|This article relies on references to primary sources. (August 2009)|
|Key people||Margaret Miles-Bramwell (Chairman)|
|Employees||215 (head office/field management), 3,000 (consultants)|
Slimming World is a UK-based weight loss organisation. It holds groups around the UK, led by Consultants, who are self-employed. According to the company, over the past 40 years more than five million slimmers have attended its groups., and the current weekly attendance is over half a million.
Slimming World's members lose weight through a combination of its 'Food Optimising' eating plan, moderate activity through its 'Body Magic' programme, group support and shared experience with other slimmers, which encourage behaviour change. Foods which are often banned on other weight-loss plans, are allowed within Food Optimising, and these are controlled by a "Syns" counting system which forms a small but important part of the effectiveness of the combined systems described above. The synergy created by these systems is is reflected in the word Syns.
At a group, members are weighed and their weight change is shared with the group. A member's actual weight is confidential, and is not revealed to the group. During the hour-long session, members share their experiences of the preceding week, discuss their weight losses or gains, and share ideas and strategies for the week ahead, during a session called 'IMAGE' (Individual Motivation And Group Experience) Therapy. Members share practical advice such as recipe suggestions, as well as strategies to cope with times when motivation is low.
Slimming World was founded in Derbyshire in 1969 by Margaret Miles-Bramwell, who remains its chairman. Caryl Richards has been managing director of the company since 2001.
Company history 
The company began in 1969 with a handful of groups in Derbyshire and expanded into Yorkshire. By the 1980s, Slimming World had 700 classes in the UK and by 2012 there were over 10,000 groups, making it the largest slimming club in the UK and Ireland.
Slimming World's charity, 'SMILES', was launched in 1997. SMILES stands for "Slimmers Making It a Little Easier for Someone", and since 1997 it has raised more than £2,000,000 for charity.
Slimming World magazine was launched in 1998. In 2008 sales exceeded 286,000. Slimming World also publishes a range of recipe books and directories available to members in group.
In 2001, Slimming World pioneered 'Slimming World on Referral' in the UK, whereby GPs can 'prescribe' attendance of a group for 12 weeks. So far Slimming World has worked with more than 50 Primary Care Trusts and in excess of 22,000 people have used the scheme.
In 2003 Slimming World launched a programme for 11- to 15-year-olds. Through the 'Family Affair' programme, children between the ages of 11 and 15 can attend Slimming World if accompanied by their parent or guardian. They follow a special eating plan called Free2Go which encourages them to make healthy swaps, such as replacing high fat foods with healthier alternatives.
An online weight loss programme was launched in 2004, offering a service to slimmers who do not attend a group. Originally called bodyOptimise it was renamed as Slimming World Online in 2011. The services offered by Slimming World Online mirror those supplied by a group.
Diet overview 
Food Optimising plan 
Slimming World states its eating plan, 'Food Optimising',is a "flexible, empowering, permissive approach to healthy eating". There is little or no weighing and measuring and no calorie counting involved. Food Optimising is based on the scientific principles of satiety (the satisfying qualities of food) and energy density, and encourages slimmers to fill up on nutritious, low energy dense foods to satisfy their appetite, while limiting consumption of less satisfying, high energy dense foods. Unique to food optimising is the unlimited choice of many 'free foods' which can include lean meat, fish and poultry, pasta, rice and grains, vegetables, including potatoes, and fruit, all of which may be eaten freely, without weighing or measuring. To help ensure a balanced diet, daily portions of 'healthy extras' are permitted, including bread, cereals, cheese and milk. Finally, controlled portions of higher calorie, less filling foods are included, such as crisps, wine, chocolate and sauces. In Food Optimising these are called "Syns". Most adults have a daily "Syn allowance" of between 5 and 15 "syns".
Food Optimising has a variety of plans, which may be followed on a daily basis as the slimmer chooses and is suitable for all types of dietary preferences, including vegetarian and vegan. No food is banned.
- 'Extra Easy plan': Free Foods include most fruit and vegetables, fish, lean meat and poultry and eggs, pasta, potatoes, grains and beans. Healthy extras include bread, cereals, cheese and milk.
- 'Original plan': Free Foods include most fruit and vegetables, fish, lean meat and poultry and eggs. Healthy extras include bread, cereals, cheese, milk and carbohydrates such as wholewheat pasta, potatoes, grains and beans.
- 'Green plan': Ideal for vegetarians, Free Foods include most fruit and vegetables, pasta, rice, potatoes, grains and eggs. Healthy extras include bread, cereals, cheese, milk, nuts & seeds, and protein such as lean meat, poultry and fish.
Physical activity 
Slimming World encourages members to introduce physical activity into their daily lives through its 'Body Magic' programme. The emphasis is on introducing activity gently at first, such as getting off the bus a stop early a couple of times a week, or walking up two flights of steps instead of taking the lift occasionally, then on finding forms of activity which can be integrated into everyday life. Members achieve bronze, silver, gold and platinum 'Body Magic' awards. Platinum is achieved when members are routinely active/exercising five times a week for thirty minutes at a time.
Group support 
The support of the consultant and other members is an important part of Slimming World's methods. When a member is losing weight successfully they receive praise and inspire the rest of the group to do well; when they are struggling to lose weight, they have support and practical advice from the group to help them get back on track.. Motivation of members is regenerated each week at the group, and Slimming World believe the level of compassion, respect and care shown to members is a key part of the member's success.
The support continues outside the group via contact and support from the consultant, other members and through the website, 'LifelineOnline'. The website contains an online "syn-check", recipe ideas and support.
Health and pregnancy 
Slimming World encourages women to manage their weight healthily during pregnancy. It states that its pregnancy programme is designed to ensure that mums-to-be and breastfeeding mothers can continue to manage their weight, with the consent of their midwife.
See also 
- Slimming World - About us
- Food Optimising Plan
- Slimming World - Get Fit For Life
- Slimming World - What to expect in group
- Slimming World Lifeline Online