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The Jenny Craig Experiment

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Susannah Locketti: Why is it that Jenny Craig has been around for twenty-five years and I don't know a soul who has ever done the program except Kirstie Alley and Valerie Bertinelli?


I've had a weight problem my entire life and not once have I ever thought of turning to Jenny Craig. Nor have any of my friends, family, coworkers, or acquaintances. In 2001, I did, however, turn to Weight Watchers and lost eighty-nine pounds. I was at my goal weight for one day and slowly gained it all back over the past five years. No fun, especially when you work on camera.

After reading the May 18th People magazine cover story about Kirstie Alley gaining back all the weight she lost on Jenny Craig, I could relate in a big way. Watching myself get heavier and heavier in cooking videos over the years was mortifying, and everyone around me was too afraid to speak up out of fear of hurting my feelings. Like Kirstie, I have battled the bulge most of my life. It started at the age of thirteen, when I was often described as the "husky" girl. God I hated that term. As I got older and heavier, I was the girl who people said "would be so pretty if she just lost weight." I even have a most embarrassing "fat moment" -- the day my metal-clasped girdle set off the security alarms at Logan Airport. Can you imagine how humiliating it was when I had to explain that to the guard? The worst part? I was on a date.

I'm an emotional eater, so I eat when I'm happy, sad, indifferent, angry, elated, or bored. I also eat in large quantities. I'm a closet binge eater, and it is like living in hell every day of your life. No lie ... I've downed a 10-pack of Swiss Rolls and an entire bag of Swedish Fish, all in one sitting ... and that was just the appetizer! Every Halloween, I eat my kids' candy and blame it on the dogs. When everyone in the house falls asleep, I raid the kitchen. Binge eating is as if your brain refuses to send a message to your stomach saying you are full. It is a true nightmare; the binges come on at the most unexpected times and you never know how long the binge will last. The binging is followed by horrible feelings of guilt, depression, and anger, which are almost worse than the binging. It is a terrible and vicious cycle that I have been striving to overcome for over half of my life. After two decades, I have to say I'm finally sick of my weight problem. It is a bad roller coaster ride that I want off of in a big way, once and for all.

Enter Jenny Craig. I've been so intrigued with all the media hype surrounding Jenny Craig lately and the amazing transformation of Valerie Bertinelli. Nightline even ran a lead story in May on Jenny Craig's mass appeal. It got me to wondering what the heck their program actually is. I only associate it with celebrity gain and loss, and know nothing about how their program is structured, what the food tastes like, and what support they can offer an overweight, sleep-deprived, busy single mom of two like me. So I've decided to partake in what I'm calling the "Jenny Craig Experiment."

My goal is obviously to lose weight, but more importantly, I'd like to provide an all-access and honest review of the Jenny Craig program. What does the food taste like? Is it filling? Is it humiliating being weighed in? Does the food cost a mortgage payment? Do you actually lose weight? How does it compare to Weight Watchers? Are you hungry on Jenny Craig? Can they help me gain control of my binge eating and put an end to a lifetime of yo-yo dieting? For the next four weeks, I'll be answering all of these questions for you in both written posts and videos, and I can't wait!

Am I nervous? YES! I will be sharing my current weight and measurements with the rest of the world ... uggh!!!! What if I don't lose weight? Double uggh! It will definitely be interesting breaking down this weight-loss program by living it for a solid month.

Stay tuned for my Week One experience!

next: Can Wilderness Camps Kill Your Kid?
7 comments so far | Post a comment now
Lucy June 22, 2009, 8:04 PM

Good luck! It will be fun to follow your progress and to hear an honest opinion on the Jenny Craig diet—I’ve always been curious. The only diet that ever worked for me was following a low-glycemic meal plan.

Erin Batchelor June 23, 2009, 10:17 PM

Well I am excited just reading your story. My mother used to work at Jenny Craig and it is a great program. Looking forward to your posts!! You go girl!!

kelly June 24, 2009, 7:17 AM

I myself have been curious of this diet, best wishes.

Christine June 30, 2009, 9:53 PM

I can fully relate! I signed up for JC today and will be starting my first day tomorrow. Everyone working at my local center seemed so supportive and really got me so enthused with starting this ride. I am really looking forward to your update.

Best of luck!!! You are not alone.

Kate August 19, 2009, 11:47 AM

I appreciate your honesty. My “fat moment” was at UPS when the lady I hadn’t seen in a while insisted “OMG and you are expecting?!” over and over. Infront of my husband, infront of all male customers. I cried in the car.

Jenny Craig is good, I lost 22 pounds in 2 months ut you get sick of the food and the prices for me were crazy. $500 more a month just for me and then I’d have to buy my family food at the store.
Needless to say, I quit and 3 years later had gained the weight back and this past Christmas packed 13 more on to hit 200 pounds. Scary. Weight Watcher’s wasn’t for me, I couldn’t count points for more than 2 weeks without getting annoyed.

So I am back at Jenny Craig possibly. Good luck with your journey!

Maurice Detmer December 31, 2010, 5:50 PM

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