As you are probably aware I lost over ten stone following the Slimming World diet. This unofficial Slimming World online guide has so many tips I have discovered along the way to help you achieve your dream weight too.

Moroccan tagine
Moroccan tagine

Just Average Jen is an independent blog and in no way connected with any weight loss plan and no contributors have been trained by them or worked for them. It is the reader’s responsibility to check Slimming World syn values, WW points and any other allowances themselves as those given are approximate.

Summary of Contents (Quick jump links)

Who is this guide for?

I am a busy mum though and I know you are busy too so this guide should help you follow Slimming World online, 2022 is your year!

Not everyone feels comfortable joining a group and many people do the plan through the online website. The website includes some free content and some members-only content.

Others choose to learn a little about the plan and read Slimming World online reviews such as this one and then apply some of the basics to just make small changes or before getting the courage to join.

lady with heart on her tummy made with her hands

Can you do Slimming World without joining a group? Honestly, yes, you can. If you are not sure which is best for you then read this ultimate unofficial Slimming World guide. There are so many articles on my site full of Slimming World tips you are sure to get all the help you need.

If you haven’t followed the food optimising eating plan before then there are a few basic things you need to know.

Spaghetti bolognese
Spaghetti bolognese

With these simple tips, you should be able to follow food optimising from Slimming World without joining a group if the group environment isn’t for you and you prefer their online platform.

Here in this huge unofficial Slimming World guide are all the rules and guidelines explained for you to see if this could be the plan for you before making a financial commitment to a group or the online plan.

doner kebab in bread with salad
Doner kebab served in pitta style bread with salad

How to do Slimming World without joining a group

If you want to follow the plan without joining a group then this is totally possible. This article should give you all the information you need about food optimising to help you do Slimming World online if a group just isn’t for you.

Beef in black bean sauce
Beef in black bean sauce

What is Slimming World online?

The Slimming World weight loss plan is the same whether you follow it online or in a group. Everyone is different and finds different elements of following the food optimising plan more motivating.

With Slimming World online you have to pay in advance with plans monthly, 3 monthly, 6 monthly or annually. As with anything like this the longer you sign up the better value it is. If you sign up for the annual membership it is around 39p a day you are paying in total.

Chicken tikka masala
Chicken tikka masala

At a group, the Slimming World members fee is usually £5.95 unless you fall into the senior bracket or are aged 16-17. This is paid weekly in general however you can buy a “countdown” where you pay for a number of weeks in advance to save money.

Understand yourself as a slimmer and what will work best for you, there is no right or wrong answer. If you prefer predominantly living off ready meals then the brand has some available in Iceland, the frozen food store!

If you love pasta dishes then pasta is free and many ingredients are too so you can enjoy that too! There are so many free foods your syns really are mostly for treats!

Taco beef stuffed sweet potato
Taco beef stuffed sweet potato

Can you get Slimming World books without joining a group?

The Slimming World books are available for online Slimming World members as well as those in groups. The recipe books can be ordered from the website directly and the new starter pack is available online as part of the online membership options.

If you want to add the brand’s magazine to your membership there is an option for that which is a great way to save money if you would have bought it in the supermarket anyway as it comes directly to your door!

Cauliflower and chickpea curry
Cauliflower and chickpea curry

Is doing Slimming World without joining a group different?

If you join the Slimming World plan online then the main difference is that you do not get the personalised support of one of their trained consultants. The food optimising plan is the same with free food healthy extras and syns choices.

There are however member forums and all the advice on the website you could need however if you need someone on your back as such this might not be for you.

Another big difference is that without a group you do not get a physical certificate, there are online awards but if the certificate and sticker really motivate you then online might not be for you.

Both methods can help you get to your dream weight though so do whichever works for you. Reading Slimming World online reviews of different consultants may also help you decide.

turkey mince stuffed peppers
Turkey mince stuffed peppers

If you really think joining online is better for you there is nothing to stop you from printing your own certificates or buying something similar from somewhere like Etsy!

