After a very up-and-down year so far, I’ve decided to leave Slimming World.
I managed to lose half-a-stone (7lb), but then kept putting 2lb on then losing 3lb, putting 1lb on and losing 0lb.
And then I had to go onto a “white/bland” diet, which pushed the syns through the roof.
We cook a lot of meals from scratch and they (SW) make it very difficult to calculate the syn value, plus they seem to advocate a lot of processed food or ready-made food that we, personally, prefer to make ourselves (such as jams, jellies, breads, etc).
So it stopped working for me and, to be frank, I couldn’t justify the cost any more. I’ve also cancelled the magazine subscription, but apparently I have that for three more issues anyway.
Before I terminated the account, I did hit my gold activity award with SW, so it wasn’t all a waste of time. And I’ve pretty much managed to keep that half-a-stone off (and on, then off, then on again …).
I know a lot of people have lost a lot of weight with SW, my mother-in-law included, who lost 6 stone (84lb), and some friends of ours who each lost at least 4 stone (56lb).
So I’ve decided to just stick to healthy, unprocessed eating as much as possible, and I’m cutting down on the aspartame, instead preferring to try and curb or lose my sweet tooth a little.
So the 2lb I put back on last week has come off again. What have I been doing? Cutting down on bread. Bread really does seem to be the culprit here.
This means it was a much better week, and there is still just over a week left of my initial three-month membership of Slimming World. Over the next few days I’ll be deciding whether to renew for just a month at a time, or renew for another three months.
I do believe that had Christmas not come right in the middle, then I might have lost considerably more than the 7½lb, and maybe even dropped down into the next stone-zone. Therefore, I personally believe it’s worth sticking with, and probably for another three months if they have any offers.
This past week, then, we’ve been eating more meat-based meals. Last night the poet made us a Slimming World carbonara – and it was gorgeous. And we have a Slimming World syn-free fry-up (or 2 syns if we have low-fat sausages) at least once at the weekend, sometimes twice.
The only puddings we’ve made have been adapted from a Weight Watchers book (lime meringue pie) and another old favourite low-fat cookbook I’ve had for years (cherry crumble).
Sweet treats have included marshmallows (1 syn each) and/or individual squares of Green & Black’s salted caramel “Thin” (3½ syns per square). Believe me, three big fat marshmallows look much more satisfying than one square of chocolate. But they’re big squares and the chocolate is so rich I really do only need one square.
My bronze activity challenge is going well too. Aside from the chickens, we managed a half-decent walk on Saturday (report to follow this Friday) and Sunday was spent doing manual farm labour.
The 2lb is staying off so far this week. I hope it drops a little more by next Monday.
Well, I say a rubbish fortnight, but actually, the first week was quite good with me dropping down to almost the lightest I’ve been since I started with Slimming World. But with only twenty-two days before my initial three-month membership to go, I’m very disappointed that this morning I’ve gained 2lb again.
I know what it is: bread.
My husband makes lovely bread. He graduated from the bread-machine to doing it all himself and now he’ll knock-up two loaves twice a week. Slimming World have told me to either allow 3syns™ per slice, or build it into my “healthy extras”.
I’ve been very good at eating salads for my dinners, though, and our teas are pretty much syn-free anyway (meat, potatoes, veg), with low-syn or syn-free puddings.
But for just over a week I’ve been freezing cold, and battling the dregs of that bad cold that’s copping everyone, and so I’ve been eating more bread – cheese on toast, beans on toast, egg on toast, bacon sandwiches, etc.
Oh yes, and pizza. He made us a pizza each on Saturday too, and it was delicious. But I can’t manage a whole pizza in one sitting. In fact, I can rarely manage much of one kind of any thing on my plate in one sitting. So last night I had a left-over pizza slice to eat after our lovely roast lamb dinner.
And this morning the scales made sure to scold me.
A friend of mine … well, it’s the daughter of a friend of the poet’s actually, but she’s lovely so I’ll call her a friend anyway – a friend of ours has lost two stone with Slimming World (28lb) and this morning I saw a recent photograph of her on Facebook. And she looks great.
So today she has given me the motivation to make the most of these last twenty-two days of my initial three-month membership. I’m also going for my “bronze activity challenge”, although much of that is easier now that (a) we have chickens, and (b) the longer, warmer, drier days are on their way, for weekend walking again.
With this seagull keeping an eye on me, how can I fail?
And so I was doing really, really well, earning my first half-stone (7lb) badge from Slimming World, and then … well, Christmas happened, didn’t it?
