Lately, I’ve had a few private messages sent to me, and blog comments left, about Slimming World. I don’t follow SW anymore, but I did for ten months, and so I’m always happy to reply to comments and messages because Slimming World did a lot for me. But after a while, I realised that as far as a long-term plan was concerned, it wasn’t for me. So I thought I’d talk about why I stopped following Slimming World.

 

I would like to say firstly though that Slimming World was great at the start, and I’m grateful. Not as an organisation per se, I went to group, and hated everything about it – consequently, it didn’t work, I took time out, and then decided to do it on my own. But it made me really look at what I was eating and helped me break some bad habits. I began to track my ‘syns’, the amount of ‘treats’ you’re allowed every day, and by writing everything down, I felt more in control of my diet. I started to understand that eating a lot of carbs, although ‘allowed’, did me no favours because I just felt bloated all the time, so began reducing them, which I’ve stuck to. And I started to eat more ‘free’ foods – bulking my dinners out with vegetables wherever I could. So for ten months, it became a way of life and I lost nearly three stones.

 

And then I started to take exercise seriously.

 

My weight then plateaued for the next three months and I realised something had to change. It seems to me that perhaps Slimming World isn’t particularly conducive to people who want to do a lot of exercise. Yes, they advocate ‘Body Magic’ whatever the f**k that is, but I was going to Spin classes, weight training and building muscle, and Slimming World clearly didn’t work anymore. At least not for me.

 

Also, it was bloody expensive! I was spending an absolute fortune and on the one hand, I wasn’t buying takeaways anymore and so didn’t really resent spending that extra money on groceries, but my world became a whirlwind of constant top-up grocery shops during the week, finding extra money to pay for it, thinking about food all the time, and stressing about my weekly weigh-in, because the scales just weren’t moving. I got tired of the syn/tweak police telling me off for not synning a mashed banana. I couldn’t face another Muller Light yoghurt! It all just got a bit much.

 

I decided to download the My Fitness Pal app and go back to basics. I found that eating a fair bit of protein, especially at breakfast time, meant I never felt/feel hungry, I continued to eat fewer carbs because #bloating and, very importantly for me, I always allowed myself to eat something considered ‘naughty’, if my calories allowed it. And talking of calories, how did I know how many I could have?

 

Trial and error really. I worked out my BMR, my base metabolic rate, ie. the amount of calories I need just to survive, and then reduced that by 20%, which gave me around 1700 I think. What I found out was that wasn’t enough, especially with all the exercise I was doing, and I didn’t lose much weight at all. So I played around with that figure and came to an amount of 1900 calories per day, which seems to suit me. Some days I’m over (ie. every weekend), and some days I’m under (when I’m stressed), but it balances itself out.

 

I don’t eat huge quantities of something because it’s classed as ‘free’ because I just don’t think that’s very good for you. My digestion is a lot more … ahem, regular, because I don’t know about you, but SW really did mess with that … ahem, area. I don’t have to weigh food anymore because My Fitness Pal has taught me how many calories is in each amount of food I regularly eat and I can gauge that by eye now and, last but not least, I just don’t think about food that much anymore. I feel so much more relaxed, which is great for my mental health, which, in turn, is great for my body.

 

PIN ME FOR LATER!

why i stopped following slimming world

 

As you will have seen from my weekly healthy lifestyle updates, I yo-yo sometimes, but that’s predominantly because of the stresses of life, and overall, I lose weight most weeks. Since stopping Slimming World, and exercising 4-5 times a week, I’ve lost another 18lbs and will continue. The more weight I lose, I suspect the more I’ll have to lower my calorie allowance, but I still have a lot of weight to lose, so I just take each week as it comes.

 

Slimming World did me a massive favour and I do still eat some of the SW recipes – especially Slimming World Roast Potatoes and Slimming World Pulled Pork – but it’s not for me anymore. Have you done Slimming World and then decided it wasn’t for you long-term? I’d love to hear from you.

 

kate sutton

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Published by Kate Sutton

Writer, Mother, Dater.

