What I love about the Slimming World plan and food optimising is that it doesn’t feel like a diet, there are no real restrictions and not endless measuring weighing and counting!

The only things you need to weigh and measure if you are not following a recipe are the healthy extra choices and syns. Therefore most meals can be made for the family all at once, something I disliked about previous diets I had tried. It is great that you can cook for guests easily and it does not look like diet food. There are no shakes, pills or wraps, simply cooking yummy healthy filling meals!

Summary of Contents (Quick jump links)

Counting syns

I love cooking and following recipes so I use my digital kitchen scales a lot. If you don’t have any order some off Amazon! I often use them when weighing my healthy extra choices if I am not using something from the grab-and-go selection.

When I go out for a meal however I do often have a jacket potato with cheese, baked beans and salad. On those days it is hard to know how much cheese I have had. Of course, it is not going to be the lower-fat cheese either so it is all guesswork.

When you eat at home there is no reason you are not able to weigh your cheese is there? As I have said sometimes guesswork is the only option but if we do this too often we have to accept this could be affecting our weight loss. It is so easy to think that extra bit won’t hurt but it can all quite easily add up!  


The healthy extra b choice of bread is 60g of wholemeal bread. This has been worked out by the nutritionists at Slimming World for the amount of fibre it gives us and what we need for a healthy lifestyle.

Without enough fibre, in our diet, our digestive system won’t run smoothly and can cause constipation! In general Slimming World say that 2 slices of bread from a small 400g loaf is 60g. How easy it to think that having 2 slices from an 800g loaf isn’t that different? It isn’t much more, is it? The slices aren’t much bigger, that extra bit won’t hurt will it?

So how much do these two slices weigh?two slices of bread on a plate

Two of thick wholemeal bread from Kingsmill 800g loaf.

They actually weigh 98g, so if we round that up to 100g this is 40g more than the healthy extra allowance which is a whopping 4 syns! Knowing that, would you say that the difference between the slices doesn’t matter and that extra bit won’t hurt?


Slimming World say the healthy extra b choice of oats is 40g. If you didn’t get out your scales you could easily think that it would be easy to guess 40g wouldn’t you? Looking at this picture which would you guess is 40g? They all look relatively similar, don’t they?

Three photos of oats on white plate

Oats on a 6-inch side plate

If I tell you that they weigh (left to right), 70g, 40g, 30g you can see that our ability to guess based on the look of a pile of oats isn’t as easy as we think. Whilst the first time we guess instead of weighing we might only guess a few grams more. This can quickly creep up and before we know it our guess is much higher and more like the left-hand picture!

Just think if you had only an extra 5g of oats a day that alone would be an extra 6 syns over the course of the week. Of course, the plate on the left has almost double the allowance so that would be an extra approximately 6 syns a day! Imagine how much that could affect your weight loss!


Do you guess your milk allowance for your healthy extra a choice? Do you think that the bits you have in a cuppa all probably add up to the right amount? The average cup of tea or coffee with milk has around 30ml of milk in it. How much are you really drinking in a day?

Which of these is your milk allowance? If you don’t measure you don’t know, do you? You could be having too little calcium every day which could affect your health. On the other hand, could you be having too much? If you don’t measure, you don’t know! What are your thoughts on looking at this picture? Which is your milk allowance?

Three glasses of milk on kitchen counter

Which is your milk allowance?

Left to right: 250ml (Semi-Skimmed allowance), 175ml (whole milk allowance), 350ml (skimmed milk allowance).

Easier to see this all lined up but split into cups of tea or coffee can you really tell?


As I said above I often have a jacket potato when eating out and have to guess the amount of cheese it has on and decide what syns to count for it etc. Whilst on occasion this really can’t be helped this is something I think if done regularly can really affect your weight loss.

Whilst I always buy low-fat cheese at home and therefore have 40g as my healthy extra b choice, most cafes, pubs or restaurants use full-fat cheese. Therefore, the allowance is only 30g which when grated and spread over a meal is difficult to guess!

