At Slimming World you choose what to eat from a list of ‘Free’ foods, which can be eaten freely to satisfy your appetite. The list includes most fruit and vegetables, lean meat, fish, pulses, proteins, pasta, rice, potatoes and fat-free yogurts. The plan is based on satiety and energy density and so these foods are chosen because they’ll fill you up for fewer calories.
Dairy and bread products are allowed daily, but they are controlled as ‘Healthy Extra’ choices, which includes measured portions of cheese, milk and bread to ensure that you get enough calcium and fibre in your diet. Everything that isn’t included in the Free Food or Healthy Extra list is given a ‘Syn’ value and you’re allowed between 5 and 15 Syns a day to be used either on adding extras such as olive oil to your food or you can use them for treats.
Typical daily menu:
Breakfast: Porridge with banana or eggs, tomatoes, baked beans and mushrooms on toast.
Lunch: Jacket potato with a tin of tuna, sweetcorn and grated cheese. A big side salad. Chopped-up fruit and a fat-free yogurt for afters.
Dinner: Spaghetti Bolognese made with passata and lots of mushrooms, carrots and celery. A Curly Wurly.
- It teaches you how to cook. You might not want to invite guests round for your early meals but there are plenty of recipe books to help and you’ll get much better. You’re most likely to succeed if you prepare and cook meals from scratch.
- There’s a massive list of unlimited food. If you’re hungry you can freely snack on eggs, ham and veggies and if you fancy something sweet you can eat yogurt and fruit until your heart’s content. You can also enjoy an occasional chocolate bar or pint, as long as you stay within your Syns limit.
- There are supportive weekly group sessions. After being weighed at a Slimming World group, members take part in ‘IMAGE therapy’ (that stands for Individual Motivation and Group Experience). The group session helps to change your behaviour by helping you to set targets, put plans in place for difficult situations, share tips and recipe ideas with other slimmers and recognise your achievements in making changes. You can also ask questions and talk to the other members of your group during this time, which can be handy when you need support. Be warned though: you will be the only bloke in the class.
- Once you reach your target weight you can attend group for free.
- It can be difficult to get to grips with and there’s a lot of lingo to learn. There’s ‘Extra Easy’, ‘Free Foods’, ‘Healthy Extra’s (that’s Hex A and Hex B), ‘speed foods’, ’SP’ foods, as well as ‘Syns’ and it can all be quite baffling.
- You do have to be organised to make Slimming World work for you and remember to prepare your meals. However the company has now introduced a range of frozen meals, soups and sauces, available in Iceland Foods, for those occasions when you don’t have time to cook. All the products are ‘Free’ on the plan.
- Syns don’t stretch that far. You only get 15 Syns a day and you could be in real trouble if you’re out and get caught short – even a Light Choices ham and cheese sandwich from Tesco is 16 Syns in one go. Planning ahead is the key. If you can, choose options based around ‘Free’ Foods like lean grilled meat or fish, a jacket potato, vegetables or fruit, and keep sauces and dressings to a minimum and you should be able to stay on track.
- Slimming World classes are paid for and you might want extra cash for things like magazines, books and high-fibre cereal bars.
- At first glance you may rejoice at being able to eat as much pasta as you want, but you are encouraged to ‘eat to satisfy your appetite’ rather than eating tagliatelle by the lorry load.