Say goodbye to Valerie Bertinelli, Carrie Fisher, Mariah Carey, and other Jenny Craig celebrity spokespeople, and hello to the real women of Jenny Craig.
Yes, it sounds like the title of a reality show on a health and fitness-oriented cable channel, and in some ways, it could be.
Amid much fanfare, Jenny Craig unveiled its new My Days program and unfurled a virtual calendar of real women with real lives whose weight loss made a real difference in their health, well-being and quality of life. They are an impressive bunch.
The new program is simple, and designed to increase the stick-with-it-ness of the plan by adding some flexibility in food choices. You eat Jenny’s Cuisine for five days, and get to make your own healthy food choices on the other two days.
The food items drew many oohs, ahs, and yums as they were sampled by members of the media. The Santa Fe Style Veggie Chili, turkey burger, and chicken curry wrap seemed to be among the biggest hits with this crowd.
Real woman of Jenny Craig, Leah Fernandez, was recently one of People magazines’ Half Their Size Cover Girls. This Atlanta-based mom of two lost 126 lbs in 15 months, and has since become a runner. She is even in training for her first half-marathon. What can a real person reasonably expect if they sign up? Most people lose 1-2 pounds a week on the program.
Many people think of this program as pre-packaged meals, but that is not the case, Fernandez says. The first half of the program does rely on premade foods, but as people get a better handle on what is and is not an appropriate portion size, they can start cooking for themselves and their family.
The best part of My Days, the real women say, is that they don’t go to sleep famished. The plan is based on the volumetrics approach developed by Barbara Rolls, PhD. She is the Helen A. Guthrie Chair of Nutritional Sciences at The Pennsylvania State University in University Park, Penn. Volumetrics is a big word for eating more fruits and vegetables—which help you feel full.
Rolls talked to Beauty in the Bag about her science-based approach to eating more and losing weight. “We teach people to have more satisfying portions by adding vegetables, fruit, and water, she says. “When you do this, you feel satiated while cutting calories.”
It can be as simple as enhancing mac and cheese by adding some broccoli or spinach. Other helpful strategies include filling up on soup or salad at the beginning of a meal.
Unlike other plans, volumetrics is not loaded with gimmicks and promises. “Its compatible with dietary guidelines from all of the major health programs, “ she says. “You are not cutting out food groups and you are learning about healthy portions in a way that can be sustained over the long term.”
Celebrity ambassador Nicole Sullivan quipped that volumetrics means “legit big portions.” The actress who appeared on King of Queens lost 35 lbs on the plan, and the only exercise she did was walk with her baby. Sullivan says that she would thumb through Us and People magazines and see all of the actresses who dropped their baby weight overnight. Not her. “I felt that being an actress you get to lose weight, but not so much.” Now Sullivan is a happy and full camper who actually owns and wears several bikinis.
It’s not just about looking better, it is also about feeling better and living a healthier lifestyle. That is why Jenny Craig is also partnering with the American Heart Association (AHA) as part of the My heart, My Life, My Jenny plan.
This program encourages people to participate in AHA Heart Walks across the country, provides tip cards with healthy recipes, and free training plans.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report more than one-third of American adults are obese. This increases risks for heart attack and stroke, but losing just 5 to 10% of body weight can lower this risk.
Boston-Mass.-based nutritionist Dana Greene, MS, says when it comes to weight loss and healthy eating, it’s different strokes for different folks. “You need to choose something that fits into your lifestyle, or you are setting yourself up for failure.” Greene is not affiliated with Jenny Craig.
“Fad diets may allow you to drop weight fast, but the weight often comes back the minute you stop eating the ‘miracle’ foods, “ she says. The key is gradual weight loss. “The cliché is true: slow and steady wins the race every time.”
For more information in the program, visit Jenny Craig.