Preparing for your weight loss journey with Slim & Save

Embarking on a new diet can be exciting but also daunting. Anybody who is successful in life be them an astronaut, athlete, chef or teacher knows that one of the key skills to achievement is preparation. And it is no different for yourselves as you too can make preparations for your diet, which will be the first steps to a new you.

Before commencing on your journey please make sure that this is the right choice for you and consult with your doctor to make sure that this plan is suitable.

It is important to know what you may experience during the first few days once starting the plan. For some, side effects may include headaches, hunger, lightheadedness, constipation, diarrhea and nausea. These are as a result of the changes to your diet which includes a decrease in calories and carbohydrates which are the body’s preferred source of energy. For others there may be no side effects at all and will be able to achieve ketosis without any problem. Once you are in ketosis you should find that these side effects diminish as your body adjusts to your new diet.

To help you manage these side effects and stay committed to your weight loss journey here are a few helpful tips to prepare you before you embark on your weight loss plan.

1. Organising your essentials

Take the time before starting to read through the website and the database of allowed foods and also the allowed drinks list and get stocked up with all essential items such as sparkling water, Coke Zero, Hartley’s sugar free jelly, vegetables, Oxo stock cubes and any of the slim, zero or Barenaked range that you may want to include.

2. Support network

Undertaking a new diet can be an emotional roller-coaster and during this time you will need as much support as possible. We understand that not everybody is comfortable or is wanting to share the news of their new journey with loved ones, friends or colleagues but you may find this helpful if you have people who you can confide in and who will be a support for you during this time. As well as friends and family for support you can also join our official Facebook group, which is full of members who are on the same journey as yourself who can share all the day to day trials and tribulations throughout your weight loss journey. We have full-time staff available 7 days per week who are on hand for any specific questions you may have. We also offer live chat and telephone support should you so need it.

3. Reducing caffeine and carbohydrates

When starting a vlcd plan it is recommended not to have any caffeine until you are in ketosis which usually happens between days 3-5, as studies show that caffeine can slow a person getting into ketosis. So when you make the decision to start the plan and are awaiting the arrival of your parcel, take this time to start to reduce your caffeine or switch to a decaf version. This plan is based on ketosis which centres around 50-70g of carbs so if before the plan you have a heavy carb based diet you may want to look at gradually reducing down your carbs such as rice, bread, pasta or potatoes to prepare your body for the sudden decrease in carbs once you start the plan.

4. Hydration

Our body is made up of between 50-75% water and we use up water during everyday activities such as breathing, walking, sweating and going to the toilet. It is a good idea to start to increase your water consumption if you have not already done this. We recommend between 2-3 litres per day and as caffeine has mild diuretic properties, if you are a heavy caffeine drinker you may find this helps to ease you into the plan a little easier. We do have water calculator which will work out exactly how much water you should be consuming whilst on plan, depending on your body weight via the weight tracker.

5. Weighing and measuring

The goal of embarking on this plan is to get to your ideal weight and/or clothing size so it is very good idea before starting the plan to take a before photo from the front and side which can be used as a gauge of how far you have come as you get towards your goal. Also to measure yourself: measuring your waist, hips, chest, thigh, calf, upper and forearms. These measurements as well as your photo, is merely a starting point for you so that you can track your progress. You can also log your weekly weight so you can chart your weight loss progress in a graph.

6. Plan your goals

The ultimate objective for doing this is to lose weight and you may find that by looking at the bigger picture this can be very daunting thinking that your goal is a long way off. As a way to help keep you motivated prior to starting your weight loss journey, write down reasons why you are doing this such as getting into an old outfit or a holiday you are planning on taking. Some find as well by putting photos of said outfit or destination around your home this can be a great visual aid to keep you motivated. Another fun way to get focused is write a bucket list of activities you have always wanted to do and places you may want to visit for example horse riding, scuba diving or that dream trip to Australia. The new you will be for the rest of your life and what better way to enjoy this than by fully embracing and enjoying all it has to offer.

By adapting these simple steps before you start you should find that you will adjust to the plan much easier and find before you know it you will be in ketosis and onto your first official weigh in. Good luck on your journey and as we at Slim and Save say “onwards and downwards”.

Written by Debbie Moore, Slim & Save Customer Care Department.


  1. I’m so desperate to lose weight that I’ll do almost anything, so I’m on this diet for 3 months to see if I can lose the weight I want. I actually want to lose about 10 stone but I won’t lose that in 3 months cause that’ll be insane.

