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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] https://medicine.wustl.edu/news/in-obese-patients-5-percent-weight-loss-has-significant-health-benefits/ <br> [2] https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/losing_weight/index.html <br> [3] https://www.niddk.nih.gov/about-niddk/research-areas/diabetes/diabetes-prevention-program-dpp <br> [4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3120182/ <br> [5] https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/digestive_weight_loss_center/conditions/diabetes.html <br> [6] https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/hdl-the-good-but-complex-cholesterol <br> [7] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/in-depth/hdl-cholesterol/art-20046388 <br> [8] https://www.webmd.com/heart/how-to-boost-your-good-cholesterol <br> [9] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/obstructive-sleep-apnea/symptoms-causes/syc-20352090 <br> [10] https://www.sleepfoundation.org/ask-the-expert/losing-weight-sleep-apnea <br> [11] https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/weight-loss-breathing-devices-still-best-for-treating-obstructive-sleep-apnea-201310026713 <br> [12] https://www.endocrine.org/news-room/press-release-archives/2014/sleep-mood-improves-after-substantial-weight-loss [13] https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/arthritis-diet/losing-weight/weight-joint-pain.php <br> [14] https://www.obesityaction.org/community/article-library/what-your-weight-means-for-your-bones/ <br> [15] https://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/types/osteoarthritis/articles/oa-prevention.php <br> [16] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3623013/ <br> [17] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/nonalcoholic-fatty-liver-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20354567 <br> [18] https://liverfoundation.org/liver-disease-statistics/#non-alcoholic-fatty-liver-disease-non-alcoholic-steato-hepatitis <br> [19] https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/when-the-liver-gets-fatty <br> [20] https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/mayo-clinic-q-and-a-weight-loss-is-key-to-combatting-nonalcoholic-fatty-liver-disease/ <br> [21] https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/liver-disease/nafld-nash/treatment <br> [22] http://www.ascopost.com/issues/april-25-2018/modest-weight-loss-reduces-breast-cancer-risk/ <br> [23] https://www.cbsnews.com/news/breast-cancer-risk-and-weight-loss-study/ <br> [24] https://www.cancer.org/latest-news/five-ways-to-reduce-your-breast-cancer-risk.html [25]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279298/ <br> [26] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/248423.php <br> [27] https://www.rd.com/health/diet-weight-loss/weight-loss-benefits <br> [28] https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/taking-aim-at-belly-fat
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What is Prediabetes and Is It Reversible?

If you’re like many Americans, you’ve likely heard about Type 2 diabetes, an increasingly common medical condition that causes higher-than-normal blood glucose levels.1 But have you heard about prediabetes? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this condition is often a precursor to diabetes and is even more common: While an estimated 30.2 million American adults had Type 2 diabetes in 2015, 84 million — one in three — had prediabetes. Yet 90 percent of people with prediabetes didn’t even know they had it.2,3 And the condition is on the rise.4   Prediabetes is a serious condition, according to the CDC, as it increases your risk of developing not only Type 2 diabetes, but heart disease and stroke as well.5 And if you do go on to develop Type 2 diabetes, the disease can damage many vital body systems over time, including your blood vessels, eyes, heart, kidneys and nerves.6    But the good news is that even if you have prediabetes, there are steps you can take now to help reverse it — and prevent Type 2 diabetes from developing at the same time.3 Here’s how. What is prediabetes? According to the CDC, prediabetes is diagnosed when your blood glucose levels — also known as your blood sugar levels — are higher than normal but are not high enough for you to be classified as having diabetes.5 With prediabetes, your body doesn’t use insulin well (sometimes referred to as insulin resistance), which causes glucose to accumulate in your bloodstream rather than moving into the cells of your body, as it is supposed to do.7     If you have prediabetes, you