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Slimming World - Yay or Nay?

Charlsberg123Charlsberg123 Posts: 11Member Member Posts: 11Member Member
With Slimming World being a hugely popular diet and many people swearing by it it's time to debate on this.

On the one hand, Slimming World undoubtedly helps many people achieve not only weight loss but it helps folk adopt much healthier dietary patterns, encouraging members to consume more fruit and vegetables, which I applaud.

On the other hand, the company intentionally deceives customers by claiming that one can consume as much food as they want provided its on their 'free food' list (which includes things like pasta which MyFitnessPal users will undoubtedly know its easy to consume more pasta than can be fit into daily calories when aiming for weight loss). Additionally, they attach a negative word to foods that they consider 'bad' (syns is said to be short for synergy but we all know its supposed to make you think of the word 'sin'). Furthermore, they track members progress at weekly weigh-ins even though weight (especially among females) can fluctuate massively through the day and if the scale reading at the particular time of the weigh-in Is not favourable then it can cause embarrassment and demotivate members who feel they've not been on track despite adhering to Slimming Worlds arbitrary guidelines.

As a registered Associate Nutritionist and MSc in Human Nutrition I am concerned that these clubs exert such a massive influence among dieters but they seem to keep folk locked in the dieting mentality as they don't educate members to the importance of energy intake, macronutrients, micronutrients and such plus they don't provide the personalisation many people need to succeed!

What are your thoughts on this?
edited January 23


  • Elfy_66Elfy_66 Posts: 11Member Member Posts: 11Member Member
    Do posts not appear straight away?
  • mph323mph323 Posts: 3,313Member Member Posts: 3,313Member Member
    Elfy_66 wrote: »
    Do posts not appear straight away?

    MFP has periodic glitches where it looks like your comment didn't post, so you repost, and suddenly you have a duplicate. When things are working correctly your post should appear as soon as you hit "Post Reply".

    eta: Sometimes what happens to me is I accidently forget to hit the "Post Reply" button and return directly to the forum, and lose my comment :)
    edited February 3
  • Elfy_66Elfy_66 Posts: 11Member Member Posts: 11Member Member
    I did slimming world and lost a stone, but what annoyed me was I was training for a marathon but that wasnt taken into account and my diet "rules" were the same as everyone else, so "Babs" who sat at home all day and didnt even walk to the local shop was on the same food plan as me running 30-40 miles over the week along side other training,

    Things like avocado had to be synned, but I could eat as much pasta and fat free yoghurt as I wanted?

    On MFP, I eat anything I want as long as it is weighed and measured, and I eat back some of my exercise calories, this has taught me better habits than slimming world ever did

    I applaud those that it works for, but I wish they would teach about portion control and about the importance of an active lifestyle

    I really agree with this. I was never training for a marathon, but was told just eat more free food when you've exercised. I could have say in the couch all day and eaten more free food! It just didn't make any sense, but I was trapped into it because I had lost over 2 stone.
  • 13ecca413ecca4 Posts: 198Member Member Posts: 198Member Member

    I applaud those that it works for, but I wish they would teach about portion control and about the importance of an active lifestyle

    They can't make any money by promoting an active liftyle. Only by changing the syn values of foods and chainging the plan.... :wink:

  • von66mfpvon66mfp Posts: 13Member Member Posts: 13Member Member
    To be honest its messed with my head big style. Have been with slimming world for last 12 years never made it to target once the most I lost was 1.5st but put it all back currently I'm nearly 2 stone heavier than when I started. I stayed to group and for last 3 years was on social team. Its built up so many negative issues with food for me and also crushed my confidence in believing I can lose weight. All the time I was there we would celebrate with the big losers and new target members but I can count on one hand out of the hundreds ive seen who are still at target. For me its just not flexible enough and when I cant be flexible I'm not on plan full stop.

    I wish I never started really because its been so hard to convince myself that I'm not a failure. Prior to been talked into slimming many years ago if I gained weight I cut down until it came off now I play mind games with myself and end up bingeing. I suppose everyone is different.
  • AvidkeoAvidkeo Posts: 1,117Member Member Posts: 1,117Member Member
    13ecca4 wrote: »
    I'm not a fan of SW.
    I did it on and off for a few years. Lost up to 3 stone a few times and always put it back on.


    Most SW members are allowed 15 syns a day. Some even more.
    This means that on SW, you could eat 4 of these huge plates a day and be under your syn allowance.
    But that’s 4800 calories....
    For someone like me who is a binge eater it wouldn’t have been unreasonable for me to eat that much, I wouldn’t have thought twice about it. And because I would have been under my allowance I would have thought it was okay.

    I'm not saying it doesn't work. I know many people who have lost the weight and kept it off for years. I think it's only suitable for a certain type of person, certainly not binge eaters.

    OMG that plate made me feel physically ill. And no way is that only 1200 calories. I quickly calculated on granted a guess and got to 1800, and I'm probably under because I didn't count the baked beans, mushrooms or any extras like oils or butters.

