Committing to losing weight can feel daunting when we start to think about changing the way we eat, drink and exercise – it doesn’t need to be, though! At Slimming World, we base our weight loss plan on a deep understanding of the psychology of slimming. Our powerful combination of group or online support, a generous, flexible eating plan and a step-by-step activity programme has been helping members to form healthy new habits for more than 50 years.
We want everyone to feel fantastic this summer, so Slimming World’s head of research and scientific affairs, Dr Jacquie Lavin, is sharing her five top tips to help you make changes that you’ll want to stick to, leading to a lifestyle you’ll love and a great weight loss.
1. Step into summer
Deciding that we want to make some changes to help us feel happier and healthier is a fantastic first step. It’s the next part – sticking to those habits – that can be the bigger challenge. However, little changes can quickly add up to a healthier lifestyle. Jacquie Lavin says, “Taking small steps and having something to aim for can bring you tangible results – and seeing those results makes sticking with it easier. Adding an extra portion of vegetables to your evening meals every day makes them healthier without too much fuss. And, if you want to be more active, starting to build up gradually, for example, getting off the bus a stop earlier or taking the stairs instead of the lift, will give you a sense of achievement and reinforce your promises to yourself. Sharing your plans with fellow members at group also helps with commitment and motivation.”
Slimming World Consultant Debbie (@debbie_sw_plympton pictured in our main image) got stuck into a running challenge this summer. She says:
“Think my smile says it all today. Week 5, run 3 of Couch to 5k done! Wow it was hot, but I’m feeling really pleased with myself. 20 minutes of running with no walking breaks seemed a tall order but I did it!”
2. Get that sunshine feeling
Being on the same journey as others can be incredibly uplifting and – as we know now, more than ever – being together in person can be joyous. Slimming World groups are the ideal place to find like-minded people who have been through similar ups and downs to you. Sharing these experiences will help to build a strong bond and give you the inspiration and motivation you need to make those lifestyle changes. Jacquie says, “Our members tell us that the hour they spend with their friends at group each week is an opportunity to reflect on the week and it helps them to feel geared up for success. As well as the recipe and activity ideas and tips they get in group, the support they receive can help members to understand themselves as slimmers, too.” Jacquie adds, “Chatting about any challenges in a Slimming World group helps members to better understand their motivations and needs. They discover their own personal danger zones and find solutions by planning ahead.”
3. Love your summer routine
“Doing something regularly is the key to making new habits stick,” says Jacquie. “Fitting something into your routine this summer and doing it frequently will make it feel natural going forward. Adding a weekly batch-cooking session or workout in your diary could be a good idea, too, as making an appointment with yourself can make something more likely to happen. Talking to your fellow slimmers about your plans also helps to reinforce them. What’s more, having a regular routine is especially important during these unpredictable times, when healthy habits can help us feel more grounded.”
4. Plan for challenges
When you’re making a lasting lifestyle change, it’s normal to hit obstacles. Accepting this and being prepared for it will help you to move past any bumps. Jacquie says, “Look ahead and think about what may get in the way of your progress, then consider how you could overcome these stoppers. Having a strategy ready will help you to keep going, while visualising yourself facing the challenge and putting your plan into action will help you to overcome it when the moment arrives.” Being kind to ourselves, at all stages of a weight loss journey, is key to success. If you feel that a fear of change is holding you back, looking at your core reasons for wanting to slim could help. In Slimming World groups, members are encouraged to think about and share those deeper reasons and often find it helpful to talk through scenarios and find possible solutions to try.
MORE FOR MEMBERS: Our online feature Visualisation: Picture a slimmer you explains more about this simple, effective technique…
5. Enjoy walking on sunshine
Summer’s here and the time is right to… be more active! To help make any new behaviour something that you do frequently, it needs to fit in with your lifestyle and match your personal preferences. Jacquie explains, “If you want to be more active but hate running, there’s no point saying that you’ll go for a daily jog. Doing something you enjoy, like going for a gentle walk on a summer’s day, is much more likely to become a lasting habit.” Jacquie adds, “Forming habits which are meaningful to you and part of your daily life means you’ll be more likely to stick to them too, for example, walking part of your commute to work or getting your kids out of the house for an hour a day to enjoy a game of frisbee, a kick about in the park or a treasure hunt through the woods.”