Share this article

People can be incredibly cruel when you’re overweight, and at more than 33st I was often fat-shamed by strangers in the street. One of my lowest moments was having a milkshake thrown at me. I’ll never forget that feeling of utter shock and humiliation, and I was devastated that people felt justified to treat me that way.  

It’s hardly surprising that anxiety and depression took hold, and I became very isolated. The physical effects of being overweight meant that I was in constant pain and struggled to stand, so shutting myself away felt like my only option.   

It’s so sad to say that, by then, I honestly didn’t care whether I lived or died. And there’s no way I’d have had the strength to do anything about my weight if it wasn’t for my sister, Ali. We’d always been very close, and of course she was worried sick about me. She was the one who found my nearest Slimming World group and called the Consultant, Michelle – who was lovely and passed on the reassurance I needed that if I came along to group, the scales definitely wouldn’t break!   

After many sleepless nights and panic attacks, I went to Michelle’s group – Mum drove me – and I finally found it in me to step through the door. My fears fell away immediately. I knew I’d found a place where I was accepted and would never be judged for my size.   

Having a group of people telling me that I was actually worthy of happiness helped me change the belief I’d held for years – that I was disgusting and didn’t deserve to have a better life. Instead of comforting myself with high-sugar, high-fat foods, I started to enjoy the wholesome, hearty Slimming World recipes that were shared in group. I quickly learned that losing weight didn’t have to mean eating bland foods, because my menu was packed with flavour – from spicy curries to slow-cooked stews – and I never felt hungry.  

Try a recipe: Spice up your nights with a Slimming World curry – how hot will you go?

With my weight quickly dropping, and my new friends in group cheering me on every week, my confidence and self-esteem just grew and grew. I even joined in with Slimming World’s Body Magic activity programme, starting with short walks up and down the garden with my sister. I could never have imagined, as I struggled with each painful step, that the future Harriet would be able to run 5K!  

I joined group in September 2019, and it feels like a lifetime ago – so much has changed. I’ve now lost a total of 20st and Slimming World has crowned me their Greatest Loser 2022! I’m living a life free from anxiety and full of fun, doing all the things I wished I could do before.   

I’ve gone from being a virtual recluse to feeling amazing in a sparkly new dress at Christmas get-togethers. I’ll be receiving my Greatest Loser award at a special event in November, and choosing a beautiful ballgown to wear was a real pinch-me Cinderella moment!   

My confidence is sky-high now – so much so that I’ve become a Slimming World Consultant myself. I never imagined I’d be able to stand up in front of a room full of people, but I love it! It’s so rewarding to be able to pay back all the support, understanding and encouragement that I was given as a member by helping others achieve their own weight loss goals. I’m proof that the plan does work – and becoming a Consultant is the cherry on top of an exciting new chapter of my life.  

Revealed – losing weight is easier with support

The support of her Slimming World group was a key factor in Harriet’s weight loss success – and our research has shown that she’s far from alone in that. We found that feeling connected in a group of kind and understanding people, who care about your success and positively support you to succeed, makes a big difference when you’re trying to lose weight.

Our poll of Slimming World members found that:

  • Three in four said they felt more confident and self-assured as a result of joining a Slimming World group
  • 73% made new friends
  • 68% felt more connected
  • 93% felt more committed to their weight loss

Read more about this research, and how Slimming World can help you lose weight in an encouraging, humiliation-free group, here.

Read more inspiring member stories:

Joe Thompson: “Having that social connection helped me lose 5st
Sapphire’s story “I tried on my bridesmaid dress and was shocked”
Beth’s story “My three big dreams have all come true”
Dawn’s story “My 17st weight loss has bought me time with my family”

Share this article