Weight loss needn’t be a solitary pursuit. We look at the simple ways to make slimming easier, and more fun.
The theory of weight loss is simple: eat less, move more. The reality is considerably more complicated. January often marks a series of resolutions for people regarding their waistline. The gym is joined, rich foods are eschewed, promises to ones’ self made. And yet for so many of us it’s a genuine struggle to stick with it.
But fear of failure shouldn’t dissuade you from undertaking a weight loss plan. Indeed, a study by Brown Medical School on the habits of successful slimmers revealed that the long-term effectiveness of their plans were down to a series of simple steps, regularly undertaken. Consistency was key. Those who lost weight and kept it off:
- Got some sort of physical activity every day, even if it was a 30 minute walk
- Started each day with a nutritious breakfast, to stop them from reaching for high-calorie snacks mid-morning.
- Controlled their portion sizes, allowing them to eat a little bit of what they fancied, but always in the knowledge that it wasn’t a splurge. No food group was off limits.
- Opted for healthier food options wherever possible – avoiding processed foods, eating ample servings of fruit and veg, and drinking plenty of water.
- Tracked their weight loss, to ensure things were moving in the right direction
- Found means of dealing with stress that weren’t eating, be it an exercise class, painting, a long bath…
- Surrounded themselves with support
That final point is arguably the most easily over-looked. Often, the most difficult part of slimming is the sense that you’re on your own as you do it – everyone else is throwing dietary caution to the wind and casting you sideways glances. This is where joining a club like Slimming World can prove invaluable.
Joining a group like Slimming World can add focus to a process that can often seem endless and unrewarding. Things like weekly meetings to discuss progress and problems can provide a constant – a place to celebrate when things are going well or to recalibrate when you’ve found yourself straying from the path.
There’s also the invaluable sense of solidarity that comes from meeting up with people who are facing the same challenges with you. Just as marathon runners might compare notes on training regimes, or new parents trade tips on what works best for their babies, when you’re looking to lose weight, discussing tactics with others who are doing the same may help you fall upon strategies you’d previously not considered.
Even things like portion control, which can be tricky to master, can be clarified by talking to the experts who run Slimming World. It’s a great way of learning guidelines for what a sensible serving size is for each dish – rules that will see you in good stead not just in the immediate future, as you lose weight, but moving forward as well, when you’re working to keep it off.
To that end, we spoke to the experts at Slimming World about how to address one of their cardinal rules for weight loss, which is to never go hungry.
This is the most common mistake people make when slimming – they restrict their diets too much, too quickly, lowering their calorie intake so drastically that they’re constantly hungry and thinking about food. This sets you up for failure – you’re far more likely to lapse back into over-eating if you’ve been dreaming about food all day.
As such, Slimming World provided one of their delicious recipes to demonstrate how you can eat healthily – and heartily – while losing weight.
The Slimming World Nacho Style Feast
· 2 baking potatoes, cut into wedges
· Low-calorie cooking spray
· Salt and freshly ground black pepper
· 250g lean beef mince (5% fat or less)
· 1 onion, sliced
· 1 red pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
· 230g can chopped tomatoes
· 1 tsp cumin
· 2 tsp Schwartz Perfect Shake Fajita
· 1 tsp paprika
· 2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
· 150g tube Primula Light Cheese
· Fresh green Jalapeno chillies, finely chopped (optional)
1. Preheat your oven to 200°C/180°C Fan/Gas 6. Put the wedges on a non-stick baking tray, spray with low-calorie cooking spray and season. Bake for 25 minutes, then turn, spray again and bake for a further 25 minutes until golden.
2. Meanwhile, spray a frying pan with low-calorie cooking spray and place over a medium-high heat. Add the mince and stir-fry for 10 minutes, then add the onion and cook for 5-6 minutes, or until softened. Add the pepper and cook for 2-3 minutes, then stir in the canned tomatoes.
3. Sprinkle in the cumin, fajita seasoning, paprika and a few twists of black pepper. Cook for 10-15 minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Stir in the fresh tomatoes. Remove from the heat.
4. Preheat your grill to high. Tip the wedges into an ovenproof dish, spoon over the mince and squeeze over the Primula Light Cheese. Sprinkle with the chillies, if using, and grill for 8-10 minutes, or until the cheese starts to brown. Divide between 2 plates and serve.
Whether you’re looking to lose a few pounds or a few stones, Slimming World can provide discrete, friendly support and advice learnt from nearly 50 years of successfully helping people with their weight loss. To find out more about joining your local chapter, visit https://www.slimmingworld.co.uk/