How Does This Diet Work?
Having been in Australia since 1983, and in the USA since 1985, Jenny Craig is perhaps one of the most well-known diet programs, thanks in part to the variety of celebrities who have promoted it, such as Monica Lewinksy, Kristie Alley, and Jason Alexander.
As a diet program, Jenny Craig’s focus is a weight-management approach which encourages clients to leave the program once his or her target weight is achieved, and to maintain that weight through a healthy lifestyle, including exercise, healthy portion selection, and support. The program discourages eating foods high in fat, calories, and starches, and encourages calorie-based meals with lean meats, whole grains, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Offering plans for all ages, genders, as well as for people with diabetes and those who don’t eat meat, Jenny Craig provides planned menus featuring frozen meals, which the dieter then supplements with fruits, vegetables, and other grocery items as outlined by his or her individually specific and Jenny Craig counselor-developed plan. As Jenny Craig is a lifestyle program, exercise and healthy physical activity is also an important component of the diet.
Clients of the program pursue and reach goals through local Jenny Craig Center-based programs, or through the Jenny Craig At Home program, where phone meetings with trained counselors take the place of meetings in physical centers. These counselors provide support, encouragement, and education to dieters, and Jenny Craig features a unique 24/7 phone system, allowing all clients contact with trained counselors at any hour of the day or night.
Jenny Craig uses a three-pronged approach in their plan for weight loss management. First, food; second, body; and finally, mind.
The Jenny Craig Program
While clients begin the program eating Jenny Craig-provided meals, continuous consumption of these prepackaged provisions is not the goal. Rather, the meals serve to familiarize the dieters with portion control and moderation, as well as demonstrating the Jenny Craig model of healthy eating. The program purports that no food is off-limits, but that Jenny Craigers always be aware of how much of the high calorie and high fat foods they are eating, and how that affects the weight loss goals.
The Jenny Craig diet program is high on exercise, and if you are following the program, you will be too. In addition to developing meal plans, Jenny Craig counselors also design (and encourage) physical activity and exercise components to complement the food-based portion of the program.
Self-motivation, Jenny Craig explains, is key to success in any diet regime, and while the mental aspect of weight loss may be the most difficult to master, the Jenny Craig Program has provisions in place for this. The 24/7 counselor phone line is available just for that purpose, as the program encourages dieters to draw support from within, as well as from other dieters, and, of course, the counselors.
Is This Diet Safe?
As the Jenny Craig diet has a very high level of support and interaction with trained counselors, staff, and other dieters, and includes mandated meals, the diet is fairly risk free. Having said that, experts note that the counselors are not expert nutritionists, therefore dieters should be aware of this and have a physician or trained nutritionist at their disposal.
While not an issue of safety, experts also stated that the transition from prepackaged, portion-controlled meals to self-reliance after the target weight is reached may be difficult for some clients, as the program does not adequately prepare adherents to make the big switch seamlessly. For this reason, it may be easy to fall back into delicious but counteractive eating habits once the gravy train of provided meals leaves the station.
Can I Cheat a Little With This Diet?
As noted previously, the Jenny Craig program does not prohibit the foods themselves, rather, it encourages followers to be aware of the quantity of high calorie and high fat foods consumed, and the effect these morsels will have on the end weight loss goals. So yes, a little cheating is okay, and even expected, but self control, especially with guilty pleasures, is crucial for success.
Pros of the Diet
- Personalized plans are tailored to meet individual needs and situation.
- Jenny’s Cuisine offers a level of variety.
- Ample support and resource network.
Cons of the Diet
- Transition to self-reliance may be difficult.
- Maintaining weight loss requires a serious lifestyle makeover.
- Program may be difficult to follow without taking advantage of support network.