In all my years of being a personal trainer and health and wellness coach I have come across many clients who have tried slimming clubs with varying degrees of success. I often hear things like:
“They don’t work”
“I always put the weight back on”
“I was left feeling depressed on weeks that I didn’t lose weight.”
Now before I start diving in to the topic I want to acknowledge that people have lost weight with slimming clubs but more often than not they end up putting the weight back on again.
A 2007 British Journal of Nutrition study on Weight Watchers shows that after 2 years 20% are able to maintain their ideal weight, dropping to 16% after 5 years. That is an 80-84% failure rate.
There is also the question of the message they send and often confusing weight loss and fat loss.. What goal do we really want to achieve? Ask yourself, “Why do I want to lose weight?”
As I’ve already covered in my Weight Loss vs Fat Loss blog and you’ll find out that weight is not a particularly good way to measure success. Yet this is how slimming clubs do it each and every week.
Scales are for fish
Members show up for their weekly meeting which is run by a area rep. This rep is neither a professionally trained fitness professional or a dietician.
One by one the members stand on a set of scales and compare their weight with the previous week. They either lose a couple of pounds and end up feeling great or they don’t lose any weight and end up feeling like a failure.
That’s a lot of emotional pressure dependant on standing on a simple device and trusting it as the sole measurement of your success.
As covered in the Weight Loss vs Fat Loss blog scales do not accurately measure your weight or indicate how healthy you are.
Over the course of a day your weight can fluctuate by a couple of pounds. Several factors contribute to this.
When you last ate, how much water you’ve drank, the clothes that you’re wearing and when you last visited the bathroom can all cause a slight variation. Pick the wrong time throughout the day/week to jump the scales and you might get a shock.
Instead of jumping on the scales every day or week why not try every 3 weeks, at the same time of day, in your underwear. This will give you a clearer picture of your progress.
Be patient, you can’t force your body to lose weight. Slow and steady weight loss is what we are looking for. Crash dieting and drastic weight loss is not what we’re looking for.
As soon as you reach your weight goal, by depriving yourself of certain foods, you’ll start falling back in to old eating habits and find your weight climbing in no time.
Healthy Eating vs Slimming Club Diets
On the diet nutrition front slimming clubs at times are misinforming their members about nutrition and diet and have a tendency to under educate and over complicate things with point systems, and “syns”.
I prefer promoting healthy eating through education and empowerment. I believe you’re much more likely to adopt healthy eating habits when you’re not depriving yourself of all the foods that you enjoy. You should never be made to feel guilty for eating food that you enjoy.
Slimming clubs promote eating low fat alternatives like light yoghurt, light cheese etc. These are lower fat alternatives but are loaded with sugar.
They are perfectly fine with diet fizzy drinks when they are loaded with chemical sweetners. These sweeteners are hard on your liver which is essential for fat loss.
Have you ever been in Iceland and seen the Slimming World ready meals? These are low calorie meals but they are processed that you could easily prepare for scratch yourself. Not only will it be fresher and better for you but it will cost far less.
Movement and exercise
This is an area where slimming clubs are lacking. They do recommend adopting a moderately active, exercise rich lifestyle to help with weight loss but they don’t have the expertise of an experienced fitness professional.
They don’t do enough to promote resistance training which in addition to being excellent for weight loss, also have the following health benefits:
- improved muscle strength and tone.
- Improved flexibility and movement as you age.
- increased muscle-to-fat ratio – as you gain muscle, your body burns more energy (fat stores) when at rest.
- greater stamina – as you grow stronger, you won’t get tired as easily
- prevention or control of chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, back pain, and depression
- improved posture
- decreased risk of injury
- increased bone density and strength and reduced risk of osteoporosis
- improved sense of well being – resistance training may boost your self-confidence, improve your body image and your mood
- improved sleep and avoidance of insomnia
- increased self-esteem
- enhanced performance of everyday tasks.
Now wouldn’t it be nice to have these benefits in addition to weight loss?
In my experience a qualified personal trainer can not only facilitate weight loss but more importantly improve the long term health and quality of life of their clients. At the end of the day isn’t that more important than losing weight?
If you don’t believe me here’s a few of our success stories below (before and after slider)
Thank you for taking the time to read. If you have any questions or feedback, please send me a message.
Until next time “Strength for Life”,
Davie McConnachie, creator of DMC Fitness and Dynamic Mind Conditioning, is an expert health and wellness coach, multi-award winning motivational speaker, award-winning gym owner, writer, and published poet.
Athletically, Davie has competed nationally in MMA, Boxing, and Thai Boxing, and internationally in kettlebell sport. Davie enjoyed the London Marathon, several half marathons and is a regular mountain trekker.