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26 Comments

  1. Hi Kate…was so pleased to read this blog. I too did slimming world for 4 years, in the first 18 months I lost 2stone and then was ill and off work for 7 weeks with a severe bout of flu followed by labrynthitis(loss of balance) …I lost a further 10 lb during this time this but as soon as I returned to group and eating normally the sw way I put 5 lb back on…from that’s time right up until I left last year my weight yo yo’d and gradually creeping up whatever I tried. I also have an underactive thyroid which is under control but does make it slower to lose the weight and I kept making excuses and getting more and more fed up . I had started reading your blogs already and trying out a lot of your recipes and then one day I read about you using the My Fitness Pal app. Boy am I grateful to you….I stopped going to slimming world, joined a local gym that my daughter goes to and haven’t looked back. I’m 66 years old with various aches and pains like most people so I do what I enjoy…Zumba and Dancfit classes 3 times a week and also go down and use the bike and rower and whatever I feel like doing on the day another few times. I don’t drive so I walk everywhere that I can and I live in Eastbourne which has a beautiful seafront and harbour so am always walking round there. I do note all that I eat and my exercise and I also still weigh my food at the moment as I need to. I didn’t aim to lose weight quickly …just 1lb a week as I felt I could do that and I have succeeded so far losing 11lb…the only time I put on was when I went to stay with friends in Yorkshire who thought I needed feeding up!! I’m enjoying it as I now eat more varied food and don’t feel guilty if I have an ice cream or bit of cake as I do look it up and like you I mainly stay within my allowance but if I go over then I don’t stress. I now feel more comfortable in the clothes I have got and am looking forward to buying smaller ones soon. The next two weekends I am going to parties..one a masked ball and the other a friend’s 60th which has a 50’s theme and I intent to enjoy myself, the weekend after that is my birthday and we have our annual family camping weekend so I have been told by my niece I can have wine on tap!! You have truly helped me and reading your blogs and seeing your photos have inspired me and I have told my friends and family about you….you look great and I’m happy you have met someone that you are enjoying time with….we all need that and you deserve it….thank you again for your blogs, photos and inspiration and please do carry on….Xxx ps sorry this is a bit long but I wanted you to realise how much you do help….xx

    1. Oh Lesley, you’ve actually made me really choke up! This has made me SO happy to read, and I’m so pleased you’ve found the blog helpful. Makes all those selfies worthwhile haha! And you’re so kind to mention me to other people too … I feel like a bit of a celeb lol! It’s really interesting to read about your journey and how you’ve worked out what works for you, because that’s what it’s all about isn’t it? I really like the sound of wine on tap at your camping holiday too, think I’ll have to get a box of wine for my next trip 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to write, you’ve been a big support, and you really are a very lovely lady! x

  2. Well done Kate, you have put into words exactly what I have been thinking for ages. I done slimming world years ago which worked brilliantly and then 3 years ago re-joined. Oh my what a difference! In 3 years I have never achieved my stone ‘award'(always half a pound off) not through want of trying. I used to go to weigh in, feel disheartened, repeatedly asked what I was going to do differently, then leave and go to the gym to be beasted by a PT. my daughter has said the whole time it didn’t work for me and finally I left about 3-4 months ago and feel great. Have I lost any weight, no. Have I tried, no. Am I currently enjoying food, yes. Do I want to lose weight, yes, but my mind is not in the right place at the minute and I have to do it for me and not for some scales once a week. There is a way for each of us we just have to find which route it is. So good on you for speaking out. Alison xxx

    1. Hi Alison! It’s fascinating to hear how everyone’s weight loss journey is so different. The stalling. The ups, the downs. You’re right to wait until your head is in the game, there’s no point otherwise, you’ll just yo-yo like a mad thing. So just wait. Enjoy your food. Your family and friends, and the time will be right soon, I’m sure. There’ll be a catalyst at some point, and then you can come to my new club that I’m going to create where we all just have fun, drink wine and occasionally weigh-in! x

