A student's guide: Food Optimising

The first thing you’ll find out as a Slimming World member is that Food Optimising is the easiest, most enjoyable way to lose weight there is!

Whatever the occasion – a night on the town, lunch out, a film and takeaway with mates or a holiday in the sun – you know there’ll always be a healthy option to help you control your weight.

With our guide to student Food Optimising, you and your new friends will be armed with all the knowledge you need to overcome those little obstacles that are part and parcel of uni life – shopping on a budget, sharing a fridge with housemates and cooking your own meals for the first time.

When I started university I got involved in the ‘student lifestyle’ – getting up in the afternoon, eating takeaways and drinking wine. By the end of my first year, I’d put on a stone and a half.  When I went home in the summer, I joined Slimming World, and 18 months later, I’d lost 3 stones and completely changed my lifestyle! I’m not on a diet; I’m just clever about what I eat.

From Terri McKeown

When I first went to University, I was in the Union every day and at the pub every weekend. I was also eating loads of junk food and not doing ANY exercise! In my first year I gained almost 1½ stones, and by my final year, I’d put on almost 3 stones! That’s when I decided to join my local Slimming World group. I love Food Optimising because there’s so much choice, you're never hungry. I lost 4lbs in my first week! It just goes to show that making small changes can make a big difference!

From Lynsey McFarlane


Fresh ideas for freshers’ week

Planning is the slimmer’s secret weapon – and there’s no reason why you can’t devise a super strategy well in advance of your first week in halls.

  • Get online to find the nearest Slimming World group to your digs. You’ll make loads of new friends and keep focused on Food Optimising from day one!
  • When stocking up on kitchenware, choose non-stick pans for low-fat frying, a set of scales and a measuring jug for spot-on Healthy Extra portions and microwaveable marvels for those speedy Free Food feasts – such as big bowls for heating beans and homemade soups, or a cheat’s egg poacher for a speedy breakfast treat.
  • If your parents offer to do a supermarket run for you, make them a list of Free storecupboard essentials, such as Frylight, tins of baked beans, plum tomatoes, stock, Soy sauce for stir fries and fat-free French or vinaigrette-style dressings for salads. Plus, of course, big bags of pasta, rice, and grains for filling feasts.

Once you’re into uni life

  • Stay on track with a regular visit to the recipes section, inspirational success stories and useful features on LifelineOnline (our exclusive FREE website for group members).
  • Keeping in touch with fellow Slimming World members can be a real inspiration when you’re struggling, especially during stressful periods where exams and essay deadlines might cloud your perspective and make you lose the bigger picture.
  • Pitch in with your housemates for a subscription to Slimming World Magazine. Seven issues cost just £17.25 – that’s a mere £4.31 each between four of you for a whole year’s worth of inspiration delivered straight to your door.
  • Find out if there are any local leisure centres or swimming pools where you and your mates can go for a spot of Body Magic. Many unis also now have their own subsidised gyms and fitness classes – a great alternative to the union bar for killing time between lectures.
  • If the cash is really tight and you have room in your communal area, fitness DVDs are a great way to shape up. If you’ve got a laptop, even better – it can go wherever you and your mates can find a good space! And aerobics action in the open air beats falling over each other inside any day!
  • It's easy to shop for healthy food on a budget if you have the know-how. Our shopping on a budget feature is packed with ideas for cooking up a storm without breaking the bank.

And finally…

Whatever your first week at uni throws at you, grab it with both hands! You’ll only be a Fresher once, and getting out there, meeting new people and enjoying yourself are bound to be top of your list! Stick to the basic principles of Food Optimising and once you’re into a routine, get back on track and watch the pounds melt away.

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You'll find more delicious recipe and menu ideas at your local group, along with all the help you need to get started and reach your target weight.

What you get with group membership

  • A friendly, understanding Consultant – who’s been a member themselves
  • Image Therapy – the heart of a Slimming World group – giving you unique help, support and encouragement when you need it most
  • Loads of praise and celebrations for each weight loss milestone you achieve
  • Warmth, friendship, laughter, sharing ideas, recipes, inspirational stories and much, much more
  • Free access to dozens of online features and tools to support you between groups
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What you get with online-only membership

  • Weekly online support and motivating e-mails based on your personal progress
  • Access to motivational support tools, insightful features and special strategies to help you in the weeks ahead
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Featured success

I’m loving the good life
I’m loving the good life

At over 20st, Emma found it hard to care for her beloved pets. Now she’s 8st 10lbs lighter and has lots more energy for her family of animals!

Read more