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Real-life cover star Sarah lost 3st 4lbs PLUS


9 more slimmers inspire you to success

42 Food, glorious food!

pages of

autumn comfort food ✓curries ✓roasts ✓fry-ups ✓stews ✓even brownies!


Ready, set, slim! Try our super-filling 7-day plan today


A family getaway and a luxury spa break

Eat slimmer, feel younger

Turn back your health clock

Weʼve got male

Donʼt miss our menʼs section

live happy! e n ti k k a Chick


the UK’s favour way to ite lose weig ** ht

visit for your free 7 day slim-down plan!


Slimming World

…and enjoy the food you love – a big breakfast, curry, fish and chips, even decadent desserts – and lose weight beautifully! It doesn’t sound like a diet, does it? That’s because it isn’t! It’s Food Optimising, and it’s going to change your life.

eat happy! You’ve probably heard people talk about Slimming World. They eat big portions of real food with the whole family, they’re never hungry – yet the weight drops off! They can hardly believe it, and neither will you. Because Food Optimising is every bit as delicious, generous and effective as they say – all without counting calories, without having to weigh or measure everything you eat and without missing out on your favourites!

be happy! Because we know that forever weight loss goes so much deeper than what you eat, we support you on every step of your journey at our friendly, inspiring groups all over the UK and Ireland. Together, we’ll help you achieve things you never thought possible.

happy days! Slimming World costs just £4.95/€9 a week and right now you’ll save up to £5/€9*. Better still, if you join together with five friends, you’ll all get your first week FREE too! (You’ll pay just £5/€9 each on week one.)

Photograph: Gareth Morgans

find out where, when and how

search online for Slimming World

0344 897 8000 *Standard membership fee is £10/€18 and weekly group fee is £4.95/€9 – see website for full details. **More people in the UK choose to attend a Slimming World group each week than any other weight loss group.

In this issue ●● on the cover

be inspired

10 ‘I feel fab in my 50s’ Gill Marnell put decades of yo-yo dieting behind her to lose 3st 10lbs long-term


‘I’ve come back fighting’ After a devastating health diagnosis, Karen Scales found the inner strength to shape her future by losing 9st

20 Headlines, hype and healthy weight loss



We cut through the media’s mixed messages to give you the answers you’ve been looking for

25 ● Ready, set, slim! Ace your weight-loss week with our colourful seven-day menu

36 ● Sarah in the spotlight


Cover star Sarah Delaney shares the secrets that helped her lose 3st 4½lbs and gain life-changing confidence

‘Now everyone is getting my best’ Lisa Aylott, who’s lost 4st 4lbs, is loving being a slim and energetic mum to her two little boys

50 The secret slimmer Once, Azra Bashir kept quiet about her weight-loss journey – now 4st 3lbs lighter, she’s sharing her success with everyone

118 Rollercoaster slimming How to handle the ups and downs of weight loss – by Slimming World’s founder and chair, Margaret Miles-Bramwell


look, cook, eat 56 Some like it hot

Spice up your slimming campaign with a world of chilli-infused dishes – from mild to super-hot

66 The brunch bunch

Kick off your weekend with a mid-morning meal that’s bang on plan... which will you choose?

69 Top it off

Baked potatoes that double as quarter-pounder buns? Yes, really! We bring you our brilliant Burger jackets

70 Take root

Six delicious ways with the season’s most versatile veg, to put the awesome into autumn

78 Family favourites



Tasty term-time recipes that will keep everyone firing on all cylinders – dinner is served!

80 Food news

Fill your trolley with the latest Food Optimising buys

84 The perfect pear

From chocolate brownies to Bakewell strudel, our sweet, low-Syn treats are filled with orchard flavours

october 2016

66 ‘M’ for men

94 Jobs for the boys

Meet five inspirational men who’ve lost 29st between them and reinvigorated their careers


102 Something for the weekend

Does your motivation stall when you down tools? Here’s how to stay on track all the way to Monday


104 Your digestive health handbook

Give your gut some TLC with our at-a-glance guide to taming common tummy troubles

be your best you 111 Gold blush

Lift your look with the season’s prettiest bling

112 ● Turn back your health clock

How losing weight could make you feel, look, think and act younger than your years

116 Banish your fitness fears

Give your exercise gremlins the boot and start getting more active today!

everything else 4 Recipe index

7 Editor’s welcome 35 ● Win a fabulous forest break for up to six people 49 ● Win a spa break worth over £1,000 108 Subscribe & save! 121 Terms and conditions 125 Shop the issue 127 Are you our next magazine star? 128 Naughty made nice


Cover credits Photograph: David Cummings. Styling: Rachel Fanconi. Hair & make-up: Liz Kitchiner. Sarah wears: Dress, Adrianna Papell at John Lewis. Earrings, Storm. See p125 for stockists




Recipe index Your at-a-glance guide to all the delicious dishes in this issue and Syns per serving

meat and poultry

60 86

28 Beef chow mein with butternut squash noodles FREE n 31 Beer-can chicken 2½ 69 Burger jackets ½ 12 Chicken & bacon risotto FREE 79 Chicken chasseur 2 33 Chicken sausage & couscous frittata 1 80 Chicken & sweetcorn pasta salad FREE 72 Chicken with herby garlic mash & roasted baby roots FREE 58 Chilli & lemongrass chicken FREE 77 Crustless quiche Lorraine with potato salad 3 66 Fab & Free full English SP FREE n 27 Ham, egg & chips FREE 78 Hearty beef stew FREE 67 Home-made beans on toast ½* 64 Jerk lamb with rice & peas 2 76 Lemony tray-roast pork FREE 61 Okra & chicken jollof rice FREE 32 Roast leg of lamb ½ 70 Sausage & mixed-veg tray bake FREE 63 Smoky slow-cooked Mexican chilli FREE 72 Steak & salsa verde with root-veg skewers FREE 77 Tarragon chicken FREE

fish and seafood

65 Fish, chips & mushy peas ½ 58 Lime, chilli & soy salmon with Japanese-style greens FREE n 29 Pesto cod tray bake 1½ 30 Prawn & coconut curry 1 71 Roast salmon with rumbledethumps & root slaw FREE 67 Salmon kedgeree FREE 62 Singapore prawn noodles FREE

vegetarian 59 79 26 60 73 74

Baked vegetable biryani FREE Chunky bean burgers with Cajun wedges FREE Hidden-vegetable pasta FREE Pasta alla Norma 1½ Rigatoni with autumn vegetable ratatouille ½* Root veg & red lentil casserole with herb dumplings 6

sweet things



85 88 128 86 67 77 90 89 87

Autumn fruit salad 1 Bakewell pear strudel 5 Banoffee pots 3 Blackberry & pear slump 3½ Cinnamon French toast ½* Lemon curd tartlets 2½ Pear & lavender sorbet 2 Pomegranate-poached pears 4 Warm pear & chocolate brownies 4½

n Extra Easy SP recipes packed with Speed and Protein-rich foods; perfect when you want to lose a little more in a little less time *Add 6 Syns if not using the wholemeal bread/Parmesan or vegetarian alternative as a Healthy Extra





Graham’s Quark is naturally fat free and high in protein.

So it makes balancing your busy life with a healthy diet easier than ever. This spoonable soft cheese is deliciously versatile and perfect with fruit for breakfast or mixed into your favourite lunch and dinner dishes. Available in Natural (Syn free) and Vanilla (11/2 Syns per 100g). If you want a healthier, easier lifestyle, Graham’s Quark steps up to the plate every time. #GrahamsQuark

editor’s welcome

Slimming in the real world


o you feel thoroughly bewildered by the everchanging weight-loss advice in the media? Recent recommendations to ‘eat fat to get slim’ made national headlines – only to be branded irresponsible days later. As the experts squabble, it can be hard to know who to trust. At Slimming World, we have a set of tried-and-trusted weightloss principles – and they’re as valid today as they’ve always been. With our own team of nutrition experts and 47 years of hands-on experience, we have one focus: to give you a satisfying, guilt-free plan that understands the way you really eat. That’s Food Optimising. Read about why you can always depend on it, whatever the papers are saying, in our feature on page 20. Elsewhere, this issue is packed with things to say ‘yes’ to. Whether you love the fiery kick of chilli (p56) or the hearty comforts of root veg (p70), we’ve got lightened-up family dinners to keep you warm as the evenings cool down… and dessert is most definitely on the menu (p84)! While we’re on the subject of real-world weight loss, our sensational slimmers reveal the many ways their lives have changed – from our five marvellous men whose slimdowns have supercharged their careers, to fabulous Gill, who is making her 50s her best decade yet. And find out why losing weight could help you look and feel younger, too, on page 112. Wherever you are in your weight-loss journey, here’s to a season of real, lasting success. Sara Ward, editor


Meet some of this issue’s inspiring slimmers

I’m the slim, energetic, fun mum I always wanted to be... And knowing that my family are really proud of me for what I’ve achieved is even better. Lisa, 33, lost 4st 4lbs – p44

Since losing weight I’ve enjoyed my job as cabin crew even more. No more fad diets for me – I’ve got Food Optimising at holiday resorts down to a tee! Adam, 36, lost 3st 4½lbs – p97

Food was a huge part of my life – and it still is. By making small changes to the way I cook, I can enjoy all my favourite dishes and feel so much healthier. Azra, 41, lost 4st 3lbs – p50

Get in touch! We’d love to hear what you think about the magazine. Email us at, write to us at Slimming World magazine, Clover Nook Road, Alfreton, Derbyshire DE55 4SW, or call us on 01773 546 071


be inspired


Real-life slimming secrets and smart strategies to help you win at weight loss

Success found! Lisa Aylott longed to be a slim mum. Now 4st 4lbs lighter, she’s full of energy and confidence, and taking family life in her stride Turn to page 44 for her story


‘I feel fab in my 50s’ Finally free from yo-yo dieting, Gill Marnell’s smiles are for real after losing 3st 10lbs

Gill Marnell, 54, works in a school office. She lives in Runcorn, Cheshire, with her husband, Stephen, and has two children, James, 26, and Katie, 21. Gill is 5ft 3ins tall and 9st 7lbs, having lost 3st 10lbs at Christa Stevens’ Runcorn group I slipped the pink strappy dress over my head and, as I looked at my reflection, my heart sank. ‘Oh well, it’ll have to do,’ I thought, covering my shoulders with a matching wrap. Stephen and I left for his cousin’s wedding and I put on a happy face, just as I did every single day. To the outside world, I was bubbly, smiley Gill – getting in the jokes about my size before anybody else could. Nobody, not even my husband, knew how wretched I felt inside. I’d been yo-yo dieting since my teens, always worried people would be comparing me, a size 18, to my size-10 twin sister, Cheryl. Each time I tried to slim I’d start a calorie-counted plan, feel really hungry, pack it all in and regain any weight I’d lost. As my daughter, Katie, approached her 20s, she decided she’d like to lose a little weight herself. ‘Why don’t we join Slimming World, Mum?’ she asked me one day. ‘I don’t need to go to a club, I can do it myself!’ I replied. For six months she kept on asking me and my response was always the same. Then, last year, I went to my sister’s house for afternoon tea with two friends. When the photo of us sitting together appeared on Facebook, I was mortified – I was the biggest by far! Shortly afterwards, Katie and I went to group for the first time. Inspired by our Consultant, Christa, we headed home raring to get started. I was surprised how easy it was to incorporate the eating plan into my life, and found I loved spending time with my new friends at group. And it was working! The weight kept coming off steadily, week by week. I’ve been at my 9st 7lbs target since April and I couldn’t be more pleased with my size 12-14 figure. Katie often tells me how proud she is of what I’ve achieved; she’s been such a great support to me, along with the rest of my wonderful family. Now when I see myself smiling broadly in a photo, I know it’s a true reflection of how I’m feeling – confident, positive and happy to be me! 10 SLIMMING WORLD

GILL WEARS: Above: Dress, Phase Eight. Shrug, Per Una at Marks & Spencer. Shoes, Lisa Kay London. Earrings and bracelet, both Adore. Bag, LK Bennett p12: Dress, Hobbs. Earrings and bracelet, both as above

first word

With a little help from... Gill shares the tricks that made a difference to her slimming journey, and the treats (and people) that spurred her to success

Now my smiles match the genuine joy I feel inside! Feeling good about myself has made socialising much more fun, too – I love getting glammed up and going out to party! Max Factor Lipfinity Long Lasting Lipstick in Always Chic, £8.99

This is me at Stephen’s cousin’s wedding, putting on my usual smiley front for the outside world. In reality, I felt so uncomfortable whenever a camera was pointed at me...

With extra confidence in the way I look, I’m playing around more with my make-up. I love standing out from the crowd in a bold, bright lipstick.

I love these; they’re a real treat at 3 Syns for two. And as they’re wrapped in pairs you don’t get carried away.

I can’t wait to celebrate my silver wedding anniversary at the Savoy in a beautiful size-12 dress. Bring on the cameras!

Lotus Biscoff caramelised biscuits, £1 for a 180g pack (contains 12 twin-packs), Sainsbury’s


Dress, £109, Coast

Thank goodness my lovely daughter, Katie, kept on asking me to go to group with her. Slimming together was a real boost – we’d text each other during the day, which helped us stay on track.

When I’m out, I’ll order a 35ml shot of gin (4 Syns) with diet tonic – or if I’m driving, it’ll be a Syn-free soda water with ice and slices of lime.

About 18 months ago, I couldn’t keep up when Stephen and I walked our labradoodle, Louie, in the steep woods by our house. Now, it’s not a problem – and I’ll even stride up the stairs at home two by two, just because I can!


first word

My go-to recipe Chicken & bacon risotto

Soothing, satisfying and simple to make – an Italian fave with no Syns! EVERYDAY EASY

Serves 4 Ready in about 40 minutes 1ž litres hot chicken stock Low-calorie cooking spray 200g back bacon rashers, visible fat removed, roughly chopped 2 large leeks, sliced 300g dried risotto rice 4 cooked skinless and boneless chicken breasts, shredded Pinch of saffron Finely chopped fresh chives, to serve

1 Pour the stock into a saucepan and keep hot over a medium heat.

3 Add the rice and stir-fry for 1 minute, then stir in the chicken and saffron. Add the stock, a ladleful at a time, stirring often and waiting for the rice to absorb the liquid before adding more. Cook for 20-25 minutes, or until the rice is just cooked through and the risotto has a creamy consistency. 4 Season to taste, then stir in the bacon and scatter over the chives to serve. Syns per serving: FREE


To begin with, Katie and I would make Food Optimised recipes just for each other, then we started cooking them for the whole family. Everyone loves this delicious risotto

2 Spray a large non-stick frying pan with low-calorie cooking spray and place over a high heat. Add the bacon and stir-fry until crisp. Remove from

the pan and set aside. Reduce the heat to medium, spray the pan with a little more low-calorie cooking spray and cook the leeks for 5-7 minutes to soften.


‘I’ve come back fighting’ When faced with a devastating health diagnosis, Karen Scales had two choices – give up or keep losing weight. Here’s how she found the strength to carry on and shape her future


lutching my husband Harry’s hand, I waited for the specialist to speak. From the look on his face, I could tell that my test results had confirmed his suspicions. ‘I need to let you know that you have multiple sclerosis,’ he said. The room began to spin. I was only 30 years old and I had two young children who needed their mum. How could this be happening? When I was finally able to speak, all I could think to say was: ‘Am I going to die?’. The specialist shook his head firmly and reassured me. When I asked him what I could do to help myself, he gently suggested that losing weight might help me manage my symptoms. His advice came as no surprise to me – I was 16st and had already started my journey with Slimming World. Driving home, I felt as if my world had been turned upside down. As a social care worker, I’d spent time with people with severe multiple sclerosis, some of whom had to use a wheelchair, so I knew how life-changing the condition could be. When we collected the kids from my parents’, I held them close, not letting them see the fear on my face. Kyle, four, and Erin, two, were far too young to understand, but I couldn’t stop worrying about our family’s future. Nevertheless, there was one positive I was clinging to – in the six months since joining Slimming World I’d lost more than 3st, so I’d actually already been doing exactly what I’d been advised. While the rest of my life felt out of control, this was one matter I could take into my own hands. As the news sank in, I knew I faced a choice: I could fall apart or I could fight to stay healthier for longer. I’d been big since childhood and, while I always pretended I didn’t care about my size, deep down 14 SLIMMING WORLD

I felt miserable – so much so that, whenever people started talking about weight or bodies, I’d quickly make an excuse to leave the room. By the time I married Harry in 2003, I was around 16st, and I gained more weight with the birth of each of my two children. I was classed as ‘high risk’ during both pregnancies because of my size, and my blood pressure was so worrying after Kyle’s birth that I had to take a monitor home with me to check it daily, and was eventually put on medication. Over the years I’d tried to lose weight, and sometimes I’d been fairly successful. The problem was, I never managed to keep up my diets for long and the weight soon went back on. Harry was my absolute rock – he’d always tell me how beautiful I was and I knew he meant it. My inner voice, however, was much harder on me. Despite Harry’s compliments, I just didn’t like what I saw in the mirror.

My flying start

I might have been doomed to a cycle of failed diets and sinking self-esteem if it hadn’t been for a lifechanging moment. It was January 2012, and I was at a friend’s house for a girls’ night in. I remember having a good giggle until the conversation predictably turned to weight loss – it was the new year, after all. My good friend, Michelle, started talking about a friend of hers who’d joined Slimming World and had lost loads. ‘I’m going next week,’ Michelle said. ‘Who else is up for it?’ Clearly the biggest in the room, I felt like I was obliged to say: ‘Me!’. A week later, I was physically shaking as I walked into group for the very first time, and I got a massive shock when the number 19 flashed up on the scales. The lovely Consultant, Noreen, saw my face and seemed to sense I was on the verge of tears. ‘Don’t worry,’ >

taking control


Karen Scales, 34, is a full-time mum and lives in Methil, Fife, with her husband, Harry, and children, Kyle, eight, and Erin, seven. She also has three stepchildren, Aymee, 21, Alyssa, 19 and Harry, 17

Height: 5ft 8ins Starting weight: 19st 5lbs Weight now: 10st 5lbs



Karen is a target member of Noreen Simpson’s Slimming World group in Methil


taking control

she said. ‘That’s the last time you have to see that number.’ I nodded and promised myself that I would really make a go of this. And this time, I really did. I was so shy that I didn’t say a word for ages in IMAGE Therapy – I was taking it all in, though, and at home I was Food Optimising to the letter. I felt inspired and positive, and the weight was steadily coming off… so why was I beginning to feel so poorly, when I should have been feeling great? I’d been suffering with worsening pain in my leg for weeks and my vision was starting to blur. I’d even been signed off work because there were days when I could barely walk. ‘Something’s just not right,’ I said to Harry. After going back and forth to my GP, I was eventually sent for an MRI scan. By then the conversations with my doctors were starting to frighten me.

Give up... or give my all?

Still, nothing could have prepared me for that devastating diagnosis in June 2012. All I could think about was how it might affect me as a mum. In those early weeks, many of my friends and family suggested I stop going to group. ‘You’ve got enough to deal with at the moment,’ they’d say. ‘Give yourself a break.’ I knew they were only trying to be kind as they could see how much pain I was in on a daily basis, but I was determined not to give up. Staying on plan became my focus. I couldn’t control what the disease was doing to me, so instead I wanted to show my body the love and care it deserved by taking control of my weight. Food planning, keeping track of what I ate and making

all of our meals from scratch also gave me a project when I desperately needed something to occupy my mind. And, when everyone realised I was determined to stick with it, they all rallied round to help. If the pain was too intense for me to drive to group, a friend would pick me up and ferry me there, and my dad would step in when she wasn’t around – between them, they made sure I never missed a week. Meanwhile, my eating habits had been thoroughly transformed. Before I joined Slimming World, I never ate breakfast. Lunch was either burger and chips from a fast-food restaurant, or two large filled rolls from the bakery. Then crisps and chocolate would tide me over until dinner, which would be a large ready-meal lasagne or chicken Kiev and chips. Now, more than ever, I knew I needed to nourish my body with balanced, varied meals. I’d start my day with overnight oats (plain porridge oats soaked in Free yogurt and fresh fruit), then for lunch I’d have home-made vegetable soup or a huge chicken salad and finish it off with some fruit. For dinner, I’d make a family-friendly Slimming World spaghetti Bolognese or chicken fried rice, for example. Harry and I didn’t even have to give up our Friday-night takeaway – I’d order myself grilled chicken skewers and we’d share a small portion of chips for a fraction of the Syns of what I used to order. And, thanks to Syns, I never had to go a day without chocolate! I love sitting down >

THEN I’d never really considered that my size was affecting my health. A girls’ night in one January was my wake-up call NOW I know I’m giving my body the love and care it deserves by eating healthily and being as active as I can


with my cup of tea and a Cadbury Freddo for 5 Syns, or a chocolate teacake for 5½ Syns, as a daily treat. I’ll never forget my first annual check-up in July 2013. ‘Come through and we’ll get you weighed,’ the nurse said. When I’d stepped on the scales, she looked me up and down and then flicked through her notes, frowning. As she asked me to confirm my name and date of birth, I realised she didn’t recognise me from the weight in my notes. ‘It’s me, I’ve lost another 5st!’ I announced proudly. ‘Blimey, I thought you’d sent somebody else!’ she said, laughing. Just after that, the specialist walked in and his jaw dropped, too! In that moment, I felt so proud of what I’d managed to do for myself in the past year. Since then, I’ve lost another stone – 9st in total – bringing me to my target weight. I firmly believe staying to group was my secret to getting here and I still go every week without fail – there’s no way on earth I’m going to put those stones back on. To be honest, I enjoy group so much that I look forward to it. I’m part of the social team now, too, which really helps keep my motivation up. And it never fails to make me smile when I hear Noreen say those words to nervous newcomers: ‘Don’t worry, that’s the last time you’ll ever have to see that number’. How right she was when she said it to me!

p17: Dress, Next. Earrings and bracelets, Karen’s own Left: Jacket, Zara. Top and trousers, both Mint Velvet. Sandals, New Look. Necklace, H&M. Ring, Accessorize. Sunglasses, stylist’s own

It may sound crazy, but even though MS has changed everything, I’m actually happier now I’ve lost weight


Looking to the future

Losing weight has been truly life-changing. I do have dark days and my symptoms can vary hugely from one week to the next. I’m sure, though, that if I were still 9st heavier I’d be finding everyday life so much harder than I am now – I rarely need my stick and I’ve never had to use a wheelchair. Most importantly, I know it’s given me the best chance to continue being active with my children. They’re little balls of energy and we often go to the park together to let off steam. They love nothing more than me being able to join in, though they also understand if I just can’t that day. ‘Mummy, are your legs feeling poorly?’ Erin will ask. ‘Would you like to sit down for five minutes?’ When I’m feeling good, we do as much as possible as a family, like going swimming or taking a day trip to the countryside or a safari park. On particularly tricky days for me, we just play lots of board games together or cuddle up on the sofa with a movie or two. Harry has three older children and when we’re all at home it’s hectic, chaotic and exhausting – and I wouldn’t have it any other way. My family are the reason I get up each morning, despite my pain – they make me laugh and smile every day. It’s wonderful to know that, with our new way of eating, we’re all as healthy as we can be. It may sound crazy, but even though everything has changed beyond belief since my diagnosis, I’m actually happier. Why? Because I’m so proud of myself for losing the weight that had been holding me back, and which would have made my life more difficult now. With loads more confidence and a positive attitude, I feel ready to face whatever the future may bring. And, through maintaining a healthy weight, I know I’m continuing to give myself the best chance I can to live a long, full and happy life as I watch my beautiful children grow up. ●


KAREN WEARS: p15: Dress, Star by Julien Macdonald at Debenhams. Shoes, Principles by Ben de Lisi at Debenhams. Necklace, H&M. Bracelets, Accessorize. Sunglasses, stylist’s own

in the know

Headlines, hype and healthy weight loss Confused by conflicting media messages? Overwhelmed by the volume of healthy-eating advice? We sort the fact from the fiction Words: Sally Brown Illustration: Sara Mulvanny


f you’ve battled with your weight, chances are you’re no stranger to the way the media covers the latest diet and healthy-eating trends – telling you one thing one day, and the complete opposite the next. There’s no shortage of varying advice available at the click of a mouse or tap of the finger these days: Eat more fat!; Eat less fat!; Carbs: public enemy number one, or the next big thing? And to make matters even more confusing, there’s also a legion of foodie bloggers enthusiastically promoting their personal secret to effortless weight loss and super health. It’s enough to make your head spin! With all that media buzz, you may well be asking yourself, ‘What should I be eating?’. And it’s not easy to stay motivated when you’re constantly questioning what’s best. The trouble is, if you’ve been conditioned over the years to think that losing weight has to be difficult, it can be hard to put your faith in something as simple and straightforward as Food Optimising – a plan that doesn’t involve buying expensive foods, eating different meals from the rest of the family, or feeling hungry and miserable. Then there are the ‘helpful’ comments from other people, who simply won’t accept it’s possible to lose weight while eating decent portions – have you ever been asked, ‘Are you sure you can have all that?’. Even if you’re seeing results on the scales, all this can sow seeds of doubt, and you may start wondering if you should be trying a different approach... or just giving up altogether. So, if you’ve been asking yourself just why you should trust Food Optimising over the latest diet fad or newspaper scare story, here are the answers you’ve been looking for…

How Food Optimising works

The bottom line is that you lose weight when your energy intake is lower than your energy expenditure; in other words, when you take in fewer calories than you burn off. Though just deciding to ‘eat less’ – whether it’s by counting calories, cutting out whole groups of food, or restricting our food choices – leaves us feeling tired, irritable and downright ravenous. Is it any wonder that so many diets fail? It’s why, 47 years ago, Margaret Miles-Bramwell, Slimming World’s founder and chair, asked the question: ‘What if we could cut calories without having to cut portion size – without feeling hungry or deprived?’. Her early conviction that it wasn’t about eating less, but about eating better, formed the basis of Food Optimising. This is now a research-backed eating plan, based on the science of energy density, composition of foods and appetite control. Energy density refers to the amount of energy (or calories) per gram of food – those foods that have a lower energy density provide less energy per gram. Studies sponsored by Slimming World have shown that foods higher in protein and carbohydrates keep you feeling fuller for longer than those rich in fat. This means by eating more foods with lower energy density – including those that are higher

Research shows that people feel full due to the amount of food they eat, not the number of calories they take in

in protein and carbohydrates – we can cut calories without feeling hungry. ‘Research shows that people feel full due to the amount of food they eat, not the number of calories they take in,’ says James Stubbs, professor of appetite control and energy balance at the University of Leeds.

How energy density can help you slim

We’ve compared two plates of food with a similar number of calories – a Slimming World steak dinner on the left, and a Belgian bun on the right. As the dinner contains foods low in energy density, including filling protein and carbohydrates, you get to enjoy a lot more. The bun will typically be eaten as a snack between meals. The steak dinner will probably satisfy your appetite for much longer, despite containing a similar number of calories as the high energy density bun.

