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Here's How to Ring in the New Year Without Derailing Your Weight Loss Progress

If you’re like many Americans who are on a journey to lose weight, the thought of New Year’s Eve may fill you with a mix of excitement and angst. On one hand, you don’t want to derail the progress you’ve made; on the other, you’d like to be able to kick up your heels a bit and ring in the new year with some fanfare.    Well, we’ve got good news for you: Just because you’re on a weight loss journey doesn’t mean you need to hide at home while everyone else celebrates. Here are eight healthy ways to ring in the new year with friends and loved ones by your side —without sabotaging your hard-earned progress.  1. Come Up with a Post-Party Plan The last thing you want to do after a night of celebrating is to figure out what you can or should eat — or to have to drag yourself to the store for healthy food that you you’ll need to prepare. Make a list of the healthy snacks and meals you’ll eat on New Year’s Day, and grab everything at the grocery store earlier in the day. Even better: have a few ready-made meals on hand so there’s no need for prep work!   2. Heading Out to a Party? Strategize First  Work with your Jenny Craig personal weight loss consultant to make a game plan before you head out the door for a New Year’s Eve celebration. In addition, consider the following strategies to help you stay on track with your weight loss plan: Fill up on healthy food throughout the day. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that by skipping meals earlier in the day you can compensate for eating later: Doing so can make you ravenous when meal time finally comes and can cause you to make poor choices.1 Plus, eating healthfully — and in the right portions — during the day may make you more likely to continue your healthy patterns throughout the evening. Also, be sure to eat breakfast: Researchers at the Mayo Clinic2 have found that regularly skipping your morning meal not only puts you at higher risk for gaining weight, but also for developing dangerous visceral fat (also known as belly fat).  Once you’re at the party, check out the food lineup before loading up your plate. Instead of taking a little of every dish that’s being offered, first take a close look at all the foods being served, then decide which ones to eat. Choose only items you really want — no need to take something simply because it’s there. Another tip: be mindful of your portion sizes. Squeeze in some physical activity on New Year’s Eve — and on New Year’s Day. Getting a workout in (even if it’s just a 30-minute walk!) before you head off to your New Year’s Eve party can help put you in the right frame of mind for the rest of the day. If you’re feeling ambitious, schedule a workout for the day after as well. You may even want to consider signing up to run (or walk) a New Year’s Day race; dozens are held across the U.S. every year.  3. Host Your Own Party Worried about all the tantalizing dishes that are bound to end up at the New Year’s Eve party? Consider hosting your own celebration so you have more control over the food and drinks that get served. Need some ideas on what to prepare? Consider these healthy, delicious 5-minute side dishes.    Also, stock up on small containers so you can send your guests home with leftovers. That way you can enjoy the party for the night, and then continue with your healthy eating plan once it’s over. 4. Choose Healthier Drink Options Ring in the new year with alternative drink options such as kombucha, sparkling water with fruit, peppermint tea, etc., or ensure to alternate between your favorite libation and a sparkling water to stay hydrated and consume less alcohol (and calories!). 5. Not in the Party Mood? Try Something Different Don’t want to face the temptations of a traditional New Year’s Eve party — or deal with subzero weather, rowdy party-goers and the risk of not being able to find your coat when it’s time to head home? There are plenty of other ways to ring in the new year:    Have a family game night: stock up on party favors, hats and poppers for when the clock strikes midnight. While you’re at it, try a healthy new recipe.  Go to the movies — and bring your Jenny Craig popcorn. Go for a nighttime hike (just don’t forget a headlamp). Try a midnight run. New York and other cities hold an annual race at midnight on New Year’s Eve. See if you can find or organize one in your area. Go bowling.  Try ice skating. Host a pampering party (because you deserve a little self-care). Do some yoga. While you’re at it, use the opportunity to do some meditation on what you really want to achieve in the new year — and how you will get there.  6. Keep Things in Perspective Just remember, New Year’s Eve is just one night, so overindulging might not be worth it in the long run if it makes it harder for you to mentally and physically recommit to your weight loss goals the next day — especially if you have tempting leftovers in the house, or you’re feeling the effects of too much celebration and too little sleep.   As we wrap up this year, we hope you’ll look on New Year’s Eve not so much as a chance to overindulge, but to spend quality time with the people who matter most: friends and family. Here’s to a healthy, happy 2019 brimming with vitality and wellness. Cheers!   Planning on reaching your weight loss goals in the new year? Jenny Craig can help! Contact us for a free appointment to get started on the path to health and wellness today.     Sources: [1] https://www.health.harvard.edu/diet-and-weight-loss/eating-frequency-and-weight-loss <br> [2] https://inthenews.mayoclinic.org/2018/04/27/people-who-eat-breakfast-gain-less-weight-over-time-study-finds/ <br>  
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The Ultimate Self-Care Gift Guide

Still need to purchase some last minute gifts? Our ultimate self-care gift guide has got you covered!
