a break In our fast-paced world, it can be all too easy to keep moving and ignore our feelings. Instead, pause and acknowledge how you are feeling emotionally and physically. Some steps you can take can start with accepting that you’re experiencing something difficult or challenging right now. Then try to ask yourself, “How can I express kindness to myself?” You can make a declaration that you may feel stressed, that you are not alone in feeling this way and try to repeat a positive phrase such as, “May I give myself the compassion that I need.” Repeat as often as you need.8   3. Put yourself first Sometimes the demands of taking care of a family, a job and managing the stress of everyday life can make self-care take a backseat. But self-care not only helps you manage stress, it can also help you be a better caregiver, employee, boss, parent, and friend. So take that bubble bath, enjoy a short walk in nature, get that massage — do whatever would be an expression of love toward yourself.   Sometimes we need a friend to help us be a better friend to ourselves. Jenny Craig consultants are there for you every step of the way. Contact us to book a free appointment and speak with a personal consultant today.     Sources: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8]
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10 Ways to De-Stress This Holiday Season: Infographic

Looking for a few ways to relax this holiday season? Check out these 10 simple tips to de-stress!  
Eat Well

Why Breakfast is Actually the Most Important Meal of the Day

You’ve probably heard the saying, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” (Thanks for the tip, Mom!) But does it really matter if skip your morning meal? We sat down with Jenny Craig Registered Dietitian, Briana Rodriquez, to get the inside scoop on breakfast — and why it actually is the most important meal of the day, especially if you’re trying to lose weight. Breakfast Basics Simply translated, breakfast means “breaking the fast.” Rodriquez explains, “During sleep, your body is relaxing and your cells are rejuvenating. When you wake up after 7-9 hours of sleep, your blood sugar is naturally low. Blood sugar, also known as glucose, is used to power your muscles and brain. When you abstain from food overnight, you need fuel to replenish your energy stores.”   But what if you’re running late to a morning meeting and don’t have time to eat? Rodriquez continues, “Skipping breakfast means that the body will start to pull from its reserves (such as your muscles) and has been linked to an increase in consuming unhealthy foods and overeating later in the day.1” What’s more, overeating, especially late at night, has been linked to weight gain as well as other health issues.2 But rest assured, there are quick and easy breakfasts that you can grab on-the-go. And taking a few minutes to prep the night before can help. Why Breakfast Matters When It Comes to Weight Loss Rodriquez points out, “In today’s fast-paced world, many people don’t have time to sit down to eat something nutritious in the morning. Typically, what ends up happening when you skip breakfast is that you’ll overcompensate later — eating more than you intend to because you’re extremely hungry. This usually means your largest meal ends up being in the evening, right before bed. And that’s not good if your intention is weight loss.”   Rodriquez notes that studies show eating breakfast and making it your largest meal of the day can lead to a healthier weight and potentially reduce risks of certain diseases.3 Why? When you eat earlier in the day and avoid eating large meals at night, you’re working with your body’s natural rhythm, known as your circadian rhythm. Circadian rhythms follow a 24-hour cycle that is dictated by light and dark.4  Your metabolism follows this cycle by being most efficient in the morning and then slowing down as the day goes on,5 until it reaches its slowest point in the evening. “Since digestion slows down when you sleep, your body will have a harder time metabolizing food consumed in the evening hours. This means that late-night calories are likely to be stored instead of being used as energy,” Rodriquez explains. By enjoying a balanced and substantial breakfast to start your day, you’ll be working with your metabolism when it’s working optimally, which in turn may help support your weight loss efforts naturally.   Jenny Craig’s newest program, Rapid Results, combines this science-based research around the body’s natural circadian rhythm and chef-crafted, nutritious meals to help optimize your metabolism and accelerate weight loss. Why More Calories in the Morning? Although skipping meals or drastically cutting calories may seem like a sure-fire way to lose weight, Rodriquez is quick to disagree. Eating a hearty breakfast can also help you feel more satiated throughout the day, which may make you feel less inclined to reach for late-night meals or snacks.   