440 calories

410 calories

That’s the science bit, so how does it work in real life? In practical terms, it means basing the bulk of your meals on an extensive list of Free and Speed Free Foods: all foods low in energy density and high in filling power, that satisfy you for the fewest calories. Free Foods include lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dried pasta and grains, beans, vegetables and fruit – things you can eat without restriction, so you don’t have to count them, weigh them, or worry about eating too much of them. Making a > SLIMMING WORLD 21

in the know

Enjoying eating

‘Research shows that one of the main reasons people give up on a weight-loss plan is because they feel hungry, deprived and restricted,’ says Dr Jacquie Lavin, Slimming World’s head of nutrition and research. ‘So the structure of Food Optimising also works as a psychological tool. Free Foods, Healthy Extras and Syns allow you to enjoy eating – including foods that are typically banned when dieting – without ever going hungry.’ Planning treats and flexibility into every single day isn’t cheating. It’s a smart strategy that staves off the ‘oh, what the heck’ effect: a feeling of resentment at being deprived that can build up over time, until it explodes into a blowout or giving up completely. When the bulk of what you eat is based on foods that fill you up for fewer calories, you can eat until you’re full, satisfy a sweet tooth, or indulge in a favourite tipple – and still see the pounds drop off. That means food can remain a source of pleasure, and with some simple alterations and smart choices, you can have your favourite midweek pasta dish, a curry on Friday night, a couple of drinks on Saturday and a Sunday roast, and still lose weight. At times, you may just have to hold on to the courage of your convictions when everyone else around you is raving about the latest diet trend – though if you need proof that Food Optimising works, you only have to look at the numbers on the scales! ● 22 SLIMMING WORLD

Your nutrition questions answered Our experts demystify some of the key issues around healthy eating and weight loss in the media right now

I’m confused... should I be eating more or less fat to lose weight?’

With all the conflicting media coverage on fat, it’s no surprise you’re confused! If you want to lose weight, cutting back on fat will help, because it contains more calories per gram than carbohydrates and protein. ‘By reducing the fat you eat – while encouraging you to enjoy foods that are less energy dense and help you feel full and satisfied – Food Optimising helps you adopt sustainable, healthy eating habits to maintain your weight loss,’ says Dr Jacquie Lavin. ‘Many members choose lower-fat options so they can have more of it for less Syns, though you can choose the full-fat options if you prefer and have smaller amounts.’ Studies commissioned by Slimming World show that foods higher in carbs and protein keep you feeling fuller for longer than foods rich in fat.

Why do unprocessed foods containing “good fats”, like avocados, have a Syn value that’s as high as some processed foods?’

The basis of Food Optimising is being able to fill up on lots of delicious foods that are high in filling power and low in energy density, with fruit and veg as the stars of this principle (especially Speed Free Foods). Although avocados contain healthier unsaturated fats and other beneficial nutrients, their high fat content does make them much higher in calories than other fruit and veg, which is why they’re 7 Syns per half. So you can include avocado if you’d like to, just in controlled amounts to protect your weight loss. ‘Remember, you can get a range of healthier fats without using your Syns – by including oily fish, which is Free, and controlled amounts of nuts and seeds as your Healthy Extra ‘b’ choice,’ says Jacquie Lavin.

How is it OK to eat unlimited amounts of pasta and potatoes – aren’t too many carbs bad for you?’

It’s a common diet myth that carbs are bad for weight loss. ‘Rest assured that anything that’s Free is a food that’s low in energy density and is great for slimming. That includes dried pasta and rice, potatoes and any other Free starchy carbohydrates,’ says Jacquie Lavin. ‘If you’re enjoying them as part of a meal, especially with some lean protein and at least a third of a plate of Speed Free Food, they can help you feel full, so losing weight feels easier and is more sustainable.’ For extra filling power and health benefits, opt for wholegrain or brown rice and wholewheat or wholemeal pasta where you can. And don’t forget that bread isn’t Free. ‘It’s just too easy to overeat, and is also a “carrier” for foods with higher energy density, such as butter, spreads and jam,’ explains Jacquie. ‘You still get to enjoy measured amounts of wholemeal bread as a Healthy Extra ‘b’ option.’

I keep reading reports about how bad sugar is for you. Should I be avoiding it and, if so, doesn’t fruit contain sugar?’

The public health drive around sugar is specifically aimed at helping people cut back on ‘added’ sugars (also known as ‘free’ sugars), which are high in calories and offer no further nutritional benefits. These are the sugars that have already been added to food and drink – including cereals, cakes and ready meals; those you might add at home,

including granulated sugar, syrups and honey; and those found naturally in high concentrations in fruit juice and smoothies. What it doesn’t include is whole fruits, and the naturally occurring sugars in milk and milk products. ‘The sugars we’re being advised to cut down on count as Syns and so are automatically limited when you’re Food

Optimising,’ says Jacquie Lavin. The sugar that naturally occurs in whole fruits comes wrapped up with healthy vitamins, minerals and fibre and lots of water. ‘It’s in a package that’s lower in calories, and lovely and filling. This is why whole fresh fruits are a Free Food and great for you and your weight loss, despite containing natural sugars,’ adds Jacquie.


third of your plate Speed Free Foods (the fruit and veg that have the lowest energy density) gives every meal extra slimming power. Adding a limited amount of Healthy Extras, such as milk, cheese, cereals and wholemeal bread, ensures you get a good balance of nutrients and fibre. Then, all that’s left to do is to select your Syns – controlled portions of foods higher in energy density, whether it’s alcohol, crisps, something sweet, butter or mayonnaise. On top of this, Food Optimising takes the guilt out of eating – it’s liberating, and creates a new-found freedom around food. As anyone who has ever tried to lose weight will know, understanding why you eat is just as important as what you eat. For a start, we don’t only eat because we’re hungry or to fuel our body. Eating can be a source of comfort and, for some of us, a way of managing moods. We also prepare and share food to show love, and bring family and friends together. And if you’re following a diet that makes these fundamental and pleasurable life experiences either impossible or a source of guilt, is it any surprise that before long, you feel frustrated, disillusioned and unhappy, and decide that losing weight is impossible?

6 triangles are a Healthy Extra ‘a’ or just 1 Syn per triangle

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Ready, set,


Get the weight-loss week you want with our easy new-season meals and stay-motivated snacks Photographs: Mike English

Beef chow mein with butternut squash noodles, recipe p28

How it works...

Fill up on Free Foods

These are the foods you can eat in unlimited amounts… they’re the masterstroke that makes Food Optimising so simple and effective! Free Foods include lean meat, poultry, fish and eggs; dried pasta, rice and couscous; beans and pulses, and most fresh or frozen fruit and veg. They’re the basis of our filling breakfast, lunch and dinner suggestions, and you can snack on them freely between meals, too. Some have the extra bonus of being Speed Free Foods – the fruit and veg

that are super-low in energy density and keep you slimming beautifully. Include at least a third of a plate of Speed Free Foods at every meal, where it makes sense.

Add in your Healthy Extras

Each day, choose a portion of wholemeal bread or cereal and a portion of milk or cheese. Pick from 350ml skimmed or 250ml semiskimmed milk, or 40g reduced-fat or 30g full-fat hard cheese (to keep things easy, we’ve built your bread or cereal Healthy Extra into each day’s menu).

Choose your Syns

Make simple swaps

Can’t do without your ketchup, glass of wine, crisps or chocolate bar? Relax! We’ve also factored in life’s little pleasures – with Syns. Foods that aren’t Free have a Syn value and we recommend you treat yourself to around 10 Syns a day. You’ll find an idea on each page, or see your Food Optimising book, available from group. Remember these few easy tips, too. When cooking, trim all fat off

meat and remove skin from poultry. Use low-calorie cooking spray in place of oil or butter (only brands with one calorie or less per spray are Syn-free – you’ll find them in the cooking oils aisle at the supermarket). Swap sugar for sweetener and pick diet soft drinks, and if you take milk in your tea or coffee, deduct it from your Healthy Extra allowance or count ½ Syn per dash of skimmed. That’s Food Optimising in a nutshell. > Let’s get started...


Hero family meal

Monday Breakfast Dippy eggs: Toast 2 slices wholemeal bread from a small 400g loaf (a Healthy Extra), slice into soldiers and serve with 1 or 2 soft-boiled eggs. Follow with a fruit salad

Lunch Chicken & couscous salad: Make up plain dried couscous with freshly boiled water or stock according to the pack instructions, then toss through chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley and rocket, halved cherry tomatoes and lemon juice. Top with cooked skinless chicken drumsticks

Dinner Hidden-vegetable pasta (see recipe right)

Total Syns: FREE

Hidden-vegetable pasta EVERYDAY EASY

Serves 4 V ✱

Ready in about 45 minutes 1 onion, finely chopped 1 small leek, halved lengthways and finely chopped 2 large carrots, peeled and diced 2 celery sticks, diced 2 garlic cloves, crushed 1 red pepper, deseeded and diced 200g white mushrooms, quartered 1 litre hot vegetable stock 400g dried pasta spirals 2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes with herbs 2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, to serve

1 Place a large non-stick saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion, leek, carrots and celery with a pinch of salt and a splash of water, and fry for 3-4 minutes, or until the onion begins to turn translucent. 2 Stir in the garlic and cook for a further minute. Add the red pepper and mushrooms, then pour over the stock, adding a bit more water if necessary to cover. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. 3 Meanwhile, cook the pasta spirals according to the pack instructions. Drain, return to the pan and set aside until needed. 4 Drain the veg, reserving the stock, then tip veg into a food processor with the chopped tomatoes. Whizz with 50ml of the reserved stock until fairly smooth, then season to taste. 5 Stir the sauce into the pasta and return to the heat to warm through, adding a little extra stock to loosen if necessary. Divide between bowls and serve scattered with the parsley. Syns per serving: FREE


FREE FOOD SNACK Thread lean, cooked deli meats (visible fat removed) onto a skewer, alternating with crunchy pickled veg SYN & WIN You decided to use almost all your Syns on a slice of a workmate’s birthday cake… No worries, a 175g pot of Hartley’s 10 Cal Jelly in any flavour is just ½ Syn!

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Tuesday Breakfast Weetabix tower: Crumble 2 Weetabix (a Healthy Extra) and layer in a glass with sliced banana and a Free yogurt, such as Danone Activia 0% Fat Vanilla

Lunch ‘Sour cream’ spud: Mix lots of finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, chives and dill with plain quark, season and use to fill a baked potato. Enjoy with a mixed leaf and cherry tomato salad tossed with balsamic vinegar

Dinner Ham, egg & chips (see recipe right)

Total Syns: FREE

Great on a budget

Ham, egg & chips SUPER SIMPLE

Serves 4 Ready in about 45 minutes 800g baking potatoes, peeled and cut into chips Low-calorie cooking spray 4 large eggs 12 slices lean ham, visible fat removed

For the salad: 200g cherry tomatoes, halved 2 medium carrots, peeled and grated 1 yellow pepper, deseeded and thinly sliced 1 iceberg lettuce, shredded ½ small red cabbage, thinly shredded Fat-free vinaigrette

1 Preheat your oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6. Boil the chips for 3-4 minutes, then drain well. Spread on a non-stick baking tray in a single layer and spray with low-calorie cooking spray. Season and cook for 20-25 minutes, or until golden. 2 Spray a non-stick frying pan with low-calorie cooking spray and place over a medium heat. When the pan is hot, crack in the eggs, reduce the heat to low and cook to your liking. 3 Mix together all the salad ingredients. Divide the ham, eggs, chips and salad between 4 plates, add a twist of black pepper and serve. Syns per serving: FREE

FREE FOOD SNACK Freeze your favourite Free yogurt in an ice-cube tray. Remove from the freezer, leave to soften a little, then whizz briefly in a food processor to serve SYN & WIN The kids want an after-school snack – and so do you. A 35g pack of The Laughing Cow Dip & Crunch Breadsticks with Light Cheese Spread (4 Syns, from a multipack) each will keep everyone smiling


Wednesday Breakfast Toffee-apple porridge: Cook 35g porridge oats (a Healthy Extra) with water, or milk from your daily allowance. Stir in a Müllerlight Toffee yogurt and enjoy with apple slices

Lunch Mexican frittata: Stir chopped red pepper, red onion, spinach and fresh coriander leaves into beaten eggs, then season. Fry in low-calorie cooking spray until starting to set, then cook under a medium-high grill until set. Serve hot or cold with 2 level tbsp salsa from a jar (1 Syn)

Dinner Beef chow mein with butternut squash noodles (see recipe right)

Total Syns: 1

Beef chow mein with butternut squash noodles 1 Put the beef in a dish with the garlic and ginger. Toss to coat, then leave to marinate for 5 minutes, or up to 30 minutes if you can. Spray a non-stick frying pan or wok with low-calorie cooking spray and place over a medium heat. Stir-fry the beef mixture (making sure to add all the garlic and ginger, too) for 5 minutes, or until the beef is cooked through. Tip onto a plate and set aside.


Serves 4 Ready in about 25 minutes, plus marinating 700g beef frying steak, visible fat removed, cut into thin strips 4 garlic cloves, crushed 4cm piece fresh root ginger, peeled and grated Low-calorie cooking spray 300g ready-prepared butternut squash noodles (or make your own with a spiraliser) 600g thin-stemmed broccoli 200g sugar snap peas 150g bean sprouts 5 tsp cider vinegar 5 tbsp oyster sauce 2 tbsp dark soy sauce 2 tbsp tomato purée Spring onions and red chilli, cut into thin strips, to serve

2 Add the butternut squash noodles and broccoli to the pan with a splash of water and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add the sugar snap peas and stir-fry for a further 4 minutes, adding a little more water if necessary – you want a thin layer in the bottom of the pan so the vegetables don’t stick. 3 Return the beef to the pan, and add the bean sprouts, vinegar, oyster sauce, dark soy sauce and tomato purée. Stir-fry for a further 2 minutes, then scatter over the spring onions and red chilli to serve. Syns per serving: FREE n

Superslimming stir-fry


FREE FOOD SNACK Cook frozen peas, then whizz in a food processor with a garlic clove, lemon juice, chopped fresh mint leaves and fat-free natural Greek-style yogurt to taste. A top dip for veg sticks! SYN & WIN Your friend drops by with her latest dating tales. At 5 Syns, an Oreo Original snack pack (from a multipack) is perfect for sharing… or not!

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Crunchy twist on fish

Thursday Breakfast Bacon buttie: Grill back bacon rashers (visible fat removed) and a large, flat mushroom and use to fill a 60g wholemeal roll (a Healthy Extra), adding 1 level tbsp ketchup (1 Syn). Snack on a pear while it cooks

Lunch Pack-a-pasta: Dice cooked skinless chicken, red onion, tomatoes and roasted red peppers in brine from a jar. Toss with cooked and cooled dried pasta, rinsed and drained capers, rocket and lemon juice

Dinner Pesto cod tray bake (see recipe right)

Total Syns: 2½

Pesto cod tray bake EVERYDAY EASY

Serves 4 Ready in about 1 hour 600g ready-prepared diced butternut squash and sweet potato 4 large carrots, peeled and cut into small chunks 10 garlic cloves (left unpeeled) Low-calorie cooking spray 50g fresh basil, leaves picked Zest and juice of 1 unwaxed lemon 60g wholemeal bread, whizzed into crumbs 4 skinless and boneless cod fillets 2 red onions, roughly chopped 2 courgettes, halved lengthways and sliced 2 mixed peppers, deseeded and diced Sprigs of fresh rosemary

1 Preheat your oven to 200°C/ fan 180°C/gas 6 and line a roasting tin with baking paper. Scatter in the butternut squash and sweet potato, carrots and 8 garlic cloves, and spray with low-calorie cooking spray. Roast for 10 minutes. 2 Meanwhile, make the pesto. Peel the remaining garlic and blend with the basil and lemon zest in a small food processor. Season to taste, then tip into a shallow bowl. Mix in the breadcrumbs to make a crumbly paste, then divide evenly over the tops of the fish fillets to coat, pressing down to stick. 3 Add the red onions and courgettes to the roasting tin and cook for a further 10 minutes. Add the peppers, season and toss well. Place the fish on top and scatter over the rosemary. Cook for a further 15-20 minutes, or until the fish and vegetables are cooked through. Pour the lemon juice over the vegetables, then divide everything between 4 plates to serve.

FREE FOOD SNACK Keep a punnet of blackberries in your fridge or desk for a refreshing flavour burst any time you fancy... SYN & WIN It’s your morning to do the work coffee run. Make a ‘short’ Starbucks cappuccino with skimmed milk (3 Syns) special by asking for a shot of sugar-free syrup

Syns per serving: 1½


Fresh-tasting fakeaway

Friday Breakfast Choc-philly toast: Top 2 slices wholemeal toast from a small 400g loaf (a Healthy Extra) with 2 level tbsp Philadelphia with Cadbury Chocolate (4 Syns) and sliced banana. Follow with a Free yogurt

Lunch Fajita salad: Toss cooked chilled Quorn Fajita Strips with a large salad of mixed leaves, drained canned sweetcorn kernels and quartered cherry tomatoes drizzled with fat-free vinaigrette

Dinner Prawn & coconut curry (see recipe right)

Total Syns: 5

Prawn & coconut curry EVERYDAY EASY

Serves 4 Ready in about 30 minutes Low-calorie cooking spray 1 tsp black mustard seeds 1 onion, thinly sliced 2 garlic cloves, grated 2cm piece fresh root ginger, peeled and grated ½ tsp turmeric ½ tsp ground coriander 1 tsp ground cumin 6 cardamom pods, split 3 cloves 1 green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped 400ml vegetable stock 2 green peppers, deseeded and sliced 200g green beans, trimmed 2 courgettes, sliced into batons 300g raw king prawns, peeled (defrosted if frozen) 225g dried basmati rice 2 level tbsp coconut cream 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves, to serve Lemon wedges, to serve

1 Spray a large, non-stick frying pan with low-calorie cooking spray and place over a medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and fry until they start to pop. Add the onion, garlic and ginger to the pan and stir-fry for 4 minutes, or until the ginger and garlic are fragrant and the onion begins to turn translucent. Add the spices and chilli, and fry for a further minute, stirring constantly to stop the spices from sticking. 2 Add the stock and vegetables. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the prawns and cook for a further 5 minutes, or until the prawns and veg are cooked through. 3 Meanwhile, cook the rice according to the pack instructions, then drain. Stir the coconut cream through the curry, then divide the curry and rice between 4 bowls. Sprinkle the coriander over the curry and serve with the lemon wedges for squeezing over. Syns per serving: 1


FREE FOOD SNACK Mix plain quark with a little almond essence and sweetener to taste, and dollop over halved fresh figs for a guilt-free indulgence SYN & WIN For the full fakeaway experience, savour a 14g bag of Tingly Prawn Cocktail Skips (4 Syns, from a multipack) for a prawn cracker-style fix

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Saturday Breakfast Weekend hash: Stir-fry finely chopped red onion in low-calorie cooking spray. Add chopped back bacon (visible fat removed), mushrooms and halved canned new potatoes, and stir-fry for a further 5 minutes or so. Crack in eggs, season and scramble until set

Lunch Cheat’s pizza: Split and lightly toast a Kingsmill Wholemeal Sandwich Thin (a Healthy Extra). Spread with tomato purée and scatter over sliced mixed peppers, 25g grated reduced-fat mozzarella (2 Syns) and fresh basil leaves. Grill until bubbling and serve with rocket dressed with balsamic vinegar

Dinner Beer-can chicken (see recipe right)

Total Syns: 4½

Beer-can chicken A LITTLE EFFORT

Serves 4 Ready in about 1 hour 30 minutes 1.5kg whole chicken (without giblets) 1 large onion, cut into 8 wedges 440ml can lager 800g new potatoes, halved 200g fat-free natural fromage frais 2 tbsp chopped fresh dill or chives 140g mixed salad leaves ½ cucumber, sliced 150g radishes, sliced Fat-free vinaigrette Lemon wedges, to serve

For the spice rub: 1 tbsp smoked paprika ½ tsp cayenne pepper ½ tsp salt ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper 1 tsp cumin ½ tsp fresh thyme leaves ¼ tsp dried oregano ¼ tsp garlic powder

1 Preheat your oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6. Mix together all the spice rub ingredients. Remove any string from the chicken, then rub the spice mix over the chicken. 2 Put the onion in a deep casserole dish and pour over 150ml of the lager. Stand the partially full can in the middle of the dish, then carefully manoeuvre the cavity of the chicken over the can so the chicken stands upright – only the ends of the drumsticks should be touching the lager in the base of the dish. Cover with foil, then secure with kitchen string around the dish to help stop steam escaping. Cook in the oven for 1 hour 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. 3 Meanwhile, boil the potatoes for 10-12 minutes. Drain well, leave to steam-dry, then stir through the fromage frais and dill or chives.

FREE FOOD SNACK Enjoy a fruit salad packed with autumn’s finest – such as apples, pears, plums or blackberries SYN & WIN Looking for the perfect tipple to go with your chicken dinner? Pour out 200ml lager and top up with diet lemonade to make a 4-Syn shandy. Cheers!

4 Carefully lift the chicken from the can onto a large plate and discard the onion. Remove the chicken skin and discard, then slice the meat and divide between 4 plates along with the potatoes, dressed salad and lemon wedges. Syns per serving: 2½

Extra-juicy chicken


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Sunday Breakfast Café-style start: Scoop fat-free natural Greek-style yogurt into a bowl and sprinkle over 30g Quaker Oats Wholesome Crunch Pecan & Brazil Nuts Granola (a Healthy Extra). Add chopped plums and fresh figs, and drizzle over 1 level tbsp runny honey (2½ Syns)

Lunch Soup & wedges: Preheat your oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6. Cut baking potatoes into wedges, spread on a non-stick baking tray and spray with low-calorie cooking spray. Season, sprinkle with paprika and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until golden. Serve with a microwaved Slimming World Tomato & Basil soup from Iceland

Dinner Roast leg of lamb (see recipe right)

Total Syns: 3

Roast leg of lamb EVERYDAY EASY

Serves 4 Ready in about 2 hours 2.2kg leg of lamb, visible fat removed 15g fresh rosemary sprigs 15g fresh thyme sprigs, plus extra to serve 4 bay leaves 1kg new potatoes Low-calorie cooking spray 4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into chunks 2 red onions, cut into wedges 3 celery sticks, cut into chunks 10 garlic cloves 1 beef stock pot 1 level tsp beef gravy granules 500g kale, sliced Colman’s Garden Mint Concentrate, diluted with vinegar, to taste

1 Preheat your oven to 190°C/fan 170°C/gas 5. Put the lamb in a nonstick roasting tin, lay the rosemary, thyme and bay leaves around the meat, season and roast for 1 hour.

2 Put the potatoes in a non-stick roasting tin, season and spray with low-calorie cooking spray. Put the carrots, onions, celery, garlic and 150ml water in another roasting tin. Add to the oven with the lamb, and cook everything for 45 minutes, turning the veg after 20 minutes. 3 Transfer the lamb to a chopping board, cover loosely with foil and leave to rest for 15 minutes. Cook the veg and potatoes for a further 10-15 minutes until tender, then remove from the oven and sprinkle the extra thyme over the potatoes. 4 Mix the stock pot, gravy granules and 400ml freshly boiled water in a saucepan and simmer until reduced by half. Steam the kale for 5 minutes. Serve everything with a quarter of the gravy per person and the mint concentrate. Syns per serving: ½

FREE FOOD SNACK Dip seafood sticks in soy sauce mixed with finely chopped chilli and fresh coriander leaves SYN & WIN Taking the kids out for a walk? Pack Soreen Banana Lunchbox Loaves (4½ Syns each, from a multipack) to snack on as you stride towards the healthier new you...


Fab the next day, too


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Chicken sausage & couscous frittata EVERYDAY EASY

Serves 4 Ready in about 40 minutes 4 Heck Chicken Italia sausages 100g plain dried couscous 4 spring onions, chopped 4 large eggs 150g frozen peas, defrosted 5 cherry tomatoes, quartered Low-calorie cooking spray 1 level tbsp sundried tomato pesto Rocket and cherry tomato salad dressed with balsamic vinegar, to serve

1 Preheat your grill to medium. Grill the sausages for 12-15 minutes, turning occasionally until evenly browned, then leave to cool slightly. 2 Put the couscous and spring onions in a heatproof bowl. Pour over 150ml freshly boiled water, cover and set aside for 5 minutes. 3 Slice each sausage into 5. Beat the eggs in another large bowl, season and stir through the peas, tomatoes and sausages. Fluff up the couscous with a fork and stir into the egg mixture. 4 Spray a deep, non-stick frying pan with low-calorie cooking spray and place over a medium heat. Add the egg mixture and cook for 7 minutes, or until just set, covering with a plate after 4 minutes and shaking the pan occasionally so the bottom of the frittata doesn’t burn. 5 Turn out the frittata onto the plate, then slide back into the pan cooked-side up, and cook for a further 4-5 minutes. 6 Divide the pesto evenly over the top of the frittata and slice into 8 wedges. Serve 2 wedges per person, warm or cold, with the salad on the side. Syns per serving: 1

You clever sausage! Discover Heck’s range of low-Syn chicken sausages and get your autumn slimming off with a bang


ust because it’s getting colder outside, doesn’t mean your weight loss has to go into hibernation, too. With Heck chicken sausages, you can enjoy your banger-based favourites and Med-style bistro dishes, all with a low-Syn twist. Available in three versatile flavours – Chicken Italia (½ Syn each), and Smoky Paprika Chicken and Zesty Chicken (both ½ Syn for two) – these sparky sausages have been flying off the shelves ever since they landed in supermarkets in 2014. So it’s good to know they’re still hand-mixed in Yorkshire using quality British-reared chicken, and that they

contain 70 per cent less fat than an average premium pork sausage. With Heck chicken sausages you can embrace warming autumn classics without putting the brakes on your weight loss – try them in bangers and mash, pasta bakes and spicy stews… Or bring out their sunny side with this Chicken sausage & couscous frittata (left). All varieties can be grilled, baked or pan-fried in low-calorie cooking spray – for a simple home-fromwork supper, just serve with lots of Speed Free veg. They really are a banger you can bank on!

●● Heck Chicken Italia sausages are available from

Asda, Booths, Budgens, Co-op, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose; Heck Smoky Paprika Chicken sausages from Asda, Budgens and Morrisons, and Heck Zesty Chicken sausages from Asda and Morrisons. The 340g chilled packs cost around £3 each. For more details or to order online, visit


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Slimming World magazine readers can enjoy 10 per cent off any Forest Holidays cabin. Offer must be booked by 30 November 2016 for a break to be taken by 28 February 2017 and is subject to availability. To book, visit and enter code SlimmingWorld17, or call 03330 110 495 and quote the code above. For full offer terms and conditions, see p121.

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Name Address




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accommodation (Friday to Monday) for up to six people in a threebedroom Golden Oak cabin, at your choice of any one of the nine forest locations listed. Find out more about Forest Holidays at Prize to be taken between 6 January and 26 June 2017, excluding 14-17 April, and is subject to availability. Organised leisure activities and Forest Ranger walks are not included in prize. Competition is open to UK and RoI residents aged 18 and over. No purchase necessary. For full competition terms and conditions, see p121.

