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I was feeling really bloated, unhealthy and flabby a while ago. Months of agonising neck pain had caused me to stop moving and to do a lot of sitting around comfort eating. I had put on a stone and none of my clothes fitted. The weight tends to sit around my middle – it always has – so I still had skinny arms and legs. I felt totally out of proportion!
Joining Slimming World was a big step for me. I just felt I needed a bit of support to lose the extra weight and this plan has been fantastic. I haven’t felt hungry and have been eating a lot more healthily. However, nobody’s perfect, and certainly not me! I have done really well with Slimming World to date, but have had days (and occasionally weeks) when I couldn’t be bothered. Sometimes you need a bit of Slimming World motivation. Here are some steps that have worked for me.
Ten ideas to increase your Slimming World motivation
Keep up with your food diary
I found that keeping a food diary for the first four weeks was incredibly helpful. It makes you honest about what you are eating and if the weight doesn’t come off as expected your Slimming World consultant has something to look at to see if you are making any mistakes. It makes you accountable and helps you to see what works for you, and you can make sure you eat all your healthy extras (such as cheese, bread and milk).
However, I stopped after the first four weeks as I felt I had a good grasp of what worked and what didn’t, what was classed as a Syn, what was free food, etc.
But when you have got a bit stuck and slipped back into old eating habits, planning healthy food and then seeing what you have eaten in black and white can really give your motivation a boost.
There are tons of Slimming World compatible food diaries on Amazon, but I like the look of this one by a Pinch of Nom*, as it comes with 26 recipes (and I really like their website). However, there is also a really good Weight Loss Planner on the Slimming World website if you are a member. You can record all of your food for the day and it will calculate your Syns as you go along. This is what I am currently using, but whatever works best for you!
Plan your meals and make a shopping list
Leading on from this, it is so much easier to stay motivated if you have lots of delicious meals planned. I always recommend meal planning anyway, as it saves so much time and money. But when you are on a diet, meal planning is essential.
It is too easy to fall off the Slimming World plan if you get in from a busy day and don’t know what to do for dinner. You are much more likely to get out the oven chips or order a takeaway. Plan in your Syns and have some snacks that won’t break the ‘Syn bank’! I am a massive snacker, so I make sure I have bags of crisps and boxes of cereal bars that are under 100 calories for those moments when I need a nibble.
I also plan for desserts. Usually this is fruit and fat free Greek yogurt, but I also keep some low calorie chocolate mousses for when I need a sugar fix. My current favourite such treat is Aldi’s Brooklea Choc Delight. The caramel and chocolate one is delicious and only 73 calories (so around 4 Syns I think).
Find SW friends for Slimming world motivation
I am the worst for staying at meetings and find them a bit dull. However, when you are lacking in motivation that is where you need to be. Talk to other people and your consultant and they will all tell you that they have been there and no doubt give you lots of support and advice.
Online Slimming World groups can also be good. Most Slimming World groups now have a Facebook group and you can chat to other members, see how they are doing and get a gee up when you need it.
Keep temptation away
I find that if I have chocolate and wine in the house, at some point I am going to go for them! This is fine if I count them into my Syns and I can do that with the odd glass of wine. However, if there is a bar of Cadbury’s looking at me, I am likely to eat the whole bar!
It’s best not to have it here. I just made Mr S take two boxes of chocolates that we were recently given round to his mum’s for this very reason.
It’s all about knowing your weaknesses I think. I make sure I allow myself treats like the aforementioned Aldi Choc Delight so that I don’t feel deprived.
Get family on board
I am always surprised when speaking to people at meetings who cook a ‘normal’ meal for the family and something different for themselves. This makes no sense whatsoever to me. Slimming World is a healthy eating plan and the whole family will benefit from eating this way. This is your chance to get your family into good habits for the sake of their long term health.
If you are the person who plans the meals and cooks, you can plan really delicious SW meals that the family won’t even know are different. It is easy to swap minced beef to very lean mince, for example, and make your spaghetti Bolognese with Frylight rather than your usual glug of olive oil.
