Losing my mojo

I can’t seem to get in the zone at the moment. And I’m definitely going way over my syn limits pretty much every day.

I know what I’m doing wrong, but I can’t help myself.

My only mitigation, and the one thing that stops me going crazy, is to keep going to my Slimming World class. I might be maintaining or gaining, but I know if I didn’t go to class I’d be way worse!

So by keeping going to class I can hopefully keep in a holding pattern, until I find my mojo again.

no-eating-in-class

Eating in Slimming World Class

There’s a unwritten etiquette to eating in a Slimming World class.

If you’re having a Taster Night, then it’s expected for you to bring and eat something in class. But what about the rest of the time?

Depending on the time of day, and how much you have starved yourself prior to your weigh-in, may determine whether you feel compelled to eat in class. You may be fresh along from work, having skipped lunch, and starving hungry. You may have been out for a couple of hours of last-minute body magic, to try and burn off a couple of pounds. Or you might not have eaten at all for the last 3 days! And in those situations you may not have the energy to sit through a full hour of image therapy without some sustenance inside you. After all, all that clapping and encouraging other people is hard work!

But does that mean you can bring along your dinner, and munch your way through the entire class?

I go to a 5.30pm group, and pretty-much everyone is attending before having dinner. So it’s common to see people having a discrete snack – after weigh-in of course! Freshly purchased hi-fi bars seem to be a favourite, as well as fruit. Anything healthy, speedy or free seems to be fair game, although I’m not sure what reaction anyone would get if they started tucking into a big Tupperware dish of pasta.

I think it’s also fair to say that it may be frowned upon to try an order a Domino’s pizza or fish supper to be delivered to class! Whatever you indulge in a post-class blowout is between you and your maker, but it’s probably best not to be seen to be off-plan during the class itself – that is, unless you order enough pizza for everyone!

But that’s just my class. What’s your experience? Do people eat during your class?

Slimming World Hi-Fi Light Bars

What’s for sale at your Slimming World class?

Unlike a lot of diets or healthy eating plans, Slimming World isn’t about getting you to buy their products.

There are no shakes to buy, and no ready meals that form a mandatory part of the plan. You can food optimise without having to buy anything from Slimming World themselves.

However, they do have a small number of products for sale in class that you can buy. Most notably they have things called Hi-Fi Light bars, which are sold in boxes of 6 for €3.00 a box. You can have two of these bars every day for your Healthy Extra B (HEB), which is great if you have a sweet tooth, or if you use your HEB on something else, they are 3 syns each.  The bars seem to be very popular, and often provoke heated debate – especially when the flavours change. As far as I know these bar are only available to buy in class.

Some classes may also sell packets of Scan Bran – or Scandinavian Bran Crispbread to use its actual name. Scan Bran often divides people. Some love them. Some hate them. Personally I quite like them, especially with some Laughing Cow Light spread over them and a slice of ham. Scan Bran is available to buy in some health food shops, including Holland & Barrett.

Books and Magazines

There’s often a number of different recipe books for sale, if you’re looking for inspiration on what to cook. They’re often themed around one area, such as curries, desserts, or fakeaways (Fake Takeaways – the taste of a takeaway meal without the syns). New books are occasionally given away for free as part of a promotion, typically when you sign up to a 12-week Countdown – but check with your consultant first!

The monthly Slimming World magazine also seems to be quite popular, and is sold in class more cheaply than it’s available in the shops. There are some pretty good recipes in the magazine, along with motivational articles. There’s even a small men’s section, focusing on men’s issues!

Iceland Ready Meals

Last year Slimming World announced an exclusive deal with the Iceland supermarket to sell a range of frozen ready meals. There’s no requirement to buy any of them, but they can come in handy if you’re in a hurry or stuck for ideas. And best of all, I think all of them are syn-free. And unlike a lot of other ready-meals on the market, their portion sizes are quite decent, so you feel like you’ve had a proper dinner!

I’ve only tried a couple of them, and find them to be a mixed bag. I didn’t like the sausages at all, but loved the Chicken Tikka Masala.

Because of the exclusivity deal, other supermarkets aren’t allowed to sell products that claim to be Slimming World friendly, although it seems that some of the value supermarkets are starting to bring out products that end up being syn-free, even if they can’t sell them as such. So for now it’s down to word-of-mouth to find out about them.

One pound a month

I went to my Slimming World class last night for the first time in 4 weeks.

We missed two meetings because we were on holiday, and then I missed last Wednesday because I was in A&E!

And so, over the course of almost a month, what did I lose? One pound! Just one tiny little pound. Or 453 grams for those who prefer metric.

Over the previous 4 weeks I had lost a stone, so I guess I was a little disappointed to weigh-in at just a pound down from the end of August. But then again, it’s been a fairly unusual few weeks.

