Jenny Craig is a weight loss system founded by Jenny Craig in 1983 after she had her first baby and struggled with weight loss. Jenny Craig is said to offer rapid results such as losing up to sixteen pounds in roughly four weeks. Can the Jenny Craig weight loss program help you finally lose those extra pounds?
Our research team wanted to know whether the Jenny Craig program which includes a dedicated personal consultant and delicious foods can produce such rapid weight loss results. The research team dug deep to find out if it is possible for you to lose weight on the Jenny Craig program in a short time period and stay healthy. Here is an overview of the results.
First, the Jenny Craig Diet is a three-level diet program that first started in Australia in 1983 and later launched operations in America in 1985. The three levels are ultimately aimed at delivering weight loss by teaching the dieter to eat what they like – but in smaller portions.
Part of the plan teaches the client how to boost their energy levels given their reduced amounts of food consumption, through simple and manageable physical activities.
The final part focuses on the mental health of the customer, showing them how to build and improve on their balance both mental and emotional to lose weight – and keep it off.
Our first indication that this may be a rough review were the slew of customer comments on price. A little research into cost and we were flat-out shocked.
This is how much it costs to start on the respective program. We always recommend trying a product before making a large investment.
= Initial product cost is less than $5
= Initial product cost is between $6 and $50
= Initial product cost is between $51 and $150
= Initial product cost is $151 or more
Jenny Craig – Food, Body and Mind
The Jenny Craig Diet claims to help clients achieve their desired weight goal by using the three elements of food, body and mind.
The program specifically mentions that no food is a taboo, however they claim to help dieters become mindful of the number of calories that are in the foods they eat. This way a person can dictate the amount of food they will consume in a sitting depending on the weight they want to lose or maintain.
The program also claims to show dieters how to cook healthy and nutritious foods that won’t trigger weight gain.
The element of the body is as important as dieting is. According to the program, a person must be physically active for the digestion of food to happen effectively. To produce the maximum energy required by the body to function adequately, you need to stay active.
The program provides work out strategies that they say are client-friendly, simple and not too time-consuming.
The third element they focus on is the mind. An official of the program, Mr. Waltman says “Being positive and surrounding yourself with people that help is important.”
It has been scientifically proven that people animals and plants that live in a positive, encouraging and supportive environment tend to thrive more, but no research backing this plan specifically.
The Jenny Craig program claims to provide their clients with a support system and a set of affirmations that the clients can recite daily. Customers are also promised a weight-loss counselor on standby and a forum where they can encourage each other.
To us, this all sounds fine – except for one thing. We still need to determine whether this diet works, because all this talk of high costs and lack of scientific evidence has us a bit worried at the moment.
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How Did the Jenny Craig Program Start?
After its conception in Australia and the USA the program slowly grew in popularity. Jenny Craig, who is the founder of the company together with her husband, later sold this diet plan to Nestle in 2006.
Jenny Craig Menu
The Jenny Craig diet consists of prepackaged foods that already have the calories counted for you. Generally, these foods are frozen and are meant for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert.
Their nutritional content is 50-60% carbohydrate, 20-25% protein and the same amount as latter for fats. The program advises the clients that indulge this diet plan to supplement each meal with fresh fruit, non-dairy products, and vegetables for maximum satisfaction.
Jenny Craig meal plans do not dismiss or promote any specific foods. The numerous prepackaged foods do not have a limitation on what is considered healthy or not.
However, the program leans more toward low fat, low-calorie foods that have high water, fiber and protein content. But in the case of vegetables and fruits such as broccoli, oranges, and tomatoes, one can have as many as they want. Alcoholic beverages are also allowed occasionally.
Jenny Craig from Home
After a while, when the client has shown growth and ability to stand on their own without the support, the program also teaches them how to do Jenny Craig meal planning at home. How does one do this?
Buy a Scale
First, you need to buy yourself a weighing scale. An electronic one is preferable because it shows your weight to the last point which makes it more accurate and easier to track your weight loss. Once you have your weight recorded, you can then calculate the number of calories you should be eating each day to lose weight. Using an online BMI calculator is also advised.
Get yourself linked to a weight loss friend, a dietitian or counselor. Someone who will be there for you whenever you needed them. As mentioned earlier, having someone who believes in you and relates to your struggles is very important in making any positive progress.
You should be able to have a set amount of time, say 20 minutes each day, where you meet and talk with your weight loss partner about your progress. By doing this, not only will you have an accountability partner who will always keep you in track and help you if you slipped, but you will also have the motivation to do better because no one likes being a disappointment.
Stock up on Low-Calorie Food
The next and maybe the most important thing is to stock up on the low-calorie foods. Throw away all the high calorie and high-fat foods in your house and anything over-processed.
Remember the program does not ban any type of food, but chemical and synthetic products are not qualified as food. Instead buy and keep in large quantities whole foods, low dairy foods, fruits, and vegetables of your liking, proteins such as lentils and black beans, nuts, chicken preferably skinless, canned fish and water.
