Thanks to an earlier blog post, I managed to win myself a free 28 day Jenny Craig trial. I was really excited about this because Jenny Craig sends you your meals all portion controlled and ready to go. not only did I think this would help with my portion control in the future, but it also sounded like a really easy way to not have to worry about what lunch I was taking to work each day for the next month!
So, I rang the freephone consultant line, explained I was a competition winner and answered a few short questions about my current height, weight and activity levels as well as my target weight. I must have got my estimates spot on because they just kind of said OK - my food was on its way and a day or two after my consultant would phone me for my first session. I was very excited!
So, two large boxes of food arrived - a mixture of plastic packaged ready meals, noodle pots, sachets of soups, stews etc., small packages of dry cereal and my selection of snacks - potato crisps, chocolate digestive bars and oaty cereal bar concoctions. I waited excitedly for my consultant to give me a call and when they finally did, bang on the time expected, they told me they couldn't go forward without the grocery guide and meal planner I'd been sent :( - sad times! I was out of the house and didn't know that I had to have anything with me, I thought they were just going to explain how to use the meal planner and food I'd been sent!
Anyway, no matter, they said, they'll call back tomorrow. But they never did. So by this point I'd got tired of having this exciting new food that I wasn't allowed to start trying yet, so I decided I was going to start on the Sunday after I had done my weigh in, so I could keep track of my successes! I'm glad I did, because one week on, I still haven't heard from any of the Jenny Craig consultants! I'm not sure that for £249 per month I'd be very happy to miss out on my consultant sessions, which according to the website provide 'On-going support, motivation, guidance and education.' and act as 'Someone to help you integrate healthy eating and activity habits for life.' They seem to pride themselves that at Jenny Craig, they support you all the way - but to be honest I feel like I've been more cast adrift! Ah well, maybe they'll call this week and I'll be able to let you know what that side of Jenny Craig is like!
But you're more interested in the food, aren't you? That's what I was like! You get all your meals provided, but they have to supplement your diet with fresh food - milk, vegetables and fruit, as well as some meals requiring the additional boost of a starch, protein or perhaps a fat. You get an excellent A4 sheet 'Grocery Guide' which lets you know what foods count as what and exactly how much of them you should eat for a portion. There is a very handy massive green spoon which comes in your kit as well which allows you to accurately measure a half cup of pretty much anything, which I have found invaluable.
I didn't manage to photograph all of my meals, but here is a run down of what I've eaten this week, what I added, and how it all tasted!
For my first day I started the day with 'porridge with raspberry' with half a cup of semi skimmed milk. This had pieces of dry raspberry in it and an aromatic, fruity smell. It tasted good and was much more filling than I was expecting for the portion size. I did find it to be exceptionally sweet however, if I had made the porridge myself I would have sprinkled a very little sugar over the top, not put a load throughout, so that seemed a bit odd to me!
For lunch I had a tuna pasta salad to which I had to add a cup of my own salad or vegetables. I'm not a huge pasta salad fan, so I decided to cook some vegetables and then add the salad and heat it up. I sweated off some carrots, onions and courgette and then whacked the pasta salad in. It contained a LOT of tuna - and pretty big chunks at that. There was a much smaller amount of little wholewheat pasta shells and then a good mixture of other vegetables, including beans and olives. It was an interesting flavour, perhaps because you were not supposed to heat it up! I enjoyed it just fine though. It was a big bowlful and I was nice and full afterwards.
For the evening meal it was chicken provencal with durum wheat, to which I added a cupful of courgette out of the garden. The Boy said he felt a bit jealous of this one! It had some good chunks of chicken and I am a big fan of durum wheat so this was good for me. The thai potato crisps which were my snack at the end of the day were a definite winner though. Again, slightly sweeter than you'd perhaps expect (I've noticed that there seems to be a lot of sugar, relatively speaking, in Jenny Craig foods) but a good size, great crunch and definitely a satisfying treat for only 100 calories and a very low fat content.
Monday started with muesli, which had raisins for sweetness, oats to fill you up and little bran flakes for crunch. It was tastier than I expected and not too sweet!! It was lunch that I was really worried about as I hate sweet and sour! The sweet and sour noodles themselves weren't too bad - once I drained most of the sauce off and mixed them with the cooked veg I'd brought with me! I also scrambled an egg with the veg in the work microwave as I needed to add an addiitonal protein serving (and a fat for the evening meal).
