Our review* of nearly 2,000 members who attend our virtual group sessions shows that, when our groups can’t meet in person, receiving support virtually is still highly effective.
Within six weeks of joining Slimming World:
- members lost an average of 7.4lbs (3.3kg)
- members lost on average 3.5% of their body weight
- men lost slightly more weight than women, averaging a 3.9% body weight loss
- 27% of members lost 5% (or more) of their body weight
- those who took part in more sessions lost more weight, with those attending at least five of the six sessions losing an average of 8.3lbs (3.8kg) or 4% of body weight
What is Slimming World virtual group?
Group support has always been at the heart of Slimming World. It gives an opportunity for our members to share their triumphs and challenges with their Consultant and fellow Slimming World members, without judgement, every week. So when our real-life groups had to temporarily close their doors due to lockdown restrictions, we wanted to do everything we could to protect our members’ weight loss progress.
This is where the Slimming World virtual group service stepped up. With sessions delivered through Zoom, our members can still meet for ‘face-to-face’ support every week (or they can keep their camera off, if they prefer – it’s the member’s choice). Just like our usual in-person group sessions, these virtual meetings are focused on helping members to form new healthy habits, including following our filling, flexible Food Optimising plan and finding simple ways to make activity part of their routine.
Knowing they’re still able to get the expert guidance of their trained Slimming World Consultant, and the care and support of those on the slimming journey alongside them, is crucial for many of our members. By temporarily going virtual, we’re able to ensure that no one misses out on their weekly boost of motivation, inspiration and that feeling of understanding and togetherness that comes from being part of a Slimming World group.
Slimming World member Danielle lost over 3st while attending virtual group during lockdown. She says:
“I’d only just joined Slimming World when the UK went into lockdown and my real-life group was temporarily suspended. Food Optimising was still so new to me and I worried that, without the support of my Consultant, Caroline, and my fellow members, I’d slip back into my old eating habits. When Caroline told me she was launching a Slimming World virtual group, I was relieved, but also a bit nervous. I was still incredibly self-conscious about my size and I didn’t feel ready to let everyone see me on a webcam.
“Caroline was very understanding and reassured me that I didn’t have to turn my camera on if I didn’t want to, but within a few minutes of our first virtual group getting under way, I realised I had nothing to worry about. Everyone was incredibly supportive, sharing tips and stories about how they’d been coping during lockdown, and no one cared what anyone else looked like. The next week, I turned my camera on and enjoyed getting more involved, sharing my own ideas and telling everyone how my week had gone.”
Health benefits of losing weight
As well as helping us to feel great, losing weight can bring a huge number of health benefits.
In our review, 27% of members lost 5% (or more) of their body weight, which is considered as clinically significant and can lead to:
- less joint pain
- improved mobility
- less breathlessness
- better sleep
- reduced blood pressure
- improved management of conditions such as type 2 diabetes
For many of us, the health and wellbeing benefits of losing weight are more important than ever. The members who took part in this review signed up to Slimming World on a discounted membership offered as part of our involvement in Public Health England’s Better Health campaign. The campaign aims to encourage millions of adults to focus on their health and reduce their risk of serious illness, including complications from Covid-19 – and our programme, based on over 51 years of experience, expertise and science, is used by the NHS to help people achieve real and lasting weight loss.
Dr Jacquie Lavin, Slimming World’s head of research and scientific affairs, who led the evaluation, says:
“These results highlight that, despite the difficulties we’re all facing as a result of lockdown restrictions, people accessing the invaluable support and community of Slimming World Consultants and groups – whether that be face-to-face when possible or virtually when needed – are getting their weight loss off to a great start and achieving significant weight loss in their first few weeks. They’re well on their way to achieving that first step of a clinically significant loss of 5% of their weight (and some have even achieved this within their first six weeks), which can start to bring many health benefits.
These findings highlight how we’re supporting members to form new healthy habits, make changes and enjoy success despite restrictions, which is more important than ever when we consider the links between obesity and Covid-19, and the impact of lockdown on people’s diet and activity behaviours and mental health.”
*Researchers at Slimming World evaluated data from 1,935 members who attended a virtual Slimming World as part of a discounted membership offer with Public Health England’s Better Health campaign. 1,733 people attended in-person and virtual groups due to restrictions changing during their membership, while 202 people attended all sessions virtually.