4 (80%) 1 vote

Some people are surprised to learn that Jenny Craig isn’t named after a particular person. It is the result of a collaboration between couple Sidney Craig and Genevieve Guidroz Bourcq. The two created a quick yet solid bond over their interest in the weight-loss industry. They moved to Melbourne, Australia, in 1979 and began Jenny Craig while they were there.

While Jenny Craig is among the best-known weight loss programs in the world, it is costly in comparison to others. It is also overly reliant on processed foods and doesn’t always deliver consistent results. The processed foods, in particular, are an issue as recent research has shown just how bad these items are for you.

Using the Program

Dieters using Jenny Craig follow a three-pronged method. They eat meals found on the official frozen food menu that have been designed for nutrition and weight loss. They also go to meetings each week with their diet coach and get at least a half hour of moderate exercise five times or more each week. For $560 each month, members get their meals delivered to their home. They can also attend the 600 Jenny Craig centers worldwide.

To help balance out the fact that it uses processed foods, Jenny Craig stands out in that it actually meets federal regulations for weight loss. The National Institute for Health suggests that you only lose one to two pounds every week. Many diet programs promise a weight loss greater than this, which can be unhealthy, but Jenny Craig sticks to that range. The downside, of course, is that losing just a pound or two each week can take a while for those with a lot to lose, increasing the expense.

Does It Work?

While you are on Jenny Craig, you are almost guaranteed to lose weight if you stick to the plan. After all, the daily meal plan only reaches around 1,200 calories every day. Of course, it is very challenging to get enough nutrients while consuming so few calories, and as soon as you start eating more, you will regain some weight.

After looking at numerous reviews, it is safe to say that most dieters on Jenny Craig do, in fact, lose weight. Most, however, regain at least some of it once they go off the diet.

Tracey from Calgary had a fairly typical experience with Jenny Craig. She was under the impression that those behind Jenny Craig just saw members as figures instead of caring about the individuals and their goals. Tracey pointed out that Jenny Craig will make more money the longer dieters stay on the program, but they balance this out with the idea that the weight loss should remain steady. Slower weight loss is favorable for the company.

For Tracy, her biggest issue with Jenny Craig is that it doesn’t require any lifestyle change. Dieters typically go back to their old habits afterward. Worst of all, while on the diet, she finds the food to be unhealthy because it is processed. Instead of a quick fix like Jenny Craig, Tracey suggests dieters put in the time and effort and spend their money on a worthier program.

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The menu for Jenny Craig includes a great deal of meat with very few choices for vegetarians, despite there being more than 70 meals. There are also no choices for those who are vegan or intolerant of lactose.

The packaged meals are also a massive problem from the perspective of dieters and nutritionists alike. The University of Melbourne found in 2010 that those who exclusively eat processed food have an increased risk of general emotional distress, anxiety, and suffer from lower self-esteem. Since the diet has three pre-packaged (processed) meals daily at a minimum, this is an issue. Once you factor in having two pre-packaged desserts or snacks and the other two non-dairy foods, even the five servings of produce don’t make up for the damage of processed food.

When all is said and done, Jenny Craig hasn’t shown proof that it leads to permanent weight loss. Instead, reviews indicate that dieters tend to experience weight loss while on the diet but gain it back as soon as they get off the program.

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