Thursday, November 30, 2023
Prepackaged meals are tasty and very convenience
Very expensive & limits you to only eating prepackaged meals
Convenient plan with extra support for busy dieters
Varies but over $400/month
The Jenny Craig program is based on prepackaged meals and is known for providing one of the highest levels of member support when compared to other weight loss programs. The Jenny program works in three stages - food, body and mind - to achieve weight loss and to develop a healthier overall lifestyle. At first, the program helps dieters learn about nutrition and portion control. Second, the program seeks to increase their physical activity. Finally, the program aims to help them achieve balance in their lives in order to maintain their weight loss and a healthy lifestyle. Designed by registered dietitians and an advisory panel of medical experts, the Jenny Craig program incorporates the latest nutrition, exercise, and behavioral strategies for weight management and disease prevention. When joining the program, you have the option to participate through one of your local Jenny Craig centers or from the comfort of your own home. Either way, members have access to a Jenny consultant for one-on-one weekly meetings, and to Jenny's 24/7 telephone line for information and support whenever they need it. The program also offers online support, including peer-support discussion groups.
It is very difficult to find accurate pricing information on the Jenny program, and, while the pricing does vary significantly based on your plan, I assume the reason is also because it is one of the more expensive diet programs out there. Right now, you can get started with 'Jenny Set Go' for 28 days for $30 (plus the cost of food which can range from $12-$18 a day).
Product Report Card Grade
We give Jenny Craig an A- because it is a great weight loss program for people who don’t have a lot of time to shop for and prepare balanced meals. We love that the diet plans are customized and that the program includes weekly support meetings with your personal Jenny consultant. The program teaches you not only about nutrition but also about portion control and about maintaining a healthier lifestyle in the long-term. While this is one of the best weight loss programs, we had to deduct a few points because it is very expensive and because you are discouraged from eating anything other than the prepackaged meals.
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
Can customize diet plan to fit almost any person and lifestyle (vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, etc.); teaching nutrition and portion-control from the beginning can make the plan easier to maintain in the long-term; allows for occasional splurges; in-person and online support available; offers pre-made snacks and meals so you can stick to the plan even if you are pressed for time; offers exercise incentives
You don't have to count calories; you can eat snacks and dessert even during Phase 1; lots of reading material and recipes available online; less restrictive and more balanced diet than Atkins in the long term
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.)
Flexibility of plan may not work for the undisciplined; counting points can be tedious; have to maintain membership which can be costly
Not great for people who can't eat dairy; phase 1 may be too restrictive for some to follow
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.
Food and membership costs vary. Currently, it is $30 to sign up, $19/month for online access and $43/month for unlimited meetings.
Food prices vary. You can purchase The South Beach Diet Supercharged: Faster Weight Loss and Better Health for Life on Amazon for about $7 (est.). You can also sign up as a member on their online site for $4- $5/week.
Low-Calorie, Low-Fat, Balanced
Weight Loss and General Health
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 the Weight Watchers Program is that you'll eat less and won't feel as hungry if you make healthier food choices that fill you up for longer.
The idea behind the South Beach Diet is that you can lose weight and improve your overall health through a balanced diet consisting of whole grains, vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, low-fat dairy products and healthy fats. Although it is often classified as a low-carb diet, the South Beach Diet doesn't restrict all carbs or make dieters measure their carb intake. In fact, it encourages dieters to eat "good" carbs that have a low glycemic index (GI), and, unlike Atkins, it discourages them from eating "bad" fats (eliminates trans-fats and restricts saturated fats).
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.
Weight Watchers uses a PointsPlus system to help dieters measure daily food intake and to encourage them to make healthier choices. The PointsPlus system assigns a point value to different foods, which is calculated by its protein, carbohydrate, fat, fiber and calorie content, as well as by how difficult it is for the body to work it off. Each dieter is given a unique PointsPlus target according to their gender, height, weight and weight loss goals. You can basically eat whatever you want on the Weight Watchers program, as long as you stay within your daily PointsPlus target, but you are encouraged to eat more "Power Foods," which are considered the healthiest and most filling. "Power Foods" include whole grains, lean meats, low-fat dairy and (unlimited quantities of) fresh fruit and non-starchy veggies.