are at high risk for developing Type 2 diabetes8 unless you take steps to reverse the condition; it’s estimated that between 15 percent and 30 percent of people with prediabetes will develop Type 2 diabetes within five years if they do not make the recommended lifestyle changes.9 In fact, people who develop Type 2 diabetes almost always have prediabetes first, according to the American Diabetes Association.10 How to know if you have prediabetes While there are no clear symptoms of prediabetes, some people with the condition do have symptoms similar to those with diabetes, including the following:11    Blurred vision Cuts or bruises that are slow to heal Extreme fatigue Feeling very hungry  Feeling very thirsty Frequent urination  Tingling, pain or numbness in the hands or feet    According to the American Academy of Dermatology,12 having dark patches of velvety skin — called acanthosis nigricans — on your armpits, the back of your neck, or elsewhere can also be a sign of prediabetes.   If you do have any of these symptoms, be sure to check with your doctor, as the only way to know for certain whether you have prediabetes is through blood tests. If you do have prediabetes, the American Diabetes Association recommends getting a blood test for Type 2 diabetes every one to two years.10 What causes prediabetes?  Experts aren’t sure what causes prediabetes, but your genetics and family history seem to be important factors. Other factors that increase your risk include:13  A history of gestational diabetes. You — and your child — are at higher risk of developing prediabetes if you developed gestational diabetes while pregnant Waist size. Men with waists larger than 40 inches and women whose are larger than 35 inches are at increased risk Being inactive. In fact, the less active you are, the greater your risk of prediabetes, according to the Mayo Clinic Being overweight. The more fatty tissue you have — especially in your abdominal area — the more resistant your cells become to insulin Disordered sleep. Having a sleep disorder called obstructive sleep apnea increases your risk. Working night shifts may increase your risk as well High blood pressure. High levels of triglycerides.  Low levels of HDL cholesterol. Known as the “good” kind of cholesterol found in foods like nuts, avocado and olive oil Your age. The risk of prediabetes increases after the age of 45 Your dietary habits. Drinking sugar-sweetened beverages is associated with an increased risk, as is eating excessive amounts of processed and red meat     How to help prevent Type 2 diabetes If you have been diagnosed with prediabetes, that doesn’t mean you are destined to develop Type 2 diabetes. In fact, according to Harvard Health,14 the vast majority of diabetes — and even prediabetes — can be prevented through lifestyle and diet changes.    According to the Diabetes Prevention Program Outcomes Study conducted by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases,15 losing weight and getting regular exercise are the two most important steps you can take to help prevent Type 2 diabetes. Specifically, the study found you can lower your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 58 percent by doing two important things:  Losing 7 percent of your body weight Getting 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week — such as walking briskly for 30 minutes, five days a week What should you eat if you’re prediabetic?  In addition to getting more exercise, Harvard Health recommends the following dietary modifications if you are at risk of Type 2 diabetes:14 Reduce your intake of processed foods and added sugars. This includes refined grains such as white flour and white rice, as well as sugary drinks, including sodas and juices Choose whole grains. Foods made from 100 percent whole grain (such as whole wheat) are a good choice, but intact whole grains — brown rice, corn, oatmeal and quinoa, for instance — are better  Increase your fiber. Most vegetables and fruits are high in fiber, as are legumes such as beans, chickpeas, edamame and peas Eat more fruits and vegetables. At least half of what you eat every day should be non-starchy fruits and vegetables — the more colorful, the better Avoid processed red meat. Eating one serving of processed meat a day (such as deli meat and hot dogs) is associated with more than a 50 percent increased risk of developing prediabetes Eat healthier fats. Saturated fats, especially from meats, are associated with an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease. Plant oils, such as extra-virgin olive oil and canola oil, carry less risk, while omega-3 fats, such as those found in walnuts, flax seeds and some fish, are actually healthy for you   You also might want to consider trying intermittent fasting, which has been shown to be beneficial for people with prediabetes. In one study of prediabetic men,14 study participants followed an intermittent fasting schedule of eating between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. for five weeks. After the study period, the participants showed improved insulin sensitivity and other measures of metabolic health, as well as lowered blood pressure and less oxidative stress. Interestingly, they also experienced less hunger in the evening.   