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Abolish the Myths - Reading for Newbies


Getting fit for 30!
S: 25st5lb C: 25st5lb G: 11st1lb BMI: 54 Loss: 0st0lb(0%)
Right bear with me as this is going to be a long one!

Looking around the forum lately I’ve noticed a couple of common themes;
I hardly have any syns and no healthy extras and I’m still not loosing weight”
or “I’ve been on the plan X amount of weeks and I’ve suddenly had a gain or I keep getting STS”

Up until this point I’d been answering them all individually, so I decided to make this thread. This is also a guide for newbies to understand the plan - a little knowledge is a danergous thing!!

Rule of this thread:

Let’s talk about the plan and how each bit works:

Free Foods

Free foods are called free because you can have as much as you want without feeling guilty. No measuring, no weight - just eat until you're full.

Green Day
carbohydrates fill you up and slowly release energy (good for diabetics) rice, pasta and potatoes. Pulses lentils and grains.

Red day
protein fills you up and keeps hunger pangs away. Lean meat and some fish.

These foods are chosen as they fill you up quick and keep you full up for longer.

Super Free Foods
Super free foods are simply those that are free on both days; fruit and vegetables, Mullerlight yoghurts, Bovril, Herbs, Soy Sauce to name a few!

Speed Foods
These foods are called as such because they are low or extra-low in energy desity (minimal calories for its volume) and so can speed up your weight loss.

Healthy Extra’s

A’s and B’s 2 or 4 depending on the day. Healthy Extra’s are in the plan to make sure we get the nutrients our body needs; protein, carbohydrates, fibre, calcium, and fat. Plus all the vitamins and minerals we need. The reason these foods are limited is because whilst they are good for us, when eaten in excess they cause weight gain – so it’s very important to measure them correctly and not to guesstimate. (Each HE is approx 6 syns if you want to have additional amounts and syn them)


Syns are everything that don't fit into the category of free food or healthy extra - it's not just "treats" like chocolate, wine, sweets, biscuits etc.(although these do have a syn value). It can be things like gravy, butter, stuffing, additional Healthy Extra's like cheese, milk and bread. Syns are there so you don’t feel deprived or have to cut anything out. We all like a nice treat, whether it be a big bar of chocolate or gallons of gravy on our Sunday dinner, but too much causes weight gain.
Everything that isn’t a FF or HE has a syn number the number depends on how calorie dense it is. i.e. how many calories it has for its volume, and how quickly it turns to energy.

The reason peoples weight loss slows down, or they start to gain when the try not to have any syns, is because the body isn't getting enough calories to function and goes into starvation mode and hold on to everything - what you've got and what you give it.


Plateaus and weight gains after being on SW for a while;

First and foremost - don't beat yourself up, you are only human it happens to everyone - if you genuinely have no idea why you have sts or gained read on for some encouragement :)

The first question of course is have you stuck to the plan 100%? If the answer is no, then that is probably your answer. Go back to day one, read your food diary and weight loss diary if you have one. Do everything by the book, just like you did in week one and watch the weight drop off. Chances are you’ve been “cheating” for a while, had an extra glass of wine each week and got away with it, but it catches up on you. If you have been 100% and you’re being honest read on!

There are many other reasons why you may stay the same, have plataeu's or gain even though you've stuck 100%

Firstly Slimming World will not work for everyone, just like every diet. No eating plan will work for 100% of people 100% of the time. It could also be the plan, are you doing Only red days? Only green days? Only extra easy? Trying mixing them up a bit and see if your weight loss improves.

Certain medications can cause weight gain. Things like steroids, some pain killers, diabetic drugs, anti-depressents and I'm sure many others.

Hormounes - at that time of the month for us girlies, its star week and during this time the body holds on to water.

Stress is another contributor to weight gain.

So are some medical conditions;
hypothyroidism is one - a deficiency of thyroid hormone can decrease metabolism, causing appetite loss and weight gain

Many other reasons include;

  • Lack of sleep
  • Menopause
  • Age
  • Giving Up Smoking
This is not an exhaustive list, but it may be worth pointing out that if your gains happen for a extensive period of time it may be worth a visit to your GP incase you are suffering with hypothyroidism or any other symptoms that could be related to your weight gain. (Thanks to Taz for pointing the above out to me, big credit to her)

Metabolism – we hear a lot about this when it comes to weight loss, but what is it? Basically it’s the name given for the process of your body burning calories. Muscles are the biggest contributor to metabolic rate. Muscle need a lot more calories to survive that fat does.

The more muscle you have the more calories you burn. If you are not eating enough – not using your syns for example - then your body will burn muscle for energy before it burns the fat stores and if you’ve got less muscle then your metabolism slows down and you won’t burn fat! A vicious circle. Think of it like a fire, instead of using petrol to fuel the flames, it uses water – the stuff you need to put it out!

If you’re starving yourself to loose weight, you may loose weight, but you are loosing the very thing you need to loose fat!

Now that’s explained lets talk about why you're plateau-ing or gaining if you’re doing the plan 100%. Say you used to weigh 15st, now you weigh 12st. You body needs less energy to survive because there is less of you. Basically there’s 3st less of you to carry about, so you need to use less energy. (Try walking around all day with two bags of flour on your back to see what I'm talking about)

Now may be the time to start exercising to gain more muscle for those fat stores to be used on. If you are already exercising, perhaps increase the amount of cardio and increase the weights in your strength training. (You actually burn more fat after you finish exercising - a process called afterburn.)

