Dieting Tips: Things I’ve Learnt Losing My First 3 ½ Stone

I joined slimming world at the end of August 2012 and up till now I have lost just over 3 ½ stone, pretty good going for 5 months but that’s not to say it’s been easy, far from it. I’m only half way through my journey at the moment until I get into maintenance mode and there are a few things that I have learnt along the way that I think will help other people out there that are just beginning their journey and that’s what I want to share with you today; some of them will relate to slimming world directly and others with be to do with health and weight loss in general but they all tie in together, so lets get right into it shall we!

Slimming World…Does it work?

Slimming world does work, there is tons of proof out there to see for yourself, sure I don’t like everything they say, do or recommend but on a whole their plans work and should be followed. I’ve tried other plans before such as Weight Watchers and Atkins but they didn’t work for me…don’t get me wrong I’m not saying they can’t work, I just think slimming world is an easier, more simpler system to follow that can be maintained indefinitely.

Finding a good meeting & going

This is ESSENTIAL to success in my eyes, the support, hint, tips and ideas that you can get from the weekly meetings is amazing it really is, there is no one judging you there as your all in the same boat, everyone wants to lose weight and together it can be done.

Not only are meetings great for information and socializing with others that are in the same situation as your they are also hold you accountable for the effort you put into losing weight; by gaining weight and not attending class you are keeping it to yourself and let’s be honest, it was yourself that got you into this mess (I’m no exception) so thinking that you can “deal with it” is unrealistic.

There’s nothing I love more than going to Mondays class and getting a round of applause for losing weight, people asking how I’ve done it, anything new and even being slimmer of the week or month but there is also the times when you gain weight that them same people are there fighting your corner to help you, suggest new things and trying and find where you went wrong, so my biggest tip here is….GO TO CLASS!

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The last thing I want to say about the weekly classes is it has to be a good one that’s full of life, fortunately mines great, very lively and active with lots of stuff always going on; it’s more of a laugh than anything else which is fantastic. Unfortunately their not all the same, I’m not going to name the class here but I once had to attend a different class to get weighed in and oh my god, it was the most depressing place I had ever been, it really was, don’t get me wrong the leader and members were polite, its just it had no life or soul…truth be told if I had started at that class when I first joined slimming world I would have quit and fallen off the wagon NO DOUBT!

I don’t want you to use this as an excuses though, my tip is give your class a go and if its not doing anything for you then try another, their all over the place and I’m sure you will find one that fits your needs and gives you the feeling of “oh yeah I’m enjoying this”.

PLAN, PLAN & PLAN Some More!

This tip is HUGE and shouldn’t be taken lightly, planning what you’re going to eat play’s a massive role in whether you’ll succeed of fail.

Think of it this way;
You’ve had a busy day at work, you’re tired, you get home, walk into the kitchen and dread fills your body at the very thought of having to cook something healthy & on plan; you think to yourself for a minute and then decide to take a bath/shower to freshen up and then you’ll deal with cooking. Fresh out of the tub and in your jimjams your still not warming to the idea of cooking, fast forward 15/20 minutes and you’ve either called for a takeaway of your shoved some processed crap in the oven!

Now I’m no story teller but even I think I done a pretty good job there!

Now if you had planned your evening meal it would have worked out like this;
You’ve had a busy day at work, you’re tired, you get home, walk into the kitchen straight to the freezer to takeout your homemade frozen meal, pop on a tray and whack it in the oven, go jump in the bath/shower. In your PJ’s you head back to the kitchen, put a pan on the hob for some rice/pasta/veg, flick through the TV while you’re waiting for things to boil/cook, 10 minutes later your sat in front of the box eating an awesome dinner that’s fresh, homemade, healthy and on plan!

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Which scenario one sounds better to you? I know which one I prefer, sure it does take some extra time 1 evening/weekend a month but it’s so worth it, batch cooking your meals is the way forward and will keep you out of so much trouble when your most vulnerable.

UPDATE: While we’re talking about planning, I recommend you checking out my slimming world guide to bulk preparing sandwiches, they save you tons of time, there cheap and very low syns!

Setting Goals

I’m a big believer of setting goals, I wasn’t at the beginning but since I’ve started setting them they’ve completely changed the way I think. Without a goal weight in mind how do you know what your aiming for, it’s like driving your car around aimlessly, its pointless right!

setting weight loss goals

Set yourself some goals and figure out a plan to achieve them realistically, don’t forget you can always change them when you start getting close to goal weight.

Exercise…Really, It’s fun!

Exercise never really sat well with me, truthfully I never like anything that involved movement at all. When I first decided to do some exercise I tried Tapout XT which was simply too ambitious, my fitness level was nowhere near ready for that kind of workout.

