The Jenny Craig Diet
Jenny Craig was founded in Australia in the 1980’s and today is available in Australia, New Zealand, the USA and a few other countries.
Jenny Craig is most well-known for its use of celebrity ambassadors, including Magda Szubanski, Kirsty Alley, Mel B, and Ian “Dicko” Dickson.
The Jenny Craig system is based on helping members achieve a healthy BMI with the help of weight loss consultants (also called weight loss coaches), calorie-controlled and portion controlled pre-prepared meals, a choice of diet plans and recommended levels of exercise. In addition, Jenny Craig offers “cognitive strategies” to help manage emotions and feelings, and assist with motivation.
Once dieters are halfway to their healthy weight goal, they begin to cook some of their own meals.
In line with the current Australian Healthy Eating Guideline, Jenny Craig menus don’t exclude any food group or food type, like the Paleo diet, Atkins diet, 5:2 diet and others. It has a more balanced approach to weight loss.
Jenny Craig is available in around 100 Jenny Craig outlets across Australia and New Zealand, and phone support is also available.
Three Membership Types
Jenny Craig offer three membership types, all of which, they say, will equip you with everything you need to succeed at a price you can afford.
Prices vary for the three memberships, which are called the Signature Plus, Signature and Trial memberships.
All three programs include:
- Your own weight loss coach
- One-on-one weekly consultations
- Personalised menu and activity planner
- Weight loss tools
The Signature and Signature Plus memberships also include:
- Weight loss transition (to a maintenance program we presume)
In addition, the Signature Plus membership includes:
- 1 year maintenance support
- 5 year support privileges
- A 10% discount on Jenny Craig food when you achieve your goal weight
Jenny Craig Food Costs
In addition to your membership fee, you purchase Jenny Craig pre-prepared meals and food while on the program.
According to the Jenny Craig website, the cost of their food is between $13 & $29 a day depending on what products you select.
Like other membership based programs, e.g. Tony Ferguson, Jenny Craig relies on weekly consultations to provide support to its members.
Weekly consultations usually involve 4 key elements:
- Assess your past week's results (i.e., have a weigh-in and take a waist measurement)
- Talk about what’s working, what’s challenging & plan for upcoming events
- Discuss and plan exercise and other physical activity that can help with weight loss
- Discuss the coming week’s menu and buy your food
Consultations typically take around 20 minutes each per week.
Jenny Craig offers 4 calorie controlled meal plans which were developed by Accredited Dietitians.
The meal plans available include:
- 5000kJ (1200 Calories)
- 6400kJ (1500 Calories)
- 7000kJ (1700 Calories)
- 8400kJ (2000 Calories)
All four menu plans have vegetarian options.
Which plan each member goes on will be determined by their age, starting weight (and BMI), goal weight, gender and activity level.
What do you eat on Jenny Craig?
When you start with Jenny Craig, you eat three of their meals and one of their snacks every day, combined with fresh fruit, vegetables, reduced fat dairy products and healthy fats.
As you reach the halfway point to your weight loss goal, you start introducing your own foods and cooking your own meals. By the time you’ve reached your goal weight, you should be eating only your own food and meals.
Jenny Craig’s website is fairly limited in offering additional support. The only things we could find were a BMI Calculator and a limited number of recipes.
How much weight will you lose?
When it comes to weight loss programs, the first question people ask is “How much weight will I lose?”
The answer is the same as most ethical weight loss programs – 0.5 to 1.0kgs per week.
Who is Jenny Craig for?
Jenny Craig caters for those who want to lose a little bit of weight, and those that want to lose a lot. Whether it’s losing a few kilograms for an upcoming wedding, or losing a significant amount of weight to help improve or avoid weight related medical conditions, Jenny Craig say they can help.
Like all weight loss programs, Jenny Craig is similar to others in many respects. For example, it’s similar to Tony Ferguson in having weekly consultations, and Lite’n Easy in having pre-prepared meals, which can be home delivered.
Like almost every other weight loss program, it recommends daily exercise. To help, they’ll even sell fitness DVDs.
One of the best things about Jenny Craig is that their menus don’t exclude any food group or food type, or label carbohydrates and fats as evil, like the Paleo diet, Atkins diet, 5:2 diet and others.
As recommended by the Dietitian Association of Australia (DAA), Australian government health bodies, and weightloss.com.au, it adopts a more balanced approach to weight loss, including all food groups. It also has a more realistic approach than some other diets in that it doesn’t totally restrict things like coffee and alcohol, just recommends that you limit them.
Anyone considering this diet should first consult with their doctor.
This article was written by Scott Haywood.
Scott is the editor of weightloss.com.au. Scott has developed an expertise in fitness and nutrition, and their roles in weight loss, which led him to launch weightloss.com.au in 2005. Today, weightloss.com.au provides weight loss and fitness information, including hundreds of healthy recipes, weight loss tools and tips, articles, and more, to millions of people around the world, helping them to lead happier, healthier, lives.
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