managing my pregnancy weight gain with slimmingworld


Balance is key to a healthy lifestyle…and so I feel I want to add some balance after my rant about SlimmingWorld the other week.  Because you may be forgiven for thinking I hate every last thing about SW, and that isn’t true.  After all, it has helped me have my healthiest pregnancy ever, and that is not something to be shrugged off.

I went into my first pregnancy blind.  It was unplanned, unprepared for and I didn’t have the first clue about health.  I was an overweight teenager who drank heavily, lived on junk food and the extent of my cooking skills was to fire up the deep fat fryer in my grotty little council-flat kitchen.  I have no idea what my weight gain was, as I didn’t own scales, but I went from a size 16 to a 22 so it’s safe to say it was probably near or even more than 4 stone.

My second pregnancy came ten years later, and I was a much different person as I’d been through my 6.5 stone weight loss journey.  But although I’d achieved that loss and made big changes to the way I ate and lived, that pregnancy came at a time where things were sliding.  I’d made the shift from an active job with time for fitness to a desk job which left me with little (perceived) time for exercise.  The job also made me miserable and I had turned to food, so I ate my way through my pregnancy and put on nearly 3 stone.

This time around, I’m different again.  My knowledge of health and nutrition has grown beyond diet/light/low-fat and I’ve made big advances in my fitness levels too.  That saw me get down to a size 12 less than a year after our four year old was born, and down to a size 10 for my wedding two years ago.  Unfortunately though, some things have not changed – I still struggle with using food as a coping mechanism, and my control around food is tied to my mood and emotions.  So I came into this pregnancy overweight again after a stressful year at work, culminating with both losing my job and having the stress of starting a new one after dropping the pregnancy bomb.  Oh…and then Christmas.  I put on nearly a stone in the first 18 weeks, and it looked as if I was on track to pile on the pounds yet again.

But something clicked in my head.  I’ve never enjoyed my changing body in pregnancy, and always felt self conscious about my weight gains, but as this is my last pregnancy I didn’t want to spend it hating how I looked.    And then there are the health consequences of a bad diet and big weight gain, both for myself and my baby.  I didn’t have the excuse of ignorance this time – if I wasn’t going to be healthy for me I should at least be healthy for my baby.

So that’s where SlimmingWorld came in, and where it has helped me.  I’ve been critical about some of their “free” foods and approaches, and I stand by that.  But following a plan and going to weekly weigh-ins has been key, and that is what SlimmingWorld has given me.  I’ve written before about how I’m more of a Weight Watchers girl and that too gives a plan and weekly weigh-ins, but SlimmingWorld have gone a bit further and had themselves accredited to accept pregnant members.  Having to be mindful about my food and being held accountable at the scales each week have helped me to make good choices whilst also ensuring I don’t overeat – two things I struggle with when left to my own devices.  Two things that are pretty much all you need to nail to maintain a healthy weight.

If I hadn’t been allowed to join a group, I fully believe I’d have carried on putting on weight the way I had when I started.  But thanks to SlimmingWorld (and my own efforts!), at 32 weeks I’ve only put on 3.5lbs since January.  I know I’ll probably gain weight each week from now on, and that will be something to get my head around, but most of that weight will be my little man filling out and getting ready for his arrival.

I’m hoping that after the birth, my overall weight gain will have been less than a stone.  That just blows my mind, how different this pregnancy has been to my others.  And the impact has reached further than the number on the scales.  I feel happier, I have more energy and I’ve been able to keep active.  I’m sleeping almost as well as I did before pregnancy, I’ve had minimal heartburn and no back issues.  And more importantly, I’m enjoying the pregnancy and don’t feel self conscious or bad about my changing body.  I’m hoping this is all gearing me up to the birth I want, and of course a healthy baby!

Life According to MrsShilts
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why does the diet always start on monday?


Honesty is something I need this blog to have at it’s core.  It’s important to be honest with yourself when you’re on a health journey, and it’s important to the ethos of this blog that I don’t pretend to have it all sussed out.  I’m trying to find health on my own terms, and with that comes some wrong turns.  Those slip ups are as much a part of my journey and my blog as the successes.

So I have to ‘fess up – I’ve been off the wagon/plan/radar this past week.  Whether it’s because I don’t deal well with being out of my routine or whether I just used being on holiday as an excuse, I’ve eaten like a crap…and eaten a lot of crap.  I can’t even lie – McDonald’s, Greggs, cakes, chocolate, a big dirty fry-up, pizza, macaroni cheese, doughnuts…all that shit and more has graced my palate in the last seven days.  It was like the healthy switch in my head was flicked to off, and I used that downtime to make bad food choice after bad food choice.

To top it off, I also ignored two of my own mantras – don’t skip weigh-in just because you’ve had a bad week, and don’t wait until Monday, get back on track with your very next meal.  I skipped SlimmingWorld on Thursday, and it’s only now that I’m drawing a line under my gluttony.

I’m trying not to beat myself up about it.  After all, I could have been spending my whole pregnancy eating like that and piled on weight like I have in the past, so one bad week isn’t the end of the world.  But I am angry at myself for undoing some of my good work – I stepped on the scales and it looks as if I’ve gained about 4lbs this week.

