Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Jenny Craig: Does it Work?

Some people find that they have an easier time losing weight if they join a formal program, rather than go at it on their own. I cannot say enough positive things about MyFitnessPal and Weight Watchers, but I also wanted to provide you with information on other diets that are available.

For those unfamiliar with the Jenny Craig Program, the basis of the program combines dieting with counseling. 

According to the Jenny Craig Wikipedia:

Jenny Craig offers weight loss programs tailored to women, men, people with diabetes and seniors. Clients are provided with individual, private counseling sessions with program consultants.  Initially, clients are given a planned menu to follow, utilizing the company's line of frozen and dry foods, along with grocery items like dairy and vegetables. Clients later are able to customize their own menus using the same range of foods. The goal of the program is that once clients reach their desired weight levels, they no longer need to rely on the program's prepackaged food, planned menus, or consultations to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

My dear friend Serena, who is currently having great success on Jenny Craig, has agreed to be interviewed.

Steph: Hi Serena, thanks for agreeing to be interviewed. How long have you been on Jenny Craig?

Serena: Hi Steph, I've been on Jenny for approximately 5 months.

Steph: What do you believe are the strengths and weaknesses of the Jenny Craig program?

Serena: Strengths I would say are that Jenny's plan definitely helps you get your calories in check and teaches you portion control.  It is so simple to follow, you have to legitimately TRY to fail.  Meal plans can be picked for you, or you can choose them yourself.  You're told what to have supplement wise and there's even a guide for "a yogurt is equivalent to a milk"  "one hotdog counts as 2 meats".  

Weaknesses, I'd say for me, were that after a while i got bored with the food.  HOWEVER, I don't like cheese, so this cut out a TON of options for me.  In addition, because the plans are so simple to follow, it becomes mindless.  Which can be great because it's so simple, but then when you need to choose your own food off the Jenny meals, you have to start paying closer attention to how many proteins, sugars, carbs, sodium etc.
Steph: Is exercise incorporated into the Jenny Craig program?

Serena: It is definitely encouraged!  I was losing weight before I was exercising while on Jenny, but hit a plateau.  Once I incorporated exercise as per the suggestion of my consultant, the weight started to come off again. Jenny also has videos and other exercise supplies to help give you options.

Steph: Is the food good? Do you exclusively eat the Jenny food, or do you supplement it with your own cooking? How do you think that has hindered or helped you in the short and long term?

Serena:  The food is good, but like i said before, I don't like cheese, so that hinders a lot of what I get.  Overall, i enjoy most of the options I have and I just avoid the ones I dislike.  Also, I became bored quickly, so I began supplementing -- At first, I made unhealthy choices, which led to another plateau.  Now, I cook my meals at home and use some of the recommended recipes on Jenny or other weight loss sites. Skinnykitchen.com is probably my favorite.

Steph: How important do you believe it is to have that consultant acting as a cheerleader for your weight loss?

Serena: Jenny has you meet with a private consultant once a week.  It's nice because they ask you how your previous week went, weigh you, see what you have planned for the week upcoming, and help you devise a routine that can help you continue success.  I personally like the one-on-one time because I can focus on myself and what I need to do all while getting another person's opinion.  And if you don't mesh well with your consultant, Jenny let's you switch anytime until you find the right match, that's really important too because if you don't like your support system, well then how is it going to support you?

My consultant specifically seems excited to hear when I'm doing well in life in general, not just with weight loss success. That kind of all-around encouragement helps push me to strive more because its someone who isn't a part of your everyday life, but they are still in your corner. 

Steph: How much weight have you lost on Jenny Craig since you started?

Serena: I've lost about 25 on Jenny.  I had 2 plateaus but overall I am happy with the results.

Steph: Can you describe your diet history?

Serena:  I have been trying to lose weight since high school and have tried quite a few things.  Fad diets i would either not stick to or gain the weight right back.  I tried Weight Watchers but it was difficult for me to follow--I also don't think I was READY to lose weight.  I got to a point where I came close to 200lbs, and at that point I was like "ummmm, no. I need to change this RIGHT NOW".  Once I made that choice for myself, i made some small changes, lost about 10 lbs, and then chose Jenny.

Steph: Have any dieting/fitness advice for my readers?

Serena: If you want to lose weight or get healthy or into shape, it has to be completely your decision.  You need to want it bad enough.  I also recommend putting up photos of what you don't want to look like (a picture of some really obese or unhealthy person) and then some photos of what you do want to look like--I have photos of Allison Sweeney up because although shes fit, she struggles to this day and she's still a little curvy   To me, that's inspiring and inspiration is motivating.  You know what is good and bad food wise, it's just will power.  

Also, learn to cook!  Jenny, Nutrisystem, and even WeightWatchers (Smart Ones) offer meals for you, but those are quick/easy solutions.  In the end, some of them can be high in sodium or lacking on other nutrients so they aren't reliable weight loss tools.  Learning to cook not only keeps you a little active, but allows you to experiment with your own flavors and have leftovers if the dish came out well!

Steph: Any last thoughts?

Serena: In regards to pricing, Jenny sometimes does deals. When it is not a deal, the program costs $30/month plus the cost of food.  Sample deals have been $20 for 20lbs plus the cost of food (then in fine print it says or 10weeks..so 20lbs or 10 weeks -- whichever comes first).  There are also longer term or more expensive programs but there are incentives with these.  For example, pay $349 for a year (plus the cost of food) then get half back when after a year of hitting your goal you are still within 5lbs. Another program features a special arm band that calculates your sleep, exercise, EVERYTHING.  This is more expensive, but can be helpful if you need/want the extra information about when your body is burning the most and least.

Here's Serena -- before and after:

Serena plans to continue her weight loss and healthy lifestyle. 

1 comment:

  1. Great informative post!! I had wondered how these different programs differed from each other and how the results were. It works so well to have a personal story, kudos to Serena and to you both. The programs seem great, however i feel weight watchers offers a more comprehensive program, easier to see what you're doing right or wrong