If you want to know my best advice to be successful at Slimming World, feel free to scroll down to the main event, but in true makeover style I first want to share my story with you.
When we returned from Walt Disney World in 2017
having eaten at all the best restaurants and consumed THE most delicious food ever, I knew I needed to lose those extra pounds to fit into my winter clothes. But hey! Christmas is round the corner (no, Helen, 4 months away actually), so I thought it wasn’t really worth trying to lose weight before then. Consequently, by the time Christmas came and went I was a stone and a half heavier than I wanted to be.
Now, it’s not a huge amount, but any weight you want to lose seems impossible when you’re looking at it from the starting blocks of your weight loss journey. Whether it’s a stone or five, the feeling is the same. You feel defeated before you start.
In the past, I’ve always been slim
I was one of those girls who never put any weight on. Probably because I didn’t have much of an appetite and didn’t enjoy food all that much.
I’d ask for smaller portions at restaurants as seeing a plate full of food would immediately make me feel full. A buffet, tapas or meze was my type of meal – where I could pick and choose what I ate. These ‘small plates’ meals were ideal as I could try different flavours and textures and not be faced with a huge plateful. I ate to live really.
I used to be active; I’d walk everywhere, go dancing and swim. Even when I passed my driving test and walked less I still didn’t put any weight on. And so it carried on through to my thirties.
That all changed when I met my husband. My appetite improved and we used to go out regularly for meals. I started to enjoy food for what it was and by the time I had our eldest (now nearly 18) I was a healthy weight. Two years later I had my youngest and after he was born I really started to put the weight on. I was still quite active running about after the toddlers but I was enjoying food so much more. I’d finish the children’s meals and snack on crisps and biscuits in the evenings.
Having to buy bigger clothes was horrible
and people had stopped complimenting my figure. So I went on a calorie counting diet, lost weight but I stopped counting the calories as living off salads was not very motivating and the weight went back on. The Dukan diet worked for a good few months but it was so restrictive and, well, boring. I gave up and just ate what I wanted.
So as the fireworks announced 2018 I was ready to admit that I couldn’t do this on my own. My local Slimming World group was just around the corner and I enrolled on 18 January. It was quite busy and everyone was really friendly. I wasn’t judged and came away from group determined to lose the weight for good. The main motivator was I could eat what I wanted – in a controlled way of course!
In May this year
I achieved my target weight and have kept within the target since then. My top tips for being successful at Slimming World follow and I hope you find them useful. If you do and think others would do too, please share this post.
My absolute, main, number one tip is:
Stay to Group
It doesn’t matter if you have a stone or 10 to lose, staying to group is THE most encouraging, supporting and motivating experience. I thought I would hate it, but I met some great people and picked up some super cooking tips along the way. In fact, I would say it was more of a cooking group than anything else and Kate, our consultant would always keep us up to date on the latest foodstuffs to make it to the Syn Free List. (Especially if they included chocolate or gin!) I loved being congratulated on my weight loss and if I didn’t lose one week, there were words of advice and encouragement. So stay to group!!
Write down everything you eat and count your Syns exactly
Kate gave me a pre-printed weekly food diary which I filled in and gave to her to look at. She’d take it away and write down advice (usually positive and motivating) and give it me back the next week. In the end, I made my own sheet as I found the SW one too small to fit everything on, but seeing where your Syns go and how you can up your speed food etc is a great motivator.
Chances are if you are reading this you know your way around a website. Slimming World has a fantastic website full of help and advice, but by far the most useful tool is the Syns Online. When you become a member of Slimming World, you have a unique login to access their website. There is an extremely handy ‘favourite recipe’ tool which keeps all those go-to recipes in one place. The Syns Online search can be used to look up your ordinary foodstuffs. Input the nutritional values to get an accurate Syn value for things you can’t find. So it’s easy to calculate those Syns!! Another great recipe site is Pinch of Nom. I signed up for their newsletter and have made lots of recipes from there.
If you treat yourself, don’t feel guilty
Just because you have chips one night, or a piece of birthday cake at work one day don’t think all your previous effort has gone to waste. That’s a sure fire way of giving up. Enjoy the treat, but then pull it back the next day. The beauty with SW is that no food is banned and we are allowed these treats within reason as long as we’re staying largely on plan. I can hold my hands up and say I indulged in a fair few pizzas, cakes and glasses of wine while I was actively losing the weight. One week at a time is a good way of looking at SW – using your Weigh Day as the end of the week.
Cook meals for the whole family as normal
Chris and the boys have been eating SW friendly meals since January because I’m basically a lazy person and couldn’t be bothered cooking a different meal for them. In fact, most of our meals are more tasty as I use lots of spices and herbs (both free on SW). Processed foods have taken a back seat (I make my own chicken nuggets and buy lighter battered fish which we actually prefer.) I really couldn’t stick to a diet if I had to make lots of different meals for people, so SW is perfect for that.
Stock up on free food
Most fruit & veg, eggs, meat, certain yogurts, pasta and rice are all free foods on SW. If I feel munchy I’ll nibble on some ham or chicken from the fridge, or have a piece of fruit. Last thing at night, I’ll heat what’s left of my milk allowance for the day (I decant it into a separate bottle) and have a SW Hi-Fi bar for 3 Syns, so I don’t go to bed feeling hungry. It’s something to look forward to during the evening so I’m less likely to snack.
So there you have it – my best advice for being successful at Slimming World. Check out the website here where you can find your nearest group.
Until the next time…