I’m not complaining really, though. I’ve often believed that weight-loss should not be all-consuming, that life happens, and that you can be far too anal about certain things. And, after all, Christmas really is only a week out of fifty-two. Plus, a lot of people put weight on over the holiday period, and then they lose it again.
I put on 7lb. Half a stone. In just two days (yes, really), my weight went up by 7lb. But within only days it was back down again by 4½lb. So as I re-start the slimming year today, I’m only 2½lb heavier that I was before the festivities.
I would have started last week, and I’m not averse to starting on a Tuesday either. But we did have a lot of sickness in the house over the past four weeks and, to be honest, slimming was the last thing on our minds. And anyway, there was all this chocolate and cake to finish – and mince pies and puddings and crackers and …
We did make a half-hearted attempt to get back on the wagon on bank holiday Monday last week with a trip to Whitby. But by the time we’d battled traffic, we didn’t have time for even a meagre 2½ mile 2-hour walk. But we did walk 2¼ miles around the town when we finally got there.
However, right now, we’re both much better health-wise than we were, and on Saturday we did make it on a different planned walk, one that’s only 1½ miles, but a good, easy starter all the same. And it was a walk I’d already done on my own a few years ago, so I knew it would break us in gently.
There’s still an 8-portion Christmas pudding in the cupboard, and we were going to have that for tea for the next four days. But as I’m back on the wagon today, I calculated the syn-value™ and decided that 18 syns for just one pudding portion was simply too much. (My maximum is 15 syns per day.) The pudding has a good date on it (March 2018), so maybe we’ll save it for Christmas 2017.
So I’ve made some sugar-free jellies with fresh strawberries in the bottom instead, and we’ll be having baked salmon. With a teaspoon of low-fat spread on my potatoes, this will bring my total syns for the day to 3½, leaving me plenty for if I feel like a little snack later.
I have a pint glass filled with icy cold water on my desk, and the next walk should be on Saturday, either 2 miles (in Rievaulx), or one of the 2.1 miles a bit closer to home.
The chap in the picture was snapped on our Whitby walk last week. Do say “Ey up!” back! 🙂
It’s been a much better week with Slimming World. The shopping is catching up with the menu plans and I’m getting used to not eating between meals. I’m also calculating what I can and can’t have in my head now, and just confirming it on the online diary.
We’ve been adapting favourite recipes to suit and adding more to the poet’s repertoire. We have a book called The Classic 1,000 Low Fat Recipes and many of our favourites start there. Another favourite is the Weight Watchers Time To Eat cookbook.
He made a Weight Watchers toad in the hole at the start of the week (it has vegetables in it as well), and when he went on a work’s do on Friday, I had the final portion for my tea. That left me feeling a bit hungry and I did pig-out on not one but TWO Belgian buns.
Yesterday I went bust too, but I’m not fretting over that too much as I know we’re still eating quite well (apart from the Belgian buns …).
We’re having a varied diet too, including fish at least twice a week, and at least one of those being oily fish. Last week we had plaice and salmon. This week we have salmon and cod. We’re also eating a wider variety of vegetables, but that’s not likely to increase any more as I’m a proper finick when it comes to vegetables.
We made SW steak & kidney pies yesterday and we mashed the potato with fat-free natural fromage frais … and we were surprised when we liked it too (the mash, not the pie – we knew we’d love the pie). For pudding I made “apricot cut-and-come-again cake” from the classic low-fat recipe book, and while this came in quite high (6½ syns per ninth and part of why I went bust yesterday), we know it’s still a nice, healthy pudding.
So today I weighed in, and I’m 7½lb lighter than when I started. Not only have I met my first personal target, I’ve also been awarded my first badge. Next personal target: to drop into the next stone zone.
The week started okay, but on Wednesday the poet cooked a SW Mexican chilli. Now, I’m not a huge spicy food lover, but I don’t mind the odd chilli con carne. But when I make it I use haricot or baked beans or, occasionally, kidney beans. This time I accidentally picked up a tin of kidney beans in chilli sauce. The recipe also included lots of chilli, and coriander. It was hot and spicy and I hated the coriander.
As a result, the poet got an extra portion of the chilli, plus he gets two more portions to take to work and heat up in the microwave. But the net result Wednesday evening was that, after only a portion of rice for tea, I was hungry. And so I grazed.
On Thursday, we went shopping, and I was hungry again … and so I grazed again …
On Friday, by teatime, I was starving. I’d had a ham salad earlier and saved my daily “healthy extra” allowance of 2 slices of home-made bread for tea, as we were having steak, chips and mushy peas and I was looking forward to a couple of chip butties … but when the poet came to make the chips, there weren’t any chipping potatoes!