      1. Hi Kate. How appropriate your blog has come at this time! I quitted Slimming World this week! I’ve been on the plan since January 2016 and lost 3 and a half stone, but since February of this year, I have put a stone back on! I really don’t know what happened to me. Whatever I tried, I was putting on. I guess I did stop walking for a bit while it was cold, but that’s about all. So Monday of this week, I decided to go it alone. Going to try the calories in v calories out routine and also incorporate part of the Mediterranean diet in to my food plan. I’ve been thinking about food a lot less, eating smaller portions, being less stressed out about the whole thing, stopped looking at our group’s Facebook page and lost 3lb. And I’m £5 better off, so may even treat myself to a bottle of red! I’m feeling better already after being in the doldrums for so long! May this feeling continue. Like you, I am thankful for what Slimming World opened my eyes to, but now it’s all down to me. I wish you continued weight loss and happiness x

  3. You wrote exactly what I’m going through. I have a stone to lose which might not seem a lot but I FEEL too heavy and uncomfortable so I need to lose it. Started SW a few weeks ago and I hated it. I felt like I was at school. The leader ( or whatever they are called) read out everyone’s weight loss ( or gain ) SO embarrassing. Then I got told off for not bringing my food diary. I tried the plan for a few weeks but gained weight. I was eating too much. FACT ! All those carbs were playing havoc with my body. So I decided yesterday to go back to basics. Eat less and exercise more. And that’s what I’m doing. There are some great recipes in SW which I shall carry on with and yes SW works for many people but just not me. Loved this post. Thanks for sharing xx

  4. Yes! This is spot on! I’ve been going to SW for 9 months and today I am going and calling target for a number of reasons. I’ve lost over 2 stone and like you my weight has plateaued. I love food and resent being “not allowed” to eat an avocado which are super good for you without the guilt of syns, I also, like you, begrudge paying every week to stand on the black box. Numbers on the scale do not defy you or how you feel inside. After loosing the weight I have which I am grateful for I have a new confidence and feel happier in myself. But I am calling target so that if I feel the need to return I can but I am going to go it alone and enjoy life xx

  5. Totally agree, I loved it for a while but couldn’t get below about 11st and put it down to eating ‘unlimited’ carbs. I then tried ww and that was fine for a few months until I kept buying low point crisps and biscuits and not eating proper food. Now after putting over a stone back on which I do every year I’m determined on my own and I feel like I know what I can and can’t eat and know when I’ve had enough of the naughty stuff! I just hope I can keep this frame of mind for more than a couple of weeks!

  6. Hi, so glad I read your blog this morning like most I have been on every diet there is, know them all inside and out, the problem is I do not walk much and although love swimming not been for a year, been on slimming world quite a lot of times since it first came out( I am 71). Now it doesn’t work for me. I am trying to eat more protein and veggies and less carbs. How do I follow you? I can’t wait to read your tips and advice. Thanks

    1. Hi Paula. Glad you found me! I think your ‘diet’ sounds sensible, and it’s what I follow … especially always eating protein for breakfast because I find I never snack then. Well, until I’m in bed and then I’m a proper picker!

  7. Hi Kate. I’ve just stumbled on your blog and it’s taken a massive weight off my shoulders!! I’ve been following SW for the past 10 months and have lost 4 stone. I hit a plateau about 6 weeks ago and started with a Personal Trainer in a local gym doing cardio and weight training to combat this. I see my PT twice a week and then follow a programme she sets for 3 days a week so I’m there 5 days in total. I also do Pilates once a week. This helped budge another 3lbs but I’ve plateaued weight wise again despite going down 2 trouser sizes in 6 weeks and looking completely different in the mirror. I’ve had a 1lb gain which I assume is muscle from the weight training I’ve been doing, but SW really don’t account for that. My PT said she thinks I’ve outgrown SW and I need to take my shape and fitness into account rather than the “evil SW scales”! Your blog has confirmed this for me! I only have 1.5lbs to go until target, but I really don’t think I can stand anymore upsetting/anxious weigh ins or the guilt trip text from my SW consultant about gaining, maintaining or not staying to group! Thanks so much