Jenny Craig’s Rapid Results program integrates time-restricted feeding, a type of intermittent fasting, where you eat over a 12-hour time frame and refrain from food for the following 12-hours (which includes sleep) to let your body’s cells rejuvenate. By eating in accordance with your circadian rhythm, you’ll be working with your body by consuming the majority of your calories when your metabolism is working most optimally.    We hope you’ve been inspired to take steps to help prevent yourself from developing prediabetes. And if you have already been diagnosed with the condition, remember that you have the power to help reverse it — and avoid diabetes at the same time.   If you’re ready to focus on improving your diet and lifestyle, Jenny Craig can help! Click here to set up a free appointment with a personal weight loss consultant to discuss your goals and start working towards a healthier you! <br>   Sources: [1] http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/type-2/?loc=util-header_type2 <br> [2] https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/pdfs/data/statistics/national-diabetes-statistics-report.pdf <br> [3] https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/takethetest [4] https://news.psu.edu/story/370127/2015/09/16/medical-minute-incidence-diabetes-and-pre-diabetes-rise <br> [5] https://www.cdc.gov/features/diabetesprevention/ <br> [6] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/type-2-diabetes/symptoms-causes/syc-20351193 <br> [7]  https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/what-is-diabetes/prediabetes-insulin-resistance <br> [8] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3891203/ <br> [9] http://endocrinefacts.org/health-conditions/diabetes-2/2-prediabetes/ <br> [10] http://www.diabetes.org/are-you-at-risk/prediabetes/ <br> [11] http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/symptoms/ <br> [12] https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/other-conditions/diabetes-warning-signs <br> [13] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/prediabetes/symptoms-causes/syc-20355278 <br> [14] https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/healthy-lifestyle-can-prevent-diabetes-and-even-reverse-it-2018090514698 <br> [15] https://www.niddk.nih.gov/about-niddk/research-areas/diabetes/diabetes-prevention-program-dpp <br> [16] https://www.diabetesdaily.com/blog/study-intermittent-fasting-yields-benefits-to-people-with-pre-diabetes-even-without-weight-loss-572626/
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4 Reasons to Start Your New Year's Resolution Early

Chances are, if you’re contemplating a New Year’s resolution, shedding those extra pounds is at the top of your list, according to a Marist Poll.1   But the best time to make a weight loss commitment is sooner rather than later, according to Dr. Pamela Peeke, chair of the Jenny Craig Science Advisory Board, who is sharing four good reasons to make a pre-New Year’s resolution.   Here are her insights to consider, and, if you add the help of Jenny Craig’s Rapid Results, you can lose up to 16 pounds in the first four weeks (average weight loss was 11.6 pounds for those who completed the studies), making it a great way to start an early weight loss resolution. Reason #1: You’ll Love Your Holiday Photos Whether it’s pictures snapped at work parties, family photos sent out with Christmas or Hanukkah cards, or the chronicling of special moments spent with family and friends, the holidays are loaded with photo ops. But how often have you avoided pictures because you didn’t feel good about being in front of the camera?    “A common refrain we hear from members is that they avoided having pictures taken of themselves because they weren’t happy with their weight,” says Carrie Elkins, division manager for Jenny Craig Anywhere.   