Do you ever have one of those weeks where you feel that you’ve done everything perfectly, but the number on the scales just isn’t budging? Well, I have and it’s incredibly frustrating. I am not a Slimming World consultant, and I have not been trained by Slimming World, but I’ve been doing this for over a year now and in that time I’ve gained a pretty good insight (from my own struggles and from those around me) into the things which could be stopping the weight from shifting.
Hopefully this might help identify some things you could adjust or change. I will stress though that the plan works differently for everyone, and there’s no hard and fast rule for how fast you should lose weight on Slimming World! It’s easy to get disheartened when you see other people with big losses, but just remember that the most important thing is that you’ve taken control of your weight problems, and you’re doing something about them! Never let anyone make you feel bad for the rate at which you’re losing weight, and NEVER EVER give up because you feel it’s not shifting fast enough. Nobody ever said that losing weight was easy, if it was everyone in this world would be slim. It’s a hard journey, but with the right tools and support it’s one that you will absolutely get to the end of. As I say, these are just some observations, and generally accepted principles, that might make a bit of difference to your weight loss, and the first one might surprise you!
You’re Not Eating Enough!
Yes, you read that right…I promise! Something which I often see, especially on communal Slimming World groups online, is people worrying that they won’t see a loss at weigh in because they’re simply eating so much. But that is the beauty of Slimming World! You can eat all of the delicious free foods, speed foods, and your syns, and still lose weight, which is pretty fantastic. However, if you get scared and try to reduce your food intake to boost weight loss this will slow it down in the long term. There’s nothing wrong with portion control, and of course Slimming World advises filling up on speed foods as much as possible, but you should never ever be hungry on Slimming World. I eat at least five times a day, three meals and two snacks, and I’m almost four stone down so that should tell you something!
You’re Not Eating Your Syns!
5-15 syns a day, that’s what we’re told and that’s a rule I stick to as much as I possibly can! Even on weeks where I’m saving syns for the weekend I never completely cut out syns from my day, I simply reduce to 5 to save 10 for a glass (or two) at the weekend. The Slimming World plan is designed to incorporate your syns, and whilst in the short term at the start of your plan removing them completely might speed things up slightly, in the long run not only does it starve your body of fat and sugar (which can result in larger weight gains when you go off plan) but it makes it harder to continue long term. If you allow yourself a treat within your syns, you are far less likely to cave in after a couple of weeks and go on a massive binge. One of the things that people often say is that they don’t use their syns because they don’t like sweets, but nobody ever said you had to use your syns on sweets or cake did they? I personally have better losses when using my syns within my meals, for sauces, marinades, dressings, or dare I say it leaving the fat on my bacon occasionally (shhhh!), but there are weeks when my desk draw is full of low syn sweets, it just depends on my mood! Whatever you do, stick to at least five per day and see what happens, it might just surprise you!
You’re Not Eating Enough Speed Fruit/Veg!
I am categorically not a member of the speed police, and I personally do not eat 1/3 speed with every meal. However, there are speed foods for a reason, they are the lower calorie, higher density fruit and veg which means they are better for weight loss. What I will say is that even if I don’t have speed fruit and veg with every meal, I do at least try to have some kind of fruit and veg, even if it isn’t accompanied by the little ‘S’ symbol in my book. If you’re stuck on which fruit and veg are speed foods, check out my downloadable list here. There are plenty of people who have massive losses on Slimming World who don’t eat speed foods, because they don’t like fruit and veg, but remember if the plan isn’t working the best thing to do is to look at the changes you might have made to the basic formula first. If you’re not eating the speed foods as suggested, then that might just be the problem, because it could mean that the third that should be taken up with healthy fruit or veg is taken up with extra carbs. Whilst carbs are free, they are basically free on the understanding that you’re having 1/3 speed, so don’t over do it!
You’re Eating Accidental Syns!