You should then try as much as possible to cook these foods in very little oil. Deep frying should be on very limited occasions if any.
Divide Your Meals
The next step then is to take the calorie chart that you made when you recorded your weight and divide it into 6 meals that you will be taking throughout the day.
For example, if the calories that you are required to take to lose weight are 1200 a day, then you are supposed to make 6 meals, each carrying 200 calories and eat them.
A day has twenty-four hours, but 6-8 are for sleeping so you will be working with roughly 18 hours. This means that the 6 meals should have a three-hour spacing. You can choose to have all the meals with a uniform number of calories or, make some meals like breakfast heavier than day time snacks.
It’s important to make it a strict ritual to do physical exercise every day. You can start with as little as 20 minutes and work your way up gradually. The trick is to be consistent and disciplined. At this point, it is advisable to have a food journal where you can be recording what you had for every meal and whether you stuck to the calories.
You can also record the length of time you exercised and what specific workouts you did. This is important to keep yourself on track and to also monitor your progress.
Eliminate the Urge
Maybe it’s time to buy some measuring cups to make meal preparation easier. You should also toss anything that might trigger you to snack or eat more than you should.
Make sure to keep in constant communication with your health partner and dietitian being absolutely open with them. It is better to admit that you failed or slipped than to act like everything is fine while in real facts you are failing. Using these steps, apparently, will give you your very own Jenny Craig at home.
To us, it seems you can save your money and do all of this without Jenny Craig taking your money – but we’re crazy.
Does the Jenny Craig Work?
Here’s where we start to really peel back the layers. Does this diet program work? At the high cost of the diet plan, will we actually lose weight?
According to WebMD, many people can attest to the fact that the plan worked for them. The plan also works great for vegetarians and those that do not consume gluten since there are a variety of options.
However, the diet is not good for vegans because almost all the prepackaged foods have some levels of dairy in them.
According to a review of previous studies, it was seen that obese adults that were put on the Jenny Craig diet plan showed a 4.9% more weight loss than those that were enrolled in a normally controlled weight loss plan without the inclusion of support or intervention.
One thing is for sure, everybody is different and literally, every “body” reacts differently to individual diets and exercise regimens. Everyone burns calories differently, and for some, counting calories can be a bad thing.
Jenny Craig Benefits
According to the company, the Jenny Craig Diet Plan provides:
Jenny Craig’s clients are promised a steady and balanced diet that is scientifically proven and is approved by nutritionists and dietitians. Customers are given prepackaged foods with the calories already counted and certified as okay.
Another supposed benefit is that no one has to go through the “journey of weight loss and control alone.” Jenny Craig diet claims to provide a great support system – and we’ve seen promises like this before.
It’s no surprise that eating foods like fruits and vegetables help boost a person’s immune system, remove toxins from their bodies and provide maximum energy – but will this diet deliver on these promises?
There is no scientific research linking this diet to weight loss and management. National Institutes of Health conducted a study on mice that were given a low-calorie diet.
“The diet was designed to mimic some of the beneficial effects of fasting, including improving markers of longevity and metabolism. Middle-aged mice (16 months old) were fed the diet for 4 consecutive days, followed by 10 days of unlimited access to food. The mice overate during these phases so that their overall calorie intake was similar to mice continuously fed a regular diet.”
Meal Plans Don’t Work?
Now, we’re not saying meal plans don’t work – we’re just highlighting some information we found surrounding the idea.
There is a wealth of information, blogs, and articles pointing out the downfalls of meal planning. Some examples
Meal plans are meant to be temporary, but some dieters find themselves following the strict diet far longer than they should.
Most people don’t even stick to the meal plan and end up gaining back any weight they may have lost.
Some studies even show subjects binge eating because of a low-calorie diet – we talk more about that later on.
Jenny Craig Cost
Here’s where we get a bit bummed out. The mega-downside is that this diet is super expensive. Jenny Craig prices are as follows:
$14.99 and an extra 25 dollars for enrollment fee which does not include access to a health consultant.
$19.99 is charged monthly with a $99.00 fee for enrollment for access to a maximum of three health consultants.
For weekly consultation and no enrollment fee, $39.99 is charged monthly.
These prices do not include the cost of buying foods. The Jenny Craig food prices of food are between $15 and $25 per day according to the company and shipping charges are also separate.
So basically, a person could end up spending close to $150.00 per week, which is not exactly something everyone can do.
Jenny Craig Delivery
The Jenny Craig online website allows for people to order, choose and buy foods without having to physically go to the local Jenny Craig centers. The online system requires your information so they can recommend the best foods for you.
When ordering online, the first order is usually chosen by the company as a way of giving you an idea of what would best work for you and from then on you choose the plans yourself.
Orders are made in batches of two weeks, but there is a three-day sample trial. This sample meal includes nine meals, three snacks, and three salad dressings.
After giving all your information, the Jenny Craig Food Delivery team ships the food out to you. You can choose from picking up your food from the local center or have them directly delivered to you – which will cost you extra.