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10 Ways to Unwind This Holiday Season

Gift shopping – check. Decorating, cooking, cleaning – triple check. Picking up relatives from the airport – wait, what time are they getting here?!   If this sounds anything like your holiday checklist, you might be feeling more frantic than festive! Making too many plans and rushing around can leave you feeling tired and irritable – exactly what you want to avoid during one of the most exciting times of the year. To keep up the holiday cheer, make time for small doses of relaxation and self-care to help create a more stress-free holiday season. Use these 10 tips for managing stress during the holidays so you can enjoy every moment of the celebrations. #1. Take a power nap Feeling overwhelmed? Take a break from all the excitement with a quick snooze — according to the National Sleep Foundation, short naps can reduce tension.1 Aim to get 10 to 15 minutes of shut-eye between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., when your body’s blood sugar begins to dip. Naps may also help improve your mood and alertness – great news for extra-busy days.2 #2. Sip some tea Various studies have shown that drinking tea, specifically black and green teas, may reduce your stress levels.3 These teas contain theanine, an amino acid that may lessen anxiety and encourage you to feel calm.4 Plan a daily “tea time” when you sit down for a break, brew a cup and unwind. For a little holiday flair, try peppermint or spiced chai.  #3. Get a breath of fresh air Getting outside and connecting with nature may help decrease your levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, and lower your heart rate.5 Make this part of your everyday schedule by planning a short walk in the mornings, during your lunch breaks or in the evenings. It’s a great way to get moving without breaking a sweat!   #4. Free up your schedule The holidays are full of obligations and invites, but it’s OK to say no. If you’re feeling overcommitted, check out your potential plans for the month and choose one event you’d like to skip. Giving yourself the time to make your own plans or just staying at home and relaxing are helpful ways to cope with holiday stress. #5. Treat yourself The holidays might be a season of giving, but that doesn’t mean you should give up your time for self-care. Take 10 minutes today to do something for you. There are lots of different ways to practice self-care – try choosing something that you enjoy and helps you to relax. Perhaps it’s as simple as reading a book, taking a walk, or simply savoring some peace and quiet.   #6. Have a good laugh Laughter might be the best medicine during the holidays! Letting loose and laughing could help you to de-stress6 and may even keep your heart healthy, according to research.7 Infuse a little humor into the festivities by playing a fun game with your kids, watching a rom-com or getting tickets to a comedy show.   #7. Go offline Ever feel left out after seeing photos of your friends having a great time during the holidays? Social media envy is a real thing! But a quick break from the internet may help — one study found that active social media users who took a five-day break from Facebook had lower levels of cortisol in their bodies.8   If you find yourself spending too much time on social media, sign off or disable your notifications, whether it’s for a couple of hours or a few days. When you unplug, you may even find yourself spending more time engaging with your loved ones!   #8. Turn up the holiday tunes It’s more than just an enjoyable pastime – listening to music may help reduce your stress levels.9 It’s the perfect way to relax and get into the holiday spirit. If you start to feel anxiety creeping up, take a break and put on your favorite songs. The best part of this holiday stress management technique is you can do it anywhere – driving around town, making dinner, or relaxing by the fire!   #9. Put on your dancin’ shoes Did you know you can unwind and improve your mood by being active?10 Physical activity encourages your brain to release endorphins, natural chemicals that may help you feel happier.10 A 2017 study found most people noticed a mood boost after exercising for 10 minutes or less.11 So go ahead, lace up those sneakers for a brisk walk or fitness class. Get your groove on at a dance studio or bust out an impromptu dance party with your kids. Have fun with it!   #10. Start a new tradition ‘Tis the season to make memories. If you’re used to certain holiday traditions that no longer align with your health goals (we see you, holiday cookies), switch it up! Get crafty by creating festive decorations as a family or signing up for a local 5K such as an ugly sweater run or Santa walk instead.   The holidays are a special time to spend with family and friends, especially if you only see only them once each year. If you feel overwhelmed by plans and preparation, coping with holiday stress can be as simple as scheduling time for yourself each day. Even if you have only 10 minutes to spare, try these tips to get one step closer to a stress-free holiday season!   If you’re ready to feel your best during the holidays, we’d love to help! Jenny Craig’s science-backed program includes delicious chef-crafted meals and personalized support to help you reach your weight loss and health goals. Book your free appointment with a consultant today!     Sources: [1] https://www.sleep.org/articles/napping-health-benefits/ [2] https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/napping [3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5537891/ [4] https://www.fastcompany.com/3021416/how-a-cup-of-tea-makes-you-happier-healthier-and-more-productive [5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21996763 [6] https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/22/laughter-and-memory_n_5192086.html [7] https://health.clevelandclinic.org/3-ways-laughter-can-give-healthier-heart-2/ [8] https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00224545.2018.1453467?journalCode=vsoc20& [9] https://www.apa.org/monitor/2013/11/music.aspx [10] https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/exercise-and-stress/art-20044469 [11] https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/exercise-endorphin-high-time-how-long-motivation-study-10-minutes-wiggle-a8325661.html
