Tuesday, November 28, 2023
Weight Loss Programs: Compare
Convenience of prepackaged, microwavable meals that control portions; lots of support for members with the Jenny consultants, a 24/7 support telephone line and multiple online tools; tailored diet plans; winner of Consumer Reports taste test for prepackaged diet meals
Ready-made meals delivered straight to your doorstep are hassle-free and take the guesswork out of a balanced diet and portion control; separate meal plans tailored for older people, diabetics and vegetarians; website features how customers rate individual meal choices; free online support with unlimited counseling and support services; offers 2-week trial period
Most of the complaints are about how expensive the plan is; relies heavily on prepackaged meals, so its difficult to go out for dinner; Jenny consultants are not dieticians/nutritionists by profession; not appropriate for vegans or people with food allergies (gluten, peanuts, etc.)
Expensive (cheaper than Jenny Craig though); calorie intake is severely restricted; pre-packaged meals good for short term weight loss but may be hard for some to maintain; not a good plan for vegans, people with celiac disease or people with mild or severe peanut allergies; eating out is discouraged; if you choose the Select plan (fresh frozen meals), you need a lot of freezer space; some reports of persistent gas and diarrhea
Food and membership costs vary. It can range between $0-$25 to sign up, $25-$38 in monthly membership fees and about $400 in monthly food costs.
Low-Calorie, Low-Fat, Balanced
The idea behind the Jenny Craig program is that you can lose weight and maintain that weight loss when you combine balanced nutrition and portion control with an improved attitude toward food and exercise.
The idea behind Nutrisystem is that prepackaged meals are the easiest way to lose weight since you don't have to worry about balancing nutrition or portion control.
How It Works
The Jenny Craig program assigns each dieter a personal Jenny consultant who will customize their weight loss plan and meet with them during weekly one-on-one sessions to help guide them through the program's 3 stages - food, body and mind. To educate you on nutrition and portion control, the program initially provides frozen or shelf-stable prepackaged meals that are high in fiber and low in fat/cholesterol. You will supplement these meals with 2-3 servings of fresh fruits, vegetables, or non-fat dairy products bought at a local grocery store. Halfway from your goal weight, you will slowly transition to cooking your own meals (using Jenny recipes) until you have reached your goal weight and are only cooking your own food. Meanwhile, your Jenny consultant will help devise a workout program based on your current activity level with the ultimate goal eventually being 60 minutes of advanced physical activity a day (Pilates, running or weight training). Your Jenny consultant will also help you better understand how your existing relationship with food, life experiences and social environment have impacted your health and weight, and how you can build the necessary skills to change your previous mind-set and maintain the good habits that you have acquired during the program.
Nutrisystem offers gender-specific plans for adults (Core), diabetics (Nutrisystem D), seniors (Silver) and vegetarians (Vegetarian). You will purchase food shipments in 28-day supplies and can choose from pre-selected menus or pick out specific meals you'd like from more than 130 choices. The prepackaged meals are low in sodium, saturated and trans-fats, and they promote protein and low-GI carbohydrates. They are frozen or shelf-stable and will provide about 60% of your daily calorie intake. The other 40% will come from Nutrisystem-approved foods (i.e. fruits, veggies, protein and dairy) from your local grocery store. Once you've reached your goal weight, you can chat with a Nutrisystem counselor online or by phone if you want help/tips for transitioning away from prepackaged meals and back into the kitchen.
Calorie intake can range from 1,200 - 2,300 calories per day depending on the plan you come up with your Jenny consultant, which will be based on your age, height, current weight, gender, your activity level, etc.
Women's plans average 1250 calories a day, and men's plans average 1500 calories a day (spread across 5-6 meals).
You can participate in the program by attending weekly sessions at a local Jenny Craig center or you can also participate from the comfort of your own home. Either way, you will have access to a Jenny consultant for one-on-one weekly meetings and to Jenny's 24/7 telephone line to get information or support whenever you need it. The program also offers online support, including peer-support discussion groups and progress tracking tools.
When you sign up with Nutrisystem, you will get free access to registered dieticians and weight loss counselors, as well as to online support tools to track weight loss, a member's community, discussion boards, articles and blogs. In addition, you'll also receive the 13-week Mindset Makeover behavioral guide. This plan will help you better understand your relationship to food and provide the necessary steps for taking control of your eating habits.
30 - 60 minutes of physical activity is encouraged, and your Jenny consultant will help you determine your fitness goals/routine. Usually, Jenny consultants will try to incorporate exercise into your daily life (ex. walking, taking the stairs, doing laundry, etc.), but they may suggest that already active dieters add more rigorous exercise (ex. Pilates, weight training, etc.).
While exercise is encouraged on the Nutrisystem program, it is not required. That said, Nutrisystem does suggest a range of exercises and stretches on their website (ex. aerobics, yoga and resistance training) to help you get active no matter what your current fitness level is.
Examples of available books include: Jenny Craig No Diet Required, The Jenny Craig Cookbook: Cutting Through the Fat, Simple Pleasures: Recipes to Nourish Body and Soul.
Examples of available books include: NutriSystem Nourish: The Revolutionary New Weight-Loss Program, Simple Success: The Nutrisystem Guide to Healthy Eating, The Low GI Cookbook: 90 Simple, Delicious Good-Carb Recipes to Complement the Nutrisystem Program