Slimming World – I’m Out

Slimming World? Sorry it’s just not for me.

If you are one of the many people who are using the Slimming World programme then I apologise. This post may not be for you because I’m feeling a little bit angry about it. Or should that be hangry.

I’ve been using the programme (haphazardly) for around a month now. Two weeks going solo online and two weeks at my local group meeting. I’ve lost weight – about four pounds in total – so I guess you can say it’s effective.

I expect it would be even more effective if I followed the plan to the letter. In fact my Slimming World consultant pushes you for your half a stone loss in your first two weeks, so confident is she that it works. If you haven’t lost weight in the first four weeks you get a refund. So yes, it works if weight loss is your goal.

But for me, it feels like a thoroughly unhealthy way of losing weight. Not necessarily physically (although I could pick holes in it) but most definitely psychologically.

Eating is a part of life. It can be a really enjoyable part of life and at the very minimum it’s a necessary one. However, eating and fuelling your body is not the sole rhyme and reason for living but this programme of weight loss turns it into just that. Your whole worth suddenly becomes wrapped up into how many pounds you lost or gained that week – cheering yourself and others on if the quest to be thinner is greater than the desire to eat bread. Nodding in a sympathetic but patronising and disappointed manner if you put on a pound or two.

I know it works for a lot of people and that’s absolutely fine but I just wanted to take a minute and talk about why it doesn’t work for me. Quite a few of you have asked me how I’m getting on with the plan so I want to be honest.

You see, the thing is I’m a mother.  I’m busy keeping two people alive and happy, I’m also a partner, a sister, a daughter and a friend with a prosecco problem. I need to clean my home. I need to do the food shopping. I need to go to work. I need to make doctors, dentists and KFC appointments. I need to go to spin class. I need and want to watch shit television. I blog, I vlog, I write, I talk too much and I worry endlessly about whether I’m screwing my kids up. And every so often, I need to make time for my relationship as well. In a nutshell, I need to have a life that doesn’t revolve around planning and perfecting every bite that goes into my mouth. I just don’t have the time to think about eating in that much detail. My whole world just cannot be about slimming. It just cannot be all about me.

Slimming World Why its not for me

I’m also relatively sensible and know that stuffing my face with aforementioned chicken will make me fat (ter) – I know that eating a ton of carbs will do my friendly thighs no favours and I know that that extra portion of pudding will not help in my quest to lose the love handles. I don’t need to be told how to eat, especially not with a complex and highly confusing algorithm of syns, hex’s and free foods.

But lets talk about those ‘syns’ for a minute. Briefly for those of you who think I’m a spelling mistake away from a Catholic confession – syns refer to food that isn’t free or part of your healthy extra A or B. About as clear as mud I’m sure you’ll agree.
Fruit, veg and lean meat and fish are all free foods and you can eat as much as you want (excellent for learning about portion control…). You can also choose one portion of something (usually dairy) for a healthy extra A and one portion of something else (usually bread) for a healthy extra B per day. Everything else is a ‘syn’ and you’re only allowed 5-15 of these per day.

The result?

They call it food optimising. I call it food obsessing.
Seriously. I have spent the last four weeks obsessing and planning every mouthful of food that passes my over-hungry lips.

Can I eat this?

How many syns is this?

Wtf do you mean that a Wicked Zinger burger has 34 syns in it before I’ve even sniffed a hot wing?!

You get the drift.

Just the word ‘syn’ makes me want to howl with hungry rage. The whole focus of Slimming World purports (theres a word for you!) to be encouraging, motivating, life changing blah blah blah but really at the heart of it is the diet industry making you feel guilty and bad for doing something like… eating. Shame on you for doing that hey.

The diet industry is worth millions if not billions and it has been founded on the back of people’s insecurities. If you feel bad about yourself, if they make you feel like a fat cow for long enough and feed you images of tiny, toned women with Barbie like proportions then you will eventually pay them your hard-earned cash to make you look like that too. Because being thin will solve all your problems, right? Ahem.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m just as much a sucker as anyone for this kind of advertising. I’ve spent my whole adult life on the quest to be thinner or more toned or more perky or whatever. Sitting there in a group Slimming World class though, surrounded by intelligent women (and it was all women) who were beating themselves up for being “fat” whilst the group leader jumped up and down, excitedly peeping on about “keeping on track”, “avoiding the buffet” and most infuriatingly of all “not letting yourself down” made me see that this isn’t the programme for me.

