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Slimming World is a popular diet program in the United Kingdom. Is it one that actually works, or is it designed to keep you going to group?
There are a few weight loss plans out there, and Slimming World is just one of them. This one is predominantly in the UK, while a lot of other diet plans have gone global. I’ve tried a lot of the plans over the years.
The one that worked for me the best was Weight Watchers. However, I don’t do it anymore and am losing weight. I’m going to take the time to look at the different plans to share whether I think they’re worth signing up for or not.
What is Slimming World?
Slimming World promotes itself as a “weight loss plan like no other.” To be honest, it is extremely similar to Weight Watchers, but with a few words changed.
Now, things on the plan may have changed over the years. When I was there, I was told I could have as many certain foods on a certain list as possible throughout the day. These included vegetables and some fruits, but meat, potatoes, and even pasta and rice were on the list.
The idea is that you create a calorie deficit with the plan you’re given. You don’t feel hungry as certain foods you can eat throughout the day. Others you have to count. There are “Syns” to each of the foods, and you get a total amount of “Syns” to use on a daily basis. The amount is based on your current weight and a few other aspects.
It sounds great, right? So, why didn’t I stick with it?
A restrictive diet plan
Honestly, I actually found that the plan was restrictive. The idea was that I should stop the cravings. I should have not felt hungry and I shouldn’t have wanted sweet things. So, the limited number of “Syns” I got each week shouldn’t have been that bad.
The problem is I’m not a huge meat eater. I love pasta and rice, but it’s not something that I would want to eat a lot of. The food that I did like, such as the sweeter fruits, had to be counted in my “Syns.”
I had to change everything about the way I lived and ate. My ex-husband who I was living with at the time didn’t want to change a lot, so we would have to cook two meals all the time.
Slimming World wants to discourage calorie counting, although you’re still counting things. Those “Syns” tend to be higher in the foods with more calories.
A very clique Slimming World group
It might have just been my group, but I did try another one a couple of years later and found the same thing. The group mentality is just so clique.
If you gain weight, you’re immediately told you’ve done something wrong. You’re told to pull out your diary for the leader to go through it, and it’s made into a big deal.
After my first meeting, I was told I needed to take something that was Slimming World friendly to put in a basket. The person who lost the most weight that week would get that basket to take home with them. Considering the budget that a lot of people are on, I didn’t like that idea. If you didn’t put something in the basket, you were looked down on. And I don’t like the idea of it going to the person who lost the most weight.
It’s supposed to encourage others to stick to the plan, but when you have and you gain weight, it’s demoralizing. And what about when you’re at your goal weight? You will never get a chance to win, and you’re just told “well, you met your weight loss goal.”
There was just a lot about the Slimming World groups that really put me off the whole plan.
The first leader I met also needed to rethink her chosen career. She was supposed to encourage, and instead, she would make you feel worse for gaining weight. On a phone call with her in the middle of the week, I tried to talk to her about a struggle I was having with the plan, and she would gloss over it and gaslight me into thinking that it wasn’t a problem. I didn’t see it at the time, but I do now.
I can say from experience that following the plan exactly doesn’t guarantee results. Gaining weight doesn’t mean you’ve cheated. The plan just may not work for your metabolism. And I have found since having my gallbladder removed that I’ve lost a lot of weight quickly. I do think my problematic gallbladder was causing me to hold onto some weight.
I actually gained weight!
I tried it, though. I stuck to the plan that was given to me. On the plan, I ended up gaining 7lbs! In the first two weeks, you’re supposed to lose a lot of weight because you lose the water retention.
I do know some people who have lost weight on Slimming World, but that’s because the foods that are on the unrestricted lists are their favorites and they will eat them all the time. It doesn’t work for me or a lot of people.
And I’ll tell you now that it wouldn’t work in my house now when I have a vegetarian and a gluten-free diet to cook for—and the one who needs the gluten-free diet is also Type 1 diabetic. Could you imagine telling this gluten-free diabetic that she can eat all the pasta and potatoes that she wants?
Does Slimming World really want to lose you?
Part of me does look at it as one of those plans that doesn’t really want it to work. After all, once you lose the weight, you stop paying for the membership, right? Why would a company want you to stop paying them?
I view this of any sort of weight loss plan like this. Weight Watchers, Slim Fast, absolutely anything that has some sort of membership plan to join.
There are a lot of people who will do these plans, lose the weight, stop going, and gain it back. Too many plans don’t teach people more about the overall lifestyle changes that are needed. There’s this big focus on sticking to the plan and losing the weight and very little about keeping it off afterward. Sure, you can attend the groups and keep going, but there’s no incentive to stay within the group setting—except to keep the weight off.
I know people who swear by Slimming World in the UK. I also know a lot of people like me who tried it and realized it wasn’t for them. The only way you’ll know is if you try it out.