The Jenny Craig Diet - My take ...
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ON THE POSITIVE SIDE:
1. The Support
There's no doubting the Jenny Craig Program's commitment to close support. A weekly check in with a coach or weight loss mentor is an absolute must-have - study after study shows this. You are always going to lose more weight on a program which involves close follow up.
Jenny Craig demands you attend a weekly meeting for a weigh-in and a review of the previous week's successes. This can help you so much in getting through the tough times and in celebrating the good times.
They will plan your menus for the week ahead and coach you in the Jenny Craig method (which follows the USDA's recommendations). The fact that all Jenny Craig consultants are trained to give you an activity program you can stick to is another great benefit.
In short you are more likely to focus on your weight loss closely with the follow up and stick to your program for a greater length of time, which means greater weight loss.
2. The Simplicity:
If you're someone who finds organizing yourself and your diet difficult, then you're going to find the meal solution that the Jenny Craig Diet provides to be a godsend. What could be more straightforward than picking up a week's worth of meals pre-packed and simply removing the boxes to cook them?
Navigating your way to this webpage was probably more complicated! So - with no weighing, no measuring of food portions and no cooking skill required, a 7 year old could get themselves fed using the foods recommended by the Jenny Craig Diet.
All you have to purchase for yourself is fruit, vegetables and low fat dairy products. It's child's play.
3. The Activity Program
If you've read my
6 Master Steps to Weight Loss
or signed up for my
FREE 4 day online video and audio weight loss program
, you'll know that I consider making your daily activity (such as walking / stair climbing etc) more intense first of all and building up to a serious exercise program when you start to feel more energetic and have lost a few pounds. Throwing yourself into a heavy workout from the get-go rarely works. This is the approach recommended on the Jenny Craig Diet also.
There's no way I know of that you can maintain a weight loss comfortably without raising your level of activity, and working on this weekly with your Consultant will really help make activity a way of life and not a chore.
ON THE NEGATIVE SIDE:
Oh yes, The Jenny Craig Diet is definitely more pricey than others. Although the headline figure of the initial starter package may be low ($36 for the first 6 weeks), there are extra costs involved.
Firstly you have the cost of the week's Jenny Craig pre-packed meals and snacks. Be prepared for a food bill from them (before you shop for fruits and veg & dairy produce) of $70-$100 per week per person. If this program offers you the convenience you need of not having to cook difficult meals and not having to think about what to cook, then you may well be happy to pay the extra.
I'm in favor of greater expenditure on your diet and health - for me there's little better way to spend your money than on good healthy food. However, I've heard a number of stories of weight losers being surprised with the cost of the first week's foods from Jenny Craig when they expected only the headline figure and feeling under pressure to commit when they're in the consultation.
If you're tight for cash, this probably isn't going to be the program for you - you'll probably begrudge yourself the money and subconsciously sabotage the program to prevent further pain of handing over your hard earned cash.
2. The Jenny Craig Diet is not progressive:
Though it is based on "official" guidelines of nutrition, laid out in the 2005 USDA Food pyramid, as you can read in this article, there are many authoritative figures in the world of nutrition who have criticized this as a basis for ultimate nutrition.
In fact the UCLA Human Nutrition Laboratory has even launched and alternative Food Pyramid.
You can summarize the differences in two words: Protein & carbs. The UCLA recommendations suggest you have a greater level of protein and a lower level of carbohydrate.
This is important, in my view for two reasons: Firstly, protein can seriously reduce your hunger - which naturally helps your weight loss. Carbs on the other hand are the most energy-rich but nutritionally poor foods available.
My strong recommendation if you wish to lose weight is to carefully watch the amount of carbs you have from any starchy source (wheat, rice, potatoes). You should match this to the amount of activity you have in your life. If you work in a sedentary job, starchy carbs should be kept to a low level in your diet, and increased only as your activity level rises significantly. Please keep eating carbs in the form of fruits and vegetables, but keep an eye on the starchy ones!
3. Not Habit-forming:
Another problem I have often heard reported by followers of the Jenny Craig Diet is that the pre-packaged meals are almost too easy to rely on.
Granted the Jenny Craig Diet program does encourage you to learn about cooking and sensible food preparation as you reach your goal weight, but I'm concerned that this fails to reach weight losers, and they run the risk of making no long term change in their diet.
If you were to start the program with at least some input into your own meal preparation, then you'd stand a greater chance of learning good habits in this area, but as the program entirely takes over your food preparation from breakfasts, thru snacks, lunch and dinner you're exposed to the risk of becoming reliant.
Whilst I encourage active replacing of foods with meals / meal replacements which have been desiged with your health in mind, I'm always weary of a program that replaces all the meals you have.
I certainly admit to being biased, but I believe you'd do better with my Weight-Coach.com program. All the benefits of great support, but without the hitches! You can start your coaching today with my
FREE 4 day online video and audio weight loss program
Give your body the best!