If you are doing Slimming World online without joining a group then you will need to weigh yourself rather than having a consultant weigh you on their calibrated scales.

This invariably means there will be some extra fluctuation as your scales might not be as accurate and well-calibrated but I personally wouldn’t worry too much about this.

Italian meatball soup in white bowl
Italian meatball soup

Getting started with weight loss

The first thing I recommend you to do when you have finished reading this unofficial Slimming World online guide is to take measurements of your weight and height (not that I am expecting you to shrink but it is good to work out BMI etc).

Next, look at yourself in a full-length mirror and write down every part of your body you deem to be overweight and the measurements for those. Remember whether you follow this food-optimising eating plan or another diet if you work at it those things will change so be positive.

For me, for example, I would measure my calves, my thighs, my flabby arms, my waist and maybe my neck. A cheap tape measure should do the job just fine.

Whilst following the plan weigh yourself weekly, in the same place in the house in the same clothes on the same scales. This is important as it can fluctuate so much.

Chicken lime tacos
Chicken lime tacos

Some scales weigh up to 39 stone/247kg so you don’t need to worry if they will hold your weight, and I have found them to be accurate and easy to use. If these aren’t for you what about smart scales? There are so many scales that are perfect for you if you are doing Slimming World online.

Keeping track of your goals is really important

If you need a little help with keeping on track of your weight loss then this freebie could make all the difference. Simply sign up to receive it by email and use it to help you stay motivated.


It can also help to buy a food diary or weight loss planner to keep you motivated.

What can you eat on Slimming World?

The food you can eat when food optimising is made up of free foods, speed foods (most fruit and veg), protein foods (eg lean meats) and food with syns. Drinks are either free or syns.

As long as you keep your food choices within your daily syn allowance you can eat what you like! Do you prefer pasta dishes, rice dishes, fakeaways or fancy just trying the Slimming World range of ready meals?

Ideally, each meal should contain one-third of speed foods, the rest can be made up as you wish. Here are some tips to help you eat more speed foods. Remember there should be adequate free food, healthy extras and syns too.

jollof rice
Nigerian jollof rice

What are speed foods?

Most fruit and vegetables are speed foods with a few exceptions for example grapes, bananas, potatoes, etc. Essentially Slimming World class speed foods are those healthier vegetables and fruits. I have lots of infographics here that share different vegetables and how healthy they are to help you.

Do check out my more in-depth unofficial guide to speed foods for more information.

Quinoa burger
Quinoa burger

Speed food FAQs

Are tinned tomatoes speed?

Yes, they are, as are tomato puree and passata. I find these great for making my own pasta sauce, pizza topping and even for tomatoes on toast for breakfast. they are great to use in pasta dishes to top up those veggies!

Are sweet potatoes speed?

No, unfortunately not. They are still free however so you can enjoy them guilt-free. Perfect as an alternative to a jacket potato as they have numerous benefits you shouldn’t ignore too.

Is avocado speed?

No sorry, it is not. It is actually not even free it is synned. This does not mean you can not have avocados for breakfast just that you need to count them and have them in moderation. Avocado is quite healthy in other ways though so maybe worth considering even if it isn’t free on the plan.

Sweetcorn – Is it free or speed?

Babycorn is speed however other sweetcorn is free. This means you can eat both but baby corn is slightly better.

What are free foods on Slimming World?

Free foods include dried rice, pasta, noodles and grains such as couscous and quinoa. Free foods generally will bulk up your meals and keep you full, so remember them when making your food choices.

All are only free if you buy them dry with no added oil etc and cook pasta, rice etc according to packet instructions. Do check with Slimming World directly if you are not sure and confirm this!

lamb mince
Lamb mince

Meat is generally free if you remove all visible fat and only use 5% or less mince. Sausages can be free but usually, they have syns. Check out sausages on the official syns directory before you eat them to ensure you stay on plan.

There are a number of vegetarian options too which are free such as plain Quorn fillets, Quorn pieces, jackfruit, Quorn mince and many more.

Is all pasta free?