Rodriquez says, “Consuming more of your calories earlier in the day, also known as “front-loading,” has been linked to greater feelings of fullness throughout the day. And weight loss isn’t the only benefit; studies suggest there may be other health gains, such as a decreased risk for obesity, heart disease, and Type 2 diabetes.6” Not only could your waistline benefit from your morning meal, but your overall health could improve as well. How Should My Day Look? What should a typical day of eating look like if your goals include weight loss and better health? Rodriquez emphasizes choosing healthy foods at every meal, “Eating breakfast is a key component to weight loss, but the quality of your food also matters.” Here’s an example of what Rodriquez suggests your day should look like to stay on track with your health goals:   Breakfast and lunch should be satisfying and substantial, protein-rich (examples include lean meats, eggs, beans, fat-free or low-fat cottage cheese), and include a blend of a small amount of healthy fats (seeds, nuts, avocados, olive oil) and carbohydrates (whole grains, veggies, or a small fruit).     Dinner should be light and lean. This can include a lean source of protein and lots of non-starchy vegetables. Rodriquez suggests decreasing the amount of carbs in the evening.     Snacks are still an important part of the equation! Rodriquez recommends selecting a snack under 200 calories and to space them between your meals. Try to choose something that has protein and fiber to help keep you feeling full.     No matter if your goal is weight loss or simply focusing on improving your lifestyle, including breakfast in your routine may help your health in more ways than one. The next time you’re in a rush in the morning, try to grab something to eat — your body will thank you!   Do you need help on your weight loss journey? Jenny Craig’s program is based on scientific research and proven results. Contact us today to book your free appointment with a personal weight loss consultant to get started!     Sources: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]  

These 5-Minute Healthy Side Dishes are Perfect for Your Next Family Dinner

Need a quick way to include more veggies on your plate? Try one of these tasty ideas that take five minutes or less to make. Whip up a serving for yourself or triple the recipe to feed your family — they’re great for bringing to potlucks, parties or including in your holiday spread. An added bonus: All of them keep well in the fridge if you make extras — so can have a healthy side prepped to pair with your lunch the following day.    For Jenny Craig members, all the ingredients are on the Fresh & Free Additions list, so you can enjoy knowing each bite is packed with nutrients and low in calories. Bon appétit!  Colorful Broccoli Slaw The next time you’re at the supermarket — grab a package of broccoli slaw in the produce section to make this simple and colorful recipe. Not only is broccoli slaw packed with vitamin A and C, it also contains calcium and iron, all of which are great for bone health. 1,2 If you want to add even more greens to your meal, use butter lettuce to make “tacos” with this as the filling.   1 cup broccoli slaw  ¼ cup chopped yellow pepper 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro  1 teaspoon lime juice  1 teaspoon olive oil, optional  Dash of hot sauce, optional    Cooking instructions: Put slaw, peppers and cilantro in a bowl. Squeeze lime juice and toss with a touch of olive oil and hot sauce, if using.  Super ’Shroom Sauté Not only is this dish delicious, but mushrooms are chock-full of antioxidants, which can protect your body against oxidative stress.3 Oxidative stress is believed to be one of the factors responsible for a host of health concerns including cancer, and cardiovascular disease, among others.3   Choose pre-sliced mushrooms, such as baby portabellas or button mushrooms, so you can save yourself the prep work. You can use this as a salad topping with a hearty green like kale. Prep the kale by removing the leaves from the stems. Tear the kale leaves into bite-sized pieces and spritz them with some olive oil spray, massaging it with your hands to make it softer. The sauté mixed with the kale is an ideal warm salad for a cold day.   1 cup sliced mushrooms 1-2 tablespoons sliced shallots Cooking spray (use sparingly)  1 tablespoon chopped basil    Cooking instructions: Warm skillet over medium heat. Add sliced mushroom and shallots, and spray lightly with cooking oil. Cook thoroughly and toss in basil.   Gingery Cucumber Slices Cucumbers are not only great for snacking, but they’re also the perfect veggie to use as a base for a healthy side dish. Plus, they’re extremely low in calories and hydrating.4 The other star of this recipe, ginger, has been shown to potentially reduce pain in people with osteoarthritis.5   Check the Asian food section of your grocery store to find a jar of pickled ginger. Pickled ginger makes this dish bright and flavorful — and one tablespoon comes in at only 20 calories.6 To make a bigger salad, add arugula. The greens are tempered by the cucumbers and sweet and zingy ginger.   