How A Treat Can Hamper Your Weight Loss Goals
I’m Tracey! I am a Slimming World Consultant in Tallaght but most importantly I am a Slimming World member. I have lost five stone following the plan and words cannot convey just how much it has changed my life in every single way. I was a comfort eater, a secret eater and miserably unhappy for all of my teenage life. Since becoming a parent something clicked for me. I want to be around for my son for as long as I can be. I don’t want him to grow up seeing food as the enemy and as a reason to hide his emotions. Slimming World has changed everything for me and I want to help others do the same.
I am one of those people that needs to have a certain amount of things to look forward to. I mean that in every sense really. I give myself little goals and checkpoints to look forward to and I then find it easier to motivate myself. When something positive is only around the corner I focus on that, keep the head down and get the job done. It encourages me to be more productive with my work tasks and jobs around the house for example. Another benefit is that it tends to make the reward a little sweeter because you’re coming into it after giving your work and responsibilities 100% in the lead-up. I had this mentality with weight loss for a long time and to a certain extent, I still do. I find it a lot easier to say no to my trigger foods throughout the week when I give myself permission to have a treat at the weekend or at a certain event or social occasion that might be coming up. It can have it’s problems too though.
As a Slimming World consultant, I tend to try and help my members steer clear of the “treat after weigh day” mentality for a couple of reasons. If it’s part of their syns or they’ve saved up syns and allowed for it then that’s quite different. It means thought has been given to it and it’s still within their weekly syns (members can save a couple of syns a day if they wish, however, weight losses may not be as good and it can have a negative effect on some people as it can lead to feeling deprived on those other days). A celebratory unaccounted for treat (or cheat) meal can really jeopardize a person’s weight loss success and perhaps, more importantly, their positive state of mind.
For a long time, my ritual was to have a big treat after weigh-in. I would literally go from my Slimming World meeting (where I always stayed for group) straight to the chipper, Mc Donalds or to the shop to stock up on sweet treats. It didn’t really bother me because I knew I was going to get straight back on plan the next morning and I was still getting weekly weight losses. I was getting small consistent results but definitely smaller losses than most people in the class. It took a long time for me to realize that it might actually be a bad idea though.
The problem with having a big treat after weigh in (that isn’t part of the plan) is the fact that you’re starting the week off on quite a challenging note. You’ve just sat in group gathering tips, tricks and motivation for the week ahead. Your mind is full of ideas for a new week and you might have even set a weight loss goal for yourself. You are feeling inspired and positive about food optimising and free food. Five minutes later you are eating a greasy takeaway and it tends to overshadow all of those lovely positive vibes about the plan which will bring you closer to your weight loss and health goals. All of a sudden it makes it very difficult to relate to.
The next issue is the fact that for a lot of people it does not just stop there. Eating greasy, stodgy or sugary foods tends to make you crave more of that kind of food. How many of us can say that one treat leads to a three-day binge? It can happen so easily and can be very difficult to recover from. The cycle can mean that you are always chasing your tail, making up for “bad days” and not making a huge amount of progress. That is very difficult when it is the progress that helps catapult us into the next week and stay motivated.
Then comes the guilt. The very beginning of your week is when motivation and positivity should be at an all-time high. You have goals and ideas to knock it out of the park this week and yet in the blink of an eye, a big treat has stripped you of that. The motivation is replaced by guilt and now guilt is the predominant feeling at the beginning of your week. Instead of focusing on progress and setting goals you’re steeped in guilt and making plans to “pull it back” or “make up for” the bad meal and it’s only day one of a brand new week.
You can absolutely save your syns if you want to. Many of my members save a couple every day if they know they’ll be having a bigger treat or occasion at the weekend. It is a way of taking control and owning the situation. If you have saved your syns for something it is really important that you still count those syns properly though by weighing, measuring or consulting the app/book as a guideline. I wouldn’t recommend saving too many because a certain amount of daily syns are important for your headspace throughout the week. And that is what syns are for. They are there to take the edge off cravings, to show you that balance is a good thing and that there is room for treats on the plan. Syns are not going to fill you up though. They’re not going to improve your weight loss. Focus on free foods as that is where the magic happens.
Tracey is a happy mammy to four-year-old Billy. She is a breastfeeder, gentle parent and has recently lost five stone so healthy family eating is her passion! You can find her at www.loveofliving.ie.