The South Beach Diet was created by Dr. Arthur Agatston, a preventative cardiologist living in Miami Beach, FL and it has 3 phases. The 1st phase of the plan is the most restrictive and lasts 2 weeks. It is designed to eliminate cravings for refined starch and sugar, as well as jumpstart weight loss. During this phase, you are prohibited from all sugars, processed carbohydrates, fruits, alcohol and certain higher-glycemic vegetables. The 2nd phase will last until you reach your goal weight. During this time, you will reintroduce "good" carbs, such as whole grain bread and fruit, and are allowed to have a glass of white or red wine with dinner. The 3rd phase lasts indefinitely and is designed to help you continue using the principles you've learned in the previous phases to maintain a healthy weight for life.
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.
Since Weight Watchers uses the PointsPlus system, there isn't a focus on calories, but, no matter what, you will be getting at least 1200 calories a day.
The South Beach Diet doesn't require calorie counting and encourages 3 meals a day plus 2 snacks.
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.
You can sign up to attend group meetings at your local Weight Watchers branch or you can just sign up for the online program. To keep track of the points you are consuming, Weight Watchers also offers a pocket guide, pocket calculator, an online database of 40,000 foods and a mobile app with the database for additional convenience. Weight Watchers also offers recipes that show the PointsPlus value or, if you are making your own dish, you can use the company's online tools to calculate points ingredient by ingredient.
The South Beach Diet offers how-to books with numerous recipes to follow. For $4/week, you can also register on their online platform where you can get access to 24-hour support, peer-support discussion groups, customized meal plans and progress tracking tools.
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.).
Physical activity is encouraged, and Weight Watchers assigns different activities a PointsPlus value in order to incentivize dieters. Whether it is an hour of running, dancing or doing laundry, you'll receive extra food points when you exercise to allow for the occasional splurge.
South Beach Diet recommends interval exercise as the best way to keep your metabolism up and avoid weight-loss plateaus.
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: Weight Watchers All-Time Favorites: Over 200 Best-Ever Recipes from the Weight Watchers Test Kitchens, Weight Watchers In 20 Minutes, Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook.
Examples of available books include: The South Beach Diet Gluten Solution: The Delicious, Doctor-Designed, Gluten-Aware Plan for Losing Weight and Feeling Great--FAST!, The South Beach Diet Supercharged: Faster Weight Loss and Better Health for Life, The South Beach Diet Quick and Easy Cookbook: 200 Delicious Recipes Ready in 30 Minutes or Less.
ProductReportCard Editors' In-Depth Review
Pros And Cons
- 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
- 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)
Balanced diet that provides generally acceptable amounts of protein, carbs, fat, and other nutrients
Calorie levels range from 1,200 to 2,300 calories per day based on the plan you come up with your Jenny consultant. Calorie level will be based on your age, height, current weight, gender and your activity level.
How it works
Whether you decide to do Jenny at home or at a local Jenny center, you will have weekly, personalized one-on-one meetings with a Jenny consultant to help you lose weight, maintain motivation and make the necessary changes to your lifestyle. In your initial meeting with your Jenny consultant, he/she will assess your personal eating habits, your level of physical activity and your weight loss mindset. From there, your Jenny consultant will help you to customize an effective weight loss plan and will then support you throughout the duration of the program. At its core, the Jenny program works on three levels:
- Food: At first, the Jenny Craig program is based on frozen or shelf stable prepackaged meals (breakfasts, lunches, dinners, desserts) that are high in fiber and low in fat and cholesterol. These meals break down to approximately 50 % - 60% carbs, 20% - 25% protein, and 20% - 25% fat. You will also be allowed to supplement 2-3 servings of fresh fruits, vegetables, or non-fat dairy products that you have bought at your local grocery store. Once you're halfway to your goal weight, you will use Jenny's recipes and start to cook for yourself 2 times a week. One you have reached your goal weight, you'll continue to transition away from Jenny's prepackaged meals until you are just cooking for yourself. The goal is for you to learn how to prepare nutritional and calorie-conscious meals while maintaining your weight.
- Body: Your Jenny consultant will help devise a short- and long-term exercise plan based on your current activity level. Ultimately, the goal is to get each member physically active for 60 minutes a day, but you'll start off just doing things that you would already do naturally (walking, doing chores). Eventually, your Jenny consultant will have you progress to more advanced exercises like Pilates, running or weight training.
