Thought this post might be helpful to you regarding tweaks, its certainly opened my eyes a bit as I have used Mullerlight yoghurt with tofu to make a smoothie and have made the scones mentioned at the bottom of the post numerous times.

What is a tweak?
‘Tweaks’ are foods where a Free Food is used as a replacement for a high-Syn ingredient, eg using (Free) couscous as a (high-Syn) flour replacement in a cake. Although the couscous cake is lower in calories than a piece of regular cake, these tweaks can easily damage members’ weight losses.

If tweaks are made from Free Food, why are they damaging to weight loss?
Foods are given their ‘Free’ status for a complex combination of reasons, unique to Slimming World:

Their energy density – that’s the number of calories per gram.
Their satiety – how filling and satisfying they are. The propensity for overeating – how likely we are to eat them past the point of satisfaction
That important third point is where tweaks come into the picture. Tweaks disrupt the delicate balance of science and psychology behind Free Foods. By altering the way a Free Food is intended to be ‘used’ or cooked, we may also alter the way we eat it, the way it fills us up (or doesn’t!) – and as a result, the amount we consume.

For example, if you ate couscous as part of a hearty meal – with a lamb tagine and a third of a plate of roasted vegetables – you’d eat far less of that one food and you’d feel full up until your next meal, thanks to the other protein-rich and Superfree Foods on the plate. Couscous cake is eaten in a completely different way: on its own, in between meals – and because it’s unwittingly deemed ‘Free’, probably in great big slices!

Why tweaking can be dangerous
This distortion of the philosophy behind Food Optimising and Free Food is dangerous to both short and long-term success. In the short term, unlimited snacking between meals – especially when we genuinely think something is Free when it’s not – adds many, many extra calories which can damage weight losses, leading members to lose faith in the plan and give up altogether. In the long term, tweaks can mean that members never wholly get into that ‘new groove’ that will help them manage their weight for life.

Our advice, as always, is to use Free Foods and Healthy Extras to create satisfying, filling meals – reaching for speedy Superfree fruit and veg first in between meals. As a safety net, Free Food lifesavers are the best option to fill us up on those extra-hungry days.

What if I’m tweaking but still losing?
This depends – first on how much you have to lose altogether and your rate of weight loss. When we Food Optimise 100%, we should expect to see weight losses of 2+lbs a week on average. If we have consistently low losses, even we are happy with half a pound, I owe it to you to let you have the facts – because you might not be getting the great results we promised you on night one.

Equally, even if you’re losing well, there may come a time when those losses slow down – and habitual tweaking could well be the reason behind it. Either way, tweaks aren’t something we’d encourage for anyone – even target members. They’re just not great long term ‘slim grooves’.

What’s the difference between a ‘tweak’ and a ‘lifesaver’?
Free Food lifesavers like pasta quiche, pickled eggs, chicken legs or frozen Müllerlight yogurts are filling, satisfying foods that you reach for because you’re hungry and want to satisfy your appetite. They’re not foods you’d ‘graze’ on in large quantities, or eat for the sake of it. For snacks, we’d always ask you to reach for Superfree first, but on those extra-hungry days – lifesavers are… a lifesaver!

Advice to help uncover tweaks and sub-conscious sabotage
Ask yourself
whether everything you’re counting as Free is Free
whether you’re under-estimating Syn values (it’s better to over-estimate) if you are having to guess
whether you ‘re counting everything (absolutely everything!) that should be counted
whether you’re measuring everything (everything!) that should be measured
do we understand the true principles of flexible Syns and are we really sticking to them when they’re needed?
whether we/you are sabotaging your success in any other way

Common Tweaks
Couscous as a sweet dessert/porridge replacement
Couscous made up in this way with water, yogurt and sweetener would be considered a tweak. Couscous is included in our Free Food list so it can be enjoyed as part of a meal, to add even more filling power, Used in that way you’re unlikely to eat couscous in large quantities. However if members eat couscous as a sweet dessert they’re not eating the ingredient as it was intended to be used and they should count the Syns to protect their weight loss.

Mushy peas as gravy
A tweak – as by blending mushy peas, members are losing the bulky satisfaction they have as a Free Food and making them easy to overeat.

Rice puddings made up with diet drinks
Using diet soda (or any other Free liquid) to make up pudding rice is a tweak as it makes bulky Free rice – intended to be eaten as part of a satisfying, Free Food-packed meal – very easy to overeat between and after meals.

Lasagne sheets to make spring rolls
There have been some queries relating to using par-boiled (softened) lasagne sheets filled with Free Foods (bean sprouts/shredded carrots/Chinese five spice) then baked to make spring rolls. In principle this is no different to cannelloni. If eaten as part of a filling meal this is fine. If members are making trays of lasagne/spring rolls and eating them in addition to meals, it would be something to look at if their weight losses start to slow.

Adding rice when blending soup
Blended rice has a Syn value as it loses its filling power.

Blending Mullerlight yogurt with milk or water to make a drink
This is a tweak. Yogurts aren’t intended to be used this way and ‘diluting’ them reduces both the time it takes to eat them (ie they become east to overeat) and their satisfying power. If members do want to make shakes/drinks with yogurts, please ask them to count the equivalent Syn value of a branded yogurt drink to protect their weight loss.