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7 Stress-Free Ways to Get Organized at Work and Enjoy Your Holiday Vacation

There’s always something to look forward to during the holidays, whether it’s a well-deserved vacation or extra time to spend with family. Getting away from “work mode” for a few days or even a week is a great way to start the New Year feeling refreshed and reinvigorated. But before you head out for the break, are you wondering how to get organized at work? Take some time now to prepare for your return so that it’s easy to jump right back in. Follow these tips to organize everything from your desktop to your calendar, so you can unwind and fully enjoy the holidays — it’s all about having balance! #1. Plan ahead. Planning early allows you to break tasks into small, manageable sizes instead of handling everything at once prior to leaving the office. Look at your to-do list for the upcoming month. Can you get a head start on any projects? If so, how much extra time do you need daily to get them all done? Getting started early helps avoid last-minute rushes and logging long hours before your holiday vacation. #2. Touch base with your coworkers. If your office doesn’t officially close during the holidays, it’s important to designate a point person who can answer questions about your projects. Create a coverage plan for the people who will help out while you’re away. Try to anticipate what questions or issues might come up. Depending on how long you’re gone, you may need to schedule a quick meeting and send a follow-up email – it’ll help avoid miscommunication and serve as a reminder for anything that could be easily forgotten. Proactive planning helps ensure that your colleagues are prepared to handle any issues that arise during your absence, allowing you to enjoy your holiday uninterrupted. #3. Communicate with external clients or vendors. Reach out to your clients/vendors a couple of weeks before leaving the office to tell them who their point of contact will be while you’re away. A calendar reminder can go a long way – consider sending one a few days before leaving to answer any last-minute questions. Set up an out-of-office message to automatically direct others to your administrative assistant, supervisor or coworker and include their contact information. Keep it short and sweet to avoid confusion. #4. Clean up your calendar. Ensure your calendar is updated before you leave the office so you won’t be scheduled for meetings while you’re gone. If possible, schedule some time as “unavailable” the first day you get back. Reserve this time to get up to speed on projects after your vacation. This is also the perfect chance to clean up your calendar by declining any standing meetings you missed and to evaluate anything new that’s been added to your calendar. #5. Organize your desk (and desktop!). Spend an hour decluttering. Recycle old papers or notes and place information your coworkers or supervisor will need in a spot that’s easy to access. Now’s the perfect time to break out that stylish desk organizer and put it to use! Dust off your monitors, keyboard, mouse and phone to keep everything fresh and clean when you get back into the office. Delete outdated files and move all backup files to your company’s server, or give your colleagues permission to access them. There’s nothing worse than getting locked out of a project when deadlines are looming! #6. Check in during your time off. Although this might sound counterintuitive, it may help reduce your stress and workload upon returning to the office. However, if a brief check-in turns into working during the holidays, it can prevent you from fully enjoying your time off. If looking at your emails reduces your stress levels, set a specific time limit and check them. But if you find that it gives you anxiety, give yourself permission to turn off your notifications for a few days to truly unwind.   If you plan to read emails, set some guidelines so you can still enjoy your break. Try checking messages for less than an hour in the morning to allow time to handle questions, then move on with your day. Try to avoid logging on right before enjoying a holiday event to prevent potential work issues from distracting you during the festivities. #7. Create a plan for your return. Reduce your stress on your first day back in the office by planning ahead and giving yourself plenty of time to catch up. Check your calendar and avoid scheduling back-to-back meetings or conference calls. Check in with anyone who covered for you to receive any important updates that may have happened while you were away. You’ll get right back into the swing of things in no time, but enjoy your time off to the fullest!   Getting some time away from the office is a great way to celebrate the holidays and reward yourself for your hard work. Take a few extra steps to get prepared and organized before you leave – it’ll make it much easier for your coworkers to adjust and help you to avoid any surprises once you’re back. After all, the new year is the perfect time to start healthy resolutions at home and work!   Need a little help with your resolutions? Learn more about the healthy strategies you can use during the holidays by setting up your free appointment with Jenny Craig today.    
