Eating clean and exercising regularly is tough, and anyone who says otherwise is a liar. Slimming World offers an online community for those who struggle with self-motivation and sticking to their goals. Like other popular Weight Loss online programs, it’s an amazing tools for weight, diet, and activity tracking in conjunction with weekly online meetings. With a wildly successful program in the UK, Slimming World is finally hitting the American market. We chatted with their team to find out what makes their program unique.
(Editor’s note: These responses have been edited for length and clarity)
What is the basic science behind Slimming World’s success? How specifically should your members expect to lose weight?
Slimming World’s program uses well-established psychological and scientific principles of behavior change. It helps those who join to find their own personal, enjoyable, and sustainable ways of changing and living with new habits.
Slimming World’s program success is supported by three components that work together to make losing weight practical, enjoyable and effective: a healthy eating plan that’s easy to sustain, an activity plan for every fitness level and a motivational support package based on a deep understanding of the psychology of weight loss. Its seamless blend of food science and psychology has helped millions of members in the UK lose weight while celebrating their love of food.
How do you come up with the recipes?
The recipes on Slimming World’s website are all created in line with the plan, which means they are low in energy density, satiating, and include lots of nutrient-rich food like vegetables. They are developed by chefs and home nutritionists who are trained in Food Optimizing: the principle of energy density (the calories per gram in a food) and satiety (how filling a food is).
Encouraging a higher intake of more satiating foods helps to naturally limit calories and achieve easy weight loss success. Foods with a low energy density and that are highly satisfying, which Slimming World calls ‘Free Foods’, are totally unlimited to enjoy any time so members can lose weight without ever feeling hungry. Members also enjoy measured amounts of foods rich in fiber and calcium to ensure they’re having a balanced diet and small amounts of foods that other weight loss plans forbid so they never feel deprived. All our recipes are triple tested and reviewed by Slimming World nutritionists.
What sorts of culinary skills do your members need to possess in order to be successful? Do you offer any video demonstrations or tips for beginners?
Slimming World has a large bank of recipes that ranges in flavors, ingredients and skill level requirement; so, anyone can follow the Food Optimizing plan. Slimming World makes it easy for everyone, and the online recipe database search provides filter options such as “five ingredients or less” and “Family Favorites.”
Members can also start conversations within their ‘My Slimming Group’ or on the open community forum where they share tips, recipes, and ideas.
How does Slimming World differ from programs like Weight Watchers or apps like My Fitness Pal?
Slimming World’s Food Optimizing plan allows members to eat without counting calories or tracking numbers, although members can track their meals and activities through the site if they wish to.
It’s much more than an online diary, and the focus is on providing compassion and support to our members. Slimming World’s weekly group meetings, called “My Slimming Group,” are lead by trained consultants and offer a live online experience that connects people to anywhere in the U.S.A. for real guidance, motivation, and practical support. These conversations can include anything from recipe sharing to money saving ideas.
Do you tailor your recipes to each individual member or do you offer a one-size-fits-all approach to fitness?
Members have access to nearly 1,000 recipes – with more being added regularly — so they can choose the ones that they most enjoy. The flexibility of the Food Optimizing plan means they learn to create and enjoy meals that are satisfying to each individual.
Do you offer any one-on-one support or education to your members?
If members need support outside their My Slimming Group meetings, they can always visit the My Slimming Group wall to post thoughts or questions, and/or send direct messages to fellow members. The community boards are also a great place to find support, get questions answered, and swap ideas. There is also a wealth of features and motivational stories and articles to help inspire members to achieve weight loss success.
Your website boasts lines like “Megan hit her target weight by… eating her favorite meals, including pasta, burgers, and fries.” How is one able to eat seemingly “unhealthy” meals like those whilst still losing weight?
Food Optimizing is the most liberating eating plan because it is centered around the science of satiety and energy density and members can enjoy ‘Free Foods’, which are naturally low in calories and highly satisfying, freely. These foods include pasta, potatoes, lean meat, fish, eggs, fruit and vegetables, which make the basis of many favorites like pasta dishes, burgers and fries.
By learning to make small changes in the way you shop for, prepare, and cook food, members can enjoy healthier versions of these dishes. For example, when cooking our classic American burger, members are encouraged to use healthier ingredients like lean meat and low-calorie spray oil. We also encourage them to pile their plates high with unlimited amounts of fruit, vegetables, fat-free yogurt and cheeses, and other healthier options.
What fitness programs do you offer or recommend to supplement the diet?
The Body Magic activity program encourages members to build up to at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity five days a week and is suitable for everyone, regardless of weight or levels of fitness. The program helps members gradually increase physical activity levels and improve overall health and wellbeing. It’s informed by a deep understanding of the barriers people often face in becoming more active.
Body Magic uses well-established psychological and scientific principles of behavior change, and helps people find enjoyable ways of increasing activity and making it a part of their daily routine.
Who is your program best suited for?
The program provides recipes and activity plans for people of all kinds, with all tastes, allergies, and lifestyles. The online community works to provide a compassionate, supportive system for all.
How can new members join Slimming World?
Signing up for Slimming World is simple – prospective members can go to Slimmingworld.com, and simply walk through the sign up process, which includes entering basic information about oneself (weight, height, age, etc.). New members can join at $30 for three months.