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Send your competition entry form to Forest Holidays Competition, Slimming World magazine, Clover Nook Road, Alfreton, Derbyshire DE55 4SW, to arrive no later than 20 October 2016. DATA PROTECTION By entering this competition, all entrants consent to the use of their personal data by the data controller for the purpose of the administration of this competition. Data controller: Slimming World magazine, Clover Nook Road, Alfreton, Derbyshire DE55 4SW. The winner’s name, county and slogan will be published in the March/April 2017 issue of Slimming World magazine.



Sarah Delaney, 23, has recently graduated from university, where she was studying to be a physiotherapist. She lives in Mullingar, County Westmeath

Height: 5ft 6ins Starting weight: 12st 11½lbs Weight now: 9st 7lbs


3st 4½lbs

Sarah reached her target at Adam Redshaw’s Slimming World group in Byker, Newcastle upon Tyne, and is now a target member of Caroline Toal’s group in Mullingar

NOW I feel great in everything and I’m happy to have my picture taken!

meet our cover star

Sarah in the


With a new-found love of fitness, an ever better social life and a promising career on the horizon, Sarah Delaney is stepping out of the shadows after losing more than 3st

curry sauce, energy drinks and large bars of milk chocolate were my go-tos.

I was on holiday with my friends last summer when I realised something had to change.

The girls were all taking selfies in their bikinis, while I hid myself under a towel trying to avoid getting in the shot. When a few beach pictures did make it onto my Facebook timeline, I hid them because I wasn’t happy with the way I looked. The evenings were as bad as the days. I felt left out because I couldn’t wear the clothes I really wanted to, and selfconscious alongside my slimmer friends in the clubs and bars. Although I enjoyed spending time with them in beautiful California, my fun was marred by feeling so uncomfortable. I heard about Slimming World through a friend, who said to me, ‘I’m going to join, get slim and get a boyfriend!’ – and I thought I’d give it a go, too. So here I am, 3st 4½lbs lighter, two dress sizes smaller and feeling fantastic! I’d never been particularly happy with the person staring back at me in photographs. It wasn’t just

holiday snaps – whenever I saw pictures of me with my slimmer friends, I’d wish I looked like them. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t overweight, and the pounds really crept on when I started secondary school and bought all my food from the canteen. Breakfast rolls, plates of chips with

I suffered from guttate psoriasis – a skin condition that causes outbreaks of red patches.

It often occured after a throat infection and when it flared up, an itchy rash would spread across my whole body. It made me just want to stay indoors, so no one could see me. At the same time, I kept getting terrible colds; it seemed barely a week went by when I didn’t feel run down and struggle to get out of bed. I was only young and I knew I shouldn’t have been feeling so unhealthy. Every time I’d visit my grandma, she’d give me a kiss and say, ‘You’re a lovely big girl, Sarah’. In

THEN I hated seeing myself in photos and longed to look like my slimmer friends

Ireland, the older generation would say that as a compliment. I was done with being that girl, though. I couldn’t swap and share clothes with my friends and I hated socialising because I was too shy to start a conversation with anyone. I remember one family get-together at Christmas when I tried to avoid food altogether, because I thought people would look at me and think ‘she shouldn’t be eating that’. I became more self-conscious about my weight when I went to university, and it affected my studies.

As I was on a student budget and having to cook for myself for the first time, I relied on cheap convenience meals and gained even more > SLIMMING WORLD 37

THEN I was studying for a career in healthcare, yet I didn’t feel at all healthy NOW I know I can set my patients a good example. I feel fitter and healthier than ever. And I love it!

weight. There was also lots of going out with friends, having a few drinks and then a takeaway. I was in denial about my weight, squeezing into clothes that were a size too small. I’d gone to Newcastle from Ireland to study to be a physiotherapist and felt that as a future healthcare professional, I ought to be slim and healthy. Instead, my tunic was so tight I could hardly breathe. One day, I refused to go into class for a body mass index session because I was worried I’d be put on the scales. Another time we measured our blood sugar and mine was really high. The turning point came when I attended a workshop about the impact that being overweight has on bones and joints. I remember listening to the lecturer, thinking, ‘Who am I to preach this to a patient when I’m overweight myself?’. That, and my holiday experience, were the triggers I needed. In October 2015, I walked into group for the first time feeling so nervous – and walked out feeling totally motivated. My Consultant Adam’s new-member

talk really inspired me and I came back a week later with a 6½lb loss! I’d tried lots of fad diets in the past, usually leading up to a big occasion like a uni ball or a birthday. I’d count calories or cut out carbs for a week or two, lose a few pounds, then get to the event and eat and drink loads. It was a vicious cycle and I’d end up putting on even more weight. This time it was different – with Food Optimising I could actually fill my plate and eat a proper meal. I’ve always had a big appetite, so that was definitely appealing. And when I heard about Slimming World chips (which are Free!), I was thrilled. My housemate joined Adam’s group with me, and it really helped to follow the plan together and share meal ideas. I soon got into the habit of planning

my menu for the week ahead, cooking everything in low-calorie cooking spray and making sure I had

Sarah’s tips on student life and slimming...

Sarah shares how she got first-class weight-loss results while studying, socialising and shopping on a shoestring ●● Supermarkets often have great fruit and veg offers – check

out end-of-aisle shelves and try hitting the shops at the end of the day rather than in the morning to find the best deals. ●● When you plan your study schedule, plan your meals and snacks,

too. That way, you’ll always have healthy options on standby for when it’s time to take a well-earned break.

●● Have a filling Food Optimising-friendly breakfast, like a Slimming

World full English or porridge with fat-free natural yogurt and loads of chopped fresh fruit. Not only will this set you up for an on-plan day, it’ll help you avoid potentially Syn-packed shop-bought snacks and unhealthy choices at the university canteen. ●● Make sure you still live your life. Join friends for meals and drinks,

just make lower-Syn choices – choose spirits with diet mixers and don’t be afraid to ask restaurants to customise a meal for you.

●● See if any of your friends would like to join you at group, so you

can support each other along the way.


lots of fresh fruit, veg and lean meat in the fridge. I found having the occasional SP day helped boost my weight loss, too, as did keeping a food diary if I ever felt like I was losing my way. At uni, you’re going to want to go on nights out or for food with friends, and you can – it’s just about making lower-Syn choices. Before I joined group, I’d

drink cider or creamy cocktails – now I’ll have a shot of vodka or gin in a tall glass filled to the top with diet mixer. One of my friends and I had got into the habit of making a regular trip to Nando’s and I thought I’d have to give it up. Then my friends at group explained how I could still enjoy my chicken treat by making healthier choices. Instead of having half a chicken, chips and garlic bread, I’ll order a quarter serving of grilled peri-peri chicken breast for 3 Syns, plus a corn on the cob without butter and a plain mixed-leaf side salad, which are both Free – and I enjoy it just as much. I’d lost 1st 4lbs by December and went home to Ireland for Christmas excited about showing off my weight loss. So when nobody seemed to notice, I couldn’t

help but feel disappointed. Instead of it affecting my motivation, though, it just made me even more determined that they’d notice next time. My original aim was to lose 2st, which I did by March. I then reset my target to 10st 5lbs – and achieved it in April. Then four weeks later I reached my final target of 9st 9lbs – and I was ecstatic! What kept me going was setting myself mini goals for occasions where I wanted to look my best: Christmas, a university trip to Hamburg, Easter holidays. My weight loss was a steady 1-3lbs a week and, although I did have a few gains along the way, after going to a festival or on a student trip, I’d get straight back on plan again. This time when I went home to visit my family in March, they really did notice the difference. Hearing them say, ‘Fair play, you’ve done so well!’ (and getting into my size-10 jeans!) felt really amazing. My sister, Nichola, is three years older than me and, growing up, I admit I felt envious of her figure.

She never seemed to struggle with her weight like I did, and that affected our relationship at times. Throughout my weight loss she’s been so supportive and proud, texting me to find out how I’m doing and how many pounds I’ve lost each week – and that’s meant everything to me. We’ve grown closer and now share clothes and go shopping together. It’s such a thrill to go to the boutiques I used to avoid, knowing I don’t have to worry about finding outfits because I feel great in everything. Discovering exercise that I enjoy has been a gamechanger for me. In February, I joined a gym for the

first time and started with a weekly spinning class. As my fitness and confidence improved, I felt ready to try new types of exercise. Now I do strength and cardio training – and I’m so much more toned. I’ve just completed a 120K cycle ride from Dublin to Kilkenny for Alzheimer’s Society, riding alongside my mum, two of my aunts and my uncle. It was a really special achievement because we did it for >

meet our cover star


my grandmother, who is suffering from the disease, and raised £5,000 between us. Crossing the finish line was an incredible moment for me and it was awesome to share it with my family. I’d gone from being the girl who was last to be picked at school sports, to being the fittest and fastest of my family. I’m now on the lookout for a new challenge and a triathlon is next on my list – a swim, bike ride and run. Before, I’d never in a million years have thought I could do it, but group has given me the support and self-assurance to know anything’s possible. I’ve developed so much as a person, and my health and energy levels are better than ever. I used to

feel constantly tired and would have to drag myself out of bed in the morning. I didn’t have the energy to tidy my room or look after myself properly. Now I’m more organised, more sociable, more confident and I feel more professional. I’m currently applying for jobs, going to the gym regularly, helping out in a friend’s clothes shop and shadowing physios to gain more on-the-job experience. I feel in control of my life and I know I’m living each day to its fullest. That’s a big transformation for me and it’s definitely thanks to Slimming World – I love waking up each morning in this new fired-up mindset. My constant colds are a thing of the past, which I put down to all the lovely Speed Free Food fruit and vegetables I’m

eating, and I haven’t had a single flare-up of my psoriasis. I’m now waiting for my registration documents, which will mean I can finally practise as a qualified physiotherapist. I look and feel healthy and fit, and I know I’ll be able to set a good example to my patients – I can’t wait to get started. ●

Sarah’s day on a plate BEFORE

Breakfast Pastry or chocolate bar and a coffee Lunch Ready-made BLT sandwich with a packet of crisps and a fizzy drink

SARAH WEARS: p36: Dress, Little Black Dress. Shoes, New Look. Earrings, Van Peterson. Ring, Big Metal p39: Blouse and skirt, both Scotch & Soda. Shoes, Lisa Kay London. Earrings, Van Peterson. Bag, Chi Chi London Below: Dress, Little Mistress. Earrings, Van Peterson. Ring, Big Metal. Bracelet, Stella & Dot

Dinner Shop-bought lasagne or pasta carbonara Snacks Family pack of crisps, bag of chocolate buttons, and full-fat houmous and crackers AFTER Breakfast Weetabix with skimmed milk and an apple Lunch Huge turkey salad, with home-made coleslaw and light salad cream from my Syn allowance Dinner Lean steak with carrots, peas and, of course, plenty of Slimming World chips Snacks Hi-fi bar (from group) and fresh fruit



I love waking up each morning in this new firedup mindset

Slimming World promotion

Chip in! Get your Syn-free chip-shop fix with our exciting new addition to the Slimming World range at Iceland


traight-cut, chunky, wedges, fries… there’s no denying we love our chips, so it’s great to know there’s no need to give them up while slimming. Syn-free home-made chips are a real lifesaver when you’re Food Optimising (if you haven’t discovered them yet, turn to our recipe on page 27). And now you can make your lightened-up chippy experience even more authentic with the latest launch in the Slimming World range at Iceland. Our deliciously dippable, limitededition Chip shop curry sauce will be available in stores from 12 September. It microwaves from frozen in eight minutes making it a fuss-free accompaniment to your oven-baked fries, however you like them! As with all our meals and sauces, the recipe – a medley of yogurt, spices and chunky onion – is printed on the packaging, so when you have more time in the kitchen you can cook it from scratch. Hitting the shelves from the week starting 5 September are two more limited-edition products to help you stay on plan when life gets busy: Smoky barbecue chicken – chargrilled chicken breast pieces with peppers and beans in a barbecue-style sauce – and Syn-free Italian-style pork & beef sausages, with garlic, black pepper, basil and oregano. Remember to serve all our meals with at least a third of a plate of your favourite Speed Free Food and you’ll know you’re on your way to a great weight-loss week!

Special offer Buy any three Slimming World meals or meat products at Iceland between 7 September and 4 October 2016 and receive a free six-pack of limited-edition Müllerlight Crumble Inspired yogurts. Worth £2.50, each pack contains three Apple Crumble & Custard flavour yogurts and three Rhubarb Crumble & Custard flavour yogurts that you won’t find anywhere else! Offer available while stocks last. The Slimming World frozen range is available exclusively at Iceland. Smaller Iceland stores may not sell every item – please contact your local store for details. Meals are priced at £3/€3.75 each; sausages at £3/€3.75 for a pack of six, and sauces at £1.50/€2 for a 350g pot.




is getting

my best’

Mum-of-two Lisa Aylott can’t believe what a difference losing 4st 4lbs has made… to her family, her energy and her confidence


can still remember standing in front of the mirror and holding my tummy. Outwardly, I looked no different, but inside, a new life was growing. I was pregnant with our first child and even though my fiancé, Lee, and I hadn’t told anyone yet, I felt sure that people could guess just by looking at my glowing expression. I was so excited as I made my way to my booking-in appointment with my midwife at 10 weeks. She checked my dates, took my blood pressure and weighed me. As she calculated my body mass index, she looked concerned. ‘Your BMI is in the obese range, Lisa,’ she said. She went on to explain that although most overweight women have a straightforward pregnancy and birth, it could lead to complications, such as dangerously high blood pressure, gestational diabetes and even preterm birth. It could also mean I might need a caesarean. I sat there and smiled politely, while I felt my face burning. Even though I knew I was overweight, I was mortified to learn I’d got to the point where I was facing a riskier pregnancy because of it. I went home feeling so upset with myself... and reached for the one thing that always made me feel better in a crisis: a packet of crisps. For me, food was a comfort 44 SLIMMING WORLD

and a pleasure. I used to joke that I couldn’t go more than an hour without a biscuit, and by the time I reached my mid-20s I’d got used to seeing ‘15st’ whenever I stepped on the scales. My diet consisted mainly of pastries for breakfast, peanutbutter sandwiches with a chocolate bar for lunch and ready meals in the evening. You might have expected the midwife’s warning to encourage me to cut down on all my sugary, fatty foods, but weirdly it had the opposite effect. It felt like a licence to eat whatever I wanted. I was already big and I felt like there was nothing I could do about

THEN I longed to be a ‘fun’ mum... but running around with my boys as they grew up felt like an impossibility NOW I’m the mum I always wanted to be – who thinks nothing of whizzing down slides grinning from ear to ear

light-bulb moment


Lisa Aylott, 33, lives in Wallington, south London, with her husband, Lee, and their children, Louis, nine, and Teddy, four

it now... and I did end up having an emergency caesarean with our son, Louis. By the time Louis was six months old, my weight had crept up to nearly 17st. My mum was getting married, and on the morning of her wedding I squeezed into the size-18 dress I’d chosen to celebrate her special day. Looking at myself in the mirror, my eyes filled with tears – I didn’t like my reflection and dreaded having my photos taken. After that, I started making a real effort to lose weight. The trouble was, with each diet I tried, I’d find the weighing or calorie-counting so complicated that I’d soon give up. Eventually, I did manage to lose a couple of stones, just in time for my wedding to Lee a year after Louis was born. It was a wonderful day – making our vows, then dancing the night away in the golf club with our friends and family. As we slow-danced together, Lee whispered that I looked

Height: 5ft 6ins Starting weight: 14st 9lbs Weight now: 10st 5lbs

gorgeous, and although I was WEIGHT LOST: conscious about my arms being on show in my size-16 corset-style dress, he made me feel beautiful. Lisa lost weight at Toni Pym’s Without the wedding to motivate Slimming World group in me, I couldn’t keep up the weight-loss Wallington, south London. momentum, and stayed at around She is now a diamond member 15st. Years passed with me longing to of Janine Loft’s group in Carshalton, south London be slimmer yet feeling unable to take action, and at the same time Lee and I were trying for another baby. I was delighted when I did fall pregnant. Again, when the midwife weighed me, she told me I could face complications because of my weight. By now I felt so reliant on the comfort that crisps and chocolate brought me, I couldn’t see how to stop. As the pregnancy progressed, I often wished I’d tried to lose some weight beforehand. I carried >

4st 4lbs


on ‘eating for two’, though, against advice, and told myself: ‘I will lose weight... one day’. I had a second caesarean and my beautiful son, Teddy, was born. Overjoyed with my two little boys, I was feeling less and less happy with myself. If Louis wanted to run around at the park, I’d get out of breath; and if he asked me to go down a slide with him, I’d barely squeeze into it. I always imagined I’d be a ‘fun’ mum and pictured myself running about with the kids as they grew up. Right now, that felt impossible. As my 30th birthday loomed, it seemed like a crossroads for me. Did I keep putting this off, or did I get healthier so I had the energy to play with my children? My birthday was in December, so I thought I’d just get Christmas out of the way first. Then the new year passed, winter turned into spring, and still I hadn’t got around to it.

Something clicked...

THEN Although I tried to put on a brave face, I was desperate to lose weight. I just couldn’t find a way of eating I could stick to NOW I’m enjoying healthy, filling, delicious meals – and I’m slim! Cooking’s become a pleasure, and I love serving up new dishes to Lee and the kids


Finally, as Easter neared, I had my light-bulb moment. I was in the supermarket in front of the aisles of chocolate eggs. I thought back to previous years when I’d eaten my way through egg after egg, and I realised something: I wanted to change. I mentioned it to my friends and one of them told me she’d been a Slimming World member for years. She looked amazing! ‘Isn’t it complicated?’ I asked her. ‘Not at all,’ she replied. As she explained more about the plan – that there’s no calorie-counting and I wouldn’t have to weigh everything I ate – I started to think that maybe this time it could be different. Nervously, I went along to my local group. As soon as I met the other slimmers, I instantly felt a camaraderie: we were in it together. The plan seemed easy to stick to because I could still have so many of my favourite foods, including potatoes and pasta. I could actually see it fitting in with my lifestyle rather than being a ‘diet’, and when I realised I could indulge my sweet tooth using Syns, I was sold! With the support of my Consultant and the other members, I began to understand how I was an emotional eater – it was when I was upset or bored that I found it hardest to make healthy choices. They suggested some sweet snacks I could have at those moments, like a Free yogurt and frozen grapes, or low-Syn options like a Caxton Pink ’n’ Whites wafer (2½ Syns) or a Hi-fi Light bar (3 Syns, from Slimming World groups). Another great tip I picked up was to prepare for the week ahead. Soon I was planning all our meals in advance – and it worked! The weight began to fall off. I still loved my food – I just enjoyed making it from scratch instead of getting it out of a packet. The boys and Lee and I were all eating the same delicious food together, like Slimming World Sweet & sour chicken, or Food Optimised chicken fajitas. And, in just over a year, I lost 4st 4lbs, going from a size 18 to a size 10. I even won my group’s Miss Slinky and Woman of the Year competitions. My boys are nine and four now. They certainly keep me busy – and I have the energy to keep up with them. At last, I’m the kind of mum I always longed to be; the kind who thinks nothing of shouting ‘wheeee!’ as I whizz down a slide. There are so many reasons life has become much more fun… ●

LISA WEARS: p45: Kaftan and necklace, both H&M. Sunglasses, Mango. Earrings, Lisa’s own Right: Dress, Little Mistress. Sandals, Tu at Sainsbury’s. Sunglasses and earrings, both as above. Necklace, Accessorize. Bracelets, Freedom at Topshop

light-bulb moment

What I love about being a slim mum Joining in with my sons ●● When I was overweight, we’d

always drive to the park because I didn’t want to be tired before we even got there. We’d run around playing for a little while, then I’d have to stop. While I was catching my breath, I’d be looking at the slimmer, more energetic mums, wishing that could be me. Now, we always walk and I chase after the boys as they speed ahead on their skateboards.

Cooking healthy meals we can enjoy together ●● I’ve fallen in love with food all

over again. It used to seem easier to order a takeaway, or crack open a jar of sauce and serve it with rice. Now, I enjoy combining ingredients to make delicious on-plan meals. The kids and Lee love the variety of dishes I cook, and I love seeing the reaction on their faces when we try a new recipe. As well as tasting great and keeping me slim, the meals I’m feeding my family are good for them, too – that’s so reassuring.


●● Since I’ve started eating more

fresh fruit and vegetables, I’m convinced it’s had a knock-on effect on our boys. Instead of cupboards bursting with chocolate, biscuits and crisps, our kitchen has a tower of oranges, apples and bananas that they can come and help themselves to whenever they’re peckish. I feel like it’s setting them up for a healthier future.

Knowing how proud my family are of me

●● Lee has always loved me as I am,

and my increased confidence has made things even better between us! He tells me every day how proud he is of my staying power and of how I’ve changed my habits. And he’s not the only one who compliments me. Louis once brought me to tears when he saw a photo of me in a new dress and said, ‘Mum, you look stunning’. ●● If you’re trying for a baby, already pregnant or a new mum,  you can find lots of practical advice on eating well and staying healthy at





A deliciously moreish cereal bar sprinkled with coconut, dipped and drizzled in dark chocolate Only available in Slimming World groups. ÂŁ1.95/ 3 for six bars. To find your nearest group, search online for Slimming World.

reader competition

Win a spa break

worth over £1,000

…at Sidmouth Harbour Hotel Walk along coastal cliffs, pamper yourself with a spa treatment, dine overlooking the sea, then relax in your stylish room with private balcony… Does this sound like your perfect getaway with friends? Then don’t miss your chance to win a two-night break for four people at the elegant Sidmouth Harbour Hotel in Devon. This recently renovated hotel with brand-new spa is set on the World Heritage Jurassic Coast, where you’ll all be spoiled for things to experience and explore – from peaceful countryside to boutique shopping in nearby historic towns. Plus you’ll be treated to a three-course dinner featuring local seasonal ingredients. It’s all you need for a rejuvenating break by the sea!

Save 20 per cent on a pre-Christmas break


Take a two-night break at Sidmouth Harbour Hotel between 1 October and 23 December 2016 from just £295 – a saving of 20 per cent on the full rate. Offer is based on two people sharing a double or twin Courtyard room and includes full English or continental breakfast on both mornings, three-course dinner on the first evening, a 40-minute spa treatment each and full use of the spa and leisure facilities. A supplement applies for Friday and Saturday nights; single occupancy rate also available. Offer is subject to availability and restrictions apply. To book, call 0844 858 9186 and quote Slimming World.

PRIZE DETAILS ● Two nights’ accommodation for four

people sharing two double or twin Superior sea-view rooms ● A full English or continental breakfast each morning and a three-course dinner each evening ● A spa gift in each room on arrival and a 55-minute spa treatment per person ● Full use of the hotel’s spa and leisure facilities, including indoor pool, sauna, crystal steam room and fitness suite For more information about Sidmouth Harbour Hotel, visit The prize is subject to availability and restrictions apply. The competition is open to UK and RoI residents aged 18 or over; guests must be 16 or over.

For full offer terms and conditions, see p121.

No purchase necessary. For full competition terms and conditions, see p121.



For your chance to win, answer the following question: In which county is Sidmouth Harbour Hotel?

Address Postcode

Then complete the following sentence in no more than 15 words: I would love to win a break at Sidmouth Harbour Hotel because...

Email Daytime tel

Send your competition entry form to Sidmouth Harbour Hotel competition, Slimming World magazine, Clover Nook Road, Alfreton, Derbyshire DE55 4SW, to arrive no later than 20 October 2016. DATA PROTECTION By entering this competition, all entrants consent to the use of their personal data by the data controller for the purpose of the administration of this competition. Data controller: Slimming World magazine, Clover Nook Road, Alfreton, Derbyshire DE55 4SW. The winner’s name, county and slogan will be published in the March/April 2017 issue of Slimming World magazine.



secret                 slimmer Azra Bashir hid her trips to a Slimming World group from everyone – including her family. Now 4st lighter, she’s thrilled to share her success


s I walked into the shop, my eyes darted from one dress to another, taking in the racks of exquisite gowns crafted in beautiful silks and sparkling diamantes. I was shopping for my wedding dress – a moment I’d always dreamed of. When I stepped forward to look more closely, the sales assistant stopped me. ‘There’s nothing here to fit you,’ she said. Colour rushed to my cheeks for the sixth time that day. I’d gone from shop to shop searching for my perfect lehnga – a traditional, figure-hugging Asian wedding dress – and had been given the same Sunday roasts. With my love of chip-shop dinners response by every single assistant. plus cakes and biscuits, too, you could say that my What should have been one of the happiest weight gain was truly multicultural! days of my life was turning out to be one of By the time I was 11, I was 11st; at 12, I’d hit 12st... the most humiliating. Lehngas tend and that’s how it carried on. By 16, to come in standard measurements I was wearing size 18-20 clothes, of small, medium or large, and large and Mum was getting worried. She wasn’t nearly big enough for me. took me to the GP and I was referred Azra Bashir, 41, is Slimming My only option was to have a dress to a dietitian, who basically advised World’s Consultant Slimmer made from scratch. me to eat smaller portions and lots of the Year 2016. She lives in As I was being measured up, I felt of fruit and salad – not so appealing Birmingham with her so embarrassed by my size 18-20 for a teenager! Headstrong and husband, Ansar, and their figure. I’d spent months browsing bored, I managed it for a few weeks daughters, Iman, 14, through wedding magazines, before I drifted back to my old habits. Aliya, 11, and Hanna, six envisaging myself looking like I met my husband, Ansar, while Height: 5ft 3ins a princess as I tried on the stunning I was studying for a degree in media gowns. Now I just cringed as the and marketing at the University Starting weight: 14st 9½lbs much slimmer assistant wrapped of Luton. He enjoyed food, too, so Weight now: 10st 6½lbs the measuring tape around my waist. I continued to get bigger – though, It didn’t spur me to take control of more importantly, he loved me for WEIGHT LOST: my weight, though. I tried to put the the girl I was and never once made experience behind me, telling myself me feel he’d prefer me slimmer. I was marrying a wonderful man and We got married in September 2001 Azra reached target at Rahema Mamodo’s Slimming World group that was all that mattered. and I wore a burgundy silk gown in Bordesley Green, Birmingham, I’d always been larger than my I’d eventually had made in India. and now attends Toni Russell’s friends. Mum was African and Dad The misery of being measured up group in Coleshill, Birmingham, was from Pakistan, so we had a very was long forgotten – and I enjoyed as a target member. mixed, colourful diet. Mum made every minute of our big day. She runs her own groups in Ward Green, Birmingham hearty portions of curries, kebabs I quickly fell pregnant and and samosas, as well as good old instantly my family wanted to feed


4st 3lbs


THEN I told myself that as a busy mum, I didn’t have time to lose weight, so I just pasted on a smile and tried not to care how I looked or felt

keeping mum

“ ”

Whatever your culture, with just a few small changes you can still enjoy your favourite meals and lose weight me even more. I didn’t just fall into the trap of ‘eating for two’ – it was more like 22! And that set the tone for our marriage. Food was a huge part of our social life. Whether it was a birthday or just a friend popping in for coffee, no one was allowed to leave hungry. It could range from a few biscuits or a slice of cake to a traditional Asian or African dinner party. And when I made a curry or kebabs, I’d pour in the sunflower oil, never measuring out a specified amount.