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What is Winter Solstice and Can it Affect How You Feel?

The winter solstice marks the shortest day and longest night of the year. So, if you’ve been struggling to adjust without Daylight Saving Time, just know that there is light at the end of the tunnel (literally). After the solstice, days will slowly become longer as it gets closer to spring.  <br> In 2018, the winter solstice falls on Friday, December 21 in the mid-afternoon/early evening for everyone in the Northern Hemisphere.1 But what does more darkness and less light mean for your body? Here’s how this yearly change might affect your health and how you feel.  You may feel extra tired. The winter solstice’s shorter day and longer night might interfere with your natural circadian rhythm, the 24-hour cycle that helps regulate your body’s physical, mental and behavioral changes.2 This cycle runs parallel to the 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness in a typical day and night. But with less light and more darkness, your body may feel more sluggish than usual.  <br> Low levels of vitamin D could also be to blame. According to Harvard Health, people who have a body mass index (BMI) higher than 30, may have low levels of vitamin D.3 This is because vitamin D is stored in fat and when it’s not circulating through the bloodstream, it can’t be used as effectively by the body.3 Click here to find out if your BMI falls within a healthy range. <br>Here’s what could help: Sunlight might not provide the amount of vitamin D you need, since the sun’s rays during the winter aren’t as strong.4 Ask your doctor about taking a supplement or adding vitamin D-rich foods to your meals, like salmon, eggs and mushrooms.5   You might feel moody. Like its name suggests, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), can make people feel lethargic, tired and gloomy and its effects usually correspond with the change in seasons. Overeating, weight gain and craving carbohydrates are also symptoms of the winter pattern of SAD, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.6   <br> SAD is a form of depression that often affects people before and after the winter solstice, from December through February.7 Normally, your circadian rhythm syncs with the day-to-night changes that occur throughout the seasons. But people with SAD experience the change in daylight hours differently, which makes it difficult for their bodies to adjust.7    Make sure to speak with your doctor if you experience any symptoms of SAD or notice anything out of the ordinary during the winter season. <br>Here’s what could help: If you think you may be experiencing symptoms of SAD, talk to your doctor. He or she may recommend medication, light therapy, and/or vitamin D supplements to help you feel better.6 If you’re craving carbohydrates, try swapping the refined variety for these healthier alternatives instead. You might lose motivation. Longer evenings and chilly nights make it much easier to think about snuggling up under a blanket than working out. In a 2013 survey of 502 adults in the U.S., nearly 44 percent of participants said they would put off exercising in the winter.8 And when the temperature dropped below 60 degrees, participants were also less likely to exercise.8  <br>Here’s what could help: Schedule a workout class or plan to meet a friend at the gym in advance, so you’ll be more likely to show up. Or, try different exercises indoors to heat things up when it’s too cold outside. If you’re starting to add new activities into your day, check out our Beginner’s Guide to Exercise for helpful tips! You may be more productive. The darker, colder days leading up to the winter solstice do have their benefits. A 2014 study showed that people, when assigned indoor work, were more likely to be distracted by thoughts of their favorite outdoor activities if the weather was fair. Less pleasant weather resulted in better performance.9   <br>Here’s what could help: Make the most of your productivity boost by doing the hardest work later in the morning, the time when researchers say your alertness and concentration are at their best.10 In the evenings, give your creative thoughts another shot. Open-ended problems may be easier to solve when you’re tired. Fatigue may allow your mind to wander and explore new possibilities, one study suggests.10 <br>   Although the cold weather and dark nights around winter solstice may make it feel challenging to focus on your health goals, (especially when the couch is calling your name), know that you can still stay on track by getting your daily dose of vitamin D, getting your activity in and eating healthy foods.  <br> Need a little extra motivation to get back into a healthy routine? We’d love to help! With personalized, dedicated support and delicious chef-crafted meals, Jenny Craig’s Rapid Results is a science-based program designed to promote weight loss and work with your natural circadian rhythm. Contact a consultant to book your free appointment today.  <br>   Sources: [1] https://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/december-solstice.html <br> [2] https://www.nigms.nih.gov/education/pages/Factsheet_CircadianRhythms.aspx <br> [3] https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/taking-too-much-vitamin-d-can-cloud-its-benefits-and-create-health-risks <br> [4] http://blogs.oregonstate.edu/linuspaulinginstitute/2016/01/25/sunlight-vitamin-d-winter/ <br> [5] https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/appendix-12/ [6] https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/seasonal-affective-disorder/index.shtml <br> [7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4673349/ [8] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2095254616300576 <br> [9] https://www.fastcompany.com/3043171/good-news-this-endless-winter-is-making-you-more-productive <br> [10] https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10000872396390444180004578018294057070544
