Monday 9 January 2017

What I learnt on my First Week on Slimming World

Last Saturday morning I joint Slimming World, it isn't the first time but I am determined it will be the last as I am going to lose weight this time (even if it takes me a decade) and keep on going to ensure I stay slimmer and healthy.

I'm not kidding myself that this will be easy but I genuinely believe that Slimming World is the best plan to follow. Once you have learnt what to do the plan is simple, no food is banned and you can literally stuff your face if that is what makes you happy - but of course it has to be the right foods. The ones that give life, rather than the fatty, sugary rubbish that steal it.

If you want to know all about the Slimming World way, then check out their website as they'll explain it better than I ever can and no this post is not sponsored in any way, I am paying for my classes and there independently.

I thought it would be helpful for anyone considering this journey or just starting it like me to see what I ave learnt in my first week on the Slimming World plan.

1.  You need to make time to get to know the plan
It is different nowadays, I recall going to a class back in the 1990's and it was all about red and green days and I hated the idea that I couldn't have carbs and protein together. Forget anything you ever heard and investigate it yourself.

Once you join, your leader will give you an introduction to the plan and you'll have plenty of material to take home to read and digest. Make sure you do this the same day - read it, highlight it, keep referring to it and in the end live it. I friends now that are four or five years post weight loss via the Slimming World way and it is all in their head as a healthy guidance plan for life now and that is why they are staying slim and healthy.

2.  A supportive leader and class will make a difference
You can do the plan online if it is difficult for you to get to class but personally I don't think anything can take the place of a supportive leader and class mates. I went to my class last Saturday not knowing anyone. I am now friends on FB with the leader, part of the local FB support group, following a load of the class members on Instagram and getting advice and encouragement from all these wonderful people. It was also fab to go back to class yesterday and be welcomed in like an old friend.

Let me just say it is worth trying a few classes if you don't click with the first one you went to. I went to two different ones in the local area a couple of years ago and I didn't find a connection with the leader or the group. This one feels completely different.

3.  Don't leave your eating to chance, plan your food
Once home and you have absorbed the Slimming World material make yourself a food plan for the week. What meals will you cook? How will Slimming World fit in with your family? There really is no need to cook separate meals, as there are great healthy alternatives to all the family favourites, like a roast, macaroni cheese or take away. You can access tons of free recipes on the Slimming World Lifeline web pages, which all members get access to. Do you need to buy some back-up ready meals? What will you snack on? Follow the plan but try not to be too strict with yourself, it is not the aim of the plan for you to go hungry. You should go to bed every night feeling fulfilled with the food you have eaten.

You know the old saying if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

4.  Go out and do a healthy shop so you have no excuses
When you have your menu plan done, write up a shopping list and head straight out to stock up. Don't be tempted to put it off for another day as it may just not happen and when it is early days of your new way of eating, you want to make things as easy as possible for yourself.

5.  Make sure your kitchen is filled with healthy snacks
If you are anything like me as soon as you know you are healthy eating you will want to snack on all the wrong things, so again it is about making it easy for yourself. Try to remove/ hide away the things that will tempt you and you don't feel you can control and have the good snacks on show. Lots of fruit, prepared veg sticks, sugar free jelly, yogurts and as time goes on make up some Slimming World recommended snacks. This week I made leek, bacon and mushroom savoury muffins and they were super yummy and free for me to eat.

6.  Prepare - chop, portion and bake
This goes with what I have said above . Once your planning is done, it is then time to move onto preparation. The first thing I did when I got home last Saturday was make a chicken and vegetable soup, I ate a portion of this for the next three days and froze two individual portions for the future.

I have cheese in 30g potions in the fridge, small bags of frozen fruit made up in the freezer. When I made a cake this week, I cut it straight into the amount of portions I had calculated it for, so there is then no room for just that little extra to make it into my mouth!

7.  Don't make assumptions: measure and record everything
You know what they say about assuming - it makes an ass out of me and an ass out of you ass(u)(me). So make sure you follow the guidelines. This week I made myself a gorgeous salad one day - mixed leaves, chicken, carrot, celery, cucumber, peppers (jarred in brine) and added half an avocado. Only afterwards did I find out it was 7 syns.

Don't just guess at portion sizes either. Yes it seems a faff at first to weigh and measure everything but to do it the first few times you can then get a visual guide of how much something is. I now know I need 2 tsps of spread for 3 ryvita and that is 2 syns. I also know the pink cup is a 40g portion of porridge perfectly to the first rim.

Writing it all down gives you a wake-up call too and don't leave it until the end of the day as you are bound to forget something,

8.  Try out new recipes and don't just discount them as they sound odd
I mentioned that I have made savoury muffins this week, well half of them I put (fat-free) cottage cheese in and I had no idea what to expect, it seemed a strange idea but they were gorgeous. I can't believe how cheesey cottage cheese made them. My friend EmsyJo at A matter of Choice blog has been a big advocate for Slimming World since I've know her and she has recommended a Weetabix cake to me. I've not tried it out yet but I will be.

9.  Find your eat trigger and make a plan
There is always something that will trigger you to want to eat. It might be boredom, feeling lonely or unhappy or like me it could be that you are tired and your willpower is low. You need to have a good think about what makes you reach for the food and get a plan together for how you will deal with it. For me it is being strict and making sure I am in bed by 11 pm with a tummy full of water so I can fall off to sleep without any rumbles.

10.  That you really do lose weight on this plan, even though you eat like a horse
So I had my first weigh in Saturday and how did I do? I lost 4lb and I'm pleased with that. It would have been easy to dismiss it and assume I should have lost more like I used to when I was in my 20's but actually it is enough and a big first step towards my goals.

If you decide this is a journey you want to embark on then the very best of luck to you and I hope you'll introduce yourself so we can motivate each other and keep up to date with our progress.

Be blessed, Mich x

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