What I mean by this is that you’re picking at the odd chip off your child’s plate, or guessing your Healthy Extra measurements, or nibbling at the edge of a biscuit, or just having ‘one tiny bite’ of cake…we’ve all done it! Now, on a lower syn day these things might not make a huge difference, but what you’ve got to remember is that an extra few grams of oats in the morning could equate to an extra couple of syns that day. Think about it, if you then knowingly eat your full allowance on top of that, it’s going to push you over. The syn allowance is calculated very specifically, and going over by even a couple per day could be effecting your losses. Picking can be done, just make sure to account for it in your daily intake. If you’re unsure of how many syns you’ve picked, for example if you’ve just grabbed one little chip, I always find it safer just to round up to slightly higher than what it might actually be to protect your losses.
You’ve Reached Your Plateau!
This is the annoying point at which your body decides that it’s happy where it is, even if you’re not! It’s bloody frustrating, and it can be a huge downer on a very successful journey. I reached a plateau at about 3 stone lost, and it has taken me forever to get the next stone off. I’ve had massive gains and big losses since then, but stayed roughly the same weight until it recently started shifting again (albeit slowly). In this situation there are a few things you can do to get things going again, including trying a few SP days (read about them here), or upping the exercise you’re doing…an extra couple of thousand steps or half an hour in the gym might make a world of difference!
Whatever you do though, don’t let a plateau frustrate you into going off plan or worse, giving up completely! Persevere through it and try a few things out. If your weight still doesn’t shift and you’re actually within a healthy BMI (not my favourite measure but hey!) then it might be that your body is actually fine where it is, but if you’ve still got somewhere to go trust that eventually it will happen.
You’re Not Checking Your Syns!
Tut tut, naughty us! We have all done it right? Grabbed a chocolate bar or ice cream without checking how many syns it had in it beforehand, and then felt like crying and turning back the clock when we have a quick check after and realise it was about three billion! Once you’ve been on plan for a while, there are definitely some things that you just know are a certain amount of syns, but even then it’s always best to check instead of being caught out afterwards. If you do eat something without checking though, it’s always best to find out after in any case, no matter how daunting that might be! If you discover that you have accidentally eaten more syns than you meant to, then don’t panic…just adjust your syns the next day to account for the extra ones you’ve already eaten. Where things get tricky is if you leave it up to chance, because that way you could be eating way more syns than you realised and that will eventually catch up with your losses and could lead to gains.
You’re Letting A ‘Cheat Meal’ Turn Into A Cheat Week!
Sometimes life gets in the way, after all I’m not losing weight just to sit inside and be a boring person for the rest of my life. I eat out quite a lot, and I don’t always eat out on plan (terrible I know!), and one of my biggest struggles on Slimming World has been finding the self control to draw a line under one meal and get back on track straight away. I have lost count of the number of times I decided to scrap it all for that week because I’ve eaten off plan for one meal or even one day. This unsurprisingly 99.9% of the time has lead to a gain on the scales the next week, which I then have to spend the week after getting off. This slows everything down and that’s frustrating. If this is something you find yourself doing, then you’re probably just as aware as I am of the consequences. What can make a big difference when this happens is making sure you have a plan in place for the week, and you’ve got the food in to make the meals you’re planning. That way you’ve got to use up the food in the house, and can’t just decide to order out for another takeaway!
You’ll notice that I haven’t included ‘tweaks’ in this list…to find out why read my article all about it!
There are of course plenty of other reasons you might not be getting losses on the scales, these are just some observations I’ve made, or some of the things that Slimming World say themselves. What I always think of though is this, if you ‘kind of’ follow the plan, you’ll ‘kind of’ get results… and whilst there are definitely adjustments that can be made to the plan to fit each individual, if it isn’t working 100% the first place to look is at the changes you’ve made. Remember the powers that be at Slimming World HQ have spent a lot of time, money and expertise on developing this plan and it really does work! Trust in the basics, especially if you’re new, and the weight will come off!
Now… go forth and slim gorgeous people! Hopefully this has been helpful, let me know any observations you’ve made about the plan in the comments below!