There’s so many “Slimming World Myths” out there. You only have to search various social media outlets to see them. So I thought I’d go through the common ones that keep going around. Many thanks to friends who helped contribute some of the common Slimming World Myths that they see to this list. Please remember that these are my personal viewpoints on these matters – if you feel differently or have other ideas of things you want my personal take on – please comment below or via the Facebook page.
Slimming World Myth #1 – “I’ll loose more if I have less/no syns”
Slimming World and it’s Food Optimising plans detail three “parts” of the daily food intake – free food, Healthy Extra’s, Syns. If they thought you’d lose more with no or very few syns would that be part of the plan? Of course not – why have something there and then say not to use them?
There’s plenty of anecdotal evidence to this around Facebook and the like. People think that they will lose more having fewer syns and end up disappointed with their result that week and go back to having their usual syn count and see a better loss.
It is however a matter of trial and error – I know some people who do better with the full 15syns a day, whilst some do better with about 7syns a day. It’d also be pretty unmaintainable to have no syns everyday over a long time period. Have them, use them, enjoy them.
Slimming World Myth #2 – “I can only use my syns on chocolate, wine, etc”
Whilst the syns are there to be used, how you use them is up to you. If you want that chocolate bar and have the syns – eat it.
But if you want a bit of extra cheese (outside of the Healthy Extra A allowances) – syn it. That tomato/brown/HP sauce with your Slimming World chips, mushrooms, peppers and steak – have it but remember it is synned. I will often have extra cheese beyond the Healthy Extra A allowance and syn it, or a second wholemeal bread/wrap/etc.. That little 1syn sachet of sauce. A tablespoon of extra light mayo with salad. If I haven’t got a pack of Iceland/Slimming World syn free sausages then I’ll syn where needed. Aunt Bessies Toad-in-the-Hole on special offer – I’ll happily eat all 7 syns of them (for the vegetarian version). I can eat a days worth of syns without going near a chocolate bar.
Slimming World Myth #3 – “I can’t carry over my unused syns one day to the next day”.
OK – this is a bit more tricky. The word from Slimming World seems to be that they recommend counting your syns on a daily basis. However there are plenty of people who like to take 105syns (15syns a day over 7 days a week) and count down and it works for them. There are those who find that if for instance they have 3syns left one day that they have 18syns the next day – and it works for them. Whilst others have 15 syns a day and if they don’t use them then they wave them goodbye. It’s a matter of trial and error.
Personally – I’m in the last camp – “use them or loose them” but that’s what I found works for me. But I’m not rigid in that – if I go over by a few syns one day – I’m not going to panic as I know it’ll adjust out the next few days. Which neatly leads us onto Slimming World Myth #4.
Slimming World Myth #4 – “I’ve had a bad meal choice, have I screwed up for the week?”
That depends how bad a meal choice it was. The fact is that life happens. Unexpected meal outs happen. Cookers break down. Birthdays happen (once a year) and Christmas always rolls around far too quickly (especially having previously worked in retail when Christmas talk starts in February/March). It’s one meal in 21 (assuming you eat 3 meals a day). Whilst one meal could result in a less spectacular result at the scales, it’s what happens afterwards that matters.
You could just say “I’ve screwed up and so going to have what I want all week” or you could say “OK, I had one meal that’s off-plan, but that’s it, back on it now”. Which is going to be better? Getting back in control regardless of what the scales say on your next visit is always important. Life is for living. These things happen. Making the right next steps is what is important.
Slimming World Myth #5 – “I’ve had a bad meal/bad day, should I cut out syns for the next few days?”
Again – depends how bad it truly was? Have you tried to work out the syn count? Is it really as bad as you think it was? Again I would always advocate that getting back in control is better than “damage limitation”. The problem with “damage limitation”is that by cutting back on syns to make up for a bad meal/bad day could lead to feeling deprived. Feeling deprived is a shortcut to having another bad day as it can lead to saying “f**k it” and back around to the thought of “I’ve screwed up this week I’m going to have what I like”.
