For Frankie, simply counting calories was never going to work. She needed help understanding her relationship with food, so she could then tackle her eating habits for good. With ongoing support from her Slimming World group, she’s now enjoying the freedom to indulge her passions for food and fashion, while looking forward to a fitter, healthier future…
A shaky start to slimming
A few things happened that led to me joining Slimming World in 2019. First of all, I’d celebrated my 30th birthday with an amazing family holiday in Dubrovnik, but seeing the photos and realising that I’d gained over a stone was devastating. Then, my boyfriend, Richard, proposed and we set a date for the following May. At 13st 7lbs, I knew that something had to change, so I started counting calories. I did see some results on the scales, but I found it really difficult to stick to. I’d often go over my allowed calories, then I’d try to repair the damage by eating less or exercising more the next day. I felt hungry a lot of the time and I soon gave up.
Wedding dress woes
In September 2019, I excitedly ordered my dream wedding dress online, but when it arrived, it didn’t fit. I was gutted. As fate would have it, a leaflet for Slimming World also found its way through my letterbox that day. My friend had recently joined a local group and was doing really well and I’d also seen lots of gorgeous pictures of Slimming World dishes on Instagram, which appealed to me as a foodie, so I decided to give it a go.
When members first join Slimming World, they’re often really surprised by what they can eat. Unlimited Free Food – including lean meat, fish, eggs, fruit, veg, pasta, rice, pulses and potatoes – frees us from worrying about weighing, measuring or counting. Measured Healthy Extras provide essential nutrients, particularly fibre and calcium, and foods with a Syn value mean that we can indulge in things that may be banned on a typical eating plan – such as chocolate, crisps or alcohol – in moderation and completely guilt-free!
Understanding my secret eating
I was nervous walking through the doors of my nearest group in Manchester, though I told myself that I only needed to try it once, to see if I liked it. It turned out that I loved it! I immediately knew that it was the right place for me. Having that support and being surrounded by people who wanted to take losing weight seriously was so important, and a world away from my DIY approach with calorie counting.
Joining Slimming World definitely helped me to better understand my relationship with food. I realised that I was a ‘secret eater’, easily polishing off whole packets of biscuits when Richard was out. In group I learned to recognise my ‘snacking’ danger zones – usually before teatime when I’m bored or just before bed. Once I understood why this was happening, I was able to put strategies in place to break the habit. It wasn’t until I started going to group that the changes I needed to make really started to stick.
We understand that emotions play a huge part in weight and weight loss, and to be able to make lasting changes, many of us will need to tackle those deep-rooted underlying triggers. Slimming World members have access to a full set of tools and techniques, to help recognise any self-sabotage traps, break free from old habits and create new habits that will help us become happier and healthier.
A freeing approach to food
I soon discovered that Food Optimising is really easy to follow and not restrictive at all. I was surprised to learn I could eat carbs – including pasta. I’ve also learnt to pack my meals with at least one-third fruit and veg. I’ve never eaten so many vegetables before and I feel so much better for it! The biggest difference between the Slimming World approach and calorie counting is the focus on what I can have, rather than what I should cut out. Going to my Slimming World group also gives me the space I need to think about the week ahead and plan, so I can get the result I want at the next weigh-in.
Frankie’s daily menu
Breakfast: Nothing or a cinnamon bun from the local bakery at the weekend
Lunch: Cheese on crumpets or sourdough toast with lots of butter
Dinner: Pizza or takeaway with no veg
Breakfast: Berries and yogurt or cereal with oat milk. At the weekend, I make baked oats with chopped nuts and mixed berries
Lunch: Lentil dahl, vegetable soup or a chicken and feta salad with loads of cherry tomatoes and crunchy leaves
Snacks: Tangerines and a Curly Wurly
Dinner: Spaghetti bolognese or chickpea curry with lots of rice and vegetables
Tackling takeaways and eating out
I love planning meals and cooking – and the Food Optimising plan makes it really easy to eat well. Now when I’m craving a takeaway, I check if I’ve got chicken, soy sauce, honey and garlic. I know I can make something in 20 minutes and it will be much healthier, taste just as good and it’ll save me money, too!
I also enjoy eating out, and there are lots of amazing places in Manchester to choose from. We headed out to one of my favourite restaurants, Dishoom, to celebrate my husband’s 40th birthday recently, and I chose a delicious roasted chicken tikka dish, with a small roti and grilled sweetcorn. I loved my meal and I lost 2lbs that week!
While the simplicity of Food Optimising and the support in group helped me to completely change my relationship with food, Slimming World’s Body Magic programme enabled me to make exercise a habit, too. I began working out at home every day, doing a mixture of yoga, HIIT sessions and dance workouts. I also started running, following the Couch to 5K app and I’ve recently completed two 10K runs. My fitness levels have gone up massively!
The Slimming World Body Magic programme encourages our members to get active, giving them the freedom to go at their own pace and find activities that they enjoy. Whatever your fitness levels, the programme will help you to build up your activity, step by step, with awards to celebrate your success along the way.
A lovely low-key wedding day
Due to the lockdown restrictions last May, we ended up having our beautiful wedding ceremony in December 2020. With just 12 people attending Manchester Town Hall, it was a smaller celebration than we’d originally planned – but it was still a perfect day. Having dropped four dress sizes from a 16 to an 8, the original wedding gown (that I’d been heartbroken to find was too small) was now far too big, so I had to buy another one – a stunning vintage-style dress in a stand-out orange! Buying pre-loved fashion is a huge passion of mine and I’ll be able to do it more now I don’t have to source plus-size pieces.
I wanted to make my 30s the best they could be, and I feel that, by joining Slimming World, I now have the freedom to do just that! My health has improved so much, I’m fitter and I have loads more energy. I can breathe and move more easily, too. Even my skin’s better than it was! Slimming World has helped me to understand and overcome my challenges with food, and given me a way to eat healthily without ever worrying about counting calories or compensating for any slip-ups. I’m starting married life feeling happier, healthier and excited for what the future holds!
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