It is no secret I need a good diet. I have tried everything from Atkins, gluten-free and meat-free, to 5:2, juicing and just plain old starving myself.
Some of it works briefly, some of it not at all, but what I have learnt is that none of it is sustainable. The only one I surprisingly felt okay doing was the juice diet – mainly because I was drinking so much I was never hungry, but you can only do liquids for so long.
Every now and then I’ll do a three day juice cleanse to reset my body if I have had a particularly bad week, but other than that, these ‘diets’ just don’t work for me.
And right there is why: they were diets and not a lifestyle change, which is was what I am in desperate need of. So, I joined Slimming World and all I can say is wow - I can eat so much food that it’s not a diet and I am finding it SO easy!
What is Slimming World?
I would basically call it the ‘food lovers diet’, simply because you can eat so much, have naughty treats (syns) without feeling guilty, and easily maintain it.
It has changed though – gone are the red and green days of old. Instead, it is now ‘extra easy’ and ‘extra easy SP’ and is all about food optimising and the combinations of food which speed up your weight loss while keeping you fuller for longer.
Broken down into three basic categories: free foods, healthy extras and syns, all you need to do for it to work is to incorporate all three categories into your daily diet, helping you to maintain the lifestyle and not feel deprived of food.
Free foods are the best bit - you can have as much as you want with no weighing, measuring or calorie counting. Free foods include:
- Meat and Poultry
- Meat Replacement
- Rice and Pasta
- Beans, Peas and Pulses
- Some dairy products
Basically pile your plate high with pasta or potatoes if you fancy it - it’s all about what you eat with it that makes it work with the important parts being the speed foods (marked with an ‘S’ in the bible you get for joining).
For example, if you want spaghetti bolognese for dinner, go for it. Pile on the pasta and the meat - your speed food will be the veg you have with it (and make the sauce with passata to keep it syn free!).
Healthy extras are the bits you can’t eat so much of, but you must still have one of each per day.
You will have an ‘A’ choice (hexa) being dairy foods high in calcium such as cheeses and milk, and your ‘B choice (hexb), which will be items high in fibre such as some cereals, bread, canned soups, nuts and seeds.
This was a tiny struggle for me as I always use mozzarella cheese as my healthy extra ‘A’ choice, but I can only have 50g a day and anything else dairy I use my syns for. Sounds adequate for some, but cheese is definitely my favourite thing in the world so it is hard to weigh it out and put the rest away.
Syns are the good bits of food you really love - chocolate, crisps, naughty cereals, ice lollies, alcohol and basically everything I have way too much of.
The way it works is you have five to 15 syns per day so you don’t feel deprived - if you want a jam and cream doughnut you can have one, but it will cost you 12 syns! You can be flexible with your syns, so if you want to save them for the weekend you can, but always set a new goal to stay within your allowance and keep you on track.
That may all seem a bit much for someone who has no clue what Slimming World is, but I promise it is way easier than it sounds!
Here is a typical weekday for me - as I work in an office it can be easy to pick at food, but I have managed to rope three of my colleagues into joining so it is much easier for me now:
1 slice of wholemeal toast (hexb) no butter (because gross!)
1 poached egg (you can have as many as you want, it’s Free!)
Mushrooms (Speed food)
Grilled tomatoes (S)
Baked beans (F)
Then in the car I will eat an apple (S) and a nectarine (S)
Jacket potato (F)
Baked Beans (F)
50g grated mozzarella cheese (hexa)
Salad - lettuce, tomato, cucumber, onion red pepper and carrot (all S)
Strawberries and an apple (S) in a mullerlight (F)
Turkey breast steaks with lemon, garlic and Italian herbs (F)
Sweet potato fries made with Fry Light and salt (F)
Roasted vegetables (S)
I generally pick at blueberries during the day at work, and at around 3pm I have a cup of tea (1/2 syn)
with 2 jaffa cakes (5 syns)
Day finished with 5.5 syns out of 15.
I am a creature of habit so I actually eat the same things most days for ease, unless I want a lie in then of course I have two Rocky Road Hi-Fi bars (which are AMAZING but only available for purchase from the class, however, I hear you can buy them from ebay!) and my fruit on the way to work.
All diet drinks are FREE, so I drink a LOT of Diet Coke.
This is the exciting bit - I have done no exercise at all, literally the only thing I have changed is what I eat, and I actually never used to have breakfast so now I eat even more! I went to my first weigh-in on Wednesday and lost 5lbs!
While writing this I am nearly through my second week, and I have had a sneaky go on the scales and I have got say I am VERY pleased with the results so far! I have a few recipes I want to try so stay tuned and follow my food diary over on Instagram.
If you are on Slimming World and have any tips or recipes you want to share we would love to hear from you!
- love Carla x