Let’s look at the example of “Joe Blogger”. Joe is a bloke who has never struggled with his weight (the lucky blugger). Joe goes out with his work colleagues one night and has a burger and chips, followed by a chocolate gateaux with ice cream washed down with a pint or three of lager. He doesn’t go on hunger strike for the next few days to “make up for it”. He just goes back to his usual way of eating, possibly making a few wise swaps along the way, knowing it was a once in a while thing and not a regular daily occurrence. Joe getting back to “normal” is just the same as a food optimiser getting back on plan.
Slimming World Myth #6 – “I’ll gain weight if I eat after a certain time”
What a load of crock. If there was any basis of truth in this then there would be advice about it in the members book. There isn’t any such advice. I’ve been in jobs where I didn’t get home till gone 7pm (and some weeks 10pm). I’m rarely in the mood to eat before 8pm (if not later) most days. I’ve still lost (and am loosing) weight.
If there was advice not to eat after a certain time – I’d be going hungry nearly every day or putting weight on at an alarming rate. Some people may find that they feel less sluggish/bloated if they don’t eat after a certain time. Some people may find that they sleep better if they don’t eat after a certain time. But you will NOT put weight on if you eat later in the day.
Slimming World Myth #7 – “Fat weighs less than muscle”
Scientific impossibility. Unless you are weighing each on separate celestial bodies with wildly different gravitational pulls. A pound of fat weighs the same as a pound of muscle. However muscle is much denser than fat, and therefore a pound of muscle will take up much less space than a pound of fat.
Slimming World Myth #8 – “I started at the gym (or a.n.other exercise activity) – so I don’t understand why it’s not showing on the scales”
People expect to see instant improvements when they start doing any kind of activity and are often disappointed that their effort isn’t reflected by the scales. Were you able to drive on a motorway after just one driving lesson? No. Where you instantly an Excel wizard the moment you used it for the first time? No. So why expect instant results?
Loosing weight is good. Getting fitter (be it gym, swimming, walking, etc.) is good. Getting fitter whilst loosing weight – even better. But remember that the first part of what’s going to happen whilst you start any kind of activity is that fat is going to be “burnt” to provide energy whilst your muscles also start to build themselves up to be able to handle this extra activity that you are now asking them to do. Fat is BAD. Muscle is GOOD. So for a while it’s going to be a trade-off of getting rid of the BAD and replacing it with the GOOD. Plus of course muscle takes up less space than fat (see #7).
Side Note – “I’ve just started to exercise and had a gain due to fluid retention” myths
It’s not uncommon for people to have a gain in the first week or two of introducing a new activity whilst eating according to the Food Optimising plans. This is often put down to being “fluid retention”. There is actually (unlike the majority of this list) scientific evidence to back this up, whilst in some cases – it’s just an “excuse”. The short version is that the body protects itself by holding onto extra fluid around the muscles when a new activity is introduced which could temporarily lead to a slight weight gain. The longer version is that any activity that is building muscle involves effectively creating tears in the muscle that the body then has to repair by building more muscle which involves multiple pockets of fluid being placed around these tiny tiny tears.
Slimming World Myth #9 – “I’m going to the gym three times a week and treat myself afterwards with a few extra syns as I’ve burnt all those extra calories at the gym”
Show me the page in either the members handbook or the Body Magic book that says you can do this. You can’t because it doesn’t exist. Whilst some eating plans do allow extras if you are very active, Slimming World doesn’t. Plus at the end of the day why do it? The aim is to lose weight, so why add extra calories that you don’t want back into the body afterwards?
Slimming World Myth #10 – “I’m going to the gym and the trainer has recommended that I have this protein shake/bar afterwards”.
Whilst protein is essential to help rebuild the muscle tears that you are seeking from the extra activity – unless you’re weight lifting and want to look like a Mr Universe Arnold Schwarzenegger – then chances are these protein shakes aren’t going to help much.
And if you’re following the plan you should be getting enough protein anyhow without having to shell out on expensive products. I’d also question the motives behind such recommendations – it’s very possible that the trainer is financially motivated to pitch these products to earn commission. They just aren’t necessary in my (OK unqualified) viewpoint. And I’ve never been recommended any product on any of the several times I’ve joined a gym over the years. I know people who workout nearly everyday and don’t have these types of products. And have you seen the syns in them anyhow?
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