How Slimming World works

Slimming World members lose weight through a combination of our healthy eating plan, Food Optimizing; an activity program, called Body Magic, that encourages members to develop a regular activity regime; and unmatched support for behavior change based on the most up to date techniques and a deep understanding of the psychological and emotional impact of weight.

Who we are

Founded in 1969, Slimming World is the U.K.’s favorite way to lose weight*. And now, we’re bringing this program to life online in the U.S.A.

Slimming World transforms the lives of people who struggle with their weight with a healthy eating plan that offers freedom from hunger and guilt, and by helping them gain the confidence, know-how and motivation they need to successfully lose weight and lead happier, healthier lives. In short, Slimming World offers a long-term behavior change program that is the antithesis of dieting.

Our 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. Slimming World members achieve their weight loss dreams and transform their lives with support to improve their self-esteem, and overcome feeling guilty about their weight. For more than 46 years, this understanding has been developed and refined in line with the latest thinking in nutrition, physical activity and the psychology of behavior change.

*More people in the U.K. choose to attend a Slimming World group each week than any other weight loss organization

What we do

Slimming World is more than just a healthy eating plan; it’s a time-tested approach that gives people the tools and support they need to adopt new habits that make healthier choices a part of their everyday life, and are sustainable long term.

How it works

Slimming World’s program success is supported by three components that work together to make the whole experience of losing weight practical, enjoyable and effective.

  1. A healthy, satisfying eating plan  
  2. A rewarding step-by-step activity program
  3. A community of compassion and support  

A healthy, satisfying eating plan

Food Optimizing is a flexible eating plan designed to create healthy eating patterns that can be maintained long term. It’s based on nutrition science that shows that foods higher in protein and carbohydrates are more satiating than foods rich in fat. Encouraging a higher intake of more satiating foods helps to limit energy intake and results in weight loss. Food Optimizing combines the principles of energy density (the calories per gram in a food) and satiety (how filling a food is). The Food Optimizing plan focuses on three components:

  1. Free Foods are those foods that satisfy the appetite while reducing overall energy intake. They include things like lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruit, grains, potatoes and even pasta. We encourage members to eat them abundantly. They are what makes Food Optimizing so easy to establish and sustain compared to diets, which leave people feeling deprived.
  2. Healthy Extras are measured amounts of foods to be enjoyed each day to provide a good overall balance of nutrients in addition to those obtained from Free Foods, with particular emphasis on calcium and fiber-rich foods. They include things like cheese, cereals and whole wheat bread.
  3. Syns are the way members can guiltlessly enjoy the foods that many diets ban outright. Counting Syns helps members naturally limit more energy-dense foods such as fats, alcohol and sugar. These foods have a poor ability to satisfy hunger and, when consumed in large amounts, make weight loss difficult.

Food Optimizing frees people to eat abundantly without requiring obsessive counting or measuring. It focuses on everyday healthy whole foods, not specialty diet products, and it fits within current U.S. dietary guidelines.

A typical Food Optimizing daily menu includes at least five portions of fruits and vegetables alongside a healthy amount of lean protein-rich foods and carbohydrates, measured portions of fiber and calcium-rich foods, and a reduction in overall fat, saturated fat and free sugars—the sugars that are not naturally found in fruit and vegetables.

Over decades we’ve helped millions of people in the U.K. lose weight and adopt new healthy habits and lifestyles with our approach. We’re excited about bringing our program and supporting U.S. slimmers to achieve new happier, healthier lives. 

“Food Optimizing incorporates scientific understanding of how foods affect our appetite and translates these principles into a way of eating that's practical for use in today’s world, so members can lose weight without restriction or deprivation.”

A rewarding step-by-step activity program

Our Body Magic activity program helps members gradually increase physical activity levels and improve overall health and wellbeing. It’s informed by a deep understanding of the barriers overweight people often face in becoming more active.

Developed in collaboration with Professor Ken Fox, a renowned exercise and public health expert, author, and U.K. government advisor, Body Magic uses well-established psychological and scientific principles of behavior change. It helps people find their own personal, enjoyable, and sustainable ways of increasing activity and making it a part of their daily routine.

Body Magic aims help build up an activity habit by:

  • Removing psychological barriers to exercise and redefining what counts as activity
  • Building confidence and expertise
  • Motivating members to commit to a plan
  • Providing ideas and solutions to help members increase activity levels
  • Developing personal “foot out of the door” strategies
  • Supporting members in turning new skills into a routine
  • Celebrating and rewarding members when they reach a new milestone
  • Continuing to support members until active living becomes a lifestyle.

This program encourages members to built up to at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity five days a week, and is suitable for everyone, regardless of weight or levels of fitness. 

A community of compassion and support

Genuine compassion and care is fundamental to everything we do. 

Our support is based on the belief that for people who are overweight, there is often a far heavier burden than weight to be lifted—that of guilt, shame, self-criticism, and poor self-esteem.

At Slimming World we understand the psychological and emotional barriers that prevent us from reaching our weight loss goals. We help members overcome the destructive self-criticism they feel, to use self-compassion and understanding to build their self-esteem, and begin to address the more deep-rooted issues.

We take our members on a journey of guided self-discovery through a powerfully motivating behavior change process. With support, friendship and understanding, as well as practical help and ideas, members find their own individual way to change habits and routines. In this way they naturally develop new healthier and enjoyable “grooves” and a whole new lifestyle they can live with, literally for life. 

Our unique facilitated online group meetings

Our U.S.A. program offers an online experience that connects people based on a weekly online “live group event” where members can log on and join fellow slimmers from anywhere in the U.S.A. to get the same essential guidance, motivation and practical support that they would get in a weekly community group.

The Consultants who lead the weekly online group are trained in our methods and how best to support members to follow our healthy eating plan, Food Optimizing, and facilitate successful behavior change. Consultants ensure the weekly groups provide: 

  • A place to support and be supported by a community of people on a similar journey.
  • A safe haven free from criticism, control, and judgment.
  • An opportunity to share experiences, identify behavior patterns, and discover new ways to overcome challenges and make changes
  • Individual attention combined with group participation to provide ideas and inspiration.
  • Praise that celebrates achievements, including new thinking and smart decisions, and casts a positive light on even the toughest weeks
  • An empowering conclusion that leaves members with new ideas, goals, and a plan for the week ahead.

Other ways we offer support

In addition to the weekly online group, we provide a rich library of supportive content, an online virtual consultant tool that helps members find personalized support based on their particular situation, a 24/7 wall to interact with fellow group members, and a bigger online community that lets members tap into the depth and breadth of member experience beyond their smaller weekly groups