I’d been looking forward to that chip butty all day, and as boiled baby potatoes just aren’t the same as chips, I consoled myself with one of my slices of bread with home-made apple jam on (half a syn for the jam, half a syn for the spread).
And then I grazed some more.
Imagine my surprise, then, when I stepped on the scales on Saturday (to see what damage I’d incurred so far), and I’d LOST another 2lb. How could this happen? The scales were broken, obviously.
The poet checked his weight too and nope, the scales weren’t broken. And the weight was still the same on Sunday morning when I checked – you know, just to make sure the scales were actually broken – but my weight was the same, although I had behaved myself on Saturday. We went out Saturday night and, as I was driving, I had Diet Coke to drink. The poet had lager. It was his band’s “Christmas gig” and it was my turn to drive. And on Sunday morning … he’d gained 2lb, but my weight was still the same.
Yesterday wasn’t great, in the slimming scheme of things. We didn’t have time to make a syn-free pasta salad to take with us, so we each selected from the salad bar at Morrison’s when we got to Birmingham. But I really, really fancied a gingerbread man, and the poet convinced me that if I didn’t have him, then I’d feel cheated. So we bought a gingerbread man, and I worked out the syn value … 14 syns! Oh dear! BUT, if I was going to go bust, then I may as well make the most of it. And I went bust quite spectacularly in the end. Well, by around 7 or 8 syns.
Fearing the worst this morning, I stepped on the scales again … and I’d lost again! This meant I’d lost 3lb in the past week, despite the grazing. I have no idea how that happened, other than the grazing I’ve been doing has been syn-free or low-syn.
And, of course, it means that in only 3 weeks with Slimming World, I’ve lost a very respectable 6½lb. I only have ½lb to hit my first target of half a stone (7lb).
Perhaps I should have “difficult weeks” more often!
We don’t have any new pictures to share at the moment, so I’m going to use an old one instead. (I know there are pictures on the camera too, but they haven’t been processed yet …)
After my second week with Slimming World, I’ve lost another ½lb. That brings the total so far to 3½lb.
I’m getting confused, though. For example, I thought that fruit was “free”, but it isn’t if it’s tinned or dried. So when I add a tin of strawberries to a sugar-free jelly, it’s exactly the same as having a piece of Swiss roll. If I have just 2 dates, it’s exactly the same as having a bag of skinny popcorn or a square of Green & Black’s Thin milk chocolate – salted caramel. And even if you stew apples with granulated sweetener you have to count them.
This is rubbish, as I really did think that all fruit, unless candied or steeped in sugar, was free.
Saying that, though, I *am* selecting one or two pieces of real fresh fruit for a snack if I’m feeling peckish and that does do the trick a lot of the time.
We had a nice dinner yesterday. It was supposed to be “fennel infused” chicken but we couldn’t get any fennel bulbs so used chestnut mushrooms instead. The whole dish was very aromatic as there were heaps of fresh herbs used. I often don’t like the sharp, bitter taste some herbs can leave on food. But yesterday’s chicken was very nice and we still have the meat for sandwiches.
I’ve spoken to SW about the home-made bread and they’ve said to treat it exactly the same as ordinary bread. I’ve not yet found a good Syn™ calculator, though. At least Weight Watchers tell you how to work out the points in food, and other websites allow you to input the recipe to their site
At Slimming World you have to send them the recipe to work out for you, and when you’re trying to decide what to cook for a nice, slimming pudding, waiting to send a recipe off and then waiting to get the results back doesn’t really work as dinner will have gone cold by then …
And another thing … the recipes at SW are delicious, but there isn’t a facility to just “add” that meal to your day’s food diary. You have to go in and “add your own” and then save it to your favourites. This is fine, but it would be just so much easier to simply add the syn-value to your diary, as I’m sure other diets allow that.
So the grumbles continue, but at least the weight is going in the right direction.
After just one week with Slimming World, I’ve lost an amazing 2¾lb. But the SW site won’t let me input quarter-pounds, so I’ve plumped for a 3lb-loss. This could go one of two ways …
Next week I might not lose anything at all (or – horror! – gain!), and might wish I’d saved that extra ¼lb for then, OR I might lose more than that and STILL wish I’d saved it so the loss looks greater. Either way, it’s a loss, so I’m not complaining otherwise.