  2. Preparation is the absolute key for getting ready for your weight loss journey. This article gives some really useful ideas on how and what you can do.

  3. Start each day afresh. If you have a bad day or cave and eat something you shouldn’t, don’t just quit or keep eating badly. Keep going. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Weight doesn’t fall off whilst we sleep, it takes effort. Falling at the first hurdle and quitting will just make you feel worse. There’s far more satisfaction in recognising a stumble and ignoring it and keeping going. If you think you are going to cheat, get on the FB support group and tell others. They’ll help and encourage you to not cheat. If you’ve already cheated – do the same, admit it. Someone will give you a coping mechanism for next time or even just a virtual hug to keep you going. No one is perfect and that’s the important thing to remember – a perfect dieter on Slim and Save is one who has stumbled and lost their way a few times and been pulled back to the right road. Never quit because of one mistake, you’ll just regret it later. One bad day doesn’t undo all the preceding good days. When first starting you might have a few failed Day 1s where you mess up but eventually you’ll get a Day 2, then a Day 3 follows that. Use the Meal Planner, track everything and life becomes easier and healthier quite quickly.

  4. Every day I look at the pictures of meals members have posted on the Facebook page, and if they take my fancy I photograph/copy them on my iPad along with any ingredients/method. I then have a ready made “recipe index” for days when I can’t get inspired. Planning and organisation has been an essential part in my weightloss journey.

  5. Theses are the ‘Dos and Don’ts’ that I tried to follow when preparing to start S&S.

    1) Don’t try to motivate yourself by being negative, use positive thinking instead. Being overly critical of yourself and your body will only damage your self-esteem and lead to destructive habits like binge eating. Instead of focusing on what you don’t like about yourself for motivation, instead concentrate on the good things that can come from losing weight.

    2) Don’t let anyone make you feel bad for taking care of yourself. Well-meaning friends and family can inadvertently make you feel guilty for choosing to be on plan when they may want to share alcohol or junk food with you. You are allowed to put yourself first sometimes, and the people who are worth worrying about will understand that.

    3) Do be a part of the community. The forums and facebook page offer a great space to share the ups and downs of dieting with people who understand.

    4) Do understand that you may fall off the wagon sometimes, and that’s okay. Do not be overly harsh on yourself if you eat something you shouldn’t have or use it as an excuse to give up. Put your mistakes behind you and keep moving forward.

    5) Don’t be a slave to the scales. Sometimes the numbers just won’t budge even though you’re losing inches. It can be tempting to decide that the diet isn’t working and to give up the plan when the scales stay the same, but odds are that you are still losing inches. Have faith in the plan, if you’re following it 100% you WILL lose weight.

  6. Don’t give up if you mess up or don’t have a loss, it won’t stop you reaching your goal, only giving up will do this. Believe in yourself and the diet and keep going especially when it is hard.

  7. Love your body at all times,
    Be amazed at how marvellous your body is,
    Enjoy saying yes to the shakes and be proud of saying no to anything else.

  8. It really helped me to be honest about why I wanted to lose weight and to be really honest about all those reasons why I didn’t want to, or didn’t think I could lose weight. I wasn’t surprised then when I started to sabotage weight loss or question myself. I also wish I’d had some idea about the non-food related ways I’d reward myself for achieving goals or part-goals. Reaching for a chocolate bar no longer works!!

  9. “Understand your why” Understanding why you want to change is for me the hardest but most rewarding thing, this underpins all your goals and will continue to drive your motivation. There’s a phrase I always remember ‘people don’t change until the pain of remaining the same is greater than the pain of changing’ so your why has to be great, and is often difficult to confront, but use that pain, anger, hurt or sadness to propel you to a more happier, positive and fulfilling place!

  10. When you receive your packs, don’t just think is this my meals, be experimental with them and prepare a meal with the allowed ingredients.
    You eat with your eyes, Eat your food slowly and savour what you have made to eat, serving it on a small 9″ plate, which will set you up for portion control at a later stage

  11. 1) Keep yourself busy when you’re sitting watching the TV in the evening rather than snacking or having that glass of wine. Painting my nails works a treat as if you eat you ruin your wet nails!

    2) Diet because you want to not because you’re being told to or you feel you should. Buy yourself or dig out that ideal piece of clothing you’d love to get into and put it somewhere you can see every day to keep you motivated!

