Have you ever had one of those weeks when you think you’re doing everything right, but the pounds don’t seem to be shifting? Have you reached a plateau for a few weeks that you can’t seem to get past?
Well before you give up entirely, here’s a few things you might just want to check up on, to see if they’re stopping your weight loss:
1. You’re having too many cheat days
I used to know a pair of women in my group that every week after the Slimming World class had a very off-plan binge on takeaway and wine. It was their blow-out after being good all week, and I’m sure they enjoyed it. However they also had to spend the rest of the next week trying to repair the damage!
It can be good to have the occasional cheat day – I should know, I’ve had plenty – but you have to be careful that an occasional cheat day doesn’t become a regular cheat day, because that’s going to have an effect on your weight loss progress.
One of the other problems of going off-plan is we all know it’s harder to get back on-plan afterwards. If you’ve had a ‘bold’ day, it’s easy to tell yourself that you’ve ruined the whole week, and your cheat day becomes your cheat week! So if you have a blow-out, plan to straight back to Food Optimising after, and then at least you can mitigate the damage!
2. You’re doing too many tweaks
The whole reason why Slimming World consultants are so wary of tweaks is that you can end up eating too many calories without realising. The problem comes when the portion of free or speed food that you use for your tweak is much bigger than a normal portion would be if you ate that food in its un-tweeked form.
Using couscous (which is normally free) as a flour replacement in cake recipe might mean that you end up eating much more of the couscous than you normally would if it were in its original form in a meal. Similarly when roasting chickpeas as a replacement for peanuts it would be easy to eat a lot more chickpeas than you normally would.
So I guess the lesson would be, if you are going to tweak, watch your portion sizes!
3. You’re not eating your Speed
How often have you forgotten about the 1/3 speed rule when preparing meals? I do it all the time! I can get my 1/3 speed in when cooking a dinner, as I just make sure I have plenty of vegetables on my plate. But when it comes to breakfast time it can be more of a challenge.
I was told once that a good tactic when you’re finding it difficult to combine speed with your meal is to have it beforehand. If your breakfast is cereal, try having some fruit before to help you fill up. If your lunch is a bowl of pasta, maybe have some carrot sticks before.
However, by far the best way to make sure you get your 1/3 speed into every meal is to plan ahead. Look at all your recipes and work out how you are going to incorporate speed into the meal. That might be adding loads of veggies to your pasta dish, or having fruit with your breakfast.
4. You’re not counting your Syns
Once you’ve been doing Slimming World for a while, its tempting to stop counting your Syns. I must admit I’ve terrible at counting my Syns, and because of that I often get to the end of the day and don’t know if I’m under or over my Syns allowance.
It may be a pain to do, but if you don’t count the Syns, then you have the potential to put your weight loss at risk. So maybe think of an innovative way of counting them that works for you – either with a tally sheet, using a smartphone app, or perhaps posting photos of everything you eat on Instagram.
5. You’re eating unconscious Syns
This goes hand-in-hand with not counting Syns properly. It’s all too easy to have accidental Syns and forget about them, or not even realise you’re having them at all! The odd bit of milk in your coffee, the biscuits or sweets lying around at work, or the bits of food you steal off your kid’s plate – they can all add up!
By counting your Syns properly, you’ll be more conscious of the food you eat, and you’ll not go over your allowance without realising.
6. You’re not eating your Syns
This is a strange one. Surely if you don’t eat your Syns that’s a good thing, right? Well if your Syns consist entirely of chocolate and sweets then maybe missing out on the sugar-rush every now and again would be good idea. However I prefer to use my some of my Syns as meal ingredients and sauces, and those Syns can be good for you (in moderation of course).
After all, the body needs some fat and sugar in the diet. If you cut these out entirely then your body can feel its going into a starvation mode, and it will begin holding on to fat reserves. We don’t want that! That’s why Slimming World says to have “5-15 Syns”, rather than saying “up to 15 Syns”, because they want you to have at least some each day!
Also there’s the thing about having a few treats on a regular basis so that you’ll be less likely to ‘break’ at some point in the future and binge-eat.
7. You’re going overboard on the Free foods
The Slimming World plan tells you that you can have as much Free foods as you want. So it can be tempting to take this to the extreme.
Just because Muller Light yogurts are free doesn’t mean you can eat 10 of them in a day and still lose weight. All free foods need to be eaten in moderation, and ideally as part of a meal rather than a snack.
The advice seems to be to eat as much Free food as you want (along with your 1/3 Speed) to feel satisfied as part of a meal, and then limit snacks to Speed foods or Syn’d foods.
There are, of course, other reasons why you might not see a loss on the scales. The thing is to not get disheartened by temporary setbacks. Stick with the plan and you will get the weight loss eventually. After all this isn’t a sprint, this is a marathon!