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5 Post-Holiday Tips to Re-energize Your Goals

We get it: sometimes it’s easy for your healthy habits to get lost in the holiday shuffle. Between traveling and spending time with loved ones, you’ve likely had a few other things on your mind — and on your to-do list. As the new year approaches, you may find yourself wanting to refocus on your health and wellness goals. If so, you’re not alone — in 2018, 45 percent of Americans made weight loss their New Year’s resolution.1 To help you get back on track, we’ve compiled our top five post-holiday motivational tips, so you can ring in the new year feeling like your best self. Here’s to health, happiness and a wonderful 2019!  #1 Make sleep a priority   Feeling tired after staying up too late at a holiday party? Post-holiday season is the perfect time to reevaluate your schedule and consider focusing on your bedtime routine. Better sleep won’t just help you feel more rested — studies indicate that it can also support your weight loss goals.2 Research shows that too little sleep can cause you to feel hungry and may increase the likelihood that you’ll reach for unhealthy foods, especially late at night.3 It’s believed that the increase in appetite is due to a surge in the hunger hormone — ghrelin — that is impacted when you don’t get enough Z’s.4 What’s more, poor sleep is linked to a higher body mass index and weight gain.5    Practicing good sleep hygiene habits, like avoiding caffeine before bed and eating with your circadian rhythm, could help you feel better.6 The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults aim for seven to nine hours of sleep a night.7       #2 Outline your goals If your healthy eating habits and exercise routine fell short during the holidays, revisit your goals and set new ones for the week, month, or year. Setting goals and completing them each week — getting enough sleep, adding exercise back into your routine, or making self-care a priority —  is a great way to stay ahead of the game. Use these weight loss motivation tips for extra support along the way.   Remember to celebrate your victories, no matter how small! They’ll help fuel your post-holiday motivation as you work towards your new weekly and long-term targets.    #3 Stay on track with physical activity Exercise can not only help you burn calories and keep your heart healthy, but it may also improve how you feel. According to the American Psychological Association, there is a strong link between exercise and mood.9 Just five minutes of moderate exercise, such as taking a walk or riding a bike, can be enough to lift your spirits.9   The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity or 75 minutes of aerobic activity weekly plus muscle training on two or more days per week.10 Get started with these easy ways to incorporate exercise into your everyday life.    #4 Get organized at work You might feel pressure to overschedule or overcommit yourself when you get back to work after the holidays. Instead of adding stress, start the year by creating and setting realistic, achievable goals. A great way to manage your stress at work is to set 3-5 daily goals to help you prioritize the critical items you need to complete each day. Create new, stress-free habits by scheduling a daily lunchtime walk or other exercise at work.    #5 Stay hydrated If you feel drained and worn down after the holidays, it may be time to check how much water you’re drinking each day. Water is critical to our health and can help with weight loss.12 A small study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found drinking almost 17 ounces of water temporarily spiked participants’ metabolic rate by 30 percent.13    Experts recommend women drink at least 11.5 cups of fluids, while men should drink about 15.5 cups daily.14 Drink more if you exercise or are sick – water, tea and sparkling water are all great options.      The holidays are a fun time of the year, filled with friends, family and celebrations. While your weight loss goals may have been pushed to the backburner during the holiday season, the New Year is the perfect time to get back into a healthy routine that aligns with your goals.    Ready to make your health and wellness a priority in 2019? Book your free appointment with a Jenny Craig consultant to learn more about setting weight loss goals today! <br>     Sources: [1] https://www.statista.com/statistics/378105/new-years-resolution/ <br> [2] https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/05/170522081109.htm <br> [3] https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/06/180601171900.htm <br> [4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC535701/ <br> [5] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/sleep-and-weight-loss <br> [6] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/8877.php <br> [7] https://www.sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need [8] https://www.forbes.com/sites/markmurphy/2018/04/15/neuroscience-explains-why-you-need-to-write-down-your-goals-if-you-actually-want-to-achieve-them/#3bfd8b557905 <br> [9] https://www.apa.org/monitor/2011/12/exercise.aspx <br> [10] https://health.gov/paguidelines/second-edition/pdf/Physical_Activity_Guidelines_2nd_edition.pdf [11] https://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/xlm-a0036577.pdf <br> [12] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/drinking-water-helps-with-weight-loss <br> [13] http://press.endocrine.org/doi/full/10.1210/jc.2003-030780 <br> [14] https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/water/art-20044256
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