My snap revelation

NOW I’m a different person to the woman who pretended she was going to Zumba! I feel sparkling from the inside out

After my first daughter, Iman, was born, I was amazed to find I’d only put on a stone. Even so, at 16st, I was really starting to feel uncomfortable and it didn’t take very much for me to get out of breath. I managed to lose the extra stone, though as a new mum my good intentions took a back seat and my weight crept up again. Two years later, Aliya was born. Once I was in a routine with her, I tried a whole host of different diets, including meal-replacement shakes. I felt even more miserable and I regained all the weight I’d lost, ending up heavier than before. Ansar and I discovered we were having another baby in August 2009 and after Hanna was born, I was my biggest ever. I weighed 17st and could just squeeze into a size 22. If we took the girls to the park, I wouldn’t have the energy to chase after them – I’d sit on a bench and watch. It was the same at soft-play centres or the beach. On the outside, I was cheery and smiling, even if I was still wearing my maternity clothes; inside, my self-esteem had taken a nosedive. I gave up trying to slim, telling myself that as a busy mum with three children, I had more important things to concentrate on. But I was lying to myself. The truth was, I didn’t know where to begin. In 2013, I started having severe stomach pains and was eventually diagnosed with gallstones. My specialist explained I’d need surgery to remove my gall bladder and told me I had to lose weight first, without giving me any advice on how. I did manage to lose a few pounds by cutting out chocolate and biscuits, but it was very slow going. Then we went on a family trip to visit my nan in Africa. Back home, looking through the holiday snaps, I paused when I saw myself. I was wearing elasticated linen trousers and a floaty top – an outfit I’d thought was flattering and which I now realised looked shapeless. I knew, for the sake of my operation, I had to commit to losing weight, and seeing those pictures was the motivation I needed. In November 2013, I got chatting to a Slimming World Consultant who was promoting her group at > SLIMMING WORLD 51

Project slim begins

AZRA WEARS: All clothes, shoes and accessories, Azra’s and stylist’s own


At my first weigh-in I was 14st 9½lbs. My Consultant, Rahema, was kind and helpful, and I was reassured to see a couple of other Asian ladies there. The biggest and most welcome surprise came when I realised that, rather than having to give up familiar foods, I could easily adapt all the recipes I’d grown up on. Instead of frying everything, I could grill or oven-roast my kebabs, and I could still enjoy curries and rice dishes. I began to look out for leaner cuts of meat and I stopped cooking with lots of sunflower oil. It wasn’t long before I saw the results with my own eyes. Week after week, the pounds dropped off. Each


the supermarket. If I’m honest, I thought joining a group wasn’t something women in my culture did. None of my family or friends talked about slimming clubs, and I didn’t know anyone who went to one. If you needed to lose weight, you got on and did it by yourself. The Consultant was so encouraging, though, that I decided to go along. Part of me was convinced I wouldn’t stick to it – after all, I’d never managed to before. Plus, I was sure Ansar would laugh at me. So I told my husband and daughters I was going to a Zumba class.

time I won Slimmer of the Week, I was awarded a basket of fruit and on my way home I’d swap it out of its Slimming World bag into one of my own. When Ansar asked why I was coming home with so much fruit from Zumba – well, I claimed it was just something that went on at the fitness class! Amazingly, I managed to keep my secret for two months until one day, as I walked into the kitchen carrying my prize fruit, Ansar spotted my bag – I’d forgotten to swap it! He asked if I’d been to a slimming club, and I realised I had to come clean. When I told him the truth, he began to laugh – and he wasn’t laughing at me, as I’d been worried he would. He was just stunned that I’d kept it a secret for so long. Ansar had always loved watching cookery programmes, so immediately asked if he could look at my new recipe books. He laughed again when he realised why I’d been grilling and baking our samosas and kebabs, and agreed that it was a much healthier way to eat. In fact, Ansar was so keen, he wanted to start making Slimming World recipes himself. He didn’t think my going to group was ‘odd’ – in fact, he couldn’t have been more supportive. With Ansar on side, the weight kept coming off fairly easily. And that started to make a huge difference to my energy levels. Instead of feeling lethargic, I could run around after my girls in the park. No more sitting on the sidelines for me! The biggest difference came when I had my gall bladder operation in January 2015 – losing weight had enabled me to get my health back. I reached my target of 10st 8½lbs a month later, fitting into a size 10-12 for the very first time as an adult. I was so grateful to Rahema and my group for helping me get there that I wanted to give something back… so three months later I became a Consultant myself! Several Asian women came along to my new group. Like me, they were very nervous to begin with – fearing they’d have to give up traditional recipes, and believing it wasn’t the done thing in our culture. They realised very quickly that there was nothing to worry about. We all go for comfort food sometimes and, whether it’s a samosa or a sausage roll, Food Optimising can work for everyone. There was no stigma attached and, most importantly, they could still cook their favourite meals by making just a few small changes to lose weight. To my great surprise, some Asian men started walking through the door, too, which really felt like a huge achievement. Even Ansar joined my group! In February this year I was invited to the final of Consultant Slimmer of the Year. Not for one second did I think I’d win – I only went because it was nice to be shortlisted and I knew it would be a lovely day out! I chatted about how I’d adapted traditional dishes and how dozens of other members of my community were doing the same. When they announced the winner and called my name, I was absolutely stunned – and so incredibly proud. I feel like a totally different person to the woman who pretended she was going to Zumba. I’m so much more confident in all areas of my life, and I genuinely believe in myself in a way I never did before. And guess what – now I really do go to a Zumba class! ●

become a Slimming World Consultant – a uniquely rewarding role Being a Slimming World Consultant offers: An excellent income and flexible hours that fit around family life. On average, Consultants earn between £100 and £400 ( 200 and 600) for working 10 to 20 flexible hours a week*. Encouragement, help and support, along with expert training at the Slimming World Academy, as you continue your journey with us and transform the lives of people in your community.


S at limm t, Lis ing W a o an , Ca rld C the d on Ge su ri ne ne, C ltants vie aro – ve le

If you’re a successful member on your way to target and you’d love to share with others the support, motivation and success you’ve experienced as a member, we’d love to hear from you. *Consultants invest in a Slimming World franchise. Quoted earnings are commission levels based on group size. Call Penny today on 0344 892 0434 (01 656 9600 from ROI) or email:

As well as being inspirational, warm, caring and compassionate, our Consultants all have another thing in common: they’ve been there – they’ve experienced the problems of being overweight, the joys of seeing the pounds disappear and their life transform. Now they’re dedicated to helping others achieve the same amazing success!

scan this, or visit for more information about the exciting opportunities available with Slimming World


The new peanut butter creation everyone’s talking about... Meet Peanut Hottie - more than just a peanut butter hot drink. TM


AVA I L A B L E AT. . .

Discover some amazing recipes at twitter@PeanutHottie peanut_hottie_official

look, cook, eat


Delicious new recipes to boost your kitchen confidence and your weight loss

Autumn glow

Look out for these symbols on our recipes: V Suitable for vegetarians ✱ Suitable for freezing n Extra Easy SP recipe When using low-calorie cooking spray in our recipes, choose brands with one calorie or less per spray as they’re Free. See page 4 for a complete list of recipes and Syn values.


Subtle, smoky or simply spicy… our global chilli-infused dishes will get your slimdown firing Photographs: Gareth Morgans


spice of life

Baked vegetable biryani, recipe p59


Chilli & lemongrass chicken Our quick-to-make curry is zinging with the fresh flavours Thai food is famed for SUPER SIMPLE

Serves 4


✱ (chicken only)

Ready in about 35 minutes, plus marinating

Lime, chilli & soy salmon with Japanese-style greens

Asian-inspired sides and a lick of spice make this dinner a midweek winner


keep them crisp. For the dressing, mix together the soy sauce, rice vinegar and stock, then add the sliced chilli. Set aside.

1 tbsp soy sauce 1 fresh red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped, plus a little extra thinly sliced for the dressing Zest and juice of 2 limes 4 skinless and boneless salmon fillets 300g pak choi, stalks and leaves separated 4 tbsp oyster sauce

2 Preheat your grill to medium. Mix the soy sauce with the diced chilli, and lime zest and juice. Line a baking tray with baking paper, place the salmon on top and drizzle each fillet with the lime mixture. Grill for 7-8 minutes, or until just cooked through.


Serves 4

Ready in about 35 minutes

For the salad and dressing: 2 spring onions, shredded, plus extra to serve 8 radishes, thinly sliced 1 carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks 1 celery stick, cut into matchsticks 75g mangetout, shredded 2 tbsp soy sauce 2 tbsp rice vinegar 100ml cooled chicken or vegetable stock

1 To make the salad, put the spring onions, radishes, carrot, celery and mangetout in separate bowls of cold water with a couple of ice cubes to 58 SLIMMING WORLD

3 Meanwhile, boil the pak choi stalks for 1 minute, then add the leaves to the saucepan for the final few seconds to wilt. Drain well, then return to the pan. Add the oyster sauce and toss well, then transfer to a serving bowl. 4 Drain all the salad ingredients, then pat dry with kitchen paper if necessary. Arrange in piles on a serving dish and spoon over the dressing. Scatter the extra spring onions over the salmon and serve with the pak choi and salad. Syns per serving: FREE n

COOK’S NOTE Take care when prepping chillies, as the membrane and seeds inside can burn. Afterwards, wash your hands with soap and water, and avoid rubbing your eyes as the chilli oil will irritate them. Wear disposable gloves, if you like

spice of life 4 lemongrass stalks, finely chopped 1 fresh red and 1 fresh green bird’s-eye chilli, finely chopped 3 garlic cloves, crushed 1 tbsp Thai fish sauce 4 skinless and boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces Low-calorie cooking spray 300g dried jasmine rice 400g thin-stemmed broccoli 2 red peppers, deseeded and diced 200ml chicken stock Fresh mint and coriander leaves, to serve

1 Mix together the lemongrass, chillies, garlic and fish sauce. Put the chicken in a bowl and add half the lemongrass mixture, reserving the rest. Toss well to coat the chicken, then cover and marinate in the fridge for at least 20 minutes. 2 Spray a large non-stick frying pan with low-calorie cooking spray and

place over a medium-high heat. Add the reserved lemongrass mixture and stir-fry for 20-30 seconds, or until fragrant. Add the chicken and stir-fry for 8-10 minutes, or until the chicken is browned all over.

Baked vegetable biryani

3 Meanwhile, cook the rice according to the pack instructions. Drain well.

Serves 4

4 Add the broccoli and peppers to the chicken and stir-fry for a further 3-4 minutes. Pour the stock into the pan and bubble over a high heat for a few minutes, or until the stock has reduced by half. Serve the chicken with the rice and herbs for sprinkling over. Syns per serving: FREE

A veggie all-in-one wonder with rice, spice and all things nice… EVERYDAY EASY


Ready in about 1 hour 10 minutes 1 small cauliflower, broken into small florets 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-size chunks 1 large onion, sliced Low-calorie cooking spray 800ml hot vegetable stock 2 tbsp curry powder 2 whole dried red Kashmiri chillies ½ tsp saffron strands 2 tsp cumin seeds 1 tsp black mustard seeds 1 cinnamon stick 4 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed 2 cloves 400g dried basmati rice 200g green beans, halved Juice of 1 lemon 2 tbsp each of chopped fresh coriander and mint leaves

For the cucumber raita: 150g fat-free natural yogurt ½ cucumber, deseeded and coarsely grated, reserving some to serve Pinch of paprika

1 Preheat your oven to 220°C/ fan 200°C/gas 7. Put the cauliflower, sweet potatoes and onion in a large non-stick roasting tin. Spray with low-calorie cooking spray, season and bake for 15 minutes until starting to brown. 2 Meanwhile, stir together the stock, curry powder, chillies, saffron, cumin and mustard seeds, cinnamon stick, cardamom pods and cloves. 3 Mix the rice and green beans into the baked vegetables, then pour over the stock mixture. Reduce the oven to 190°C/fan 170°C/gas 5. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed. Discard the cinnamon stick. 4 For the raita, mix the yogurt and cucumber together in a small bowl, then top with the paprika and reserved cucumber. Stir the lemon juice into the biryani, then scatter over the chopped herbs and serve with the cucumber raita. Syns per serving: FREE


Pasta alla Norma

A classic Sicilian pasta dish that’s sweet and sour with a gentle heat… SUPER SIMPLE

Serves 4


Ready in about 40 minutes 1 red onion, finely chopped 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped 1 tsp dried red chilli flakes Low-calorie cooking spray 2 medium aubergines, cubed 400g can cherry tomatoes 200g passata 3 tbsp tomato purée 30g chopped fresh basil leaves, plus extra leaves to serve 2 tbsp capers, drained and rinsed


2 tbsp red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar 375g dried penne 90g ricotta

1 Place a non-stick frying pan over a medium-low heat. Gently stir-fry the onion, garlic and chilli with a splash of water until softened. 2 Meanwhile, spray another non-stick frying pan with low-calorie cooking spray and place over a medium-high heat. Fry the aubergines for 6-7 minutes, or until lightly browned, then add to the onion mixture.

3 Add the canned tomatoes, passata, tomato purée and chopped basil. Season and cook over a medium heat for 15-20 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Add the capers and vinegar and reduce the heat to a simmer. 4 Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the pack instructions and drain well. Divide the pasta and sauce between 4 bowls. Spoon a quarter of the ricotta over each and scatter with basil leaves to serve. Syns per serving: 1½

spice of life

Okra & chicken jollof rice

Fiery Scotch bonnet spikes this easy West African one-pot – just relax and let it bubble away SUPER SIMPLE

Serves 4


Ready in about 1 hour 15 minutes 3 garlic cloves, crushed 400g can chopped tomatoes 1 tsp grated fresh root ginger 1 fresh Scotch bonnet chilli, deseeded and roughly chopped Low-calorie cooking spray 8 skinless and boneless chicken thighs, cut into large bite-size pieces

1 large red onion, roughly chopped 3 tbsp tomato purée 800ml chicken stock 375g dried long-grain rice 2 yellow peppers, deseeded and sliced 200g okra, cut into short lengths 30g finely chopped fresh coriander leaves

1 Put the garlic, tomatoes, ginger and chilli in a small food processor and blend until smooth. 2 Spray a large non-stick lidded frying pan with low-calorie cooking spray and place over a medium heat. Stir-fry the chicken and onion for 7-8 minutes. Add the tomato purée

and stir-fry for a further minute. Add the tomato and chilli mixture and stir in the stock. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 15 minutes. 3 Stir in the rice, reduce the heat to low, then cover tightly and cook for 20 minutes. Remove the lid and scatter over the peppers and okra. Re-cover and cook for a further 10 minutes, or until the veg is softened and the rice is tender. Scatter over the coriander to serve. Syns per serving: FREE

COOK’S NOTE There’s only one way to know how hot a fresh chilli is, and that’s to taste it. Slice it in half and gently dab the cut surface onto the tip of your tongue. If you get too much of a burn, a sip of milk or a squeeze of lemon juice works better than water


Singapore prawn noodles

Our veg-packed stir-fry gets its oomph from taste bud-tingling bird’s-eye chillies and curry powder SUPER SIMPLE

Serves 4


Ready in about 30 minutes 300g dried medium egg noodles Low-calorie cooking spray 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
 2.5cm piece fresh root ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks
 1 fresh green bird’s-eye chilli, finely chopped, plus thin slices to serve
 300g pack mixed vegetable stir-fry 400g raw king or tiger prawns, shelled 2 tsp medium madras curry powder
 3 tbsp soy sauce
 2 tbsp oyster sauce
 1 medium egg, lightly beaten


4 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves, to serve (optional) Lime wedges, to serve

1 Cook the noodles according to the pack instructions, then drain. Refresh under cold water and set aside. 2 Spray a large non-stick frying pan or wok with low-calorie cooking spray and place over a medium heat. Stir-fry the garlic, ginger and chilli for 1 minute. Add the stir-fry vegetables, increase the heat to high and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes. Scoop the cooked veg into a bowl and set aside. 3 Add the prawns to the pan and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes, or until just

cooked through and pink. Add the curry powder, soy sauce, oyster sauce and cooked vegetables. Stir well, then tip into a bowl. 4 Wipe out the pan with kitchen paper, re-spray with low-calorie cooking spray and return to the heat. Add the noodles and beaten egg and toss together well so the egg cooks. Tip all the cooked ingredients back into the pan and stir to heat through. 5 Divide between 4 bowls and scatter over the sliced chilli and coriander (if using). Serve with the lime wedges for squeezing over. Syns per serving: FREE

COOK’S NOTE Chop up any leftover veggies in your fridge and use in place of the ready-prepared stir-fry veg. Just remember to make sure a third of your meal is Speed Free veg

spice of life

Smoky slow-cooked Mexican chilli

Chipotles, the chillies of the moment, give this crowd-pleaser a trendy twist A LITTLE EFFORT

Serves 4

MILD/MEDIUM ✱ (beef chilli only) Ready in about 2 hours

4 baking potatoes, skins pricked 500g lean beef mince (5% fat or less) 2 onions, roughly chopped
 5 garlic cloves, finely diced 2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped 2 celery sticks, thickly sliced 400g passata 400g can chopped tomatoes 2 dried chipotle or ancho chillies 2 tsp cumin seeds 1 tbsp dried oregano 1 tsp ground cinnamon
 Pinch of sweetener 400g can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed 4 tbsp fat-free natural yogurt 4 tbsp roughly chopped fresh coriander Lime wedges, to serve

1 Preheat your oven to 200°C/ fan 180°C/gas 6. Bake the potatoes for 1¼-1½ hours, or until the skins are golden-brown and the flesh is soft. 2 Meanwhile, place a large, lidded, non-stick frying pan over a high heat and brown the mince, stirring often. Add the onions and stir-fry for 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. 3 Reduce the heat to low and add the garlic, carrots and celery. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the onion has completely softened. Add the passata and tomatoes. Cover and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. 4 Cut the stalks off the dried chillies. Shake out and discard the seeds, then finely chop. Grind in a pestle and mortar with a pinch of salt and the cumin seeds. Stir in the oregano. Add to the mince, along with the cinnamon and sweetener. Partially cover, then simmer for a further 20-30 minutes. Add a little water if it seems dry, or if you prefer a saucier chilli. 5 Add the kidney beans for the final 10 minutes of cooking time and season. Split the potatoes and spoon the chilli over the top. Drizzle with the yogurt, scatter over the coriander and serve with lime wedges for squeezing over. Syns per serving: FREE

COOK’S NOTE If you can’t find chipotle chillies for this dish, you can substitute 1 tsp each of chilli powder, paprika and ground cumin

The colour or size of a chilli gives no real clue to how hot it is. Here’s our guide:

commonly found in South-East Asia, its fruity flavour is great in classic Asian dishes.



A small, stout, sweettasting chilli that packs a serious punch. It’s a top choice in African and Caribbean cooking.


Don’t be fooled by its size – this dainty, long, thin chilli can be pretty hot. Most

A brown, smoke-dried jalapeño used mainly in Mexican-style dishes. With an earthy spiciness, it has a similar heat to a fresh jalapeño pepper.


The conical-shape, fruity-tasting green

or red chilli that you’ll always find in supermarkets. It’s the one to pick if you need a standard fresh chilli for your recipe.


This wrinkled dried chilli has a mild flavour and rich red colour.


A mild, dried chilli originating in Mexico, with a soft, smokyfruity flavour.


spice of life

Jerk lamb with rice & peas

Tender lamb with a fiery hit of spice thanks to its Scotch-bonnet marinade A LITTLE EFFORT

Serves 4


Ready in about 40 minutes, plus marinating 8 lean lamb leg steaks, visible fat removed Low-calorie cooking spray Mixed salad leaves, to serve

For the jerk marinade: 8 spring onions, chopped 1-2 fresh Scotch bonnet chillies, deseeded and roughly chopped Juice of 3 large limes 1 tbsp dried thyme 4 garlic cloves, crushed 1 tbsp grated fresh root ginger 1 tbsp ground allspice 2 banana (echalion) shallots, finely chopped 3 tbsp soy sauce ¼ tsp sweetener

For the rice and peas: 200g dried basmati rice 200ml reduced-fat coconut milk 500ml vegetable stock 8 spring onions, thinly sliced 3 mixed peppers, deseeded and diced 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, plus extra sprigs to serve 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 1 tsp ground allspice 2 x 400g cans black eye beans, drained and rinsed

2 Make a few deep slashes in the lamb steaks and transfer to a shallow dish. Spoon over the marinade and rub into the slashes. Cover and leave to marinate in the fridge for 6-8 hours, or overnight if you can. 3 For the rice and peas, rinse the rice in plenty of cold water, then put in a large saucepan with the remaining ingredients, except the canned beans. Season and place over a high 64 SLIMMING WORLD

heat. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover tightly and cook for 10 minutes. 4 Add the beans, re-cover and turn off the heat. Leave for 10-12 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed. Fluff up the grains with a fork. 5 Meanwhile, spray a non-stick griddle or frying pan with low-calorie cooking spray and place over a high heat until smoking hot. Cook the steaks for 2-2½ minutes on each side, in batches if necessary, or until cooked to your liking. Remove from the heat, cover and leave to rest for

6-8 minutes before slicing. Divide the rice and lamb between 4 plates, scatter over the thyme sprigs and serve with the salad leaves. Syns per serving: 2

IF YOU WANT MORE SPICE... ...look out for our new book, Slimming World’s Curry Club, packed with 60 mouth-watering starters, main curries and sides. It’s on sale in Slimming World groups from 12 September, price £4.95 (€7.95).


1 To make the jerk marinade, put all the ingredients in a small food processor and blend until fairly smooth. Add a splash of cold water, if needed, until you have a thick paste.

advertisement promotion Request your free Fish Supper fundraising pack at FishSupper

Fish, chips & mushy peas EVERYDAY EASY

Serves 4 Ready in about 45 minutes

Life-saving supper Discover how hosting an RNLI Fish Supper, supported by Lakeland, can help save lives at sea


ou’re just sitting down to share a meal with your family, when your pager goes off – calling you to drop everything to help someone in trouble at sea. That’s the reality of being a volunteer lifeboat crew member, and now is your chance to help them save lives – without leaving the comfort of your home. From 14-16 October 2016, people all over the UK and RoI will be hosting fish-themed dinners as part of the RNLI Fish Supper event, supported by Lakeland, to help raise the funds needed to keep these brave volunteers rescuing people every day. RNLI crew members care passionately about their work, and

are committed to saving lives with their lifeboats, lifeguards, water safety advice and flood rescue teams. And that’s where you come in. As the charity is funded by the generosity of people like you, every penny you raise at your Fish Supper will go towards making an extraordinary difference to both the lifesavers and the people they rescue. You don’t need to be a master chef to take part – or put your slimming campaign on hold. Just choose a seaside-themed, on-plan recipe, such as our low-Syn Fish, chips & mushy peas (right), invite as many guests as you like, and get set for an evening of fun, friends and fundraising.

●● To receive your free fundraising kit, sign up THE RNLI FISH SUPPER

at and get ready for the social event of the season: the chance to have a whale of a time while saving lives at sea!

800g floury potatoes, such as Desiree or King Edward, peeled and cut into chips Low-calorie cooking spray 4 thick skinless and boneless cod fillets 2 large eggs, separated 1 level tbsp self-raising flour ¼ tsp paprika 500g frozen peas 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh mint leaves 3 tbsp fat-free natural fromage frais Lemon wedges, to serve

1 Preheat your oven to 200°C/ fan 180°C/gas 6. Parboil the chips for 3-4 minutes, then drain well. Spread on a non-stick baking tray in a single layer and lightly spray with low-calorie cooking spray. Season and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden. 2 Meanwhile, line a baking tray with baking paper. Place the fish fillets on top and season. Put the egg whites in a clean glass bowl and whisk until they form soft peaks. In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks with the flour, then gently fold into the egg whites along with the paprika. Stir well and divide evenly over the tops of the fish fillets. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through and the tops are golden. 3 Boil the peas for 5-6 minutes, then drain and put in a food processor with the mint and fromage frais. Season and whizz until fairly smooth. Serve the fish with the chips, peas and lemon wedges for squeezing over. Syns per serving: ½


The brunch bunch

Our satisfying recipes make the perfect start to a leisurely weekend – just add a cuppa Photographs: Kris Kirkham


Fab & Free full English SP

Serves 4 Ready in about 35 minutes

Preheat your grill to medium. Grill 8 frozen Slimming World Syn-free Pork Sausages according to the pack instructions, then keep warm in a low oven. Add 8 back bacon rashers (visible fat removed) to the grill and cook for 7-8 minutes, turning once, until golden, then keep warm with the sausages. Grill 8 portobello mushrooms (stalk-side up) and 8 halved 66 SLIMMING WORLD

tomatoes for 4-5 minutes, or until the tomatoes are softened but still holding their shape, then add them to the oven. Spray a large non-stick frying pan with low-calorie cooking spray and place over a medium heat. Crack in 4 large eggs and cook to your liking. Divide everything between 4 plates. Season the mushrooms and tomatoes, and scatter chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley over the mushrooms to serve. Syns per serving: FREE n

take it easy

Home-made beans on toast EVERYDAY EASY ✱ (beans only)

Serves 4 Ready in about 1 hour

Spray a large non-stick saucepan with low-calorie cooking spray and place over a medium heat. Stir-fry 2 crushed garlic cloves, 1 diced onion and 200g chopped back bacon rashers (visible fat removed) for 5 minutes, or until the onion is softened. Add a 400g can chopped tomatoes, 3 tbsp tomato purée, 1 level tsp dark muscovado sugar, 1 tsp mustard powder, 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce and 2 tsp cider vinegar and simmer for 2­-3 minutes. Add a drained and rinsed 400g can haricot beans and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 30-35 minutes, stirring often, adding a splash of water if it’s too thick. Season and, for an optional extra kick, add a few drops of Tabasco. Toast 2 slices wholemeal bread (from a small 400g loaf) per person and divide the beans over the top. Sprinkle with chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley to serve. Syns per serving: ½* *Add 6 Syns if not using the wholemeal bread as a Healthy Extra

Salmon kedgeree EVERYDAY EASY

Serves 4 Ready in about 30 minutes

Cook 300g dried basmati rice according to the pack instructions, adding 2 tbsp mild or medium curry powder to the cooking water. Meanwhile, place 4 skinless and boneless salmon fillets in a wide frying pan and cover with freshly boiled water and a lid. Simmer for 8-10 minutes, or until the fish is just cooked through. Boil 4 large eggs for 6 minutes for a soft yolk, or 8 minutes for a firm yolk. Drain and cool under cold running water, then set aside. Lift out the salmon and flake into fairly large chunks. Drain the rice, then add the fish and 8 thinly sliced spring onions and 4 tbsp each finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley and coriander. Stir gently and season to taste. Peel and halve the eggs. Divide the rice and eggs between 4 plates and serve.


