Jenny Craig Review – Day Fourteen – and what I’ve learnt

You may remember that a little over two weeks ago I blogged about starting a two week trial of the diet food programme Jenny Craig.  Essentially, the Jenny Craig diet is a calorie controlled diet where they provide you with all of your meals and snacks, along with weekly consultant calls who will talk you through any questions you have and help you plan for challenges (such as eating out) and fitting exercise into the programme. (I actually ended up with two a week as my consultant wanted to help me with getting started and I had so many questions!)

Pasta Bolognese with red wine

Tuna pasta salad French style

I was over the moon to discover that in my first week I lost 3 lbs! The food is honestly really tasty and you bulk your meals up with vegetables (as non-starchy vegetables are free), which has really educated me about portion sizes and made me eat lots more veggies than I was before.  You’re also encouraged to eat at least two portions of fruit a day, which again has had a great impact on my eating habits.  The breakfasts are things like porridge or a Special-K esque chocolate or yoghurt coated flakes, and you have it with fruit, with another portion of fruit later, usually along with a ‘milk’ item of your choice (low fat yoghurt, fromage frais or soya yoghurt).  Lunch is usually soups, salads or noodles, again served with veggies or some days you can have accompaniments like a slice of bread with low fat spread or peanut butter, two biscuits, half a jacket potato, rice cakes or popcorn.  The dinners were especially yummy – my favourite was the roast chicken with mashed potato but there are also things like lasagne and other pasta and curry dishes.  You’re also allowed any of the ‘free foods’ during the day, along with limited portions of things like low calorie hot chocolate and jelly.  I didn’t feel hungry at any point, though it was hard to ignore the biscuits and cakes at work!

Overall I found Jenny Craig a really good diet plan, and the weight loss I saw in only two weeks is definitely proof that it works.  For me, the biggest strength of the program is the re-education it gives you about your eating habits.  For example:

Portion sizes

The Jenny Craig diet programme gives you the set meals for the day but you also have to fill your plate with things from other food groups to balance out the meal.  Before I tried Jenny Craig I’d fill my plate with my actual ‘meal’ (a pizza, pasta, chicken in sauce etc) and if I served it up with vegetables at all it would be starchy vegetables like potato or sweetcorn).  I won’t mention the fact that I usually served myself the same portion as my 6’3″ boyfriend! This has made me cut my portion sizes down considerably and it’s amazing how quickly your body gets used to expecting less food.

Eating veggies

Although I enjoy eating vegetables, I normally ate them with the ‘meat and two veg’ type meals, and a lot of other meals would have chips or other potato based products on the side.  The Jenny Craig programme has made me try loads of other vegetables (I did the healthiest food shop of my life last week!) and try lots of different ways of cooking them.  I actually sautéed brussel sprouts last week and they were absolutely delicious! Filling your plate up with veggies and salad just naturally means your calorie intake is lower (as well as all the other health benefits) and although this is really obvious it’s been a complete revelation to me!

Eating fruit

Working in an office I find I’m always picking at food throughout the day.  But then, at the weekend, I will look at my watch and realise it’s 3pm and I haven’t eaten yet! There is just something about sitting in one position staring at a screen that makes me reach for the biscuits.  Eating two portions of fruit (or more) a day has taught me that it’s not about what I eat, it’s just about having something to entertain my hands (and my mouth!) I always felt a bit embarrassed when people came to my desk and I was tucking into a Twirl or a family size packet of crisps so I loved that smug feeling of being caught chomping an apple!

All in all, apart from the weight loss, the convenience of having your food delivered, and the consultant calls helping you make better choices, I have found that Jenny Craig has taught me loads of valuable lessons about eating better that I’ll definitely be taking forward now I’ve finished the plan.

If you want to read more about the programme, Charlene has also been blogging about it on Where Are My Knees here.

For those of you who are tempted to try Jenny Craig, they also have an amazing offer on at the moment of 50% off a two-week programme, which works out at £38.50 a week for all your food and consultations.  I know I spend more than that a week on food so I think that’s great value.  If you’re interested or you want to find out more you can call 0800 088 2048.  Or you can always tweet me or ask me a question in the comments.

What do you think? Would you try Jenny Craig? What’s your best diet tip?

When you’re staying healthy, look for a means of healthy weight loss.