Making changes that stick this summer
Slimming World’s Head of Research and Scientific Affairs Dr Jacquie Lavin offers the following tips to not only help you lose weight this summer but to love the changes you make meaning you’re more likely to stick to them and you’ll feel incredible
Committing to losing weight can often feel daunting when we start to think about changes to the way we eat, drink and exercise – but it doesn’t need to be! Slimming World is based on a deep understanding of the psychology of slimming. It’s been helping members form new healthy habits to help them lose weight and stay slim for life for more than 50 years, through a powerful combination of group support, a generous flexible eating plan and an incremental activity programme.
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 changes – that can be the bigger challenge however little changes can quickly add up to a healthier lifestyle. Dr Jacquie 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 and making small changes helps to give a sense of achievement and reinforces your promises to yourself. Sharing your plans with fellow members at group also helps with commitment and motivation.”
Get that sunshine feeling
Being on the same journey as others can be incredibly uplifting and encouraging and as we know now more than ever, being together, in person, can be joyous. Slimming World groups are the ideal place to find those like-minded people who can help to inspire, support and motivate you. You may find other people wishing to lose weight have experienced similar ups and downs to you. Sharing these experiences will help to bond you together and give you the inspiration and motivation you need to make those lifestyle changes. Dr Jacquie says, “Our members tell us the hour they spend each week with their friends at group is an opportunity to make reflections on the week and it helps them to feel geared up for success. As well as the inspiration and tips they get from their friends in group, the motivation and support they receive can help members to understand themselves as a slimmer too.”
Chatting and sharing experiences in a Slimming World group helps slimmers to get a better understanding of their motivations and needs. They discover their own personal danger zones and find solutions by planning ahead.
Love your summer routine
“Doing something regularly is key to helping new habits stick,” says Dr 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 it more likely to happen. Talking to your fellow slimmers about your plans also helps to reinforce them. Having a regular routine is especially important during these unpredictable times, when healthy habits can help us feel more grounded.”
Plan for challenges and avoid summertime sadness
When you’re trying to make a lasting lifestyle change, it’s normal to hit obstacles along the way. Accepting this and being prepared for it will help you to move past any bumps. Being kind to ourselves, at all stages of our weight-loss journeys, is key to success. If you feel like anxiety around change is holding you back, looking at your core reasons 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 for possible solutions to try – which can boost motivation when it’s most needed.
Look ahead and think about what may get in the way of your progress, then consider how you could overcome these stoppers. Having an action plan ready will help you to keep going, while visualising yourself facing the stopper and putting your plan into action will help you practice overcoming it.
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 be something that fits in with your lifestyle and matches your personal likes and dislikes. Dr 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. Aiming to do an activity you enjoy, like a gentle walk on a summer’s day can be incredibly uplifting and it’s much more likely to become a lasting habit.” Jacquie adds, “Forming habits which are meaningful and part of your daily life means you’re more likely to stick to it 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.”
Slimming World was founded by Margaret Miles-Bramwell OBE in Derbyshire in 1969 and has become the UK and Ireland’s leading weight loss organisation with more people choosing to attend a Slimming World group each week than any other weight loss programme. We support hundreds of thousands of people, both in our groups and online, to lose weight and to adopt new habits to stay slim for life.
Over the years our founding principles haven’t changed:
- Our unique programme is based on a powerfully motivating support system called IMAGE (Individual Motivation and Group Experience) Therapy. Underpinned by a deep understanding of the psychology of overweight people, and incorporating the most effective sustainable behaviour change techniques, IMAGE Therapy is designed to inspire and motivate slimmers to make positive changes and to develop new, healthier habits around food and activity.
- Food Optimising is our healthy eating plan, based on the liberating concept of Free Food. We encourage our members to fill up on those foods that are naturally lower in energy density (calories per gram) and also highly satisfying while limiting foods that are highest in fat and sugar and are less satisfying, so they lose weight without ever feeling hungry or deprived and without having to weigh, measure or count everything they eat.
- Our activity programme, Body Magic, encourages members to become more active, more often in ways that they enjoy, until regular physical activity becomes an intrinsic part of daily routine.
- Above all, at the heart of everything we do, lies our passion for treating every member with genuine care, empathy and respect.
We’re proud to work with the NHS, Public Health England, The Royal College of Midwives and others to help shape the future of weight management in the UK.