It feels like forever ago now, but I lost 7 and a half stone in a year on Slimming World. I loved it, I felt great. I was the biggest advocate for Slimming World, and I still am. Two busy, stressful and not entirely fun years later, I’ve put on weight. Slimming World is not a diet, it’s a way of life, and quite simply, for the last two years, it’s not been my way of life. But that’s my choice, and the consequence is needing to find my Slimming World mojo again.
When I was at my thinnest, I’d gone down to a UK size 8-10 from a 24, and people had a lot of questions about how I did it – surely I must have starved myself to do something so dramatic?! How on earth did I manage to stay on-plan for all that time? I was one of the only members in my group to lose weight over Christmas – I even lost 5 and a half pounds when it was my daughter’s first birthday and I ate one slice of birthday cake every day! It had its struggles, but the for the most part, once I was in a nice comfortable rut, the weight dropped off. I’m going to briefly share with you how I did it.
Plan, plan and plan some more
This is one of my main obstacles. It’s easy when you’re prepared. Are you naturally disorganised? Find some way to be organised with food. I cannot stress this enough; it’s essential. There are going to be times when you just cannot be bothered to eat on-plan, and the easiest way to beat this is to prepare for it. Have something in mind for dinner, make sure the ingredients are already in the house, or even have a SW meal prepped in the freezer. Anything to make it easier to stick to your intention you probably started the day with; if you’re anything like me, at the moment I start the day with great intentions but they get worn down as I get more tired.
Even more so, think about the week ahead. Plan all your meals, including breakfast and snacks. Take your plans for the week into consideration – are you working late? Plan something easy. Have you got a day at home? That’s going to be the best day to try a new recipe. Is it the end of the week and you’ll want a takeaway? Have a look for a SW fakeaway recipe online, or start researching some compromises so you can get close to your end-of-the-week-crash food. When you’ve given it some serious thought, make a bulletproof shopping list – don’t forget anything. If you struggle with willpower in the shops (oops… how did that bag of Maltesers get in my basket?!) then make it easy for yourself and do an online shop. Those weeks where I struggled would be where I found myself in the supermarket because I was driving past and I would try and do it all in my head. I’d forget to buy or plan something and inevitably have a night where I had nothing I could cook that would be on-plan.
So this brings me on to the importance of habit and routine. Do yourself a favour and pick a time that you can commit to each week when you can sit down and plan properly. It makes all the difference. Make it your self-care weekly ritual. Make the time for it and you’ll benefit. Do the same thing each week and you’ll soon start to feel strange when you don’t do a weekly plan. Even better, if you plan on paper and keep the old versions in a file (or folded up inside your trusty SW member pack – brilliant to take to group if you’re in need of pointers). If you’ve got a batch of old ones, if you’re in a rush you can re-use an old one. Watch me planning out my week in the video below.
After a bit of a January 1st false start, I made a meal planner tear-off pad to get me back into that way of thinking that I was in the first time round. I know Slimming World food is delicious; some of my old favourite meals are still on rotation…. when I can be organised enough to plan and then shop for them. I’m hoping that for me, taking time to plan at the start of each week is the thing that makes the difference.
How to plan your week for success
When I designed these planners, I thought about how I used to approach each day when I was in the zone. To do Slimming World well, you need to consider how you think; more on that in another post. My first decision when each planning each day was what my HEA and HEB were going to be – no accidental ‘oops I’ve had too much cheese’ or ‘oops I’ve had bread and oats’ moments. After that, I wanted to have an area where I can tick off my proportion of speed food. If I’m honest with myself and keep a record of this as I go, it’s useful to look back on if I’ve had a disappointing week. I think it’s much better to count points in advance so I know how many I’ve got left at the end of the day if I want a sneaky bit of chocolate. It’s also super-important to consider what’s going to get in the way and then plan round it; in the video above, I had a meal out planned, and could therefore think how to approach it before I got there.
You know that bit in the group session when you’re asked for your target weight loss for the week? Psychological research would suggest it’s not enough. I know I’ve usually forgotten it by the time I’ve got back home. Dr Gail Matthews found that you’re 42% more likely to achieve your goals when you actually write them down. You’re also more likely to achieve them when they’re visible. With this in mind, there’s a space for you to record your weekly goal on the planner and to record your total target.
Reflection is also really important. It helps to keep an honest record of your week, whether it’s good or bad to help you know how to move forward. If you record how well you’ve done, you’re gathering data to help you test out what works for you and what doesn’t. When you record your actual syns, rather than your planned ones, and see them next to how much you lost, it doesn’t take long before you’re having a serious talk to yourself. It’s also good to reflect on how far you’ve come when you’re in the ‘messy middle‘ that bit of behaviour change in the middle when psychologists would suggest you’re going to lose focus and motivation and fall off the wagon. With this in mind again, I’ve got a space on the planner for your weekly target, weight loss and your target.
I’ve got a pile of these in my Etsy shop, so if you’re thinking of joining me, you can get a 6 month version or a 12 month version to help you get into that self-care planning routine.