The poet has lost 2lb too, and he had not one but TWO Magnum ice lollies at the weekend. Mind you, he did lose quite a lot in the first place (just under 2 stone or 28lb), and he managed to keep all but 1lb off between February and last weekend. And everyone comments about how slim he’s looking.
The meals have been great. It’s mostly me who’s been doing the plan, although he’s been enjoying the meals too, and I even cooked some of it last week as the poet seemed to have torn his shoulder muscle chopping wood for the fire and had his arm in a sling for 2 – 3 evenings.
I think our favourite SW recipe from last week was the bacon & mushroom crustless quiche*. It’s supposed to be a lunch recipe, and syn™-free if you count the cheese in it as one of your “healthy extras”. But we had it with a jacket potato and a salad, and yes, we counted the cheese as our HE. So it was a gorgeous, filling, tasty tea and we didn’t have to count any of it.
What else did I do? Well, I stuck to 3 meals a day and 2 desserts, with just 1 snack of a piece of fruit if I really, really needed it. I counted 250ml semi-skimmed milk as my daily HE dairy allowance (apart from the day we had the quiche, then I counted the cheese as the allowance and had syn-free yogurt on my breakfast cereal); and I counted either 2 servings of bread (or 1 bread roll) or a portion of breakfast cereal as my daily HE fibre allowance.
If I used most of the milk on my cereal, then I’d have black coffee throughout the day and save a cup of tea, with milk, until bedtime. If I counted breakfast cereal as my HE, then I either went without bread or had just 1 slice.
Therefore, the 2 biggest individual contributions this past week have been:
limiting bread to just 1 serving per day
not eating between meals
And I’ve been allowing myself up to 15 syns per day, and trying to stick to 5 – 10 per day.
Of course, it could all just be fluid that’s gone in this first week, and I certainly don’t expect to lose 3lb (or 2¾lb) every week. But I’m very, VERY happy so far. AND … I’m sticking to it and resisting temptations (aka Magnum ice lollies …).
So far …
* Sorry, you need to be a member of Slimming World to log in and see this recipe …
We’ve both been working hard, watching what we eat, noting what we eat and what time we eat it, and seeing how much weight is still going on, but I’m now at almost the heaviest I’ve ever been and even the poet put on some weight last week.
So at the weekend I finally succumbed and joined Slimming World Online. This really was my last resort before heading off to see a doctor, because not only are they one of the dearest to join, I also think they’re one of the most complicated to follow.
But lots of our friends are either doing well at Slimming World or have done well there – my mother-in-law included, who is a great home cook but still lost 4 stone (56lb) with them.
I’m doing it online because there aren’t any groups within a short enough distance and it’ll be tough getting off the farm when the dark winter nights are really here. It’s also easier to do it with the poet online without us both having to pay to join a real-time group. Plus, I don’t think I’d get him through the door anyway.
Because it’s complicated, I have been trying to read up on it over the weekend and I think it’s basically food-optimising, but agree with what some reviewers and experts say in that it doesn’t teach you portion size. Fortunately, we already have this knowledge.
What has surprised me, however, is that a fruit smoothie, for example, is apparently not as good for you as a glass of fruit juice. I’ve had juice with my breakfast for years, but with all of the recent furore about sugar, we decided to swap the juice for a smoothie. And on the SW diet, which is supposed to encourage you to eat more foods that are more nutritious, a glass of orange juice is 3 syns™ but a smoothie is 6.
The other thing I’ve noticed so far is that, although the SW diet claims to be for people who enjoy cooking from scratch, there are no syn™ values for home-made bread or pasta and all of the recipes and menus use shop-bought bread and, surprisingly, dry pasta.
The poet makes our bread and he makes our pasta, as we prefer to make more of our own food and buy less processed food. And yes, we are gradually leaning towards less sugar and salt (we already cook without adding salt as we add it at the table anyway) and more fibre in our own home cooking.
Apart from this, the plan does look to be quite good. The meals are delicious – we’ve already tried several – and with work and concentration, I think it might click at some point with me and start to come more naturally, as low-fat and reduced-sugar gradually have. (And we do notice the difference now when we buy pre-packaged food, how sweet and salty it can be.)
Saying that, though, I am struggling to believe that a simple smoothie is what’s piled on the pounds since February.
Keep the feedback, experience and advice coming. We do appreciate and digest (sorry!) it all. And wish us luck. This diet has 3 months in which to do it’s thang.
(Today’s picture, by the way, was taken on our most recent walk, Clayton West Village Trail, 2 weeks ago. We didn’t have a day out this weekend just gone, so there may not be a blog this coming Friday.)