Slimming World Week 1: How did I find it and will it work for you?

On my last post be prepared it’s a long one, I briefly explained why I finally took the plunge and rejoined Slimming World after years of avoiding it. I knew I needed the support, but the additional support wasn’t the only reason, in fact there were many factors which led to me walking into my first meeting.

So what were they, how are they working for me and will they work for you?

  1. The weekly weigh in.
  2. FOOD!!
  3. The stickers and certificates.

The weekly weigh in. I needed the regime of a weekly weigh in, of course I could do this at home, however for me weighing yourself and having someone weigh you are two very different things.

I can become a little very obsessed with the sad step, morning weigh ins, mid day weigh ins, after the toilet weigh ins (<— sometimes a toilet stop could be a 2lb difference hahaha, always go before weigh in!!) Basically If I was in the bathroom I was on the scales!! I don’t want to live my life determined by the scales, the number does not reflect me as a person or define my self worth, but by weighing every day and at every possible moment it was becoming a big factor of my journey. It would encourage unhealthy habits, if I didn’t see the number going down as fast as I would like for example I would restrict my food intake, fast and guzzle down litres upon litres of water until I was satisfied I was making good progress. Equally if I saw the numbers go down quickly I would find it easier to let myself have a ‘treat’ after all I’d already lost a good amount!!! I also discovered that by moving my scales around my bathroom floor my weight could vary by 8lbs!!

For some people having scales at home and weighing daily keeps them on track and motivated. I am not one of those people.

So why is the weekly weigh in working for me? It has allowed me to stop putting so much focus on the scales, it has also given me a consistent account of my weight, with my home scales the numbers can vary which doesn’t always give me a true reading.  At group the same scales are used, I weigh at the same time and the same place every week thus satisfying me with a true reading. Once a week is enough for me, it lets me go through my journey week by week and seeing the end results and my achievement. This journey is about applauding yourself every step of the way, by weighing once a week I can confidently keep track of my journey and success.

When I weighed at home it could often be an anti-climax, especially if the scales didn’t say what I was hoping for. I could commiserate with a big bowl of my favourite sugary cereal if needed (<– it was never needed!!!) Whereas the weekly weigh ins offer the support I need, they give you a pat on the back when you’ve done well and pick you up when you are disappointed with your results. On top of that the fear of being the only one in group who has put weight on definitely keeps me on track, keeps me motivated and keeps me determined to try my best!!

FOOD!! I didn’t get to this size by hating food, I love food, I’ve tried endless diets that restrict or eliminate certain foods, and yes I lost weight, but I couldn’t sustain the plan, I was too damn hungry, angry and unhappy!! I need food. We can all stop drinking alcohol, or smoking or taking drugs, but we can’t stop eating food, we need it to survive and food is my drug of choice.

Slimming World lets me eat, and not just eat rabbit food as my dad used to call it, it lets me eat real food and big portions! In my first week I ate; stews, chips, pasta, rice, potatoes and chocolate! The plan is simple and easy to follow, it doesn’t restrict what you can and can’t have it puts you in control. This is your journey so you find the path that works for you.

For me I need sweet things, I have a massive sweet teeth, yes I love other ‘naughty’ things like pizza, takeaways and pies!! But I love chocolate and anything sweet!! With Slimming World I can still have them!! The plan is so simple to follow!! Broken down into sections, Free Food (including Speed), Health Extras A and B and then 5-15 syns per day to spend on slightly unhealthier things!!

The syns are a massive part of why I’m 7 weeks in without slipping once! Some people choose to spend their syns on things like, oil, spread on their toast, jam etc. I like to cook as syn free as possible so then in the evenings – my worst time for hunger and eating – I can satisfy my sweet tooth and little piggy self with some treats. My favourites are, mini twister lollies 2syns, curly wurlys 6 syns and snow rolls 2 syns.

