As a teen I really struggled with my weight and always felt as if I was on a diet. Little did I know back then that most diets are very restrictive and not maintainable. I finally started to see some progress when I began to follow the Slimming World diet. I asked members to explain to me how the diet works and bought a notebook for myself to calculate my daily ‘syns’, and my ‘healthy extras a and b’ (these terms will be all too familiar with people who have followed the diet). I followed the diet as well as doing moderate exercise a few times a week. Within a few months I had lost a substantial amount of weight and over a year I had reached a healthy weight and felt a lot better in myself but I still felt rather sluggish.
I lost weight by following the Slimming World diet and
exercising on a regular basis.
A few years later when I found an interest in healthy eating I looked back on my previous diet and found that I was eating a lot of processed, low fat foods that were very high in sugar. I also snacked on chocolate and sweets as they fitted my daily ‘syn’ allowance. This, I realised, is why I was lacking in energy. I began to hold a hatred towards the diet as I believed that it encouraged people to eat packaged foods. I was also shocked that you had to syn foods like avocado and peanut butter which I perceived as healthy.
I recently took another look at the Slimming World diet to see if it were possible to follow a wholefoods approach to eating and I was shocked to realise that you can eat a perfectly balanced diet on the plan. By using your ‘healthy extra b’ for foods like porridge and weetabix and your ‘healthy extra a’ for things like skimmed milk, almond milk or cheese’ and using your syns for things like honey, nuts, avocado, popcorn, dark chocolate etc. you aren’t filling your body with foods that should only be enjoyed on occasion. As for free foods, you can enjoy and abundance of fruits and vegetables and wholemeal pasta, rice and quinoa without having to count a thing. Protein is also easy to add to your plate as lean meats, fish and legumes are also free. Free snacks like fat free yoghurts that contain sugar and sweeteners can be replaced with good quality fat free greek yoghurt or natural yoghurt which contain no added sugar. You can then choose to sweeten them with fruits of your choice. A tip I have for those who use sweetener is to replace it with stevia, a natural sweetener which is chemical free.
I take back what I have said in recent years about Slimming World. I understand that losing weight is difficult and this diet makes it much easier as it doesn’t promote calorie counting and the social side to it leads to a more successful weight loss. The consultants provide the support that members need to stay motivated in their weight loss journey.While foods that are high in healthy fats like nut butters and seeds are good for you, they also have a high calorie content and it is easy to eat them in excess unless measured (I am notorious for standing beside the cupboard and eating spoonfuls of nut butter from the jar).
For those of you who are struggling with weight loss I would recommend joining a group like Slimming World and using your ‘syns’ for healthy wholefoods. I have found plenty of recipes online that provide a healthy and balanced meal while having low to no syns by simply typing ‘Slimming World Recipes‘ into the search bar. It’s really as easy as that!
Until next time,