Syns per serving: FREE

Cinnamon French toast SUPER SIMPLE V

Serves 4 Ready in about 15 minutes

Whisk together 4 large eggs, 120ml skimmed milk, 2 tsp sweetener and 1 tsp ground cinnamon until well combined. Dip 8 slices wholemeal bread (from a small 400g loaf) into the egg, allowing the bread to soak up the mixture. Spray a large non-stick frying pan with low-calorie cooking spray and place over a medium-high heat. Fry the bread in batches for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until golden. Slice in half diagonally and divide between 4 plates. Divide over 120g fat-free natural yogurt and 400g mixed berries and dust with a pinch of cinnamon. Syns per serving: ½* *Add 6 Syns if not using the wholemeal bread as a Healthy Extra


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Stew-pendous! Make a mighty meal with this space-saving hero: introducing the Morphy Richards Sear and Stew Compact Slow Cooker


icture this: you walk through the door after a day of rushing around, into a kitchen filled with the delicious smell of stew, casserole or curry... piping hot and ready to eat. That’s the joy of having a slow cooker – you prep your meal and set it to cook in the morning, then when you get home, you barely have to lift a finger. As with any new gadget, of course, the practical question is, ‘Will it fit in my kitchen?’. Luckily, the Morphy Richards Sear and Stew Compact Slow Cooker gives a perfect answer: it’s easy to store away in a cupboard, or can sit neatly on any worktop. Don’t be misled by this trim little device’s dimensions. Despite


being a third smaller than Morphy Richards’ traditional slow cookers, it’s actually a third larger with a 4.5-litre capacity. So you can still feed the entire family a filling, Food Optimising-friendly dinner, or you could batch-cook extra portions to save time again later in the week. With this kitchen essential, you can sear, simmer and serve an entire dish in one pot, from start to finish – which means as well as streamlining your recipes, it makes washing-up a doddle. And, once it’s clean and dry, simply slip the electric base and cord inside the cooking pot, to take up minimal space. Now it’s super-easy to cook yourself a tasty casserole… without getting yourself in a stew!


Save 30% on a Morphy Richards Sear and Stew Compact Slow Cooker NEAT SAVINGS! Morphy Richards is offering Slimming World magazine readers the chance to buy the Sear and Stew Compact Slow Cooker 460751 at the discounted price of £34.99 – a saving of 30 per cent on the RRP of £49.99 – with free standard postage. UK only. ●● For more details, to order or

to find out about other discounts, visit slimmingworld or call 0344 871 0944, quoting SW5130. This offer is available in the UK only and runs until 20 October 2016, while stocks last. RRP correct at time of going to press.

top it off

Burger jackets Take your baked potato to the next level with this whopping quarter-pounder in a ‘bun’ EVERYDAY EASY

Serves 4 Ready in about 1 hour 4 large baking potatoes, skins pricked 500g lean beef mince (5% fat or less) 1 large red onion, half grated, half sliced into rings 2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley 1 medium egg, beaten Low-calorie cooking spray 8 lettuce leaves, to serve 1 beef tomato, sliced, to serve Gherkin slices, to serve

For the ketchup: 3 tbsp tomato purée 1½ tbsp red wine vinegar Pinch of sweetener

For the slaw:

2 Meanwhile, mix the beef mince with the grated onion, the parsley and the egg. Season well and shape into 4 burgers. Spray another baking tray with low-calorie cooking spray and place the burgers on top. Cook in the oven on a shelf below the potatoes for the final 20 minutes of their baking time, or until the burgers are cooked through.

3 Stir together the ketchup ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine the slaw ingredients. 4 Halve the potatoes and fill each with lettuce leaves, tomato slices, a burger, onion rings and gherkins. Serve with the ketchup and a quarter of the coleslaw per person. Syns per serving: ½

Brilliant no-bread idea!


2 large carrots, peeled and grated 200g white cabbage, shredded ½ small onion, thinly sliced 2 tbsp fat-free natural yogurt 1 level tbsp reduced-fat salad cream

1 Preheat your oven to 190°C/ fan 170°C/gas 5. Microwave the potatoes on high for 12 minutes, then place on a baking tray and cook in the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the flesh is soft.


Take       root Down to earth and delicious… jewel-coloured root vegetables steal the show in our hearty, ease-into-autumn recipes Photographs: Stuart Ovenden

Sausage & mixed-veg tray bake Simply throw in a roasting tin and cook – magic when time’s tight! SUPER SIMPLE

Serves 4 Ready in about 50 minutes 4 large red onions, cut into wedges 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks 2 large parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks 2 raw beetroots, peeled and cut into chunks Low-calorie cooking spray 8 frozen Slimming World Syn-free Pork Sausages 200ml hot chicken stock Finely grated zest of 1 small orange 2 large sprigs of fresh rosemary, torn into smaller sprigs

1 Preheat your oven to 200°C/ fan 180°C/gas 6. Arrange the veg in a large non-stick roasting tin in a single layer (use 2 separate trays if necessary) and spray with lowcalorie cooking spray. Roast for 10 minutes, then give the tin a good shake and nestle in the sausages. Cook for a further 10 minutes. 2 Mix the stock with the orange zest and pour it over the sausages and veg. Scatter over the rosemary, season and return to the oven for 12-15 minutes, or until everything is cooked through and golden. Syns per serving: FREE

MAKE IT n Swap the parsnips for 1 celeriac or swede, peeled and cut into chunks


going underground

Roast salmon with rumbledethumps & root slaw

These Scottish-style potato cakes are great for using up veggie leftovers EVERYDAY EASY

Serves 4 Ready in about 1 hour 20 minutes, plus chilling 8 tbsp fat-free natural fromage frais 1 garlic clove, crushed 50g finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus extra to serve 4 skinless and boneless salmon fillets

For the rumbledethumps: 400g floury potatoes, such as Desiree or King Edward, peeled and roughly chopped 100g swede, peeled and roughly chopped 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and coarsely grated 100g green cabbage or kale, finely shredded 4 spring onions, finely chopped 1 large egg, lightly beaten Low-calorie cooking spray

For the slaw: 2 medium raw beetroots, peeled and finely shredded 175g celeriac, peeled and finely shredded 2 carrots, peeled and finely shredded 1 tbsp cider vinegar

1 For the rumbledethumps, boil the potatoes and swede for 15 minutes, or until tender. Add the sweet potatoes and cabbage or kale, and boil for 3-4 minutes. Drain, add the spring onions and mash, then return to the pan and stir over a low heat for 1-2 minutes to dry out. When cool, stir in the egg. Season and divide into 8 portions. 2 Line a baking tray with baking paper. Press the portions into a 6-7cm cooking ring, one at a time, to make 8 ‘cakes’. Space them out on the baking paper. 3 Mix together the slaw ingredients in a bowl, then season and leave to rest at room temperature. Meanwhile, put the fromage frais, garlic and parsley in a small food processor with 3 tbsp water. Season, whizz until fairly smooth, then set aside. 4 Preheat your oven to 220°C/fan 200°C/gas 7. Spray the cakes with low-calorie cooking spray and bake for 10-12 minutes. Reduce the heat to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6. Put the salmon on a non-stick baking tray, season and add to the oven. Roast for 12 minutes, or until the salmon is cooked and the cakes are golden. 5 Divide the parsley sauce, salmon, rumbledethumps and slaw between 4 plates and serve scattered with the extra parsley. Syns per serving: FREE


Chicken with herby garlic mash & roasted baby roots Little extras like sage and lemon juice really bring this dish alive SUPER SIMPLE

Serves 4 ✱

Ready in about 1 hour 15 minutes 300g small or baby raw beetroots, trimmed, scrubbed and halved 300g baby turnips, trimmed, scrubbed and halved 300g baby carrots, trimmed and scrubbed 10 echalion shallots, peeled and halved ½ head of garlic, cloves separated (left unpeeled) Juice of 1 lemon 300ml hot vegetable or chicken stock 4 skinless and boneless chicken breasts 16 fresh sage leaves Low-calorie cooking spray 750g floury potatoes, such as Desiree or King Edward, peeled and roughly chopped Small pack fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped 4 tbsp fat-free natural fromage frais

1 Preheat your oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4. Put the baby vegetables, the shallots and the garlic in an ovenproof dish and add the lemon juice. Pour over the stock and roast for 40-45 minutes, or until everything is soft and brown around the edges. 2 Make 4 diagonal slashes in each chicken breast and stuff with the sage leaves. Place on a nonstick baking tray, season with freshly ground black pepper and spray lightly with low-calorie cooking spray. Add to the oven with the vegetables for the final 20-25 minutes of their cooking time, or until cooked through. 3 Meanwhile, boil the potatoes for 12-15 minutes, or until tender. Drain well, return to the saucepan and mash until fairly smooth. Stir in the parsley and fromage frais. Remove the garlic cloves from the veg and squeeze the garlic out of the skins into a small bowl. Mash well, then stir into the mashed potato and season. 4 Divide the mash between 4 plates and serve with the chicken and roasted vegetables. Syns per serving: FREE


Steak & salsa verde with root-veg skewers

Forget chips – these earthy, lightly spiced kebabs taste sublime SUPER SIMPLE

Serves 4 ✱ (steak and skewers only)

Ready in about 1 hour 20 minutes 4 lean sirloin or fillet steaks, visible fat removed

For the skewers: 4 red onions, cut into bite-size chunks 4 raw beetroots, peeled and cut into bite-size chunks 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-size chunks 1 medium swede, peeled and cut into bite-size chunks

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar 1 tsp mustard powder 1 tsp dried mixed herbs Low-calorie cooking spray

For the salsa verde: 4 tbsp each of finely chopped fresh basil and mint leaves and flat-leaf parsley 1 shallot, finely chopped 1 garlic clove, crushed Finely grated zest and juice of 1 unwaxed lemon 2 tbsp capers, rinsed and drained 150ml cooled vegetable stock

going underground

Rigatoni with autumn vegetable ratatouille

Roasted veg adds a lovely sweetness to our impressive pasta sauce EVERYDAY EASY

Serves 4 V ✱

Ready in about 45 minutes 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks 1 large parsnip, peeled and cut into chunks 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks 2 red onions, cut into chunks 4 garlic cloves (left unpeeled) Low-calorie cooking spray 1 tsp dried red chilli flakes 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, plus extra finely chopped leaves to serve 400g dried rigatoni 500g carton passata 2 level tbsp grated fresh Parmesan or vegetarian alternative, to serve

1 Preheat your oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6. Put all the vegetables and the garlic on a non-stick baking tray and spray with low-calorie cooking spray. Scatter over the chilli flakes and sprigs of rosemary and season. Roast for 15-20 minutes, or until all the veg are tender. 2 Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the pack instructions, then drain well. 3 Remove the veg from the oven and transfer to a saucepan. Squeeze the garlic out of the skins into the saucepan and add the passata. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 4-5 minutes. 4 Divide the pasta and ratatouille between 4 bowls. Scatter over the chopped rosemary and top each with ½ level tbsp Parmesan. Syns per serving: ½* *FREE if not using the Parmesan or vegetarian alternative

1 Preheat your oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6. Put all the vegetables for the skewers in a large bowl. Mix together the vinegar, mustard powder and herbs in a bowl and spoon over the vegetables. Season and toss to coat. 2 Thread the veg alternately onto 8-12 metal skewers (depending on the length of your skewers) and place on a non-stick baking tray. Spray with low-calorie cooking spray and roast for 35-45 minutes, turning halfway to make sure they’re evenly roasted. 3 Meanwhile, put all the salsa verde ingredients in a small food processor and whizz into a thick paste (add a little more cooled stock if the mixture is too thick). 4 When the veg skewers are almost ready, heat a large non-stick frying pan or griddle until smoking hot. Season the steaks and lightly spray with low-calorie cooking spray. Cook for 1-2 minutes on each side for rare, 2-3 minutes on each side for medium, or 3-4 minutes on each side for well done. Serve with the salsa verde and veg skewers. Syns per serving: FREE


going underground

A fill-you-up veggie stew with proper dumplings – bring it on! SUPER SIMPLE

Serves 4 V ✱

Ready in about 1 hour 10 minutes Low-calorie cooking spray 2 medium onions, finely chopped 2 tsp ground coriander 2 tsp ground cumin 700g mixed root vegetables (such as swede, celeriac, parsnips, potatoes, turnips and carrots), peeled and chopped into bite-size pieces 2 celery sticks, chopped


175g dried red lentils, rinsed and drained 2 garlic cloves, crushed 400g can chopped tomatoes 700ml vegetable stock 137g pack Tesco Dumpling Mix 2-3 tbsp finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus extra to serve

1 Spray a non-stick casserole dish with low-calorie cooking spray and place over a medium heat. Stir-fry the onions until tender, then stir in the ground coriander and cumin, and allow to infuse for a few minutes before adding the root veg and celery. 2 Stir-fry for 5 minutes, without browning, then stir in the lentils and garlic and cook for a few minutes. Add the tomatoes and stock, cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables and the lentils are tender. 3 Meanwhile, combine the dumpling mix with 5 tbsp water and the chopped parsley, then shape into 8 equal-size balls (not 6 as the pack says, and there’s no need to roll them in flour). Remove the lid, then place the dumplings on top of the veg mixture and cook for 15-20 minutes, uncovered, or until the dumplings are cooked through. Divide the casserole between 4 plates, serving 2 dumplings per person, and scatter over the remaining chopped parsley to serve. Syns per serving: 6* *FREE without the dumplings


Root veg & red lentil casserole with herb dumplings

Slimming World

mediterranean agic


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France • Spain & Portugal • North Africa Italy • Greece • the Middle East & Turkey

Our cookbook is packed with more than 100 mouth-watering starters, main courses and desserts that bring the flavours of the Mediterranean to your table. Every recipe is fully Food Optimised, so you can enjoy a taste of the sun for a fraction of the Syns!

Now just £5.99/€9 to Slimming World members in group while stocks last, and if you’re a member of Slimming World Online you can buy it through the online bookshop.

Spray it your way! Whatever you fancy tonight, lighten it up with a simple switch to Frylight


hey say variety is the spice of life – and that’s certainly true when you’re losing weight. Trying new recipes is a great way to keep staying on plan exciting, whether you’re experimenting with new flavours or discovering Lemony traylighter versions of Syn-packed roast pork classics. And, with a bottle SUPER SIMPLE of Frylight in your kitchen Serves 4 Ready in about cupboard, you can cook tons 40 minutes of delicious dishes without adding a single Syn. Preheat your oven to 220°C/ It doesn’t matter if you’re fan 200°C/gas 7. Peel and deseed ½ butternut squash, baking, roasting, frying or cut into chunks and put in a grilling... Simply reach for the large, shallow roasting dish clever cooking spray and you’ll with 400g thinly sliced new save 6 Syns for each tablespoon potatoes and 1 lemon, cut of oil you replace, helping you into thin wedges. Season, to Food Optimise your favourite spray with Frylight and roast dishes in a flash. Discover for 10 minutes. Add 1 red its versatility for yourself in onion, cut into thin wedges, these four very different 1 thinly sliced fennel bulb recipes (right) – proof of just and 4 sprigs fresh thyme. how handy Frylight can be! Roast for 10 minutes more. Meanwhile, spray a non-stick frying pan with Frylight, place over a medium heat and fry 4 pork medallions (visible fat removed) for 2 minutes each side. Lay the medallions on the roasted veg, pour over 150ml hot chicken stock and return to the oven for 6-8 minutes, or until the pork is cooked and the veg are tender. Serve scattered with unwaxed lemon zest and freshly ●● Frylight is available from ground black pepper. most major supermarkets. For more information, visit


Syns per serving: FREE

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Crustless quiche Lorraine with potato salad EVERYDAY EASY

Serves 4 Ready in about 55 minutes

Preheat your oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4 and spray a 20cm round tart tin with Frylight. Spray a non-stick frying pan with Frylight, too, and place over a medium-high heat. Fry 8 chopped rashers smoked back bacon (visible fat removed) until golden. Whisk 8 large eggs, 200ml skimmed milk and 25g grated reduced-fat mature Cheddar, season and stir in the bacon. Pour into the tart tin and bake for 20-30 minutes until set. Meanwhile, boil 750g cubed waxy potatoes for 5 minutes until tender, drain and leave to cool. Mix together 100g fat-free natural Greek-style yogurt, 4 level tbsp light salad cream, ½ finely chopped red onion, 2 finely chopped large gherkins and 3 tbsp snipped fresh chives, then toss through the potatoes. Divide everything between 4 plates and serve with a little gem lettuce and watercress salad. Syns per serving: 3

Tarragon chicken EVERYDAY EASY

Serves 4 Ready in about 40 minutes

Cover 15g dried porcini mushrooms with freshly boiled water and leave for 10 minutes. Strain, reserving the liquid, and roughly chop. Spray a non-stick frying pan with Frylight and place over a medium heat. Cut 3 skinless and boneless chicken breasts into 3 slices each and fry with 8 shallots, halved lengthways for 10 minutes, turning a few times, until golden. Remove from the pan and set aside. Spray the pan with more Frylight and cook 250g thinly sliced chestnut mushrooms for 5 minutes. Add 2 thinly sliced garlic cloves and the porcini mushrooms and cook for a further minute. Add the chicken, shallots, 150ml chicken stock, the mushroom liquid and 3 tbsp fresh tarragon leaves. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until cooked through. Meanwhile, boil 150g green beans and drain. Remove the chicken from the heat, stir in 3 tbsp fat-free natural fromage frais and the juice of ½ lemon, and serve with the green beans. Syns per serving: FREE

Lemon curd tartlets EVERYDAY EASY V

Serves 6 Ready in about 25 minutes

Preheat your oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4. Spray 6 deep, non-stick tartlet tins (each about 6-7cm in diameter) with Frylight. Cut 2 x 22.5g sheets filo pastry into 12 squares just big enough to fit into the tartlet tins and hang over the sides a little. Spray lightly with Frylight, then stack 2 squares on top of each other at an angle and use to line the tins. Bake for 5-6 minutes, or until crisp and golden. Leave to cool in the tins then remove carefully. In a bowl, mix together 200g plain quark, zest of ½ unwaxed lemon, 2-3 drops lemon extract and a large pinch sweetener. Divide the mixture between the tart cases. Take 6 level tsp lemon curd and spoon 1 tsp into each tartlet. Top each with a little more lemon zest, then take 1 level tsp icing sugar and dust evenly over the tartlets to decorate. Syns per tartlet: 2½


Family favourites Ease back into the school year with fuss-free recipes you can whip up any night of the week Photographs: Karen Thomas

Hearty beef stew EVERYDAY EASY

Serves 4 ✱

Ready in about 1 hour 40 minutes Low-calorie cooking spray 500g lean stewing steak, visible fat removed, cut into chunks 1 large onion, finely chopped 2 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped 2 large parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped 3 large garlic cloves, crushed 2 tsp dried thyme 500ml hot beef stock 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce 400g can butter beans, drained and rinsed 4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks 1 swede, peeled and cut into chunks Roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, to serve

1 Preheat your oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4. Spray a large, heavybased casserole dish with low-calorie cooking spray and place over a medium heat. Brown the beef all over, in batches, and set aside. 2 Add the onion, carrots, parsnips and garlic to the dish and cook for 5-6 minutes. Return the meat to the pan, sprinkle over the thyme and pour in the stock and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to the boil, cover and transfer to the oven to cook for 1 hour. Stir in the butter beans, then re-cover and return to the oven for 30 minutes. 3 Meanwhile, boil the potatoes and swede for 15 minutes. Drain well and return to the dish over a low heat to steam-dry. Remove from the heat, crush with the back of a fork and season to taste. Scatter parsley over the potatoes and stew to serve. Syns per serving: FREE


cook the book

Chunky bean burgers with Cajun wedges EVERYDAY EASY

Serves 4 V ✱ (burgers only)

Ready in about 45 minutes 400g can haricot or cannellini beans, drained and rinsed 400g can kidney beans, drained and rinsed 1 small onion or shallot, roughly chopped 1 large garlic clove, crushed 1 red chilli, deseeded and roughly chopped 1 small red pepper, deseeded and roughly chopped 1 bunch spring onions, trimmed and roughly chopped 1 large egg, beaten Low-calorie cooking spray 4 large baking potatoes, cut into wedges 2 tsp dried Cajun spice mix 100g fat-free natural Greek-style yogurt 2 large tomatoes, roughly chopped Baby spinach, tomato and spring onion salad, to serve

Chicken chasseur EVERYDAY EASY

1 Put the beans, onion or shallot, garlic, chilli, pepper and half the spring onions in a food processor

and whizz until roughly chopped. Transfer to a bowl, season to taste and stir in the beaten egg. Divide the mixture into 8 equal portions and shape into burgers. Place on a non-stick baking tray sprayed lightly with low-calorie cooking spray and chill for 20 minutes. 2 Preheat your oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6. Toss the potato wedges in the Cajun spice mix, then arrange on a non-stick baking tray in a single layer. Spray with low-calorie cooking spray and bake for 25 minutes, or until crisp and golden. 3 When the wedges have been cooking for about 10 minutes, put the burgers on the oven shelf below and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until golden. Meanwhile, mix the yogurt, tomatoes and remaining spring onions in a bowl and season to taste. 4 Serve the bean burgers with the wedges, yogurt dip and salad. Syns per serving: FREE

Serves 4 ✱

Ready in about 55 minutes


Low-calorie cooking spray 2 large red onions, thinly sliced 8 skinless and boneless chicken thighs 250g button mushrooms 125ml red wine 1 tsp dried tarragon, plus extra to serve 400ml hot chicken stock 400g can chopped tomatoes 1 level tbsp cornflour

1 Spray a large, deep non-stick frying pan with low-calorie cooking spray and place over a medium heat. Add the onions and stir-fry for 5 minutes, or until beginning to soften. Add the chicken and fry for 4-5 minutes, turning frequently, until it’s browned all over and the onions have begun to caramelise. Stir in the mushrooms and wine, and bubble for 2-3 minutes. 2 Add the tarragon, stock and tomatoes. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer gently for 35 minutes, or until the chicken is tender. 3 Mix the cornflour with 1 tbsp cold water to make a smooth paste, then stir into the chicken mixture until thickened. Season to taste and scatter over the tarragon. Divide the chasseur between 4 plates and serve with your favourite Speed Free veg.

IF YOU LIKE THESE RECIPES... …and want the complete collection, check out Family Feasts on a Budget – more than 50 affordable recipes everyone around the table will love. It’s on sale in Slimming World groups, price £4.95 (€7.95).

Syns per serving: 2


Food news Shop yourself slimmer with these savvy low-Syn finds and speedy meal ideas

Lunch to go CHICKEN & SWEETCORN PASTA SALAD A make-ahead lunch-box filler for one – perfect for workdays Cook 75g dried pasta shapes (such as penne or fusilli) according to the pack instructions, adding 75g frozen sweetcorn kernels for the final 5 minutes of cooking time. Drain and rinse under cold running water, then drain again and tip into a bowl. Roughly shred a cooked skinless and boneless chicken breast and add to the bowl with 2 finely sliced

spring onions, ½ deseeded and finely chopped red chilli, a 215g can drained and rinsed red kidney beans and 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley. Season to taste, drizzle over 1 tbsp fat-free vinaigrette and toss well to mix. Chill until needed. Syns per serving: FREE

ICE ’N’ EASY Save prep time in the kitchen with the Asda Scratch Cook range of frozen ready-to-cook ingredients, including 700g packs of Sweet Potato Chunks or Butternut Squash; 75g packs of Chopped Coriander, Chilli or Ginger, and a 150g pack of Chopped Garlic – all Free and £1.50 each.

What’s new Microwave-in-minutes seafood makes dinnertime plain sailing. Iceland Stir Through Cooked Mussels Moules Marinière with a White Wine and Shallot Butter and King Prawns in Spicy Soy Sauce are 1 Syn per 250g and 200g frozen pack respectively, and cost £2.49.


Tesco Tikka Chicken Steaks are an easy way to spice up supper – and they’re Free! Serve with your fave Speed Free veg and freshly boiled rice for a no-fuss filler-upper. The 300g chilled pack costs £4.

Amp up your salad or baked potato by topping with a pile of ready-to-eat Aldi Appleby’s Caramelised Apple British Ham Hock or BBQ British Pulled Pork. Both are 1 Syn per 110g chilled pack and cost 99p.

trolley talk

No-meat marvels

Mix up your meals with our pick of the latest vegetarian options l Gosh! Chickpea, Courgette & Moroccan

Spiced Bakes, 2½ Syns each; £2.50 for a chilled two-pack from Tesco.

Veggie choice

l The Fry Family Food Co Quinoa &

Fresh Cilantro Falafel Burgers, 1½ Syns per burger; £2.95 for a frozen four-pack from Ocado. l Quorn Sausage Patties, ½ Syn per patty; £2

for a frozen four-pack from Asda and Ocado. l Quorn Mince & Sweet Potato Casserole,

2 Syns for a 320g pack; £2 from Ocado and Sainsbury’s.

CHOC STOP Craving a tea-break treat? A 21.2g Cadbury Time Out Wafer is 5½ Syns and a pack of seven costs £1.87 from major supermarkets.

CUPBOARD LOVE Such a clever space-saver! The Joseph Joseph Nest 9 Plus, £40.50 from John Lewis, includes five measuring cups, small and large mixing bowls, and a sieve and colander, all fitting neatly inside each other.

For a rapid roast dinner, serve your potatoes and veg with Bisto Sliced Beef with Gravy. It’s 2 Syns per 200g frozen pack and costs £2 from Asda and Sainsbury’s.

Take stock

Knorr Stock Pots give any dish a flavour boost without adding Syns. The two new varieties, Lamb and Mushroom, are both Syn-free and cost £1.46 for a four-pack from Morrisons and Ocado.

Having an SP day? For a simple Speed Free Food side, swap your standard rice for Sainsbury’s Ready Prepared Cauliflower Rice – great with curries, chillies, stews and more… A 300g chilled pack is Free and costs £1.20.

Marks & Spencer Tender Topside Gammon Steaks with a Creamy Pea and Mint Crush make a super midweek meal for two. They’re ½ Syn per 180g serving and cost £4 for a 360g chilled pack.

An easy way to lighten up a great British favourite: simmer a can of Morrisons Steak & Kidney on the hob until cooked through, transfer into a pie dish, top with piping-hot swede mash and serve with your favourite veg. The 400g can is 1 Syn and costs £2.57.


trolley talk

On the bubble

For a thirst-quencher that won’t slow your slimdown, these Syn-free soft drinks are top pops. Asda Chosen by You Diet Ginger Beer costs 53p for a 2-litre bottle, and 7 Up Free Mojito Flavour is £1 for 2 litres at Asda.

Advert Syn values Find the Syn values of all advertised products here

Crunch time

BAG IT New in the Walkers Sunbites range, Wholegrain Popcorn comes in three flavours: Lightly Sea Salted and Sweet & Salty are 2½ Syns per 12g and 14g bag respectively, while Sweet Caramel is 3 Syns per 14g bag. A six-bag multipack costs £1.79. Hula Hoops Puft Beef flavour snacks are 3½ Syns per 15g bag, and a six-bag multipack costs £1.75. Both are available from most major supermarkets.