By making a commitment now, you can feel healthier and more confident during the holidays -- and have the photos to remember those moments. Reason #2: You’ll Be More Proactive and Procrastinate Less Let’s face it: If you know you want to lose weight but are waiting until January to start, you may just be delaying the inevitable. Waiting can set you up for procrastination, and procrastination can actually be harmful, according to the Association for Psychological Science, causing people higher levels of stress and lower well-being.2 Resolve to start losing weight now before the holiday madness begins and while you have the drive.   “Motivation is key when it comes to preparing the psyche for any important behavior change,” said Peeke. “Planning is always beneficial when it comes to weight loss. Creating a practical strategy to take the small steps necessary to improve lifestyle habits will take you from a dream to an achievable goal.”   Reason #3: Starting Now Means a Different Resolution in January Beginning your weight loss journey now can give you the confidence to tackle a different resolution in January. So, make a new New Year’s resolution! Use the motivation gained by following through on your weight loss goal to fuel your next challenge. Reason #4: The Time is Right For many Americans, the holiday season starts with Halloween. That’s three months of potential overindulgence. In fact, the average American starts to gain weight around Thanksgiving, with weight gain peaking around the December holidays or the New Year and it can take up to five months to lose it, according to Cornell University’s Food & Brand Lab.3   If you can adopt healthy habits before the holidays, you may just counteract these effects to gain less or even maintain your weight during the holidays.     “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, I cannot emphasize that enough!” said Peeke. “The goal is to stave off weight gain leading into the holidays, and regroup to get on track with healthier lifestyle habits in the New Year.”   So instead of waiting until 2019 to start making changes, get a head start on your resolution and your journey to better health. Tips to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain Even if you make a firm resolution to lose weight now, the holidays can still be a challenge. Here are tips to help keep you on track. 1. Think of the various holiday events as just that: a holiday. As tempting as it is to keep candy in the house well past October 31, Halloween is not a whole week, just like Thanksgiving and the December holidays are not month-long celebrations. You can still have a great holiday season and lose weight—just regroup and get right back on track the day after a celebration. 2. Plan ahead. Make a game plan before you head out the door for a holiday celebration. Consider working with a personal weight loss consultant, like one at Jenny Craig, if you need additional guidance. In addition, review the following strategies which may help keep you on track with your weight loss plan: Fill up on healthy food before your holiday meal. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can compensate for calories eaten later by skipping meals earlier in the day—doing so can make you ravenous later on and cause you to make poorer food choices.4 Survey the food before selecting what you want to eat. Instead of taking some of everything that’s on the holiday table, be selective. Take a close look at all the foods being offered, then come up with a plan for which ones you really want to eat—you don’t have to take something simply because it’s on the table. And, of course, be mindful of your portion sizes. 3. Get some exercise before the holiday meal — and throughout the holiday season. Getting activity in before you head off to your holiday celebration will not only burn some extra calories, but it may put you in the right frame of mind to keep you from overindulging. Also, try to schedule a workout or a walk with friends or family for the day after the holiday so you get right back into the swing of things. In fact, try to stay as active every day — there’s no need to postpone activity just because it’s holiday time! 4. Take something off your to-do list. The holidays are a notoriously busy time, but that doesn’t mean your healthy eating plan needs to suffer. By having delicious, healthy, ready-made meals on hand, you can take one thing off your plate while staying on track with your weight loss goals. Plus, who wants to venture out to do grocery shopping when it’s cold and rainy outside? 