The Jenny Craig Program

Founded in 1983 and now offering weight management in 550 locations, Jenny Craig is one of the largest weight management organisations in the world. Its programs are available throughout the US, as well as in Canada, Puerto Rico, Australia and New Zealand.

Click here for "My Take" on this program
Click here to read about research into the program

How does it work?

This is essentially a low calorie program based on the recommendations of the 2005 USDA Dietary Regulations. To start a program with Jenny Craig you will either visit one of their retail branches or have a consultation by phone.

Initially you will complete what the organization calls its YOURSTYLE profile - a questionnaire to discover what parts of your lifestyle need to be focused on. You will discuss diet, activity and your eating habits.

Your Jenny Craig plan is based around a weekly meeting with your "Consultant" who has been trained by the Jenny Craig organization. They will put together a menu plan which initially starts with the trade marked Jenny Cuisine pre-packaged and carefully portioned foods.

Support is one of the cornerstones of the Jenny Craig program - a weekly consultation, preferably face to face is one of the requirements of the program. The first 5 weeks will cover a prepared structure of topics. After that you will be able to guide the topic of the meetings yourself.

Jenny Craig Foods:

You can purchase these predominantly frozen, pre-packed foods from the Consultant or have them delivered to your home. There are 75 different meals to choose from. The basic structure of the program is to eat three meals and three snacks per day. You will also have fruits, vegetables and low-fat milk products, which you buy yourself.

When you are halfway to your goal weight your consultant will start to teach you haw to transition onto normal foods once again. The goal of the eating program is that you should learn how to manage your own portions by the end of the program.

The big selling point of Jenny Craig is that this food is designed to taste great but without the calories. Fat, sugar and cholesterol is restricted in the Jenny Cuisine foods and there is a total ban on trans fats (a very good thing). To find out whether these meals are popular with weight losers, click here to read "my take on Jenny Craig".

The way the diet works is by restriction of calories - the most traditional and medically acknowledged method of weight loss. Your consultant will assess your current lifestyle in your initial consultation and recommend a menu based on their pre-packed frozen foods to hit a calorie level. The levels are: 1200, 1500, 1700, 1900 & 2300 calories dependent on your height, weight and activity level. This is designed to have you lose 1-2lbs per week. You will be moved to lower plans as your weight decreases.


Your consultant will draw up a plan for you to increase your activity level gently from wherever you are starting out. This is called their Natural, Playful & Planned approach.

Their activity program was developed with help from the Cooper Institute, a not-for-profit health and exercise institute based in Dallas. Its initial goal is to increase the enjoyment you get out of everyday activities such as using the stairs instead of the lift, walking the dog or doing housework.

Then it progresses to incorporate aerobic exercises such as running, swimming or biking, and also moves on to resistance work, acknowledging how important resistance work is for metabolism boosting. Click here for more information on metabolism boosting exercise

How much does the Jenny Craig program cost?

The headline cost of the program is usually low - recent introductory offers include: "lose 20lbs for $20" or "6 weeks for $36", however these charges are by no means the total you will pay.

The costs of the pre-packed foods are between $10-$15 per day, and then there's those extras - fruits & veg, wholemeal bread and low-fat milk.

After the introductory period is over you will be presented with the option of a "platinum" 3 year membership costing $299 or a "gold" 1 year membership at $199. Cost does seem to be one of the factors which frustrates some Jenny Craig clients.

See a listing of what you get on each program below...

Click here for my take on the whole program
Click here to read about research into the program

What comes in the program?

The Platinum Membership includes:
Weight Loss Support
Private, weekly weight loss consultations
Guidance with choosing menus
Weight Loss Success Manuals for information and strategies
Audio Walking Program to support activity goals
Motivational Audio for extra support
Weight Maintenance Support
Private, monthly Maintenance Consultations
Guidance with Maintenance Menu Planning
Maintenance Mastery Manual for information and strategies
The Jenny Cookbook for healthy meal planning and cooking
Journals to track your progress
Special Benefits for Platinum Members (expires after 3 years)
50% Platinum reward (Does not apply in California due to state law)
25% Program discount for immediate family members
10% off pre-packaged meals while maintaining your desired weight
Unlimited come-back privileges for 3 years (see Service Agreement for specific details)

The Gold Membership (expires after 1 year)
Private, weekly weight loss consultations
Guidance with choosing menus
Weight Loss Success Manuals for information and strategies
Audio Walking Program to support activity goals
Journals to track your progress

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