Jenny Craig is going out of business after 40 years

Weight loss conglomerate Jenny Craig is closing their scales for good after 40 years. This is huge news for a couple of reasons. The first is because the company has been synonymous with weight loss for some of us our whole adult life. So I just don’t understand a world where we can’t sign up for a Jenny Craig meal plan. Since I don’t follow Bloomberg closely (which explains why I’m not poolside at a luxury resort sipping cocktails brought to me by Paul the Cabana guy) I missed that they reported on bankruptcy rumors surrounding Jenny last week. The company was $250M in debt and shopping for a buyer but didn’t get a bite. However, at that time, Jenny said they were just shutting down the “brick and mortar” shops and taking their biz online. It was a complete shock to employees when they got the email that they were out of a job Tuesday night.

Jenny Craig, the weight loss and nutrition business, is closing its doors after four decades, according to internal communications obtained by NBC News.

The company reportedly announced to employees in an email late Tuesday that they are shutting down “due to its inability to secure additional financing.”

PEOPLE has reached out to Jenny Craig for comment.

The decision comes less than a week after Bloomberg reported that the company had about $250 million of debt and was considering a bankruptcy filing if efforts to find a buyer for its assets failed.

Jenny Craig — which was founded in 1983, has 500 weight-loss centers in the United States and Canada, and boasts “millions of successful Jenny members” — said that Friday will be the last day for corporate and salaried field employees while this past Tuesday was the last day for hourly center employees, NBC reports.

According to NBC, employees were unaware of the company’s downward spiral.

In the termination letter, Jenny Craig reportedly told employees that they will receive a “final paycheck, including your full compensation earned through your last day of work and all accrued, unused paid time off.”

[From People]

I have mixed emotions about this. First and foremost, I feel bad for the newly unemployed Jenny workers. I am happy to see they are getting some sort of package, though. Granted, it’s not great. I’m surprised they didn’t take the business online, that does seem to be the future of weight loss. Although perhaps their model doesn’t fit as snugly as others. So much of their business relies on their food sales.

I also feel bad for those who are currently relying on the Jenny system – kind of. As many of you know, my eating disorder has taken so many colorful forms. Of course, I did Jenny. My husband and I signed up together. For reference, I am 5’4”. At the time, I weighed 143 lbs and wore between a size 6 and an 8. On my initial visit, Jenny listed me as “Overfat.” I have since had a doctor almost pop a vein upon hearing that. I needed to lose a little weight, or convert some fat to healthier muscle, but what in the absolute hell is Overfat and why is someone who still fit in a reasonable BMI being told she fell in that category? A month after joining, I found out I was pregnant, so I had to stop the program. My husband, however, lost a bunch of weight. I won’t even tell you how they categorized him, but Jenny’s model was ideal for him. He works best when you hand him what to eat and tell him to just stick with that. (I’m better with the Weight Watchers model of eat what you want, but it has to stay in this calorie range.) However, during a check in a few months down the road, another Jenny employee said they were starving him and his plan was completely undernourished. He saw some results with his ‘correct’ plan, but things were never quite right after that.

I know Jenny was a big part of many people’s lives. So this is going to leave them reeling. I hope they find somewhere they feel comfortable. Maybe it will cost them less, too, because OMG, Jenny wasn’t cheap.

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