Changes to the Slimming World plan

Slimming World announced today that a number of changes are going to be made to their healthy eating plan. Consultants are sharing this news starting today, but the changes do not take effect until Christmas 2018.

The highlights for the standard Extra Easy plan seem to be:

  • Everyone gets an extra Health Extra A – that’s an increase in the amount of milk or cheese you can have each day
  • A number of foods are being removed from the Healthy Extra A and B categories – most notably some soft cheeses from the HEA

Specific changes for if you’re doing an SP day are:

  • Only one Healthy Extra B from now on – the second HEB you used to get when doing SP has been removed
  • Peas and beans (all types) are no longer listed as P (Protein) foods, so if you want to eat them on an SP day then you’ll need to syn them
  • Syns for people doing an SP day have been reduced to 10!

These changes all come in as Slimming World prepares to celebrate next year the 50th anniversary since its foundation.

Non Scale Victories

When you attend a Slimming World class you are weighed every week, and your progress is entirely defined by the amount of weight you’ve lost.

However, the process of losing weight is not all about the number of pounds and stones you’ve shed. Sometimes it’s about things that don’t show on the scales.

It’s about how you now feel about yourself, how your health has improved, how you can do things that previously used to be a struggle, the inches that have gone from your waist, the dress size you’ve dropped and the clothes that you can now fit into.

These are called Non Scale Victories (or NSV for short). They are the achievements and progress you can see but that don’t necessarily show up on the scales. 

Everyone’s Non Scale Victories are different. They might be things like:

  • You can now fit comfortably and confidently into that amazing dress you bought for a special occasion
  • A friend that hasn’t seen you for a while notices and compliments you on your weight loss
  • Your health improves so that you can play with your kids
  • Your muffin top no longer spills out over the top of your jeans
  • All that body magic has helped you run your first 5 km without stopping
  • You have extra energy, improved confidence, and generally feel better

All these victories need to be celebrated, and your consultant will be delighted for you to share your Non Scale Victories with the rest of the class!

The good biscuits for visitors

There seems to be a very peculiar thing in Irish culture that says you always need to have some “good” biscuits in your home, just in case you get visitors.

It seems to be the ultimate social faux-pas to greet a visitor (be they friend, family or mortal enemy) without something sweet and fancy (biscuits, cake, or similar) to offer up with a cup of tea, even if said visitor turns up at the door completely unannounced.

I’m not sure what would happen if anyone ever turned up at an Irish house and there were no biscuits to offer, because I don’t think this occurrence has ever happened. 

The impact for literally tens of thousands of Slimming World members in Ireland is that they are obliged to have “good” biscuits in their homes at all times.

And it would take the strength of Samson himself to resist those biscuits for longer than a day or two.

Even now I can hear the chocolate hobnobs calling to me from the kitchen press. And there’s no such thing as having just one. Biscuits are a trigger food for me, and once I open the packet, at least half of them would be gone – and that’s a lot of Syns!

And afterwards, of course, I’d have to buy some more – you know – in case we get visitors.

A day in and out of hospital

My wife and I were looking forward to a really quiet Bank Holiday Monday, but our plans didn’t quite work out.

The phone started ringing just before 7.00am. One of our family had fallen at home while carrying a glass, it had smashed, and they had cut themselves badly on the hand.

And so in the midst of calling an ambulance, throwing clothes on, and rushing around to their house, all thoughts of a good healthy breakfast flew out the window.

The rest of the day was full of activity. For my part, I ended up acting as a taxi service for various members of the family – ferrying them to and fro in and out of the hospital – and also making sure that the dogs were fed, walked and looked after.

Different members of the family were in and out of the hospital all day, and all of them had to just grab whatever food was available in the few minutes they had.

I’ve spoken about hospital food before from the perspective of a patient (spoiler: it was all bread!), but it’s not that much better as a visitor. Because it was a Bank Holiday, only some of the catering facilities were open. As such my wife’s breakfast was two slices of white toast with jam. I’m not sure how many Syns were in that, but at the time we weren’t highly motivated to work it out!