Two new fish and seafood finds… The Potted Fish Co Handmade Prawn Cakes with Lemon & Spring Onion are 1½ Syns per 100g cake; £3 for a chilled twopack from Ocado. Aldi Specially Selected Salmon Steaks with Creamy Cheese and Spinach are 2 Syns per steak; £2.99 for a chilled two-pack.

Frylight, all varieties, Free Graham’s Quark, Natural, Free Happy Eggs, Free Heck, Chicken Italia sausages, 1 Syn for two Hi-fi Light Choc Macaroon, available from Slimming World groups, 2 bars count as a Healthy Extra ‘b’ or 3 Syns per bar

With 70g as a Healthy Extra ‘a’, Eat Lean Protein Cheese goes further than your average reduced-fat Cheddar. The 350g chilled block is £4 from Morrisons and Tesco.

Lurpak Spreadable Lightest, 1 Syn per 1 level tsp Müllerlight Crumble Inspired, Rhubarb Crumble & Custard flavour and Apple Crumble & Custard flavour, both Free The Laughing Cow Extra Light, 6 triangles count as a Healthy Extra ‘a’ or 1 Syn per triangle Werther’s Original Sugar Free Chewy Toffees, 1 Syn per toffee

If you’re lactose intolerant, pour Alpro Cashew Original over your morning cereal – 500ml is a Healthy Extra ‘a’ and a 1-litre carton costs £1.80 from Asda, Ocado and Tesco.

For a fruity start to the day, have 35g of Morrisons Mini Apricot Neat Wheats as your Healthy Extra ‘b’ choice. The 500g box is £2.


Healthy Extra update


Bravura Foods Peanut Hottie, Peanut Butter Flavour Hot Drink and Peanut Butter & Chocolate Flavour Hot Drink, both 4 Syns per 20g serving

Kettle Bites Maple Barbecue Wholegrain Waves, 4½ Syns per 22g pack


A souper new lunch option, 300g of Lidl Chef Select Tomato & Basil Soup is a Healthy Extra ‘b’. The 600g chilled carton costs 85p.

Beanies The Flavour Co flavoured instant coffee, all varieties, Free

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Save £60 (or Euro equivalent) on a Tefal OptiGrill+

A good grilling Fancy a perfectly sizzled steak? No need to book a restaurant table – just switch on a Tefal OptiGrill+


here’s nothing quite as enticing as a tender, freshly seared steak… When you’re not a pro grill-chef, though, the results can be a bit hit-and-miss. The good news is you can enjoy steakhouse-style dinners at home with the Tefal OptiGrill+. This clever cooker cuts the guesswork and makes it easy to plate up beautifully seared, juicy rumps and sirloins for even the most demanding diners. Simply pop in your meat, let the sensors detect its thickness, then sit back as the hot plates automatically sizzle it to rare, medium or well done. And the OptiGrill+ isn’t just for steaks. There are five more settings for chicken, fish, bacon, burgers

and sausages – all you need for your choice of satisfying, low-Syn dinners. There’s no oil needed and because of the carefully angled cooking surface, unwanted fats drain away for healthier grilling. An indicator light tells you what stage your food is at, and there’s a beeper in case your back is turned. There’s also a defrost option, and you can grill seasonal veg and Healthy Extra toasties on the manual setting. Under the neat stainless-steel exterior, you’ll find enough space to cook for up to four people. And it’s a breeze to clean – the removable grill plates are dishwasher safe. So switch on to the OptiGrill+ and discover your shortcut to delicious grilled food.

HOT OFFER! Tefal is offering Slimming World magazine readers the chance to buy the OptiGrill+ at the discounted price of £89.99 (or Euro equivalent) – a saving of 40 per cent on the RRP of £149.99. ●● To order your OptiGrill+ or to

find out about other offers from Tefal, go to slimmingworldoptigrill and enter offer code slimmingworld0816 at the checkout. This offer is available in the UK and RoI until 31 October 2016, while stocks last. RRP correct at time of going to press. Free standard delivery is included.


The perfect

Pear Poached, baked or wrapped in flaky pastry, make pears the stars of the season with our sophisticated desserts Photographs: Kate Whitaker

From Conference to Comice, vibrant green to deep red or blush pink... pears come in a wealth of varieties and their subtle flavours lend themselves beautifully to sweet dishes


pud ap-peel

Autumn fruit salad

A ginger-grapefruit drizzle lifts this seasonal salad to a whole new level SUPER SIMPLE V

Serves 4 Ready in about 20 minutes 1 tsp finely grated fresh root ginger Zest and juice of 1 red or pink medium grapefruit 2 ripe, red-skinned or blush pears, such as Red William or Comice 2 ripe sharon fruits, stalk discarded

100g red seedless grapes, halved Fat-free natural Greek-style yogurt or fromage frais sprinkled with a little ground cinnamon or ginger, to serve

1 Mix together the grated ginger and grapefruit zest and juice. Leave for 5 minutes to soften the ginger. 2 Core the pears with an apple corer, then slice into very thin rounds using

a mandolin or sharp knife. Very thinly slice the sharon fruits into rounds, discarding any seeds, then arrange both on a platter. Scatter the grapes on top, then pour over the ginger and grapefruit juice and toss gently. 3 Divide between 4 dishes and serve with the yogurt or fromage frais. Syns per serving: 1

COOK’S NOTE Sharon fruit (or persimmon) is a yellowy-orange fruit originating in China. It looks a bit like a tomato and can be found in most major supermarkets


Blackberry & pear slump

This lightened-up American pud comes with a duvet of sweet meringue dumplings A LITTLE EFFORT

Serves 4 V

Ready in about 1 hour 600g Conference pears, peeled, cored and diced 300g blackberries 2 tbsp sweetener 3 medium egg whites, plus 2 yolks 1 vanilla pod, halved lengthways and seeds scraped out ½ tsp vanilla extract ¼ level tsp cream of tartar

1 Put the diced pears in a large saucepan with the blackberries, 1 tbsp sweetener and 100ml water. Place over a low heat and cook gently for 5-10 minutes until the fruit is stewed and saucy. Roughly mash a quarter of the fruit, then stir back together and tip into a large, shallow baking dish.

2 Preheat your oven to 160°C/ fan 140°C/gas 3. Beat the egg yolks, remaining sweetener, vanilla seeds and extract together in a large bowl until smooth. 3 Put the egg whites in a large, clean glass bowl with the cream of tartar and beat with an electric hand whisk until they form stiff peaks. Stir a quarter of the whites into the yolk mixture to loosen it, then gently fold in the rest with a large metal spoon or spatula. 4 Dot 4 large, equal-size spoonfuls of the egg mixture on top of the fruit, then bake for 20 minutes, or until the meringue dumplings are golden and puffed up. Divide between 4 bowls to serve.

COOK’S NOTE Apples are just as delicious in this slump – swap the pears for apples or use a 600g mixture of both – Syns stay the same

Syns per serving: 3½

If chocolate’s your thing, you’ll fall hard for these posh brownies


pud ap-peel

Warm pear & chocolate brownies

Float away to chocolate heaven on a classic flavour combination A LITTLE EFFORT

Serves 4 V

Ready in about 1 hour Low-calorie cooking spray 2 very small firm, ripe Packham pears, peeled and halved 3 large eggs, separated 2 tbsp sweetener 30g plain flour 10g cocoa powder, plus ½ level tsp to decorate 1 tbsp sunflower oil 1 tsp vanilla extract

1 Spray 4 individual, loose-bottomed round tart or cake tins (about 12cm diameter) with a little low-calorie cooking spray. Scoop out the pear cores with a melon baller or teaspoon and place them cut-side down on a chopping board. Remove the woody stalk, then, using a small, sharp knife, thinly slice the flesh lengthways, leaving the stalk end intact so the slices stay together but can fan out at their base. Spray with a little low-calorie cooking spray (this helps to stop them from browning). 2 Preheat your oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4. Beat the egg yolks and sweetener in a large bowl until pale and frothy. Whisk in 1 egg white, then the flour, cocoa powder, oil and vanilla extract. 3 In a large, clean glass bowl, beat the remaining egg whites with an electric hand whisk on a medium speed until they form stiff peaks. Mix a quarter into the yolk mixture to loosen it, then gently fold in the remaining whites with a large metal spoon or spatula. Divide between the tins, then fan out the pear halves a little and sit one in the middle of each brownie mix. Place on a baking tray and bake for 12 minutes, or until risen and spongey to the touch. 4 Leave the brownies to cool for a few minutes, then carefully remove from the tins and transfer to serving plates. Dust the extra cocoa powder evenly over the tops. Syns per serving: 4½


Bakewell pear strudel

Wow your guests with our almondscattered centrepiece pud A LITTLE EFFORT

Serves 6 Ready in about 1 hour 4 firm Conference pears, peeled Zest of 1 unwaxed lemon, plus juice of ½ ½ tsp almond extract 2 level tbsp custard powder 2 x 45g Jus-Rol Filo Pastry Sheets Low-calorie cooking spray 10g flaked almonds 2 x 175g pots Müllerlight Cherry yogurt, to serve

1 Preheat your oven to 200°C/ fan 180°C/gas 6. Grate the pears into a sieve and leave to drain for 5 minutes. Press to squeeze out any extra juice, then tip into a bowl. Mix in the lemon zest and juice, almond extract and custard powder until well combined, then set aside. 2 Line a baking tray with baking paper and lay a sheet of filo on top. Spray with low-calorie cooking spray, then top with the second filo sheet. 3 Turn the tray so one of the long sides is nearest to you. Starting 2-3cm in from this edge, spread the pear mixture in a rectangle shape, leaving a 5-6cm empty filo border along the remaining 3 sides. Fold the filo border over the fruit from both shorter sides, then, using the baking paper to help you, roll up from the side nearest you, so the last turn is just pastry and the join sits underneath. Spray the top with a little more low-calorie cooking spray. 4 Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden and crisp, scattering over the flaked almonds halfway through cooking. Leave the strudel to stand for 10 minutes before slicing into 6 and serving with the cherry yogurt. Syns per serving: 5

COOK’S NOTE It’s important to get rid of the excess juice from the pears, or you’ll end up with soggy pastry


pud ap-peel

Pomegranate-poached pears

Deliciously spiced and easy to make ahead – great for a dinner party EVERYDAY EASY

Serves 4 V

Ready in about 45 minutes, plus cooling COOK’S NOTE The pears and yogurt will both keep for up to 2 days in the fridge. Simply cover and chill at the end of step 3, then remove from the fridge an hour before you’re ready to serve

2 large, firm red-skinned or blush pears, such as Red William or Comice, peeled and halved lengthways 1 medium orange 400g fat-free natural Greek-style yogurt, to serve 5 cloves 5 cardamom pods, bashed to split 2 star anise 300ml pomegranate juice drink 50g fresh pomegranate seeds

1 Put the pears in a deep saucepan. Using a veg peeler, pare 1 strip of orange peel and add to the pears. Zest the rest of the orange (reserving the orange) into the yogurt and chill until ready to serve.

2 Add the cloves, cardamom, star anise, pomegranate drink, 200ml water and the juice from the zested orange to the pears. Bring to a simmer, then cover and gently poach for 20 minutes, or until the pears are tender and translucent (they’ll float up in the liquid, so weigh them down with a heatproof saucer or smaller pan lid, if you can). 3 Transfer the pears to a bowl using a slotted spoon. Boil the poaching liquid until reduced by a third, then pour back over the pears and leave to cool. 4 Divide the pears and syrup between 4 bowls, scatter over the pomegranate seeds and serve with a dollop of zesty yogurt. Syns per serving: 4


pud ap-peel

Pear & lavender sorbet

Sweet fruit and fragrant flowers bring out the best in each other in this refreshing dessert EVERYDAY EASY

Serves 8 V ✱

Ready in about 1 hour, plus cooling and freezing 1kg ripe Conference pears, peeled, cored and thickly sliced 1 tbsp sweetener Zest and juice of 1 unwaxed lemon 2 tsp dried cooking lavender

If you don’t have an ice-cream machine: 1 large egg white*

1 Put the pears in a saucepan with 200ml water and the sweetener, cover and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook over a very low heat for 15 minutes, or until the fruit is really tender and looks translucent. Tip the pears and cooking liquid into a food processor or blender with the lemon juice and whizz until smooth. Stir in the lemon zest and leave to cool. 2 Tip the pear mixture into an ice-cream machine with the lavender and churn according to the maker’s instructions. Transfer to a freezerproof container, cover and freeze overnight. Or, if you don’t have an ice-cream machine, freeze the whizzed pear mixture in a freezerproof container until solid, then break into chunks and return

to the food processor or blender with the egg white. Whizz again to make a smooth, icy purée, then stir in the lavender and transfer back to the container. Cover and freeze again overnight. 3 Remove the sorbet from the freezer about 10-15 minutes before you want to serve, then scoop into equal-size balls and divide between 8 dessert glasses.

COOK’S NOTE You can buy dried cooking lavender from the spices aisle at Waitrose and online at Ocado

Syns per serving: 2 *Pregnant women, the elderly and babies should not eat raw or partially cooked eggs. If you don’t want to miss out, you can use pasteurised egg white from a carton instead

served beautifully... the perfect way to round off your meal



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Are you man enough?


‘Why we’re acing our jobs 29st lighter’ p94


Policeman Jason Iost

2st 10lbs


Enjoy your down time AND stay on track


How to beat digestive discomfort

Jobs for the boys We’ve lost over


Army driver Adam lost 5st 2lbs


Medical receptionist Allan lost 12st 10lbs


They certainly look the business… and achieving a combined weight loss of almost 30st has given these five men a new lease of working life

Theatre production manager Craig lost 5st 5½lbs

Cabin crew Adam lost 3st 4½lbs

Police officer Jason lost 2st 10½lbs SLIMMING WORLD 95

‘Getting in shape saved my army career’ Adam Knight, 36, is an army driver and lives in Chester, Cheshire, with his wife, Claire. He’s 6ft 2ins and weighs 15st 3lbs, having lost 5st 2lbs. Adam attends Stephanie Jones’s Slimming World group in Upton, Cheshire


As I hauled myself around the training course, jeers rang in my ears. The other lads had finished their runs and I burned with humiliation as they taunted me for being slow and unfit. Then I realised something: we were soldiers and if this were a combat situation, I’d be putting my mates in danger. At 21st, I’d become a liability to everyone around me. I knew I was falling far short of the Army’s fitness standard, and that if things didn’t change I could find myself out of a job. The problem was, I didn’t know where to start. Then my wife, Claire, and my mother told me they were worried about me and that I needed to tackle my weight before it was too late. So, in April 2015, I decided to join Mum and my sister-in-law at a Slimming World group. It was completely unlike any diet I’d previously tried – I could eat real food and still have a pint now and then using my Syns. And my weight losses were spectacular: I lost over a stone in the first two weeks. I used the planning and logistics skills I’d honed at work to create a spreadsheet of all my daily meals in advance, and after three months I was nearly 3st lighter. The lads made jokes about it of course, but it was all good-natured fun and I think they were secretly proud of me for sticking to my guns. By December last year I’d got down to around 15st. Then I went a bit crazy over Christmas… and gained 16lbs. Everyone in group was really supportive, though. I got straight back into planning mode, and the weight soon came off again. When I got to my target of 14st 5lbs, I celebrated by buying a new car! After a spell away with work I’ve gone a few pounds over that now, but with my Consultant’s support I’m getting right back on track. My personal trainers are amazed at the change in me. I’ve run a half-marathon in one hour 42 minutes and I’m aiming to complete a full one next year. Claire says I get twitchy and grumpy when I don’t fit in a run! I know she’s proud of me, and I’m pretty pleased with myself, too. Instead of lagging at the back, I’m always one of the first to complete our training runs now. There’s no stopping me!

How I make it work… ●●I use a fitness app to track my steps each day, so when

there’s no training run I’m still motivated to be active. ●●Instead of fried chicken, I make Slimming World diet-cola chicken. It tastes amazing – and it’s Free! ●●I appreciate the little things... I never used to fit into fashionable T-shirts – now I’m a standard size L, I can wear whatever I like and I want to keep it that way. 96 SLIMMING WORLD

ADAM WEARS: Jacket, Gresham Blake. Shirt, Hawes & Curtis. Jeans and boots, both Next. Watch, Storm. Belt, Adam’s own


‘Now I’m slim, I’m reaching new heights’ Adam Morrison, 36, is cabin crew for a holiday airline. He lives in Crewe, Cheshire, with his wife, Nicola, and their children, Harry, six, and Bobby, four. He’s 5ft 7½ins and weighs 10st 13lbs, having lost 3st 4½lbs. Adam attends Emma Ball’s Slimming World group in Crewe, plus other groups in Crewe, depending on his flight schedule


Don’t join an airline if you like predictability and routine! After more than 10 years, travelling to different places at short notice still excites me, though. It’s a great job – depending on the flight schedule, cabin crew might stay a couple of nights in the resorts, too. And now I’m slim, I’m enjoying work more than ever. When I first applied for the job, I was seduced by the idea of free holidays and glamorous women! Less glamorous were the long hours in the cabin, grabbing the most convenient food available in between serving passengers. Over the years my jet-set lifestyle left my uniform feeling tighter and tighter. I just didn’t feel right at more than 14st and tried some silly diets – I once got down to 11st 7lbs by eating a single meal each day. When I started dating my wife, Nicola – also long-haul cabin crew – I soon regained it all. Sustaining a romance with someone likely to be on the other side of the planet half the week was difficult. There were occasional opportunities to stay abroad overnight, but we were more likely to snatch a quick hello in the car park at Manchester airport. I lost 1st 7lbs for our wedding in August 2014, but it was torture and I gained back every pound lightning fast. I was sure there had to be a better way. Nicola had enjoyed success with Slimming World and, with her support, I decided to go along in June 2015. After my first week, I wasn’t expecting to get a good result as I’d been eating so much food. I actually lost 5½lbs! If I felt tempted by high-Syn hotel food, I’d think about the next half-stone award that was within reach, and that usually did the trick. I told myself this was to be a complete lifestyle reboot, and that meant sticking with it – which was much easier than I’d expected. I found I genuinely preferred fresh-tasting salads and grilled meat and fish to fatty foods. As time passed I found it so much easier to wheel heavy trollies up and down the aisles, and open and close the lockers. Soon I realised it was because my trousers and collar weren’t so tight. And by the time I reached my 11st target in December 2015, I’d dropped two whole uniform sizes!

How I make it work… ●●If I can’t make Emma’s group because

ADAM WEARS: Jacket, Moss Bros. Jumper and trousers, both Antony Morato. Shoes, Base London. Socks, Urban Outfitters

of my shifts, I’ll go to another Slimming World group that’s more convenient. ●●I’ll pack up a low-Syn meal to have

on the plane, and also take cans of tuna in spring water (Free) or low-Syn instant pasta sachets. SLIMMING WORLD 97

‘My healthy lifestyle makes touring easier’ Craig Fleming, 37, is a production manager for a young people’s theatre company and lives in Glasgow. He’s 5ft 7ins and weighs 10st 12½lbs, having lost 5st 5½lbs. Craig is a target member of Fiona Mair’s Slimming World group in Langside, Glasgow


CRAIG WEARS: Jacket, Antony Morato. Shirt, Zara. Waistcoat, New & Lingwood. Trousers, Hymn at Joy. Boots, New Look. Pocket square, stylist’s own

Being overweight gave me a pain in the neck. And back. And wrists. At times I felt so uncomfortable, I couldn’t sleep. I’ve been a theatre production manager for 16 years and it’s an intensely physical job: lots of loading and unloading equipment, putting up stage sets, and lifting and driving. I love my work, but at my heaviest (and constantly at the chiropractor and in agony every day) I began to wonder if I could cope. I’d put on most of my excess weight in my 30s. Our theatre company was constantly touring the UK and abroad, which meant a lot of eating on the road. I took full advantage of service-station meal deals – a triplepack of sandwiches, big bag of crisps, bar of chocolate and full-sugar fizzy drink – whether I was hungry or not. In summer 2014, I got a call from an old friend, Fiona, who’d lost lots of weight with Slimming World and who was starting her own group. ‘Why don’t you come along with me?’ she asked. I said I’d go… but I was deeply sceptical. How could someone with my kind of lifestyle develop healthier eating habits? With the help of my group, I realised the answer was obvious – packed lunches! After a month of swapping full-sugar cola for diet drinks, servicestation sandwiches for huge home-made and delicious salads, and crisps for fruit, I’d lost over a stone and was completely hooked. By September 2015, I’d lost 4½st and in February this year, I reached my target of 10st 11lbs. By then my wrists, back and neck were feeling much better. My regular chiropractor appointments dwindled to an occasional maintenance session and I felt much more energetic. A day at work couldn’t be more different! Little things like climbing a flight or two of stairs used to leave me breathless. Now I can spend a long, physically demanding day in the theatre, lugging around pieces of set, and still have the energy to walk my puppy, Foss, when I get home... It’s an amazing feeling!

How I make it work… ●●I walk and cycle to stay fit. I make use of the bike-hire

scheme in Glasgow to get around the city. ●●I’ll make healthier choices. If service-station sandwiches are the only option, I’ll go for something like plain ham salad on wholemeal bread to keep down the Syns. ●●I love my stash of Free on-the-road snacks – cherry tomatoes, carrot sticks and lots of fresh fruit. 98 SLIMMING WORLD


‘I was too ill to work – now I’ve a job I love’ ALLAN WEARS: Jacket, New Look. Shirt, jumper and scarf, all Hawes & Curtis. Jeans, New Look. Boots, Antony Morato

Allan Miah, 48, is a medical records receptionist and lives in Birmingham. He has two children, Adella, 29, and Molly, 17; and two grandchildren. He’s 5ft 6ins and weighs 10st 11lbs, having lost 12st 10lbs at Jenny Tranter’s Slimming World group in Longbridge, Birmingham


Lying in bed one morning, looking up at the ceiling, all I could think was, ‘If I carry on this way, I’m going to die’. I’d known for a couple of years I was on borrowed time. I desperately needed life-saving open-heart surgery, but I’d been told by the specialist that at more than 20st, anaesthesia was just too risky. I’d have to slim to 15st or less before they’d even consider operating. Here I was, 44 years old, a father of two beautiful daughters, and with my life at a standstill: too ill to work, I also had arthritis, Type 2 diabetes, attacks of gout, and sleep apnoea. How had it got to this? At that moment, I decided to stop drinking and smoking… I really wanted to lose weight, too. Every diet I tried, though, seemed so restrictive that I’d give up after a few days. I told myself I was just destined to be big; after all, my parents were both overweight, too. Then something unexpected happened: they told me they’d joined Slimming World and had lost 5st between them. Suddenly, I saw a lifeline being thrown my way. I don’t know if it was the warm, non-judgmental atmosphere, or the enthusiasm of my Consultant, Jenny – somehow I felt at ease straight away. At home, I found following the plan surprisingly uncomplicated. Just a week after joining, I was 11½lbs lighter, which gave me a surge of confidence. I’d found a way to lose weight that worked for me. By January 2014, I’d reached 15st and was eligible for that life-saving operation. My medical team were delighted, and seven months later, weighing 11st 7lbs, I underwent surgery. During the many weeks I spent in hospital, I developed a real respect for the NHS staff who helped me. I decided that when I’d fully recovered, I’d look into a new career in healthcare. I reached my target weight of 10st 7lbs in January 2015. All my gout, arthritis and sleep apnoea symptoms have disappeared, and my diabetes is now well managed. Sorting out my health issues has given me the confidence to join a back-to-work scheme. I’m now a medical receptionist at the hospital where I had my heart operation. It’s busy, fulfilling and interesting – exactly what I’d imagined – and I’ve got a great group of colleagues. The black clouds have lifted and, as I head towards my next decade, I’m excited by what life may have in store.

How I make it work… ●●I leave my wallet at home while I’m at work.

If I don’t have any money with me, I can’t get tempted by the hospital snack bar or the chocolate vending machines.

●●I fit exercise into my daily routine by parking

a mile from the hospital, then walking the rest of the way – I do up to 20,000 steps every day. SLIMMING WORLD 99


‘Losing weight secured my future’ Jason East, 45, is a police officer and lives in Poole, Dorset, with his wife, Julie. He’s 5ft 10ins and weighs 12st ½lb, having lost 2st 10½lbs. Jason is a target member of Zoë Mole’s Slimming World group in Colehill, Dorset


How I make it work… ●●To avoid snack temptation, I’ll have a Hi-fi bar (which

I get from my Slimming World group) or a Free yogurt as an alternative sweet snack. ●●I’ll still have occasional drinks and meals out with my colleagues – that’s what Syns are for! ●●I stay to group. Whatever you’ve been struggling with, IMAGE Therapy is the place to turn it all around. 100 SLIMMING WORLD

JASON WEARS: p93 and above: Jacket with pocket square, Antony Morato. T-shirt, Zara. Jeans, New Look. Boots, Base London. Bracelet, Uno de 50


My job has had its hair-raising moments, but no high-speed pursuit or violent incident has ever been so terrifying as the time I lay in hospital, watching my arm move all by itself. I’d suffered a life-threatening dissection of my carotid artery – a tear inside one of the two big blood vessels that supply oxygenated blood to your brain. Shortly afterwards, I temporarily lost all feeling on my right side and struggled to speak clearly. Later, my doctors said that if the dissection had happened 2ins higher up my neck I could have died. It should have been my wake-up call to take better care of myself. In my five years’ service as a police officer I had gained nearly 2½st. Depending on the shift, I ate three dinners a day, plus lots of junk food – as well as the odd drink with workmates to wind down after a stressful day. When I ended up in hospital, my blood pressure was almost double what it was meant to be. I’d been back at work on a part-time basis for nearly a year when I was told I might have to be medically discharged from the force. It was looking unlikely that I was ever going to be fit enough to work full hours. I was devastated. Police work was my vocation… and how would we pay the mortgage? I eventually joined Slimming World in July 2015, inspired by a colleague who couldn’t stop going on about how great it was. To be honest, I was surprised how much I actually enjoyed going to group – and the food I could eat! My wife, Julie, was so supportive, following the plan with me. After 18 weeks, I was amazed to discover I’d got down to 12½st. And what a difference it’s made to my health. Instead of taking seven heart and blood pressure pills a day, I’m down to only three small doses. I feel much fitter and, best of all, there is no longer any official worry about my ability to work. I no longer work on the front line and now have a full-time posting in the missing persons unit. It’s work that makes a real difference to families and I feel privileged to do it. If I hadn’t taken control of my weight, who knows whether I would even have a job right now. It really has changed my life.

