Slimtone is celebrating its 39th anniversary this month! In June 1982, Marie Griffiths opened a class in Pontycymer in the Garw Valley. That was the very first Slimtone class.
Marie explains, “I wanted to help people to help themselves to lose weight. At the time losing weight was all about expensive supplements, unusual ingredients and special meals – it was way out of reach of ordinary people. If you had a whole family to feed and a limited budget, you just had to get on with it yourself. I wanted to change that and offer a sensible and healthy eating plan based on “real” food that fitted into any lifestyle. And I wanted to encourage people by having a class that provided information but was fun and friendly too.”
Marie’s original approach to weight loss and healthy eating has never been compromised. With classes running throughout the Bridgend area and a thriving online business, Slimtone continues to offer friendly and sympathetic encouragement, supported by diet plans based on normal food and the very latest in nutritional information.
Marie continues, “This last year has been difficult for everyone. Who would have thought we’d be so restricted in all that we do. We’ve always tried to keep the business fresh and up-to-date and look for innovative and different ways of doing things. Our online business has been active for over 20 years, so when the first lockdown hit, we geared things up and offered online classes to our local members as well.
“It worked a treat too. As well as the online class programmes on the website – two lots of the 12-week programme and four lots of the 6-week programme – we had a number of very active Facebook groups, tweeted regularly and even added WhatsApp as a way for class members to chatter and share info. Every week I did a personal video for class members, so no-one missed out on our regular weekly talks and new recipes. And, of course, members were able to keep track of their success with an online membership card and downloadable Daily Menu Plan and Food Diary.
Here’s one of the recipes Marie shared with members during lockdown.
Serves 4 – approx 259 calories
450g/1 lb lean pork 28g/1oz flour
1 tsp Chinese Five Spice seasoning Black pepper
1 tbsp of sesame oil 1 large onion, sliced
3 large carrots, sliced 2 tbsp Light Soy Sauce
450ml/¾ pint beef stock 565g/1¼ lb potatoes
196g/7oz can pineapple in natural juice
Cut pork into narrow strips, place in plastic bag with flour, Five Spice seasoning and black pepper. Shake bag until meat is well coated. Heat oil, fry meat until sealed. Add onions, carrots, soy sauce, beef stock, potatoes (cubed), pineapples and juice. Simmer for 30-35 minutes or until vegetables and meat are thoroughly cooked. Enjoy!
Slimtone classes restarted face-to-face on Monday 17th May. Marie explains, “It’s great to be back to face-to-face classes now and to see all those smiling faces. But I’m also very impressed with how disciplined members were during this last year. Quite a few managed to lose weight or maintain their weight over that period and although some put on a few pounds, it has proven that the Slimtone plan works and keeping in touch with each other is so important.”
The lockdown also gave Marie time to do even more research than usual on the latest trends and health tips, as well as up-to-the-minute recipes and ideas. She’ll be sharing all this new material in classes over the coming weeks and is also launching a new book to celebrate Slimtone’s 39th anniversary.
“It has been lovely to help so many people over the years and to see how great they look.” says Marie. “Thank you to all those members who have been part of the Slimtone success story – members who lost a few pounds, as well as those who have lost several stones. So many people who have reached their target weight continue to come to class year after year and have also stuck with us during these uncertain times. It’s not just about losing weight, it’s also about making friends, encouraging each other and sharing ideas. ”
“Thank you too to all the people who have helped in the classes and ‘behind the scenes’ – you are an invaluable part of the Slimtone family.”
Having devoted almost so much of her working life to helping people achieve their dreams, Marie says she has no plans to retire. “I love what I do. It’s great to give people new and fresh ideas to help them reach their goals. As long as people want my help, I’ll continue to support and encourage them.”