These groups provide the emotional support that many people find they need when dieting, which helps with dieting motivation and ultimately aids in successful weight loss.
The group believes that;
There is the burden of excess weight itself, but there is also a far heavier burden to be lifted – that of shame, self-criticism and poor self-esteem
and aims to overcome these burdens to aid dieters.
Not a Diet. Lifestyle Choice?
Slimming world provides a diet plan that ‘is not a diet’ but a long term lifestyle choice. This plan is based upon food optimisation, which means that some foods are available in unlimited amounts, called free foods, whilst others are available in moderation, called healthy extras. There are also “syn” foods, which can be eaten in small amounts.
There is an allowance of 5-15 syns per day, depending upon the strictness of the individual food plan chosen by the dieter. Free foods are all low in energy density, which means that they satisfy the dieter’s appetite whilst still having a relatively low calorie count. These free foods include fruit and vegetables, pasta, potatoes, fish and lean meat and even homemade chips (when made according to the slimming world recipe.
Syn foods include sugar, sweets, muller light yoghurts, as well as fast food, butter, and anything cooked unhealthily. Information about the value of syn foods can be found in weekly meetings, in purchasable books that have comprehensive lists of values, as well as online.
Different Diet Plans
If having the choice of unlimited free foods isn’t enough versatility for dieters who like to feel unrestricted whilst dieting, there are three different levels of diet plan on the slimming world diet. The user chooses which they follow, and this provides them with slightly different guidelines, depending upon which they choose. There is the ‘Extra Easy plan’, the ‘Original plan’ and the “Green plan” available. The “extra easy plan” has the fewest limitations, with Free Foods including most fruit and vegetables, fish, lean meat and poultry and eggs, pasta, potatoes, grains and beans. Healthy extras on the extra easy plan include bread, cereals, cheese and milk.
The “Original plan” is slightly more restrictive, with Free Foods including most fruit and vegetables, fish, lean meat and poultry and eggs whilst healthy extras include bread, cereals, cheese, milk and carbohydrates such as wholewheat pasta, potatoes, grains and beans. Finally, the ‘Green plan’ is considered ideal for vegetarians as it is the easiest plan on which to eliminate meat products. On this plan, Free Foods include most fruit and vegetables, pasta, rice, potatoes, grains and eggs. Healthy extras include bread, cereals, cheese, milk, nuts & seeds, and protein such as lean meat, poultry and fish.
Two methods: Online and in-groups
Slimming world can be followed by either joining the weekly groups, or by joining online. A mixture of the two is available, by attending the weekly meetings and making use of the website and apps available. Subscription for the online service costs vary, starting at “£60.00 for your first three months”.
Higher levels of membership are available, at a greater cost, and after the first three months, membership is more expensive, as the initial £60 is a discounted rate. Gold online membership includes Slimming World’s Food Optimising books and a year’s subscription to Slimming World magazine, on top of the regular features. On the other hand, membership for the weekly meetings costs £4.95 per week, as well as a £10 one time registration fee.
Etools and apps make following the slimming diet much easier. This is because they have an extensive database that provides information on the syn value of many foods, as well as access to over a 1000 slimming world recipes. Using these recipes helps to add flavour and variety to the user’s daily diet, which makes it much more appetising in the long run. This also means that additional support is available throughout the week, outside of the weekly meetings.
Information that cannot be found on these apps can be verified with a slimming world consultant at each weekly meeting. Additional recipes and tips can be found in the Slimming world magazine. This can be purchased at many large newsagents, or at meetings at a discount. Those with an online subscription can also take out a discounted annual subscription to the magazine.
The online features also include access to community boards which means that even people who are unable to attend meetings can find support from like-minded dieters.
Working with the NHS
Slimming world is currently the only company that is working with the NHS to help tackle the problem of obesity across the UK. Slimming World on referral is a scheme that allows GPs to refer overweight patients to slimming world, with vouchers for 12 weeks of group membership. This makes slimming world an affordable option for those who are struggling with their weight and weight-related health issues.
This scheme has been shown to be effective, with the average weight loss of those who completed the 12 week referral being 5.5% of their starting body weight. This amount of weight can mark the start of long-term weight loss, and can help to alleviate health problems caused by obesity. Slimming world on referral seems to be a more pro-active solution than the prescription of diet pills, which do not change poor eating habits in the long run, and do not provide the support that many dieters seem to require.
Our Verdict on Slimming World
Overall, it seems that slimming world is potentially a very good long term weight loss solution. Significant amounts of weight can be lost over a long period of time with slimming world, as shown by the many success stories online.
Slimming world’s slimmer of the year lost 17 stone over two and a half years, showing that anyone can find success on this diet in theory. People who want to cook from scratch may find this diet easier than people with limited culinary skills, but the plan is so versatile that in theory anyone can foll