I am not letting myself down if I choose to eat a burger. I am hungry and exhausted and sick of counting calories. And I will go to spin class tomorrow to burn it off (maybe).

In fact, I can safely say that I will not be joining a specific weight loss programme ever again. I do want to lose a few pounds for my sanity, health and strength. But is this going to be the sum total of my life? Will I be defining my worth based on my waistline?

No. And you know what? Nobody who loves me or cares about me will define me that way either.

I just feel like if I want to lose weight then I really know how to do it already – I don’t need a group that pretends to be supportive to make me feel bad about my body, obsess over the scales and tell me not to eat too much bread. I don’t need to be fat shamed. I certainly don’t need to feel that my weight is my worth and if I didn’t shift some of it this week then I’m not as ‘good’ as I should be.

That is not a balanced way of eating that I can get on board with and so, in the words of some very successful (and not too skinny) Dragons…

I’m Out.

 

x

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If you take part in Slimming World and find the experience to be the opposite then try not to take offence. This is just my little opinion.

22 Comments

  1. May 2, 2017 / 6:56 pm

    I LOVE this post! I’m so fed up of people telling me how amazing Slimming World is and how I should try it. Yes, I need to lose a few pounds. But I’d much rather walk to work (as I am doing now) and still stuff my face with the chocolate bar I crave at the toddlers bedtime!
    You look fab as you are lovely x

  2. May 2, 2017 / 7:09 pm

    I have to say I completely agree and have friends on that fitness programme I told you about who say they were on the SW wagon for years and it just warped the way they think of food. good for you hun- I’m wanting to get healthy but think I’m going to try for balance and exercise too 🙂 xxx
    Bridget recently posted…Hello May!My Profile

    • May 3, 2017 / 8:34 pm

      I have friends on it too and it makes me feel really sorry for them to be honest because obsessing is no way to live is it? Balance sounds right to me x
      Fi recently posted…Butlin’s Minehead Part OneMy Profile

  3. May 2, 2017 / 8:24 pm

    Literally JUST dumped an SW book that has been taunting me for weeks. Cannot stay with it and hate the word syn. Your post was written for me today! and yes, I too need my post toddler bedtime chocolate or life is not worth it.

    • May 3, 2017 / 8:36 pm

      Ohh I must find and bin mine! No more faddy diets for us – yay! x
      Fi recently posted…Come camping with usMy Profile

  4. May 2, 2017 / 9:11 pm

    Love it Fi. I’m anti-SW and WW and all the others for exactly the reasons you list above. Fair play mate – it’s cultivating a very unhealthy attitude in my opinion.
    Mouse, Moo and Me Too recently posted…#107: When I Started Blogging…My Profile

  5. May 2, 2017 / 9:29 pm

    I’m with you on this! I can’t abide the weight watchers, slimming world stuff, although I did try weight watchers dessert the other day – not worth the money! I have to listen to 2 people at work each lunch time droning on about how many syns are in this and how many in that and it gets on my nerves. They then stuff their faces with cream filled meringues because they have saved up syns or something like that, it’s quite pathetic really – if you want to lose weight don’t eat the cream meringues! Sorry for the rant Fi! xx
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    • May 3, 2017 / 8:40 pm

      This!! If I have to listen to any more seemingly normal people rattle on about syns I’m going to implode lol x
      Fi recently posted…Butlin’s Minehead Part OneMy Profile

  6. May 2, 2017 / 10:34 pm

    I gave up on Slimming World too – mainly because it was a tight knit gang who weren’t very welcoming to newcomers and the leader needed to lose about 3 stone but told us each week she was on ‘a journey’.

    If you’re going to promote a product then you should at least look as if it has worked a bit.

    I kept thinking of Marjorie Dawes in Little Britain advising the members to eat dust!