    1. Hi Aimee, thanks for taking the time to write and I’m so glad that post resonated. I got a fair bit of backlash for it but I’d most people understood where I was coming from and after all, I’m only talking about my own journey. Do stay in touch and chat with me and other women like you over on FB, it would be good to have you there x

  8. I am glad to have read this as I recently lost 2st and was about 4lbs from goal when I started to struggle, weight wasn’t coming off and I had a few gains. I agree about the stressing about weighing in, constantly ‘worrying’ about food . I am glad I lost 2st of which I have now put 4lbs back on but find I can manage fine . I hated the classes, and even though no food is disallowed , I felt either deprived if I wanted something that would take me over my syns or guilty if I just had it anyway. Now I make sensible choices, if one day I have a little extra , I am careful the next. I like being able to go for drinks and have something I actually want rather than having something ‘slimline’ because it fitted in with my syns. Its not like I drink regularly so why not have what you want! good article – thanks

    1. Hi Wendy. Glad you liked the post. I do think SW has its good and bad points, and I’d never tell anyone what to do, but I’m glad you can related to what I think of it all!

  9. Hi Kate,

    It’s good to see that someone else has the same struggle as me. I also do a lot of exercise and the SW plan just didn’t sit right with me. I can’t see how an avocado can be as many syns as a small chocolate bar!?! It’s frustrating when there are people around me that are seemingly flying on this plan and losing weight very easily. I know we are all different but it’s hard not to compare yourself to others. It has been great to read a post and subsequent messages from others who are having similar issues. Hope all is well in your fitness journey and thanks again for your honesty x

  10. Hi Kate,

    Your blog…..What a breath of fresh air.

    I’m so greatful I found it.

    I’ve tried SW a few times now and would always lose a good amount of weight in a short amount of time.

    I now take medication which has caused me to gain weight (increases appetite) it has also altered my metabolism and the way my body processes sugars and carbohydrates. Unfortunately it’s an antipsychotic for Biploar and the side effects are very common. Ive poured my heart out to my psychiatrist but he is refusing to change it as I become unstable rather quickly usullay ending in a Hospital admission.

    Anyway, this time I’ve been going for 12 weeks and have only lost 6lbs (I was nearly 21 stones so should be hitting big numbers especially at the start) but no!! I’ve still to plan every week and In that time I have gained and lost over the weeks. I’ve been obsessing about food, dreading the weigh in and don’t get me started about the cost! I’ve got two young kids who are fussy and it’s costing me a fortune with all the fresh produce and lean meats.

    I’ve been racking my brains as to why it isn’t working, everyone says just stick with it but I’m finding I’m hungry all the time even after eating loads of free foods (which I think is making it worse as I believe you can have too much fruit for instance). I’ve been exercising hoping that would help but it’s not.

    Your blog has given me lots to think about. I just want to lose with and feel good again, I’m so miserable. I begrudge paying to be told I’m putting on or haven’t lost anything.

    I’m thinking of going at it alone and increasing my exercise. Clearly it’s just not working for me.

    Thank you once again and to all the other responders.

  11. Hi Kate

    I joined sw a day before my birthday last year, since then I have lost just over 2 stone. I still have just over 3 stone to lose. Getting that 2 stone off was a constant struggle, I got my 2 stone award in January, started a gym and since then have yo-yoed all the time. Eventually a few weeks before my 50th birthday I told the consultant that I would be putting a holiday week in the week after my birthday as I was really fed up. I also help with the social club at sw too, put pictures of my meals on face book etc to encourage others, but its not helping me, I probably sound a bit selfish. What I really do not understand and get really annoyed about is the fact that sw does not acknowledge that muscle weighs heavier than fat, we can change our shape and go down a dress size but not lose weight. I am due to go back this week but have an event that I am going to on the 5th June which entails a meal and drink, so booking another holiday week in. Too be honest I have decided to not buy into another 12 week count down, as I have wasted a lot in my eyes, the consultant is lovely but I have made no bones to the fact that I am not happy with my weight loss struggle and they have not done a great lot to support that. I stumbled upon a “well being” coach that spoke to me at lengths and I have adapted my eating plan, ie eating five smaller meals a day and making sure that I have protein in each meal to the amount that my body needs, drinking more water, not eating fruit after 3pm and also cutting back on some of my carbs, but not out completely. Sorry for the rant, I do like going to group, but have been getting increasingly upset with the way things have been going for me and not sure how much more I can take of it.

