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- Established: 1983
- Founder: Jenny and Sid Craig
- Headquarters: Carlsbad, California
- Stock Symbol: NESN
- Accessibility: Online, Centers
- Diet Type: Prepackaged Meals, Portion Control, Low-Calorie, Low-Fat
- Gender: Male and Female
- Celebrity Endorsements: Valerie Bertinelli, Jason Alexander, Sarah Rue, Carrie Fisher
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With more than 600 centers around the globe and thousands of female followers, Jenny Craig has established itself as a leader in the weight-loss industry since 1983.
The Jenny Craig approach is built on three tenets: food, body and mind. The food element focuses on healthy eating and portion control and also teaches you how to eat the foods you love in moderation, the body element focuses on exercise and overcoming barriers to being physically active. The mind element focuses on positive thinking and getting the support you need to reach your weight loss goals.
The program is most known for its pre-packaged and portion-controlled meals. But Jenny Craig sets itself apart from other meal-delivery diets because as you reach your goal weight, you work closely with Jenny Craig counselors to learn about portion control, healthy cooking and eating at home or while dining out.
With over 2,500 consultants, you have access to one-on-one support in person, online or over the phone to help you eat right, exercise, change habits and overcome obstacles that keep you from your goals.
After an in-depth interview with a Jenny Craig representative, you are given a personalized meal and fitness plan. The two basic programs are the In-Person Support and Jenny Direct programs. With the former, you attend weekly meetings, consultations and food pick-up at your local Jenny Craig center and the latter gives you the same support over the phone and delivers food to your door.
In addition, there are five Jenny Craig plans under the Standard program: Jenny Craig for Women, Jenny Craig for Men, Jenny Craig for Teens, Jenny Craig for Spouses and Jenny Craig for Seniors.
Famous Jenny Craig Spokeswomen include Kirstie Alley, Valerie Bertinelli, Phylicia Rashad, Queen Latifah, Nicole Sullivan and Sara Rue.
Other Jenny Craig plans include:
Jenny Craig at Home: A plan that allows you to complete the Jenny Craig plan from the privacy of your own home.
Jenny Direct: The Jenny Craig program delivered straight to your door.
Jenny Craig for Men: The Jenny Craig plan specifically designed to meet the nutritional needs of men who want to lose weight.
Jenny Craig Silver: The Jenny Craig plan for older adults who want to improve their health.
- Features a one-on-one relationship with counselor
- Menu includes a wide-variety of foods
- Program has a long history and is a trusted brand in weight loss programs
- Prepackaged foods offer convenience
- No food groups are off limits
- Named #2 in the Best Commercial Diets by US News, 2011
- May be a challenge to transition from the company’s prepackaged meals to “real” food
- Low-calorie diet may be too strict
- Weekly in-person meetings can sometimes be inconvenient
- Financial responsibility of prepacked meals may not be a long-term healthy eating solution
A sampling of feedback and experiences shared by our community.
The food is great! Ediets is disgusting. Portions are small but your stomach does shrink so you don’t really need more. Not all foods were wonderful but some I would eat even when not dieting. The food seems expensive but at the end of 6 weeks, I had actually saved money. I ate less, enjoyed my meals, and lost weight. – Katrina 1/9/11
I tried the program for a few weeks and was disappointed in the lack of support from the counselors. They didnt seem to have any “real” training. They said I could tell them things I dont like and they would make sure they werent included in the foods I bought (I hate raisins and mushrooms). They assured me nothing I bought had those 2 things in them, but lots actually did. They obviously didnt know their product. Way too expensive also. – Sandy 11/29/10
I’ve maintained my weight loss, fluctuating about 7 pounds, but still well below my goal weight for a year today! Great program, great food and awesome consultants. – Nina 7/12/10
Easiest diet I ever followed. Where I have always fallen off the wagon before is when I get stressed and am too busy to cook or just don’t feel like it. With Jenny when I am stressed I just make a point of following the plan even better at those times. I don’t do meals on my own, I just eat the Jenny food and know that way I am on track. – Carol Ann 1/17/10
I lost about 40 pounds on Jenny Craig and, with the exception of playing with 5 pounds here and there, have kept it off. I like that they first teach you portion control through their meals and then gradually reintroduce store-bought food into your diet. The one-on-one interaction with a counselor also helped keep me on track and did not allow me to hide in the back of a meeting. – A.C. 12/29/09
The program’s success is in the Jenny Craig food, which offers convenience with portioned and calorie-controlled pre-packaged meals. The Jenny Craig plan has a daily caloric intake of 1,200-1,300 and contains 50% to 60% carbohydrate, 20% to 25% protein, and 20% to 25% fat.
Dieters eat 6 times a day, which includes 3 meals and 3 snacks.
Meals are either picked up at Jenny Craig centers or delivered straight to your door. There are four different menu options with Jenny Craig. You can customize your own meals, order pre-planned meals, enjoy an all-vegetarian menu or select a menu specifically designed for adolescents.
Eating on the Jenny Craig program can be easy because most of your meal is provided for you. Jenny Craig foods are paired with your own grocery foods like fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, whole grains and heart-healthy fats. Low glycemic veggies can eaten in limitless portions. Although the meals are prepackaged, the makeup of the foods you eat will set you up for how you should eat to maintain a balanced diet.
Jenny Craig uses the Volumetrics® approach which encourages consuming low-calorie, nutrient dense foods high in water, fiber and protein to help dieters feel fuller longer.
A dining out guide is also included so that you can eat out without sabotaging your weight loss goals. No foods are off limits on the Jenny Craig program. You work with a counselor to learn how to safely incorporate your favorite foods into your healthy eating plan.
In 2015, Jenny Craig’s packaging was redesigned to help members make more informed nutrition decisions and encourage members to get creative with their meals and make their own unique recipes.
On Jenny Craig you are given a personalized activity and motivational plan to get you moving more. When you meet with your consultant in the Jenny Craig office, they will help you personalize your fitness plan. This can also be done online for those that are doing the at-home delivery program. You will work to develop an approach to fitness that starts where you are now and builds on that. You will also be identifying personal barriers to your physical activity so that you can work to remove those and stay focused on the benefits of exercise.
Consultants work with members to achieve 10,000 steps a day through habit change and intentional exercise.
The Jenny Craig activity plan centers around three kinds of activities. The first are natural activities like house cleaning, shopping and gardening. Next are planned activities such as doing cardio at the gym or taking a yoga or aerobics class. Last are playful activities like taking a dance class or playing football with your kids.
Over time you gradually increase your activity through these three elements and you learn how to incorporate more movement into your day.
Your planned exercises will include a combination of cardio, resistance and stretching activities. The Jenny Craig program strongly recommends exercise while on the program so that you can have an established habit to maintain your weight loss after you’ve reached your goal weight. Some of the outlined planned exercise options as well as the playful options are listed below:
- Aerobic Dance
- Playing Basketball
- Playing Tag with the Kids
Common questions asked about the Jenny Craig program by our community. Click to see the full answer.
Is the Jenny Craig food frozen or freeze-dried? – Celia 6/18/11
With its focus on food, body and mind, Jenny Craig is a well-rounded weight loss program that offers the training and support you need to achieve your weight loss goals. Its varied programs and pre-packaged meals and snacks offers the convenience of healthy eating in combination with a personalized plan that fits your lifestyle.
While most pre-packaged meal weight loss programs don’t provide you with any information on how to prepare and eat healthy meals on your own, Jenny Craig offers support that educates you on healthy cooking and eating.
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