Thursday, May 21, 2009

From the Archive - Jenny Craig, Part I (1990)

This was part of my contribution to "How NOT to Lose Weight on a Diet" - a joint project with Colette. It's also an interesting (to me) look into my mindset before HAES.

The first time I tried Jenny Craig, I liked it. I tried it on the suggestion of a new acquaintance at work who could not say enough good things about it. At the time, I had been married for about 15 months and had gained about 40 pounds since the wedding. I was approaching 200 pounds, which seemed like an impossibly large number (ah, youth!). Looking back, I wonder about the circumstances that caused a 20 year old to gain that much weight that quickly, but I put it down to eating out with the new hubby, getting through the last year of college, taking on the responsibilities of an apartment and almost full time job, etc.

Things went well for about six months. At the time, I think they gave you a 1200-calorie eating plan with 90% their food and a few things you bought – fruit, lettuce for salad, some veggies, milk. It cost about $75 a week for the food. You had to meet with a counselor once a week to weigh in, talk a little and get next week’s food. You were also supposed to attend a small group session – usually a video and discussion led by a counselor – preferably on a different day. The idea was that you were in the center at least twice a week for encouragement and reinforcement.

It worked while everything in my life was going well. I had graduated college and was in a job I enjoyed. I had friends at work that I liked and a gym in the office building that was convenient and fun. My husband was supportive – he was preparing his own meals and we were not going out to eat.

At some point though, things started to fall apart personally and the diet fell apart with them. I switched departments at work for more money and began working for a guy that I discovered I truly could not stand. Even all the other great friends I made in the department could not mitigate the awfulness of the man. The husband got tired of taking care of himself and wanted me to cook and/or for us to eat out more. We had a higher income – a move I made to help get us out of debt – but it was getting burned up on dinners out and buying extra crap for the new, bigger apartment we took on.

I started eating an entire fast food meal in the car on the way home at night, stopping at a gas station to toss the trash, then coming home and making dinner or going out to eat. Of course I stopped losing weight. When I wasn’t visibly making progress at weight loss, the husband announced that we were wasting money at J.C. (not knowing what else was going on since I wouldn’t tell him and risk getting criticized for being a fuck-up). I agreed, embarrassed to talk to the counselor about my inability to lose weight and unable or unwilling to talk to my husband about my unhappiness. So, I cancelled a few weekly meetings and just stopped going.

~Noelle 08/13/08

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