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Pros: Everything is prepackaged, no decisions to be made
Cons: Diet is unhealthy, support is very limited, cost is very high
I had been on Jenny Craig several years ago, as a regular walk in client and lost about 20 pounds. I wasn't thrilled with the plan then so I am not sure why I decided to try the at home program.
I wanted to lost about 15 pounds. Seems reasonable and fairly easy to do.
I decided to go with this program because I am too busy to think about what to eat and count calories etc. I found it to be very expensive and the support was absolutely lacking.
I got my first box of food, good for 28 days. The cost was very high but I figured it would be worth it. The food was all dried or freeze dried and quite awful tasting but I had eaten it before so I wasn't expecting a culinary treat.
The first call to my "counselor"was disastrous. She put me on 1000 calories which, for a woman my age and build, is a recipe for illness. I opted for 1200 calories myself. This was a young girl, sounded like a teen or someone just hitting her 20's, who really had no idea what the program involved. In fact, I found myself telling her what was right and wrong about the advice she was giving me.
I also bought the scale which weighs pounds and body fat. That scale was very expensive and very unstable.
I got all the paper work, like the book to fill out what I ate and the motivational stuff plus the menus. Many things had to be bought like fruits, veggies, yogurts and milk and other items, meaning my meals alone came to almost $100 a WEEK!!!
Of course, I also bought their "special" vitamins and antioxidants which you can buy at a store for a fraction of the price, I discovered.
I followed the diet religiously. I was not happy with many of the meals and was given no choice during the first moth of what to eat.
I lost about 3/4 of a pound the first week after all that. I did lose 2 pounds the next week and was excited. Maybe the cost, the bother, and the starvation really was worth it!
My nutritional counselor called me for our weekly check in and had little to say. She encouraged exercise. She asked if I had any "challenges" coming up. She had no idea about the exchange list which I really wanted help on.
The third week, I began to feel ill. I was tired all the time and I was lethargic and basically feeling sick. I also had developed a constant stomach ache which I know now was from the vitamins with so little food.
I gained one pound the third week.
But then the next day I had lost it.
I was getting no where at all.
To make a long story short, I got 2 more weeks of food after the initial month and I quit. I stuck by every rule and never broke the diet at all. I drank water, I took the vitamins. I ended up with a loss of a total of almost 4 pounds in six weeks of 1200 calories and portions that wouldn't fill up a toddler.
I discovered that many meals had "fake fat" in them to make them appear more appetizing and that caused me to have a lot of stomach problems. Aspartame ... cholestra ... additives ...coloring ...
Too much unnatural stuff in the foods and not enough real learning of how to eat right for life.
On this diet you can have snacks provided by Jenny Craig or bought according to their specifications. In real life, you must watch that. We are not given the tools to learn to eat right once we are off the diet.
Without a face to face consult and a weigh in, there is very little motivation. Phone calls once a week for a few moments don't work for those of us who really need a little pep talk and encouragement.
I feel Jenny Craig misleads you into believing that the plan is a good start to healthy eating when, in fact, you simply gain the weight back that you lose once you stop eating their foods. The counselors are surely not well trained and are simply hired help, not dietitians or nutritionists.
The diet can be dangerous too if you allow them to set your calorie level too low. 1000 calories for almost anyone is just too low!!
I would highly suggest bypassing this program and getting a good nutrition book, going to a few visits with a nutritionist or joining a gym where they also help with diets. We need to eat better and eat healthy and I don't believe that Jenny Craig truly encourages better eating habits.
Save your money and spend it on an elliptic trainer. I did and lost 9 pounds just doing that for 20 - 30 minutes 5 times a day and watching what I eat. I am no longer isolated from my family at meal time, I know what is OK for me to eat and what is not and I can indulge in anything -- to a degree.
My doctor says I am much healthier now and told me to stay away from Jenny Craig and even believes I may have lost my gallbladder last time when I was on the walk in program. (I had gallstones and had to have my gallbladder removed while on the diet.)
If you need help knowing what is nutritious and low fat, there are so many great books out there to help you. Sit back, relax and read one.
Then be glad you didn't spend hundreds of dollars for nothing.