And just to prove that with this plan you can eat real food and big portions and still lose weight I have included a photo gallery at the bottom of this post of just SOME of the food I ate in week one, all of which was on plan and helped me lose 8.5lb come weigh in.

The stickers and certificates. I’m not ashamed to admit it I am one of those people that needs an occasional pat on the back and will always appreciate a well done! It helps keep me on the right path, I have a long journey ahead of me*, my weight loss journey will not be a quick one, at the beginning I was facing losing the weight of another person!! That will not happen overnight! I need to celebrate my achievements and milestones along the way, losing weight is hard work and we deserve to feel smug when we’ve done well. Believe me it’s not easy watching the man eat EVERYTHING I want!! Syns keep me satisfied but it’s still torture watching him eat pizza, packets of haribo and bars of chocolate! So feeling proud of my progress when I get a new certificate or sticker definitely reminds me of how well I’m doing and that not giving in to temptation was and is certainly worth it to feel this good!!!

*Look out for a future post about setting a target!!!

So how was my first week and what are my tips to anyone looking to join?

I loved loved loved my first week as you’ll see from the pictures below I didn’t miss out on food! I also didn’t feel like I was on a diet, switching out things like oil for frylite was easy in this household and I still cooked home made, hearty meals I just adapted them to the plan. The food was a hit with the man also which is always a bonus!! By the latter part of the week I was counting down the days until the next weigh in, feeling determined and confident with how I’d done.

For me variety is the spice of life, I made sure I switched up my breakfasts, lunches and tried not to eat the same dinner in the week, getting bored on plans is one of the main reasons I slip off the wagon. So get in the kitchen, get creating and have some variety!

Stalk stalk stalk. I love Instagram and sooooo many lovely men and women are sharing their journies and food diaries. This inspiration helped give me ideas and motivate me from week one. I like a lot of people start most days with a quick flick through my newsfeed whilst still wiping sleep from me eyes, seeing my Instagram feed full of healthy breakfast choices and ideas I would never have thought of meant I instantly started my day positively in regards to the plan.

I also share all my food on my Instagram account, it helps keep me on track and accountable of what i’ve eaten!! Drop your username in the comments for me to have a nose please!

To anyone looking to join GO FOR IT, what’s the worst that could happen! Weight loss is a personal journey and to anyone on a different plan or ‘diet’ good luck, well done and tell me all about it in the comments!! I applaud anyone who is on this hard journey, no matter the healthy path you are taking, but for me right now I am officially loving Slimming World!!!!

Be prepared it’s a long one. Goodbye Pity Party and Hello Slimming World.

It’s time to face up to some hard truths. I haven’t posted in a long time,  has it really been 4 months? I should have listened to my mum, time really does go quicker as you get older!

I’ve been stalling posting too afraid to enter the blogosphere again, the internet can be a fickle place, the blogging world especially. But then I remembered why I started this blog and my corresponding page, it was to help not only me but others. Research has shown that losing weight together with a support system increases your chances of success, and knowing you aren’t the only one struggling can really help a person when they feel like a failure and believe me when it comes to weight loss I’ve felt like a failure, a lot!

So why has it taken me so long to come out of hiding?

I was ashamed, I had created a blog and page centred on weight loss yet I was sitting at home demolishing sharing bags of crisps and chocolate, having officially fallen off the wagon. I was a fraud. I was stuck in a viscous circle of binge eating and starving, neither of which I wanted to promote as a healthy lifestyle.

I created this blog to share the truths of weight loss and that includes falling off the wagon because let’s face it losing weight is hard!! But I couldn’t face it. I was watching the scales closely approaching my start weight from June 2014 and falling deeper into my pity party.

The last year has been a roller-coaster of ups and downs, and now we come to June when I should be out celebrating having finished my final year at university, but in reality I’m at home still struggling away with my dissertation and piecing together my final portfolio, crawling inch by inch to the finish line. This past year has seen me battle with my own mental health once again, struggle to balance my home, work and university life as well as dealing with things that no one saw coming, and even now we don’t understand.

