Slimming World is one of the more popular and well-established weight loss clubs, along the lines of the more popular Weight Watchers with weekly meetings and weigh-ins. There is great benefit from the peer pressure and common cause involved in a weekly meeting like this, though some are put off by the public nature of their weight loss success or failure. Slimming World was founded in 1969 by Margaret Miles-Bramwell, and has helped over 5 million slimmers during that time to lose over 60 million pounds. For comparison, Weight Watchers has helped twice that many in just the past decade.
You go to a weekly meeting (and there are over 5,500 Slimming World groups scattered across the country, so chances are there's one nearby.) There is the weigh-in of course, and additional things like sharing ideas, inspirational stories, recipes, and much more.
The programme is easy to follow--you won't be counting calories or even points, and you'll be adding plenty of extra fruit and veg, so it's actually a healthy diet and model for a long-term eating plan. In fact, many fruits like grapes and bananas are "Free Foods"--so you can eat as much of them as you like when you get hungry. Such foods are low in energy density and high in appetite satisfaction. Slimming World participants often rave that they rarely go hungry.
Unlike many diets, Slimming World's eating plan is fundamentally healthy, so people with a wide range of conditions and ailments can take part according to their website (some with doctor's advice first)--diabetics, IBS, vegans, PCOS, etc. Of course, because it is a healthy, easy to stay on plan, weight loss will not be as much as for the extreme diets--1-2 pounds per week is typical, though those with a lot to lose usually have a more rapid loss in the first few weeks, and up to a stone in the first five weeks or two stone in ten weeks is not unreasonable.
Menu: The theory is Food Optimising--you have Green Days and Red Days. On Green Days, you choose from a wide variety of foods including pasta, rice, fruit, veg, potatoes, beans, and pulses, along with a modest amount of "Healthy Extras" which include lean meat or fish. On the Red Days (or Original Days), you eat more proteins, particularly lean meat, fish, and fruit and veg. Unlike many other popular diet plans, there are no branded Slimming World products in the shops, though you can adapt third party, healthy ready meals and such to your plan.
You also get a "Syn" allowance--a certain amount of "naughty" foods you can have per day, defined by a point level--so yes, you can have the odd chocolate and such on this diet, as long as you keep within the limits. There is even a Syn Enquiry Hotline (calls charged at 60p per minute) to let you know the Syn value of a given food if it's not listed.
There are a wide range of Slimming World recipe books available from your consultant, as well as a magazine ( £2.65 in the shops, or available at a discount from your consultant).
Prices: Slimming World costs £55 for 3 months (12 weeks), though you can get a 6 week membership for £32.50. For existing members, an additional 12 weeks costs £45, and 6 weeks for £22.50.
Students (with an NUS card) can get a discount, paying only £4.25 per week