A vegetarian goes to Slimming World …


So, this fat veggie thought it was time to have a go at not being such a fat veggie. I’d steered clear of slimming groups after a very unsatisfactory couple of visits to Weight Watchers, where my parting shot to the terminally patronising group leader was that I might be overweight, but it didn’t mean I was educationally sub-normal (and you can tell by the thoroughly unsound terminology how long ago it was!)

Then my partner in crime Anth suggested giving Slimming World a go – she’d lost five stone with them a while back. “You’ll hate the ra-ra, but the eating plan works,” was her view. And to date she’s been right.

Tammi, who runs the group, is lovely and welcoming, and also positive that being a strict vegetarian (almost vegan) wasn’t going to be a problem. I felt comfortable with her immediately.

Slimming World claim that you’re more likely to lose weight if you stay to the whole meeting because of the supportive, friendly atmosphere. I gave it two weeks and decided I’d manage on my own, thanks very much. An hour and a half of plodding around the group while each person mumbled about how they’d be back on target next week didn’t seem like a good use of my time. So now I turn up to be weighed, chat to the handful of people who are friendly, then go.

As for the eating plan, Anth’s right. It is do-able. I lost a stone quickly, did OK over Christmas and New Year, but have yo-yo’d ever since. That’s down to me and private life crap, though, and not Slimming World. Zoe, a friend of mine who started after Christmas, has done fabulously and isn’t far off losing three stone.

But it’s a tricky plan sometimes for vegetarians, as everything is so focused on meat and eggs. I’ve never seen an eating pattern that advocates so many eggs. Even if I liked the damned things, I could never eat that many. And even the ‘green’ recipe book has dishes with meat in. Yes, I could probably adapt them, but I kind of resent having to.

And I still can’t get the hang of the ‘syns’ – the extra treats they let you have. They often don’t bear much resemblance to how low in fat or calories something is (and nuts and seeds come in horribly high). And trying to find out the syn value of stuff can be a hassle if the item isn’t in the little book they sell you – I’m buggered if I’m phoning Slimming World’s premium rate phone line to ask. Yes, I know it’s a business. But sod that for a game of soldiers.

So I’m building my eating plan around baked potatoes, pasta and rice – all ‘free’ food. And the reason they claim you’ll never be hungry on a Slimming World regime is because these certainly fill you up. I’ve got in the habit of buying the tubs of M&S tropical fruit as well. Yes, it’s probably an indulgence. But at two for £5, there isn’t any waste.

Where I’m doing less well, though, is finding other snacks. Slimming World sell a range of cereal-type bars which aren’t bad, but seem to be jammed full of artificial sweeteners, which I don’t much like. So I’ve gone for Weight Watchers’ chocolate biscuits for a one a day treat. The jury is still out on savoury snacks, though …

I’m going to stick with it, because I think it does work, and I get the feeling I’m more likely to keep the weight off on this plan – they call it a lifestyle change rather than a diet. And if it comes off slowly, so be it – I’ll settle for that.


49 responses »

  1. I know staying to group seems annoying but often someone in the group picks up on something you missed or has an idea you hadnt thought of. Are there any other veggies in the group? Trick is to pick the speedy foods and eat loads of them! Spinach, quorn, beans etc. I always did green days with quorn and lost loads. Going back soon as without the talking / group I’m not doing so well 😮

    • Thanks, Jen! I dunno, maybe I should give it another go at staying. But the first two weeks, it just seemed to be people muttering about weight loss/gain and not actually sharing any useful tips. If there are other veggies there I haven’t found them yet. I need to eat more quorn – it’s something I don’t mind, although I don’t seem to use it very often (never much liked meat substitutes). Ta for the advice – and good luck!

      • hi just read this post and have to say its quite helpful. i need to lose around a stone, not a lot i know but im better focused if im paying for it and slimming world worked last time. however that was around 7 years ago, the food plan has changed drastically since then. however just to confuse matters in august this year i went vegetarian but i cant abide quorn, i dont eat processed food any more and tend to cook my own meals mainly around cheese mushrooms, chicke peas or lentils but mainly cheese… not the best option for an eating plan that prefers you to eat processed food and snack on junk . i also snack on nuts and fruit and make a home made soothie for post work out recovery. not sure its going to work for me though as aside form all that i lose weight best by restricting carb intake so really flummoxed. glad to hear im not the only with reservations on the food options

      • Good luck with the weight loss! I know Slimming World suits some people really well, but I’m not keen on the processed stuff and the emphasis on eggs. And it seems weird that nuts have a heavy Syn value.

