I’m not really one for trying to lose weight. It’s not that I don’t need to, but it would be an aesthetic issue rather than a health one and I am shamefully lazy about my appearance. Not Helena Bonham-Carter in the noughties lazy, but still. My mother always told me as a teenager that no-one is really looking, and although my vain fifteen year old self rebelled against that idea, actually, it’s true, in the same way that I’m not really looking at anyone else. We’re all just too self-centred!
My other issue is that so often dieting is not really about changing to a healthy lifestyle. Instead, it’s often about deprivation that continues until you get to the size you want. When that happens, we gleefully return to our previous habits and promptly pile all the weight back on again. I have always avoided things like Slimming World and Weight Watchers for precisely this reason; it all seems like a quick fix. However, a friend of mine has recently started using Slimming World and he is, to put it mildly, stuffing himself.
My shy friend – who I will call Chuck – has been trying to lose weight for as long as I have known him. He is an avid exerciser, and runs between 5 and 3 times a week, every week. His legs are like steel. Unfortunately, above the waist he is marshmallow. He is what he would call hungry, and I would call greedy, and has been known to scarf down an Easter Egg in less than a minute before. With the onset of the new year he embarked on his most ridiculous diet yet, the smoothie diet. This involved him eating just a smoothie for lunch post run, and then coming home after work starving and sulking until he had eaten.
On another friend’s recommendation, Chuck decided to try Slimming World. Not to actually attend meetings of course. He thought that would be a little too woman-centric. Instead, he bought the books from eBay and has been following them.
The basic premise is that some things are free, but others are syns. Not sins. Syns. You are allowed up to 15 syns a day. Things like meat, pasta, rice, potatoes are all free. When things are free, you can eat as much of them as you like. This was the main draw for Chuck. Dairy is not free at all, with the exception of fat free yoghurt, which he is consuming like crack. Cereal, curiously is not free, and nor, less curiously, is oil. He has been doing this for a couple of weeks now and he is already the lightest he has been in his adult life.
As he himself has said, it’s possible that one of the things he has cut out as a result of this was not agreeing with him and that was why he was retaining weight previously. It’s certainly possible. I was always amazed that he never seemed to get thinner despite the amount of exercise he did. However, these results are definitely impressive.
I wouldn’t advocate that you buy the books rather than attending the meetings with Slimming World. Chuck is an extraordinarily motivated individual, and the rest of us that aren’t so great could probably do with the encouragement of our friends and peers. However, if you are looking to change your lifestyle in 2014 and so far nothing is working, this might be something to try.