If you buy it dry and cook it in boiling water then yes it is. If you cook lasagne sheets dry as crisps they are not classed as free. This is because you could overeat them and, well let’s face it, it isn’t really what lasagne sheets are for!

Is fresh pasta free?

Fresh pasta from the fridges at the supermarket is not classed as free food as they usually have added oil.

Which rice is free?

Usually, all dried rice is free, the syns would simply be in what you add to it.

Is microwave rice classed as free?

I am not aware of any microwave rice pouches that are free but some frozen rice is free.

Are baked beans free foods?

Yes, most baked beans are considered to be free foods.

Is salmon free on Slimming World?

Yes, all fish is free if it is cooked as it is, anything added such as oil may be syns.

Are grapes free on Slimming World?

Yes, grapes are one of the fruits that are considered free and not speed foods.

Are kidney beans free on Slimming World?

Most beans are free on the plan, including kidney beans, black beans, haricot beans and more.

Cooked rice in a saucepan on a cooling rack
Cooked rice

What are the healthy extras 2023?

The Healthy Extra A choice

This part of the Slimming World plan is designed to ensure you get enough calcium in your diet. Each day you get two healthy extra A choices from a list including milk, cheese etc. This is also commonly referred to as a hexa, healthy a, hex a, and a choice.

The Healthy Extra B Choice

The healthy extra b choice is an element of the plan which ensures you have your daily fibre. Of course, fibre is important to stop you from getting constipated! The b choice is usually cereal or wholemeal bread.

Many people have a healthy extra b choice at breakfast time. Here are some healthy breakfast ideas with and without it you will love.

This element is also commonly referred to as HEXA, hex a, healthy b and b choice.

There is also a selection of bars in the Slimming World range available from groups, online or in Iceland that can be eaten as your healthy extra b choice called Hifi bars.

Which bread can you have?

All bread is counted as syns. Some however can be chosen as healthy extra b choices. The ones you can count are usually wholemeal, seeded or high-fibre bread.

Is white bread free?

Unfortunately not, some best of both bread can be enjoyed as the healthy extra b choice though if you are really not keen on wholemeal.

A guide to syns

The syns aspect of the food optimising eating plan is there so you do not feel deprived. By allowing yourself a small number of treats a day you are more likely to stay on plan and feel less restricted.

Most people get 15 syns a day so with snacks like chocolate from around 5 syns you can have a little treat and not just snack on fruit and veg.

Vanilla cheesecake
Vanilla cheesecake

What are the best snacks to eat?

There are so many snacks nothing is off-limits. It is all about the portion size and the syns in the snack. Check out my favourite snacks here!

A few snacks you might like

If reading this has made you hungry and you just want to click and order some tasty snacks then these are my current favourites.

Remember next week though to add some snacks to your meal plan so you can stay as on track as possible.

There are lots of ideas in my snacks directory and if you are peckish but don’t have any syns left then check out my healthiest and usually syn-free snacks list too!

low calorie chocolate bars mars, snickers and twix
Low-calorie chocolate bars Mars, Snickers and Twix

Need help drinking more?

Do you need more help and motivation to keep you drinking water throughout the day? This water tracker could keep you on track easily. Sign up to download the free tracker.

Spinach and mushroom frittata
Spinach and mushroom frittata

How many syns are you allowed in a day?

The basic amount that most Slimming World consultants will tell Slimming World members for ease is 15 syns a day.

This, however, is not wholly true as Slimming World actually advises based on gender and weight. These are explained below and are all approximate amounts as it is very much down to your lifestyle and how much you want to lose too.

Mushroom stroganoff
Mushroom stroganoff

How many syns can I have?

Approximate Syns a day for women, the women’s syn allowance

Up to the weight of 16 stone women are usually allowed up to 15 syns a day.

Between 16 and 20 stone women can be allowed up to 20 syns a day.

If you weigh over 20 stone as a woman you are often allowed up to 25 syns a day.

Red pepper and butternut squash soup
Red pepper and butternut squash soup

Approximate Syns a day for men, men’s syn allowance

Men up to 16 stone are often allowed up to 25 syns a day.

