If you know me, you will know my absolute love and slight infatuation with avocados, especially those of the ‘Avo on Toast’ variety! Rarely a day goes by that I don’t get tagged in an avocado post, whether it be a restaurant, a recipe or a new weird way to use it.
What you may not know about me, is that I also really like a little known weight loss group called Slimming World. If you know how Slimming World works, you will know, that this means there’s a huge conflict for me!
I am not on Slimming World but as a qualified personal trainer, group exercise instructor and general all round motivator of all things healthy, I have had a lot of interaction with woman (mainly) on Slimming World. I also like to follow their specific groups on social media for recipe inspiration and seeing transformation photos. I will often recommend Slimming World to people when they either, have a lot of weight to lose or, they are a complete beginner to health and fitness, as I personally don’t have the time to dedicate helping these people.
For those of you that don’t know how Slimming World (SW) works, its a low fat diet, where each person has a specific amount of daily ‘syns’ to use. Syns are based on gender, age, weight and activity levels. Syns can be used on ‘naughty’ or higher fat ingredients, anything from sweets and take aways to avocado and almonds. How can these things be in the same category, you ask?
A great SW leader or group will be a huge advocate of clean and natural foods, as these are not only ‘free’ foods (foods without any or low syns) but are also healthy and full of beneficial nutrients. For example, lean proteins like chicken and turkey breast, vegetables, whole fruit and whole grains, are all free or considered one of their Healthy Extra’s. However, as the principle of this diet is based on fat content, you will find that diet coke is a ‘free’ food and can be had in (basically) endless supply, but a piece of salmon will have to be ‘synned’ due to its natural but high fat content.
But its good fats!
I love this saying and thankfully we are starting to hear it a lot more, but what does it mean?
When we talk about ‘good fats’ we are often talking about various types of unsaturated fats, like salmon, avocado, nuts and olive oil. These fats are essential for a healthy balanced lifestyle, they provide slow release energy, help the body absorb vitamins, are great for brain health, controls inflammation, it keeps your body warm and gives us great looking hair and skin.
If my pals on SW wanted to have an avocado on toast with me, they would have to use over half to nearly all of their daily syns for the avocado – let alone any other meal or snack they have that day.
Now in an ideal world, they would use their syns on these healthy fats to create that balanced diet we all desire, but if they do, they would then have restrictions on their food choices throughout the rest of the day.
When in these Slimming World social media groups, I often see or hear my SW friends say they would rather use their syns on Freddo’s, (Who knew this delicious little frog could cause such controversy!) Now as horrifying as that seems to some of you, I for one, totally get it! Maybe because I have a sweet tooth, maybe because I’ve been on these diets before.
Slimming World is a weight loss group. The goal of the group is to lose weight! They have a simple plan to follow which is why it has so many fans and has great results for a lot of people. I think SW is a fantastic way to meet like minded people and to begin the journey to a healthier weight and lifestyle. Its not a complete journey, but its a great start. People that do little to no exercise, form bad eating habits and have now put on weight, get guidance, an easy to stick to plan and are encouraged to start changing their lifestyle. Yes, they can live on microwave meals, diet coke and no exercise and still lose weight but if this is how they start their journey, I guarantee its not how they finish it. I have seen, plenty of times, a person starts out on SW, feeling low and out of shape. When the weight starts to fall off, their confidence builds and they start to try gym classes or workouts with their friends. How can we dismiss this kind of progress or transformation?
If choosing a freddo over an avocado helps the client to stay on plan because they have enjoyed something ‘naughty’ then who are we to argue? Everybody is different. We have different shapes, goals and tastes and thats allowed! Those on Slimming World have a goal to lose weight and that is their focus for the time being. Ideally after time, when their goal weight is reached or within reaching distance they start to incorporate more healthy fats to really achieve that balanced diet. I believe the really good leaders in these groups, do try to achieve this.
My final word:
For the righteous amongst us, yes it may not be a wholly or complete, healthy diet or way of life, but for someone that doesn’t know where to start or has a long road ahead of them trying to lose weight, this is for them and this is how they have chosen to do it.
Is this the only way to lose weight? No
Do we want to recommend drinking Diet Coke? No
Is Slimming World effective? Yes.
So lets support them on their journey and let them get on with it.
I’d love to hear your feedback or what you want to see more of.
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