  12. Be kind to yourself. If you stray from the diet don’t believe you have ruined everything, it is a set back that’s all. Keep going, put it behind you not the next day, but straight away and eventually the set backs will get less. Putting too much pressure on yourself won’t help you with your diet. Stop saying I can’t and start saying I can.

  13. Start the diet with a positive attitude.Our minds are the biggest sabatours of most diets don’t let it win. Just tell yourself your going to stick to the plan 100% for today don’t worry about tomorrow. take one day at a time and if you slip up one day don’t let it ruin the rest of the week get back on it straight away and halt the damage. We’re only human and hiccups will happen that’s life. before you know it you’ll be stones lighter and feeling great. Oh and don’t leave home without a pack or a bar and a bottle of water for emergencies.

  14. One of the best things to do is to find a way to drink water easily I see lots of people struggling with this one and believe me it’s true the more you drink the more you shrink ! I found that drinks from a pint glass helps me to keep track of amounts and I do 3/4 cold to 1/4 boiling , it may sound gross but I got used to it really quickly and not prefer it that way and its far easier to drink than ice cold water . I have no issues with drinking 4L a day !
    On days that are a struggle just keep saying to yourself ” it’s only for today ” it really helped me get through the struggle days that we all have and my final bit of advice would be to buy yourself a “thinspiration” dress and hang it on your wardrobe , since getting to goal I have developed and obsession with 50s style dresses !

  15. Cravings? Annoying aren’t they!? Sometimes they just start for no reason whatsoever. Solution? Distract yourself. Read a book, watch your favourite box set, do some gardening, play with the kids, go for a walk, do some colouring, get on the forums or on Facebook – the list is endless. Most importantly though, don’t give in! The cravings will pass.

  16. To do this diet I have to be in the zone. My husband and son are an amazing support to me and helped me shift 10 stone last year. I would recommend that everyone has access to the SnS support page as there is almost always someone else who has experienced any issues that you’ve had and the advice is amazing. Be positive, be honest with yourself (having cheats only results in setbacks for you), get to goal… We all are here for our own journeys and we all WILL succeed. .. Oh and print off the weight loss pie chart… it’s great fun colouring I’m your losses 🙂

  17. Take it one day at a time. If you have a lot of weight to lose try breaking it into sizeable amounts and put it on a piece of paper so you can mark it off. Focus on that rather than the bigger picture which may be very daunting for some people. As you tick off each amount give yourself a pat on the back at how far you’ve come and how good you feel. Keep looking forward because you’re not going back to the old you!!

  18. I have just sat down with my husband and planned all the family meals for the next 7 days, he is going to prepare and cook them and eat with the children so I can concentrate on my shakes and not feel tempted and not have to deal with food. We will also do an online shop so no need to walk around the supermarket and be tempted.

  19. Hi , u all know me as I’m not on my own here , the diet failure ! Start my day good intentions and by afternoon fallen off wagon ! I’m overweight , I’m prob a 14/16 depending where I buy clothes from but I’m 12 stone and for me perfect feel good weight is 10 St although at 5ft 4 should prob be lighter ! I’m the pear shape not a lot on the top but quite a lot on rear and legs , ppl don’t see that as they talk to ur face not ur behind ( most of the time ) . I look in the mirror and don’t like what I see and I’m not happy but only I can change things ! I’ve restarted diet and to help I’ve also aimed at walking 10k steps per day , app on iPhone it’s amazing how quick steps clock up at work and round the house ! I’m no gym queen !!I’ve always struggled to not have coffee but I’ve cut it back , I’m cooking meals for my family of stuff I don’t like so I’m not tempted to eat it ! I’m not fussed on water but have the flavourings , I use small glass otherwise il lose will to live with pint of water !! I know this works I’ve seen my sister in law drop from a size 24 to 12 and maintain for 2 yrs ! I also started my week one with reducing carb intake , slowly but not denying myself , inc a shake and smaller portions whilst weaning onto meal replacements instead of food ,4lb off !! So gradual u don’t notice the sudden loss of carbs ! I don’t want to be a super skinny size 8 I want to be happy in my own skin , I don’t want to be the one where ppl say “oh she shouldn’t wear that skirt /shorts ” . This is a short period of time in comparison to rest if my life (I’m 44 ) to look how I want to look , how I look in my dreams and in my mind not the person I see in mirror ! So good luck to all starters and re starters like me ! Slim n save very supportive as is the lovely ppl on face book ( I’m the quiet one that always looks but doesn’t post ) . Super down size me xx

