What 6 months of Slimming World has taught me

If you’d told me when I joined Slimming World that in exactly 6 months time I’d be 4stone 8lbs lighter, I’d have turned to my fat girl defence mechanism – humour – and told you, in fewer words, where to go.
I honestly cannot believe I’m here now 4-and-a-half stone lighter.
I’ve been after this award for a few weeks now and when I got a few maintains – very unusual for me – the self doubt started to creep in. It was only last night after I actually got it and my consultant, Hayley, pointed out that it was exactly 6 months since I joined that I started thinking about just how certain I was that I’d never get anywhere near my target.
Hayley was on holiday the week I joined, so it was only a few weeks later that I set a target. I didn’t have a clue how to choose a target; I’ve never been a weigh’er and there were never scales in my house as a kid so I don’t have a clue what I weighed. However, I do remember that at 14-years-old I had to buy size-16 jeans, so, I knew I wanted to be smaller than I was at 14!
15-year-old me – a size 16.
I know people say not to trust BMI for hundreds of reasons, but it was only when I looked mine up that I decided what to set as my target weight.
My starting BMI was 36.9, aka, severely obese. I wasn’t totally shocked at that result, but I was when I realised how much of the slidey scale they show you I needed to get down to be ‘healthy’! So, I set my target weight as the very inside edge of the green healthy area, meaning I needed to lose 5-and-a-half stone to achieve it.
That seemed like a huge number, and I never thought I’d get anywhere near it. Even when I was picking up my 2 stone award I remember thinking I’d probably get to 3 stone and it would all go wrong, or I’d give up.
Now, I’m not there yet! I’m 11lbs away, but it feels totally incredible to be within a stone of what seemed like such a mammoth task. I’ve already decided I’m going to reset my target – unless those 11lbs make me drop two dress sizes and I can achieve my dream of buying size 12 jeans!! Unlikely…
It’s at this point I have to be honest and give Slimming World some of the credit. I don’t mean for the food plan, as wonderful as it is (I’m eating a fudge bar whilst writing this).
For me, the thing that Slimming World really gets right is it’s support network and, most importantly, it’s consultants.
Having someone who you can ask anything to for an hour and a half once a week, and knowing before you even ask the question that they will ‘get’ why you’re asking or where you’re coming from because they’ve done it themselves is such a massive tool. My consultant, Hayley, would probably be surprised to learn this, seeing as all I seem to do in group is talk, but even if you don’t ‘use’ them for a few weeks, just knowing they’re there helps.
I’m a massive advocate of staying to group. Partly for the above, and partly because my group is full of fabulous people. In the past few weeks, as a lot of the new year newbies have been getting their heads around the plan and are in their third or fourth weeks, I’m finding I’m learning new things from them every week! They’re out there running wild in the aisles with that new-sw’er enthusiasm, trying new stuff that us old-timers have long forgotten about, having settled into our routines.
I can honestly, hand-on-heart say that I learn something new in group every single week. It might be something totally obvious (last nights group was a case in point), but were all busy people, and sometimes you need someone else who is like minded to do some of the thinking for you!
The other thing I do that I would recommend to everyone is my post weigh-in “routine”. Bear with me here… We’re all guilty of not spending enough time on ‘us’. That’s part of the reason I’m one of the first people to shout about the power of staying to group; it’s an hour to an hour and a half that you spend on yourself. If you’re already a SW member, you’ve paid your money and you clearly WANT to lose weight, otherwise you wouldn’t be stood on scales in a freezing cold hall once a week, so why wouldn’t you invest just one hour a week into yourself? Anyway, I digress….
When I get home from weigh-in, my routine looks something like this:
1) Update the Slimming World app
2) Update the TargetWeight app – it’s very similar to the SW app but you can set smaller milestone targets, and it shows a little number red bubble on your home screen which tells you how many lbs you have to lose until your next target. For me it work as a constant reminder.
3) Update my chalkboard – I have a small chalkboard which is right next to my door which shows how I did this week, how I’m doing overall and, most importantly, how many lbs I have left to lose. Again, it’s a reminder as I leave the house every day. It’s also on the route to the kitchen, and it’s stopped me going for mid-tv binge snacks a few times!
4) Update my stone jars – I have two glass kilner jars with small heart shaped ‘stones’ in, each one signifying 1lb. As I lose weight, I transfer the stones from my ‘to lose’ jar into the ‘lost’ jar, meaning you watch the jars empty and fill up over time.
When I write it down like that it sounds like a right kerfuffle. However, I find the 10-15 minutes I spend doing those things almost like my own mini personal celebration of a job well done this week. I also find it really helps set me up for the next week. I know I am personally guilty of just blurting out “-2” whenever my consultant asks “what would you like to lose next week?”, but spending that time when I get home doing the above things really helps me visualise what I actually want to achieve, i.e. “what do I want to write on this board?”, or “how many stones do I want to move out of this jar?”.
Everyone’s different of course, and maybe you’re reading this thinking I’m some kind of mental. It’s understandable! However, whilst stones in jars and dusty chalkboards might not be for you, I really would urge all SW’ers to dedicate a little bit of time to YOU each week. It’s too easy to get carried away with life, work, deadlines etc, and you spend all week, week after week busting a gut to lose some weight. You owe it to yourself to celebrate that.

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