Which of these blocks of lighter cheese is the 40g allowance? A bit easier to tell with a block I imagine?

Three lumps of cheese on wooden serving board

Which of these plates of grated cheese is the 40g portion?

Three white plates of grated cheese

Grated Lighter cheddar on a 6 inch plate.

For the blocks of cheese, weighing left to right, 30g, 40g, and 50g. For the grated cheese, they weigh, top to bottom, 40g, 30g, and 60g. While they are all shown together it is easier to see that one is clearly bigger than the others. If this was cheese you had just put on your meal would you know the difference?  


I very rarely have tomato ketchup and I don’t like mayonnaise but I know a lot of people use their syns on things like this. I think this is a great use of extra syns if done properly because if it means you enjoy your healthy meal more. This makes it easier to stick to the Slimming World plan then you are more likely to achieve your weight loss target.

How many people actually measure that squirt of sauce though? I think very few people actually do because we think it is easy to guess, don’t we? We think that it can’t be that much we have squirted over our chips so we say a tablespoon to be “safe”. Are we being accurate?

Unless we actually measure it is impossible to tell isn’t it? This is another place where syns can add up without us realising! The syns for ketchup vary between 0.5 and 1 syn for a tablespoon. It doesn’t seem much but this is where sneaky extra syns can creep in!

Mayonnaise, on the other hand, can be up to 5.5 syns per tablespoon! Which of the blobs of ketchup on this plate is a tablespoon? Is it easy to tell? Which do you honestly use for your ketchup, mayonnaise or other sauce?

Four different portion sizes of tomato ketchup

Ketchup on a dinner plate with a 2p coin to show size.

The blobs of ketchup could easily be what you would put on your plate, aren’t they? The actual sizes are as follows:

1. 1.5 tbsp

2. 0.5 tbsp

3. 2 tbsp

4. 1 tbsp.

Easy to see the difference isn’t it? Or maybe it isn’t! You could have 5 syns difference if it was mayonnaise. Maybe you should measure more often and check?  

Children’s leftovers

All parents are guilty of this, sometimes grandparents too, aunts and uncles, anyone who eats with children at times can be guilty of this. It is a waste to throw those crusts they have left in the bin, isn’t it? That last chicken nugget they didn’t eat that you bought from McDonald’s? What about pinching a couple of their crisps to try?

One McDonalds Chicken nugget is 2 syns, did you write that down or count it towards your daily syn allowance? Those crusts your little one left could easily be a syn or two without even counting the spread or sandwich filling on them! If you must eat them then go for it but not counting them will affect your weight loss. How can it not!?

Plate of chicken nuggets, chips and tomato ketchup

So you may have read this post and thought about each one and decided that you will take that risk of those few extra syns and that is your choice. It is your weight loss journey and you are an adult making decisions for yourself.

Do remember though that if you chose to have the two thick slices of standard bread. Don’t weigh your cheese, and guess the amount of mayonnaise you have this could already have exceeded your daily syn allowance.

That’s before nibbling off the kid’s plates! If you count it accurately, of course, it is fine to use your syns like this. However, if you are using your syn allowance on top of this and not losing weight this is something you need to consider.

We are all human and we all have days where we do not have time to weigh or measure things, days we eat out and can’t possibly weigh what we are eating, or a day when the battery in our scales runs out! This post is just to hopefully remind you of the difference guessing syns and weights can make to your weight loss journey. Please feel free to share with your friends, Slimming World Consultant, or members of your group.

Syn values are correct at the time of writing and may be different now. The extra syns still do count though!

I have a lot of weight loss guides and support if you want to exercise including if you have a condition like fibromyalgia.

Have a good look around and see how I can help you achieve your weight loss goals. Request my free resources to get you started too!

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  1. I am 100% guilty of the bread thing. Did not realize so many syns difference!!! No wonder Im struggling even though I weigh cheese and pasta and measure sauce. The culprit is the bread for me.

  2. Thanks for this, very interesting and as you say very easy to make the wrong judgement on potion size if not measuring exact, food for thought