Going in a different direction

I stopped updating this blog over 18 months ago, because I had stopped going to Slimming World… again.

I did Slimming World a total of four times. And each time it totally worked. I followed the healthy eating plan, went to all the meetings, and I lost a lot of weight. A couple of times I lost around 6 stones (38 kg) within the space of a year. But then – for one reason or another – I’d stop going, and the bad habits would slowly return along with all the weight. It was a classic yo-yo dieting scenario!

So about a year ago my doctor said that he wanted to refer me to a bariatric team in my hospital to talk about trying to come up with a more sustainable way of addressing my weight.

I was pretty sceptical about it, but I met with them and learned a lot about the challenges that people like me have with weight problems. I learned that diets (or healthy eating plans like Slimming World) do work, as long as people continue to follow them. I also learned that certain weight-loss drugs work well, as long as people keep taking them.

However another thing I learned is that the only thing that has long and lasting effect on people’s weight is bariatric surgery!

This was a revelation to me. I had always thought that weight-loss surgery was one of those exotic things that celebrities had, or people with loads of money. I had never even considered it for myself. However the more I learned about it, the more I realised that maybe a surgical option might just be the way for me to lose weight and keep it off.

I went away and thought about it for a long time, and talked to my wife and loved ones about the pros and cons. After all bariatric surgery isn’t something that I can reverse if I decide I don’t like it, and it would fundamentally change what and how much I could physically eat.

I also checked with my private health insurance, and discovered that it was something they were prepared to pay for, so it wouldn’t cost me that much to do.

And then the whole COVID-19 thing happened, and like a lot of office workers I began working from home, I became less active, snacked a lot more, and my weight increased to the highest it’s ever been! So I decided that something needed to change, and I would go ahead and get surgery.

So around 6 weeks ago I had a gastric bypass operation. And it’s going well so far. It’s a big change, both physically and mentally, and I’m still coming to terms with it – but so far I have no regrets.

As for this blog, I’ve decided that this will be my last update. I’m not going to write about weight loss surgery here, because people visit looking for information about Slimming World, and it wouldn’t be fair to change direction. I’ll keep it online, as it still gets a fair amount of traffic, but I’ll not updating it, and it’s worth bearing in mind that Slimming World eating plans evolve and change over time, so it’ll go out of date.

If you do want to learn more about weight loss surgery, or my new journey to lose weight, then please do feel free to visit my new blog: Bariatric Surgery Blog

Thanks, and all the best for your weight loss journey!

Richard

January new members

Slimming World classes in January are often full of new and returning members. Following the excesses of Christmas and New Year lots of people are looking to turn over a new leaf and lose some weight.

If it’s your first time

I’ve written before about what’s it’s like to attend a Slimming World class for the first time. And one of the big benefits of joining in January is that there’ll be loads of other new members joining at the same time, so you’ll not be on your own.

The key is to make sure you arrive on time for your first meeting, and join the new member talk. This will give you the overview of the Slimming World plan and allow you to ask any initial questions. You can then take your books away with you, have a read through at home.

If you’re rejoining

Congratulations on coming back! The chances are you’re rejoining because you know – from your previous experience – that the plan works. However it’s not always easy to admit that you’ve managed to lose weight in the past, and then perhaps let things slide a bit. But don’t worry, it happens to the best of us!

When you rejoin, you’ll go through the new member talk along with all the new people. This is to remind you of the plan, and potentially to let you know about any changes that have taken place since you last were here.

If you’re a continuing member

Sometimes is can be frustrating during January with all the new people flooding into group. As an existing member you might not get as much individual attention from the consultant for a couple of weeks as they concentrate on helping the new people.

However with all the new members around, it’s an ideal time for existing members to take a fresh look at the food optimisation plan again, and refresh our memories of what to do. It’s easy to get complacent and forget things, so this is a good time to re-read the book and check your assumptions.

You might also want to help out by actively engaging with new members. You can share some of your experiences, and answer any questions they have.

Dealing with the crowds

January is generally the busiest month of the year in Slimming World. Groups that may have 20-30 people staying for class the rest of the year may suddenly double in number. This means that there might be bigger queues to check-in and weigh, or the classes may take slightly longer to get around everyone.

The key is to stick with it for these potentially-disruptive few weeks, until everyone finds their feet. Many members may move between class times or venues, in order to fit in with their work or family schedules – and that will generally relieve the pressures on very busy classes.

No doubt class membership will also drop-off as some of the new members let their New Year’s resolutions slip and leave after a few weeks. This does happen unfortunately when people struggle to make a commitment.

The Pre-Christmas Downturn

Just as we can be sure that every Slimming World group in the county will be bursting at the seams with new members in January, we can also see a downturn in interest at this time of year on the run up to Christmas.

Using the Google Trends site we can plot over time when people do searches for the term “Slimming World”, and as you can see, over the last 3 months it’s being going down:

Google Trends – 3 months from 10th Sep to 10th Dec 2018

I suppose with the Christmas and New Year party season upon us there are some people putting their weight-loss plans on hold for the time being, which is why there are fewer searches for Slimming World.

I wonder if the graph correlates to weekly attendance figures in groups. I bet it does!

The day after the night before

The company Christmas party was last night, and by the look on people’s faces you can tell they had a big night!

It’s 10.00am and half the staff haven’t made it into the office yet. And those that are hear look like they would rather be anywhere else! Pretty much everyone is looking hungover, and in between sharing war stories of how much they drank and what nightclub they ended up in, there’s only one thing on people’s minds…

Breakfast rolls!

Bacon, sausage, and egg – maybe with a bit of black pudding and some tomato ketchup – all in a white bread roll. It’s the perfect hangover cure!

Personally, I wasn’t at the party last night, and I’m not hungover. But the smell of the breakfast rolls in the office is driving me crazy. I know that if I had been drinking I’d have had at least one of these by now – and even though I’m not hungover, the smell is driving me crazy and I’m seriously considering getting one!

These Christmas nights out cause serious damage to my weight loss, even when I don’t go!

Printable Food Diary

Here’s a Slimming World compatible Food Diary for you to download and print:

This A4-sized template in PDF format allows you to quickly and easily record all your meals and snacks during the week, as well as your Healthy Extras, Syns, Water intake, and Body Magic.

One of the main advantages over the official Slimming World diary is that it’s much bigger, and gives you more space to record the food and drink that you have.