My Slim & Save Story…
The 26th January 2019 marked exactly one year since I began my Slim and Save journey. A year before I stood in my kitchen with some friends and had a little sob. I weighed 15 stone 4 lbs, and at only 5 foot 2 was a size 18/20 and was rotating three pairs of leggings and fat-face tops. I have always been overweight – since my late teens when I went on the pill and ballooned – and had yo-yo dieted all my life. That said, I had also always had quite a lot of body confidence, I had never ‘hated’ what I saw in the mirror – I had a big bum and big boobs and would always have described myself as voluptuous. Somehow, that had all changed in the latter part of 2017 (perhaps as I was getting older too!) and I was beginning to feel resentful toward my bulk.
My frustration was that I didn’t actually eat that badly. I like good food; fruit, vegetables, lean meats….and while I can’t deny the odd takeaway, I was not someone who ate crap. Alcohol was probably my biggest vice – wine in particular, and with quite a stressful job, the ‘odd’ glass of wine had become a nightly occurrence. Portion sizes were also an issue, and I was definitely eating more than I needed.
My neighbour had done slim and save and had lost a lot of weight. I was not keen on the idea of such a restricted diet, but I had reached a point where I knew ‘something’ had to be done. I decided I would use it as a kick start, and set a target of losing 2 stone. I had long ago decided that my optimum weight was probably 12 stone as no diet I had ever done had got me below that weight in adulthood. I was not meant to be slim I decided, but a ‘healthy’ size 14 was achievable.
And so I began. To my complete shock, I found it very, very easy. A single mum, with a pretty high-level, full-time job, I really liked the lack of choice (who knew?!) that doing simplicity provided. I didn’t have to ‘think’ about what I was going to eat; I didn’t have to weigh anything or plan complex combinations of food. I settled into a pattern of pancakes for breakfast, a soup or shake for lunch, and a ‘meal substitute’ pack like spaghetti bolognese or tikka masala for dinner (sometimes with the veg, sometimes not) and then a bar at about 8 pm. I have pretty much followed this routine since and found it really works for me.
I have not, however, been ‘on plan’ for the full 12 months. I have had at least seven full ‘planned’ weeks off – interspersed across the year when I have been on annual leave from work – and I also have had many, many (many!) ‘odd’ days off for social events. What I have learnt is that, honestly, that is OK. I refused to feel guilty because ultimately if I felt deprived, I would probably not continue it. As it was, I had a day/week off, thoroughly enjoyed myself and then just ‘got back on it’. May not work for all (I know people get anxious about ‘spiralling’), but it totally worked for me – and is also helping my mindset now I am approaching maintenance.
Other things I have not been so good on, milk allowance. Completely disregarded the limit on milk allowance because I love my tea and coffee. I made a decision early on that I was not going to worry about it too much. I didn’t, and while it may have had a small impact on the rate of weight loss, I am happy I made that decision. I guess it is all about making it work for you.
On the 26th January I weighed in at 9 stone 12.5lbs. I am pretty much there in terms of target (maybe another 1 or 2lbs just to give me a buffer) and am now fitting into a size 10 (in some shops at least!). I cannot believe I even typed that!! I never, ever imagined for one minute I would lose over 5 stone, and be in a size 10. I have NEVER been a size 10. Ever. I feel fabulous, and so much healthier. I am also now in the healthy BMI range (which I have to say is utter nonsense, but nonetheless, I have again never been ‘healthy’ in my adult life). The saggy skin is there, of course, but I am kind of OK with that. It is what it is. I am 46, so it was never going to bounce back. It’s a small price to pay.
And now the hard work begins! My maintenance plan is to use the packs as a 5:2 plan. I am currently experimenting whether I need to do 4:3 or 5:2 or something else (in January I have done 4 days on and 3 days off, but am still losing a little so I think I am going to try 3 days on and 4 days off from next week) – but I am acutely aware that there is a real danger of just slowly putting weight back on – so will be weighing in every 2 weeks, just to keep an eye on it. I feel really positive about the future though, and am still in full slim and save mode, even if I am only a part-timer now.
Reflecting on the year, I would say this to any people joining us:
- The team at Slim and Save are great. Use them.
- The Facebook group (which I honestly thought would be awful) is fantastic, and people are very, very kind and supportive.
- Do it your way. If you cannot live without tomatoes. Do you know what, it probably won’t ruin the whole thing (sorry admin!) so just be a bit kind to yourself.
- If you have a day off, you ARE NOT going to put on 3 stone! Just enjoy it and then get back on it.
- Whatever you weigh, however you look, and whatever your personal challenges are – you matter, and you deserve to be happy. Be proud of every little achievement. One thing that makes me sad on the facebook pages is when I read people talking about failure and how ‘they have failed’ and how much they hate themselves. Don’t. It’s a pointless emotion.
Best of luck!