    Also that is not good portion control.

    So my take from WW (never did slimming world. HATED how they called food a syn. It sends the complete wrong message about food!) was I learned somewhat better portion control, but I did it right back when they transitioned from points to Pro-points. Lost in the old points system but pro points didn't agree with me.
  • VailaraVailara Posts: 2,000Member Member Posts: 2,000Member Member
    It's basically a low fat meal. Which was one of the reasons Slimming World didn't suit me. I would rather have smaller portions with higher fat. The only higher fat food there is the egg, which looks overcooked. However, calorie-wise, it could be OK for somebody who, for instance, isn't eating outside of meals and can lose at 1800 calories a day.

    I have friends for whom Slimming World has worked well, so I'm not going to knock it completely. It just didn't suit me. Apart from the low fat, one of the issues with it (and with Weight Watchers, and even with calorie counting) is I felt that it encouraged more processed pre-prepared foods, as they were easy to count. (As an example some packets of pasta in a dried sauce were free, whereas if I made my own sauce for pasta I'd have to count it/Syn it). I could eat as much as I wanted of brand of low-fat yoghurt, but using home-made yoghurt was much more complicated.

    I also found that if people didn't lose they were put on a low calorie diet for a while, but the SW diet itself was never blamed. (To be fair, this is the case with most of these diets - it can feel a bit fanatical, and you're not meant to criticise it whatever it is!).

    There also used to be a website (I think there are facebook groups and so on) with lots of workarounds to make low-Syn versions of foods. Obviously still with calories. Yes, to my shame, I have made a lemon couscous cake (as couscous was free at the time, and flour wasn't).

    As for the importance of energy intake and macronutrients, I do believe there was some effort to do that. I know when I was going they were promoting a particular version which seemed to be more about portioning on your plate, so IIRC instead of a particular type of food being free, you were encouraged to have mostly veg, with a split of proteiny food and carby foods. So it was encouraging some balance and some portion control.

    I do agree that it isn't personalised, and that's an issue. My other issue is that I don't feel the SW leaders are necessarily experts in nutrition and weight loss. They are just promoting that one particular diet. And I also agree that it's big business.
    edited February 9
  • missbutterfly92missbutterfly92 Posts: 31Member Member Posts: 31Member Member
    I’ve followed Slimming World for about 18 months and I lost 4 stone during that time.

    I really enjoyed following the plan. However, my weight loss grind to a halt and I was not losing anymore, despite cutting down carbohydrates.

    I began to study about nutrition and to be honest, I can see why Slimming World is not a long term solution. I lost faith and I ended up putting weight back on (1st, so I’m doing MFP to lose it). This is just my opinions

    - you do not need to weigh or measure every single thing
    - you can eat as much free food as you want
    - It encourages you to eat plenty of fruit and vegetables
    - You are encouraged to cook from scratch
    - It’s a very popular diet so you’ll always find support from those who follow it also, whether it is at a group or online / social media

    - you can overeat free foods and end up potentially putting on weight
    - Your “syns” are limited so if you fancied a packet of crisps for 7 syns, you’ve got 8 syns left for the day / to use up
    - they promote aspartame / sweetener laden crap. If you look at their recipes, most of them are full of sugar
    - They make out oil is bad for you, so use frylight which tastes and smells like *kitten* and burns your food and ruins your pans
    - VERY EXPENSIVE. My shopping used to be around £80 a week for a family of 3. I now spend a little less than £40 a week (monthly, around £120 and it lasts me the whole month)
    - You feel very deprived and end up binging
  • tess453tess453 Posts: 55Member Member Posts: 55Member Member
    @von66mfp ahhh this is such a relief to read! I'm currently trapped in SW, stuck in the same failure spiral thinking it's me!!

    A couple of years ago I lost a stone on MFP whilst training for a mini triathlon. I hit a plateau and a friend convinced me to join SW and I lost another stone. But it took me twice as long to lose and I convinced myself it was due to all the usual SW excuses- it's harder to lose when you're closer to target weight, doing exercise stores water, maybe you've set your target too low blah blah blah.

    Anyway I reached target last year but only stayed there for about 2 months then slowly 1 stone has crept back on. I think I felt liberated that I wasn't on a bloody diet any more. Rejoined in jan and I'm not sure I can take the same old nonsense in group coupled with painfully slow weight loss. Makes you want to not bother at all then cue guilt and self sabotage.

    For those that left and came to MFP, did you see your weight loss speed up? I'm getting impatient and really need to get back to where I was for my own sanity and self belief :(

  • DanOutdoorsDanOutdoors Posts: 17Member Member Posts: 17Member Member
    I think one of the biggest issues with any diet plan is there's an end date where some people tend to fall back in to the same routines as before the plan.

    This can be for many reasons but mostly because as has been said there has been no education, after being in the diet and starving themselves of certain food groups when a person starts eating them again the body is likely to store them. This gets worse the more a person goes on and off a diet and why some people end up putting the weight back on and more
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