About Slimming World
Since 1969 Slimming World has been dedicated to helping people lose weight, improve their health and wellbeing, and lead happier, healthier lives.
Way ahead of her time, founder Margaret Miles-Bramwell recognised that being overweight carries a double burden. There is the weight itself and then there is the burden of guilt, self-criticism and low self-esteem.
Margaret knew that for long-term success slimmers need to feel good about themselves and take control of their own lives. She believes that slimmers should have the opportunity to make their own choices, so that they can take responsibility and gain satisfaction from the improvements they achieve.
With 9,500 groups set in the heart of local communities and over 400,000 members attending each week, Slimming World’s success is based around the three pillars of nutrition (Food Optimising), behaviour change techniques based on a deep understanding of the psychology of overweight people (Image Therapy) and activity (Body Magic). The company continues to invest in research and best practice to ensure the highest level of service to its members.
How Slimming World works
Slimming World’s ultra flexible Food Optimising eating plan gives slimmers the freedom to eat to satisfy their appetite, keep their favourite treats on the menu and still lose weight.
Based around satiating low energy dense ‘Free Foods’ like fruit and vegetables, pasta, rice, potatoes, eggs, lean meat and fish, the plan guides users to choose healthy and filling foods that satisfy their appetite for fewer calories. At Slimming World Free Foods can be eaten in unlimited quantities, so there’s no need to ever feel hungry or deprived. To encourage a healthy balanced diet, the plan also includes daily measured portions of ‘Healthy Extra’ foods like dairy, and fibre rich foods like wholemeal bread or cereal. At the same time nothing is banned, so slimmers can still indulge in their favourite treats – whether chocolate, wine, or something else altogether – as long as they stay within their daily ‘Syns’ count.
IMAGE Therapy stands for Individual Motivation and Group Experience and is at the very heart of Slimming World.
This powerful group support system motivates and empowers members, building their confidence through weekly discussion sessions and through setting goals and rewarding achievements, so that members realise that they have the power to make gradual positive changes in their lives.
In group trained Consultants facilitate a culture of warmth, empathy, good humour and mutual respect as members share knowledge and experiences. Working together as a group to develop practical solutions to problems, members gain the confidence and power to overcome their individual barriers to changing the habits of a lifetime.
Body Magic, Slimming World’s stage-by-stage activity programme, helps members to overcome their fear of exercise to find their own personal, enjoyable and sustainable ways of becoming more active.
Many overweight people associate exercise with embarrassment, humiliation or impossible targets. However by redefining what is seen as activity and recognising (and rewarding!) everyday things like walking, gardening and washing the car, Body Magic gives members the confidence to take those crucial first steps until being active is as much a daily habit as brushing their teeth.
Slimming World’s unique initiatives
Slimming World on Referral
Slimming World on Referral supports the NHS by allowing health professionals to refer overweight patients to Slimming World groups for specialist weight management support.
Meeting best practice guidelines for working with commercial weight management companies, as set out by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), the pioneering Slimming World on Referral scheme was first trialled in 2001 and is now in operation in over 70 health trusts.
Group attendance, which is ‘prescribed’ by GPs, nurses and other health professionals in blocks of 12 weeks, is funded by the NHS and subsidised by Slimming World.
Research published in the Journal of Public Health shows that, on average, patients lose 6.4% of their body weight over 12 weeks, leading to significant improvements in wellbeing. Upon completion, more than half of patients go on to self-fund, meaning that health improvements continue long after costs to the NHS have ceased.
Tackling the problem of child obesity, Slimming World’s Family Affair programme enables young people aged 11-15 to attend group free of charge as long as they have the support of their parent/guardian and their GP.
Encouraging a whole family approach, the scheme helps guide young people and their parents to make healthier food and lifestyle choices for the benefit of all.
With a flexible approach and a focus on healthy lifestyle changes rather than losing weight, Family Affair gives young people the tools they need to manage their weight and their health into adulthood and throughout their life.
The scheme was introduced in 2006 and now attracts more than 10,000 young people each year.
Supporting expectant and new mums
Slimming World is the only national community weight loss club to support women through every stage of pregnancy, from pre-conception to post-natally.
Guidance by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends that for women who are overweight or obese, losing as little as 5-10% of weight before pregnancy can have significant health benefits. At the same time even modest weight retention after pregnancy is now known to increase the risk of problems in the next pregnancy.
Research shows that women who join Slimming World to lose weight before or after pregnancy find that they and their families eat more healthily and have become more active. And while 72% of members who are mums say they have previously found it difficult to lose their baby weight, four out of five report being happy with their rate of weight loss since they joined Slimming World.
Online support with Slimming World
For members who are able to attend the weekly group meetings, Lifeline Online is a free resource that provides extra support between sessions.
Inspiring articles and delicious recipes from Slimming World are constantly updated. At the same time members contribute recipes and send in inspiring letters to be published on the site, helping to strengthen the community feelings enjoyed in group.
Slimming World Online
For people who want to lose weight the Slimming World way but are unable to attend a group, Slimming World Online is the online solution for a healthy weight loss.
Online members track their weight loss success and build a personal profile of their likes and dislikes, allowing Slimming World to suggest delicious Food Optimising menus from a database of hundreds of recipes and allowing the support team to signpost motivating and inspiring features relevant to the individual member.
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