5. It’s OK to say no. As part of your holiday eating plan, you’ll be choosing the foods and portion sizes that work for you, so don’t cave in to pressure from others to eat beyond that. If you can master the PRP technique (polite, reason, polite), you'll have an easier time saying no. 6. Make new traditions. Instead of baking snowman cookies with your family, try crafting or creating a new, non-food activity for the entire family to enjoy. Or cook up these delicious, healthy holiday side dishes that everyone is sure to love.    As you contemplate your weight loss plan, we hope you will consider that now may be the best time to start your journey. We also hope that your holidays, while still a way off, are filled with family and friends, special moments and memories, and lots of photos … with you in them!   Are you ready to start working toward better health before January 1? Contact Jenny Craig for a free appointment to meet with a personal weight loss consultant to discuss your health goals this fall!     Sources: [1] http://maristpoll.marist.edu/1220-being-a-better-person-weight-loss-top-2018-new-years-resolutions/#sthash.OVjfrRYr.dpbs [2] https://www.psychologicalscience.org/observer/why-wait-the-science-behind-procrastination [3] https://foodpsychology.cornell.edu/discoveries/make-october-weight-resolution [4] https://www.health.harvard.edu/diet-and-weight-loss/eating-frequency-and-weight-loss
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4 Reasons Why Meditation is Good for Busy Moms

It’s almost 9 p.m. and you sink into the couch; finally, you have a few minutes to yourself. Between chauffeuring the kids to and from school, preparing meals, running errands and meeting deadlines at work, you’ve hardly had a second to yourself. Does this scenario sound familiar?   As a mom, it can be easy to put your family and career at the top of your list, and your own well-being on the back burner. You have probably heard this before, but practicing self-care is an important part of keeping healthy. It can also help you recharge and put things in perspective, so even though your already full plate probably can’t handle any more, by taking just a few minutes every day to practice self-care, you may actually free up other areas of your life and headspace, and be less stressed throughout the day. One healthy way to do this is through meditation. Meditation is a great way to help slow things down, focus your mind when it’s time to shift your attention from one task to the next, or just take a minute for yourself. Read on to learn more about the benefits of meditation for moms and easy ways to integrate this simple practice into your day — no matter how busy you may be. What is meditation?  At its core, meditation is a technique for setting the mind at rest and attaining a state of consciousness and mindfulness.1 Meditation is centered around helping you reach a state in which your mind is relaxed, clear, and focused inward rather than on the external events taking place around you or in the world.1 The goal of meditation is to silence the mind, get in touch with yourself, and work to achieve a centered consciousness within.1  4 benefits of meditation for mothers <br>#1. You’ll start tuning into the present moment.  <br>Ever feel like your child’s schedule is busier than yours? From sleepovers to after-school sports, it’s common to feel overwhelmed with so many activities. If you feel like you’re rushing from event to event, always wondering “what’s next?” it may be time to take a pause. One of the benefits of meditation is learning to become more present, or “in the moment.”    Mediation allows you to shift your focus from constantly anticipating your next task to connecting with the present, helping you to appreciate everything as it happens.2 While you’re waiting for that softball or soccer game to end, take a little time to focus on your senses — take in the sights, smells and sounds around you — and focus only on each sense, droning out the past stresses of the day, or the other things you have to get done before bedtime. When you start to enjoy each moment, in the moment, you might find yourself feeling more relaxed.3 <br>#2. It’s a great way to manage stress.    With work, an always growing to-do list, and a demanding schedule to handle, some days are more stressful than others. Although we all feel the effects of stress, experiencing too much may impact your health and happiness. Meditation is a great way to learn how to better manage your feelings, even when you only have a few minutes to spare.    As you learn to become more self-aware, your practice can also help you to understand your reactions to stress and how to work through difficult situations. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a few minutes — whether it’s first thing in the morning or in your car before heading off to the next activity.     