1 cup cucumber slices  1 teaspoon chopped pickled ginger 1 teaspoon lemon or lime juice  1 teaspoon olive oil, optional   Cooking instructions: Toss cucumber slices and small pieces of ginger together. Squeeze lemon or lime juice on top and a small amount of olive oil, if using. Toss gently to mix and refrigerate or let sit at room temperature before serving. Green Savory Stir-Fry The variety of nutrients contained in bok choy, such as potassium, vitamin C and B-6, can all help to maintain a healthy heart.7 What’s more, this cruciferous veggie is a great source of fiber, which can support your weight loss goals by helping you feel satisfied.8   One of the best things about stir-fry is how quickly it cooks. Bok choy is the only ingredient you’ll need to chop, which makes your prep work a breeze! At first, it may seem like you’re using too much bok choy, but don’t worry, it’ll cook down quickly. Feel free to add other veggies you may have on hand, like the broccoli slaw and mushrooms from the other recipes, or serve this on a bed of baby spinach for a warm and wonderful salad.   ½ tablespoon sesame oil 1 small head bok choy, washed and chopped (about 1 ½ cups) 5-10 snow peas 1-2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional   Cooking instructions: Heat a small amount of sesame oil in a wok. Add bok choy and snow peas and toss. Sprinkle with soy sauce and red pepper flakes, if you want a little heat. Toss till cooked through.   We hope you enjoy one or all of these healthy, quick side dishes! For more delicious recipes and personalized support during your weight loss journey, contact Jenny Craig to book your free appointment with a consultant today.     Sources: [1] <br> [2] <br> [3] [4] <br> [5] <br> [6] <br> [7] <br> [8] <br>  
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Has Snoring Got You Rattled? Top Tips to Help You Get the Rest You Need

As anyone who has shared a bed with a snoring partner knows, the condition can be more than a simple annoyance: It can become downright maddening—for both of you. He snores, you wake and ask him to roll over; he snores again, you elbow him (perhaps not so gently) and ask him to roll over once more. The process continues until, desperate for rest, you move to the couch for the remainder of the night. You both emerge in the morning, groggy and sleep-deprived.   Needless to say, this pattern isn’t healthy—not for him, not for you and perhaps not for your relationship.   The good news is that there are solutions to your partner’s snoring. (Or your own—while about 40 percent of adult men are habitual snorers, approximately 24 percent of adult women are as well, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.1) Here’s a look at some of the most common questions about the condition, along with real-world tips to help your partner—and you—get the rest you both need.      A: According to the National Sleep Foundation2, snoring occurs when the muscles of your throat relax during sleep. This causes your tongue to fall backward and your throat to become narrow and "floppy." Then, as you breathe, the walls of your throat begin to vibrate, causing the distinctive snoring sound. The narrower your airway becomes, the greater the vibration—and the louder the snoring. It’s a common problem: Approximately 90 million American adults are snorers; of those, 37 million snore regularly.2   Interestingly, men’s air passages are naturally more narrow than women’s, which is why men tend to snore more — and more loudly — than women.3     A: The National Sleep Foundation2 reports that in addition to being male, being overweight or obese is one of the most common reasons for snoring, especially if you have excess fatty tissue around the neck. In addition, snoring becomes more common with age due to natural relaxation of the throat muscles.   Other factors that make you more likely to snore include2: Inflammation of the nose or throat, such as if you have allergies or a cold. Sleeping on your back. Use of muscle relaxants or alcohol (the latter acts as a muscle relaxant and will cause snoring if used before bed, the Foundation reports).   In addition, the Mayo Clinic4 states that sleep deprivation can contribute to snoring because it causes increased relaxation of the throat. And the American Academy of Sleep Medicine5 says that smoking can increase your chances of snoring by relaxing both your tongue and throat muscles.     A: Snoring can be a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea6, a condition that involves the walls of the throat completely collapsing so you cannot breathe. This cessation of breathing is called apnea. Approximately one-half of people who snore loudly have obstructive sleep apnea.2   With obstructive sleep apnea, even though your brain senses that you are not breathing and wakes you to breathe (so briefly that you may not even remember it), this pattern of not breathing, followed by arousal, can happen up to 30 times — or more — per hour.7 Needless to say, this pattern can lead to extreme sleep deprivation.   Yet loss of sleep isn’t the only concern with sleep apnea. According to the American Sleep Apnea Association8, if left untreated, obstructive sleep apnea can cause serious health problems, including chronic heart failure, high blood pressure, stroke and other cardiovascular problems. It is also associated with Type 2 diabetes and depression.   Also worrisome is that the incidence of obstructive sleep apnea seems to be increasing at an alarming rate, most likely due to the obesity epidemic, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine9 reports. It’s estimated that 26 percent of adults between the ages of 30 and 70 now have obstructive sleep apnea.   