High-profile celebrities such as Magda Szubanski and Shane Jacobson (aka Kenny) have lost masses of weight on the Jenny Craig program. So what are its ingredients of success? Holly Pendlebury signs up to the program to find out.
For years, carbohydrates have had a pretty bad rap, and as a result I have developed a kind of "carb phobia" where I have avoided breads, pasta, potatoes and all other carby goodies in the fear that they would make me put on weight. Yet despite the strict regime I (try to) keep, for the past five years I have hovered around 10kg above my "ideal weight".
So you can imagine my disbelief when, In my first meeting with my Jenny Craig consultant, Christina, I scanned my "week one" menu plan for Jenny Craig and found that bread, pasta, a baked potato and even lasagne were among the foods that I would be consuming that week. "And I will lose weight on this plan?" I asked. I was assured that the Jenny Craig program was a kilojoule-controlled plan and yes, I would certainly lose weight.
After stepping on the scales (eep!) and discussing my goals with Christina, I was sent off with a food diary to record what I've eaten, a book on the basics of good nutrition and exercise and a week's worth of food, which I was then to store in the freezer. I would then be meeting up with Christina for on a weekly basis for my ongoing support and the weigh-in Biggest Loser style.
I was attracted to a pre-prepared food delivery program because at the end of a stressful day I am far more likely to grab a takeaway than to cook myself a healthy meal. This means that I am often eating large portions and consuming lots of hidden fats and sugars. With this program, all I have to do is pop a meal in the microwave (that's my kind of cooking!) and then prepare myself a small side salad. Too easy.
For the first week on the program I was put on a 6400-kilojoule plan (so basically I was on easy street) which would then be reduced after I had lost 1.5kg. My breakfasts included peanut butter toast, which is my "naughty breakfast", and all of the above-mentioned carbified meals. Colleagues watched with amusement as I heated up my daily lunch: "Meat pie today, ey, you're really meant to lose weight on this program?"
In my first week I had followed the plan very closely, only straying when I needed a caffeine hit, and stepping on the scales revealed I had lost 1.4kg!
But now it got harder. I was down to the 5000 kilojoules a day plan, which subtracted some of the goodies I had enjoyed in the first week, such as peanut butter toast. But the menu still contained foods such as meat pies, pasta, vegetable pizza and even deserts such as chocolate pudding! The food really is tasty and you eat regularly so you're never left starving.
The breakfasts on the plan were the most challenging part for me. I am used to a mega bowl of muesli, topped to the brim and with a piece of chopped-up fruit on top. But I was now consuming around 45g of cereal with a little milk, or a cereal bar. But I found (begrudgingly) that this breakfast did get me through until my 11am snack and I really had been eating more than my body actually needed.
The second week was tougher but because often the food felt naughty, I didn't feel like I was on a "diet", so I didn't have the usual cravings for sweet stuff that I often experience when I deprive myself.
What was slightly annoying is trying to organise my social life around the program. Going out for dinner is tough and heading out after work means I have to eat my dinner at my desk, which isn't ideal but better than being tempted on a night out. Because I am often going to work events during the week Christina did give me an "action plan", which involved choosing healthy foods from the menu and keeping alcoholic drinks to a minimum something I often struggle with!
Four months later…
After four months on the Jenny Craig program I am now 7kg lighter! This program really worked for me and a colleague recently said to me "Wow, you have just shrunk Holly!" The compliments have been coming thick and fast, and it's been fantastic fitting back into clothes that have been hanging out in my closet for five years. I have been hitting the shops regularly, treating myself to clothes in a size 10.
I am definitely proud of myself for sticking with the diet, because life throws temptation at you at every turn home-baked cookies, drinks with friends, dinner dates, wine o'clock but on this program I felt like I was finally able to batter most of them off!
For more information, visit jennycraig.com.au.