What is an SP day?

The initials in SP relate to the words Speed and Protein and, as the name suggests, the idea behind an SP day is to only eat speed and protein foods.

The standard Food Optimising plan says you can have whatever Free foods you want, as long as you have 1/3 speed on the plate.

The SP plan, however, is a bit different and says you can only have 1/2 Speed and 1/2 Protein at mealtimes. All the non-speed Free foods are excluded – the likes of potatoes, pasta, rice, and so on.

I don’t know the exact science behind it, but I suspect it’s about reducing the amount of carbohydrates in your diet to give your weight loss a boost. People sometimes decide to do SP days when they find their weight loss has slowed down or stagnated.

How often should I do SP?

Slimming World says that nobody is required to do SP days. You should be able to achieve a steady and maintainable weight loss by following the normal Extra Easy food optimising plan. However it is there as an option for anyone who feels they need it.

Doing SP is much more restrictive than doing the standard Slimming World plan, and I wouldn’t recommend doing it for more than 2-3 days in a row. It’s much more like a diet – rather than a health eating plan – so it’s not something that can be maintained long-term. But for short-term goals it might be useful.

How does SP work?

The thing to remember when doing SP is the half-and-half split between speed and protein. Because you’re reducing the carbs by cutting out the free foods you need to substitute it with more protein in order to still feel satisfied.

Some people are surprised at the amount of protein needed to fill half the plate, and may not be used to eating that amount of meat (or other protein).

However if you don’t eat enough protein and instead substitute in speed foods you could end up feeling hungry, and that’s not the idea with any of the Slimming World plans – because that’s when you fall off the wagon and eat your own body weight in sugar!

The SP plan says you should have:

  • Half and half speed and protein foods
  • The same 5-15 Syns as normal
  • One Healthy Extra A as normal
  • Two Healthy Extra Bs, as you probably need a bit of extra fibre

It’s allowed to have what would normally be free foods, but you need to Syn them – so that means weighing and measuring the free food, and looking up the Syn values.

Does it work?

Individual experiences will vary, but it generally can boost your weight loss. Personally I don’t like doing SP days – partly because I feel it is too restrictive, and partly because I just love potatoes, pasta and rice too much! So I don’t tend to bother doing it. However, I’ve heard some people in group that do it a regular thing – some of them for a couple of days every week.

The thing I guess is to read up on some SP recipes and give it a go. Try it for a day, and see how you feel. If it seems easy then you can do it regularly, or if (like me) it seems hard then have it in your back pocket for the odd occasion when you really need to pull it out of the bag!

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