If you suspect you might have sleep apnea, consult your doctor right away. In addition to snoring, symptoms include6: A change in your level of attention, concentration or memory. Excessive daytime sleepiness. Morning headaches. Recent weight gain. Waking at night feeling confused. Witnessed pauses in breathing during sleep, such as if your partner sees or hears you stop breathing. Tips to Help You Get the Sleep You Need If you or your partner snore, the Mayo Clinic10 recommends the following to help you prevent, or reduce the frequency of it: Focus on healthy weight loss. People who are overweight or obese may have extra fatty tissues in the throat, which can cause snoring. Losing weight can help “shrink” those tissues and improve snoring. Sleep on your side. Lying on your back narrows your airway by allowing your tongue to fall backward into your throat. To help keep yourself from rolling onto your back while you sleep, try a pillow or “side sleeper” placed behind your back to help keep you on your side. Raise the head of your bed. Just 4 inches may help. Treat nasal congestion or obstruction. Having allergies or a deviated septum can limit airflow through your nose, forcing you to breathe through your mouth and increasing the chance of snoring. A deviated septum or other abnormality may require surgery; talk to your doctor. Avoid alcohol and sedatives. Avoid drinking alcohol or taking sedatives, especially before bedtime, as both can contribute to snoring by relaxing the muscles in your throat. The National Sleep Foundation2 advises avoiding muscle relaxants before bed as well. Quit smoking. Kicking this unhealthy habit may help improve your snoring. Get enough sleep. Aim for at least seven hours per night. Here are 10 tips to get a better night’s sleep.   Whether you or your partner is a snorer, keep in mind that the condition may not simply be interfering with your sleep—it may be a sign of something more serious that could be affecting your health. We hope you’ll use this information to improve your snoring … and, if necessary, to get the help you need to improve your overall health and well-being.   Do you need help with weight loss? Contact Jenny Craig for a free appointment today!     Sources: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10]
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Here’s What Losing 5-10 Percent of Your Body Weight Can Do for Your Health

While no one’s weight loss journey is the same, there are certain things most people experience while working toward better health. If you’re following a sustainable weight loss program like Jenny Craig, you’ll learn how to develop healthy habits, make improved lifestyle changes, and discover what works best to help maintain the new you. Each positive change you make, no matter how big or small, is something worth celebrating!  <br> If you’re struggling to reach a healthy weight, remember that it’s not always about seeing a dramatic change on your scale right away — gradually losing just 5-10 percent of your weight may have a significant impact on your overall health if you are overweight or obese.1 By losing weight, your blood sugar levels, blood cholesterol and blood pressure, are just a few of the areas that could improve, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).2 <br> Although this might seem like a small amount of weight to lose, the results can be significant. Here are ten ways your health may benefit from losing 5-10 percent of your body weight.  <br>   *Remember to always consult your doctor before starting a weight loss program.  1. Naturally reduce your risk for Type 2 diabetes & improve your blood sugar levels  The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) sponsored a diabetes prevention program that encouraged a randomized selection of over 3,000 participants to lose 7 percent of their weight by “eating less fat and fewer calories and exercising 150 minutes per week.”3 After a three-year period, they lowered their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 58 percent, compared to those who were only given general diet and exercise advice.5 <br> What’s more, research has indicated losing as little as 2-5 percent of your body weight could help you control your blood sugar levels.4 A study of overweight and obese individuals with Type 2 diabetes showed significant improvements to their blood sugar levels when they lost between 2 and 5 percent of their body weight.6 And if you are pre-diabetic, losing 5-10 percent of your weight may lower your risk of <br> developing diabetes.5   2. Improve heart health In the same study of overweight and obese individuals with Type 2 diabetes, this 5-10 percent weight loss also improved participants’ cardiovascular disease risk factors, including lowered blood pressure and, although not as strongly correlated, a reduction in LDL cholesterol levels (the “bad” cholesterol that can build up in your arteries and cause blockages).6   3. Increase your “good” cholesterol  If you are overweight, losing 5-10 percent of your current weight may raise HDL, the “good” cholesterol. HDL helps to remove artery-clogging cholesterol from its unhealthy counterpart, LDL.6 Higher levels of this beneficial cholesterol are also associated with a lower risk of heart disease.7  <br>Exercising, eating a diet rich in vegetables and choosing healthier fats may also help you boost your HDL levels.8 Reach for olive oil, fish