Still, I can’t turn back time so I just need to look forward.  And that begins with a meal plan and some exercise commitments.  Exercise-wise I’ve done a body weight and stretch session today. If I’m not too knackered after work tomorrow I’ll do a (gentle!) Clubbercise class, and then try to fit in another body weight session when I’m working at home on Thursday.  Hopefully I’ll fit in a session with weights and a yoga dvd over the weekend too, but we’re going to Stirling on Saturday and our youngest is having a friend round on Sunday so I wont hold my breath.  

And you can read on to see our meal plan…

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what i hate about slimmingworld


So, as I’ve mentioned, I’m cheating on Weight Watchers with SlimmingWorld as SW is the only group you can attend when pregnant.  And it’s working for me (or at least my take on it is) – my pregnancy weight gain since starting in January when I was 18 weeks is just 2.5lbs.  But jeezo…there are some things about it that really twist my melons.  SW, how do I hate thee?  Let me count the ways…



It is the terminology that I have an issue with here, rather than the concept that if you want to add foods to your diet that have a higher fat/sugar/calorie content then you should do so in moderation.  When you struggle with your weight it is pretty much always because you have a broken relationship with food.  Part of losing weight and getting healthy should be to heal that relationship…so someone tell me how that is ever going to be possible when you are being brainwashed into considering certain foods as sinful/bad/naughty on a daily basis?


Body Magic

On the topic of terminology…what the actual fuck?  I am not a child, I don’t need something sugar coated for me.  Exercise is not a dirty word, though I totally appreciate that for a lot of people who end up through the doors of SlimmingWorld it isn’t one they are comfortable with.  But disguising it by giving it the My Little Pony treatment is not helpful.  Activity, movement, fitness and  e x e r c i s e  should be part of the new healthy lifestyle people are adopting as part of their weight loss efforts, so please treat people like adults and discuss it openly.


Free Foods

I swithered over including this, as I’m starting to sound like a vocab fanatic.  But no food is without consequence.  Although bloody difficult, you could still gain weight eating just veggies if you consistently ate more calories-worth of them than you actually required.  And that would be even easier to do with many foods SW class as free – pasta, rice and meat are foods which need an element of portion control that SW just doesn’t promote.  And don’t even get me started on sugar-laden Muller Lights making into the “free” category…


Muller Lights

Actually, do let me get started.  How is something which is effectively a sweetie make it way on a list which basically suggests it’s on par with an apple?  Someone got a nice backhander when they wangled that particular product placement…


HExB and the Hi Fi Bar

And on the issue of product placement, can we just stop and smell the bullshit surrounding SlimmingWorld’s own Hi Fi bars?  You can have two of these as a “healthy extra” despite the fact that in doing so you’ll be eating half your maximum recommended daily sugar intake in one sitting.  But apparently that’s equal to having just 40g of porridge oats.  Ok then…


Unrealistic Weight Targets

There is a reason that “up to 2lbs per week” is often quoted as the best rate to lose weight at.  You may lose more than that in the first few weeks of a change to your diet, or if you have a lot to lose, but to shed more than that on a regular basis requires you to reduce your calorie intake more.  And less food takes you into deprivation territory which is not sustainable for long term success.  And yet every. bloody. week I see people being encouraged to set their sights on a 4lb loss, and being commiserated with (by the group leader) for losing “just 1lb.”  This is setting people up to be unhealthy, fail or both.  I could literally write a whole blog post on this alone…and maybe I will.



I think this is my biggest disappointment with SlimmingWorld, and could also be a blog post of its own. For me, it is the weekly coaching and education you get from your class/group/meeting that creates success. Or at least it was with Weight Watchers…the SlimmingWorld sessions are just a drain.  There never seems to be a topic focus, and regardless of whether you’ve lost or gained, everyone gets to hear how you performed at the scales.  Whether you learn anything from other members or waste your evening listening to Betty having a whinge about how she put on weight is just the luck of the draw.  Not really worth £4.95 a week.



So…what do I like?  It’s a short list – stepping on the scales each week to keep me accountable, not having to deal with a lot of numbers as most of what I eat is “free” and um…the woman who runs my class is quite nice?  Oops, not quite the positive note I hoped to end on!


Do you do SlimmingWorld?  I’d love to hear if you agree with me or if you think I’m just being a bitch, so drop me a comment!

Life According to MrsShilts
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weight loss pitfalls

Weight loss pitfalls, boy have I got a few.

You know the things – you’re coasting along quite well, making good choices, staying within your limits, aiming for a weight loss this week…and then *boom* you fall down a massive hole that opened up beneath your feet.  It could be that blind spot after weigh-in, or a meal in a restaurant, or meeting a friend for coffee.  Maybe you see it coming or maybe you don’t, but it has the power to sink your efforts for the day, the week or even longer.

For me, the main pitfall is those two days at the end of the week.  Those two days at the end of every week.  That’s a pretty big and pretty regular weight loss pitfall.

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25 weeks pregnant + having an affair

Ok, so I have to throw out a confession to the universe.

I am 25 weeks pregnant and I’m cheating…on my weight loss programme.

And when I say cheating, I don’t mean like scoffing chocolate cake in that blindspot straight after weigh-in, or “forgetting” to write down the gruesome truth of what I actually ate over the weekend.  I don’t even mean hiding behind that old “eating for two” excuse I could so easily fall back on in my knocked-up state.  Because anyone who has ever tried to lose weight will know that the only person you’re cheating on with those sorts of indiscretions is yourself.

When I say cheating, I mean I’ve switched to a major competitor of the programme that I was once loyal to.

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