It’s Diet Diagnosis time again, and this week I’m discussing the Jenny Craig program.
You’ve seen numerous celebrity success stories over the years including Valerie Bertinelli, Sara Rue, Jason Alexander and most recently Princess Leia herself – Carrie Fisher, who joined the program in an effort to gain control of her weight.
But how does Jenny stack against that “other” weight loss program like Weight Watchers? Are there any appreciable differences or is this just the same program with a different name?
The Jenny Craig program is a simple 3-step plan that focuses on eating portion appropriate meals, gradually including activity into your lifestyle, and focusing on having a healthy and sound mind.
In essence, it’s a calorie counting plan that’s made easy through use of…yep you guessed it, prepackaged signature Jenny Craig frozen foods. As with other programs there is 24-hour support and when you join the program a personal consultant helps assess your current lifestyle, activity level, and sets a daily calorie amount using questionnaires that were created by a medical advisory board.
Jenny’s plan strives to educate its users on making smarter food choices, teaching good fats from bad, which carbohydrates are better than others, and of course the golden egg – the importance of calorie control for long term weight maintenance. You can use the plan either in your home, or you can visit one of the many licensed weight loss centers. And of equal importance is activity, which we all know is needed for a healthy lifestyle. The Jenny Craig team educate users in this area as well – providing options for activity depending on if you’re in the gym, walking the dog, or even cleaning the house!
The daily diet is almost all Jenny Craig prepared foods, with the exception of dieter’s providing their own fruit, vegetables, milk, and a few other small items. This allows near exact calorie control and helps to establish a regular routine.
The Jenny Craig approach is one of the better choices in my opinion. They follow established medical guidelines such as promoting a 1-2 lbs. per week weight loss (at most) instead of making huge weight loss promises, the plan also follows USDA guidelines, and stresses the importance of physical and mental well being.
Plus I love the fact that this is not a lifelong program, but a tool to be used, learned from and then applied in your own life. It just feels like a more well-rounded diet and nutritional plan than some of the other options out there.
In fact my biggest issue with the program is with the frozen and pre-packaged food choices. They all look great, are around 300 calories and readily available. But making the transition back to preparing your own food is a recipe for diet disaster. I’d like to see a slow taper off of Jenny’s food, to users making their own food as they get closer to their program’s end. I think that would be a big help and keep users on track.
Should you try Jenny? If you’re the kind of person that thrives in these types of plans, then I’d say yes. But remember, Jenny Craig, as well as all the others, aren’t teaching you anything you can’t learn and practice on your own. At the end of the day, the plan tells you to eat right, exercise, and focus on your mental health – and that’s pretty well worn advice.