So! In my previous post, I tried to explain in very basic terms what is involved in Slimming World – food wise at least. Another important part of the process is the group meeting after weigh in each week, but to be totally honest; in the three years I was a member of Slimming World, I never once stayed to group. At the start, I was too embarrassed. I just wanted to get in, get weighed, and get out. Plus, it can be intimidating! Becoming a newbie in any established group is hard, cliques have already formed, everyone is getting on with what they are used to doing each week. So realistically, I can’t really talk at length about group because I’ve never experienced it. For me, losing weight has been all about getting my food cravings under control. I didn’t need any help to identify what was causing my weight gain, or to pinpoint what kind of ‘dieter’ I am, but that’s a story for another day. Slimming World also has a fantastic online service which comes as part of the membership, and I found this a big big help the whole way through.
Obviously Slimming World works. I’m not the only person who has had a substantial weightloss with this club, in fact, my loss is quite modest compared to some of the real success stories. By this I mean people who have lost 10, 15, maybe even 20 stone! Truly life changing amounts, the kind of numbers you would assume only surgery could produce. However, there are still people who claim SW ‘doesn’t work’ for them. This statement usually comes after the ‘honeymoon period’ of initial large losses. Slimming World guarantee that if you stick to the plan 100%, you will lose weight, so when it doesn’t work – why?
I know this is the main reason SW doesn’t work at times. I know because I have suffered from this personally! After your first full week of following the plan, it’s not uncommon to lose anywhere between 3 – 7 pounds. Like any new project, it’s exciting and you give it your all, and the feeling of being told you’ve lost such a great amount of weight really is priceless. Weeks two and three is usually a repeat of week one, and by the time the first month is over – you have this Slimming World thing nailed. Easy peasy. You know exactly what 28g of cheese looks like without weighing it. You know that you had eleven syns today, so you’ll have nine tomorrow. You go through every packet of bacon on the shelf to find the one with so little fat you don’t really even need to trim it. You’ve found out that your local butcher stocks syn free sausages, well, he calls them low fat but they’re definitely syn free. Well they might have half a syn each, or per 100g or something.
My weight losses tailed off completely as I got into around the sixth month of SW. I couldn’t understand why, so I checked out some of the online forums to see what other members were saying on this. The overwhelming piece of advice was to get back to basics. I started weighing things again – and I was shocked to see that my ’28g’ of cheese was sometimes nearly double what I thought it was. I had been counting my syns wrong as well, just being generally careless and not checking my books often enough. So a full week of going back to square one was all it took to get me back on track again with a loss. Respect the plan and it’ll reward you!
2. Eating too little
As I’ve said before, it is widely thought that to lose weight you have to ‘eat less and move more’. Moving more is always good, but eating less is not always a good thing. Eating less shite, yes! All joking aside, the free foods are there to be enjoyed freely. Eat them until you feel satisfied, regardless of the amounts involved. No word of a lie, my absolute favourite SW meal when I first joined was baked potatoes with bacon, beans and my healthy extra of cheese grated on top. I’d usually have two large baked potatoes and at least four slices of trimmed bacon, cooked under the grill or in a non stick pan. If I was really hungry, I’d have three potatoes. When I relayed the tales of my superfeeds to people, they’d look at me disbelievingly – “how can you eat all that and lose weight?”. Well I could, and I did. My plate was full, but it was full of low fat food. Naturally low fat foods, cooked without fat, and with no fats added afterwards. It’s all very well being frugal with portions, but if this leaves you feeling unsatisfied, it’s highly likely that you’ll end up craving high calorie foods later on in the day. You’ll probably end up bowing to those cravings and falling off the wagon so to speak. Then comes the guilt, then the ‘I’ll be extra good tomorrow’ and so on and so on. If you’re hungry – eat. Eat within the plan and you can’t go wrong.
3. Maybe Slimming World isn’t the diet for you….
Absolutely anyone can ‘do’ Slimming World. However, following the plan means you need to cook. By cook I mean actually cook, not ‘pierce film’ or boil in the bag. You need to chop, stir, slice, bake, roast, blend, mash……the list goes on. The only way of truly knowing a dish contains free foods and no syns is if you prepare it yourself. In fairness, SW has done a lot of work in producing syn values of branded products and publishing them so we can make decisions about what we buy. In terms of eating on the go, it’s very difficult to get a complete meal from the likes of MandS, Tesco, Asda etc that comes in under your allotted syns for the day. Deli counters and takeaways are everywhere, and may seem like a safe option, but they are fraught with sneaky syns! Oil based salad dressings, butter basted rotisserie chickens, mashed potato with added cream, and so on and so on. I found SW very doable because I enjoyed cooking anyway, and following the plan has made me enjoy it even more. But there are some people who either can’t cook or won’t cook! It’s easy for me to spend a full day in the kitchen preparing stews and casseroles that can be portioned out and frozen ahead, but I don’t have three or four kids around me. I don’t have school runs to do, or elderly relatives to attend to. I don’t work two jobs. I have a lot of time to plan ahead and to prepare, but other people may not necessarily have that luxury. In this instance, it isn’t enough to just be a member of Slimming World – to have the books and get weighed every week. The weekly meeting at most accounts for two hours of the week, the rest is up to you. If your idea of hell is standing over a hob for a good 30 mins every day, or preparing tomorrows lunch in advance, then Slimming World probably won’t be a fit for you. Maybe in this case Weightwatchers is the way to go. There’s no denying that WW have crafted a very attractive and convenient range of ready meals that compliment their plan, the list of options is seemingly endless. For me though, it’s all about volume! The portion sizes involved in such ready meals would simply not satisfy me, so I’m quite happy with the list of free foods SW makes available to me. And I’m more than happy to spend time creating and enjoying the many different recipes I come across in the magazine and online. It’s just not for everyone.
So if it’s not for you, don’t beat yourself up about it. But if it’s laziness in the kitchen, don’t blame the plan. You can’t have your cake and eat it (bad analogy here). If you can’t be bothered to sacrifice a bit of time and energy doing something that will ultimately benefit you, maybe your lightbulb moment hasn’t quite come yet. And if you’re simply clueless in the kitchen, keep trying. Ask for some help, tips or cheats from your consultant or have a look online. If you don’t give it a good shot, you’ll never know what you could be achieving. Slimming World might not work for you sometimes, but it’s important to know when you’re not working for Slimming World.