  2. Thanks dear! I might give slimming world ago. I need to lose weight but can’t abide diet stuff. My problem is that I have ghastly eating habits. I sometimes don’t eat at all for a day or barely anything.

  3. Slimming World worked for me when I was a meat-eater but not really now that I am a vegetarian, so I’m now doing Lighter Life instead. Staying to group can be good if the consultant shares tips on what to eat. Maybe try changing groups if there’s more than one in the area – they do vary.

    • That’s useful to know, Yvonne – thanks! I have to say I find it very much geared to meat eaters. I stayed twice early on, and was disappointed that there did seem to be very few tips – it was mostly people moaning about how they’d put on a pound, or pleased that they’d lost two!

  4. I’ve just joined Slimming World and I find those meetings so incredibly boring and obsessive. We engaged in a 10 minute cautionary tale over 25ml extra of slimline milk. Seriously. Its like girl guides without the cookies. Also Syns*.. such negative dis empowering over tones. The plan is grand but 2 hours..yes 2!..of going around on ‘group’.. Its the exact opposite of group there is too much individual inspection. I feel like I’m in school waiting for the teacher to check my homework and make an example of me instead of an being in an adult education class on healthy eating. Weight watchers was the bomb. Meeting no longer than an hour – useful actual group discussion or activity, few tips, bit of banter, spring in step leaving, motivation for the week ahead. I just joined SW for something new as a friend of mine is doing it too, and doing it very successfully.
    Sorry folks. Rant over, I understand 100% that this works for people and if its helping you that’s the only thing that matters. I haven’t really gotten to grip with the Unmentionables*. The scale is going the right way. I’m just eating like I did on propoints in WW. I just need to be accountable to someone with a weighing scales! I realy think my SW days are numbered though.

    • Hi Nina. Rant away! And I agree with you. People claimed the meetings were friendly and supportive and involved lots of swapping of recipes. All I could see was this plod around the group for two hours with so-and-so saying: “Oh, I’ve put 2lbs on, but I’ll be back on track next week.” It wasn’t useful or a good use of my time. I have dropped off going recently for various reasons, not least because I felt very alone as the token vegetarian in the group. I know people who’ve had very good results with SW and I might give it another go. Or I might take a work colleague up on her offer to weigh me every week and save myself £5!

      • Thank you @ lartonmedia , I am not alone so! I really felt like he kid in the Emperors New Clothes at the meeting going ‘come on people this is rubbish’ I have 2 stone that isn’t invited to my wedding in Spring. In Ire is €9! I think I might just bring my scales down to the bridal shop for a weekly weigh in there and pay off my wedding dress while Im at it.

      • That sounds like a very cunning plan! And good luck for seeing off the two stone and for the big day! I haven’t decided what to do yet. Going round to a friend’s to be weighed is looking increasingly attractive …

  5. I am I suppose a prescatarian, because occasionally I eat fish (very occasionally), but I stopped eating meat 6 months ago after realising that it was meat that was making me ill.

    I also joined slimming world 11 months ago. I agree it is very much geared towards the meat eaters but there are some good recipes to be had for vegetarians, it just takes a bit of searching and adapting, which was what I was doing when I came across your blog!

    It does definitely work though, i’ve lost nearly 5 and a half stone now. I recommend staying for group, I agree it can be extremely boring sitting through everyones account of their week but sometimes, just sometimes, it helps to bring about a revelation that could help you get out of a rut. Also there are some lovely people in the groups that keep you motivated 🙂

    If you’re struggling to find syn values for things you could log onto the website and search the syn section on there, I have the app on my phone and am constantly checking, much to everyones annoyance!

    • Hi Ashley! Oh wow, that’s an amazing weight loss! I need to give Slimming World another go. There was a lot of real life crap going on and I stopped attending. I think I maybe need to find another group. There were some nice people there, but they weren’t over-welcoming, which put me off a bit.

  6. I’m a vegetarian on slimming world! Only started a few weeks ago and results are good. I don’t really like eggs or meat substitutes (although I am starting to eat more quorn on this diet) so I’m making loads of bean chillis, lentil curries etc. Its early days but so far I’m enjoying it 🙂

    • Hi Rachel! That sounds good. I really like lentils and beans, and need to get back in the habit of making big pots of stuff! I hadn’t really eaten quorn before, but I’ve been using it in stir-fries. I’ll be interested to hear how you get on.

