Last year, I set myself some challenges to keep me on track with Slimming World.
I am not going to dwell too much on the first element of my challenge as many hardcore Slimming Worlders may disagree with this bit, which related to portion sizes. It is my personal opinion, and one that is shared by my Slimming World consultant, that no matter how healthy the food you eat, you will come unstuck if you eat too much. Those dreaded calories which some Slimming World consultants hate me mentioning!
The beauty of Slimming World is that there are so many ‘unlimited’ foods on offer; the downside to this is that greedy guts like me – and people with binge-eating issues – can take this to extreme. At my weight, I still need far more calories than your average Joe does just to exist…so I can get away with going a little overboard every now and again. However, as I get closer to my target weight, my energy requirements are going to reduce and I will need to reduce my portions to balance this out…or exercise a lot more so that I can still eat the same amount – and you wonder why I love exercise so much…it’s because I can EAT!
I often hear people say that they have stuck to the plan, eaten loads of free foods, but have stayed the same. If your weight is not shifting, and you are eating large amounts of food – Slimming World or not – then the chances are that you might need to cut down your portion sizes. Please remember though that eating too few calories, or too little food, can also cause your weight to plateau…it’s a balancing act! Anyway, as I’ve said, I’m not going to dwell on the portion size issue for too long – this is just a note to myself, having had a few days this week where I know I’ve over eaten despite the food being ‘on plan’, and I don’t want to return to my old habits of gorging; regardless of the food being within the realms of Slimming World or not.
Personally, I think that the reason Slimming World tell people that they can eat as much as they want to of certain foods is to highlight that a ‘diet’ doesn’t mean deprivation! We have all tried diets that really do deprive you, so I think Slimming World just want to reassure us that we can actually eat properly and lose weight…I doubt they really want us heading to the chicken counter at Morrisons and destroying a whole chicken for a snack – just because we can as it’s on plan! Also, we all have those days when we jut want to eat and eat and eat – and we can, without feeling guilty on Slimming World…just don’t let these days become the norm!
The clever part about Slimming World is something that I have tried hard with, but feel that I have recently let slip a little – and this was the focus of the challenge I set last year…1/3 Superfree food. This little gem within the plan is crucial to our success, but for some people it remains a mystery. I have had so many conversations about Superfree food – in fact, if I had £1 for each time I have spoken to someone about it, I would be a very rich Weight Loss Bitch! – I have to wonder once again if people have actually read their books. There seems to be confusion as to why we need it and what it’s for. I was going to set about writing a huge explanation, but then remembered that a rather wonderful lady – who runs a brilliant website dedicated to Slimming World recipes – check it out! – has already done this, so I have decided to shamelessly plagiarise her material to give you what I think is a really sound and clear explanation as to the benefits of Superfree food rather than Jenga-style piled high plates of food!
‘Do I have to add a 1/3 superfree?
That is a question asked by many, and some of those who are used to the Original and Green plans often find it hard to understand how Extra Easy works when you are mixing the two food groups together unlimited. I am therefore, hoping this will help those who are new and old, to understand why Slimming World recommend a 1/3 super free at every meal time.
Look at this plate for instance, a big pile of bacon and tomato pasta.
All free foods on Slimming World, so I can eat all this right? Well yes you could, but if you started eating lots of meals like this at every meal time, with no superfree, you might find your losses are slow or that you are not losing weight at all.
So what can I do to improve?
Well firstly you do have a little superfree added in the homemade tomato sauce, but it is nowhere near enough, so lets remove some of the bacon and tomato pasta from the plate and add a 1/3 superfree of salad.
This is why a 1/3 superfree is such a clever concept – you have naturally reduced the portion of your free foods, by adding a 1/3 superfree without the need to weigh or count calories in any of your meals. So naturally you will be eating better, eating less calories, your portion controls are managed and therefore you will naturally lose weight.
I don’t like most of the superfree foods, so what can I do?
That is a response I see very often, and it is fact that there are many people who do not like vegetables, who struggle to add the superfree to their plate. So how can you get superfree into your meal and naturally limit your portion of the free foods? Well if you do really struggle to add it to your plate, serve yourself a homemade soup made with lots of superfree foods first, or perhaps a small fruit salad and then serve your main meal on a smaller plate than what you would normally, so you are not piling it high with the other free foods.
One comment I also see all too often is to have a bowl of fruit after your meal. However this defeats the object of superfree, because chances are, once you have eaten that big plate piled high with free foods (and no or little superfree), you will either be too full to eat the fruit or will be eating extra food just for the sake of it, and of course that is not the intention of the recommended 1/3 superfree.
How can I add superfree foods to my meals?
