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!

Slimming World for men

I felt that my Slimming World consultant was in a very spiritual mood this morning as she come over to me, laid her hand on my shoulder, and uttered the words:

Blessed art thou amongst women

She wasn’t – of course – likening me to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Rather she was making the point that, out of 30 people in the room, I was the only man there!

And she had a point. Weight loss groups like Slimming World are dominated by women. It’s just the way they are. I guess there aren’t that many men that are comfortable with the group/class format. There are just as many overweight men as there are women out there, but I’m guessing that most of the guys prefer to try and lose weight on their own.

Of all the Slimming World groups I’ve ever attended, the maximum number of men that have attended a class was three (including me). And so, for some men that can feel a bit intimidating or uncomfortable, having to walk into a room full of women.

Indeed if it wasn’t for the fact that I started Slimming World along with my wife (at her encouragement, I should add) then I’m not sure I would have been too keen to go along.

We’re all just people

These days I don’t think too much of the sex of the people in the room. After all it doesn’t really matter if someone is male, female, or a non-binary gender. We are all just people who share the same motivation for being there – and that’s to lose weight.

So I’d say to any concerned men out there to stop worrying that a group is going to be women-oriented, because it’s not. Nobody’s going to point and stare at you if you’re a man. Indeed you’ll probably be welcomed with open arms!

Variations for men

There’s no real difference in the food optimising plan for men and women. Everyone is encouraged to eat the same things, and to fill up on lots of healthy fruit and veg. The only difference is that some men can get more syns.

There is a distinct advantage, however, when it comes to the bi-annual group awards. For the men, the Mr Sleek and Man of the Year awards, there’s a lot less competition to win that in the women’s awards!

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!