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Jenny Craig diet

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Also listed as: Diet, Jenny Craig
Related terms
Background
Theory/evidence
Safety
Author information
Bibliography
Diet

Related Terms
  • Group weight loss, Jenny Craig, prepackaged diet plans, weight loss, weight loss support.

Background
  • The Jenny Craig diet combines elements of social support, pre-packaged meals, food and nutrition counseling, as well as exercise to assist clients in losing weight. Though there are several different levels of participation available in the program, each of them focuses on assisting the dieter progress through the three stages of the diet plan. Each stage of the plan is designed to assist a dieter lose weight while developing the skills necessary for long-term weight loss maintenance.
  • The Jenny Craig diet requires that its followers purchase pre-packaged food products at the start and the middle of the diet. All of the foods provide nutrition to the dieters without unnecessary calories and fat. These foods range from nutrition bars to frozen meals, which are sold exclusively by Jenny Craig Inc.
  • The Jenny Craig method is a three-stage food-mind-body plan designed to help individuals lose weight and keep it off. The program began in 1983 in Australia and started U.S. operations in 1985.
  • The Jenny Craig diet is relatively well known. The diet was originally marketed to help people lose weight fast, by consuming lower calorie Jenny Craig brand foods while also restricting caloric intake at other meals. This original plan did not have a focus on long-term weight loss or improvements in health. However, the Jenny Craig diet has recently remodeled its eating plan to follow the 2005 U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Pyramid. Participants are now encouraged to eat fruits and vegetables as adjuncts to the pre-packaged meals. Learning to follow the updated food pyramid is now emphasized in the first phase of the diet so that individuals develop long-term eating strategies with nutritional insight.
  • At present, no high quality clinical trials have evaluated the short-term or long-term efficacy of the Jenny Craig diet for the prevention of any disease or for short-term or long-term weight loss. However, Jenny Craig meals have supposedly been designed in consultation with certified health care practitioners, including professionals in nutrition, medicine, and psychology. Although every person following the Jenny Craig diet uses the same diet template, food and caloric intake vary depending on individual needs.
  • Due to its incorporation of revised food pyramid guidelines, some patients may consider the Jenny Craig diet when a medical professional has advised them to lose weight.

Theory / Evidence
  • The ultimate goal of the Jenny Craig diet is to educate individuals on healthy eating and lifestyle habits. The long-term strategies are taught over time through written materials, contact with consultants, the development of social supports, examining eating behaviors, learning proper nutrition, and engaging in regular exercise. To this end, individuals who follow the Jenny Craig diet are not encouraged to rely on its portion and calorie controlled foods or the advice of consultants to maintain long-term weight loss. The goal of the Jenny Craig diet is to move individuals successfully through the program so that they develop long-term strategies for a healthy lifestyle.
  • The primary criticism of the Jenny Craig diet is that individuals must consume pre-packaged Jenny Craig brand foods. Some individuals may not be satisfied with the limited meal options afforded in the initial stages of the diet. Also, critics argue that viewing the types and portions of foods in the pre-packaged meals in the initial stages of the diet does not translate into a working knowledge of how to cook and control portion size once the Jenny Craig brand products are no longer used. However, the Jenny Craig corporation debates these claims.
  • Program elements: The Jenny Craig diet is based around three elements, and each is stressed as an important part of long-term weight loss.
  • Food: The food aspect of the program begins with consuming primarily Jenny Craig products. For instance, a person may eat a Jenny Craig brand stuffed breakfast sandwich for breakfast and a snack of self-prepared fresh fruit at 10am. Lunch might be a pre-prepared Jenny Craig brand meal of frozen chicken strips; then as a 3 pm snack, fresh cut vegetable sticks. For dinner, a person may eat a Jenny Craig brand penne pasta followed by a Jenny Craig brand lemon cake for dessert. By starting with Jenny Craig products, the diet is purported to educate individuals to learn sensible food portions and how to plan a day's worth of healthy and nutritious foods. Management of possible diet difficulties such as splurging and eating at a restaurant are taught by counselors. Participants may also share tips with one another via the Jenny Craig website chat and message board functions. The Jenny Craig program also includes an element of nutrition education.
  • Physical activity: The Jenny Craig diet encourages individuals to incorporate a healthy amount of physical activity into their lifestyles. With the help of a consultant, individuals discuss barriers to achieving this goal, such as a busy schedule, not wanting to sacrifice time with family, or a dislike of going to a gym. The amount of physical activity a person participates in slowly increases through the course of the program.
  • Positive affirmations: The Jenny Craig diet includes an emotional component as well. Dieters learn about the situations where they tend to overeat or consume unhealthy high calorie foods. Consultants assist in the development of strategies to proactively cope with these situations. The Jenny Craig website, hotline, and weekly meeting with consultants are intended to help an individual maintain motivation for the diet. Developing social supports through participation with other dieters on the Jenny Craig website and by spending time with family and friends is also encouraged.

Safety




Author information
  • This information has been edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).

