So, it goes without saying that I like food. But what may not be apparent is that I have a humungous appetite – always have done, always will.
Because of this love of massive portions, I’ve always struggled with my weight, which yoyos with the seasons. I’ve never been a particularly unhealthy eater, I just love to eat it ALL. Twice. With thirds.
I’ve tried Weight Watchers (6 times) and have always been successful. But in the end, I would hijack the whole affair because of the small portions. Seeing the reality of 35g of muesli and realising that would be all I’d eat before lunch, would make my heart sob. I hated measuring and recording stuff. I hated counting a packet of Quavers as something substantial and real, instead of the crispy cheese-air which they really are. I hated seeing a jacket potato as a treat.
I found on Weight Watchers I would always end up eating convenience foods, as the points were already worked out for me. Cooking was an absolute pain: counting the oil, weighing the meat, weighing the pasta, measuring the sauce out, holding off the cheese because you’ve used your points on a banana…. too much. Not fun. Not me. So, 6 times, I stopped.
Then came the 5:2 – perfect! I found the fasting fine, but again, counting the calories was so much easier if Mr Sainsbury had already done it for me. And so I ended up on convenience food again: more expensive, no cooking fun, less nutrition.
And my 5 days, well, they were awesome! I could eat it all! Fridays were cheese and biscuits night, Saturdays were pizza and wine night, Sundays were cheese and biscuits night, Monday was cheese and biscuits night…
Miraculously I did lose weight on the 5:2, but my 5 days off bordered on the obscene. It wasn’t right and it had to stop.
About three weeks ago a friend of mine introduced me to Slimming World. All I knew about it was from my mother in law: it was a quid cheaper than Weight Watchers and you ate a lot of Muller Lights. I decided to go along and see what it was all about.
As a newbie, our leader had to explain how it worked. She’d started with Slimming World 14 years previously and you could tell she was still in awe of the whole process. After she’d explained it to me, I could see why. In a nutshell, you can eat the following:
- unlimited veg (including peas and sweetcorn – if you’ve done Weight Watchers, you’ll know this is exciting)
- unlimited fruit
- unlimited lean meat (including bacon, so long as you trim off the fat)
- unlimited 0% fat yoghurt
- unlimited POTATOES
- unlimited PASTA
- unlimited grains and lentils
- unlimited low fat dressings
and probably a few other things I have forgotten. But it’s all good, right?
And then, you get two healthy extras per day. You can choose from things like:
- a couple of slices of wholemeal bread
- 35g of oats
- a hunk of cheese
- 250ml of milk
Then you’re allowed up to 15 ‘syns’ a day which you can use on things like oil, butter, wine etc. These are the only things you have to count.
There’s loads more to it, but essentially, it’s good stuff.
I went into my first week not having a clue how it would go, but I found it incredibly easy. I was never hungry and I felt very liberated by the food I could make and enjoy. In the first week, for breakfast I had:
– yogurt, berries and oats
– eggs and soldiers
– spaghetti bolognese
– homemade burgers
– chargrilled chicken, aioli and wedges (below)
And I could eat as much as I liked of all of them, as all the ingredients were free.
For lunch I had loads of filling salads covered in Waitrose low fat vinaigrette (again, all free). I’ve had:
– chicken, pea and chickpea
– feta, beetoot and lentil
– tuna and mixed bean (below)
Snacks have been limited, as I honestly haven’t been that hungry between meals.
First week weigh in, I lost 6.5 pounds!
I haven’t had my second weigh-in yet, but I’m feeling OK about it. This is better than the feeling I used to have during other diets, which was a constantly rumbling stomach and a gnawing, unnecessary sense of guilt.
I’ve found Slimming World both liberating and exciting, mainly because I have a lot of freedom to play around with recipes. I can’t wait to share them and find out other people’s hints and tips.