For years I tried lots of diets – cabbage soup, Atkins – you name it! They all had the same problem – they were ‘diets’ and the very nature of that word with me means they were doomed to fail from the outset. You see, if I have to count things, weigh things, and completely cut something out then it’s not going to work for me. We all have weeks where someone brings chocolate brownies into the office, or where you have to go out for dinner, and these faddy diets make it difficult to live a normal life without irritating all your friends and family and ensuring you are well and truly crossed off future invites!
Tim’s mum had joined Slimming World a few years before and had lost a huge amount of weight. I was a bit worried that it might be a bit evangelical and like the ‘Fat Fighters‘ sketch in Little Britain so it took a while for me to finally give it a go. I’d gone through a really bad patch by then and just wanted to lose weight and get fit.
I looked on the website, found my local group and went along. They were really friendly, it didn’t take long for me to sign up and then I sat in on the group listening to all the other stories.
Slimming world is essentially a low fat/low processed sugar diet. The emphasis is on getting more vegetables, fruit, low GI carbohydrates (brown rice, pasta, noodles) and really to monitor the amount of dairy you eat and high-calorie foods such as bread and cereals. I chose the extra easy plan as it’s the same plan every day (personally – I think the red and green days is confusing). I also love the fact that there is no real counting involved if you make everything yourself and have an understanding of what foods you can eat as much as you want of (most vegetables, pasta, rice and noodles, meat and most fruits, beans and pulses). I chose not to eat many processed foods as as soon as you do you then have to start counting the points (or syns as they are called, for which you can have 15 a day) and I’m too lazy.
I found it really easy to stick to and lost 3 Ibs in my first week. I then went on to lose over 2 stone from October to January and I have maintained that weight loss.
I actually don’t stick religiously to the plan, but I do always take the principles with me and try to apply them.
So, here are the things that I love about Slimming World and are why I would recommend it to anyone who needs to lose weight:
1) Easy to join and good value for money – if you are overweight you can also get it for free on the NHS (in the UK) so speak to your doctor
2) If you go to the groups, it keeps you motivated and you get some great ideas for recipes
3) For me, it was easy to follow as it was pretty much the same as my existing diet, but I just made some small changes:
– Max 2 slices of brown bread a day OR 2 Weetabix/day OR a bowl of porridge – before I could easily get through half a loaf of bread (2 slices of toast a ‘healthy’ sandwich, and maybe garlic bread with dinner!) and a big bowl of muesli.
– Cheese – I cut this out completely and sometimes treat myself to it (I used to live for cheese, but I no longer miss it). I used to put cheese on everything, and just removing it made a huge difference. I get all my calcium from milk and yoghurts.
– Eating to excess – now if I want some chocolate I have it, but I just have a bit not the whole thing
– Adding more vegetables into existing meals, e.g., spaghetti bolognaise – I now add a pepper, fresh tomato, carrots and mushrooms
– Eating 2 apples a day
– Eating muller light yoghurts for dessert with fruit rather than ice cream
– Cut down on oil and use spray oil
– Season salads instead of using dressing
4) The whole family can eat it, even children, as it’s just a healthy balanced diet – Tim is unwittingly on Slimming World and even he agrees we’re not missing out.
5) There are lots of recipes, but once you know what foods are ‘free’ (i.e., you can eat as much as you want of them), it’s super easy to make up your own recipes.
6) No counting or weighing involved (unless you eat a lot of processed food or eat loose cereal – I am lazy and eat 2x Weetabix or porridge sachets!).
7) If you have a bad day it’s ok as you can just make sure you have good days for the remainder of the week.
8) It clearly works as Tim’s parents, my mum and my sister and I have all lost weight. In my experience, if it doesn’t work then it’s usually where the person hasn’t followed the plan correctly.
So if you want to lose weight, have a go at Slimming World and see how you get on. I’ll be posting up some of my slimming world recipes soon (everything I make is super easy and takes less than 15 mins as I am laziness personified when it comes to cooking!). Let me know if you have any questions or need any tips on the plan. Happy to help. x