So watching the morning tv this morning and Mel B (aka scary spice) appeared on the screen saying she gets asked a lot why she chose Jenny Craig. The question I get the most is how did I lose the weight, usually quickly followed by did I follow a diet and did I join the gym.
The gym was never really in consideration as I have wasted too much money over the years paying for but not using the gym. Though I confess I occasionally looked in the window and wonder if I should give it another go but it was never a very serious wonder. I have relied solely on walking my dogs for half an hour each day and gardening a bit on weekends to lose nearly 25kg.
I was never going to be the kind of person to burn off hundreds of calories exercising and so my diet had to change. I didn’t contemplate Jenny Craig. This was partly because of the financial commitment required. I didn’t want to commit to paying a certain amount of money for quite a few weeks. The trial period is 13 weeks and I wasn’t sure if I had to commit to buying the food for that long. I also wanted to change my diet in a way that was sustainable. I wanted to be able to go to a supermarket and buy food. I thought (possibly incorrectly) that with Jenny Craig I wasn’t going to learn to make good food choices once finishing the program. I didn’t look into this very closely at the time but having since looked at the Jenny Craig website it does say they transition you off the Jenny Craig food.
I considered Light and Easy and may still use them in the future. Again I thought it was not sustainable in the long run, with only prepackaged food used. I liked the idea that you could just buy say 5 dinners for one week. I think if I know I have a crazy week at work where I am not going to have time to cook, I might use Light and Easy to make sure I am still eating meals that have an appropriate numbers of calories. I do find normal takeaway tricky in terms of keeping to the right number of calories. The takeaways often have an appropriate meal but it is not usually the meal I want to eat and my will power normally lets me down!
Weight Watchers also appealed. I liked the points system and when I started to think seriously about doing something about my weight they were advertising joining their online program for $1. I didn’t want to go to meetings for weigh ins – that is really not me but the online points calculator sounded good. But when I looked more closely there were other costs involved and the $1 was only a joining fee. I thought the adverts were a bit deceptive and that didn’t help with my trust in the program. In some ways I am glad I haven’t used their points program. I have used calories which are available on all foods, so I don’t need to get my phone out when I am browsing products in the supermarket.
The main change I have made is using myfitnesspal to get the amounts I was eating under control. Until using myfitnesspal, a free calorie counter/food tracker, I was just so unaware of how many calories I was popping in my body each day. I looked at a few calorie counters other than myfitnesspal. One of the girls I work with used calorie king and liked it and there were others. I went with myfitnesspal as it seemed to have more of the food that I was eating. The main thing I would recommend is having a good look before picking one as once you start using one it is easiest to stick with it than swap around. I have put in effort to entering recipes and foods etc that make using your chosen program/app easier and quicker to use. Starting again on a new app would be tiresome. None of the food trackers are 100% accurate and there is dodgy data on all of them. But I think you get a fairly good sense of where you are at and you just need to apply some commonsense.
So to go back to the question of this blog of whether you should do a formal weight loss program.
The answer is of course: it depends. I think all these methods have their own merits. Jenny Craig provides a person to motivate you that could be the trick to get you over the line. Light and Easy seems very straightforward and if you hate cooking it could be for you. A friend of my Mum’s is finding it is just right for her. The Weight Watchers point scheme is widely known and there are lots of great recipes online such as at skinnytaste (http://www.skinnytaste.com/) that give the points for meals. Their group meetings also work well for some people. The key is to work out how you want to try to lose weight and what you think is going to work for you. What has worked for you?