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I was provided a free trial Jenny Craig program, meals and promotional consideration. However, the opinions expressed are entirely my own.

I have been having a completely awesome summer.

But with the vacations, getaways, get togethers and celebrations have come some unwelcome souvenirs of good living:

Extra pounds.

That is why I am smiling in the picture my consultant at Jenny Craig snapped this morning, my “before.” Those L-Bs were acquired through lots of happy times. Beer at ballgames and beaches, outdoor wine nights with girlfriends, date nights with my husband, frozen yogurt dates with the kids. Although I was tempted to wear a muumuu and a shamed face for my photo, the fact is that life is too short to take it all too seriously. I gained weight, I’m committed to losing it so why not share the experience?

As a blogger of topics for real women, I hope to give you the real scoop on Jenny Craig. This is my first time trying the Jenny Craig program or any program that provides members with all meals. As the chief chef for a family of five, it sounds deliciously decadent to have all my own meals provided, save for the fresh vegetables, fruit and dairy products as spelled out in my daily meal plans. Rather than berate myself for being a chubby suburban mom who should be ashamed of herself, I have decided to view this as if I were J. Lo employing a meal delivery service on the set of Out of Sight 2. You see, I need to look my best for my romance scenes with George Clooney (aka Chris McFadden.)

Today I met with the Director of the Jenny Craig location nearest me in Rockville, Maryland. She was so kind and without any judgment! We spent over an hour together planning my nutrition and discussing the program. We will meet together every week, and since preschool does not start for a few weeks Alice is welcome to come along, too.

We set a goal for a weight that I know is attainable and very healthy for me. There was no pulling out of charts and aiming for a number that I last saw in junior high. I was impressed by the professionalism and warmth, and can see why the Jenny Craig program has been identified by doctors and medical publications as one of the most effective weight loss programs.

We also discussed my activity level, exercise program, overall health and more. We identified that I should begin eating 1500 calories a day, and after some initial weight loss, would move down to a 1200 calorie a day plan. This is in line with a caloric intake that I know has worked for my body in the past, but I am completely relieved that I do not have to follow recipes, count calories or enter every bite consumed into a log. Right now life is nutso busy, so having the guesswork taken out of the equation feels calming.

Tomorrow I will begin daily meals, snacks and vitamin supplements as prescribed by Jenny Craig.

I will be keeping you posted on my progress and my true feelings about the program. Although I have been given 8 weeks of the program in exchange for writing about it, I will be sharing with you my unfiltered feelings about the food, the experience, how it fits into my life, and its efficacy. 

Back to school season seems like the perfect time to get back on track and backtrack summer weight gain. I will update you in two weeks to let you know how it is going.

**Edited to add…

Thanks to those of you who have messaged me that you are Jenny Craig users or former clients, too. If you are currently a member, be sure to enter the Jenny Craig Simple Inspirations contest. Share your recipe for amping up your Jenny Craig meals with others! Be sure to enter before September 8th.

Here is a flyer with more info about the contest

Open to residents of the 48 contig. US & DC, 21+ who are Jenny Craig members or employees as of 8/25/15. Entries must be rec’d by 11:59 p.m. PT on 9/8/15. Void in AZ, CO, IL, MD & where prohibited. See Official Rules at: http://bit.ly/1Lx3O5D for complete details.