Here at MFM HQ, we’re well aware that a fair few of our MFM parents have tried or are currently following the Slimming World plan.
In an Instagram poll, 39% of our mums told us they’d tried it or were currently giving the healthy lifestyle plan a go.
We know Slimming World’s not for everyone (nor should it be!), but for those who do choose to follow it, we know how easy it is to fall off the plan or shun group when we’re super tired, busy or we’ve got a bunch of mini picky eaters running around the kitchen demanding nothing but chips.
So, if you are currently on the plan and are worried about sticking to it, here are some tried-and-tested tips from parents to make it a little easier…
10 tips to make Slimming World easier – by parents for parents
1. DON’T beat yourself up about it. Ever.
“Don’t be too hard on yourself,” says mum Hannah F. “Some days will be better than others.”
@missjj2810 agrees: “Give yourself small goals, take it day by day and don’t put pressure on yourself.”
Even if you do stray from the plan for longer than you wanted, try not to guilt yourself over it. We reckon avoiding phrases like ‘good’ and ‘bad’ days helps this a bit.
Lots of parents have enough guilt on the go as it is, so the last thing we need is to give ourselves more…
One of our team, who lost a fair bit of weight on SW but is no longer attending group, adds:
“For me, SW was a lifestyle change. I haven’t followed the plan to the letter since I hit target, but it’s the little things the plan’s taught me that have had the most impact since then – like how to cook differently (cooking spray over oil) and the importance of getting some walking in each day (not the easiest when you work in an office!)
“Sometimes my weight goes up and down a bit – but if I ever feel low about it, I remind myself that life happens and generally, I eat more healthily than I did prior to joining. For me, that’s a big accomplishment.”
2. Plan meals AND do your online shop at the same time
Allow yourself some time (somewhere) to plan your meals for the week – it’ll make things easier than going day to day, says Hannah H.
“Planning meals was key,” she explains on Instagram. “And writing syn allowances on things [in the cupboard]!”
@Rocking_motherhood also suggests doing your online shop at the same time as meal-planning to kill all your birds with one stone ???
3. Buy lots of frozen veg and add it to everything
The idea with SW is that 1/3 of your plate should be filled with fruit or veg – so why not load up on quick-to-make frozen veg in your weekly shop, suggests @chinkberbelle007?
“Buy frozen veg and add it to everything for speed! So much easier when you’ve no time.”
“Fill your cupboards with free foods,” says @saraha84. “I like that you don’t have to count at all.”
4. Plan a couple of SP days if you’re struggling day-to-day
“SP days are amazing for a bigger weight loss,” says Claire H.
If you’re struggling to juggle the plan and family life, and weight loss is your goal, then focus on getting a couple of those in the bank, to offset the days that are going to be a bit more manic and stressy.
5. Find time for group (wherever you can)
If you’re too busy for the weekly weigh-in, see if you can arrange it with your partner or childcare to attend group a couple times of month.
@Grace_chuckle simply told us: “Go to group!” It does feel motivating to be surrounded by people in the same boat.
6. Cook SW recipes for the whole family…
Lots of SW’s recipes are pretty standard meal ideas – think lasagna, curry, shepherd’s pie, burgers, etc – just healthier versions.
So, cooking for the whole family (or you and your partner) saves time and effort, and guarantees everyone’s getting a yummy meal… if your child decides to play along, that is ?
7. OR plan to cook something different for the kids in advance
If you just balked at the above tip and then dropped to the ground in a fit of laughter, and cried a few stray tears – we hear you.
Kids and mealtimes don’t always go together well, and the mums on our team have a fair few fussy eaters between them, so we know how that feels!
Mamasvib blogger and SW fan Bonnie T does, too: “My daughter eats when she get home from school – a separate meal. My husband and I eat a SW meal when she has gone to bed.
“Not ideal for everyone but works because I get home later from work, so my husband does our daughter supper. I think lots of families cook separate meals!”
You can (do your best to!) make a vague plan for the kids’ meals during your weekly shop/meal planning sesh, as suggested in one of the tips above.
8. OR add some extras to keep the kids happy
Ahh, the middle ground! You can try cooking the same for everyone, but adding or substituting a few bits you know your little one will eat in theirs.
“If I’m making bolognese l will serve all of us the SW version but the family get extra cheese and a bit of garlic bread – and me extra salad,” adds Bonnie.
“Or with curry, they get naan bread, and I have more veg. This way you are eating a family meal together but staying on plan.”
“I also adapt slightly,” Bonnie continues. “If I don’t want to cook lots of meals I will serve for the whole family the same meal but adapt it.
“Say if I’m making SW chips, I will cook a separate tray with oil and full fat sausages for family and do mine with fry light and SW sausages.”
9. Batch cooking is a life saver
Time is always an issue for mums and dads – so Jess H suggests doing some batch cooking during a free moment, so you’re sorted for the week.
“That way, there’s always something for those hectic days,” she says.
Bonnie T also has lots of success with this, explaining: “I try to batch cook a few meals at the same time, say, when the kids are at school, Sunday afternoon or even one night in the week.
“Cook different two meals at once – something in one pan like curry or bolognese that can simmer away while cooking another meal.
“And I always cook/stock to the full recipe for 4/6 people – which also makes it easier with ingredients and counting syns.
“I then serve the meal and portion the rest in plastic-lidded pots or better yet, those silver takeaway trays, as you can write on the date it was made, what it is and syn count and how long it needs in the oven etc on the card lid in marker.
“That way you always have a ‘healthy ready-meal’ at hand that can cook away in the oven while you get your child to bed/bathed. You won’t have that ‘what to cook’ question and reach for the wrong things.”
10. Steer clear of the kids’ snacks
“Don’t pick on the kids food!” says one of our mums, Lou. Mum Charlotte V agrees: “Always make sure there’s fruit to hand to stop you snacking when there’s no time for a meal.”
In fact, making sure you’ve got snacks for you and not just your littles in your bag of wonders was our mums’ favourite tip overall.
Jess H makes sure all her snacks are syn-free, and puts them everywhere. “Keep lots of snacks to grab on the go and at home,” she says.
11. Find what’s motivating you – and put it on the fridge
If weight loss is your specific goal, one of our MFMers @rosiewhit94 says her top motivator is to: “put a picture of yourself at your slimmest on the fridge door!”
We should add that this tip won’t be suited to everyone, though, because everyone’s motivated by different things.
(We’d say probably not the best idea if you’ve made the decision to join not long after having your baby…)
That said, we do like the idea of sticking something motivating on the fridge. It could be a quote you like, or your SW certificates. Maybe even a cute smiley pic of your little one holding your SW book?
Maybe you’re looking forward to an event, or are planning to run a 5 or 10k? Pop the date somewhere you walk past often to keep you feeling inspired.
As mentioned above, we know Slimming World’s not for everyone, and some people really aren’t in to it at all. Which is totally, 100% fair enough.
Keep in mind, though, that we’ve written this piece for the MFMers who are on the plan and want to fit it into their busy lives – using tips we’ve been sent by some of our mums who are already doing that (and even a couple of our team) ?
Images: Instagram/Slimming World