15 Surprising Things You Never Knew About Jenny Craig

By , SparkPeople Blogger
There are some things that are synonymous with weight loss—those terms, emotions and activities that on their own conjure up the image of someone taking control of their health and achieving the incredible. Since 1983, Jenny Craig has been one of those terms. Started in Melbourne, Australia, Jenny Craig has helped millions reach their goal weight and come to understand health and wellness in a more positive, sustainable light.
Such notoriety and name recognition, though, can come with its share of struggles. Perhaps you hear "Jenny Craig" and think diet food. Wrong. Jenny Craig has around 100 delicious entrees, desserts and snacks developed by nutritionists, and professional chefs. Perhaps you immediately think of Kirstie Alley or Jason Alexander. There's more. So much more. Jenny Craig isn't the company that debuted across the world in the 80s—today, it's a multifaceted, more targeted and holistic approach to weight loss that may surprise you.

1. You'll be on a first-name basis with a dedicated personal consultant. You're not signing up to be an anonymous number destined to get lost in the mix and keep yourself accountable without help. At Jenny Craig, they will know your name, your goals and your lifestyle because you'll have been matched with a dedicated personal consultant on the day you sign up for the program. Once a week, you'll meet with your personal consultant to discuss your personal progress and activity levels and to talk through any motivational problems. The space allows for open communication and the chance for someone to walk alongside you throughout your journey. Rather than call in, most members opt to visit local centers for valuable facetime with their consultant. Think of them as your personal cheerleader rah-rahing you to victory. 

2. You get to eat chocolate lava cake. Or a lemon cake or triple chocolate cheesecake, if you prefer. With mouth-watering, enticing desserts available, you'll never feel like you're missing out on the sweet side of life. 

3. You'll learn healthy living skills you can carry with you long after your chosen program ends. Food is the centerpiece of our lives in many ways—we organize social events around it, use it to comfort us on bad days and to celebrate achievements or keep us company when we're alone. For many, this reliance has effectively shifted food from being fuel for our bodies to a treat to be indulged in large quantities and without thinking. On Jenny Craig, you'll get educated on healthy eating, meal planning and moderation. With help from your consultant, you will work to identify your eating style and weight-loss mindset, setting goals to improve upon your approach to each. You'll examine and reshape your eating habits slowly over time, which experts agree is the key to helping with weight loss. 

4. Your plan goes beyond just the foods you put in your mouth. Weight loss is something that you're doing, but it does not define who you are completely. Jenny Craig is committed to helping its members thrive in all aspects of life, which is why, in addition to nutrition check-ins and motivation, consultants also aim to offer members lifestyle tips to help them improve both their work-life balance and overall quality of life throughout their journey. Self-care breeds high self-esteem, which leads to a commitment to healthy living, so discovering ways to put yourself on the priority list is of the utmost importance. 

5. You don't have to give up whole food groups. No need to feel like any nutrient is off limits with Jenny Craig, which means you can finally stop pretending you hate carbs. Jenny Craig's menus were developed with the guidelines of organizations such as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the American Heart Association in mind so you'll feel full, nourished and never deprived after every meal.

6. Your meal doesn't have to begin and end with what's being delivered to your door. While you'll receive the meals you select with your consultant during your weekly meeting, you're not destined to stare longingly at the pantry in between meals. Every meal plan builds in items you purchase at the grocery store as well, allowing you to embrace even more variety by adding in more fruits and vegetables week to week. To help you navigate the minefield that can be the grocery store, every Jenny Craig member can consult Jenny Craig's easy-to-follow grocery list to stay on track and stock your kitchen with the foods that will fuel your mission. 

7. Your coach might have been standing in your shoes just a few years ago. A testament to the brand's powerful lifestyle transforming powers, many Jenny Craig members feel so inspired by their own successes that they become health coaches themselves. The road to weight loss is full of pot holes and smooth tarmac, so who better to guide you through your journey than someone who's already navigated the rocky roads and knows where the best roadside attractions are located?

8. Your health insurance might be able to give you an assist. Depending on your healthcare plan, you may be able to apply your flexible spending account, health savings account or health reimbursement account to your monthly fees. All it takes is a call to your healthcare provider and a letter from your doctor to determine if you're eligible.

9. You don't have to say "goodbye" to your favorite dish. Jenny Craig knows what you want, what you really, really want, so they're constantly developing and introducing new and perfectly portioned versions of favorite foods. With about 100 entrees, desserts and snacks from which to choose—each developed by a team of 40 professional chefs—you'll never feel bored by your menu options. For the adventurous eater, their "global flavor" offerings will allow you to introduce your pallet to foods you might not have otherwise tried. You may even discover your new favorite dish along the way. 

10. You can say "goodbye" to calorie counting. Ten here, 205 there—calorie counting can be tedious, but knowing what you're putting in your body is so important in the journey to weight loss. Jenny Craig understands that the struggle is real, so they did the work for you. Nutritionists develop each meal with dietary guidelines in mind, so you fuel your body with the right nutrients, every time. 

11. Teens can combat childhood obesity and take control of their future health, too. According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in five children between the ages of six and 19 are obese. With Jenny Craig, teens 14 and up can enroll on their own or along with a parent, offering a unique opportunity to educate and improve together as a family. Through the program, teens will receive the same offerings as the adult program through the lens of the teen eye. Objectives of the program include decreasing screen time in favor of physical activity, learning how to cope with the stress of friends or tests, embracing new foods, developing a positive body image and even navigating a fast food menu to find healthy options. 

12. You get to eat. Six times a day, in fact. While some plans leave you feeling hungry in between meals (or sometimes five minutes after you've licked the plate clean), Jenny Craig's plan won’t  leave you wanting more. Think of foods you've always considered to be on the "bad" list—pastas, cupcakes, pancakes, on and on. Those foods are back on the menu, just in a healthier version with Jenny Craig's carefully crafted items and perfect portion sizes. 

13. People with diabetes can enjoy a special program that includes lower-carb menus. Diabetes can be a tricky disease to navigate, which is why Jenny Craig developed a program specifically to help those with Type 2 diabetes manage their weight. The lower-carb menus take the guesswork out of eating while still offering clients the nutrients they need to lose weight and stay in control of their glucose levels. Plus, an independent study found that a whoping 72 percent of Jenny Craig participants were able to reduce or eliminate their use of insulin.1  

14. You'll never be far from inspiration. Dieting can feel lonely at times, which is why a support system is so important. In addition to your personal consultant, members are also encouraged to seek out and invite encouragement from their family, friends or peers. Learning to welcome others into your weight-loss journey is key to its success. Members can also find motivation, encouragement and even a place to gripe with their peers within Jenny Craig's message boards. Not enough? Flip over the box of your meal and you may just find a "Simple Inspiration," which details fresh and fun ways to remix your Jenny Craig meals.

15. You don't have to be on Jenny Craig's program forever. The company preaches the importance of self-monitoring to help you recognize your successes and keep track of your progress long after the program ends. Free recipes available on their website are searchable by various categories and take some of the guesswork out of meal prep and planning. Like a momma bird pushing its baby out of the nest, you'll feel supported but confident that your wings will work once you hit the open air. 

Rock CL, Flatt SW, Pakiz B, Taylor KS, Leone AF, Brelje K, Heath DD, Quintana EL, Sherwood NE. Weight loss, glycemic control and cardiovascular disease risk factors in response to differential diet composition in a weight loss program in type 2 diabetes: a randomized controlled trial. Diabetes Care, published online April 23, 2014.

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