It has been three years since I started Slimming World. I know loads about it, and it works for me very well. Over the last six months though, my habits have been slipping. I’ve started feeling like I “need” biscuits to get through deadlines, pizza to help me relax. I’ve started buying multipacks of chocolate again. For most people these are normal and nice ways of using food, but for me they’re not. For me they’re red flags, that tell me that my mindset is starting to slip back from seeing food as a pleasure and a necessity of life, and toward regarding it as a sort of drug.
So it’s time to ~reaffirm my commitment~ to my ~inspiring weight loss journey~ or whatever you’re meant to say. It’s time to start doing it properly again. I thought I’d kick off by explaining the cornerstones of the plan.
What Is Slimming World?
Slimming World is an accessible and non-dramatic low calorie diet plan, supported by weekly meetings. It is based around the idea of switching to eating low calorie density foods. This is normally achieved by you cooking a lot of meals from scratch using very little fat and many vegetables.
On Slimming World, the vast majority of food is unrestricted. Good show! These are known as free foods and they include –
- All fruits and vegetables except avocados
- All starchy but fat free things, such as pasta, cous cous, rice
- Certain dairy products, including fat free yoghurt, eggs, quark, but NOT milk, butter, cheese
- Lean protein, like chicken breasts, steak, tofu, quorn but NOT anything with significant fat ie sausages
This is the stuff you’re expected to eat most of the time, and base your meals around.
Some veggies are more equal than others. Slimming World also maintains a list of fruit and veg that are especially low in calorie density. You are meant have at least a third of a plateful of these at each meal. These are easy to find online and include things such as
- Leafy Greens
Every day you are meant to eat two “healthy extras” – one calcium-y thing and one fibre-y thing. This might be a Weetabix and milk, or a cheese sandwich on brown bread. These really do need looking up as they change quite a bit. Also, you need to measure them. You are only allowed 30g of cheddar, for instance, which is really not very much.
Slimming World also grant you what I think of as a wine allowance. These are foods that are high in fat, sugar or booze, but you might want to consume them anyway because they are delicious. You find out how many syns the thing you want to eat is by googling “how many syns is [thing I want to eat]?” Some examples are –
- Big glass of wine: 8 syns
- Shot of gin: 3 syns
- Bag of crisps: 6.5 syns
- Wispa bar: 11 syns
- Entire Dominos Pizza: 80 syns
- Single haribo sweet: 0.5 syns
- Portion of chips: 14 syns
- A teaspoon of olive oil to go in your Bolognese: 2 syns
They recommend you stick to below 105 syns per week, which you can spend on whatever.
Slimming World do not insist that you do any exercise. If you want to do exercise then you definitely should. You are not allowed any extra wine because you went to a spin class, though.
As you will have noticed, the above is nothing ground breaking. It is pretty much common sense, “eat your greens” style advice, with a bit of googling how much sugar in a kit-kat thrown in. It’s not complicated at all. The extra key ingredient, though, is the group meeting you have, weekly, where you get weighed and then you go round the group bitching about how nice cake is or bragging about your broccoli intake. This sounds pretty dull, and it is. But what it also is, is low pressure, friendly group therapy – a place for you to gradually get your head round your deeper seated issues around food. I will talk more about all of these points, but I think it’s important to say this now – without the groups, it’s not really Slimming World, it’s just a list of stuff you already knew about food.
Let me know any questions about the plan in the comments and I’ll try to answer!