The Jenny Craig Diet Plan Review

jennylogoAt A Glance

Jenny Craig is a well known and popular weight loss brand with weight loss centers found in the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Jenny started in the weight loss industry after she wanted to lose the weight that she gained during her own pregnancy. When she was successful with her own weight loss, she was inspired to start her first commercial weight loss program.

In the mid 1980s, she launched the Jenny Craig Weight Loss Management Program in Australia with her husband Sid, and quickly franchised the brand to the rest of the world.

Jenny Craig Inc. is now one of the largest weight management companies in the world.

Here’s How It Works

The Jenny Craig Program is a reduced calorie diet that’s guided by the USDA Food Pyramid. Generally speaking, this means that the diet focuses on balanced nutrition consisting of 60% carbohydrates, 20% protein and 20% fat.

Diets on this program start from 1,200 calories a day and a long term weight loss of 1 – 2 pounds per week is possible. The program also includes visiting of their many weight loss centers for weigh-ins and one-on-one consulting with their weight loss consultants.

If you’re to join this program, you’ll have to sign a contract lasting for about 2 – 3 months, after which you’ll have to sign up for either a Platinum or a Gold membership.

Platinum Membership includes:

  • Ongoing weight loss support;
  • Menu choices for individual needs;
  • Personal support with weekly weight loss consultations;
  • Exercise support with Jenny Craig walking audiocassettes; &
  • Weight maintenance support.

Other special benefits of going Platinum:

  • 50% Platinum reward;
  • 25% program discount for family members; &
  • 10% off Jenny Craig Cuisine.

Gold Membership includes:

  • Menu choices for individual needs;
  • Personal support with weekly weight loss consultations;
  • Exercise support with Jenny Craig walking audiocassettes.

While on this program, you’ll have to purchase pre-packaged food from the company, especially at the start of the diet.

This may be convenient for you if you’re not a big fan of cooking and may also be helpful in controlling the portions that you’re eating. On this diet, you’ll be given a completely pre-planned menu to follow.

This menu plan includes the pre-packaged Jenny Craig cuisine and other store bought items. Once you’ve reached the halfway point, you’ll then switch to another pre-planned menu where maybe 3 or 4 days of the week, you don’t have to eat their pre-packaged food.

The main aim of the this program is to get you to change your lifestyle and eating habits so that after reaching your desired weight, you won’t have to rely on their pre-packaged food, pre-planned menus or their consultants to maintain your new healthy weight and lifestyle.

If you prefer the food to be delivered to you and to get your counseling through the phone, you can also do so through their Jenny Direct program.

And What Can I Eat?

Their pre-packaged cuisine of course!

Although there are some recipes on their website, you’re strongly encouraged to buy their pre-packaged cuisine, especially when you first start out on the diet.

How About Exercise?

Jenny Craig has just recently introduced a fitness & exercise component to their program although exercise has never been a primary focus of their weight loss plan.

For a more solid and complete program, we do feel that exercise should always accompany a diet program for healthier and faster weight loss.

Regular exercise has always been a common trait found in dieters who have lost weight and kept it off… especially when you learn to make exercise fun and part of your daily lifestyle.

Anything Else?

A good thing about this program is that the training modules (with the complete program) teaches you behavior skills, covering everything from stress management to how to socialize without overeating. You’ll most definitely benefit from the many tips and strategies taught in these modules.

However, you’ll need to know that counseling sessions are different from center to center – some are as simple as a weigh-in while others have reported that counselors may be more helpful in different centers.

Another thing to note, although some counselors are health professionals, a professional certificate is not a requirement as the qualifications to perform in this position is provided internally by the Jenny Craig centers.

There’ve been reports posted on online forums from disgruntled ex-customers of the company slamming some of these counselors as nothing more than salespeople aggressively pushing Jenny Craig products.

And just for your info, as of 2005, Kirstie Alley (star of ‘Cheers’, ‘Look Who’s Talking’ and ‘Fat Actress’), was made the spokesperson for Jenny Craig.

What’s The Cost Like?

A Platinum membership costs about $299 while a Gold membership costs about $199.

If you’re wondering about the pre-packaged cuisine… it’s expensive!
Jenny Craig estimates that you’ll spend about $11 – $17 a day!

For cheaper alternatives, you can actually consider Nutrisystem, which is about half the cost of Jenny Craig (and also with free membership and no contract signing).

Final Thoughts

This diet may be suitable for you if you don’t like the fuss of cooking or planning what you can or should eat for the day. Besides, portion controlled, pre-packaged food can work and have worked for many people.

However, eating pre-packaged cuisine may become boring and difficult to stick to after a while…and it’s also expensive! Packaged food, in the form of lean, frozen meals, can be found in every supermarket at a much lower price.

Also, another problem of relying too much on pre-packaged foods is that it doesn’t really prepare you for your own food preparation once the program ends.

If you do have that much money to spend on this program in the first place, a better idea may be to pay for a registered dietician and personal trainer instead.

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