We went totally off-plan while on holiday – eating and drinking pretty much whatever we wanted, and enjoying as many cocktails as our wallets could stand. And then, I spend two days in hospital last week, eating nothing but bread and water (I exaggerate, but I’m looking for sympathy here!).

Over that time I’ve probably put on weight, lost, put some more back on, and lost again. My diet has been very inconsistent, and my levels of exercise have been curtailed from what they normally would be. So it’s no wonder that I haven’t lost more. Indeed, some would say it’s amazing that I haven’t put on weight!

One thing it has done – it’s made me more determined to stick to my food optimising, and to aim for a decent loss for next week. I’d like to lose 4 lbs, as that would take me to my 3 stone award. Let’s see how I do…

Attending a Slimming World class for the first time as a new member

It can be a bit scary thinking about joining a weight-loss class like Slimming World, especially if you’ve never been before. So I thought I’d share some information about what actually goes on, so you’d know what to expect.

You can find out where your local class meets by checking the Slimming World website (UK site/Irish Site). You don’t need an appointment, or to contact them ahead of time. Just turn up and say you want to join. There are new members joining all the time, so there may well be other people starting at the same time as you.

First Visit

On your first visit, I would say you need to be fairly punctual for the start time of the class. The Slimming World consultant will have a special table set up for newbies, and they will use the first half hour to explain the Slimming World plan to you. They will also give you a number of books that give you all the information you need about the plan, and a membership card.

The membership card is used each week for you to check in, pay your weekly fees, and weigh in. The card will also have details that allow you to login to the website and access all the online information.

While you’re getting your introduction chat, all the other existing members will be arriving to have their weigh-in. They’ll be going to a different table where there’s a bunch of computer gear, and depending how busy the class is, they might need to queue up. First off they check-in with their membership card and pay their weekly fee, and perhaps buy some of the stuff for sale in class.

You can buy copies of the Slimming World magazine (at a discounted price), recipe books, and different flavoured high-fibre bars. The bars seem to be really popular with group members, but are not a mandatory part of the diet plan.

Weigh-in

After check-in comes the weigh-in. Members may need to queue up again at the scales. Here you’ll hand over your membership card and book, and when instructed you jump on the scales. There is a display on the desk to tell you your weight, and the person doing the weigh-ins will be able to tell you how much you have lost (or gained, or maintained) in the last week. They will write your progress in your book, and an electronic copy of the weigh-in will be stored on their tablet computer.

Once you start to lose weight and reach a milestone (half a stone, one stone, one and a half stones, etc.) you’ll win an award, which consists of a sticker and certificate. If this happens, the weigh-in person may ask to keep your book, as they like to announce the awards to the whole class.

All the weigh-ins for existing members happen in the first half hour of the class, while you’re getting your introduction chat. As a first-timer, you’ll be added into the computer system and get your first weigh-in at the end of class.

Class Talks

At the end of the half-hour the class talk starts. Feel free to sit anywhere – there is no allocated seating! The consultant will make some announcements about awards won, and any company news. They may also initiate a guided discussion on a particular topic. You should feel free to join in the conversation if you want, or keep quiet if you feel a bit nervous – whatever’s good for you.

The consultant will then go round each person in class to talk about their progress this week. They will announce your weight loss this week (if you lost) and your total weight loss to date. They will never announce what your current weight is – just how much you’ve lost. The class members will then generally clap to congratulate the member. The consultant may then ask how your week went – if you did anything in particular, or cooked something nice, that you might want to share with the class – or if you had problems that the class or consultant might be able to help you with.

It’s a pretty informal and supportive structure, and if you’re really nervous about talking in class you can have a quiet word with the consultant and they’ll not call out your progress.

And that’s it. Once the consultant has finished going round everyone then the class is over, and you can leave (unless it’s your first week, and you still need to do you first weigh-in). Depending on the size of the class, the whole thing lasts between 60 and 90 minutes (including the weigh-in half hour), although some people do discretely leave early if they have pressing engagements. Some people also weigh-in and they leave straight away, but I don’t think those people get the full value from attending the class.

Common Worries

It’s not unusual to be worried about coming along for the first time. I was worried about people judging me or being unkind. However, everyone’s there for the same reason, and as such they are all friendly and supportive. You will also see all shapes and sizes, and both young and old people in class. There might be someone looking to lose 10 pounds, and someone else looking to lose 10 stones, and lots of folk in between.

And although classes are dominated by women, there are some men that attend as well – so don’t be scared off if you’re a bloke like me. I go along with my wife, as we’re both trying to lose weight, but there’s also men that come along on their own.

You can also speak as much or as little as you prefer in class, but I always think that you get out of things what you put in. And so you’ll find that if you ask questions or offer helpful advice, you’ll get a lot more out of the class.

I hope that was of some help. If you have any questions about anything I might have missed out, feel free to write them in the comments.