Slimming World is a UK-based weight loss organisation that provides lifestyle weight management programmes.
Slimming World's members have group support through shared experience with other slimmers to encourage behaviour change, called IMAGE Therapy. Slimming World's eating plan is based on satiety (the satisfying qualities of food) and energy density.Slimming World was founded in Derbyshire in 1969 by Margaret Miles-Bramwell, who remains its chairman. Caryl Richards has been managing director of the company since 2001.
The company began in 1969 with a handful of groups in Derbyshire and expanded into Yorkshire. By the 1980s, Slimming World had 700 classes in the UK and by 2012 there were over 10,000 groups, making it the largest slimming club in the UK and Ireland.
Slimming World's charity, 'SMILES', was launched in 1997. SMILES stands for "Slimmers Making It a Little Easier for Someone", and since 1997 it has raised more than £2,500,000 for charity.Slimming World magazine was launched in 1998. In 2013 circulation exceeded 447,000 per issue. Slimming World also publishes a range of recipe books and directories available to members in group.
In 2001, Slimming World pioneered 'Slimming World on Referral' in the UK, whereby GPs can 'prescribe' attendance of a group for 12 weeks. In 2011, a paper published in the journal Obesity Facts showed that patients attending at least 10 out of 12 sessions achieved a clinically significant weight loss of 5% of their body weight. Slimming World works with around 60 health authorities and, by April 2011, in excess of 100,000 people had used the scheme.
In its 2014 guidance, the United Kingdom's National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) lists the Slimming World programme alongside the Rosemary Conley and Weight Watchers programmes as being "effective at 12 to 18 months".
The current plan consists of three steps, described as food optimising:
1. Free foods consist of most fruit and vegetables, grains, eggs, low-fat dairy products and meat if prepared in a healthy way, and can be eaten in unlimited amounts. In the free foods, "Speed" and "Protein" foods are highlighted.
2. Healthy extras consists of one measured portion of fibre-rich food and two measured portions of calcium-rich food every day.
3. Syns are ready meals, cooking oil, drinks, additional portions of healthy extras, and all other foods, and are given a point value and a daily limit.
Members are encouraged to follow this plan to help control and regulate their weight loss as safely as possible but also without making people feel guilty or hungry all of the time, which are behaviours typical of regular dieting methods.
Slimming World encourages members to introduce physical activity into their daily lives through its 'Body Magic' programme. The emphasis is on introducing activity gently at first, such as getting off the bus a stop early a couple of times a week, or walking up two flights of steps instead of taking the lift occasionally, then on finding forms of activity which can be integrated into everyday life. Members achieve bronze, silver, gold and platinum 'Body Magic' awards. Platinum is achieved when members are routinely active/exercising five times a week for thirty minutes at a time. This is in line with Government activity guidelines. Slimming World has signed up to the Department of Health's Public Health Responsibility Deal and has pledged to encourage its members to build activity into their daily routine. Since 2011, Slimming World has supported more than 150,000 people to become more active.
Health and pregnancy
Slimming World works in partnership with the Royal College of Midwives and is the first national slimming organisation to support pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers to manage their weight healthily during pregnancy. It states that its pregnancy programme is designed to ensure that mothers-to-be and breastfeeding mothers can continue to manage their weight, with the consent of their midwife. Slimming World's pregnancy policy was devised in collaboration with the Royal College of Midwives.
List of diets
Slimming World official website