  7. Another veggie here that found SW meetings boring – all they talked about was how to get round the alcohol syns ready for the week-end, how much false sugar they could put in anything and yes Miss I will be good next week, honest. Again I was the only veggie and they were not really insterested in anything I said so I stuck it for 3 weeks and now doing it at home.

    • Yep, that sounds horribly familiar! The false sugar and all the eggs were what freaked me out. And they clearly weren’t interested at my group either, although the leader was a sweetie. I’ve given up on it as well and am saving myself a fiver by trying to eat sensibly at home.

  8. im a vegi [though not a great lover of veg lol]. I stopped eating meat a few years ago, and over the past 6 month have been checking everything i eat to make sure its vegi. I m also wanting to follow slimming world too. In october i gave up bread and chocolate ,the closest i com to having either is a hot chocolate or pitta bread . Im abit [alot] of a weird eater, i like strange things like mashed potatoes with curry sauce [as i said…weird], im happy with 2 x pitta bread filled with salad for lunch each day but i need to work out what i can have for teas [i have two meals per day usually and over past month have been having 1000 calories or less per day]. I love spicey food,if i have baked beans i whack in a lot of hot chilli powder to give it some humph, i love quorn mince ,i do a mean chilli with that [im not into cooking but i will cook that]. I cant say ive lost any weight really, plus im doing a exercise video for 1/2 hour each day, ive only notice ive lost one of my many chins and my stomach has gone down alot . Really i need a list of all vegi foods on slimming world and then i need to try and arrange a [weird]diet around it lol . Well done those who have lost weight xxx

    • Good luck! Any weight loss is good. And I reckon what works for you is a good plan. I need to start making chilli again and freezing some. And I love mashed potatoes!

  9. You have completely hit upon what me and my husband are struggling, with being the only veggies at slimming world!! We’re in grave danger of turning into Mr and Mrs Potato Head! Three years since your post and the issues are the same..

  10. Hey, I’ve been at SW since Feb and veggie since June and I have been struggling without being able to chuck a load of free meat down my neck! It’s made my weight loss slow right down which is what brought me here. I do like eggs but try not to have too many… I’m sure it’s not good to have 20 a week 😂 I also try to have very little artificial sweetener as well, which they LOVE in my group. These people must be consuming a kilo of aspartame a week! My biggest bug bear is how little they recognise nutritional values and good fats. So I can, theoretically, have all the muller lights and Diet Coke I want but an avocado?! Woah there! I can’t be too harsh because I’ve lost 1 stone 7lbs since joining. Not the fastest weight loss but certainly better than if I hadn’t gone. The key for me, like others have said, is loads of speed food and lentils, beans, quinoa etc. Just means having to be super organised and obsessive about meal prep, which is where it sometimes falls down for me. I hope you’ve found something that works for you, I’m sure it’s out there 👍🏼

    • Hi Laura! The eggs and the artificial sweetener thing is what did my head in with SW! That and the fact they clobber avocado and nuts with super-duper high syns. I lost about a stone and a half, but now I’m just trying to be sensible (ha ha!) about what I eat. I think the food preparation is the key point – and if you’re knackered after work, or under the weather, that’s one of the first things to go. Good luck with your weight loss – 1 stone and 7lbs is good going!

  11. Another veggie here. Did weight watchers years ago but ate lots of false food (ww diet stuff). Am now on a ‘clean food’ thing and want to continue. Have found some sw veg recipes that will work but need more variety. I live in France where quorn does not exist. I have just ordered some fry light spray from Amazon as cannot get that either. Sw online requires a mortgage which having finally paid off one do not want to take out another, so is a no! Cannot work out the syn idea but have settled on porridge for breakie, homemade soup for lunch and a veg recipe for dinner. Not sure how long I will keep it up but will give it a go. When I was working I had to be suited and booted and being a size 10 was very important. I am now retired and spend my days in jeans, fleece and wellies looking after my chickens, ducks and geese, veg patch and never ending renovations. A plump size 14 seems ok and at least I can eat now. Family history of type 1 diabetes makes me want to get my weight down a bit. So I am trying my version of SW!

    • I went to WW about twice, and stormed out in a strop! All that false food is what annoys me about WW and SW, and the way SW plug all the bloody diet drinks. Good luck with your ‘clean food’ – I’d love to know how you get on!