Why is soup Free but vegetable juice isn’t?
When fruit is enjoyed in its original form it is a bulky, satiating food that’s low in energy density. However, when puréed, juiced or made into smoothies, it is a very effective way of adding a lot of extra calories in a non-bulky way. For example, consider the time it takes to eat six apples – and how full you’d feel afterwards (if you managed to eat them all!). Then the time it takes to drink the equivalent apple juice… it’s gone in a gulp! Furthermore, juice doesn’t sit in your stomach for very long, so does not fill you up. Also, much of the fiber that was in the apples tends not to end up in the juice.

Eating in this way simply allows us to revert to a similar style of eating to the one that helped us gain weight in the first place – a relatively large amount of calories in a non-filling form. The less you have to chew food, the easier it is to eat more of it, because you’re missing out one of the first stages of feeling full and satisfied – chewing.

The exception to the rule is vegetables when used to make soup – which maintains its bulky, filling qualities and is used as a meal.

Other tweaks include:
Smash and cottage cheese scones
Chickpea nuts
Lasagne crisps
Twiglets made from pasta


Food diary Thursday 29th May 2014


chopped banana and pear. Fat free greek yoghurt, choc shot (1 syn).

Hifi Caramel bar (HEB)

Mug shot with a handful of frozen veg thrown in.
Kingsmill mini toasts (4.5 syns and absolutely LUSH)
Mullerlight yoghurt

Jacket potato.
Egg mayo (2 syns for EL mayo)
40g LF cheddar (HEA)
Hifi Caramel Bar (HEB)

Almond Milk

Total syns for day

Walking to and from work – 40 mins.




Weigh in and Weightloss Bitch.

*WARNING* This post is going to be full of gushy emotionally stuff LOL

So I gained 2lbs last night at weight in. I have no one to blame but myself, that 40 syns of cakes hasn’t helped and I have been grabbing stuff rather than cooking proper SW friendly meals whilst my uncle was in hospital – not ideal but part of all the rubbish that life throws at us!!

I really want to get a loss next week to get me back on that positive path. I have two nights out, one is food and drink (BUT ITS ONLY 1 MEAL OUT OF THE DAY). The next night is food but I have decided to drive and not drink on that occasion. On the Saturday I am going to round to friends to watch the big fight! Can’t wait. There will be pizza for us. I had thought about eating before hand and not having the pizza but previous experience tells me that I will still eat the pizza, so decided to accept that, not drink alcohol instead. I will have a big cooked brunch at about 10 or 11 am and then not eat again until the night time. Which at the weekends is something I do often and it seems to work for me. Big cooked breakfast with toast as my healthy extra and I am honestly not hungry again until tea time.

So Weightloss Bitch, what can I say other than WOW WOW WOW! You could have heard a pin drop in the room, everyone was totally engrossed in what she was saying. She talked about her life, how she got to 43st, her career etc etc. There was so much of what she was saying in terms of excuses she had used to justify her eating that me and so many others in the room could identify with. Broken promises to start the diet the next day etc etc. I kept saying in my head “yep thats me, I’ve done that”.

She truly was so motivating and inspirational. She deserves a medal for deciding to go the long and hard route rather than the easy route of weightloss surgery. If I am being totally honest with myself at 43 stone I would have taken the easy route. The inner strength she must possess to go down the long and hard road is unbelievable.

A little part of me felt ashamed of my rubbish efforts at SW so far! I KNOW I can do better, I KNOW I can be more committed and I KNOW I can do this! I woke up this morning feel more motivated and inspired than I have in as long as I can remember.

She talked about the pause technique that has really hit home with me. Some of my bad food choices have been inpulse choices, so the pause technique is saying to yourself “if you still really want that massive chocolate bar in 30 minutes you can have it” then in 30 minutes if you still want it repeat and I guess keep repeating until you no longer want that massive chocolate bar that will take you over your weekly syns by at least 50!

Now I did something very similar when I did the Moonwalk (done it twice now), when I got very tired and wanted to give up I would say out loud (I must have looked at right wally) “If you are still really tired at the next mile marker you can stop for a rest” at the next mile marker I would repeat and so on. It worked, it really worked, I did stop for a rest at Albert Hall to go to the toilet but that was the only stop point for me. Once I got past the half way mark I would also tell myself “no point stopping now you are nearer the finish line than the start line might as well carry on”. So I know this technique works for me, so regardless of it being in a different circumstance, it can work for me in terms of good over bad food choices.

She also talked about a website that she highly recommends its meditation for the modern mind! I’ve only had a very quickly look at it so can’t recommend or otherwise myself. I believe there is a 10 day free trial so I will definitely give that a good go!

Sorry for the length of the post but I felt quite strongly that I wanted to share with you my thoughts about the visit from WLB last night and the effect (very positive) its had on me! If you ever get the chance to hear her, do it!