To give it a try, find a quiet place to focus on a repetitive activity, whether it’s slow, steady breathing, repeating a calming sound, like “om,” or a positive mantra. Once you choose your relaxing action, remain focused on it for a few minutes. If you’re distracted by other thoughts, do your best to push them from your mind. After just a few minutes, you may feel more calm, clear and focused. Meditating may not only reduce feelings of tension or anxiety, but it may also help you handle stressful issues in a more relaxed state.4 <br>#3. You may feel more alert.  <br>If you’ve ever experienced a restless night caring for your little one, you can relate to how groggy and out of sorts you tend to feel the next day. The good news: there may be a natural remedy. Research has shown meditation may improve alertness, even after a sleepless night.    A review of several meditation-based studies explored meditation’s effects on “tonic alertness,” a term that describes your level of vigilance and wakefulness, as well as your ability to notice or react to unexpected issues.5 In one study, those who meditated for 40 minutes performed better in an exercise that tested their reaction times and ability to focus over an extended period, compared to taking a nap or another activity. When the same exercise was performed after a night of too little sleep, meditation helped improve the participants’ alertness and reactivity.    #4. It can support your weight loss journey.  <br>If you’ve ever slowed down to enjoy a meal and savored each bite’s taste and texture, you’ve practiced mindful eating. And while removing distractions such as electronics during every meal may seem challenging — it could help your weight loss efforts.    A 2011 study published in the Journal of Obesity explored the effects of using Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-Based Eating Awareness Training (MB-EAT) on almost 50 overweight women in the San Francisco Bay area.6 MBSR helped the women remain focused on the present, allowing them to disrupt their previous thought patterns, emotions and behaviors. This enabled them to develop new, healthy patterns of thinking, feeling and acting. Mindfulness-Based Eating Awareness Training taught them to be more aware of the hunger, satisfaction, and emotional triggers that could potentially lead to overeating.   The study was successful in several areas, notably in “increasing mindfulness and responsiveness to bodily sensations, reducing anxiety and eating in response to external food cues, and tended to reduce eating in response to emotions.” In addition, participants who “reported the greatest improvements in mindfulness, responsiveness to bodily sensations, and chronic stress had the largest reductions in abdominal fat.” However, more research is needed to determine the long-term effects of mindfulness on weight loss.6 How to start meditating Meditation doesn’t need to be complicated or time-consuming — just give yourself 10 minutes! To get started, try meditating in the morning or at night, then see how you feel after a full week. If you feel distracted after a few minutes, make your sessions shorter, gradually building up each session as you continue to practice. Beginners may choose to try a guided meditation to start, as it’s a helpful way to keep your mind from wandering. Find the style that works best for you by checking out different videos, apps or meditation CDs.  Mind over matter As a parent, it’s important to take time for self-care, whether it’s through meditation, exercise, or your favorite pastime. Try taking a few minutes of your day to focus on the present, breathe deeply and relax. Remember, you deserve to have time for yourself!   To learn more about how to balance self-care and your weight loss goals, contact a consultant at Jenny Craig to book your free appointment!     Sources: [1] https://yogainternational.com/article/view/the-real-meaning-of-meditation [2] https://www.todaysparent.com/family/family-health/meditation-for-moms/  [3] https://psychcentral.com/blog/how-to-do-present-moment-awareness-meditation/ [4] https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/meditation/in-depth/meditation/art-20045858 [5] https://www.brown.edu/research/labs/britton/sites/britton-lab/files/docs/Brittonetal2013_Awakening is not a metaphor ANYAS.pdf [6] https://www.hindawi.com/journals/jobe/2011/651936/
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Take the Quiz: Are You Too Stressed?

Feeling frazzled? Take this quiz to see where you fall on the stress spectrum - and we'll give you tips to de-stress and find your calm.   
