An often heard comment from people who have just joined Slimming World (or a.n.other organisation) is “I’m new, what are your best tips?” (or words to that effect). So here’s My Slimming World Tips for New Members (and maybe not so new ones too).
Firstly – let me welcome you to a plan where your dreams can come true (at least in terms of weight management).
Secondly – Well done in joining. It’s never easy to walk through those doors the first time. I’ve heard countless stories of people sitting in their cars in the car park debating. Some even deciding to go home instead but then turning around and some who went back the following week and joined then instead. It doesn’t matter in my eyes – YOU DID IT! Those steps are often the hardest ones to take on this journey and now you’ve made them.
My Slimming World Tips
So you’ve walked through those doors. You’ve filled in the membership form and listened to the consultant give their new member talk. You’ve sat through group (and found it’s nothing like a certain comedy sketch I hope), paid your monies and stood on the scales. You may (like I did) curse at the number shown on the scales. You may have even cried at that number (I know I did). It’s all over with, you’ve found that most (or better yet – all) your initial worries are unfounded and have gotten back home. What now?
- Read the book. That self-same book that the consultant concentrated on in the new member talk you just say through. Read it – cover to cover (well – at least till the syns section near the end).
- Read it? Now read it again.
- Read it a second (or even third) time? Go make a cuppa.
- Whilst drinking said cuppa – read the book once more – just to be sure. 🙂
Sounds repetitive? Yes maybe, but even now I still pick things up as I read through the book (and I first joined in 2008). And yes, my primary Slimming World tip to anyone at any time is “Read the Book”. I can’t stress “Read the Book” enough.
“I’ve “Read the Book” now what?”
Firstly, before anything else, my next bit of advice to anyone is:
Forget that the word “Diet” exists! Slimming World and it’s Food Optimising plans are not a “Diet” (at least in terms of “I’m going on a diet to lose weight”). If you’ve done any other eating plan – forget anything that they told you too. Welcome to a new way of eating and looking at food. This is not a “diet”; this is a “lifestyle choice”.
OK, so you’ve read the book (multiple times) and trying to forget anything about diets you may have experienced in the past. What now?
If you haven’t already – register for “Lifeline Online” (The members only part of the Slimming World website) or download/register the app. (You’ll need the book with you with the PIN you were given when you joined). You’ll need that to be up to date with the syn values, etc..
One thing I still like to do from time to time is take a recipe apart. What do I mean? Simply I find a recipe from the book (I keep mentioning that book don’t I? Think of it as you “Slimming World Bible”), a magazine or the website and deconstruct it. If the recipe says that it has 2syns per serving, then I go through and check each item off the recipe to see where those syns come from. Remember though – it may be 2syns a serving but how many servings does it make? If it “serves 4” then there’s 8 syns to be accounted for (4 servings at 2 syns a serving). Can I account for all the syns in that recipe looking at it line by line?
The first time I did that – I did it “line by line” working out which lines were free foods, and which line were synned foods. After that (and when I do it now) – I just concentrate on looking where the syns are and checking when I’m not sure (even if that also means checking things I thought were free – just to make sure).
Lets get down to what we’re all here for. Food. It’s what got us to want/need to go through the doors and it’s what is going to change now we’ve made those steps.
You can do what I know some consultants suggest. Go through the free food sections of the book and highlight/underline/mark off those foods you like. Conversely you could cross out those you don’t like.
But what about all the food I already had in the house?
You are almost bound to have food stuffs in the house that may or may not by synned. So why not spend a bit of time finding that out. Sticky labels (that will survive the freezer) or a Sharpie pen (or equivalent) are wonderful here. Go through your cupboards/fridge/freezer and mark syn values on tins/packs/packets. As well as giving plenty of experience of using Syns Online or the app, you’ll know where you stand regarding your kitchen cupboards, etc.
The last thing I’m ever going to advise is to throw food away as that is hardly being “thrifty”. If it is however necessary, and if it’s non-perishable please consider giving it to your local food bank. They tend to have collection boxes these days in most supermarkets.