By the time we finally got home last night it was just after 11.00pm, and I contemplated trying to reheat some left-over curry from the fridge for dinner, but in the end my tiredness took precedence and I went straight to bed.

Thankfully the injuries to the patient weren’t quite as bad a we first feared. They did have a 90-minute operation to repair the damage to the hand, but they should make a full recovery and be out of hospital very soon.

So near and yet so far

If you go by my last weigh-in, I’m only 2 pounds away from my Club 10 award. And a two pound loss is easy, right? Apparently not this week!

I’ve managed to mislay my motivation. I know it’s around here somewhere, because saw it only a couple of weeks ago. But I put it down somewhere when I was so sick with my tooth thing, and now I can’t find it again. 

The up-shot is that I’ve been eating all manner of bad stuff this week. Around half my meals have been Slimming World recipes, but the other half have not. And the snacks? Don’t get me started on the thousands of calories of sweets I’ve been shovelling into my gob for the last few days.

I have weigh-in tomorrow morning, and unless all my limbs fall off overnight, then the chances of me losing this week are less than nil.

And so, the temptation is to not go to class. I’m sure we all understand that feeling. It’s easier, when we know we’ve been bad, to stay away – or to weigh and go – so that we don’t have to face the indignity of justifying our gain to the group.

I’m in that position right now. My rational brain is saying to me “Get along to group in the morning, and sort your shit out!”, while the irrational bit of the brain is saying “Sod that! Lie in and bacon sandwiches for brunch!”.

As of this second, I really don’t know if the rational or irrational side is going to win. But at least I haven’t cancelled my alarm for tomorrow morning, yet…

Slimming World Ready Meals

Iceland Slimming World Chicken Saag ready meal

Back in 2016 Slimming World announced an exclusive deal with the Iceland supermarket to sell a range of Slimming World branded ready meals, soups and sauces.

The official instructions from Slimming World is that these meals are NOT required to follow the Food Optimising plan. It’s not like some companies that mandate that you buy their products in order to follow their diet. It’s perfectly possible to do Slimming World and never taste any of these Iceland products.

However, what they do say is that the foods are there if you need them.

We all lead busy lives, and sometimes it’s hard find the time to cook a healthy meal from scratch. Sometimes we only have a few minutes to grab something to eat after work before running out of the door again. And for those time, Slimming World says that these frozen ready-meals are available.

If they help avoid resorting to a takeaway or something else equally quick but unhealthy, then that’s a good thing!

And the best news about these Iceland Slimming World meals is that they are all syn-free!

The portions are also fairly generous, so you can feel like you’ve had a proper dinner (unlike with some other ready meals). And if you feel like trying to reproduce the meal at home, they print the recipe on the back of the packaging for you!

Iceland locations in Dublin

At the moment there are a few Iceland stores located around Dublin:

  • Ballyfermot, Dublin 10
  • Coolock, Dublin 17
  • Finglas, Dublin 11
  • Cabra, Dublin 7
  • Talbot Street, Dublin 1
  • Tallaght, Dublin 24

The stores aren’t always in a convenient locations, depending on where you live. I know I have to make a special journey across town to my nearest shop.

What about other supermarkets?

The deal to sell branded Slimming World meals is exclusive to Iceland, and other supermarkets are not allowed to sell products with the Slimming World name or with Syn-values listed.

That didn’t stop Aldi introducing their range of ‘SlimFree’ meals last year aimed at slimmers. Slimming World promptly threatened to sue them, and I believe the dispute is ongoing.

Aldi SlimFree Meatballs & Pasta ready meal

In the mean time the Aldi meals are a third cheaper than the Iceland ones, but we don’t have any official Syn values for them, as Slimming World refuses to list the Syn for these ‘SlimFree’ foods in their Syns Online database.