      • One of my biggest problems in this bid to be thin is I love food (I have discovered since giving up diet junk) and I am not too bothered about being plump! Since I gained weight I have stayed the same. Weird! I am addicted to my breakfast and always have the same….porridge with milk and honey ( I have a bee hive waiting to be put together and a nucleus of bees booked for spring) followed by a slice of my home made seeded bread, toasted and covered with real butter and homemade marmalade. All washed down with two mugs of black sugarless coffee. All real food! My other problem is I have a wood burning oven, so when the diet plans suggest fancy breakfast that needs cooking it doesn’t work. By the time I have coaxed the fire box back to life and have enough heat to cook it is lunchtime. Added to which I cannot get many of the tasty ingredients required to make the recipes palatable.
        SW are happy to take my money despite living in France but do not do a diet plan for a veggie living here. I have a lovely lady on a forum I chat with and she is going to photocopy her SW stuff and post it to me. One of my main issues is I cannot make a decision without understanding how the plan works but cannot get that information without paying money. Added to which my head is nagging me…it is just another diet, you will lose all the weight then slowly put it back on again. Next week I will be 59, me 59 it cannot be! Is it so important to be skinny? I will continue in my bid to eat healthily, real, clean food. It does involve lots of eggs as I have 17 chickens, 14 ducks and a pair of geese. I make cakes every week which taste good and help keep the egg mountain down.
        Jury is out with this one with no decision made.

      • I have to say that most of the people I know who’ve lost weight on SW have put it back on again. It’s certainly not cheap, and I don’t think it’s great for vegetarians, despite what they say (things like nuts and avocados have a hideously high value on SW). In the end, I think you’re right – eating healthy, real, clean food is the key thing, and not stuff packed with artificial sweeteners which SW try to shove down you!

      • I am currently reading ‘the 8 week blood sugar diet’. Having two insulin dependant (juvenile onset) diabetic siblings I know it is stupid of me to have a big tummy! My issue is the word diet! A friend photocopied her SW stuff and sent it to me. She has lost three stones, prompted by a heart problem. I have raid through the plan and it includes low fat stuff I cannot get and do not want to eat due to the overload of chemicals. I am putting more effort into cleaning up my diet which will naturally reduce my calorie intake. I had even contemplated eating meat to combat the hunger and did try a bit but was ill! I have been veggie for over forty years.
        I strongly feel if I concentrate on my self sufficient lifestyle and clean food plan I will slowly regain control. I will try to reduce my carbs but cannot do without my porridge and toast and marmalade for breakfast.
        Next week I have five days back in the UK where it will be very hard to eat clean due to relying on restaurants. At least there will be a good veggie choice though, unheard of in Normandy! We are going to pick up a car my better half has bought. We had one before burying ourselves in Rural France but could not import it here as we bought it from American eBay…another great story involving a trip to New York! It is a millennium yellow C5 Corvette! My blog is going green in France and this car does not really fit in but we both love them. We are sorting out concreting a barn floor for the car to be kept in!
        So enough waffling, the sun is now up so I must go and let out the chickens, ducks and geese and collect the eggs that will be waiting. I love my life!

      • Porridge is super-duper good for you for brekkie! It’s one of my favourites. One of the places where I do part-time work has a big bowl of porridge for £1.50 in the canteen – it’s my new treat and stops me buying the cooked brekkie! And I think your clean eating plan is the way to go. Hope your UK trip went well – and the car sounds very cool! What’s the URL of your blog?

      • I can be found on blog spot…going green in France. Hope you can find me! Lots of ramblings but some seem to find it interesting!

      • Oops, forgot the blog was moved to blogger.com still going green in France though. Google keep changing things which is not good for me as I am not very techno savvy!

  12. I do SW and am a vegetarian. I don’t have too much weight to loose, just 1.5 stone and have already lost 10.5 lbs. So it works for me, but I know exactly what you mean about all the artificial sweeteners and low fat sprays. I don’t use any of that horrible stuff. I cook everything from scratch and have my own garden and hens . I couldn’t possible eat as many eggs as is suggested – just a couple a week. However, I do use a lot of pulses and different grains e.g. Try roasted buckwheat for a more substantial alternative to rice (you will feel very virtuous afterwards) . If I want an avocado I just have it and don’t bother about ‘syning ‘it . They are a very healthy fat , similarly with olive oil and nuts. But I try not to go too crazy and I suppose going to group (which I don’t stay for as I can’t abide being singled out and having to make promises to be good ) just keeps me on track. I hope to go for just a few months – I paid a 10 week plan and hopefully I will be a reformed person afterwards !!!!!!!. There are several several people in my group who have lost too many stone to count and have kept it off. It is also affiliated to the Royal College of Midwives ((I am a midwife) and we recommend pregnant women who have problems with weight to attend, it offers much more support than we have time to give.

