Today my son Ben joined Slimming World on their free2go children’s plan. I know that many people are unaware of what Slimming World can do for younger members so in this post I aim to answer those questions.

Also to explain why we as parents made the decision to join Ben up as a young Slimming World member. What my concerns are for him, why we need healthy kids, and most importantly how he feels about it.

A woman standing with her partner and son by water

Why do I worry about Bens weight?

I wouldn’t say I worry about Bens weight as such but I do feel it is an issue which needs addressing. The habits he has could start causing further issues. Due to Bens special needs, he does easily form habits and obsessions While he is young still it is an ideal time for him to learn healthy habits.

Ben at present can’t do much exercise or walk far without pain but an upcoming operation may help this, time will tell. Due to his lack of physical activity compared to other children of his age, this does concern me that he may gain weight more easily if his food isn’t kept under control.  

Do you worry that Ben will be like you?

I do worry that Bens obsession with food especially unhealthy foods like chocolate will lead to issues as I have had. When I was about 10/11 at school I was vegetarian and as such didn’t often get much for my school dinners. I just got everything but the meat dish, not great on stew days!

I regularly went home telling my mum I had seconds or thirds of pudding at school. Actually many times went back after having had 9ths, something I was proud of. Looking back it makes me ashamed.

I have always had a sweet tooth and before joining Slimming World myself I used to think nothing of eating a couple of large packs of biscuits in a day alongside family side bags of chocolates and greasy fast food.

This is not a life I want for Ben, I want him to learn while he is young how to make healthy but yummy meals he enjoys and how to eat treats in moderation! I really hope that he will never get morbidly obese like I did and will have a great relationship with food as he becomes an adult.  

Will you be sharing Bens start weight and how he gets on?

Whilst I will share updates of how Ben is getting on, particularly in the way of photos on my social media I will not share his start weight. This is because he is only 11. I would never feel comfortable sharing anything that he wouldn’t be happy looking back at when he is older.

I will, of course, share plenty of updates of what food Ben is enjoying and recipes etc.  

Do you think Slimming World should encourage youngsters to diet or generally healthy kids?

No I don’t believe anyone should encourage children to diet. Encouraging them to eat more healthily like with the Slimming World Free2go plan I think is a great idea.

Ben says he would like to lose weight but I have told him he is growing. The important thing is to eat healthily if he loses weight too that’s ok but he doesn’t have to. This is very much the way Slimming World work with children.

The plan for youngsters centres around them making simple swaps from unhealthy meals and snacks to healthier choices.  

Can any child join Slimming World?

No, for a child to join Slimming World they must be 11 and have a parent go with them. The child’s doctor or another medical professional who knows the child well needs to sign to say they are happy with them joining. They also share what they feel about the child’s needs nutritionally.

More information can be obtained from a Slimming World consultant or on the Slimming World website. Other plans and support for children can be offered by the child’s doctor and every child is, of course, different and has different needs.

Person holding a Slimming World starter pack

What happens when a child joins Slimming World?

As with when an adult joins they have a new members talk. This focuses on the food choices that are best, next best, and foods which should be only had occasionally. The group Ben has joined is on a Saturday morning.

I feel this is great for Ben rather than being after a busy day at school. Karen, his Slimming World consultant, chatted to Ben about foods he likes and swaps he could make. She was reassuring him that some of the foods he likes are really healthy or with a simple swap could be great.

How does Ben feel about joining?

Ben is very excited because he knows how well myself and his dad have done with Slimming World. He says “I want to follow in both of your footsteps”.

Ben loves cooking and thinks it is great that he can make healthy food and tell Karen and the group all about it. Ben was very pleased when he was at the group and recognised a school friend and teaching assistant there.

I think that helped him feel comfortable there. Everyone made Ben feel very welcome and I am sure he will continue to enjoy going every week.  

What sort of foods will you be feeding Ben?

Ben already has homemade chips made in the Actifry and has vegetables with most meals. The main changes for him are avoiding things like processed chicken/fish products and making things he enjoys in a more healthy way.

The main issues Ben has around food are with snacking and not realising when he is full. We as a family will encourage him more to find other things to do to alleviate the boredom/fidgeting. This is usually whilst doing other things like watching TV!

I have always tried to give Ben reasonably healthy meals but this is a new start for us with his food. Ben enjoyed his first proper meal as a Slimming World free2go Member.

He had fish (steamed in the oven), homemade chips and Roasted Mediterranean vegetables in a balsamic tomato sauce which he loves and helped to make himself. Ben is a big fan of carbonara and loves this chicken and bacon carbonara.

Read an update on his progress here.

Read more about the Free2go plan and my tips to help your child be a healthy weight here.

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9 Comments

  1. My son will join in July. When 11. He has additional needs as well. I've lost 5st 7lb at slimming world . Kept off for 2 years so I know we can help each. Other. Please keep us updated on his progress. This will help me to see how it works for younger ones. Thank you Lizzie Bunning

  2. Lots of us who have problems with eating and what we eat stems back to our childhood, so well done Ben for joining xx

  3. Amazing go Ben. He will thank you for this when he is older. Too many parents let their children eat too much of the wrong foods or don't notice they are bigger than they should be for their age, the health problems that come with obesity are very scary. You are helping set him up for life it's great he is so happy about it too. ��

  4. Go you and Ben. My two boys 11 and 13 are both with me in my Slimming World group. They love the class and the new recepies. They are learning food skills for life

  5. Men this is a particular passion of mine since my weight loss and particularly since becoming a Consultant, that we take the opportunity of our knowledge of healthy eating and lifestyle change gained from Slimming World and support the next generation to make healthier choices.
    Well done to Ben for embracing this and to you and Stuart for supporting him. I look forward to following Ben's journey. X