Having previously lost 2 stone on Slimming World a few years ago and maintained that loss by continuing to cook healthy meals, I have much love for this diet. Actually, scratch that term, Slimming World is a way of life, an education in food and how to still live and lose weight at the same time!
That said, at this time in my life the plan is just too flexible for me. As a person who tends to push, stretch and expand the boundaries at every turn, it is too easy for me to accidently over-eat or justify a night out with ‘flexible syns’ (syns are their alternative to points or calories). So when I finally had some major areas of my life in order recently and the space to really prepare for the long weight loss journey I have ahead – I needed something more rigid, guaranteed and impossible to break.
I actually did the Cambridge Diet several years ago in 2007 and lost 3 stone before a holiday in South Africa but I put it right back on during my trip and the few weeks that followed (as I continued to avoid the dreaded scales). It is probably important that I also mention that I was living in a pub at the time, with no kitchen and a free tab for food and booze – what a blissful nightmare! God I miss cider!
But the diet did work and had I been a good girl and seen a consultant or followed the maintenance steps following the diet, I am confident I would have kept that weight off. My mother recently joined the diet and after witnessing her two stone loss in a couple of months I wanted a piece of that action! So here I am on day three of the Cambridge Diet, finding an oriental chilli soup the most exciting and edible source of food in the world!
As I continue on this diet, I have felt more clarity on why this is going to be the best plan for me this time and I felt compelled to share these thoughts with you. With the hope that perhaps it will help anyone hovering between the two options find the one that will work for them…
Losing Weight with Slimming World
When I eventually decide to become pregnant, this will be the diet that I follow during the pregnancy and once I wean off the Cambridge Steps at my target weight, I am sure that I will revert back to cooking meals in the way that Slimming World taught me – fresh, balanced and go easy on the cheese and bread! Most importantly this diet encourages you to plan, plan, plan your day! Hell, plan your entire week or month and that includes a night out of drinking with your gin and slimline tonic or Malibu and diet coke at the ready. Most importantly I learned to prepare allowable hangover munchies that are easy to get to the next day. My choice used to be SW chips with beans, spinach (mixed into the beans) and cheese.
This plan was so successful for me at that time, that when I went away on a girlie weekend to Butlins I came home 3lbs lighter! “How?” I hear you cry… I simply only went off plan with booze, opting for the lighter syn drinks such as my favourite Malibu and diet coke. When it came to food, in the day I chose well at the restaurants and in the evening I patiently waited for my friends to get their take-outs before I rushed back to my prepared SW meals in the fridge back at our room.
I believe that going to group is essential on this diet, meeting regularly with other people on the plan and having that support network makes a huge difference, however I did get frustrated with the little time you actually get to talk through your concerns.
Having said that, this really is a fantastic plan and if you are able to get your head around the flexibility without going off the rails – then you can lose a significant amount just as fast as you can on the Cambridge Diet, just google the number of success stories or pick up a Slimming World magazine to read how well others have done.
Losing Weight with the Cambridge Diet
My consultant suggested I start on step 2, which isn’t too bad. It’s 3 meal replacement packets with one protein rich meal, a milk allowance (enough for a small skinny latte!) and plenty of water. I was warned that the first 3 days are the worst and here I am on day 3. And while I am still in the hellish first few days and feeling rather bereft of food – this diet has helped me to notice just how much I rely on food and alcohol for escapism and peace of mind. And it really is a concerning amount. As soon as I am out of the office I desperately want to buy something to eat or go to the pub for an ice cold beer. It gets worse when I get home and automatically feel the need to be nurturing by making my boyfriend a massive dinner and sharing a moment as we scoff our faces while we watch television. And of course, I would also like to top it off with a nice glass of red wine to take the edge off.
Now? Well, I’m still pretty weak at this stage so we are just going to bed a lot earlier but, while the additional sleep is good, the hope is that I am forced to find other ways to embrace life and feel happy. Going for long walks with the dogs, reading, sexy time with my man or playing badmington are on my wish list. And I am confident that as my weight goes down I will get the energy to do those things – even after work… I know, what an amazing thought right?
What I can tell you from both this experience so far and my previous experience in 2007, is that I am loving the feeling that the weight loss is certain. I have no question in my mind that this will work. If I follow the plan, it will work and as a very strict diet – it will be easier to spot what I am doing wrong if there are any setbacks.
Another aspect of this plan that has given me an instant lift is the support from your consultant. My consultant here in Brighton, Olivia, is amazing. I feel like I have someone else on the journey with me and while Slimming World groups are good – there just isn’t enough time alone with your consultant. It’s all about me me meeeeeeeee! lol
Watch This Space
So there you have it. While Slimming World will always be my default and go-to for my nutrition long-term I am hedging my bets on the Cambridge Diet for the majority of my weight loss – because it is right for me, right now. Now excuse me while I get on the bus home and stare with envious hatred at the people drinking their pints!
If you haven’t seen it already, I have set myself a ‘post for every stone I lose’ challenge and will be sharing my journey on my blog and Facebook group, Diet Switch. In the meantime, I would love to hear about your weight loss journey, please feel free to post a comment, ask any questions or tweet me @jenniferthered.