  12. Wow Kate, this is just the push I needed!

    SW has been the catalyst to my weight loss, helping my mindset to health improvements, so a big thanks!

    However I too have outgrown their advice and need rethink everything. Protein/Carb/Fat balance, calorific intake, exercise levels, water intake etc….

    I will achieve my target weight AND build on the SW framework. Thank a you Kate ;o)

    Regards, Jo D

  13. I’ve just found your blog through looking online at why SW isn’t working. I have never had a healthy relationship with food and yoyo like crazy between eating really well and binging on the bad stuff because I feel overly restricted by SW. And although I’m not a large woman I do find it impossible to maintain a weight.
    Now I know SW is great for those people who need the help to get started on eating better and learning to cook from scratch, but I miss tasty food and I can cook VERY healthy delicious meals! I’m not talking takeaways, but I do miss lovely homemade bolognase with 12%fat mince (fat drained, but oh so juicy!) and crispy chicken thighs baked with the skin on with chorizo and potatoes. It’s not unhealthy yet SW make me feel it is due to their ‘syns’ for normal ingredients. And there is the problem. Being healthy isn’t about being thinner/losing weight! It’s about cooking hearty meals, enjoying the food you eat, moving more and not feeling like a failure if we aren’t a size 10. Tasty food ahoy!

  14. Hiya, I started Slimming World a couple of months ago, just went today and somehow put weight on even though I followed the diet to a T! I feel so restricted and trapped on this diet at the moment, I feel like I have to keep checking my phone for syns and it’s starting to become an obsession! I can’t relax anymore! I have taken some good things away from my experience however I don’t think I’ll be attending next week as it just seems unhealthy mentally! I think I’m going to try and do what you have been doing as it just makes more sense to me, thanks for writing this article!

  15. Me too. I lost 11 lbs in the first 3.5 months at SW, but then I started doing spin classes 3 times a week and the plan suddenly stopped working for me.

  16. Omg I’m so glad I found this!! I joined sw last May with 18 lbs to lose at Christmas I was 1.5 lb from my target. The journey was painfully slow. 0.5 lb loss here, then 2lb gain despite being 100% On plan. And then you’d get the talk about honesty, measuring your healthy extras etc etc. I had no idea what I was doing wrong!! since then I’ve bounced about all over the place. I have a good week do the same thing the next and gain!! And in all my time I’ve never figured what I’m doing right or wrong. And my relationship with food now is worse then ever! So I’m gonna find my own way through not quite sure how at present but so glad to not be the only person sw doesn’t work for.

  17. Hi kate just found ur blog after searching sw vs spin . I work 12 hour shifts so have days off in the week which is great . I swim run and spin yet I’m still overweight . I’ve signed up for my first half marathon in 5 months and wanted to lose a couple of stone . I contemplated rejoining sw but I’d have to miss spin class which I love. After reading ur post I’d decided to carry on with the exercise and download my fitness pal as I really don’t wanna miss my exercise class to sit in a musty church hall clapping others . So really this is just a thank u post for helping me see sense xx

  18. I’m thinking of stopping Slimming World – I’ve been a target member since 2015 and still at target. I’m just bored of it now and not sure if it’s doing anything for me anymore. I exercise and eat healthy but restricted with avocados, nuts etc and have developed a dairy and sulphite allergy since being a member. I don’t want to stop going but I think it might be time to go it alone!

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