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An Experiment in Willpower – Jenny Craig

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A few weeks back I took part, and was runner up, in a blog competition for Jenny Craig. The runners up prize was a voucher for She Active, which I look forward to spending, plus a 28 day free trial of the Jenny Craig Diet. So that’s what I’m doing this month.

I have never tried a “proper” diet. I’ve often taken steps to eat more healthily and do more exercise, but I’ve generally lasted a day or two before I’ve reached for the chocolate. I’ve never given Atkins or Cabbage Soup or any of that sort of diet a try – they seem to have massive flaws in that they limit your variety of food or make food your enemy. I have done weight watches on an informal basis thanks to a friend sending me her old books, but that never lasted either.  I know I need to lose a bit of weight, but the thought of dieting just fills me with dread and immediately makes me crave Haribo.

Jenny Craig Food Parcels

Jenny Craig is a diet that aims to change the way you think and feel – not just about food but about your body and in your mind. They combine ready prepared meals, which they post to you, with weekly consultations to try and help you change habits and become naturally more healthy. This starts with a quick telephone conversation with someone who takes loads of details (loads but nothing difficult to answer), followed by the delivery of two massive boxes of food, and then a consultation with a counsellor type person who makes it their business to get you started on the plan and keeps you motivated. My conversation with my consultant was nice, she made me feel I would get loads from the one month trial and it would really help me.

Now I’m not paying for this, I won it, which is probably a good job because 28 days costs a massive £308. Wow, that’s loads! Way more than I spend on groceries each month and you still have to add all the fresh stuff. But I guess for lots of people it’s a great structured way to get a kick start on weight loss. Jenny Craig reckons you can lose half a stone in in the first month of their plan, which if I can do would give me a brilliant start to my weight loss goals.

Speaking of weight loss goals, I have no intention of posting my starting weight on my blog but I will tell you that the experts (including the nurse who gave me a medical about a year ago – and I’ve gained more since then) say I need to get rid of at least a stone to get out of the overweight side of the chart. So not massive, but over the last few years all I’ve done is put weight on. I would also like to lose a little to help me feel better in my clothes – even my wedding ring is getting a little tight these days. So I guess I am after a kick start, and see Jenny Craig as an experiment in will power and an exercise in portion control. Can I get my eating under control in 28 days?

Well, I’m already thinking not.

Earlier today I unpacked my two massive boxes of food and got ready what I need for this week. It took ages – this dieting thing is hard work already. I have a long list of “free” foods which I need to go and buy – salad, vegetables (apparently peas are a starchy vegetable, they’re not free), fruit, drinks etc. Also I need to get some low fat yoghurt to supplement what I’ve been sent. I found everything in amongst the two big boxes I need for the next seven days and labelled it up so time wouldn’t be a barrier while I get to grips with what I’m doing in the first week. I have to say I like the look of the breakfasts – cereal and porridge on different days – and the crisps and chocolate coated snack bars look good too. The meals don’t look bad actually, they look better than I had anticipated, I’ll let you know how they taste after I’ve tried one!

Jenny Craig Breakfast Pouches

One of the things I noticed was that the lunches require heating – soups and pot noodle type things are nice for the time of year, but that means I need a kettle some days and a microwave on others. How many of you have access to a kettle or a microwave every single day of the week at lunch time? I don’t. When I am in the office it’s fine, but this working week, for example, I will be kettle and microwave-less for three out of five days due to being at an event and a training course. And who has access to a kettle or microwave on a nice day out at the weekend? I’m not sure how I’m going to overcome this immediate hurdle yet but I guess I’ll think of something.

Another problem I have considered is that Jenny Craig recommends you don’t eat out during the diet. Don’t eat out? But that’s my social activity of choice – I love to go out for food with friends and family. I have at least four meals out planned over the next month, at least. I’m not cancelling them. I don’t mind giving pudding a miss (honest), but I’m not missing out completely.

So the night before I start Jenny Craig I’ve potentially already failed. I’ve already decided I’m not going to be able to follow the plan properly due to not always having the right kitchen appliances. And I’ve already decided I don’t want to follow the plan properly because I will still be going out for some meals. I know my situation with winning this is different to most – if you’ve bought this you will have looked at your diary and planned it in, taking into account birthday celebrations and work events before you ordered. But there is no time like the present and I’ve probably not got a better month in my diary any time soon. So I’ve probably not got the greatest of starts, and maybe not the greatest of attitudes either. But I will try. I will try really hard to make the most of my 28 days.

Any and all helpful tips and suggestions appreciated…!

Disclaimer: I won a 28 day trial of the Jenny Craig diet, including food and consultations, in a blog competition. I have not been asked to write about the programme on my blog as a condition of entry or since, I just thought you might like to know what my thoughts are.
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