If a man weighs between 16 and 20 stones they can be allowed up to 30 syns a day.

For men over 20 stone, you are sometimes allowed up to 35 syns a day.


Why do men and women have different syn allowances?

Sorry, don’t shoot the messenger I didn’t decide this and I agree it seems very unfair! When you read the Slimming World online information it explains the differing syn values as I explained above.

Men and women have very different metabolisms and the nutritionists and dietitians at Slimming World decided this fit with the different calorie allowances for men and women.

This also explains why men often appear to lose weight at Slimming World much more quickly if they weigh 20stone plus and are advised only up to 15 syns a day they are inevitably going to lose more weight aren’t they?

How many calories are in a syn?

If a food does not contain any “free foods” then a syn is approximately 20 calories. This makes it easy to calculate out and about if you pick up a 300 kcal bar of chocolate this will be around 15 syns. Of course, you are always going to get the most accurate values on the Slimming World website so check it out if you are unsure.

My unofficial Slimming World guide to low-syn treats should help you with lots of ideas of things like the best chocolate bars too.

low calorie chocolate bars mars, snickers and twix
Low-calorie chocolate bars Mars, Snickers and Twix

How to lose a stone in a month with Slimming World Online 2023!

If you have a lot of weight to lose and you stick to this food optimising eating plan as described in this post religiously then you certainly can lose a stone in a month.

If, on the other hand, you only have a stone to lose then losing it in a month is highly unlikely, of course not impossible but not likely.

Any diet that promises a specific weight loss regardless of your starting weight is likely to be fake and unhealthy. Have you read my article about fake weight loss photos?

Homemade chips
Homemade chips

Why and how does Slimming World work 2023?

The basis behind the plan is that by increasing the number of vegetables you eat you will fill up on lower-calorie foods.

A lower-calorie diet will help you lose weight as the basis behind weight loss is fewer calories in than out!

By cooking most meals from scratch using the free foods (lean meats, pasta rice etc) to help you inevitably you will consume fewer calories. Slimming World uses food optimising to teach you about free foods, healthy extra choices and syns to make the best food choices every day.

How are syns worked out?

Essentially it is based on how filling a food is (or how much it weighs) compared to its calorific value. So calorie-dense foods like oil and sugar are higher in syns for a teaspoon for example than milk.

Foods high in protein fill you up for longer so choosing these foods helps you restrict calories and syns and stay full.

Track your exercise

If you track your exercise then it can help you stay motivated and exercise more regularly. Sign up below for my free download to track your exercise and keep going.


If you like funky leggings then you should definitely consider Locket Loves, they are so comfortable and go up to size 26. If you use my referral then you can get £5 off and I get some money to spend on more leggings too! I practically live in them now so a new pair will never go amiss!

Should I exercise?

You might be wondering if the plan works without any exercise.

According to Slimming World, exercising isn’t necessary to lose weight; if you can optimize your food correctly, you can achieve a good result without physically exercising.

If you do exercise, this will certainly help you tone up and get fitter. I lost my 10 stone without any exercise to speak of but then decided to start running.

If you are worried about exercise equipment with a high weight capacity then don’t panic, check the two articles below as both have some great choices to help.

best treadmills with a high weight capacity
Best exercise bikes with a high weight capacity

Exercising can, of course, boost your weight loss. If you are not keen on going out jogging or to the gym, you can try some indoor exercise equipment like stationary bikes or a treadmill.

Fitnessontrack published an excellent blog on how home treadmill running can speed up your weight loss goal. It just goes to show that you can exercise in private if you prefer.

exercise bike

How does the Slimming World online plan compare to a group with the app?

In a group, you weigh weekly at a group near you. The trained consultant is your guide to help you follow the plan and keep you motivated.

Image therapy is the element of the group you either love or hate! By staying in a group you hear everyone else’s weight loss and get support.

Fruit and yoghurt
Fruit and yoghurt

Slimming World Awards and certificates

At Slimming World groups you get certificates too as there are so many awards you can obtain before you achieve your dream weight. These are such great motivations for your journey.