Dinner was chicken chasseur with potatoes which came in a packet and I heated up with courgette and pepper. The boy said he was jealous of the smell which is a good sign! I thought the sauce was pleasantly rich and enjoyed the chunks of chicken, both white and dark meat.
My snack that evening was a oaty cereal bar with a layer of white chocolate at the bottom, which certainly felt quite indulgent. Considering this was my first day on the food at work, I didn't go hungry, despite obviously cycling to and from work each day. So far, so good.
I had wholewheat and chocolate coated flakes for breakfast which had some nice hits of dark chocolate in them so were quite enjoyable. As a big toast eater, I found I was getting used to eating cereal every day surprisingly quickly.
Lunch was a bit of a funny one for me, a pot of mashed potato with 'rosemary and croutons'. I wasn't sure how mashed potato constitutes a meal, but I had brought lots of vegetables with me to mix in with it so it made a decent amount of food. It was actually surprisingly enjoyable, for an instant mash it tasted creamy and flavourful so I was quite impressed. I have noticed that already I am taking much more care to eat slowly and savour each mouthful, which means the smaller portions are still keeping me full for as long as they need to.
That said I did have to eat an early tea at work as I had zumba afterwards, so I had my sachet of chilli con carne with a load of veg mixed in. This was quite nicely spiced so I enjoyed it, particularly the kidney beans - although I could have done with a bit of rice as well! I didn't have a snack that day as we went for a couple of glasses of wine after the dance class. With that, plus the cycle, I don't think that's too bad.
This was the hardest of the days I have had so far. I had the wholewheat chocolate flakes for breakfast again, which were fine, but I found I was already really hungry by the time lunch came around at work. Unfortunately, I only had tomato soup, which was by no means the full, rounded meal that I was hoping for by that point in the working day.
I found myself getting a bit moodier and indeed, starting to feel like I was going to get a cold because I was a bit weak. When I got home, emergency measures were called for as the cycle back was exhausting!
I took the additional protein serving I was due to have with my soup and had a serving of tofu which I baked with a lot of 'free' flavourings like allspice and soy sauce. I then dry stir fried a load of veg, again with free flavours with a chinese feel and had an 'emergency' meal. It sorted my mood out no end, so was definitely the way to go! After that, I was back on plan with vegetable and lentil dahl for dinner, which I added a sprinkling of grated cheese to as my additional fat serving. It was nicely spiced, but weirdly seemed to be composed more of peas than lentils! Must remember to take a photo of that one if it comes around again!
I had the lightly salted potato crisps for a snack, which were delicious - I don't know if my body was craving the salt or something, but they were an absolute triumph!!
This was another muesli day and then, in stark comparison to the previous day's experience, my lunch was one of the best looking meals I had had so far! It was winter vegetable soup, very nice, particularly with the haricot beans that were included, and I was allowed salad, a starch, a protein and a fat. This meant I could have some rocket, cucumber, half a wholemeal roll and a 28g block of cheese. Delicious! This not only filled me up, but it made me feel very happy as well!
Dinner was a packet of beef goulash with potatoes, which I added a mound of broccoli and carrots to. This was nice as it had some little chunks of beef which added good texture. The return of gloop based meals though - would prefer to have more stuff with stuff than pure gloop!! As I was supposed to have an additional fat with that meal, I decided to combine it with my three 'limited free' portions as a starch and have hummus with lots of raw pepper and carrot as a snack which I thorougly enjoyed while watching the telly. Later I also got to have a JC chocolate digestive bar - snackerific!! That was definitely a good day! (Oh and I had to have a cookie at work because someone brought a pack in especially for me and it would have been rude not to!!)
Today I got up and did my weigh in as I am away on training this weekend which is going to mess everything up. I've been back on the porridge this morning, apple and cinnamon. Couldn't taste the cinnamon, could smell and taste the apple and again way too sweet - but nice!
So how has all this affected my weight? Here are the weigh in results...
Start weight: 9st 2lbs
Target weight: 8st 8lbs
This week: -1lb
Total loss: -5lb
Current weight: 8st 12lb
BMI: 22.80 (target 22)
So woo hoo and everything, looks like this Jenny Craig, on the whole has been a positive experience for me. I've lost a pound and it's not even a full week in just yet. I've not been too hungry, except for one day and that includes doing all my usual exercise. Happy so far, but this week is way more challenging. Have a blog review at a diner tonight and a weekend away having food provided for training... Wish me luck!!
Don't forget to check in on my other lovely Diet buddies this weekend, I hope they all have a successful weigh in over the weekend!