I then decided to join the gym with my friend and it’s been the best thing I’ve ever done! (NEVER thought I’d say that!) I’m really enjoying it, sure it was hard to start with but sticking to it has really aided my weight loss; I love seeing improvements in my stamina, fitness levels and seeing changes in my body…seeing muscle growth is AWESOME!

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My top two tips for exercise are,
One, increase your exercises every time you do them, for instance if you’re doing walking and you start at 10 minutes, the next walk you, go for 12 minutes then 14, 16, 18 etc; as you can see it can increase very quickly and it’s a great motivation tool, once you get to about 45 minutes then you should start increasing the intensity, raising your heart rate and making sure you sweat. This tip works well with all cardio exercises.

Two, find a workout partner that wants to lose weight or get fit, going to the gym with my friend has helped me so much, when you make arrangements with yourself and miss them you tend not to be too bother but when you make plans with a friend/workout partner you have to be there otherwise your letting them down as well as yourself; that’s how I see it anyway and it’s done wonders for me.


Food is the biggest part we all have problems with while on a diet but I have found a few tricks that have helped me along the way.

  • Muller Light Yogurts, these are great for a sweet snack anytime of the day and most of them are free on all slimming world plans.
  • Pudding Rice, this stuff is great and can be boiled like standard rice, cooled and then added to Muller lights to make a copy Muller Rice that’s syn free, there also really filling and can get you out of a tight spot when you’re hungry!
  • Chobani Yogurts, I have got so much love for these yogurts it’s unreal, their packed full of protein, vitamins and minerals and there so filling. At 2 syns each I think there a steal and I eat them after a gym session to help my body recover.
  • Smoked Salmon, great with eggs, in sandwiches and salads.
  • Quorn Chicken, I’m coming round to quorn more and more these days and their chicken pieces are great to chuck in eggs, sandwiches, stir fry’s and almost anything really.
  • Asda Cumberland chipolatas (fresh extra special range), now these are the best, they taste fantastic, their only 1 syn each and at £2.65 a pack, what more could you ask for!
  • Sugar Free Chewing Gum & Polo’s, I live on this stuff, they are a few syns but along as you don’t eat them by the box you’ll be fine (I’ve never worried)
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Don’t expect too much….forgive and forget!

I made this mistake and it’s quite a fall when the inevitable happens. When I first started I was adamant that I wasn’t going to put on any weight any week, only losses; it was going great and then like a bolt out the blue I put on a pound (big deal right?!?!) and it really hit me hard, moral of this story is don’t expect yourself to be perfect, after doing this for a while I would put money on it that everyone will at some point gain one week, all you need to remember is it will come off…IT WILL.

Something that goes very well with expectations is the bad days that you will have (we all do) when you go off plan and just eat junk food. I have found the best way to deal with these days are simple, enjoy it while you’re doing it, acknowledge it’s wrong and then forget about it a move on.

The worst thing you can do is get depressed and angry with yourself  for eating something as this will just lead to eating more in the form of comfort eating and it will be extremely hard to stop and get out of the vicious circle. Understand this, it WILL happen, ALLOW every once in a while, MOVE on the next day and you will be fine.

Closing thoughts & quick recap

I could go on and on about things I’ve learnt along the way but I’m probably boring you now (hopefully not!) and you’ve done so well to get to this point. Like I said it hasn’t been easy losing 3 ½ stone but it has been the best thing I’ve ever done and I’m so happy I’m losing weight.

Below is a short summary of what we’ve just gone over but in bullet points, I suggest printing them out and stick them on your fridge to remind you daily. It will be a long and hard journey but I know deep down you want it so much and you CAN do, you just need to take the first step.

Hints, Tips & Advice for Losing Weight

  • Your dieting plan does and will work if you stick to it!
  • Attending classes, interacting and sharing with others will greatly help.
  • Planning is the key, plan what you’re going to eat in advance and you won’t go wrong.
  • Set yourself some goals, you have to aim for something!
  • Exercise, find a buddy and get moving, you’ll love it once you start.
  • Food! Mix it up every once in a while, never stop hunting for new recipes, hint, tips and ideas.
  • Don’t expect too much from yourself and espically don’t beat yourself up for a bad day, shake it off and move on!
  • Lastly have FUN! Remember your changing yourself for the better and it takes time…enjoy it.

I’m hear to help you on your journey to losing weight, leave a comments below and ask anything you want to know and I’ll do my best to answer you.

    Darran Mansfield

    Hi! I'm Darran Mansfield, I've been on the Slimming World diet for about 10 months, and I've lost 5 and a half stone (74lbs/34kgs), I'm by no means a weight loss expert, but I do have first hand experience, and that's what I'm here to share with you. I'm looking for a healthy, sustainable lifestyle that's enjoyable yet maintainable in today's modern life. If that's what you want, you should stick around, I'm sure you'll find something helpful and don't forget to say hi to me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Instagram.

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