    • Ooh, you’re doing well! And thank you for the buckwheat tip – I don’t think I’ve ever tried it. I have some pearl barley to try to recreate a delicious risotto-style recipe I had in a cafe recently. And I could never give up avocados, which *are* healthy, whatever SW would have you believe! And that’s very interesting about the midwife recommendations. My GP practice does the same, although my doctor isn’t entirely convinced of the merits of SW for the reasons we’ve mentioned.

      • I’ve just joined sw last week and glad to hear you all thinking the same as me, too many eggs and sweetener! I was hardly eating any eggs before this week, I’ve been eating at least 2 a day this week and I won’t go near artificial sweeteners! I think I will continue eating my avocado and olive oil but try not to be so generous with them. I can’t accept that iTs better to cook all my food in fry light, it’s packed with chemicals!

      • I’m so glad I’m not the only one! The artificial sweeteners are the deal-breaker for me for sure. And I always saved up syns to use proper olive oil. Fry light is vile and leaves a horrible residue on pans!

      • I’ve bought a spray bottle and put my extra virgin olive oil in it for cooking, that’ll be my fry light!

  13. I joined Slimming World on 6th January because of a free membership coupon in The Woman mag. I find Slimming World to be incredibly boring, having to join a long queue to pay (up to 30 mins wait) then get into another queue to be weighed. I am a strict veggie and find Slimming World vegetarian unfriendly. All around are posters showing meals with meat, food wrappers, packets & tins on the table – none suitable for vegetarians except for the milk, even the yogurts recommended all contain gelatine, the lady who runs it as not got a clue when it comes to a veggie diet. I won the raffle prize 2nd week in – none of it suitable for vegetarians and all junk foods eg. Pot noodles, bacon flavoured crisps, marsh mellows (made using gelatine). The classes seem to go on forever with lots of banter of well done on how much each member has lost (or gained), lots of clapping, stickers, meal recommendations (all non-veggie). Twice I have been missed out! Since 1st January to-date I have lost exactly 1 stone in weight. This is down to me having a virtually fat-free diet, very little alcohol, no chocolate, ice-cream, crisps or sweet treats which all makes sense. I feel that I have got very little from Slimming World and most of my weight loss is down to my own determination, will power and common sense. I will not be going back to Slimming World as I forgot to phone in sick last week and at the next meeting they insisted on me paying for 2 weeks.

    • Gill, that pretty much mirrors my experience – and given how much it was costing, I wasn’t happy! I lost a stone and a half in about three months, but just stopped going as the rah-rah made my teeth hurt, and they really had no interest in vegetarians. This particularly group, with a couple of exceptions, wasn’t particularly friendly either. Good luck with your weight loss!

  14. What annoys me is that the meat eaters can eat as much greasy fattening meat as they like but iif veggies want to substitute nuts and seeds it has to be counted!

    • I know! Don’t get me started on that! All the good stuff that vegetarians need, such as avocado, nuts and seeds, is synned up the wazoo. And even if I ate eggs, I could never eat as many as they suggest. These are two of the reasons I gave up on Slimming World.

  15. Hi, I’ve been going to SlimmingWorld for about 8 years and have lost almost 2 stone and have kept it off. When I first joined they had the Green plan for vegetarians and I found this good. I don’t like all the diet junk and artificial sweeteners and don’t use them either. I must admit since they changed the plan to Extra Easy only and I stopped following my old Green plan I haven’t been feeling great, hungry and very tired. I have started to eat nuts and seeds and using olive oil instead of Fry light and oh my god everything tastes so much better. I feel SlimmingWorld needs a separate plan for vegetarians and vegans as we have different dietary requirements and meat eaters are getting what they need from meat and fish. I do attend group meetings with my Mum and although it is all a bit happy clappy they are a nice bunch and we have a laugh.

    • Oh wow, you’ve done really well! And I think it does make a difference if you go with someone else. I agree that SW do need a properly thought-out vegan and veggie plan(s). I admit that I tried Frylight once or twice and then went back to olive oil … It was worth the syns for sure.

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