  7. May 3, 2017 / 8:00 am

    Good for you. I did one of these programs and all it did was leave me on the edge of exhausted and drained all the time. If I didn’t eat on schedule then I fell apart because I was running on empty all the time. Food it there to be enjoyed not counted. We know when we’ve over endulged and usually moderate ourselves. Ive totally got a chocolate addiction. It’s much helped by being dairy intolerant as there are only certain ones I can have. But I do have a stash of those for times of need. Good luck with whatever you do. x o x o x

    • May 3, 2017 / 8:42 pm

      Yes totally agree. It’s all about balance right 🙂 I’m dairy intolerant too so you need to let me know where you buy your chocolate stash! x
      Fi recently posted…Come camping with usMy Profile

  8. May 3, 2017 / 1:37 pm

    I LOVED this post! Same problem in our house. I’m too busy to obsess about syns and shit. I’m just trying to keep everyone alive, get to work and maintain relationships!

  9. May 3, 2017 / 7:35 pm

    I love this post. Surely anything which makes you think of food all day can’t possibly make you anything other than obsessed and Ill.
    I hate hearing people referring to food as a sin/syn. It is not a message any of us should listen to – and shouldn’t be repeated in front of our kids. We need it to live. It’s not a sin, it’s a useful instinct and we’re dead without it.
    I think we all know how to lose extra weight without paying someone, although maybe some people need the group support. Maybe life though is far too short to deprive yourself of cake 😀
    Jenny @thebrickcastle recently posted…An apology to my child…My Profile

  10. Donna
    May 3, 2017 / 9:54 pm

    I COMPLETELY agree with a lot of what you have said here BUT and it’s a big one, since January I have lost 2.5stone on SW and have another 3 to go (actually 5 if I want to be healthy BMI) but anyway. I think my point is that if you have a lot to lose and really need the discipline to do that then it is great. But it most definitely has it’s pitfalls, mainly for me portion control and lack of healthy fats (my skin and hair is like the Sahara desert). I will continue on but I know that when I am around target I cannot continue to live like this (at least all of the time anyway).

  11. May 5, 2017 / 10:24 am

    Yes yes yes!! I called bullshit on weight watchers the minute I walked into my very first meeting, a couple of years ago. The leader asked me what my biggest indulgence was-I told her wine-she proceeded to tell me how I could cheat my points so that I could still have 1-2 bottles of wine per week. I was like, errr, shouldn’t you be teaching people how to drink in moderation, and about the sugar/carb value wine has, and the long term impact drinking too much has on people’s health? She ignored me. The next meeting was all about cheating points to eat cheese-I never went back after that. It turned out I had a medical condition that was preventing me from losing weight anyway, and I’ve eliminated a tonne of food from my diet, that I was sensitive too. I just eat lots of the foods I can eat, and don’t weigh/record anything (the weight is now coming off.) Like you say, this obsessive nature of recording everything, and ‘syns’ is ridiculous, and will never work in the long run. Which is how these companies make their money-from those who get locked in a continuous cycle of losing the weight, leaving, putting it on again, and having to return. They gain no education into how to actually eat well!!
    Well said btw-I just saw this pop up on my twitter feed, and I feel very strongly about it too!
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  12. Julia
    May 8, 2017 / 8:25 pm

    I have a friend who has done SW for 3 years, she loves going & has made good friends… but she still hasn’t reached her “goal” weight as she ( sensibly!) enjoys her life!
    I myself lost 3 & 3/4 stones over 11 months starting February 2014. I actually couldn’t keep it up & have since regained 2/3 of the hard lost weight I lost.
    I will never join a slimming club again! The leader made me feel so guilty / patronised when I initially regained a few pounds that I never went back!

  13. August 19, 2017 / 4:51 pm

    Great post. I AM a SW fan, I’m afraid, but not to the point of absolute obsession (any more). I am still happily eating the odd Maccy’s or fish and chips and I eat chocolate every day. For me, I’ve tried everything going,m and this is the only thing that will shift my excess weight (and there’s plenty to shift). BUT, it’s not for everyone, by any means.

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