The “7 P’s”
“Prior Proper Planning Prevents Pitifully Poor Performance”
Now we have a basic understanding of the food plans, and we know what we have in the house, we can start to plan. We can be thrifty and incorporate any favourites in the cupboards into our plans for the next few days (and slowly use things up that may higher synned then we may prefer).
One of the things about Slimming World and Food Optimising – we can pretty much cook anything we like and make it plan friendly – it’s not just about what we have, but how we prepare it. Plus there’s a wealth of recipes on the “LifeLine Online” part of the website. You may have brought a copy of the most recent “Slimming World Magazine” as well. Then there’s all the recipe books available in the shop at group. The website and magazine also provides sample 7-day menus.
Not one for following recipes? Me neither. I just adapted my food choices to being plan friendly. I switched to 5% fat mince (when I find it cheaply enough though veggie mince is a good fall back too). Out went the vegetable oil, in came the Fry-Light. Coated onion rings and breaded mushrooms were exchanged for roasted red onion and roasted or sautéed mushrooms. Oven chips replaced with Slimming World Chips. Easy simple swaps that will make your meals already so much healthier.
Sit there with your books, the app, the magazine, and plan the next few days (or even 7 days meals). Find recipes that you already know you like. Whatever you do, don’t “force down” food stuffs you don’t like because “it’s healthy” – that’s just going to make you feel bad. If you like cottage pie, find a Slimming World recipe for cottage pie (or follow my veggie mince recipe for my own spin on it). If you like a curry – there’s plenty of curry dishes on “Lifeline Online” and the “shop” in group even sells an recipe book with curries and other Indian style recipes.
I’ve read the book, I’ve gone through the cupboards, I have the app, and I’ve planned my week/next few days. Is that it?
In theory – yes. In practice – kind of. You will be confused by all the terminology. You will “muck up” with syn values (it’s easily done and even “seasoned pros” do from time to time). There will be much referring back to the book. This is all good. But you will be off to the best start – and that’s all that matters.
Other quick tips
(some of these will be expanded upon in future posts)
- Those food diary sheets are a great tool. Even if you do “muck up” one day – fill it in. More importantly – hand it in at group next week. It’ll help your consultant correct any little “misunderstandings” that may be hindering your weight loss.
- Following on from the above – if you eat/drink it – write it.
- Read the other books in the pack – there is helpful advice and information in them all.
- If you have a set at home – forget the bathroom scales exist. If they’re battery operated and you’re the only one that uses them – take the battery out. These can be your undoing.
- Yes – all that food is allowed.
- If you’re hungry – eat. If you’re following Slimming World and complaining of being hungry – you’re doing something wrong.
- Don’t forget your syns – using them will help the weight loss!
- Same for your Healthy Extra A choice and B choice – skipping them will not boost your weight loss.
- “There’s no way I ate all that and lost weight” is a common cry from people new to the plan at the end of their first week. It’s rare for them not to have lost something though.
- Always double-check recipes, etc.. One of the downsides of the internet is that recipes found on Google can be very out of date and not reflect current syn values or Healthy Extra amounts. It’s your lips the food is passing, you owe it to yourself to check.
- Stay to group if you can. Group is where all the ideas are shared, support given freely (from members as well as the consultant). In short – it’s “where the magic happens”.
- If your consultant has one, consider joining their Facebook group/page. Failing that there are more than a few unofficial (and sometimes very busy) Facebook groups centred around Slimming World. Try a few out “for size” and find ones that suit you.
- If in doubt – ask. The only stupid question is the one left unasked. Contact your consultant. Ask in your consultant’s Facebook group. Ask in any of the other Slimming World centric Facebook groups. (or on any other suitable Social Media – there’s nearly always something Slimming World related on them).
- Stay to group (OK – I know I’ve already said that – but it’s worth repeating – and is definitely something I’ll be expanding on in a later post).
- A loss is a loss is a loss. Just because the person sitting next to you lost 6lb in their first week doesn’t mean you will. Don’t compare.
The tools are in your hands. How you use them will determine your success. Use them well and you’ll do well, but you ignore them at your peril. You can get to where you want to be. You just have to dream it and then let that dream become reality.