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Something for D the weekend If downing tools tends to mean falling off the weight-loss wagon, you’ve come to the right place – our stay-on-track strategies will keep you riding high all the way to Monday Words: Jon Axworthy Illustration: David Humphries


oes this sound familiar? You’ve been sticking to plan all week and, even though it’s been tough going at work, you’ve still managed to smash it. Then along comes Friday evening… when your inner rebel whispers in your ear that you’ve earned the right to relax and unwind. So how do you kick back without your Friday feeling turning into a Syn-packed weekend that could undo a really successful week? ‘The way you approach Friday night can set the tone for the weekend,’ says Slimming World Consultant Grant Ross. ‘If you go off track, it can feel like a licence to carry on that way until Monday. And, despite knowing that the best way to limit damage would be to draw a line in the sand, it can be hard to find the motivation to get back on it.’ In short, the secret is to start as you mean to go on. Here’s how to swerve those big temptations, have fun with family and friends, and make sure the wheels don’t come off your weight loss this weekend.

target tactics

Planning ahead can help you navigate your way through kebab alley without arriving home with a lamb doner for company >> FOOLPROOF FRIDAY NIGHT


There are plenty of things to be aware of when you’re enjoying a drink at your local at the weekend, from avoiding the seat by the dart board to steering clear of the night when the Spice Girls cover band is playing. However, when alcohol’s involved, the most important thing to keep tabs on is your tipping point. ‘Slimming World’s research on drinking habits has found many of us have a point at which we start to engage in behaviours that are likely to lead to us drinking more alcohol and then eating more Syns than intended,’ says Alexandra Rood. The research found that the average tipping point for Slimming World members is around four pints of beer or three large glasses of wine – after which we could go on to consume an extra 6,300 calories through continued drinking, fast-food fixes and a morning-after fry-up. And, if that wasn’t enough, the research also showed that many of us will skip any planned physical activity the next day, too. To discover your tipping point, visit and take NAILED-IT the quiz. Once you’ve worked out your SUNDAY LUNCH personal point of no return, put a strategy It’s a British institution, and whether it’s in place to keep you within your limits for your mum’s generous portion sizes or the the night. You could start by steering clear local chain pub’s crisp, golden roasties, of draft ales, beers and ciders, which tend Sunday dinner can be the final hurdle to be higher in Syns and units, and opt before you can claim yourself a weekend for spirits with diet mixers instead. ‘If you winner. At home, it’s easy to create the order a short, ask the barman to put your ultimate Food Optimising-friendly roast, measure in a pint glass full of ice, then fill using tried-and-tested techniques like it with your diet mixer,’ says Slimming roasting your potatoes in low-calorie World member Lee Hartley, who lost 5st cooking spray, choosing lean meat and 12½lbs. ‘That way your drink will last longer serving with steamed veg and low-Syn and help you to keep your Syns down.’ gravy. If you’re including Synned foods, After last orders, planning ahead such as Yorkshire puddings, a top tip is can help you navigate your way through to dish these up in the kitchen before kebab alley without arriving home with taking plates to the table so you’re not a lamb doner for company. ‘Prepare tempted to have seconds. something Free and filling earlier on in Although it can be a little trickier the day, then put it in the fridge, ready to when you’re invited elsewhere for lunch, warm up as soon as you get home,’ says if you’re comfortable with your hosts, SUPERCHARGED Alexandra. ‘Home-made chilli and curry let them know in advance that you’re FAMILY SATURDAY are great options.’ trying to lose weight. Family and friends If you’re a family man, you’re likely to Lee goes one better and pre-cooks will be more than happy to serve up spend your Saturday crawling through his next-day breakfast. ‘If I’m going out chicken with the skin removed or soft play on the trail of your little ones on a Saturday, I cook baked beans, tinned potatoes cooked without oil. Not ready or galloping around a park pretending tomatoes, chopped mushrooms, bacon to have that kind of conversation? There to be a unicorn. You’re also very likely to (visible fat removed) and eggs overnight are still ways you can steer away from find yourself queuing up for ice cream, in an electric slow cooker. Then I’ve got a Syns. ‘If you arrive at someone’s house crisps or sweets for the kids – coming Free breakfast ready and waiting for me, and the roast is already prepped, or face to face with sugar- and fat-laden so I’m not tempted by a greasy fry-up.’ you’re having lunch at the local carvery, temptations. This is where having your fill your plate with as much Free and smart phone handy can be a real saviour. Speed Free Food as possible,’ says Download the Slimming World app and use it to check the latest Syn values of over Alexandra Rood. ‘A meal based around 40,000 foods, so it’s easy to make quick decisions on healthier alternatives. plenty of lean meat and vegetables will One of the bonuses of being on dad duty is it’s the perfect time to schedule in a spot help you to stay on track.’ of Body Magic while you’re spending some quality time with the children. Any activity you do for between five and 30 minutes that’s moderately intense – where it makes you feel warmer and speeds up your breathing and heart rate (while you’re still able to hold a conversation) – will count towards your Bronze, Silver or even Gold Body Magic award. ‘If you’ve all got bicycles, why not head out for a family bike ride? Or you could play l If you’ve got a really special event on the frisbee at the beach, take the dog out for a walk, or kick a ball about in the park,’ says horizon we have a tool called Flexible Syns, Alexandra Rood. Even soft play and pretending to be a unicorn can count towards your which can help you have a good time and weekly Body Magic, as long as you’re active enough while you do it. And the more weight protect your weight loss. Ask your Consultant you lose, the more energetic and active you’ll become, which is great for you and your kids. in group for more details. Slimming World members tell us they’ve found the best way to stay on track through the weekend is to put plans in place, ideally long before you clock off. One way to get off to a great start is by making sure your Friday-night feast is sorted well in advance. Make it something you love and you’ll be looking forward to it, rather than craving a blowout. ‘You don’t always feel like cooking when you get home on a Friday, which can be why the takeaway menus often get an airing,’ says Slimming World nutritionist Alexandra Rood. ‘One great tip is to get ahead earlier in the week, when your motivation is high, by making up batches of your favourite Food Optimising meals and freezing them. Then, on Friday morning, take out the one you fancy most and let it defrost throughout the day, so that all you have to do when you walk through the door that night is reheat it.’ Or, if you’re happy to unleash your inner chef, cook yourself a low-Syn fakeaway: a best-of-both-worlds option that gives you the taste of a takeaway without the sky-high Syns. You’ll find a range of recipes on LifelineOnline (the members’ website), such as Fish and chips, Chicken korma and Sweet and sour pork.




Your digestive health handbook Our top-to-bottom guide to common tummy troubles could help tame those gut complaints – for good Words: Lee Rodwell


o you had a few pints with your mates, then went for a curry, before turning in. Now it’s 1am and you’re in bed wide awake, with terrible heartburn… Or you’ve been flat out all week at work, and now you’re feeling stressed – and clogged up. In fact, your stomach’s in knots. If you recognise either of these scenarios, you’re not alone. Plenty of men suffer digestive problems, and the good news is there’s plenty you can do about it. ‘There are clear links between diet and lifestyle and digestive complaints,’ says Slimming World dietitian Carolyn Pallister. ‘This means you can take simple steps to help your gut now and in the future.’ In fact, if you’re a Slimming World member, you’re already doing the right things: losing weight, eating a healthy, balanced diet and leading a more active lifestyle.

Acid reflux

Being overweight increases your risk of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD). This is usually caused by the ring of muscle at the bottom of the oesophagus (the tube that connects your throat and stomach) becoming weakened. Normally, it opens to let food into your stomach, then closes. Carrying excess weight can increase pressure on the stomach and weaken this muscle, and eating large amounts of fatty foods can also contribute to the problem. Two common symptoms of GORD are acid reflux (when stomach acid passes back up through the oesophagus, often resulting in an unpleasant taste) and heartburn – that burning feeling in your chest that’s usually worse after eating and when lying down. Food Optimising tackles the problem in two ways: by encouraging you to eat 104 SLIMMING WORLD

fewer high-fat foods and by helping you to lose weight, putting less strain on your stomach. Other ways to help ease symptoms include sticking to a regular meal pattern and avoiding or cutting down on foods and drinks that trigger symptoms – spicy food, alcohol, caffeine and chocolate may be among the culprits. You could also talk to your pharmacist about medicines.


Normal bowel habits vary from person to person. However regular you are normally, though, if you’re going less often, then you could be constipated. It’s estimated one in seven adults in the UK has constipation at any one time, so it’s a very common condition – and one you can help alleviate by making changes to your diet and lifestyle, before reaching for medication. Taking more exercise and gradually increasing your daily fibre intake are great steps towards improving your regularity. Simply going for a brisk walk a few times a week can help your bowel work better. And it’s easy to get a healthy dose of fibre when you’re Food Optimising – filling up on fruit and veg, and enjoying higherfibre carbohydrates such as wholewheat pasta and Healthy Extra cereals, crackers and wholemeal bread. Drink plenty of fluid, too – it’s recommended we have six to eight glasses a day. Water encourages the passage of waste through your digestive system and helps to soften your

Heartburn, stomach in knots... Digestive problems can mean misery, but there are simple ways to ease the symptoms

gut reaction


stools, so staying hydrated is a simple way to make life a little more comfortable.


Many of us get diarrhoea once in a while and it’s usually nothing to worry about. Most short-term bouts are caused by something we’ve eaten or drunk, a bug we’ve picked up, or even stress or anxiety. Practising good personal and food hygiene will help minimise the risk of picking up diarrhoea-causing germs, so always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water after going to the toilet, and before eating or preparing food. For some, spicy or very fatty foods can trigger the runs, as can alcohol. If that applies to you, avoid your triggers where you can. And, of course, by Food Optimising you’ll already be limiting your alcohol and fat intake.


If you keep on getting bouts of stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhoea and/or constipation, then you may have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Symptoms vary and tend to come and go – they’re often more noticeable after eating certain foods or if you’re under stress. If you think you may have IBS, see your GP so they can rule out other conditions and offer advice. Keep a food diary to see what makes things better or worse, and stay hydrated, too. Caffeine in tea, coffee and fizzy drinks can be a trigger for some people, though, so if water leaves you cold, switch to decaffeinated and herbal teas, or sugarfree squash. Alcohol can also exacerbate symptoms, as can missing meals or leaving long gaps between eating, so keep a stash of Free and low-Syn snacks to hand. And if you think stress is setting you off, exercise could help ease your mind and your gut.



When you eat or drink, you swallow air. This collects in the digestive system along with the gases produced when food is broken down, and the build-up is what causes us to burp and pass wind. If you suffer a lot from flatulence, it could be related to your diet, and identifying and reducing key culprits could help. If you’ve just started Food Optimising and are consuming more vegetables and pulses than before, you might be experiencing a little extra wind, which normally settles down as your body adapts to the change in your diet and the increase in fibre. Fizzy drinks and sugar-free chewing gum can also cause gas. Keeping a food diary will help you pinpoint your triggers.


The more excess weight you carry, the more likely you are to experience digestive problems. Losing just a few pounds can help and getting your body mass index (BMI) into the healthy range could make all the difference. QUITTING SMOKING

Smoking can weaken the muscle that controls the lower end of the oesophagus, leading to heartburn and reflux. Another reason why giving up is good for you. For support, visit

‘My IBS and acid reflux are history’ Jonathan Fort, 40, lives in Newmarket, Suffolk, and is a laboratory manager at the University of Cambridge. He slimmed down from 22st 3½lbs to 14st 10lbs at Natalie Haynes Brewer’s Newmarket group, now run by Michelle Green. ‘When I joined Slimming World in 2015, I was suffering badly with acid reflux – taking medication daily to neutralise the acid – and in great discomfort with IBS. It caused me a lot of embarrassment; I couldn’t risk being far away from a toilet and once had to go 13 times in one day. The pain was so bad, I even ended up in A&E on one occasion. I lost 10lbs in my first week of Food Optimising, and now I’m 7st 7½lbs lighter, my IBS symptoms and acid reflux have completely disappeared. I no longer need medication, and spicy foods I thought were triggers don’t cause me problems any more. In fact, my diet is the most varied it’s ever been. Now I’m feeling fit, healthy, full of new-found confidence and really positive about my future!’


Stress can upset the delicate balance of the digestive system and also worsen preexisting conditions such as GORD and IBS. As well as building in more Body Magic, find other stress-busters that work for you. CHANGING YOUR EATING HABITS

Snacking on the run or skipping meals can play havoc with your gut. Eating regularly, sitting down to do it and not rushing your food could all help. Avoid big meals just before bed and steer clear of alcohol three to four hours before hitting the sack. AVOIDING BINGE DRINKING

While the occasional drink won’t hurt, drinking a lot in one session increases acid production in your stomach and can add to your discomfort. Current advice is to not drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week spread over at least three days. For more information, visit STAYING ACTIVE

A fitter lifestyle will help keep you regular, and you don’t have to join a gym. Simply moving more – walking up and down stairs or getting out in the garden and pulling up weeds – is a great start. Then you can work towards building more structured exercise into your daily routine.

WHEN TO SEE YOUR GP Digestive problems are very common and are generally linked with the way we live and the foods we eat. Many can be treated with the lifestyle changes mentioned or overthe-counter remedies. However, if symptoms persist, they could be

flagging up something else. If DIY tactics haven’t worked, you’re worried about your symptoms or they’re showing no signs of improvement, see a health professional. You should also visit your GP if you experience any of the following:

■ A sudden, persistent change in your bowel pattern  Bleeding from your ■ bottom  Increasing heartburn, ■ indigestion or other stomach pain ■ Unexpected weight loss ■ Difficulty swallowing


make something truly great happen If you’re looking for an exciting opportunity – a career in which your passionate desire to help others achieve their dreams makes a real difference to people’s lives, a career in which your own weight loss journey and your management skills inspire others to sparkling success, a career which offers you flexibility and boundless opportunities – then you’re looking in the right place! We’re looking for new District Managers across the UK and Ireland. It’s a full-time, full-on, challenging, service-focused role, and for the right person, it’ll be the most fulfilling, life-changing career move you’ll ever make. You’ll be a committed individual with the experience and drive to lead teams and achieve targets. You’ll understand what it means to want to lose weight and be motivated by helping others to do the same. With training, support and a determination to succeed, you’ll develop your district to its full potential, inspire others to deliver the best possible service in our groups and recruit new team members. And in return, you’ll be highly rewarded for your dedication and results. With a basic salary of £40,000 / €50,000 (15% London weighting) per year plus a generous bonus package for meeting targets, you’ll earn on average £65,000 / €89,000 per year. You’ll also receive a company car, expenses, healthcare package, plus extensive training and the opportunity to progress to more senior management positions in the field.

So, if you are: passionate about Slimming World and your journey as a member (past or present) a senior manager with a strong background in leading teams to success experienced in managing sales, multi-site or field based teams highly organised with first-class time management skills motivated by delivering exceptional customer service and excited by the idea of changing people’s lives able to work varied hours including evenings and weekends with occasional overnight stays

… then we’d love to hear from you. Please visit for more information, or scan the QR code opposite

In 2015, Slimming World became the first weight management organisation to achieve a Gold Investors in People award, recognising the highest standards of people development and leadership.

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Turn back your health clock Why do so many slimmers tell us they feel younger as a result of losing weight and being more active? We find out… Words: Louise Baty


an you imagine feeling 10, even 20 years younger? Saying goodbye to aches and pains, having more energy, and brimming with enough confidence to do the things you’ve always dreamed of? Whatever your age, if you’re feeling old before your time, the good news is that losing weight can help. Studies have found that slimming down can actually change the way your body functions, for the better. So from transforming your health to making you feel more energised and positive, the plus points of losing weight definitely don’t stop with the number on the scales. And it’s a true virtuous circle: the better you feel in yourself, the more enthusiasm you’re likely to have about sticking to your weight-loss plans – which means the sooner you’ll get to target. Here are just a few of the ways you can look forward to embracing a more youthful new you... 112 SLIMMING WORLD



‘Some members who’ve reached a healthy body mass index (BMI) after years of being overweight say they feel 20 years younger,’ says Slimming World’s head of nutrition and research, Dr Jacquie Lavin. And the good feeling kicks in long before target – probably the biggest surprise for members is just how quickly they get their zest for life back after committing to their slimdown. ‘Just losing three to five per cent of your body weight can have a big effect on improving your general health,’ she adds. So what’s happening inside our body to make such a huge difference? The physiological benefits of slimming – those invisible changes inside you – start soon after you begin your weight-loss journey. Essentially, with each extra pound you lose, there’s less pressure and strain on various parts of your body, including major organs such as your heart. One study in the US

found that losing even a small amount of excess weight can improve how the heart pumps blood, its ability to relax and the thickness of its muscle tissue, as well as lowering blood pressure. Plus, when you start adding Body Magic into the mix, you’re giving your heart even more TLC. People who do regular physical activity have up to a  35 per cent lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke, and half the risk of potentially damaging Type 2 diabetes. And when your heart is healthy and pumping oxygen-rich blood around your body, you’re more able to take part in vigorous activities… which then help keep your ticker happy for longer, too. ‘One of the biggest advantages for many members who lose weight is that they find they’re able to move around a lot more easily,’ adds Jacquie Lavin. ‘They can walk their kids or grandkids to school without having to stop for a rest. And they feel younger and able to do much more.’ It’s

youth boosts

not just your healthier heart making you feel fitter, though – lose body fat and your lungs can work more efficiently, too. If you suffer from asthma, or need to stop to catch your breath on a regular basis, you could find a modest weight loss improves symptoms dramatically. And, by putting less pressure on your joints, slimming down can help make daily aches and pains a thing of the past. As well as giving you a new lease of life in the short term, scientists at the University of Oxford have found people with a healthy BMI lived up to 10 years longer than those carrying a lot of extra pounds. So losing weight could even offer you more big birthdays to look forward to.



On top of having that visible contentment that comes from knowing you’re taking control of your health, there are other reasons Food Optimising could start to show through on your face. ‘There’s emerging evidence that large increases in blood sugar can cause problems with your skin,’ says dermatologist Dr Anjali Mahto. If you’re following Food Optimising, you’ll be naturally eating less refined sugar than before, as all high-sugar foods have Syns. ‘These sorts of foods may contribute to acne and premature ageing due to something called glycation, which is where sugar molecules attach directly to the collagen in your skin, making it weaker and less elastic.’ Eating a balanced diet of wholegrains, lean proteins, fruit and vegetables – as you do when you’re Food Optimising – also means you’re more likely to be taking in a range of vitamins and minerals needed to help your skin and hair glow. Strawberries, a Speed Free Food, are a perfect example. As well as making a delicious snack or dessert, they’re loaded with skin-boosting antioxidants, such as ellagic acid and vitamin C, which play a role in making and maintaining collagen (the stuff that keeps skin strong and helps minimise wrinkles). Other Speed Free Foods that are great sources of vitamin C include fresh blackcurrants, oranges and papaya. Then there are almonds (enjoy 16 whole or 20g flaked almonds as a Healthy Extra) – an excellent source of vitamin E to

support skin renewal. If you’re stocking up on tomatoes and broccoli (both Speed Free Foods, too!), you’re consuming the antioxidant selenium, which studies suggest might help protect your skin from age spots and sun damage. Finally, eggs are a good source of iron and zinc (both vital for keeping your hair in its best possible condition) as well as being a filling Free Food. Looking young isn’t just about having healthy skin and hair. Eating enough calcium-rich Free Foods, such as tinned salmon (with the bones in) and fat-free natural yogurt, helps to keep your bones strong and ward off osteoporosis, which may cause stooping as we age. Exercise is also helpful for supporting the skeleton and reducing muscle tension – and being able to stand up tall, with good posture, can help make you look like the years have fallen away.



‘If you’ve tried to lose weight on a restricted diet in the past, you’ll probably have experienced the emotional pressure of cutting down calories and portion sizes,’ says Jacquie Lavin. ‘Instead of making you feel deprived, Food Optimising switches your mindset. Being able to eat Free Foods, and still lose weight, can be liberating.’ This is particularly the case for those of us who’ve been yo-yo dieters in the past. ‘Members say it’s like being a kid again, when you weren’t worrying about rules and when eating was not so tied up with your emotions,’ adds Jacquie. Body Magic also has instant benefits on your mood. Public health adviser Dr Nick Cavill says, ‘If exercise were a pill, it would be one of the most cost-effective drugs ever invented’. It’s thought that this happiness boost is down to the way physical activity makes your body release endorphins – the ‘happy hormones’ that we also experience during sex. What’s more, studies have shown that people who exercise regularly are 30 per cent less likely to suffer from depression. Then there’s the fun factor. Lightening up – both physically and mentally – makes it easier to throw yourself into life wholeheartedly. Simply by joining that salsa club or saying ‘yes’ to party invites >

The biggest surprise for many people is how quickly they get their zest for life back after committing to their slimdown

‘I feel 20 years younger after losing 11st’

Breda Monaghan, 59, lives in Celbridge, County Kildare. She’s 5ft 4ins tall and has slimmed down from 20st 6lbs to 9st 5lbs at Martine Curtis’s group in Celbridge. ‘In 2011 my blood pressure became so high I was hospitalised for a week – the doctor explained I was lucky I hadn’t died. I’d wanted to lose weight for years; I’d get out of breath walking short distances, and my daughter would tie my shoes for me as I wasn’t able to bend down. But I just couldn’t bear the idea of being weighed and anyone knowing I was over 20st. My health scare, though, was the motivation that finally got me through the door of a Slimming World group. As I slowly lost pounds, then stones, my blood pressure came down until it was at a normal level, and my GP took me off almost all of my medication. I’m not exaggerating when I say I feel 20 years younger than I did just a few years ago. Once I covered up in size 26-28 smocks – this July I wore a fashionable size-10 dress at my daughter’s wedding. I have so much energy I walk 5-7km each morning with my two dogs, Chalky and Gus. Now I can easily get down on the floor to play with my two-year-old granddaughter, Isabella, and I even jump on her little bouncy castle with her. I’m definitely making up for lost time!’


Once you start feeling slimmer and lighter, you could find your self-confidence begins to grow



Regaining control of your weight and feeling better about yourself may help you rediscover the social life you thought had disappeared forever. ‘People who are unhappy about their weight are often less comfortable in social situations,’ says Jacquie Lavin. ‘They may even feel that they’re not worthy of going out in a group.’ If you’ve lost the confidence for girls’ nights out, you may also feel old

friendships have fallen by the wayside – in which case, your first step to making new friends could be at your local Slimming World group. There’s nothing like a good chat with like-minded people to lift your spirits and, as those friendships develop and you socialise more and more, hanging out with your ‘crew’ is bound to put the spring back into your step. Or perhaps you’ve convinced yourself that playing netball and going out dancing are activities reserved for younger people? When you’ve lost self-confidence due to weight issues, it’s easy to stop doing the things you used to love and assume they’ll never be a part of your life again. Once you start feeling slimmer and lighter, though, you could find your attitude begins to change. Members who combine Food Optimising with Body Magic – which boosts not just your fitness but also your balance and flexibility – can find themselves bouncing around like a teenager… sometimes for the first time since they were at school! ‘As members lose weight, they often start playing sports that they really enjoyed when they were youngsters,’ adds Jacquie Lavin. If you’ve got children or grandchildren, they benefit from spending time with this livelier, more fun-loving you. And what could be more youthful than joining in with the kids? ●

Feel more youthful today Three things that will make a difference right now l Add fun with fashion

Do you stick to a limited wardrobe because you don’t feel you can pull off bright colours and on-trend styles? You don’t need to wait until you reach target to give yourself a makeover. An easy way to start is by being just a little braver with what you wear each day – begin with accessories, say a scarf in this season’s must-have print or a beautiful pair of fashionable shoe boots – and build your confidence. There’s


nothing like rejuvenating your look to make you feel young, free and fabulous! l Enjoy a blast from

the past Research has found that listening to music from our past can rekindle youthful feelings – so putting on your favourite Motown track could take you back in more ways than one! Another study found that revelling in a little nostalgia can help people feel more positive about the future, boost their social life and even improve self-esteem.

l Make space on

the fridge door As children, we felt real, uncomplicated pride in our achievements – who didn’t cherish their Brownie badges or swimming certificates? ‘As we see progress in our health and fitness, we can get back in touch with that sense of accomplishment,’ says coach-therapist Eve Menezes Cunningham. So consider putting your half-stone awards up on the fridge and let yourself feel proud of every little success along the way.

‘My friends and grandchildren now call me Ninja Nanny!’ Joan Patchett, 64, lives in Dereham, Norfolk. She’s 5ft 6ins tall and has slimmed down from 15st 1lb to 11st 7lbs at Louise Rayner’s group in Dereham. ‘When I started going to my local Slimming World group in April 2013, I’d been struggling with my weight for many years. With four children and a demanding teaching job, I’d always been a classic stress eater – relying on sugary snacks to keep me going throughout my hectic working days. Now, at 60, my hip and knee pain was so bad that as well as sometimes needing to walk with a stick, I often found myself going up the stairs on my bottom. It was my son who suggested I try going to group, and I soon got the hang of Food Optimising. By the time I reached target the following October, all my aches and pains had vanished. I was going up and down stairs with ease, and taking my dog for a jog around the fields near my home. Last year, I took up Kuk Sool Won – a Korean martial art that my grandchildren enjoy. I thought I’d try it… now I’m a yellow belt and I came fourth in my category at the European tournament this June. I have energy and stamina and, though I’m still busy, I feel I can cope with anything. It’s like the decades have dropped away!’


you once rejected, you can limit negative feelings. ‘The more fun we’re having, the more positive emotions, such as love, hope, awe, joy and pride, we experience,’ says coach-therapist Eve Menezes Cunningham. ‘This reduces the stress hormone cortisol, actually making it easier for us to stick to our healthy-eating plans.’ Lastly, trying new things – and that includes experimenting with tasty Food Optimising recipes or walking a different route to work – is said to create new neural pathways in our brain. ‘As these actions become habitual, this makes it easier for us to do other things differently,’ says Eve. ‘And being open to new experiences improves our lives immeasurably.’ It may even help you to avoid dementia later in life, studies suggest.

Banish your fitness fears Show your exercise gremlins the door and take the first step towards a more active you Illustrations: Tim Bradford


reezing hockey pitches, bruised shins and communal showers… Memories of school PE lessons are enough to put many of us off exercise for life. And even if we were a whizz on the netball court back in the day, worries about how we look now and what other people think can be real barriers to becoming more active as adults. It really is worth giving it another shot, though, because regular exercise is one of the best gifts you can give to both your body and mind – and you deserve to enjoy the benefits! Here’s how to tackle long-held fitness fears and preconceptions head-on, and begin building Body Magic into your day.

‘I just can’t get started’

If you find yourself constantly resolving to exercise, then always putting it off, you’re not alone. In actual fact, getting started could be as simple as picking up a pen and paper and jotting down a plan. ‘If you never get beyond thinking, “I must do some exercise,” you never will,’ says exercise psychologist Dr Ruth Lowry from the University of Chichester. ‘Think realistically about what you can do and when, then stay on track by setting small, regular goals.’ We have a much better chance of sticking to our healthy lifestyle goals long-term when we break them down into smaller steps, reward ourselves along the way, share our plans with friends and keep a record 116 SLIMMING WORLD

of our progress. Work towards your Slimming World Body Magic awards and plan in a weekly treat for your efforts – like a long soak in a bubble bath or a copy of your favourite magazine – and you’ll be ticking all those boxes!

‘Everyone will be looking at me’

Whatever stage you’re at in your weight-loss journey, it’s easy to feel as though you’ve got a neon ‘Look at me!’ sign flashing above your head when you first start getting active. If self-consciousness and embarrassment are holding you back, sneak in exercise by stealth, suggests Dr Frank Eves, an exercise psychologist at the University of Birmingham: ‘Stairclimbing is a very good way of exercising without anyone realising you’re doing it.’ Plus, research shows that even small

If self-consciousness and embarrassment are holding you back, start small. Any amount of exercise can really improve your body confidence

amounts of exercise can improve your body confidence, so it won’t be long before your new habit leads to you feeling you’re ready to give something else a go.