Dieting self sabotage

I have been thinking a lot about self sabotage and why we (or I) do it? I have been very stressed and under a lot of pressure the last few weeks, but worked hard to stick to plan as much as possible. So I find it hard to put into words the reasons why at the weekend I self sabotaged with 4 pieces of cake which I estimate to be 35-40 syns worth. I was offered the cake by people who know I am on a diet but it was me who accepted, I didn’t have to, I could have easily said “no thank you”. So why didn’t I?

I have had a friend in the past that deliberately and consciously regularly sabotaged my diet by bringing over to my house, cake, sweets, chocolate (once even bringing 7 pieces of cake). I realised quickly that she didn’t want me to become thinner than her, I saw through her tricks, started handed the food straight to my mum with a polite “thank you, I’ll let mum have that as you know I am on a diet”. She was later extracted from my life LOL

So why after summing up the courage to overcome that obstacle, did I then replace it with my very own?

I have never really believed in the deep routed/emotional excuses that you often read or hear about but I am now beginning to wonder if in fact there is some truth in the link between emotions – eating – sabotage.

I listen to people that talk about family history of eating the wrong food, relationship breakdown and history of abuse as reasons why they went and ate their own body weight in food. I always poo poo’ed these ideas thinking they are just an excuse (just being honest guys), but this last year I have had, quite frankly a shit year. I’ve been a victim of bullying which later turned into online bullying for a short period, uncertainty and problems at work that have literally left me unable to sleep with worry, a lot of family illness problems and health problems of my own. Is there a connection then that its taken me nearly a year to lose a stone?

Am I actually scared of success? Scared of getting to goal weight – because WHAT THEN?

There is a strong connection between the fear of failure and the fear of success. What if I fail at Slimming World, what will people think of me, what will they say behind my back or two my face = undue pressure! Fear of succeeding, what if I actually get to goal weight, what then, what do I work towards then, how hard will it be to maintain that weight = undue pressure! Either way I’m screwed LOL!

So, my plan of action is to look at my fear – realistically I mean – and formulate a plan for success because, I’m not taking failure thats for sure. I don’t mean a timetable, I don’t want the pressure of “I must reach my goal weight before the end of the year”. But a plan in terms of this:

1. What is my goal weight? DONE
2. What do I need to do to get to that goal weight? stick to Slimming World its the only plan that I know will work for me long term and a plan that I genuinely enjoy.
3. What will I do to maintain that goal weight? – I will continue going to class weekly until I feel able to be in control of my maintenance plan, then gradually reduce this to attending every third week (over a period of 12 months I’m thinking) but not be afraid to increase if I feel I need the extra support. If I feel that I can’t cope without going weekly then so be it, I’ve made some lovely friends in my class! Continue with regular exercise.

So thats my plan formulated to deal with my fear of success and planning for the future.

So what else do I need to put in place to help prevent self sabotage? I’m thinking that I focus too much on the end goal, well with 4 stone to lose thats quite some time in the future, is that stressing me out and putting undue pressure on me? Why don’t I look at short term achieveable goals that will come around relatively quickly?

Club 10 award and 1.5 stone award is only 7lbs away so why not concentrate on that? Getting your Club 10 is actually a massive achievement and I know how proud of myself I will feel to get that. So thats the first short term goal sorted, when I get that one then I will look towards my 2 stone award. It already feels good to break down goals into much smaller and achievable amounts.

Finally, I need to stop being so harsh on myself. I really beat myself up over having those cakes but whats the point? Can I go back and uneat them? NO!! So get over it Lydia, move on Lydia and don’t let it happen again next week Lydia.

I really want a good few weeks ahead of me as experience tells when once I get back into the “on plan habit” it tends to roll for a good few weeks LOL!

My SW class is very lucky to be welcoming Weight Loss Bitch tomorrow night, I am thoroughly looking foward to hearing her story and coming away brimming with motivation and confidence. My consultants Monday night class are absolutely raving about her talk. One lady in particular was talking to me today about the concept of a mood diary! I think this will be something I will be very interested in hearing more about.

I will make sure I post about her visit and more about the mood diary.

But for the time being, I think I have enough to be getting on with in my quest to banish my self sabotaging behaviour and enjoy the fact that I have found a plan that works (when I stick to it haha).

New find

Found these in tescos last night. They are 5 syns per bag and also come in salt and vinegar flavour. I haven’t tried them yet but a fellow SWer say they are lovely


Greens and black chocolate bars

I adore green and blacks chocolate I find it more satisfying that your bog standard chocolate. It’s quite expensive though, so when I see it on offer I like to stock up.

Their mini bars have the following syn values:
All 15g bars

Milk 4
70% cocoa 4
Almond 4.5
Cherries 3.5
Ginger 3.5
Butterscotch 4
85% cocoa 4.5
White 4.5



Food diary Sunday 25 may 2014

red day

Toast 2 x HEB plus 2 syns for spread
Large tin of plum tomatoes
2 eggs fried in fry light

Italian chicken (2 syns)
Purple sprouting and carrots

nakd cocoa delight bar 6.5 syns
Aldi benefit apple and sultana bar 2.5 syns

Almond milk
2 x babybels

total syns for day
13 syns

Kettlecise DVD full body workout 50 mins