Tuesday, June 15, 2010

When Bad Diets happen

Lets talk Jenny Craig in this edition. We are all familiar with the ads most recently featuring Valerie Bertanelli, the guy from Seinfeld and the beautiful Sara Rue. They also famously (or infamously) had featured, quite prominently Kirstie Alley. So what is Jenny Craig and why did it “work” for Valerie and fail for Kirstie.

What is Jenny Craig?

They are a prepared food diet system. Essentially they send you food, you can add “approved” food and then there is some “coaching” as well. From their site…

Jenny Craig offers a comprehensive weight management program that helps clients learn how to eat the foods they want, develop a healthy and enjoyable eating style, increase their energy level through simple activity, and build more balance into their lives for optimal weight loss and well-being. The Jenny Craig Program has been designed by Registered Dietitians in consultation with an expert Medical Advisory Board, whose recommendations are based on the latest nutrition, exercise, and behavioral strategies for weight management and disease prevention. We're proud to offer our clients a comprehensive, scientifically proven way to achieve and maintain their desired weight.

Now let me be clear, it works because it limits calories. All calorie reduction works, the more severe the cut the more dramatic your results will be, for a few months. You can only starve yourself thin if you are anorexic.

Now in pure speculation, my guess is Valerie is still eating their food where as Kirstie stopped eating the food and started to binge. That is always the danger when a “weight loss plan” uses calorie cutting alone. You get the freedom to eat, and your body screams for food. It also seems that from my outside perspective Valerie wanted to be healthy, she has been in many of the Health magazines out there, I think that Kirstie only wanted to be thin (a recipe for disaster). Kirstie has now started her own weight loss company…I can only imagine

Back to Jenny Craig, I think everyone (all 3 of you) who read my little blog know I am not one for severe calorie cuts. In most case, I think that the average woman eats too few calories of the worst variety. Jenny Craig is out to make money not help you, there is little money in the “diet” I subscribe to, you know eat right and workout. Part of their bread and butter is the fact that suburban moms think that “I was on Jenny and lost 30 lbs, and now 2 years later I need to hit it hard again”. They don’t hear the major flaw in that logic; they did not keep it off! If you truly lost weight, it is gone not on vacation.

There are horror stories or at least bad stories related to Jenny Craig…most of the complaints center around the food, quality and such. Some claims though are more insidious, like pressure to buy not just food but books and lets not forget you pay for the pounds you lose. All their commercials say “Lose all the weight you want for just $2.00 a pound, plus the cost of food”. I never understand what possesses people to pay for their own weight loss by the pound. It seems unethical or at least very hypocritical to say “we want to help you, now pay for your success”.

The fact still remains that it is not working, at least not for real long term goals.

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