Exercise doesn't mean going to the gym, even sitting at home with some baked bean tins watching the telly. Try this link for ideas to do at home.

If exercise isn't really an option try reducing your syns – only by 2-3 to start with and always discuss it with your consultant if you attend a group.

Remember that muscle is a lot denser than fat so weighs more in the same amount of space. Have you kept track of your measurements as well as your weight? Remember the difference between loosing weight and loosing body fat. You may be loosing fat at a similar rate as gaining muscle and that is why the scales appear to be stuck!

Oh before I forget one more myth to clear up FAT DOES NOT TURN INTO MUSCLE AND VICE VERSA they are two completely different entities, its like a can of coke spontaneously turning into a puppy – it wont happen!!

So in summary;

  • Make sure you use all three components of SW, Free Foods – fill up, Healthy Extra’s – measure properly, Syns – use them to your advantage
  • Make sure you doing the plan 100% before you give in – check your diary
  • Make sure you are loosing body fat not just weight – make sure you’re eating enough
  • Don’t be upset if you get a gain – after all if could be muscle
  • Don't beat yourself up for being human - there could be hundreds of reasons why you haven't lost this week
  • Keep track of your measurements – as well as your weight
  • Don’t give up – keep going!

I think that’s it – if you’ve gotten this far then congratulations and I wish you luck on your fat loss mission!

If you’ve read all this then anything and everything is possible.

Any questions just ask. Good luck everyone!!

Natt xxx
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Slow but sure....
S: 22st0lb C: 19st7lb G: 10st0lb BMI: 55.1 Loss: 2st7lb(11.36%)
Thank you Squiddie, that is very helpful, many thanks for posting.


Silver Member
S: 20st2lb C: 18st9lb G: 14st0lb BMI: 42.1 Loss: 1st7lb(7.45%)
Thanks, very helpful


I'm the tortoise.
S: 10st1lb C: 9st7.5lb G: 8st8lb BMI: 23.6 Loss: 0st7.5lb(5.32%)
Squiddie you're a star. I keep telling people this too, only in a more limited form, of 'Trust the Plan' and 'Do what it says'. Cheers for this.


Gold Member
S: 14st4lb C: 14st4lb G: 11st0lb BMI: 32.3 Loss: 0st0lb(0%)
Awsome post, thanks! I was lacking motivation due to my weight loss slowing down but this has picked me right up again xx

The Maid

Full Member
G: 10st3lb
Great post. The only thing with exercise for me now is coping with a back & a knee injury. Have given up the gym and go swimming once a week with daughter and walk as much as poss. with family. Have got my Silver Body Magic sticker doing this.


Getting fit for 30!
S: 25st5lb C: 25st5lb G: 11st1lb BMI: 54 Loss: 0st0lb(0%)
Thta bloody brilliant! I know how hard exercising can be as I'm disabled. Any activity is better than none at all! Swimming is one of the best forms of exercise there is. One you can do at home, with no equipment (and is good for back pain) is to sit on the edge af a chair, keeping your knee's and hips forward and twist to left and then round to the right - do it 12 times! :D

The Maid

Full Member
G: 10st3lb
Are you getting enough sleep, Natt? You know that there is a correlation between insufficient sleep and overeating fattening things! I didn't sleep well last night due to a sore throat and I can hear the kit kats calling to me but I will resist (resistance isn't futile!).


Getting fit for 30!
S: 25st5lb C: 25st5lb G: 11st1lb BMI: 54 Loss: 0st0lb(0%)
I don't sleep very well at all often have sleepless nights or constantly waking up due to my disability and I had noticed the relation. Also did you know you burn approx 400 calories in 8 hours sleep? I meant to add a bit about sleep and a bit about water to the end of my post but I thought it was long enough!! (I'll do it now:p)

Drink atleast 1.5l of water a day and even more in the summer.
Get enough sleep!

Cheers "The Maid" x

The Maid

Full Member
G: 10st3lb

Unfortunately, I can't do any twisting movements due to my back problem. Did you know that Rosemary Conley did a workout video (may be on DVD) which includes a chair workout especially for people who are unable to participate in standing exercises? It's called "Rosemary Conley's Ultimate Whole Body Workout".
Excellent post Natt. Going to print it off and give to my friend who is 'struggling' with SW at moment. Keep telling her to sign on her but she hasn't yet. Find this site so helpful.
Totally agree about drinking plenty of water, I sometimes think I am hungry when actually thirsty! Been drinking lots of water for years now and find I have a headache, (or feel hungry) when don't drink it. You may find out lots of extra trips to the toilet when you increase your water intake but honestly makes you feel better in the end.


Mad old Bat with Attitude
S: 14st5lb
There's also a chair exercise dvd on Amazon. Great post by the way squiddie!
S: 15st11lb C: 15st4lb G: 11st11lb BMI: 39.1 Loss: 0st7lb(3.17%)
i can only echo the above thank you for this post i am gonna print off your good words of advice. its true if you follow it to you will lose.


slow but steady!
S: 12st1lb C: 9st8.5lb G: 9st0lb BMI: 24.6 Loss: 2st6.5lb(20.41%)
great post thanks! i always use my syns each day! :) thats coz i need my chocolate or crisps fix!



Silver Member
S: 20st5lb C: 20st5lb G: 12st7lb BMI: 53.8 Loss: 0st0lb(0%)
Spot on, well done.

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