Bibliography
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). . Last accessed September 7, 2007.
  2. Jenny Craig. . Last accessed September 7, 2007.
  3. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Pyramid. . Last accessed September 7, 2007.
  4. Wolfe BL. Long-term maintenance following attainment of goal weight: a preliminary investigation. Addict Behav. 1992 Sep-Oct;17(5):469-77.

Diet
  • All of the Jenny Craig diet foods are available via its franchise locations, as well as over the phone. Internet resources are available for all participants in the Jenny Craig program.
  • There are two Jenny Craig programs. One is built around physical Jenny Craig centers, and the other is the at-home Jenny Direct program which offers information by telephone and mail.
  • The Jenny Craig program offers several levels of support, including a 24/7 telephone line, allowing clients to get information and support whenever needed, as well as online support, including peer-support discussion groups. A wide variety of written materials are also available.
  • As with many other popular diets, the Jenny Craig program has an extensively interactive website, which features a live chat and message board and a comprehensive menu planner. Recipes are also organized by meal as well as season. Additionally, a newsletter provides participants with advice on weight loss.
  • There are over 600 Jenny Craig centers in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Puerto Rico. For individuals who choose to participate in the Jenny Craig diet at a local center, weekly meetings are held with Jenny Craig consultants who are not trained nutritionists, dietitians, or health care practitioners. During these meetings, dieters discuss the progress of their diet and receive emotional support from a one-on-one consultation. The consultant also weighs the dieter and records any changes in weight. Written materials on a variety of topics are also available.
  • An alternative for in-person participation in the Jenny Craig program is to keep in touch with a consultant over the phone. The dieter receives weekly phone calls from a consultant who offers emotional support and asks about any changes in weight. For these individuals, food is delivered every two weeks.
  • Initially, the Jenny Craig diet requires that the dieter receive a majority of their nutrition by consuming Jenny Craig meals. A pre-packaged breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a snack are all part of the Jenny Craig brand meals at the start of the diet. The pre-packaged meals are available for purchase at Jenny Craig weight loss centers or by mail. The Jenny Direct program offers Jenny Craig foods via phone, mail, and the internet. In general, the meals contain 50 to 60% carbohydrates, 20 to 25% fats, and 20 to 25% proteins. The meals are packaged based on calorie counting measures. The number and type of food items available via the Jenny Craig diet is somewhat limited. Participants who value the convenience of not cooking over the limited variety of food available from a preset menu may experience greater success with the Jenny Craig diet.
  • Individuals who follow the Jenny Craig diet may supplement these meals and snacks with fresh fruit or vegetables, low fat dairy products, and salads, which are thought to provide essential nutrients, such as protein, vitamins and minerals while also being relatively low in fat and calories. In addition, because these foods are not processed, the chance that a person on the Jenny Craig diet will consume extra calories is lowered.
  • The Jenny Craig diet does not explicitly forbid any food; rather, learning portion control and moderation is considered essential in this diet model. However, individuals who follow the Jenny Craig program are generally encouraged to not consume food with high levels of calories and fat on a daily basis because healthier alternatives are available through Jenny Craig.
  • The daily food intake is determined based on a person's height, weight, gender, pregnancy status, and weight loss goals discussed with a consultant.
  • Membership levels: The Jenny Craig diet offers three different levels of membership. The costs of these plans does not take into account the weekly price of food. All three of the plans offer planned and personalized menus, customized motivation plans and exercise guides, access to all online tools, and 24 hour access to the Jenny Craig hotline.
  • Jenny TuneUp: The price of the Jenny TuneUp plan varies, but it is usually around $20 excluding the cost of food. It is designed for patients who hope to lose up to 15 pounds.
  • Jenny OnTrack: The six-month long Jenny OnTrack program costs about $200. This plan offers weight loss success stories and a YourStyle personalized profile, which may help a dieter understand effective motivations and strategies for weight loss.
  • Jenny Rewards: At about $325 plus food, the Jenny Rewards program is the most expensive option in the Jenny Craig diet. This plan includes a weight maintenance component and offers unlimited comeback privileges. A person with comeback privileges may decide to re-enter the Jenny Craig program at any point in the future without paying further fees, excluding the cost of food. A variety of discounts and rebates are also available, including some discounts on Jenny Craig foods.
  • Diet levels: As an individual loses weight, they progress through three successive diet levels. Each level involves a decreasing reliance on the calorie and portion controlled Jenny Craig food products.
  • First level: This is the first step of the program, and so participants eat Jenny Craig brand foods for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and as a snack. The small portions are intended to educate the dieters to consume reasonable meal sizes. The types and proportions of foods in each meal are intended to help the participant learn about nutrition. During this stage, foods may be eaten frequently but only in in small amounts.
  • Second level: At this level, the participant is encouraged to increase their level of physical activity in order to not only lose weight but become healthy overall.
  • Third level: At this level, participants consume much less of the Jenny Craig brand foods. Consultants and online tools instruct the individual how to eat modestly when at a restaurant or during travel. Additionally, the participant is encouraged to cook many of their meals rather than relying on processed pre-packaged foods. The focus of the third level is on maintaining weight loss and a healthy diet.

Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)


The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

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