and nuts over more processed selections such as butter or canola oil, and of course, make sure to keep your portion sizes in check — as even healthy fats are high in calories.11  4. Lower your risk of sleep apnea <br> Obstructive sleep apnea causes breathing to start and stop during sleep. If you have sleep apnea, while you’re asleep, your throat muscles relax and block your airway, which disrupts your ability to breathe normally.9 Men are twice as likely as women to develop sleep apnea.10 Measuring your neck circumference is a potential indicator: According to the National Sleep Foundation, 17 inches or more may signal sleep apnea for men; for women, it’s 16 or more inches.10 Losing 10 percent of your body weight may help improve these symptoms and losing more may even eliminate the condition completely.11   5. Get better sleep  Losing at least 5 percent of your body weight may help you sleep better at night. A study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania reported obese individuals who’d lost a minimum of 5 percent of their body weight over a six-month period gained 21.6 minutes of sleep each night, on average, and enjoyed better sleep.12   6. Boost your mood In the same University of Pennsylvania study, participants who lost 5 percent or more of their body weight also experienced improvements in mood, compared to others who had lost less weight.15 After 24 months, the study’s participants lifted spirits remained statistically significant.    7. Ease joint pain Did you know that losing just 1 pound removes 4 pounds of pressure from your knees?13 By losing excess weight, you can alleviate additional stress on your bones and joints.14   <br>If you happen to have osteoarthritis, a joint disorder, it’s common to experience pain while sitting, standing and moving. A combination of joint stress and inflammation can increase your risk of osteoarthritis, but weight loss has been found to lessen these symptoms.15    Studies indicate that obese adults who lose 5 percent of their body weight may experience a slight reduction in joint pain, but those who lose 10 percent may experience substantially more relief.16 Check out these 4 tips for managing arthritis.  8. Improve liver health  As the number of people affected by obesity and diabetes has skyrocketed, the number of individuals with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has also increased.17 About 30 percent of the U.S. population, or 100 million people, are affected by this disease.18 NAFLD occurs when fat cells accumulate in the liver which then leads to inflammation and tissue damage.19 Often, individuals with fatty liver disease have few symptoms. The disease can sometimes lead to cirrhosis, an irreversible condition involving scar tissue that affects normal liver functions.16 According to the Mayo Clinic, weight loss of 3-5 percent may help decrease fat from the liver, and a further loss of 10 percent may improve scarring and inflammation.20 Losing weight by making healthy food choices and including physical activity in your routine are the primary ways medical professionals recommend treating this condition.21  9. Potentially reduce your risk of certain types of cancer While the relationship between weight and cancer risk is complicated and still being studied, some research has indicated that weight loss may reduce the risk of breast cancer.22 A recent study found that postmenopausal women who lost 5 percent of their body weight, over the course of three years, decreased their risk of developing breast cancer by 12 percent.23  In addition to losing weight, the American Cancer Society suggests women should stay active (at least 150 minutes of moderate activity a week), try to sit less and limit their alcohol consumption.24   10. Reduce inflammation in your body  Inflammation is your body’s natural response to help fight off harmful stimuli, including bacteria, chemicals and foreign objects (like a splinter).25 There’s acute inflammation (like when you stub your toe), and then there’s the chronic type, which lasts for months or years.26 Too much body fat, especially around your abdomen, releases inflammation-causing molecules into the body, but may be reduced with a 5-10 percent loss of body weight. 27-28  Eating a balanced diet and sleeping more are two additional ways you may be able to lessen inflammation. Begin your weight loss journey <br> Losing weight can be an incredible move toward improving your health and well-being. Whether you’re just starting to learn about the benefits of weight loss or you’ve been working toward a healthy weight for some time, paying attention to what and when you eat, enjoying mindful portions and participating in one-on-one weight loss consultations are just a few of the tools that can help support your goals. Celebrate the steps you’ve taken and remember, even seemingly small victories can have great benefits. <br> Learn more about healthy weight loss by contacting Jenny Craig. Book a free appointment with one of our personal weight loss consultants today! <br>   Sources: [1] <br> [2] <br> [3] <br> [4] <br> [5] <br> [6] <br> [7] <br> [8] <br> [9] <br> [10] <br> [11] <br> [12] [13] <br> [14] <br> [15] <br> [16] <br> [17] <br> [18] <br> [19] <br> [20] <br> [21] <br> [22] <br> [23] <br> [24] [25] <br> [26] <br> [27] <br> [28]