You can serve fat free frozen yogurt for pud or a low fat mousse and I bet no one would blink an eyelid.
Use being on Slimming World as a way to educate your family so that they understand the benefits of healthy eating. That said, don’t force them to do the whole plan or count their Syns (unless they really want to, of course).
Have a fake away
If you miss your regular fatty take away, check out the many fake away ideas on the internet. For example, Slimming World website has a recipe for a much healthier version of fish, chips and peas, as well as lots of curry recipes. There are also loads of delicious ideas for fake aways on a Pinch of Nom.
There is no reason why you need to be deprived of all your favourite meals and flavours. Treats like this really help maintain your Slimming World motivation.
Don’t compare yourself to others
Oh, why, why is this so easy to say and not so straightforward to actually do? We always tend to compare ourselves to to other people, rather than focusing on our own achievements. So, the person in front of you may have lost 5lb and you only managed one solitary pound. Next week, if you use these ideas for Slimming World motivation, it might be the other way round!
I know that I am not losing weight hugely quickly, but it is a steady journey and ultimately I am feeling happier, healthier and more confident. Be inspired by the achievements of other people and support them when they don’t do so well, and you will get the same in return. And always appreciate your own achievements too, however small.
Use your Syns and Healthy Extras
Yes, you probably will lose more weight if you don’t use your Syn allowance, but you will enjoy the plan a lot more if you do. This also applies to your Healthy Extras. They are planned in by the experts at Slimming World for a reason and help you to eat a balanced diet, full of important nutrients.
Sometimes it is good to save your Syns for when you know you will need them most. For example, I know I am an evening snacker, and I love a glass of wine with dinner on occasion, so I save my Syns for later in the day. Sometimes my Healthy Extras will be low fat Dairylea spread onto a couple of Ryvitas.
I am a big fan of exercise, and have found that 20-30 minutes of yoga is perfect for me. It also keeps the pain from my trapped nerve at bay, which is another huge motivation to do it. Since I have been finding the time to exercise, my posture has improved, my tummy is firmer (still a long way from a 6 pack, but hey!) and I feel so much better mentally as well as physically.
If you aren’t a fan of exercise, my advice to you would be to start small. It may be that you are busy with children or work. I know from experience that it can be really hard to find the energy after a tiring day, so I exercise first thing. I have a cup of tea and get the yoga mat out.
I know that combining some movement each day with a healthy eating plan really works, and this helps me to maintain my Slimming World motivation. I have a really simple yoga routine in this post.
Find exercise that you enjoy and that fits in with your life, even if it is just a walk round the block in your lunch break.
Have a goal
It always helps to set realistic and achievable goals to keep you motivated. It could be that you have an event like a holiday or a wedding coming up and your target could be to lose a certain amount of weight for the occasion. Your Slimming World consultant will help you with this.
My initial goal was to lose a stone at about 2 lb a week. I haven’t always been consistent, but some weeks I have lost more. If you have more to lose than me you might set yours a bit higher. I also have a particular dress that I love but is still too tight to wear comfortably, so I have another goal to fit into that!
Whatever your objective, write it down. Pin it to the fridge if it helps! Tell your partner or friends what you are trying to achieve and let them know how you are going so that they can cheer you on.
Review your goal regularly and give yourself a massive pat on the back when you are on track to achieve it.
Be gentle with yourself
Don’t beat yourself up if you fall off the SW wagon – in my experience if you follow it most of the time, you will lose weight. There aren’t many weeks when I haven’t had something happening like a meal out or a party where I was going to overload on Syns. Or I have felt tired and hormonal and snacked all day, or decided that 3 glasses of wine was definitely preferable to a glass of sugar free bitter lemon! It happens….
This is all normal and guilt gets you nowhere. It is a journey and there are bound to be a few bumps in the road. Just get back up and start again the next day.
What are your tips to maintain your Slimming World motivation?