Slimming clubs – do they work?
Today I’m here to cover the broad area of ‘slimming clubs’ but I just want to say I’m not here to put any particular company down but simply highlight the strengths and weaknesses of both and how we must strive to do better for all dieters out there.
How do they work?
A participant will sign up to a club where they will meet once a week to get weighed. Each club will have its own technique of advising people what to eat and how to limit the junk food they consume.
The clubs usually have plenty of recipes and some products for the client to purchase to help keep them on track (snacks, meals, etc)
Why are they beneficial?
The key part of successful dieting is ‘accountability’ and slimming clubs are a great way to keep you honest and on track.
When you show up to your meeting there is no hiding when you step on the scales, and you will work super hard each week to make sure those scales drop to avoid disappointment in front of your mentor and peers.
Being in a group environment surrounded by people who share the same goals is a great way to take inspiration and advice from people who are on the same path as you or who have already achieved your end goal.
Along with motivation and accountability, most slimming groups come with a very solid ethos when it comes to dieting. Most meals tend to be made from scratch, they prioritise homemade, healthy, nutritious food and try to keep people clear of ‘junk food’ and takeaways.
Where they can
let you down?
One of the major problems I deal with as a personal trainer weekly is people obsessing over scale weight.
Now if you are taking a once-a-week reading of the scales it will show only a fraction of what has been going on in your body over the last seven days.
Things like water retention (high salt food, muscle soreness), fullness of stomach, hydration, time of day, time of month (if female) all have a massive bearing on our day-to-day and week-to-week readings on the scale.
When you step on those scales your whole week of clean eating relies on this one weigh in and if it’s not good I’ve seen so many people throw the head up and binge for the next week out of sheer disappointment. Who knows if you weighed in the next day you could have actually dropped weight.
Being in a group environment when you listen in to everyone’s weekly weigh ins it can be extremely difficult not to compare your results to others. Hearing others have dropped more than you can be pretty demotivating but once again it doesn’t always show the true picture of what’s happening.
Over the first two weeks of dieting the majority of the weight, you will lose will be water, so when you hear of people having massive drops chances are they were holding a lot of water. The hard yards of dieting kicks in after the first two weeks when it will be a case of dropping 1-2lb per week and remember these drops may not even appear if you are only weighing in once a week.
No matter what you read, there is no one food group on this planet that you need to avoid to successfully drop body fat, at the same time there is very few foods that you can eat unlimited amounts of (maybe minus green veg) without potentially upsetting your fat loss goals. The terms ‘free food’ and ‘syns’ just don’t sit right with me.
Now I get what they are trying to do but no food should have guilt associated with it. If you want a chocolate bar you can have it and lose weight, it all comes down to controlling your overall calories. At the same time, you can still gain weight by over-consuming free foods, things like rice and pasta are easy to over-consume and even though more and more people are eating healthier it’s the portion control they struggle with.
My Main Issue
For people who go to slimming clubs, they don’t actually learn anything about the real truth of fat loss. That means once they try to break free from the shackles of their weekly meetings and handouts, they don’t have a clue about where to start in the real world.
Real-life dieting revolves around mastering calorie management and learning how to control portion sizes. Once you have a decent idea of the calories in the foods you eat, and how to make a meal that isn’t half of your daily calories you are well on your way to understanding how your body really works.
No longer can you afford to eat mammoth bowls of pasta or potatoes, nor do you have to feel guilty about having something a little bold at the weekends. Life for the majority should be about balance and enjoyment, and understanding the key principles of fat loss itself is a great way to leave you empowered knowing that you are a master of your own body and choices.
I think a lot of slimming clubs are a fantastic starting point for many kick-starting their health kicks and fat loss journey. With a few solo adaptions, you could make some insane progress by applying these simple tweaks
Weigh yourself more than once per week. But do it on your own scales in the house, first thing in the morning after a pee. You will soon see after a few weeks how much weight fluctuates and you will begin to have a better understanding of your own body. If you are a female, please do some research into how your cycle will affect your scale weight as many have no idea of how much this will affect your weekly weigh-in.
If you love the food you are currently eating with your slimming club, download MyFitness Pal and track the calories you are consuming. This is the best of both worlds as you will continue to love your food but by tracking your calories and weighing your portion sizes accurately you will maximise your fat loss potential.
Be patient! Fat loss will take time, you will have weeks where you have more on than others and weeks where you just can’t be bothered. If you aren’t enjoying your dieting approach and your method isn’t sustainable it won’t be long until you fall back into your old habits.
The beauty of tracking calories is that you can eat the foods that you enjoy eating but simply manage the quantities to suit your calorie allowance. This means you are guaranteed to drop body fat as long as you can stay consistent and accurate.
If you would like any help dropping some body fat or want to increase your education on nutrition please look me up on www.one2onefitnessni.co.uk or search for One2One Fitness NI by Jamie Wilkinson and David Gamble on social media.