SW minute info: 25 top tips from experts and successful dieters

1 Eat clever

Base your meals around basic healthy foods such as fruit and veg, pasta, rice, potatoes, pulses, eggs, fish, poultry and lean meat and low-fat dairy.

Dr James Stubbs, research specialist for Slimming World, says: “By choosing these foods, which are very filling and low in calories per gram, slimmers can eat freely without feeling hungry or guilty.

“Better still, because they’re staple, everyday foods, it’s easy to enjoy all your favourite family meals like spaghetti bolognese, a roast dinner or a stir-fry.”

2 Experiment

When it comes to getting active, try something new.

Leisure centres are introducing new activities all the time, like Zumba, cheerleading, hula-hooping, Bokwa or walking groups.

You might be amazed at what you find – and what you enjoy!

3 Understand your emotions

Dr Jacquie Lavin, head of nutrition and research at Slimming World, says: “Think about the type of situations that often lead you to reach for high-calorie foods.

“Is it when you’re short of time, bored or stressed at work?

“Plan ahead and make sure you’ve always got healthier, more nutritious choices to hand on these occasions.”

4 Get rid of guilt

If you go off track, it’s tempting to beat yourself up and tell yourself you’ve blown it.

Don’t allow yourself to sabotage your success, simply get straight back on track with your health plan and feel confident that the weight will come off again.

5 Treat yourself

Nutritionist Jenny Barber says: “Losing weight doesn’t have to mean giving up all of your favourite foods.

“Have a treat every so often, whether that’s a glass of wine, a piece of chocolate or your favourite takeaway every now and again at the weekend.

“If you deprive yourself of something, you’ll only want it more and cravings could make you throw the towel in.”

6 Get your five a day and more

Aim to fill a third of your plate at every meal with fresh or frozen vegetables.

They’ll make sure you feel satisfied and stay feeling full for longer.

7 Focus on your food

If you’re distracted while eating, it’s easy to consume more than you intended because you don’t notice when you’re starting to feel full.

8 Eat breakfast

Research shows that people who eat breakfast are more likely to make healthy food choices throughout the day, and less likely to have snacks.

Dietician Carolyn Pallister says: “Mornings can be very busy, especially if you’ve got kids, but having breakfast doesn’t have to take up lots of time.

“A bowl of muesli or whole-wheat cereal with semi-skimmed milk and a piece of fruit is a healthy and filling choice.”

9 Be a savvy shopper

Have a list (and stick to it!) when you’re in the supermarket or shopping online.

This way, you’re less likely to be swayed by offers, which are often placed on unhealthy items.

Faye Brown, 27, lost 1st 8½lb after joining Slimming World last January.

She says: “I always take a shopping list to the supermarket, it helps me stay on track.”

12 Cut off all the fat

Remove all skin and fat from poultry and trim all visible fat from meat before eating them.

13 Spice it up

Herbs and spices, salt and pepper, balsamic vinegar and soy sauce are all great ways to add flavour to your meals without damaging your slimming efforts.

14 Small swaps can make a big difference

Try exchanging sugar for artificial sweeteners, white bread for wholemeal bread, and regular mayonnaise for extra-light mayo.

15 Don’t ditch dairy

You don’t have to give up dairy to lose weight. Low-fat dairy products such as skimmed milk, fat-free natural yoghurt and reduced-fat cheese are still packed with plenty of calcium, which is important for healthy bones and teeth.

16 Fill the fridge

Successful slimmers often say they always make sure their fridges are packed full of healthy foods so when hunger strikes they have plenty to save them from temptation.

18 Join a group

Evidence shows that you’re three times more likely to succeed when you have the support of a group than when you try to lose weight alone.

Hollie Majthenyi, 21, lost 1st 8lb and says: “Week by week going to my Slimming World group changed my life.

“Knowing that the other group members, who were fast becoming friends, cared about my weight loss and I cared about theirs, made me even more motivated to make the right food choices.”

19 Eat out with care

When you go out to eat, check the menu before you get to the restaurant and go for the healthiest option.

Simon Lane and his wife Zoe lost 9½st between them. He says: “We love socialising and going out for meals.

“We steer towards healthier choices on the menu such as dishes packed with vegetables, tomato-based pastas or curries.”

20 Be realistic

If your diet is too strict, you won’t be able to keep it up in the long term and you’ll end up putting all the weight you lost back on.

Instead, make small, sustainable changes – cutting out the equivalent of a biscuit each day can help you lose up to a stone in a year.

21 Go for whole fruits rather than juice

Whole fruit helps you feel full while juices just slip down without satisfying your appetite.

Think of how full you would be after six oranges compared with how easy juice from six oranges would be to drink without feeling full.

22 Note it down

Try keeping a food diary for your first few weeks. If you’re a member of a slimming club then your consultant will help you to see where you’re going wrong if you’re ever struggling.

23 Trade takeaways for home-made versions

Tom Jones, 18, lost 5st 2½lb and was named Slimming World’s Young Slimmer of the Year.

“He was on first name terms with the staff at his local McDonald’s, but now he makes his own healthy southern-fried chicken, chips and salad for his friends once a week.

He says: “The best thing for me is that I haven’t gone on a diet, I’ve made a lifestyle change.

“I really enjoy the foods I’m eating and I love that I don’t have to stick to set foods.

“I can literally eat anything I fancy, even burgers, curries or chicken.”

24 Plan ahead

If you’re short of time, try planning ahead and batch-cooking healthy meals in advance.

You can freeze these dishes and have them ready to heat up like your very own ready meal.

They can be a real life-saver because they remove the need to order last-minute takeaways, which are likely to be high in fat and calories.

There are lots of handy apps and Slimming World’s members’ website, which is free when you join your local group, is now available on your mobile.
These can be great to look to for help and advice when you’re out and about.
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