Monday, 9 February 2015

Introduction to Slimming World

As you may have read in one of my previous posts, or seen in one of my YouTube videos, I recently decided to join Slimming World. Now, this may sound like a strange thing to do, considering I suffer from an eating disorder and am also on a strict medical diet, but I want to try and explain my thinking behind the decision and also explain to you a little bit about how Slimming World works. Basically, being in eating disorder treatment on and off for the last eleven years, I have found that you forget how to enjoy food. You’re taught that food is simply a fuel that you need to nourish your body with. You are forced to eat high calorie foods to put on weight, but you are never really taught how to enjoy food and how to eat normally.

Over the last year my weight has crept up to the point of it now being at an unhealthy number, and if I’m honest I feel really uncomfortable with my current shape. I chatted to a lovely lady from Slimming World about my concerns and about what I hope to achieve, and was reassured that Slimming World is not just about weight loss, but about learning how to enjoy food healthily. This is what I want to learn how to do. I want to learn how to nourish my body with the correct foods for me, to be able to maintain a healthy weight without eating high calorie and high fat foods that make me feel guilty and sluggish. I investigated a few different diet options, and Slimming World was the only one that really stood out to me.

Alongside Slimming World I have also decided to start trying to follow more of what Deliciously Ella does – living on a plant-based diet, which excludes things like dairy and gluten. I think this will fit in really well with the Slimming World ethos. I’m not planning to lose a lot of weight – I’ve set my target to a healthy BMI and I’m just hoping that, if I can get somewhere near there, I will start to feel a bit better about my weight. As I’ve probably already told you, despite asking several times for help with my eating disorder, I have been refused all help and support. Which is why I have decided I need to be proactive and improve my relationship with food and my body.

So, let’s get down to the nitty gritty. What is Slimming World all about? Slimming World, according to their website, is the most advanced slimming organisation in the UK. It was founded in 1969 by Margaret Miles-Bramwell, who remains the driving force behind the company to this day. There are now over 12,000 groups held weekly on a nationwide basis via a network of more than 4,000 Slimming World trained Consultants. They welcome 700,000 members to their groups weekly.

There are two ways of doing Slimming World. You can either go to a local group, paying weekly and having your weekly weigh-ins and support from the people at the group. Or, you can do it all from the comfort of your own home with their online membership, where you get everything you need from their website and enter your weight weekly from home. I have chosen to go with the online membership, as my health is quite unpredictable and I don’t want to have any excuses for not taking part.

When you join you are rather bombarded with information, and it’s certainly taking me a while to get my head around everything. The basic premise is that it’s all to do with eating different kinds of foods. First, you have your free foods, which you can eat as much of as you like. These include foods like fruit, vegetables, potatoes, rice and pasta. You can then choose something called a Healthy Extra ‘A’ choice every day, with foods like milk and cheese, and a Healthy Extra ‘B’ choice every day, with foods like bread, cereal and some soups. So, you’ve got your unlimited free foods, and your healthy extra choices, but what about those naughty things – chocolate, cake etc? Well, you then have something called syns, which are numbers assigned to foods that are higher in calories and fats. You can have between 5-15 syns a day, so with this diet there is no cutting out certain foods, which I believe it what helps it to work so far. Slimming World are very adamant that this is not a diet, it’s a lifestyle change, and they really push the idea that you will never go hungry, which I know puts some people off your typical diet.

So, I hope that has given you a bit of an insight into how Slimming World works and why I’ve decided to give it a go. I will be keeping you up-to-date with my Slimming World journey over the coming weeks, because I think if I’m held accountable I’m more likely to stick to it! So keep your eyes peeled for my meal plans and how I’m getting on with it. I’m not sure if I’m going to be posting actual weights, as I think that is something that is quite private to me, but I will certainly let you know how things are going.

Have you ever tried Slimming World? If you have any advice or recipe suggestions I’d love to hear them!

*Slimming World have given me a four week trial to talk to you about, but all opinions are my own

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