On Sunday I’ll be appearing on Ricky Long’s podcast talking about the fitness world in general.
One of the things we talk about is Slimming World, I myself did Slimming World before I became a fit pro and feel like I have a decent understanding of it from many angles because of this.
This wasn’t the focus of the podcast so I went into a lot less detail that I could have so I wanted to delve a bit deeper into a point here – it’s not enough as fitness professional to say what’s wrong with slimming clubs – we need to look at what we ourselves can do to help people who may otherwise have turned to such clubs
I did a podcast last year which you can listen to here, where I spoke about my own personal experience of Slimming World and what I think is wrong with the system.
Rather than rehashing that here I instead want to talk about something I’ve touched upon both here and in my upcoming podcast.
Slagging off Slimming World doesn’t help people.
When I needed help I went to Slimming World, I didn’t go to a PT – the idea intimidated me and didn’t feel accessible. All these perfectly nice people I know now would have intimidated me- me now would have intimidated me. I wouldn’t have gone to a fitness event or gym because I’d have felt like a fraud like I didn’t fit it.
Sliming clubs felt accessible for me. That’s why I took that route.
I eventually found training and with it learnt about nutrition and left Slimming World and am where I am now. BUT for that to happen took PTs and group ex instructors who didn’t criticise the route I’d chosen to take, they didn’t point out in distaste all the things that were wrong with Slimming World. They educated me within a framework that allowed me to see why Slimming World can work on a energy in / energy out basis and allowed me to come to the realisation that I didn’t need the club and see the faults for myself.
There weren’t Facebook groups back then for Slimming World but to be honest if there had been and some people had come into them and attacked what was, at the time, working for me I’d have probably defended Slimming World and I wouldn’t have felt like I wanted to go to those people for advice.
In short – as Fitness professionals I think we need to find a balance between exposing myths and educating people without making them feel stupid for trying to reach their goals. How I see this…
That PT thinks everything about Slimming World is stupid
I do Slimming World
So they must think I’m stupid
I’m not going to them to help
In attempting to help there’s a real danger we actually alienate without meaning to.
Now actually Slimming World can be successful in that it creates habits that lead to a calorie deficit. It’s not unsafe or faddy as diets go.
It doesn’t educate.
But you know what – I played rugby for a while, no idea of the rules I just ran at people.
Would I have been a better player if I knew more – yes. Did I still play? Yes.
I honestly don’t know how the best way to go about it is, but I feel like supporting and understanding peoples choices creates an environment of trust that might convince people away from Slimming World and into training and understanding basic nutrition more than simply laughing at the notion of syns, body magic and star weeks ever will.