Speed up weight loss by following Slimming World diet – Here's how

WANT to shed body fat but don't fancy having to compromise on the foods you love?

Well, Slimming World may be just the diet for you.

It's based on something called Food Optimising, which is a list of "Syn-Free" foods that can be eaten in unlimited amounts.

The idea is that in order lose weight, you've got to swap high-fat for low-fat foods that are naturally filling.

So think about it a bit like the reverse of keto; you're going after high-fibre, low-fat.

While loads of people do swear by going keto, it can be incredibly hard to follow. In fact, one expert described it as "the most misleading diet out there", due to the fact that it's often sold as an easy fix.

But we do know that Slimming World has had some truly incredible results.

Size 22 mum Joanne Thomas shed a stagging 8st in just eight months earlier this year, while 51-year-0ld Jane Auguste lost 10st after learning to control her 4,000 calorie-a-day bread habit.

"Weight loss without the dieting"

The Slimming World diet isn't designed to be a temporary thing – the idea is that you reach your target weight and stay there for life.

That's why you hear a lot people say that they've been on the plan for over 20 years.

The diet involves people choosing food from a list of low-fat foods they call Free Foods, such as fruit, vegetables, pasta, potatoes, rice, lean meat, fish and eggs.

These foods can be eaten in unlimited amounts.

There’s no calorie counting, no foods are banned, and you’re still allowed the occasional treat.

Not all food is equal

While no foods are off limits, some of the restricted, known as Syns, have values attached.

Many of the Syns (also known as synergy) items are treat items, but some can be Healthy Extras allowing you to increase portion sizes.

Users get a total number of daily Syns they can consume, which can be calculated through specific weight loss plans.

Mostly this ranges from around five to 15 a day.

Examples of Syns are a glass of wine of a piece of chocolate.

Healthy Extras include milk and cheese for calcium, wholemeal bread and breakfast cereals for fibre and other essential minerals, and nuts and seeds for healthy oils.

It's cheaper than WW

To join a Slimming World group, dieters have to pay £10, followed by weekly payments of £4.95, with discounts for senior citizens.

There are alternative plans available for those who wish to follow online instead of group sessions.

WW, on the other hand, cost £35 per 6-week course and £66 per 12-week course.

Is the Slimming World diet safe?

The British Dietetics Association says that while the meal plans may lack some flexibility, they are generally balanced.

The group meetings encourage members to share successes, ideas and recipes with each other, but they may not appeal to everyone.

However, without learning about calories and portion sizes, you may struggle to make healthy choices once you’ve left the programme.

No foods are banned, so meals offer balance and variety and are family-friendly.

The portion size from each food group will vary depending on which plan you follow.

Changes to Slimming World

In September 2018, dieters on the Slimming World programme were left outraged after the company scrapped Muller yogurts from their list of Syn Free foods.

Just eight weeks later, they announced a whole bunch of changes that left slimmers fuming.

From Christmas, dieters started getting an additional Healthy Extra "A" choice each day on the Extra Easy plan, as well as an increase in the amount of whole cow's milk.

Healthy Extra choices are those foods that, alongside the Free Foods, support an overall healthy balanced diet by providing calcium, fibre, other essential minerals and healthy oils.

But dieters' daily fix of dairy-free drinks like rice and almond milk has been decreased to 400ml, while reduced-fat/light soft cheese and soft goats cheese will no longer be classed as Healthy Extras.

And due to new nutritional information, a handful of Free Foods that were previously labelled as ‘P’ (or protein-rich), such as baked beans, broad beans, mung beans and all varieties of peas (except split peas), will no longer be marked in this way.

However, these foods will still be Free, meaning they can be enjoyed without weighing, counting or measuring.

How much weight do slimmers tend to lose?

According to Slimming World, members lose eight per cent of their body weight in six months, and 13 per cent in a year.

Former Casualty actress Rebecca Wheatley was named Slimming World's Woman of the Year in 2005, after losing more than half her weight.

The 5ft 11in star lost a whopping 12 stone, dropping from a size 32 to a size 12 in two years following being ashamed of how she looked at her wedding.

Learning the lessons long-term

For some people, a high-carb, low-fat diet may not be suitable.

For those who may already have slightly disordered relationships with food, having their Syns responsibly might be a bit of a challenge.

You could technically bank your Syns and have a massive bowl of pasta everyday – something without much or any nutritional value.

So it's really a case of eating whole, low-fat foods and really just thinking of the Syns as a little of what you fancy, rather than something you bank up and blow on half a bottle of wine.

A huge part of your success will be down to actually learning about nutrition and portion control.

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