There are many ways you can add superfree to your meals. As I mentioned before, if you struggle adding it to your plate, you can always start your meal with a bowl of soup made with lots of healthy vegetables, which will fill you up a little before eating your meal. Otherwise add superfree to your plate with things like side salads or roasted veggies or when cooking things like spaghetti bolognese, chilli, shepherds pie etc, use less meat and bulk it all out with lots of superfree vegetables. But remember – it is only un-starchy vegetables that are superfree. I see many people making the mistake of thinking sweetcorn, peas, beans, parsnips etc are superfree. They are free foods, but not superfree foods.
Examples of how you can add superfree to your meals:
add fruit to your cereals
cooked breakfast – have things like tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, spinach
bacon sandwiches are great filled with some grilled tomatoes and baby spinach
or start the day with a small bowl of fruit salad/melon before your poached egg on toast etc
add a mixed salad to your plate (things like lettuce, grapes, onion, beetroot, tomatoes, cucumber and apple are all great in salads),
add some roasted veggies to your plate (courgettes, aubergine, onion, peppers, carrots, tomatoes, beetroot are all delicious roasted)
vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli and carrots, with a little stock added, some black pepper and a HEA serving of cheese and then baked in the oven is a great way to add some superfree to your plate.
replace mash/chips with things like roasted butternut squash or mashed swede/carrots or celeriac chips
make a ratatouille which is great served alongside meats/carbs
when cooking things like spaghetti bolognese, chilli, stir fries or shepherds pie etc, use less meat and bulk out with lots of vegetables (onion, courgette, carrots, celery, peppers, tomatoes, bean sprouts etc)
or start the meal with a bowl of superfree soup and then have a smaller plate of your main course.
So yes we can eat free foods unlimited, but within reason, because at the end of the day if you eat more than your body physically needs regardless of what healthy eating regime you are on, you will not lose weight. We should all be trying to recognise when we are satisfied and not get to the point where you feel stuffed. Something that is very hard to do, but is easier to obtain when sticking to the 1/3 superfree advice.
A good tip when preparing meals is to think superfree first and free foods after. So for instance look at what superfree you have and think what you can serve with it. Also if you can add more than a 1/3 superfree food to your plate, then even better. I sometimes have a least a half superfree on my plate, especially if it is things like roasted veggies (my favourite).’
The lovely Slimming Eats lady has also provided the following picture to stick on your fridge as a gentle nudge!
So if you think you need to cut down portion sizes, then follow the 1/3 rule to the letter, and perhaps use smaller plates or bowls for your meals…this will help control portions without you feeling deprived, and a small plate full of food is much less disheartening than a large plate that’s half empty! A little trick that I have started doing recently is to serve myself a small portion in a bowl, before serving the meal, and then putting this bowl in the fridge for later on. That way, if I really am still hungry after dinner I can have some more, but if not then I have got my lunch sorted for the following day! You really don’t miss the extra portion either – especially if it’s taken from a big pan of curry or bolognese.
Bulking up on your Superfree food really does help to fill you up too – it’s good fibre based fruit and veggies, so just fill the plate with them! If you start craving snacks, have fruit instead of using your syns…save these for those moments of relaxation when you can really enjoy them.
So this was a blog entry that I made in March last year. I am pretty on the ball with my Superfree food…however I noticed today that I haven’t been quite so rigid with my 1/3…so I am going to make a good effort this week with it…starting tomorrow! It feels like I am teaching you to suck eggs with this blog post…but considering that I think that I am on the ball usually and felt it was a good reminder for me, I thought it might be useful to share again!
Today has been fun. I had a tough gym session. I started with a short warm-up on the treadmill and then combined my arm, middle, and leg weight workouts, and then had a little warm-down at the end. It was tough…but I loved it! I then popped in to see the old lady down the road. We had a natter for a while and I am hoping to take her to visit the horses and have a BBQ when I get back from Scotland. Mr WLB and I then grabbed lunch on the run before heading to the horsey supplies shop. I had to pick up some food for them, but obviously had to pretend to be riding horses again…
And there is my fake horseback selfie! I originally chose the most expensive saddle in the store to sit on…but didn’t like it, and so picked another – I got comfortable, went for an imaginary canter and popped a few jumps too! We then headed to see my Mums horse at her new yard, and I caught up with a few people there. It was then time to see my horses, who were all happily grazing in the sun. Then we went to the shops, and came home for the evening. I have no idea what is in store this evening, other than the new episode of Person of Interest!
Breakfast: Banana and boiled eggs.
A delicious food day! Brekkie was nice and filling for the gym. Lunch was a quick grab’n’go…my new version of fast-food and considering it was next to Burger King, I thought it was a good option! Dinner was leftover overs from last night with rice. And my snacks…well, they were lovely! The Nakd crunch bars come in at 5 syns for the apple ones, and I used my HEAs for some cheese with these. Then I decided to use my HEBs and remaining syns for some chopped nuts and oats…and made porridge with cherries and blueberries in…it was very tasty!
Exercise: 5 minutes treadmill, 70 minutes weights, 5 minutes treadmill.
Thank you for reading,
Weight Loss Bitch xxx