So you’ve joined Slimming World. Well done for taking the biggest step! Now you know you’ve got the balls to try and lose weight, the hard work begins! The most important thing you can do to help you have a great first week is READ THE BOOKS. Read them properly, you’ve paid for them, and they contain all the information you need to start dropping weight. After my first weigh in, I read them whilst scoffing my last supper of a Chinese. It was epic. But before I went and got my takeaway, I went shopping for a few essentials to get me through the next morning as a hopeful Slimming World newbie. The next day came The Big Shop. I knew what I was going to be eating, and I knew what I needed. Off I went.
If you think that Slimming World could work for you, then you must already be familiar with home cooking on some level, or have accepted the inevitability of having to become more familiar with it than you normally would be! You don’t need to be a Nigella or a Heston, but the more you experiment the less likely you are to get fed up with the plan. So here’s a rough list of the things you will need to get your kitchen into gear:
Stock cubes – chicken, beef, and vegetable (for soups, stews and sauces)
Chopped tomatoes – own brand is fine (for curries, pastas and chilli)
Potatoes – free, and fantastic. Bake them, boil them, chip them. It’s all good.
Chilli powder – own brand is fine, mild or hot is up to you, I use both!
Garlic – fresh is best, jars of purée can have syns. Even if you think you don’t like garlic, you more than likely consume it all the time without realising it. You need it for flavour.
Light soy sauce – for stir frying
Fry Light – the most important thing!
Eggs – learn to love eggs. Great for bulking up a breakfast or for making a kick-ass omelette. Eggs are free on all plans, providing they are cooked without adding butter or oil.
All lean meat is free on Extra Easy, including bacon. Trim all fat and skin prior to cooking. If you’re buying mince, always choose extra lean. Cheaper cuts of beef/steak are still good, you just need to cook them a little longer and keep them moist. Supermarket meat isn’t all bad, but if you can find yourself a good butcher it’s usually worth it!
FRUIT AND VEGETABLES
Only buy the things you know you like. There’s no point spending lots of money on things you’ve never tried, or know you hate, in the hope that you’ll learn to love them. Chances are you won’t, and they’ll get thrown away. If you are seriously anti-veg, don’t worry about it, as you can still do very well at this plan! You could always try a blended veg soup – a great way of getting veg into your diet without realising it! Fruit is a big winner as it can satisfy a sweety craving, especially when teamed up with Mullerlight. If you are a lover of all things vegetably, happy days! Fill your boots! The more superfree foods you eat, the speedier the losses will be. Don’t forget though that sweetcorn and parsnips are not superfree, they are merely free – but a lot better than chips.
KITCHEN CUPBOARD STUFF
Dried pasta – any shape or size
Rice – NOT the microwave stuff! The dry stuff that you have to cook fresh. Basmati and Thai are all good, and are a great ‘takeaway replacement’.
Quickie hot snacks – Pasta n Sauce, Pasta Pot Shots, Noodle Pot Shots, Mug Shots, Batchlors Savoury Rice (be wary of these though, most varieties are free but some have a small amount of syns. Check this before you go buying, or bring your smartphone shopping too – you can Google syn values as you shop!)
Beans – on toast, on potatoes, with breakfast – beans are a Slimming Worlders best friend
Mullerlights – all varieties are free except the Greek, cheesecake, and layers versions
Milk – go for whole, you get less to use than if you choose semi-skimmed or skimmed.
Cheese – grated is good as it goes further. Ditch the mild stuff! The stronger a cheese is, the less you’ll need to use. Laughing Cow Light triangles are fab as you don’t need to weigh.
Nimble Granary/Wholegrain – great for toast or for sandwiches, this bread keeps well and is satisfying. The white version is no longer allowed as it has less fibre.
Ryvita – a great fibre booster and handy for lunch, but if you’re used to bread I would give this a miss for a while until you get used to smaller portions of bread
Cereals – this is where you’ll need your book! 30g of cereal is a very tiny amount, especially if (like me) you have a big appetite and are used to giant bowls. You are also a wee bit limited to the more fibre rich varieties. No Coco Pops! But if you’re happy to stick with the prescribed amounts, bulk the bowl out with some fresh berries and banana, so the portion doesn’t seem so paltry.
Cereal bars – Alpen Lights are the way to go, as they have a decent variety and you can have two of them! Great as a nippy breakfast, or as a traybake replacement when you’re having coffee. They can seem expensive when put beside other brands, but they are definitely worth it. They’re also a lot cheaper than a bar of chocolate!
Most ‘diet’ drinks are free, but make sure and check the nutritional info anyway, as some products that appear healthy and diet friendly really aren’t! Coffee and teas, without added sugar, are free. Make sure and drink lots your first week, as this will help to flush all the nasties out of you!
If you are the type of person who can cope with naughty things in the house, then good for you. There are loads of low-syn treats you can keep in your cupboards, but I personally couldn’t cope. Not at first anyway. If you have a sweet tooth, it’s probably best not to keep that kind of stuff in the house at first – never underestimate how addictive chocolate is! However, you should still have a treat everyday. Use your syns! But perhaps just buy what you want each day, and consume it there and then. Great low/med syn treats include:
Cadbury Buttons – 8.5
Cadbury Curly Wurly – 6
Milky Way Crispy Rolls – 6.5
Quavers (25g bag) – 6.5
Snack a Jacks Salt&Vinegar (26g bag) – 5.5
Fun Size Twix – 5
Fun Size Maltesers – 5.5
Costa Coffee Iced Peach Tea (medio) – 4.5
Galaxy Ripple – 8.5
Kit Kat (2 finger) – 5.5
Walkers Baked Stars – 4.5
Jaffa Cakes (each) – 2.5
See? Loads of stuff, all well under the 10 syn threshold. If you have a lot of weight to lose, it’s possible that you can have up to 15 syns a day to begin with; your consultant will give you advice on this.
If you have all this stuff as part of your first shop, there’s no reason why you won’t lose weight, as long as you follow the rules of the plan of course. Have a wee think of what you’d like to eat over your first week, and make a note of it if you can. Writing stuff out seems very childish in ways, like you’re doing a study plan or something, but it helps you make sense of things in your head! It also means you’re less likely to go off track. The main rule is: EAT EAT EAT. Don’t go hungry at any stage. This is not a diet. It’s a lifestyle change! Fill up on free and superfree foods. Make sure you eat one serving of bread or cereal, and make sure you have a portion of dairy as well. Then, if you fancy it, treat yourself to some syns as a reward for having a great day of being a fully fledged Slimming Worlder! Yes, your initial shop may seem expensive, but your herbs and spices etc will last a while. Your first shop is an investment. After that, it will become second nature, and you’ll begin to enjoy forraging for the best deals on your favourite free foods! Not to mention the hunt for the elusive £1 Alpen Light Bar offer………It comes maybe once or twice a year. Make use of it when it does!
That’s all for now! Best of luck on your first week!