‘I haven’t got the energy’

When you’re feeling worn out, it’s only natural to think what you need is more rest, rather than more time on your feet. The truth is, though, that being more active is one of the best ways to boost your energy levels. Moderate activity helps to condition your heart and lungs, so they get more efficient at pumping oxygen-rich blood around your body, and boosts muscle strength and stamina so that everyday life feels easier. ‘Going for a walk, jog or cycle first thing in the morning, before the demands of the day take their toll, or doing an exercise DVD, works for many people,’ says personal trainer Sarah Lister-Morford ( ‘It can set you up for the day and make you feel like you’re firing on all cylinders.’ Getting out at lunchtime is a great way to beat the mid-afternoon slump – just 10 minutes of brisk walking can boost your energy and your mood. Or head for an exercise class straight after work to resist the call of the sofa. You’ll come back feeling great!

‘I’ll never fit it in’

Are you always rushing from one commitment to the next, barely finding time to brush your hair, let

get-started guide

alone hit the gym? The good news is you don’t have to devote hours to exercise to reap the benefits. In fact, when time is tight, the key is to start small. ‘The aim is to work up to a total of 30 minutes of moderate activity (when you feel slightly warm and your heart rate is raised) a day, but you don’t have to do it all at once,’ says Ruth Lowry. ‘Lots of short walks throughout the day are as beneficial as one long one.’ Simply moving more can make a difference to your health, especially if you spend long hours sitting at a desk. Stand up for phone calls or use the loo on the floor above, and make the most of lunch breaks by popping out for a five- or 10-minute walk. By weaving movement into our lives in this way, even the busiest of us can find time to be active.


‘Exercising is too expensive’

There’s no doubt you can spend a fortune on getting fit – you can also do it without spending a penny. In fact, an active lifestyle can even save you cash, says Frank Eves. ‘Use exercise as a form of transport – whether it’s walking or cycling to work, or just to the shops – and you’ll save money on petrol and running costs,’ he says. Even switching from the car to public transport counts: ‘On average, it adds an extra mile to the distance you walk each day,’ says Frank. Write yourself a memo asking ‘Do you really need me?’ and keep it next to your car keys. It helps switch you out of autopilot so you stop and think: do I actually need to drive or is this a journey I could make on foot?

‘Joining a gym isn’t for me’

If you’re assuming your local gym will be full of intimidating, Lycra-clad fitness fanatics, you’re probably worrying unnecessarily, says Ruth Lowry. ‘There’s been a big change in gym culture over the past few years, with far more classes on offer, from dance-based ones to martial arts and yoga. And you’ll find people of all ages, sizes and fitness levels at most gyms, especially those run

by your local authority.’ It’s also completely possible to get fit without setting foot in a gym. If you love the outdoors, you’ll find group fitness classes in many parks and free weekly Parkruns ( are popping up just about everywhere. Or, if you need extra motivation, look for an activity that’s very social – like tennis, badminton or dance. Most clubs welcome beginners and may hold taster sessions, so it’s easy to explore what’s available in your local area and discover which activity is the one for you.

ways to get started – and stay motivated! LOG IT ‘Studies show we’re most likely to achieve those goals that we focus on and monitor regularly,’ says exercise psychologist, Dr Ruth Lowry. Your Slimming World F.I.T. log is the perfect tool for planning and keeping track of your activities – it helps you see exactly what you’ve achieved. BUDDY UP ‘Arrange to exercise with a friend. You’re less likely to duck out of it if it means

someone else will have to miss out,’ says Ruth. PLUG IN Never underestimate the power of music! It isn’t just a boredom-blaster – research shows that listening to the right tracks can actually make activity feel easier, too. TAKE NOTE Keep a list of reasons why you want to be more active – like boosting your mood, energy and weight loss, improving body image,

staving off heart disease and toning up – in your purse. If you notice your fitness motivation flagging, get it out and give it a quick read. HAVE FUN ‘You’re far more likely to stick at an activity that makes you feel good – what’s known as intrinsic motivation – than at something you do because you know it’s good for you,’ says Ruth. The upshot? Find your favourite... and start feeling the fitness love!


e r l r e l c t oas Ro slimming One minute you’re riding high, the next you’re plummeting to the depths... Sound familiar? Here’s how to keep your weight-loss journey on the up! Words: Margaret Miles-Bramwell


limming sometimes feels a bit like being on a rollercoaster. One minute you’re up and the world is a wonderful place, the next you’re plummeting down. Those ups can feel like a long haul, yet the downs seem to happen with startling speed. You’re filled with happiness one week, despondency the next. The experience is deeply emotional. In fact, if you’ve ever had the privilege of being in love, you’ll recognise that the similarity is amazing. Maybe it’s because when you’re on a high, you are in love – with yourself. It’s the most warm, delicious feeling. You become beautiful from the most vital perspective of all – from inside. But we know that when it comes to losing weight, it can be hard to hang on to that ‘in love’ feeling. If losing weight is something that, in the past, you’ve found difficult, then it’s little wonder that you have no confidence. We could describe this feeling as being ‘out of love’ with yourself. It’s a painful place to be. In this psychological state, your emotions are prey to every negative nuance, and you can be tipped on to that downward spiral quite easily.

Stay on the rails

At Slimming World we want to help you hold on to that special feeling, and the surest way of all to do so – and I know this from experience – is to attend group regularly, allow IMAGE Therapy to work its magic, stay with the plan and lose weight. But I also know all too well that there are danger zones that can send your emotions 118 SLIMMING WORLD

careering downhill. Working out what they are is the first step towards avoiding them. One of the most common danger zones is stepping on to the scales, either at home or at group. Just one week when they register no loss or, worse still, a gain, can send you plummeting. Feelings of confusion, despair and frustration sweep through you. Anger and fear wreak their havoc. The world isn’t a wonderful place. And although it seems to the outside world that you are angry with them, deep down you are angry with yourself. Most of us who are working hard to lose weight are extremely susceptible to this. And of course, if you are impulsive and impatient (who, me?) then the practice of daily weighing can take its toll. One day I would step on the scales and be delighted with the drop. Without being aware, I would ease off and allow myself to stop counting, cockily overconfident that I knew what I was doing (me? never!), and didn’t need to be so careful. So a few

There are danger zones that can send your emotions careering downhill. Working out what they are is the first step to avoiding them

days later I would step back on the scales to discover an unexpected zero loss – or worse a slight gain – and be plunged into gloom. At this point thinking and reasoning fly out the window. In this vulnerable state, you’re at risk of coming off the rails altogether! When we feel in control, we find it far easier to stay on track, and the key to staying in control is making the right choices. The correct decisions are those that will, sooner or later, lead us to achieving our goal. I’m talking about those small daily decisions that affect every action we take. Deciding to weigh yourself just once a week, rather than every single day, is one such decision. But even before we step on the scales, if we’ve been making the right decisions, each meal, each change, becomes a positive reinforcement of our self-worth. Examples of decisions that may help your weight loss include: l Deciding how many Syns you are going to have for the day and sticking to it. l Deciding to jot down your Syns lest you develop temporary amnesia. l Deciding to fill up on lots and lots of veg because they’re Speed Free Foods. l Deciding to make a plan for the week ahead and shopping accordingly. l Deciding to use the recipes from the wealth on offer in this magazine or the many Slimming World recipe books. l Deciding to watch a little less TV and build exercise into your daily routine. l Deciding to make yourself aware of those patterns that might lead to poor-quality snacking. >

success strategies

success strategies

Let one good decision about food lead to another. And realise that every time you’ve chosen well, you’re more firmly on track to success Even before we have lost any weight, we can immediately and justifiably feel good about ourselves and if it doesn’t show up on the scales that week, it doesn’t matter. It will show eventually.

Virtuous circle

Pat on the back

Achievement in any walk of life brings with it a massive boost to self-esteem. Without doubt, losing weight is a great 120 SLIMMING WORLD

Put it in writing! l Another way to hang

l Add the good stuff

on to the high is to capture your feelings at the point when your self-esteem is high. Write them in a list. Keep that list confidential, keep it handy, and turn to it at times when you feel your self-confidence flagging.

that other people have noticed that you might have missed. Even when you think they’re wrong, add it to the list, anyway. Chances are they are right and you’ve been setting yourself impossibly high standards. For example, I know someone who is extremely organised. She plans well and is very efficient. Yet when

l Add to the list all

the positive points about yourself that you can think of.

achievement. Changing eating habits that have been well established for many years is no mean feat. Taking time to look after yourself when you are under pressure to fit so many things into your life deserves congratulations. At the end of a busy day, when exhaustion hits, replacing activities like watching TV and comfort eating with something more useful like exercise deserves a pat on the back. No wonder you feel great happiness. It’s the surest way to fall in love with yourself – and those highs will just last and last. ●

I admire her for being so organised, she denies it! I’m all for having high standards and can be a bit of a perfectionist myself, but having standards that are unreachable can be harmful. Preferring to think badly of ourselves might seem like modesty and humility, but in actual fact the damage we do to our self-esteem is serious. So learn to acknowledge the positives.

Margaret Miles-Bramwell OBE, HonMUniv, FRSA, is Slimming World’s founder and chair


With positive decisions like these, success is inevitable and you’ll even find yourself making friends with the scales! Instead of a love-hate relationship, the scales can become a tool, rather than a tyrant taking over your life. With a longer-term and broaderbased view, you can and should feel very good about yourself, and the general pattern of the figures on the scales will, inevitably, be downwards! One week at the same weight or with a small gain need never put you off track again and, at last and for ever, you’ll be controlling the scales, not being controlled by them. Being in control is a marvellous feeling, but it’s different for different people. How do you feel? Are there any physical changes – an un-knotting of the stomach, maybe? For me, as well as feeling pleased with myself, I gain a deep sense of calm, as if I’ve stopped fighting. I feel less tense. Before, I wasn’t even aware that I was actually feeling tense. The opposite occurs when we’re not feeling good about ourselves. We make the wrong decisions. Each mealtime becomes an opportunity to reinforce our negative feelings about ourselves. We enjoy the moment of rebellion. Yet at that moment, when we eat the foods we feel guilty about, at another level we’re saying to ourselves, ‘See! I knew I was weak and useless’, creating a vicious circle. The easiest route to getting out of the vicious circle is to decide you want to. Follow that with a good decision the next time you’re faced with choices about food. Then simply let one good decision lead to another. And realise that every time you’ve chosen well, you’ve put yourself more firmly on track to success. That’s an achievement of mammoth proportions and you deserve many congratulations.

the small print

TERMS AND CONDITIONS Sidmouth Harbour Hotel reader offer (p49) 1. Offer valid from 1 October-23 December 2016, subject to availability. Call 0844 858 9186 and quote Slimming World when booking to receive your 20 per cent discount on the full rack rate. 2. Offer is based on two people sharing a double or twin Courtyard room for two nights. You will pay from £295 per room (a supplement applies for Friday and Saturday nights; single occupancy rate also available) to include a full English or continental breakfast in the Upper Deck Restaurant each morning of stay; three-course dinner in the Upper Deck Restaurant on the first night (up to the value of £25 per guest, drinks not included); a 40-minute spa treatment per person, and full use of the spa and leisure facilities. Dinner and spa treatments should be reserved at time of booking break and are subject to availability. 3. Offer is open to adults aged 18 or over; guests must be 16 or over. Offer is non-refundable and non-transferable, cannot be amended and cannot be used in conjunction with any other promotional offer or discount. Full prepayment will be taken at time of booking. Offer applies to new bookings only.

Sidmouth Harbour Hotel competition (p49) 1. Send your entry form to Sidmouth Harbour Hotel Competition, Slimming World magazine, Clover Nook Road, Alfreton, Derbyshire DE55 4SW. The closing date is 20 October 2016. 2. Only one entry per person. No purchase necessary. For a copy of the entry form, send an SAE to Entry Form, Sidmouth Harbour Hotel Competition at the Slimming World magazine address above, to arrive no later than 6 October 2016. 3. The competition is open to all UK and RoI residents aged 18 or over, except employees of Slimming World, Miles-Bramwell Ltd, Harbour Hotels Group, or anyone professionally connected with this promotion. (This does not include Slimming World Consultants and Team Developers.) 4. No bulk or third-party entries will be accepted. Responsibility not accepted for entries lost, damaged or delayed in the post. Proof of posting not accepted as proof of delivery. 5. The competition will be judged by a panel that includes one independent member. The winner is the entrant who answers the question correctly and, in the opinion of the judging panel, completes the sentence in the most apt and original way. He/she will receive a stay for four people (winner aged 18 or over; guests 16 or over) at Sidmouth Harbour Hotel, comprising: two nights’ accommodation in two Superior double/twin sea-view rooms, subject to availability; a spa gift in each room on arrival; a full English or continental breakfast each morning in the Upper Deck Restaurant; a three-course dinner in the Upper Deck Restaurant on both evenings (up to the value of £25 per guest, drinks not included); a 55-minute spa treatment each (to be chosen from the treatments list at, and full use of spa and leisure facilities including indoor pool, sauna, crystal steam room and fitness suite. Additional meals, drinks, travel to and from the hotel and any other expenses are not included. Dinner and spa treatments should be reserved at time of booking and are subject to availability. The prize must be taken by 17 July 2017 and is subject to availability. The prize cannot be taken 24-27 December 2016, 31 December-2 January 2017, 14-17 April 2017 and all bank holidays. 6. No correspondence will be entered into and the judging panel’s decision is final. The winner will be notified in writing by 17 November 2016. If Slimming World cannot contact the winner or the winner fails to claim the prize by 15 December 2016, the winner will forfeit the prize and the panel may select another winner. The prize is non-transferable and there is no cash alternative. The prize value is correct at time of going to press. The prize cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer or any existing bookings. 7. By entering, the winner agrees to take part in publicity relating to the competition and consents to their name, county and slogan being published. The winner’s name, county and slogan will be published in the Mar/Apr 2017 issue of Slimming World magazine. 8. Slimming World is not responsible for: (i) any loss, damage or liability to entrants in relation to their entering the competition or accepting the prize; (ii) any failure by the winner to comply with Sidmouth Harbour Hotel’s terms or instructions; (iii) any delay or failure due to an event outside Slimming World’s reasonable control; (iv) any costs associated with the prize; (v) any terms or decisions of Sidmouth Harbour Hotel in relation to the fulfilment of the prize. 9. The promoter is Slimming World. Promoter’s address: Slimming World magazine, Clover Nook Road, Alfreton, Derbyshire DE55 4SW. The prize provider is Harbour Hotels Group trading as Sidmouth Harbour Hotel, The Westcliff, Manor Road, Sidmouth, Devon EX10 8RU. 10. The laws of England and Wales apply to this competition.

Forest Holidays competition (p35) 1. Send your entry form to Forest Holidays Competition, Slimming World magazine, Clover Nook Road, Alfreton, Derbyshire DE55 4SW. The closing date is 20 October 2016. 2. Only one entry per person. No purchase necessary. For a copy of the entry form, send an SAE to Entry Form, Forest Holidays Competition at the Slimming World magazine address above, to arrive no later than 6 October 2016. 3. The competition is open to all UK and RoI residents aged 18 or over, except employees of Slimming World, Miles-Bramwell Ltd, Forest Holidays, or anyone professionally connected with this promotion. (This does not include Slimming World Consultants and Team Developers.) 4. No bulk or third-party entries will be accepted. Responsibility not accepted for entries lost, damaged or delayed in the post. Proof of posting not accepted as proof of delivery. 5. The competition will be judged by a panel that includes one independent member. The winner is the entrant who answers the question correctly and, in the opinion of the judging panel, completes the sentence in the most apt and original way. He/she will receive three nights’ accommodation, from Friday to Monday, for up to six people (winner aged 18 or over) sharing a self-catering Golden Oak cabin with private hot tub, en-suite double room and two twin rooms, subject to availability. Food, drinks, leisure activities, Forest Ranger walks, travel to and from the location and any other expenses are not included. The prize is available at any one of nine locations: Deerpark, Cornwall; Blackwood Forest, Hampshire; Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire; Thorpe Forest, Norfolk; Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire; Cropton, North Yorkshire; Keldy, North Yorkshire; Ardgartan, Argyll, and Strathyre, Stirling. The prize can be taken any time between 6 January 2017 and 26 June 2017, excluding 14-17 April 2017. The prize is subject to availability. Leisure activities vary according to location – please check at the time of booking. 6. No correspondence will be entered into and the judging panel’s decision is final. The winner will be notified in writing by 17 November 2016. If Slimming World cannot contact the winner or the winner fails to claim the prize by 15 December 2016, the winner will forfeit the prize and the panel may select another winner. The prize is non-transferable and there is no cash alternative. The prize value is correct at time of going to press. The prize cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer or any existing bookings. 7. By entering, the winner agrees to take part in publicity relating to the competition and consents to their name, county and slogan being published. The winner’s name, county and slogan will be published in the Mar/Apr 2017 issue of Slimming World magazine. 8. Slimming World is not responsible for: (i) any loss, damage or liability to entrants in relation to their entering the competition or accepting the prize; (ii) any failure by the winner to comply with Forest Holidays’ terms or instructions; (iii) any delay or failure due to an event outside Slimming World’s reasonable control; (iv) any costs associated with the prize; (v) any terms or decisions of Forest Holidays in relation to the fulfilment of the prize. 9. The promoter is Slimming World. Promoter’s address: Slimming World magazine, Clover Nook Road, Alfreton, Derbyshire DE55 4SW. The prize provider is Forest Holidays, Bath Yard, Moira, Derbyshire DE12 6BA. 10. The laws of England and Wales apply to this competition. Forest Holidays reader offer (p35) 1. Offer must be booked by 30 November 2016 for breaks up to and including 28 February 2017. Quote promotional code SlimmingWorld17 when booking by phone, or enter the code when booking online at, to receive your 10 per cent discount on a Forest Holidays cabin of your choice, subject to availability. 2. Offer is a 10 per cent discount on the full price of a self-catering cabin only. Food, drinks, leisure activities, Forest Ranger walks and any other expenses are not included in the discount. 3. At least one person in your party must be aged 18 or over. 4. Full prepayment will be taken at the time of booking. The offer can be withdrawn or amended at any time at the discretion of Forest Holidays. Offer is non-refundable and nontransferable, and cannot be used in conjunction with any other promotional offer or discount. Offer applies to new bookings only.

Congratulations to our May/June 2016 issue’s competition winners! Matfen Hall Hotel, Golf & Spa competition ‘Hubby’s a golfer, I like spa fun, we’d Optimise the “whole if won”!’ Marian Hill, Somerset.

Forest Holidays competition ‘Al fresco Body Magic and Syn-free cooking, please Forest Holidays con“fern” my booking.’ Christine Hartley, Bristol.


! y p p a h e v i l a world of slimming support at your fingertips


Slimming World Online Every day, our friendly and supportive groups help thousands of people reach their dream weight. If you can’t get to a group, you can still enjoy our tried and trusted weight loss plan with Slimming World Online. Here for you 24/7, you’ll love our unique online programme: 1,500 tasty recipes – from family favourites to lunchbox essentials and delicious desserts enter your weight once a week in the privacy of your own home, then celebrate your success with awards galore! overcome difficult weeks with unique motivation and clever support tools tailored to you access to hundreds of features – for hints, tips and support when you need them most a smart way to plan your week’s meals, complete your food diary and update your journal with our Weight Loss Planner create your own daily menus in a moment!

Photography: Lara Holmes, Martin Poole Gareth Morgans & Karen Thomas

Join us online with an exclusive reader offer

To take advantage of this special off er… choo se the Gold m embership package th en use the code SWMAG1 27 when y o u get to the paym ent page. This offer is available u ntil 31st Octob er 2016

We’re offering readers a three-month Gold membership for the price of Silver! For £64.95 you’ll receive: a saving of £35 on the standard price – it works out around 72p a day! a one-year subscription to Slimming World magazine new member books – Food Optimising and Body Magic


BE AMAZED Great Wall of China Trek 12–21 October 2017

Do something unforgettable this year. Trek the Great Wall of China and transform the lives of people living with dementia. 0330 333 0804 Alzheimer’s Society operates in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Registered charity no. 296645




Editor-in-Chief Elise Wells EditorSara Ward

   A Accessorize 020 3372 3000

Creative Director Lynn Hayes Deputy EditorSarah Davison Publisher Emma Wild


Chief Sub EditorLouisa Barrett Associate Editor (Copy) Zoë Handley Sub EditorsJacqui Hawkins, Laura Heappey

Adrianna Papell At John Lewis

Deputy Art DirectorJulian Barrett Senior Art EditorVicky Burdon Senior Designer/Digital Art SpecialistAnna Rick Senior DesignerJoanne Gultig Acting Senior Art EditorMandeep Kalsi Acting Senior Designers Nikki Ackerman, Becky Thurston

Antony Morato


Base London

Features EditorRachel Callen Food EditorPaula Johnson Editorial/Features Research Assistant Natasha Seal-Jones

Basia Zarzycka 020 7730 1660

Advertising and Group Promotion Sales Manager Julian Oiller Production/Digital Co-ordinatorsBekki Gent, Alice Henrick

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Circulation ManagerTim Harris

Chi Chi London 020 8880 1211


With thanks this issue to Catherine Fox, Jill Hope, Clare Lee, Gregg Mallender, Graeme Simpson EDITORIAL PANEL Slimming World Practice Caryl Richards Nutrition Jacquie Lavin PhD RNutr; Jenny Barber MSc ANutr (Public Health); Alexandra Rood MSc ANutr; Carolyn Pallister BSc RD; Amanda Avery BSc RD


    D Debenhams 0844 561 6161     F

Freedom At Topshop


Gresham Blake

SLIMMING WORLD ADVISORY PANEL Dr William Bird MBE MBBS MRCGP DRCOG; Prof Judy Buttriss PhD RPHNutr DipDiet; Ken Fox PhD FPEA; Andrew Hill PhD CPsychol; Prof Mike Kelly PhD Hon FRCP FRCPE FFPH; Jennifer Percival RGN RM RHV FETC DipCouns MANAGING DIRECTOR Jan Boxshall

   H H&M 0344 736 9000 Hawes & Curtis 020 7298 2242 Hobbs 0845 313 3130


Gill Marnell’s feeling 54 years young after losing 3st 10lbs

SLIMMING WORLD FOUNDER AND CHAIR Margaret Miles-Bramwell OBE, HonMUniv, FRSA Clover Nook Road, Alfreton, Derbyshire DE55 4SW Editorial: 01773 546 071

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Principles by Ben de Lisi At Debenhams

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Lisa Kay London

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Scotch & Soda Star by Julien Macdonald At Debenhams

Next 0333 777 8000




Stella & Dot 0800 096 4749

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Tu At Sainsbury’s


Uno de 50

Urban Outfitters

Lorus Mango 0800 026 0028


Marks & Spencer 0333 014 8555

Group Distribution: 0344 892 0436 Newsstand Distribution: 01202 586 848 Subscriptions: 0800 131 3150 Publicity: 01773 546 039 Group Enquiries:0344 897 8000 Syns Enquiry Hotline:09068 518 518† S limming World magazine is published by Miles-Bramwell Executive Services Ltd, trading as Slimming World. 0344 892 0400, Calls are charged at 60p per minute from a BT landline. Calls from other providers and mobile networks may vary, contact your service provider for more information. All calls may be recorded for quality and training purposes. †

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Don’t miss the next issue of


We welcome letters, unsolicited manuscripts and photos, which should be sent with a stamped addressed envelope on the understanding that we cannot be held responsible for their safe custody or return. The Editor reserves the right to modify or shorten any material submitted. In submitting any such letters, unsolicited manuscripts and photographs or other contributions, the contributor gives Slimming World and Slimming World magazine the express right to publish the contribution in any way that it sees fit and appropriate. The views expressed by contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of Slimming World or Slimming World magazine. All information and prices are correct at time of going to press. All rights reserved and reproduction without permission is strictly forbidden. Readers responding to advertisements or offers in Slimming World magazine should be aware that they are contracting with the advertiser, which is responsible for the contract. When branded products are mentioned in editorial or advertisement promotions, this should not be taken to imply endorsement of these products by Slimming World or Slimming World magazine.

On sale 20 October

(earlier to members of Slimming World groups)

Repro John Brown Media Printed by Wyndeham Roche Print Management Westcolour Print Distribution Seymour


time to shine

tell us your story



ready for your close-up? ✔ Do you feel great, look amazing and want to inspire other slimmers? ✔ Do you read the success stories in this magazine and think, ‘That could be me!’? Well, maybe it could!


✔ If you’ve achieved your target weight with Slimming World and still attend your group, we’d love to hear from you. Send us your pictures and story and you could be the star of our next photoshoot ★ Visit, click on the magazine and download our guide to the info we’d like from you ★ Email your words and good-quality before and after photos to ★ Alternatively, you can post your story and pictures to Success Stories, Slimming World magazine, Clover Nook Road, Alfreton, Derbyshire DE55 4SW We aim to return all photos, but can’t guarantee it, so please make copies of your precious pictures. We’ll let you know we’ve received your info safely and if your story is chosen we’ll be in touch soon!

Rasha Saberi from Greater London has lost 3st 4lbs. After waving goodbye to her baby weight, this model mum is slim, confident and in control...


naughty made nice

Banoffee pots Banana buddies up with an old-school fave in our smooth, creamy and ever-so-easy pud


Ready in about 20 minutes 1 large ripe banana, peeled and sliced Squeeze of lemon juice 100ml skimmed milk ½ x 47g sachet Angel Delight No Added Sugar Butterscotch Flavour ¼ tsp vanilla extract 200g fat-free natural fromage frais 1 dark chocolate digestive biscuit, roughly crushed

1 Put the banana in a bowl with the lemon juice. Gently toss together with your hands (the lemon helps stop the banana browning), then divide between 4 dessert glasses. 2 Pour the milk into a mixing bowl with 50ml cold water, sprinkle over the Angel Delight powder and whisk with an electric hand whisk for a few minutes until thickened and creamy. Whisk in the vanilla extract, then gently fold through the fromage frais. Divide between the dessert glasses.

3 Scatter a quarter of the crushed biscuit over each dessert. Chill for 5 minutes to firm up the butterscotch layer a little, then dive in! Syns per serving: 3

GIVE IT A TWIST Use Angel Delight No Added Sugar Chocolate Flavour, replace the banana with 200g fresh raspberries and omit the lemon juice – Syns stay the same

Only 3 Syns per pud!




Serves 4


From scaling the Great Wall of China to hillwalking in the Himalayas, why not take on a once in a lifetime adventure for an amazing cause? Be part of the Marie Curie team and trek some of the world’s most incredible destinations alongside fellow explorers.

To ďŹ nd out more visit 0800 716 146 Registered charity, England and Wales (207994), Scotland (SC038731) B111a

live happy! with

Slimming World save up to

£5/ 9

– ask in group for more details

visit the website to read Emma’s story 0344 897 8000

touching hearts, changing lives

Slimming world october 2016 uk