Whilst you can get some if you join online it isn’t the same. You can take tasters usually to these group celebrations. Check out taster ideas of what to take.

Pasta arrabbiata
Pasta arrabbiata

Available awards at groups

Stone and half stone awards – are also available online.

Club 10 – when you have lost 10% of your start weight. Also available online.

Target – When you reach your choice of weight loss target, obviously this is also part of the online plan!

Woman of the year/Man of the year – nominated by your group as being inspirational.

Miss Slinky/ Mr Sleek – again nominated by your fellow group members for being inspirational.

Diamond target member – when you have stayed in target for a year.

Diamond member of the year – voted as the most inspirational diamond target member.

Greatest loser – Person in the group who has lost the most weight with Slimming World.

Young member of the year – voted as the most inspirational young member aged under 21.

Chicken rice salad
Chicken rice salad

Why you should enjoy desserts

If you are following Slimming World you will know how careful you feel you should be with your Syns.

Most people only have 15 syns to use in a day so finding tasty desserts within this is crucial.

One good way to make your smaller dessert more filling is to add fruit or another low Syn or Syn free item.

Fat-free fromage frais is syn-free and a great addition to most desserts.

Overnight oats
Overnight oats

If you prefer you can add a little flavouring or sweetener too. My favourite sweetener is Canderel Sugarly.

Most desserts in the correct portion size can be ok, simply have a small piece!

Do you ever have a glass of water before your dessert? Next time give it a try, you will naturally eat less as the water fills you up a little. A perfect way to enjoy the dessert you want and still lose weight.

Did you see my meal plan full of treats in my meal plan directory? Check it out you will love it and still lose weight!

What is Slimming World SP or EESP?

This is the low carbohydrate plan, high protein and high fruit and veg plan devised by Slimming World to be followed for short periods for good weight loss.

More information about the SP plan is here.

Tomato and mozzarella pasta salad
Tomato and mozzarella pasta salad

How do I join Slimming World online?

If you have decided following reading this guide that this is the plan for you then pop over to the Slimming World website to join online or find your local group.

I have lots of recipes that could help you too if you just want to make a few changes but do not follow the plan completely. Do whatever is right for you.

To read all my posts with tips and experiences of various diets, exercises and lots more check out my weight loss guides, and exercise for weight loss guide.

Slimming World friendly meal plans

I have a huge list of ready-made Slimming World friendly meal plans I have designed for you to access free of charge.

Check them out and subscribe to my meal planning library to get free printables of them and ready-made shopping lists.

Unofficial Slimming World rules 2023 in a nutshell

The rules of the plan are simple.

  1. Eat 1 Healthy extra b choice a day
  2. Enjoy 2 Healthy extra a choices a day
  3. Eat up to 15 syns a day (unless you fit in a group above)
  4. Enjoy as many free foods as you like but stop when you are full
  5. Each meal should have at least 1/3 of the meal as speed foods

Does Slimming World work 2023?

My personal experience is that yes it does work. Read my story.

There are so many success stories of others who have lost weight on Slimming World.

Slimming World app – who can use it?

Anyone who is a member of Slimming World either in a group or online has access to the app. Simply download the app and sign in as you would online.

The app has syn values, recipes and lots of tips and advice so if you are a member it is well worth downloading.

Garden fresh salsa
Garden fresh salsa

Can children join Slimming World online?

Slimming World online requires you to be an adult to join but with the support of a doctor, you can join a Slimming World group from age 11 if you have an appropriate adult who is a member or can join.

My son was a member for a while and his journey I shared here. Ben joined aged 11 and enjoyed his Slimming World plan.

Banana pots
Banana pots

Slimming World membership offers 2023

If you are looking to join but want to save money when you do so then keep an eye out for women’s magazines such as chat, woman’s own etc.

They often have free joining vouchers and other similar offers.

Salmon pasta
Salmon pasta

How to get a free Slimming World membership

Some areas have referral programmes through the NHS to pay for membership to Slimming World so it is always worth asking your doctor if this is the case.

