The Essential Slimming World Survival Guide

Maybe you've just started, maybe you're like me and have been a member for a while. Maybe you're an ex member who has always meant to go back but never quite got round to it. Slimming World and many weight loss classes and plans like them aren't going anywhere. When I started I thought it would be straightforward and quick, but nothing ever really works like that. Wherever in your journey you are maybe this can help. I've compiled my experience into a list of hints and tips. The things my successes, plateaus, gains and losses have taught me.

The things I'd wished I'd known at the start.

1.It's all about the organisation.

No matter what way you want to look at it, the weeks when you are the most organised are the ones when you will probably have the most success. How do I know? Cold, hard experience. The weeks where I have done my Tesco shopping online with my Slimming World book beside me checking superfree foods, what had low syn values and free quick foods, were the weeks I did better. Why? Well because my cupboards were stocked with things I could eat, and eat in abundance. I wasn't having to open a fridge which was filled with white breads and high syn foods. When you have plenty you can eat and enjoy, it is 100 times easier. Be organised, once a week or once a fortnight spend some time making a shopping list that will keep you stocked up on essentials. Passata, alpen lite bars, nimble wholemeal, laughing cow, beans, potatoes, pasta, extra lean meats, you know the drill folks. Don't let something as simple as a shopping list put you off.

2.Take Responsibility

This feeds into the last point, you have to take responsibility. I hear it every week in class without fail, 'I was out and there was nothing to eat that was on plan' or 'oh we had nothing in the house all week so we had to order takeaway' the most common 'oh I was so busy I just didn't get round to it'. Believe me I appreciate being busy, I also know what it's like going out and scouring menus. Here's the thing though, there is ALWAYS something you can eat on a menu. Slimming World has got to be the most versatile plan for eating out, everything on Slimming World is meat, vegetables, potatoes or pasta. Now where can you not get that?
My point is that it is up to you. You pay to attend class, you pay to stand on the scales. If you want to lose weight you do have to make a few changes. It is very unrealistic to think that you don't. Take responsibility for what you're eating, doing, or even the positions you're putting yourself in. Are you a big socialiser? Do you find that your friends are picking restaurants which you don't find as easy to work with as others? Well take the opportunity to pick the restaurant for a week. Take the initiative to pass on the more sugary cocktails for a lighter one.
Take responsibility. In the end it is you that is doing this, no-one else.

3. Don't lose your favourite things!

What do you love? Is it chocolate? Wine? Breads? Cheese? It's easy to think that by starting Slimming World you have to cut everything out. Now whilst you can if you want, that is a tough road. This is exactly what syns are for. If you're anything like me you'll be trying to get the most for your syns. I have my chocolate everyday. With some canny syn research you can have 2 chocolate bars and a packet of crisps every night within your syns if you wish to.

Get your book out read through the list of syns, find your favourite things. Are there lower syn alternatives? Can you make syn free versions? The Slimming World website is filled to the brim with recipes for everything and the net also has many which can be made or adapted. Do some research. These days I make syn free chilli con carne, shepherd's pie, breakfast fry, stew, steak pies to name but a few. Spend some time. It'll pay off on the scales and it'll give you an easier time.

4. Read your books!

I am always amazed every time I'm chatting to a member who hasn't read their books. I've sat beside new members who have spent the whole week not really knowing what to eat and have eaten nothing but fruit, yet it hadn't occurred to them to read the books they were given. Even worse is members who have been there for some time complaining of no losses who haven't read them either. Dear me! How can you possibly know what to do if you don't read them? It is the equivalent of going into an exam having read the first page of a text book and then wondering why you hadn't done as well as you wanted. Knowledge is power folks if you arm yourself with syn values or even just the huge amount of things that are free you'll get on a lot better. It also means you know the MASSIVE amount of things you can eat. People are always surprised when I tell them Pasta n' Sauce is free (except the cheese one), Smash is free, Pot Shots, some Pot Noodles, Gourmet Rice, Cous Cous, Super Noodles Low Fat. There is a huge array that is free but people don't know because they don't take the time to read their books!

5. It's not always about the scales.

In Slimming World we are all about the scales, how many pounds have you lost this week is the question. It isn't always about that though the non scale victory is fabulous. What's a nsv you ask? Well it is the successes which you can see off the scales. Are you binning clothes because they're too big? Have you looked in the mirror and discovered you appear to have misplaced a chin? Have you looked at a picture of yourself before you started and can now see little changes? Loose trousers? More energy? All non scale victories folks! Celebrate each and every one of these. There were weeks where I was maintaining over and over again yet physically I was getting smaller, I could see it in my measurements. Knowing this it kept me going! Celebrate those little victories.

