You don't NEED to join, but I recommend joining for a couple of months so you can get the support you need at the start. I only keep paying my online membership so I can access the syns database really, but I've been doing it for over a year. I definitely needed the extra support when I first started.
I haven't joined as I felt I could motivate myself ( it has taken me very many years of being overweight before I got to that point though). A lot of folks don't seem to stay to group after the weigh in (goes on too long, people not friendly, leader not great,are some of the reasons I've seen here ) so I decided to save my money and just weigh once a week in Boots. I found all the info I needed online to follow the plan( I didn't want the cookbooks as I don't eat meat and already have lots of recipies. I just buy the magazines in a newsagent. The one main thing for me is not having access to the syn values of things so I just work on the 1 syn - 20 calories basis. It has worked for me, these threads on mumsnet have been an amazing source of support and I have lost over 4 stone so far. If you can motivate yourself try going it alone, if you would like access to members only stuff go to a couple of meetings then just stop going.
That's right, Symphony, it's not red and green anymore, it's Extra Easy, with Extra Easy SP as a weight loss booster. But if you've followed SW previously and have been okay with red and green, you could just continue with that- it won't stop working.
Thanks pippin. I did it about 5 years ago with DP, he didn't go to groups though. I was in an old thread about it under a different NN. I was thinking about doing it for a few weeks over the summer hols as I am away at the end. My diet is terrible at the moment, too much premade stuff and bread, so this will force me to cook and eat properly.
I used to find that switching to green or red every now and again kick started a loss.