This can also change from time to time so do ask again even if you asked a year ago and they did not do it then.

If you are looking to join for free you can usually find vouchers in women’s magazines such as Chat. Using one of these vouchers usually means you then only have to pay the weekly fee.

Beef Stew
Beef stew

Can you get the Slimming World books on PDF?

Officially no but there are some sites I have seen sharing them. To be honest, though I share a number of Slimming World friendly recipes as do many other people so most things you would like to cook you should find without the recipe books anyway!


Buy Slimming World books

If you are looking to buy the official food optimising books or cookbooks then there are some to buy on Amazon! Some are a little out of date but will still give you some ideas.

Of course, alternatively, you could join a group even just for a week or so and buy the books there. If you join online of course you can buy the books there too, or just use the Slimming World website and find their official recipes on there.

Starting a diet – my top tips

If you need some top tips to start dieting then this video should help you.

Other weight loss articles you may find helpful

If you are looking for a new diet to try and still undecided check out my full weight loss guide with lots of different plans. A few popular ones are:

The Optifast Diet

The Noom Diet

Second Nature Diet

Ketogenic diet

Weight Watchers


Do the unthinkable from Musclefood

Weight loss surgery

Lighter Life

Moroccan meatballs
Moroccan meatballs

Weight loss and Exercise Support

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. Super article I enjoyed reading through this. I have just joined Slimming world online and found it a little confusing.

  2. I’ve always thought about maybe joining Slimming World. I had a really bad experience with a Weightwatchers group which has kind of put me off going again. The woman running the group shouted at me because I was losing 3lbs a week in front of everyone saying I was loosing too much! It totally put me off going again!

  3. A mum who loves, gin, chocolate & leggings! We could be sisters! This is a great post and a real incentive. I look forward to the meal plans

  4. Thank you for the time and effort into putting this information together. It is really helpful and motivating me to try and lose this weight once and for all! Thank you Jen 🙂

  5. Great article, was really what I needed to read today after deciding to get back to slimming world following having a baby. I’m disgusted with myself that i have let myself get so far so am very grateful to find your article thank you.

  6. I have just subscribed and look forward to receiving the menu plans. Feeling so rubbish with this extra weight.

  7. Great informative post. Need to shift my covid19 stay at home weight. Definitely going to try your meal plan. Thanks so much for taking the time to put this together.

  8. Thank you for putting your hearth and soul into this post you have explained everything about slimming world so easy I had lost 3 st last year with a fabulous consultant but covid came and then my consultant decided to retire and I wasn’t happy with the new lady or the new venue I’ve been trying to do it on my own but finding it hard but now I have your post i will give it ? per cent thank you again

  9. Thank you for putting your hearth and soul into this post you have explained everything about slimming world so easy I had lost 3 st last year with a fabulous consultant but covid came and then my consultant decided to retire and I wasn’t happy with the new lady or the new venue I’ve been trying to do it on my own but finding it hard but now I have you post the will give it ? per cent thank you again

    1. Very comprehensive article. Thank you so much. I plan on starting my weight loss journey with Slimming World .

  10. I cannot wait to use the plan, I understood how you had written how to use the slimming world plan/diet, thank you for making so easy to understand and follow. I AM going to do this

  11. I have learnt more while reading this which you have explained so clearly. i now understand so much more and ready to get started again. Thank you

  12. My mother is part of my local slimmers world group and she loves it and I love some of the SW recipes!

  13. I’ve always been curious about how foods are classified as syns, free or speed so this was a brilliant explanation, thank you. Although I’m very sad to see that avocados are syns as I absolutely LOVE them! Lisa 🙂

  14. My friend was on slimming world and I would cook her meals on the plan. I was surprised how good the meals were, no feeling hungry after either. I think it’s definitely the healthiest way to loose weight!

  15. I really found this helpful, I really do need to start looking at my weight and what i eat. I can do it without going to a group physically I just need to get my head in gear to start. You have made this so much easier for me to understand