- Mind: In order to maintain weight loss long term, you have to work to change the way you think about food and exercise. Weekly meetings with your Jenny consultant will help you better understand how your existing relationship with food, life experiences and social environment have impacted your health and weight. Your consultant will then work with you to build the necessary skills to change your previous mind-set and maintain the good habits that you have acquired during the program.
Plans are gender-specific and can be tailored for adults, seniors and diabetics. Within those plans, there are three different tracks that you can use:
Jenny Set Go
4 week, get-started program that gives you additional online tools
You can receive cash incentives for reaching milestones, 10% off non-food purchases and a full year of consultations and support (good for maintenance period)
Helps you understand your metabolism and provides tools for tracking your physical activity any time of day (good for maintenance period)
Will vary based on individual. In your customized meal plan, your Jenny consultant will help ensure that you receive the balanced nutrition you need during weight loss, and he/she may include Jenny Craig supplements in the form of capsules, bars, or shakes.
Jenny Craig has a great reputation and many happy customers. A US News Polls ranked Jenny #2 in "Best Commercial Diets" and #7 in "Best Diets Overall." In a 2010 study funded by Jenny Craig and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, 92% Jenny Craig dieters stayed on the program for 2 years and, at the end of that time, weighed an average of about 8% less than when they started. In June 2011, Consumer Reports conducted a taste test of prepackaged diet meals and Jenny Craig beat out Slim-Fast, Weight Watchers, Zone, Ornish, Atkins, and Nutrisystem. It's more expensive than other plans, but, if you can afford it, it sounds like Jenny is a great way to lose those extra pounds.
Customer Responses, Reviews, or Complaints
Redondo Beach, CA
Jenny Craig did not work for me
Review submitted: 2015-01-26
After packing on the pounds with two pregnancies over five years, I knew I had to have a little help losing the baby weight. I had tried to sign up for Jenny after my first baby and was denied due to a walnut allergy. After my second child, they had come up with an allergy waiver so I was good to go. I had to avoid a few of their items but there will still plenty to choose from so that was ok. The food itself was average. Portion sizes small but what you'd expect on a diet. What I began to notice is that most everything was very carb heavy. Pasta, muffins, cupcakes... gluten, gluten, gluten!!! So after spending what seemed like a million dollars (more realistically about $100 bucks a month plus the sign up fee) I had only lost about 10 pounds. I had my doctor test me for celiac and it was negative but she diagnosed me as gluten sensitive. Not so awesome for a diet rich in gluteny carbs. I tried a few months on their dishes without pasta and bread and it got boring FAST. You can only eat so many broccoli cheese potato skins. Ugh. I was exercising, nursing a kid and getting no where!!! And of course there was no opportunity for a refund so I quit the program. I wish they had a lot more gluten free items and offered cheaper choices. You have to have quite a bit of spare cash to make this work, and not have any food sensitivities to boot. Oh Jenny, you're not for me!
Jenny Craig + or - equals ????
Review submitted: 2015-01-26
Although Jenny Craig has a varied option list for foods, I find that (for myself) there are quite a number of items that have no alternative, like powdered yogurt, ewww. It has a terrible and lasting taste, and I would rather trade for an appropriate fresh option in stead, but not allowed. seems ok for some, did't last for me since I crave personal choice (real choices). I would say that most people can use their forum for dieting, since it stresses learning to pick fresh items each week and day to retrain you to proper nutrition and diet in the future.
The only Weight Loss Program that has ever worked for me!!
Review submitted: 2013-11-23
I have tried numerous diet fades over the years and have achieved various results. Until I tried using Jenny Craig my weight loss never seemed to work out quite right. If I did lose weight it never seemed to come off of the areas on my body that I most wanted to loose from!! Jenny Craig was the first time that I was able to loose weight off my entire body and I actually enjoyed the food!! The only down side to the program is the cost and I really wish it could be much more affordable which would ensure that I would stick to the program!!
Review submitted: 2013-09-01
I am currently overweight and my goal has always been to accomplish a healthy weight. The struggle has been long and hard. I began using the Jenny Craig diet and at first I lost 10 pounds. Upholding the diet was not hard but paying for the food became a expensive problem. I was not only paying for a grocery bill for the rest of the family, but the meals I was purchasing from the Jenny Craig were adding up. I would like to maintain a healthy weight without depleting my bank account or providing more stress to my life.
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