Founded in 1969, Slimming World is the UK’s most advanced and effective weight management organisation. With thousands of weekly groups held across the UK, we influence millions of people each year to eat more healthily and adopt a more active lifestyle.
Slimming World’s philosophy is based on a deep understanding of how people with a weight problem feel, coupled with a passionate desire to help them achieve their goals. Over 47 years, our programme has been developed and refined in line with the latest thinking on nutrition, exercise and the psychology of behaviour change. As well as our comprehensive service for adults, we have a special programme for young people aged 11-15.
Slimming World groups are run by a network of Consultants, all of whom have been successful group members, and who work in their local community. Consultants receive specific training in dietary aspects of weight management, the role of physical activity and, importantly, effective facilitation of behaviour change. There is a strong management support structure with an emphasis on quality and consistency of service provision.
Our multi-component approach
Slimming World integrates three key principles to help people adopt a healthier lifestyle:
- A warm, empowering group environment - IMAGE Therapy - which supports members and facilitates behaviour change around eating and activity habits.
- A satisfying eating plan - Food Optimising - which promotes healthy eating patterns for life.
- An activity management programme - Body Magic - to help members gradually increase physical activity levels.
Our programme is a lifestyle programme. It’s not just a theory – it’s behaviour change in action. We create an environment that makes it easier for people to make healthy choices and changes, and we support them to make those changes. Unconditional caring support is the key.
Group support to facilitate behaviour change
Unique to Slimming World is powerful group support, skillfully designed to meet the needs of members. With the guarantee of confidentiality, compassion, empathy and empowering adult-to-adult guidance, members make step-by-step changes to their diet and activity levels.
Individual groups very much reflect the needs of their particular community. Slimming World Consultants are themselves members of the local community and facilitate group discussion and the sharing of ideas relevant to the local population, the group demographic and individual circumstances, eg financial constraints or ethnic preferences.
Offered across a range of days and at different times of day, the majority of sessions are held outside normal working hours. People working shifts are able to access different groups according to their shift pattern. Groups are usually held in easily accessible venues such as church and school halls, community centres and social clubs. This encourages a broad-based membership, including those people traditionally considered ‘hard to reach‘ by health programmes. Our data shows Slimming World’s membership comes from across all socioeconomic backgrounds demonstrating that deprivation is not a major barrier to attendance.
What happens in a Slimming World group?
As soon as a member walks through the doors of any Slimming World group, they can be assured of a warm welcome from their Consultant and fellow members – a group of really friendly people all at various stages of their weight loss journey.
Before they decide whether to join, their Consultant will explain Slimming World’s programme and they’ll be invited to observe a group session – and join in if they wish. If they decide to join, they’ll be weighed and enrolled by the Consultant at the end of the group.
Our group support system combines individual attention and group participation in a carefully structured forum. Group discussions range from practical sharing of tips and ideas to a deeper understanding of each individual’s danger zones and slimming pitfalls. On a practical level, there is strong emphasis on sharing favourite recipe ideas and discussing local stores’ special offers on healthy foods. There is also a focus on basic cooking skills rather than reliance on convenience foods, and general cooking tips are shared. Our advice and literature take cost, cultural preferences, cooking ability and time constraints into consideration.
For those in need of a deeper level of support, our Consultants have a number of methods and tools to help members become aware of individual obstacles and barriers to change and through carefully facilitated discussion, develop personal strategies to overcome them.
All sessions last for around 1hr 30mins, with additional support provided between groups in the form of a series of ‘lifelines’:
- Telephone, e-mail and text support from the Consultant and other group members
- Free online support from the Slimming World member website
- Slimming World magazine and recipe books.