Jenny Craig Side Effects
Sure, this is only a meal plan and diet and you don’t expect to see a list of side effects, but you would be surprised. Not all experts agree with low-calorie diets, pointing out the possible side effects – which are a bit shocking.
Possible side effects of a low-calorie diet include:
They go on to mention that rapid weight loss can lead to gallstones.
Jenny Craig vs Nutrisystem and Weight Watchers
There is no shortage of weight-loss programs on the market.
Nutrisystem and Weight Watchers are a couple of popular diet plans. These systems have often been compared by many reviewers in the hope of finding which one is the best route to take.
Let’s look at each and compare them to the Jenny Craig Diet Plan.
All three systems include prepackaged meals in their diet plan. This can be attributed to the fact that with prepackaged foods, calorie control is a guarantee. However, for the Weight Watchers, the users can choose not to take these foods from the very beginning and just opt for a meal preparation guide – which the others don’t offer.
In terms of prices, Weight Watchers is the cheapest, followed by Nutrisystem. Jenny Craig was dead last in this category – the most expensive of the three.
When it comes to the support system, published in BMC Public Health has shown that Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig offer constant weekly group or individual counseling and meetings that are physical and interactive as opposed to Nutrisystem whose support system is only online and among dieters.
The other difference between these three systems is that Nutrisystem does not offer any background check or change for its clients. A background checks in terms of their previous eating regimen, their exercise habits, etc.
Both Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig help in knowing the past of its clients to determine their problems and assist in changing their ways of thinking and doing things when it comes to their nutrition and health.
What we gather from these comparisons, is that the only thing separating Jenny Craig from the competition is the outrageous price tag.
What Users Are Saying
“They care and offer great workout tips and other healthy advice……I very much like it of way they talk.”
“My husband and I were on Jenny Craig over 4 weeks. We were promised at the beginning, if we complete 4 weeks, we’ll get $100 gift card. We have completed it, my husband got his card, I haven’t. When I tried to call and ask about the reason, they said I didn’t complete it and disqualified for the card, it was lie. It’s the worst the business can do: to lie their clients. Horrible!!! Their prices too high, every time we got order, something was missing, but I did, followed all recommendations and was strictly on the diet, even during my trip to Hawaii and on vacation, weight loss was not great and customer service is horrible. I’m on Nutrisystem now. Very much better food selection, excellent customer service, fast weight loss result and prices are so much better!”
” The $20ish a day wasn’t bad for the number of things they gave you to eat each day. I only did it for 3 week and dropped about 8 pounds. The meals the first week were amazingly good. Then they just went down hill from there. A lot of it during those 2 weeks were like stuff that didn’t have to be kept cold. Like some kind of soups, and beans/rice. And I am not a bean person. Snacks were good! Support was good.”
The Bottom Line on Jenny Craig
Counting calories, eating healthy and exercising are sure to help you lose some weight, but at what cost? Is this diet plan going to catapult you to weight-loss glory? It might work for some, but there are just too many negatives for us to back this diet.
Jenny Craig Cons:
Way too expensive
No scientific research on the diet
Low-calorie diets aren’t always effective
If your goal is to lose weight, increase energy and eliminate hunger, you should go with a program that can help you track your eating habits, meet your personal goals, and is backed by multiple clinical studies.
One of the best weight-loss programs of the year is called Noom. This weight-loss system uses personalized meal plans, human coaching, and interactive support groups to help you make healthier choices and shed some extra pounds. Customer reviews are showing great success, with some users pointing out the amazing value of the program.
On top of that, they’re so confident that Noom will work for you, there’s a 14-day trial being offered to all Dietspotlight readers, which is pretty amazing!
Jenny Craig makes a variety of healthy meals that you can purchase while you are on the program. The ingredients in their meals includes vegetables, whole grains, fruits and lean meats such as chicken, beef, pork and chicken. Their meals are low in calories, carbohydrates, sugar, and saturated fats.
What are the side effects of Jenny Craig?
There are no known side effects of the Jenny Craig program although some of their clients have reported food allergies.
Does Jenny Craig work?
Jenny Craig claims that the members that follow their program lose an average of 1-2 pounds per week.
What is the price of Jenny Craig?
You can start the Jenny Craig program for as little as $15 plus the cost of food.
Where can I buy Jenny Craig?
You can purchase the Jenni Craig program from their website at http://www.jennycraig.com.
You should follow the food or meal plan that is created for you on the program.
How do I contact Jenny Craig customer service?
You can contact Jenny Craig by going to their website at http://www.jennycraig.com. Go to the “Find a Location” tab on the menu bar at the top of the page and click. Enter your city or zip code and click the “Find a Center” location. You can also call 866-706-4042 for immediate assistance.
Can I return Jenny Craig?
Jenny Craig guarantees that their clients will lose an average of 1-2 pounds while in on their weight loss program.
What are the most common complaints about Jenny Craig?
The most common complaint of clients who have reviewed Jenny Craig is regaining weight when the client ends their participation in the program.