Share this article

Secondary school teacher and dad of two Greg, 63, learnt a valuable lesson when he was hospitalised with minor heart failure. Read about how he stepped his slimming efforts up a gear after joining his local Slimming World group and getting back into cycling.  

Click here to find your nearest Slimming World group

In October 2019, weighing 25st 5lbs, I had the biggest wake-up call of my life. My day appeared to start as usual, it was a school day and I was due to teach. While I was getting ready, I noticed I was very out of breath. I remember thinking to myself, “Wow, I must get back in shape, this is terrible”. I arrived at school and my breathing was getting worse. It got so bad that an ambulance was called – and at the hospital I was told I had minor heart failure. The doctors made no secret that being overweight was a major contributing factor. 

Discover 7 ways to help keep your heart healthy here

I’d known for a long time that I needed to do something – my doctor had been saying it to me for years. My wife, Gail, had also been worried about my health, so as she sat next to me in hospital she said: “This is it now, you’re losing weight.” She found a local Slimming World group and we joined together. The group were so friendly, and as soon as I heard Nina, the Consultant, explain the variety of food I could eat on Slimming World’s healthy eating plan, I knew it could work for me.   

Slimming World member Greg before and after transformation

If I think back to what I ate before joining Slimming World, I know I made a lot of unhealthy choices. I’d eat for comfort and typically have two or three greasy burgers for lunch, with cakes and biscuits for pudding. The idea of depriving myself or going hungry was what had always put me off trying to lose weight before. With Slimming World, it was nothing like that. The plan is generous as well as easy to understand – I can eat the foods I love and I’m never hungry. 

By joining Slimming World, I’ve changed my mindset and when it comes to my relationship with food, I’m in control now.  I cook things in a much healthier way using lean meat and low-calorie cooking spray. I’ve always loved vegetables and salads, and I’ve learned how to make them tasty without pouring mayonnaise or dressings all over them. 

Greg’s menu 


Breakfast: Hash browns, two takeaway egg muffins, large diet cola  
Lunch: Two greasy burgers, large fries, large onion rings, ice cream, large diet cola 
Dinner: Meatloaf, mashed potato made with butter and cream, salad and dressing, American cake with ice cream
Snacks: Crisps, roasted or salted nuts, beer or wine 


Breakfast: Slice of wholemeal toast, poached egg, apple, fat-free yogurt 
Lunch: Roasted, skinless chicken in a wrap with boiled egg, lots of salad with lemon juice and red pepper, cucumber, grapes, orange, water or diet cola 
Dinner: Slimming World chipotle steak with sweet potato chips and lots of vegetables, with fruit salad for dessert 
Snacks: High fibre bar, fruit

Try Greg’s favourite steak recipe here

Losing weight has given me so much more confidence to be able to live the life I’m living now – I’m a parish councillor, as well as a teacher. Along with the support of the other members in my group, Nina has been amazing – even through lockdown she was always there to help me stay on track with tips and advice to keep me motivated. I still refer to one text Nina sent me that said: When you’re about to make an unhealthy choice, stop and ask what you want more – that, or your weight loss

I’d enjoyed cycling a lot when I was younger. Six years ago, I bought myself an expensive bike, but I couldn’t ride it because I was so overweight the tyres went flat when I got on it. As I began losing weight, I learned about Slimming World’s Body Magic activity programme, which supports members to move more, in a way they enjoy, whatever their starting point. I heard other members talking about how they’d discovered or rediscovered exercise. It was exactly the inspiration I needed, and I decided to get back into cycling.  

I loved it, but my first journey of just over two miles was too far at that time – a little red-faced, I had to get Gail to come and pick me up. I’ve realised the importance of taking things at my own pace and gradually I’ve built up my energy levels and ability. Now I’m incredibly proud to say that, as well as my doctors confirming my blood sugar levels have reduced, last year I reached my goal of cycling the Hadrian’s Wall ‘Coast to Coast’ 151-mile cycle route from Whitehaven to Tynemouth. Later this year I aim to complete the 180-mile ‘Castle to Castle’ route from Newcastle to Edinburgh. It’s incredible to think that only four years ago I used to get out of breath walking down the garden. 

Nina Fowler runs the Alvaston Slimming World group in Derby and is Greg’s Consultant. She says: “It’s been such a pleasure to be part of Greg’s weight loss journey. I remember when Greg and Gail joined my group – he said to me that he couldn’t believe he’d still be able to eat the foods he loved and lose weight. Now he cooks everything from scratch, and we all love trying out the Slimming World-friendly spice rubs and smokes he creates. Although Greg needed to lose weight for health reasons, he had a personal goal to cycle again and it’s been so good to see him do that. He’s a huge inspiration to the whole group.”  

Read Leigh’s story: “I had two heart attacks in one week – at only 38!”

Share this article