  20. my list of top tips – I really hope these help people
    1. Write a list of reasons you want to lose weight save a photo of that list on your phone on your fridge or anywhere you see it regularly and use it every time you feel like cheating, or find an insirational quote or image that reminds and motivates you.
    2. Try to choose a time in your calendar where your diary is relatively free for at least a month or 6 weeks, once you are well into the plan, it’s easier to control yourself at events and gatherings and not go off the rails.
    3. understand how your moods and hormones can affect you and have tactics to deal with them. tracking when your TOM is will help you to identify cravings from hormones stressful times at work or tiredness and plan tactics to distract yourself or manage those emotional eating triggers to avoid giving in.
    4. set yourself little mini goals and non-food rewards – a new top, a massage and it’s good to have an event at the end of your journey to do a big unveil of the new you in your fab new outfit at.
    5. don’t let frenemies sabotage you. Even your dearest friends can let you down with weight-loss envy and may try to tempt you to fall off the wagon. Always have a plan to avoid temptation and don’t let anyone stop you from getting to where you want to be and being happier and healthier.

  21. Eat the meals with a tea spoon as the portions last a lot longer or seem too I knows its all in your mind but as they say its mind over matter !!!! But they meals ,shakes and bars definitely have made my dieting and weight loss quicker and the positive comments from friends really spurr you on to succeed.

  22. If I could give one piece of advice,
    It would be to do a diary ( what ever form you want eg electronic / paper )
    Put your goals and the the reason why you want to get to goal.
    What you will be doing at goal ( basically write your future self a note )
    At times of doubt, have a quick look at this to remind yourself why your doing this.
    To remind yourself how you feel.

    Plus a diary is great to write down your meals and how you rate them, and if you need to be adventurous on trying new things.

  23. At the start of my journey I wrote a list of reasons I wanted to lose weight. I read it most mornings & I even made a copy & carry it round in my handbag (or took a photo of it on my phone) so I can read it anywhere when I am feeling weak just to remind myself why I am doing this diet.

  24. One of the biggest things to help me through the day is only having half a bar at breakfst and then the other half for elevenses. Same at lunch, half a bar and then 2nd half at atound 3pm. Has really worked for me. 5lbs off losing 3 stone since doing this diet.

  25. Be truthful with yourself. We have all heard please say – I had to come off plan because ……………. . But please question yourself, is this just a convenient excuse. We are all good at making convenient excuses but you are only fooling yourself.

  26. This does not sound motivational but I have been struggling with the diet. The key is to keep going no matter how difficult it is. That’s my pledge to myself.

  27. Losing weight can be a hard journey but it is possible. The best bit of advice i can give is dont be too hard on yourself. Mistakes happen and it doesnt mean you have messed up it just means your human. Just continue your day and keep strong. I used to get really upset if i ate something i shouldnt and that would not only turn into a day of eating wrong but i would let it ruin the rest of the week as well. Now i just take it one day at a time. It took me a long time to learn this and to stop punishing myself and i would never have been able to do it if it wasnt for the support of the staff on here and the rest of the dieters who have listened to my tantrums and talked me down from my irrational thinking. In short be kind to yourself and just keep going. It will all be worth it x

  28. Plan your meals if on lifestyle and def use the meal planner. Use the weight tracker it helps to see the lbs disappearing. Take a photo of yourself at the start and at regular intervals and if possible wear the same clothes. Set yourself small goals, 1/2 stone milestones, are much more achievable.

  29. Plan your meals in advance, if on lifestyle, def use the menu planner and the weight tracker. Take photos of yourself, if possible pin to the fridge.

  30. its not always possible for people to clear out all the junk food at the start of your journey and avoid the other family members eating takeaway around you, especially if you have young children or teenagers! Instead put a motivational quote or a piece of clothing you want to get into, hang it in your kitchen as a reminder of your goal! Of where you want to get too! Let’s face it we all have that pair of skinny jeans or a dress tucked away somewhere!

  31. don’t become obsessive about weighing yourself daily! Give your scales to a friend if you have to and only weigh yourself once a week! And if one week you gain a lb or two lb don’t get disheartened! Get the tape measure out because I can bet you have lost inches!

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