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A New Plan
Member Name: cloud99
Date: 23/03/11, updated on 23/03/11 (2795 review reads)
Advantages: Easy to follow,Works with a family
Disadvantages: Over use of sweetners
After three months of joining the Gym and trying to lose weight on my own and losing a total of one pound I decided I needed a new approach. I spoke to a friend who was doing the Slimming world eating plan and asked her about how well it worked with feeding a family and not having separate meals and her response was encouraging.
I went to the Slimming world website and discovered there was a group about 5 minutes walk away from my house during the time my son was at nursery so I decided I had nothing to lose by trying the diet.
When I first arrived I walked up to the desk and was asked to sit at a table until the leader came back.To be honest I got the feeling of been a naughty school child. When she did return she explained the plan. The plan seemed easy enough to me and I did think it could work for me.
Slimming world traditionally followed red and green days however there is an Extra Easy plan which is the one I am following;
The Extra Easy plan
Each day you should have a healthy extra option A and a Healthy Extra Choice B.
Healthy Extra A
Healthy extra A is a choice of milk of cheese. The amount of milk and cheese you have will depend on the fat content of each. You are allowed 250mls of semi skimmed milk but more skimmed or less full fat. This option can be used throughout the day. I often pour out 250mls of milk in the morning and will use it on cereal, in my tea and drink the remaining milk before bed. It is important to have your calcium each day as it helps you excrete your fat.
Healthy Extra B
For Healthy extra B you have a choice of bread, crisp breads, cereal, tinned fruit, olive oil, and tinned soups. There is a choice of these, you can't simply have any cereal for a healthy extra B or any type of bread but I do buy shop brand Wholemeal bread for me.
Super free foods
You can eat unlimited amounts of fruit and vegetables. There are a few exceptions such as Avocado's but generally these are all free. This does not include tinned fruit but does include tinned vegetables. The idea is you fill your plate with at least a third of super free. It is not rocket science that this will make you feel fuller while eating less calories.
You do have a huge list of free foods; these are mostly unprocessed foods such as meat, fish. Potatoes pasta and rice is also free. While you can have unlimited quantities these however if you cook them in oil or have coating on these are not free foods. You can cook foods with fry light and this is Syn free.
These are the goodies which means you can eat basically eat anything you like in moderation. All foods have a Syn value some seem to be incredibly high. If you chose milk for your HEA you can still eat cheese that day but you will need to count syns. I have been told to aim for a maximum of ten Syns a day but in other groups they have been told fifteen. My Leader recommends ten as he says then if you do go over you still lose weight. Given research that found that people who are overweight underestimate how much they eat this seems to be a good plan to me. You can save your Syns up for a treat if you are going out or having a special meal. You should eat a minimum of thirty five syns a week.
The first week I found the diet incredibly easy. I found so long as I was cooking home cooked meals from scratch that it was easy to keep within my Syns which I found not only was I feeding myself better but also my son was having healthier meals. I did add extra cheese to some of his meals and mash margarine into his mashed potatoes. I did find I had eaten things that I thought would be low in Syns but were actually high. I ate a shape pudding which I thought would be about one syn but in actual fact was 5 syns. I wasn't hungry and the results showed when I stood on the scales and I had lost 8 ½ Lbs so received my first sticker (which are designed to be an incentive).
During my second week my son was admitted to hospital so I didn't follow the plan, I simply ate what I could when I could and it was mostly out of vending machines .As a result of my poor diet I gained 2lbs but did find actually going to the group helped me to restart the plan and the following week I lost 5Lbs.
As the weeks progressed I found ways of cutting syns by buying extra light mayonnaise instead of reduced fat. I have also found places where I think it is worth spending my syns. I do now make up two teaspoons of gravy for meals or add sauce and these make meals far more appetising. I still take my son to MacDonald's occasionally but I simply have his drink out of his happy meal and have my lunch when I get home. I never particularly liked McDonald's and simply ate them from convenience.
My greatest discovery is slimming world chips. To make these chips you simply peel and chop potatoes, par boil for 5 minutes. After drying on kitchen roll put them on a baking tray and spray with fry light. These are syn free and I actually prefer them to frozen chips.
The biggest difficulties for me have been eating out and visiting other people's homes where I cannot guarantee what foods they have at home and so have even taken my own food or milk to other people's homes to ensure I don't waste syns on foods I don't particularly want.
The thing I am most uncomfortable with Slimming world is there reliance on sweeteners for sweet treats. I have difficulty with the idea that most my meals are now made from unprocessed food yet puddings seem to be laden with sweeteners. I don't have a particularly sweet tooth so tend to only eat small amounts of sweetener.
My health has improved significantly. I was on medication for high blood pressure and also gastric reflux but no longer need either. I also have so much more energy and it has increased my confidence to try new things. I still have more weight to lose but this program is working well for me.
I have been following the plan for ten weeks and have lost one stone and six pounds. I have found these so simple and know that even though I follow the eating plan more closely than others it is simple to adapt to my lifestyle. I have actually lost 10% of my body weight.
As a member of the slimming group you gain access to all the online support. This allows you to plot on a graph your progress, use a syn calculator and complete Diaries online. I do use this site most days simply to calculate syns. It does have recipes but few we have tried. I have found the online site invaluable and would have hit many stumbling blocks if it were not there.
I am a member of a private Face book group which is a circle of friends who are all following Slimming world. We use the site to ask questions, log food diaries and generally support each other. This advice given to me when I first started was fabulous as I was able to ask basic questions. I have been inspired to cook some recipes some have tried on the group and also gained inspiration from other people's diaries.
The group support
The group I go to is a small group and the meeting follows the same pattern. We have half an hour of weigh in time and you get to have a chat with other group members and have a cup of tea. After the leader will often chat about problems, weight loss or once a month we have a taster session where members make foods they have enjoyed on the plan and talk about how to make it so others can try recreate. I have found some of these talks quite inspirational and others have droned on for me. One week in particular when I sat and listened to a half hour discussion on custard when I don't even like custard drove me to distraction.
Each member brings in a piece of fruit and at the end of the meeting the person who has lost the most weight not only gets another sticker for their book but also gets to take home all the fruit. This can be quite surprising I won joint slimmer of the week when I lost only 1Lb but also wasn't slimmer of the week when I lost 4Lbs. Our group doesn't have a permanent leader and we have had a change of leader, although so many people were upset our old leader left I welcomed someone knew who had new ideas.
This Eating plan does take a few weeks to get your head round but I would recommend this plan to anyone who wants to lose weight. I have found with minimal weighing and adaption this easily fits in with a family. I can't recommend this diet highly enough and if you can't get to a group you can always join the online group.
To find your nearest Slimming world group go to www.slimmingworld.com
Summary: Highly recomended for me
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