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Juggling a Family, Work and Weight Loss Isn’t Easy — But These Tips Can Help

We get it: Between your career and your kids, you’ve got a lot on your plate: competing schedules and priorities, a jam-packed calendar and a to-do list that never seems to end. And if you’re trying to add weight loss to the mix, it can feel pretty overwhelming … with your own needs potentially taking a back seat to everyone — and everything — else.    Maybe you’ve tried a fad diet or perhaps cut out certain food groups to try and lose weight while juggling all of life’s demands — only to become frustrated when the pounds crept back on because it wasn’t sustainable. Rest assured: there are healthy techniques you can master to help you find more balance while achieving the weight loss you want. Here are a few:  First, Give Yourself Permission The first and most important step in your weight loss effort is to truly give yourself permission to make your health and wellness a priority. If you are a parent, you most likely put your family first a majority of the time. If you are an adult with a profession outside of the home, you also probably put everything you’ve got into your career. But it’s important to remember your self-care is a priority, too. After all, when your body is nourished with good food and feels energized, and when you take some well-deserved time for yourself, you’ll feel more equipped to care for others.  Pack Your Snacks and Lunch the Night Before <br> As tired as you undoubtedly are after working all day, chauffeuring kids to and from their activities, making dinner and supervising homework, it pays to take a few minutes before bed to prep and pack your meals for the next day. This is one of the best ways to make sure the morning runs as smoothly as possible. Plus, as we have all experienced, the morning can influence our mood for the rest of the day.    What’s more, packing your food the night before ensures you will have healthy options at your fingertips, so you’ll be less likely to grab a sugar-laden treat at the mid-morning meeting.  Lay Out Your Next-Day Outfit, Too  <br> Some of the most successful people in the world are known for wearing the same clothing every day.1 Why? Because doing so frees up the mind to focus on other, more important decisions. So try taking a page from their book: With your outfit laid out and ready, you can toss it on quickly and continue with your to-do list without missing a beat.  Map Your Day Before winding down for the night, do a quick look at your planner, phone and agenda the night before. When you know exactly what to expect the next day, you’re less likely to be startled by surprise meetings or events that may get in the way of hitting the gym or going for a quick walk on your lunch break. And book out time on your calendar so that you can take that walk at lunch so that you stick to your plan and break away from your desk.  Stay Healthy at Work  If you’re at work the majority of the day, it’s important to make that time count. Here are ways to make your hours at the office healthier — and, hopefully, more productive: Include more movement: If you work at a desk job, try to incorporate more walking breaks throughout the day. Or, if your company will spring for it, try a stand-up desk. Not only does standing require more energy, but it’s also a great way to avoid sitting for hours on end — which studies have linked to health concerns such as high blood sugar, increased blood pressure and obesity, to name a few.2 Avoid the snack area: Sure, lunch-room offerings such as donuts and cookies are tasty, but they sneak in a lot of empty calories. Sugary treats also lead to a massive drop in blood sugar shortly after they’re consumed, which can lead to a drop in energy and bring on feelings of sluggishness.2 Instead, reach for a snack that will keep you satisfied and your energy levels stable.  Eat at the Right Times In addition to focusing on what you eat, when you eat is equally as important for working optimally with your metabolism. Research shows that eating according to your circadian rhythm3 — the mental, behavioral and physical changes that happen naturally over a 24-hour cycle — can help boost your metabolism, in addition to aiding with weight loss and digestion, helping with depression and perhaps even improving your memory.4,5,6 To adhere to your circadian rhythm, try implementing a daylight nutrition strategy. This involves what’s known as time-restricted feeding, or arranging your meals to a 12-hour eating window. The reason for this is simple: Your body burns the most calories during daylight hours.   The strategy is fairly straightforward: Eat during daylight hours over a span of 12 hours. So, if you eat your first meal of the day at 7:30 a.m., finish your last meal and snacks by 7:30 p.m.   Also try to consume the majority of your calories prior to dinner, when your body is burning calories at the highest rate.    Jenny Craig’s newest program, Rapid Results, includes a daylight nutrition strategy, along with a plan so you don’t have to count, track or worry about what or when to eat. Find a Healthy Balance We hope these tips bring more balance to your busy life, and that they help you on your weight loss journey. Just remember: Your self-care matters — for yourself and your family.    Want to save even more time in your busy day? Join working parents just like you who use the convenience and effectiveness of the Jenny Craig program to learn how to lose weight and keep it off. Contact Jenny Craig to book your free appointment and get started today.      Sources: [1] https://www.inc.com/craig-bloem/this-1-unusual-habit-helped-make-mark-zuckerberg-steve-jobs-dr-dre-successful.html [2] https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/sitting/faq-20058005 [3] https://www.nigms.nih.gov/education/pages/Factsheet_CircadianRhythms.aspx [4] https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/03/10/389596946/circadian-surprise-how-our-body-clocks-help-shape-our-waistlines [5] https://www.nigms.nih.gov/Education/Pages/Factsheet_CircadianRhythms.aspx [6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4385793/
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