As friends and acquaintances asked how my weight loss was going I had my answer ready, “I’m taking it easy at the moment, with everything going on, but I’m joining Slimming World soon.” Hell even the doctor told me I should stop being so hard on myself and they were impressed I was managing so well.

But in reality I wasn’t. Weight loss is hard work, and anyone who says any different is an idiot (sorry, not sorry) it really isn’t as simple as eat less, move more. Yes those factors help obviously but it requires a lot of hard work, will power, determination and strength. I didn’t get to this size overnight so losing weight won’t happen over night either.

So many ‘diets’ focus on cutting out, or minimising your intake of certain food groups, some even offer meal replacements or ask you to skip meals entirely, how long is one person expected to sustain this? I certainly couldn’t do this. Would the person telling you “it’s simple eat less, move more” eliminate their favourite foods or food groups entirely and sustain it 24/7, 365 days a year? Probably not.

It is easy for people to dismiss overweight people as lazy over-eaters who prefer McDonalds to the gym, people goad overweight people, make fun of and judge but we are all people. We all have different things going on, we all have our own lives, we all have our own struggles that influence our eating habits. What impact does someone’s weight really have on your life, unless they are sitting on your face it really isn’t any of your concern surely?

Believe it or not overweight people can be healthy, the two can go hand in hand, yes weight may have a factor on their life later on down the line, but surely that is their business? At my biggest weight, apart from being a bit physically unfit I was healthy, I suffered no health issues related to being overweight. I couldn’t run round a football pitch that’s for sure but then again neither could a few of my size 8-10 friends. So I put my weight loss aside for a while, a little too long I will admit, but I had to take care of me first.

So many of us struggle with our weight, not just those of us who have a lot to lose, but those who are underweight and struggling, or with an extra muffin top they can’t shift, whether it is 7lbs or 100lbs you have to lose we all struggle.

So rewind to 7 weeks ago when  I drew the line, I’m 27 this year and should be dreaming of adventures, a bright future surrounded by friends, family and children one day. I have been so incredibly lucky that the only health complications I’ve had is an annual Winter chest infection and a death defying snore, but I’d be fooling myself to think I would remain this overweight morbidly obese (<— time to face hard facts!) and healthy.

I cannot control everything in my life but what I can control is my weight and what I eat and how this makes me feel as a person. My weight has never defined me and it never will and I’ve been lucky that I’ve always felt pretty confident, most of the time, but I want to live the best life possible, doing amazing things and living life to the full, I don’t want to be the one on the side happily waving and cheering you on I want to experience it first hand, grabbing each opportunity face on without first thinking of all the problems my weight might cause.

But I needed support. I know all the rules, of weight loss I know what works and doesn’t work, I’ve been on a diet on and off since I was a child literally, but I needed the discipline of a group. For so long I’d been telling people I was joining Slimming World soon so why not now?

On the 2nd of May I walked into my first slimming world group and I was a nervous wreck. When the moment came to finally get weighed I tipped the scales at 21 stone 11lb, I was gutted, I was only half a stone away from the weight that began this blogging journey two years ago! All the weight I had lost I had regained, I hadn’t been living in denial but this was tough to swallow. I threw myself into my first week, reading the booklet, the website, stalking Instagram pages, and concocting recipes. I had been a member of Slimming World before so knew if you stuck to plan it would work, so I kept determined, counting down the days for my first weigh in.

As Monday morning approached I was once again a nervous wreck, but this time I tipped the scales at 21 stone 3lb, I had lost a massive 8.5lb and got my first award all in my first week!!

I was hooked and 6 weeks later I still am.

1200 words later I’m sure I’ve bored everyone by now, so I’ll leave you all on my high note first week success!! But fear not this time I will be back soon, detailing what my first 7 weeks of Slimming World have taught me.

But for now I’ve got a syn free, speed packed, Slimming World meal to whip up!

© Sarah Woodside

Me with my first award! © Sarah Woodside