25 things you only know if you go to slimming clubs

25 things you only know if you go to slimming clubs


Only fools go to a Monday night weigh-in. sweet potato fries aren’t as nice as chips. And why must yoghurt be the answer to everything! 25 things you only know if you go to slimming clubs

  • Claudia Connell has taken part in four different slimming groups over 20 years 
  • UK-based writer revealed secrets that you only learn after you’ve joined
  • She claims every group has a woman who loses and then regains the same 2lbs 

With spring just around the corner, the thought of peeling off winter layers will be sending people flocking to diet clubs.

But ever since comedy show Little Britain introduced Marjorie Dawes, the patronising leader of fictional slimming group FatFighters, who told members to eat dust, people may be concerned about what’s in store.

Let me enlighten you. You see, over 20 years, I’ve been to four different groups in person and one online. I love the camaraderie of diet groups, but I’ve been to enough to know that the character of Marjorie Dawes isn’t that far-fetched.

Here are some of the secrets you only find out once you’ve signed up. . .

UK-based writer Claudia Connell, revealed slimming club secrets that you won’t know until you’ve joined. Pictured: Matt Lucas as Fatfighters leader Marjorie Dawes in TV’s Little Britain

1 At first, you’ll roll your eyes at the ‘strippers’ — three months later, you’ll become one. These are the women who hold up the weigh-in queue while they remove almost everything they’re wearing, even earrings, so they’re a few ounces lighter.

2 You will be lied to more than a politician lies to the public. Sweet potato fries are just as delicious as regular ones! Lie. You’ll prefer courgetti to actual spaghetti! Lie. One bite of anything fattening will satisfy a craving! Lie. Turkey bacon tastes just the same as the normal kind! Lie.

3 Everyone loses 4 lb in their first week . . . then half a pound in the second week, despite having eaten exactly the same things.

4 Most groups will have a husband-and-wife team. At the start they will be happy and supportive of one another. Six weeks in, when he’s lost a stone and she’s only down 5 lb, things will turn frosty. Eventually they’ll start arriving separately.

5 It’s only a matter of time before someone will tell you the cautionary tale of a very fat woman who got thin . . . and her husband left her. No one knows if it’s true, but it’s a good excuse to forget about those last 5 lb.

Claudia said your food diary will be filled with salads and soups, while takeaways seem to have slipped your mind (file image)

6 Each group meets on a set day. Choose wisely. Mondays are to be avoided at all costs, while Fridays are the most coveted. You can’t let your hair down at the weekend with the thought of a Monday weigh-in looming. I’ll drive ten miles out of my way to avoid one. But I suspect they’re more conducive to weight loss!

7 Despite being a middle-aged woman with her own home and career, you will become ridiculously excited at receiving a shiny sticker whenever you’ve recorded an impressive weight loss — and very envious of others when you don’t.

8 Your food diary, which new members keep in the early weeks, will be the greatest work of fiction since the last Harry Potter book. Page after page of salads and soups, while all those takeaways seem to have slipped your mind.

9 Supportive texts from your leader are a new thing. At my first group in 1999, we were left to our own devices. Now, there are ‘remember to stay on plan’ texts from your leader (who will always be called Debbie or Linda). At first they’ll seem sweet. Six months in, you’ll want to reply with a picture of your face thrust in a box of Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

Claudia revealed you’re likely to starve yourself on the day of your weigh-in (file image)

10 If you don’t like yoghurt you’re in trouble. Weight-loss groups are obsessed with it. Breakfast in a hurry? Yoghurt. Pick-me-up snack? Yoghurt. Alternative to cream? Yoghurt. Best salad dressing? Yoghurt. If you never see a yoghurt again it will be too soon.

11 Weight Watchers and Slimming World have ‘free foods’, of which you can eat unlimited amounts. They include chicken and eggs because ‘no one is going to eat six chicken legs in a row or ten poached eggs’. Know your audience, Linda — you haven’t seen me at an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet.

12 You will starve yourself on the day of your weigh-in. Weak with hunger, you’ll stand on the scales in the hope that a few hours of starvation have cancelled out your two-day binge. You’ll revive yourself with a G&T (slimline) and a ploughman’s (less slimline) at the pub next door.

13 Your leader could land a job in the diplomatic corps. Like the one from my group who sat smiling, saying: ‘We find it does work for most people, Carol’ when Carol insisted she had stuck rigidly to the plan, despite not losing an ounce in six weeks.

Claudia claims that you’re most likely to run into the ‘Slimmer of the Week’ while exiting McDonald’s (file image)

14 Even if there are 100 women in your group, you will never bump into them at the gym. Instead, you will run into the ‘Slimmer of the Week’ while exiting McDonald’s with a mouth full of fries.

15 You’ll be told to cook everything in Frylight, since it has only one calorie per spray. They won’t tell you it takes 400 sprays to produce enough to fry a mushroom.

16 A lot of women will be wearing jeans that fall down when they step on the scales. It’s not because they’ve lost weight. Just that no one wears a belt to a slimming club. Belts have heavy buckles, and every ounce counts.

17 No matter how long you attend, the ‘table of interest’ will never live up to its name. It’s here that leaders place non-fattening foods they recommend. At some stage it will feature a diet version of Ferrero Rocher that Debbie has made using Bran Flakes and claims tastes ‘just like the real thing’.

Claudia believes every weight loss group has a woman who loses and then regains the same few pounds (file image) 

18 Every group has one woman who loses and then regains the same 2 lb. She’ll have been there when you signed up and she’ll be there when you leave a year later, at the exact same weight. She seems strangely content with this state of affairs.

19 Every now and then a solo man will join. He’ll lose 10 lb in his first week and will never be seen again.

20 At some point you’ll find yourself green with envy that someone got a tummy bug on holiday, meaning they could stuff their face at the all-inclusive hotel and still record a 2 lb weight loss on their return.

21 If you ever win Slimmer of the Week, your winner’s basket is guaranteed to contain tinned tomatoes and a packet of sugar-free jelly.

Claudia said every woman needs the support of her group to boost your mood, if you gain weight (file image) 

22 You will develop the sleuthing powers of Miss Marple when Sheila claims she didn’t lose weight because she was ‘celebrating her birthday’. Her fourth this year.

23 You will claim your new exercise regime is why you haven’t lost any weight. A Legs, Bums and Tums class once a week in the local library is bound to build huge, heavy muscles, right?

24 Your leader will say there is no reason you can’t enjoy good fish and chips — just take the batter off and have extra peas instead of chips.

25 Every woman needs her group support pack. Not to help you lose weight, but to boost your mood if you gain. They will form a protective semi-circle around you and say things like, ‘But your jeans definitely look looser’ and, ‘It’s probably water retention’. True sisterhood. 

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