6. Plateaus will strike

There will come a point where you have lost enough weight that your eating and activity just isn't making you lose as easily. I found this after 3 stone lost, since I wasn't carrying three stone around with me any more I was finding it tougher to see losses. This went on for a while with me trying different tactics. Eating less syns, drinking more water, exercising with varying degrees of success. Eventually with lots of trial and error I found the amount of exercise I needed to do to keep the weight moving. Now I've found that I'm going to keep doing the same amount and when it slows, move it up. It is a bit of a balancing act, but when you plateau try doing a little more.

7. Getting away with it...but not for long.

Any one who has done the plan for a while will know there are weeks where you aren't quite as angelic as you could be, syns have gone awry a few times and you're standing on the scales trying not to look. Then suddenly you hear it '1lb off' and you could scream for joy. You were sure you'd have gained, heck you deserved to have a gain but you somehow got away with it. Brilliant! We've all been there. It is very easy though to think, 'excellent I can do the same again and have another loss'. Well let me speak as the voice of experience, it will catch up with you. You can get away with it for so long but it always appears as a gain either the next week or a couple of weeks down the line. If you get away with it one week, take it as a present and get back on it because you don't want a gain the next week.

8. Eat.

Those on a diet don't hear that word very much, but it's so important. I eat more on plan than I ever did when I was gaining weight. Slimming World always say if you're hungry then you're doing it wrong. There's so much food to eat freely, it's just healthy eating after all. Lots of fruits and veg, low density filling carbs and low fat protein, and a limited amount of good for you fats and grains, and not forgetting a much more limited little section for treats. It's the healthy eating we all learned at school. Regular meals and healthy snacks keep your metabolism chugging along happily. Don't starve yourself. We've had members come in who have eaten fruit all week and nothing else like I mentioned earlier. That week they had a gain. Of course they did! Their body must have wondered what the heck was going on,  high fat eating to suddenly nothing but fruit? Confused metabolism I'm sure! Eat and enjoy yourself, it's all good food.

9. Gains 

Everyone hates this word but its a fact of life.You will have a gain at some point. It isn't the end of the world, sometimes it can be just the tap on the shoulder you need if things are creeping in that shouldn't be. You refocus, pick your jaw up and get it off the next week. Don't let it derail you as it isn't that big a deal.

10. Diets don't work

You may look at that title and think, 'what the hell is she talking about?' but you have to change your mindset. Slimming World is not a diet, its a lifestyle change. Diets don't work, they have a start point, an end point and after that once you start eating normally again the weight piles on with a little bit extra.There is no reason that you should put any weight on when you hit a target if you take a hold of the plan as a lifestyle choice. Oh I know I can practically see all of your eyerolls from here. Let's look at it like this, there's nothing faddy about it, meat, veg (oooerrr), pastas, rice, bread, treats, cheese. Completely normal eating. No cabbage soup, no shakes and pills, no delivered dinners that cost you the earth and taste like feet, none of that nonsense. It is why I've said to you all, it's so important to make the plan your own. Find out how to make your favourite things, how to integrate your wine and your chocolate. You pay for it, ask your consultant. Heck ask me! It is completely up to you. Steak home made chips, green beans and sauce with a lovely glass of red wine, followed by some chocolate. Heck yes please, no shakes for me thanks!

11. Exercise does not make you gain weight

There's a myth around classes that somehow if someone starts exercising they're going to gain weight. Nonsense, the amount of weight training you would have to be doing to gain an extensive amount of muscle that would make you have a substantial gain, is a lot. Cardio exercise will not only make you feel better, help you lose, but tone you up, hello non scale victories!

12. Don't be a diet bore

There is nothing worse than a diet bore. We all hate hearing about the ins and outs of what someone eats and when they eat it, and how many calories they've had or how many push ups they did. Yawn yawn yawn. The plan is easy, its normal, just do it and get on with it. Lose weight, feel brilliant about it but don't make your life all about it. When you focus on it and only it, the second you're busy and can't focus on it any more it all goes a little awry. Fit it into your life, get organised like I said, get things in the cupboards so you don't have to think about it constantly. Don't worry! Relax, its easy, let it happen.

So these are some of my best tips, give them a try or just blindly ignore them. I don't mind. Sometimes it can feel harder than it really is.
Let it happen.

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