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The Jenny Craig Experiment: Week Two

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Susannah Locketti: I'll be honest in saying that I'm hungry this week.

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My consultant, Lynn, buzzes me on the phone twice a week. The first call is to check in midweek to see how I'm doing on the program. The second call from Lynn is to confirm my weekly center appointment. For both calls, Lynn makes herself available to help me out with any questions I have. I immediately tell her I'm very, very hungry. She starts the diagnostics by asking me if I'm eating everything on the menu -- I am. Then she asks me if I'm drinking all my water -- I'm not. Then she asks me if I'm using Volumetrics -- I'm not -- and I should.

Volumetrics is the equivalent of Weight Watchers' zero-point veggies. These are non-starchy vegetables that you can eat in unlimited amounts throughout the day. On my first low-fat cooking show, I referred to them as "free fillers," and they are what helped me feel satisfied when I lost weight the first time around. The trick is to creatively add these free fillers to the Jenny Cuisine as a nutritional supplement and to increase your feeling of satisfaction and fullness.

Now I have a chance to play around with some of the frozen entrees and volumize them. I started out with an easy one. I took their Teriyaki Glazed Salmon with julienned vegetables and brown rice and added to it sauteed shredded cabbage seasoned with kosher salt and pepper along with a bunch of fresh chopped ginger. I removed the salmon fillet from the entree, tossed the cabbage mixture with the rice and veggies to create a stir-fry, plopped the salmon fillet back on top, and garnished with a lime basil sprig. It filled me up and also reminded me to eat the entrees on a plate to further increase my feeling of satisfaction.

The only way I can describe eating Jenny Cuisine is that it feels like I am splurging on takeout every day for every meal. There are a few breakfasts I'm partial to. The Sunshine Sandwich is their version of an Egg McMuffin. A scrambled egg patty is lightly infused with cheese and topped with a thin slice of Canadian bacon. The sandwich does not have a high fiber count, but it is delicious, decadent, and surprisingly filling. It also comes with a sauce pouch, but I eat mine straight up with ketchup. I like their French toast, too. It consists of three half slices of French toast, made with a very hearty bread that is high in fiber. It also comes with a small container of fresh fruit.

Snacks on Jenny are another way you feel like you're cheating. They also make me feel like I'm eating a lot of carbs, but I'm gonna just stick to the program and see what the scale says before I pass judgment. I like the white cheddar popcorn, the cheese curls, and the granola. You get one of these a day, so I eat them slower than molasses.

Lunches aren't bad either, and each one is eaten with a salad and a packet of Jenny Dressing. By the end of the week, adding a salad to lunch has become robotic and I'm making it the night before.

Dinners on Jenny are loaded with comfort foods that, again, make you feel like you're indulging. I like their Mac and Cheese. It is very, very cheesy, and if you slightly overcook the entree, a thin layer of cheese crispiness forms around the edges. The Cashew Chicken is my favorite so far. It is very fresh tasting, and comes with chicken, rice, a generous amount of whole cashews, along with veggies and a nice Asian sauce. I also added the sauteed cabbage mixture to this meal during the week to help fill me up, and it did the trick.

This week was a big exercise week. I worked out a total of five days at the gym, two of which were with a trainer named Allen. Allen has me doing a lot of stairs with weights, boxing, weighted jump roping, sprinting, and strength work. It is hell -- I have never been challenged physically like this in my life, yet I only paid $33 a visit because there was a special at the Y. Bargain hell.

Today I weigh in. I feel thinner and my clothes feel so much better. The scale reveals only a .4 weight loss ... just barely half a pound. I'm at 162.2. I'm in shock as I replay all of the exercise in my mind over the week ... and the faithfulness to the program. I ask Lynn if she'll at least take my measurements to see if there is any improvement there. She agrees, only after reminding me they only like to do measurements monthly.

The cool news is that I am down a half inch in my chest, an inch off my waist, no change in my lower ab (this is my worst spot), and an inch off my hips. Lynn is about ready to do a cartwheel for me, and it is so sweet to see her so genuinely excited for me. Instead, she cuts me a blue ribbon 2 ½ inches long to show me how many inches I have lost in two weeks.

Lynn ends by asking me about my exercise routine this past week, and I tell her about Allen the trainer and all of the hell he puts me through. She recommends less strength work and more cardio if I want to see the scale budge. It's Lynn against the trainer ... I love it! We'll see whose approach wins next week!

Cost of food on Jenny this week: $145.28.

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3 comments so far | Post a comment now
Mother of 3 July 13, 2009, 3:53 PM

$145.28 for just one week. Outrageously expensive!!

Clare Stella July 14, 2009, 5:54 PM

Susannah, This is a wonderful blog which is honest and forthright about the dificulties in losing weight. I think you will start to see major changes very quickly. Don’t forget that muscle weighs more than fat. It’s funny, Susannah. I developed an auto-immune disease a few years back and completely lost my sense of taste. Since then, I have very little appetite and have lost a lot of weight. Would I take the weight back in order to taste food again? Yes! So enjoy your food and aim for good health as your goal. Best of luck! I admire you and enjoy your writing.

Gail Cooke July 16, 2009, 2:03 PM

I don’t agree with joining a company that makes you dependent on their food. It serves people to be taught to make their own (and much, much cheaper) than to have to rely on premade dinners. It’s such an obvious moneygrab that takes advantage of desperate people. I’d have respect for Jenny Craig if the company taught self reliance rather than dependence.

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