It’s been a few months since I ended my juicing diet. I’ve been taking a break from dieting while I work through some other health issues. But now I’m ready to start up again. However, I just don’t feel comfortable going back to the juicing thing and Jenny Craig was just too damn expensive. Also, it is generally not tasty.
So what to do?
Well, at it’s core, Jenny Craig is just a “restricted caloric” diet coupled with eating 5 times a day. It incorporates fruits, vegetables & nuts as all good diet plans should do. Truthfully, the only thing Jenny Craig seems to be good for is that they have pre-planned all your meals for you (based on their nutritional philosophy). But mostly, it is just a matter of convenience.
So I should be able to accomplish the same goals using “off the shelf” packaged foods from the freezer isle at my local grocery store… theoretically. Provided that I can find foods that are nutritionally sound.
So I have nicknamed my new endeavor “The Generic Packaged Food Diet” … ok, it’s a working title.
I’ve mapped out my plan and have completed my first week of shopping. In the following blog pages for the next few weeks I will document my progress just as I did with my Jenny Craig experience.
Right off the bat while shopping I noticed a few things that should be mentioned up front. The first is that finding an exact equivalent to Jenny Craig is going to be difficult, if not impossible. The reasons become evident the minute you attempt to match up the foods.
First of all, since Jenny Craig makes their own foods they adjust the portion size. The effect of this is that the caloric count drops (since the sizes are smaller). It also means that the other nutrient factors are smaller than their store counterparts. In particular, the sodium content is much lower with Jenny Craig.
I’m sure that part of this is due to their own recipes, but again the portion size is smaller. Therefore, less overall sodium. I’m curious to calculate if the ratio per gram remains the same. Perhaps in the future I will do the math but honestly I doubt it will be the same because it may explain why much of the Jenny Craig food tastes like cardboard. Less salt = less flavor.
Because the portion sizes of normal foods are much larger than Jenny Craig, it’s going to take effort to find pre-packaged foods that will still allow me to max out around 1700 calories. Fortunately, there are literally thousands of name brand foods out there and truth be told, Jenny Craig only has about 100 different choices … so with a little work it shouldn’t be too much trouble.
In fact, my first week of shopping went pretty well. I’m encouraged by the fact that their are so many brands out there that do try to be as healthy as possible… but I’ve learned that you do have to read the fine print. For me, checking the sodium content is important. I’ve learned that some of the products have WAY TOO MUCH SODIUM. So for main dishes my goal is to keep it under 600 mg. With three main meals per day this should get me to about 1800 mg , which is less than the maximum recommended amount (2,300 mg) from the FDA. Click Here for FDA Sodium Guidelines. It’s also pretty close to the American Heart Association‘s rule of about 1,500 mg per day.
The typical disclaimers:
- If you are going to attempt to do any part of the diet that I am following you do so at your own risk. You must discuss your plan with your doctor before starting any diet plan.
- This is an experiment. The results of which are completely unknown. For all I know I will gain weight.
- I’m not endorsing any product. While I will be sharing with you the foods I’m consuming don’t consider this an endorsement of any food. In fact, if anything I will be providing a review of each. Some I may like, others not.
- My reviews are my own and I’m not being compensated by anyone for anything. With the exception of the few pennies that I get from Google ads on my website. I have no control over the content of the ads on my website. Google shows what Google thinks you want and I have nothing to say about it.
- Yes, if this diet plan works I may attempt to market it and sell it. Who wouldn’t?
So there you go. Let’s start the new weight loss journey.