Saturday 17 August 2019

An answer

I started an answer to tinasparklesandrainbows' comment to yesterday's post and it turned into such an essay I felt it would be better as another post.  I hope that's OK, Tina.

I do understand your feelings, I honestly do.  I think there's a lot of issues with slimming clubs in general and they are money making businesses at heart so something of a contradiction in terms there right away.  I get more cynical in my old age!

For me, last summer, there were two reasons for joining a weight loss club, something I had always said I wouldn't do.  The first was that the weight loss associated with the gallbladder problems was slowing down once the operation was done.  I had bought new clothes (had to) and was rather enjoying the bonuses of being less cumbersome and clumsy on my feet and the thought of putting it all back on was just not to be considered.  I was getting just a bit worried that things were going to go belly-up.  Well, more than a bit worried, in fact.  I needed a new focus.

At the same time, a 'parent', who I knew from my teaching days, lost weight and she looked amazing.  I asked her about it and she said she'd done it through Slimming World.  I went round hers for coffee and she took me through the whole system - syns, healthy extras, free food, and so on and I realised that, although it sounded complicated, at heart it was fairly simple with a focus on heathy choices. and I'm for ever grateful that she took the time and trouble that morning.

I already knew SW encouraged members to adapt recipes and that there was a body of recipe resources available.  Mel showed me her SW recipe books and I had already made some recipes up from the magazine and they were pretty tasty.  So, with Mel's support, I thought I'd give them a go and hope that I could be reasonably frugal at the same time, something I didn't want to lose.  I reckoned that anything that encouraged one to cook from scratch as much as SW does had to have potential for frugality.

I honestly think that different things work for different people.  I'm fairly 'moderate' in most things and by that I mean I tend not to wander too far from the middle line.  So anything that was too focused on one food type in either way (too much or cut it out) wasn't going to work for me.  Neither were meal replacement things although I knew someone who had lost substantial amounts of weight with one well known system (and gained most of it back later, sadly).  I had used Body Chef (not Diet Chef) in the past, had lost weight and enjoyed the food but it was so, so, so costly and anyway I enjoy cooking.  And finally, an awful lot of celebrity endorsed stuff is just plain weird and makes me laugh!

So, for me, looking at what was available locally, it had to be Slimming World if it was going to be anything at all and, as I needed to do something, that was what I did.

I realised straight away that reading all the bumph I was given was essential and now and again I read through it again, just to make sure.  So is using the resources on their site.  Most importantly, it's important to apply a modicum of intelligence and a great big dollop of common sense to it all.
No, I don't have to count calories although it is helpful to know that one syn (I still don't like that term) equals twenty calories.  In that sense, it doesn't help my detailed knowledge of calories but stick with lots of veg  as the main portion on my plate and keep the protein lean and I truly don't need to know.
No, I really can't eat freely from all the so-called free food, despite the hype, but the Protein and Speed foods are OK.  Load my plate with rice or pasta and I will have some problems.  In fact, I did have some problems with constipation at first, something that had never been an issue before.  It could have been linked with not having a gall bladder any more, I don't know, but I now stick with oats, wholegrain rice and those lovely rice mixes with seeds, quinoa and so on, plus wholewheat pasta and that does the trick.

I think there's some very silly things about Slimming World and I haven't been backward about saying so.
I wish it didn't wrap itself around with, and be so 'precious' about, specific terms and names that, frankly, can be a bit off-putting and make it all sounds more complicated than it really is.  Optimising, syns, 'free', As and Bs, speed - huh?
I wish it didn't proclaim about being able to eat as much free food as I want - because, really, I can't, and as soon as I started reading their bumph I realised that.  You can't have a third (or more) of a plate of 'speed' (i.e. veg to you and me) and load your plate with the pasta or rice (or even chips done the SW way) at the same time and nor can I.
I wish it didn't say silly things such as needing to syn cooked/pureed fruit.  As if a banana mashed to make a portion of oat pancakes (yum) is going to magically be more calories than having a banana whole.
And don't get me started on 'tweaks'.  Just . . . don't.  Tweaks.  Are.  Not.  Bad.
<  grin >

Having said all of the above, I honestly think it's great. It's far more flexible than one would believe at first, there's a world of brilliant recipes out there that can easily be adapted and, providing you have a good group leader (and Jen is fantastic), the meetings are really helpful, albeit a bit happy-clappy (but it makes for a happy atmosphere).  It doesn't have to cost a lot of money to follow the plan - the choices really are there.  Finally, it's all very suitable for family meals as well so you don't have to be cooking separate meals.

I'm really glad I started going, despite some big doubts in the early days.  When I get to target, I'm pretty sure I will keep going too because I don't fool myself that maintaining is going to be a doddle.

Tina, apologies for the essay above.  It has really helped me to write it all out and to clarify my thoughts.  I wish you all the good luck in the world and look forward very much to hearing how you are getting on with whatever you choose to do.  A warm welcome back to reading the blog!


  1. That is a very sensible and interesting post. I hope I did not offend you or anyone else with my opinions as that was not my intention, I suppose I was thinking out loud. There is so much conflicting advice for healthy eating/weight loss everywhere and it gets overwhelming. As you say, the diet industry cannot please all of the people all of the time.
    I wish you (other SW member readers) continued success with your journey.
    I look forward to reading the frugal food ideas.

    1. No, not at all, I thought what you said was very interesting and I think I was also thinking out loud. It just became too long for a reply!