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Friday 4th March is World Obesity Day, a date to raise awareness of the global health crisis and encourage supportive action that will lead to longer, happier and healthier lives. In the UK, around two-thirds (63%) of adults are above a healthy weight, and half of those are living with obesity. This can lead to serious health problems and is a risk factor for a range of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, at least 12 types of cancer, and liver and respiratory disease.  

At Slimming World, we’re committed to tackling the obesity crisis. And with our deep understanding of the challenges around losing weight and our expertise in the psychology of slimming, we’re able to fully support our members to make simple changes that will bring amazing health benefits for life. 

Our Man of the Year 2021, Ken McLeod, is all too aware of how carrying excess weight can impact your health. After years of struggling with his size, Ken experienced a cardiac arrest which almost cost him his life. Here, he reveals how his Slimming World group helped him fight back from the brink and build a brighter future… 

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Ken says: “It was the most terrifying experience of my life. I was just walking down the street when, all of a sudden, I started to feel really unwell – it felt like something was crawling up my left leg. I’d had a terrible pain in my calf all morning, and now I realised something was very wrong. The next thing I knew, I was holding on to a wall to stop myself from falling. Then, as I was rushed to A&E in an ambulance, I lost consciousness. 

When I woke up, I found myself in an intensive care ward. I was told that I’d experienced a pulmonary embolism that had caused my heart to go into cardiac arrest. Thanks to the quick actions of the paramedics, I survived the ordeal, but my heart had stopped for 10 minutes. 

MORE FOR MEMBERS: Losing just 10% of your weight helps to reduce high blood pressure and cholesterol, along with your risk of heart disease – find out more here. 

I spent nine days in hospital, and while I was there a consultant suggested I would benefit from slimming down. It didn’t come as a surprise. I knew my weight had crept up since I’d retired from active police service. I weighed close to 23st and I continued to put weight on even during my recovery. 

It got to the point where I struggled to walk more than a few metres. When my wife, Jeanette, and I took a holiday to Scotland in July 2019, she’d bound up every hill we came across, but I had to keep stopping to catch my breath. That’s when I knew something had to change. When we got home, I looked up the details of my local Slimming World group and Jeanette offered to come with me for support. 

My Consultant, Angie, was so kind and she really helped to put me at ease. Getting inspiration and ideas from my group, I started trying out Slimming World recipes like chilli con carne, chicken and bacon risotto and chicken tikka kebabs. 

Within a few months, I’d lost 2st and I noticed I didn’t feel as breathless when I was moving around. I began building up my activity levels by following Slimming World’s Body Magic programme. I started off by walking short distances and gradually went further and faster, exploring the countryside and seaside paths near my home. 

I used to feel like I was getting old before my time, but that’s changed now. I can do all the things I enjoy, like gardening and tinkering with my cars in the garage. Almost losing my life was horrific, but it had a silver lining in that it motivated me to lose weight. And I’m so glad it did.’’ 

READ LEIGH’S STORY: “I had two heart attacks in one week – at 38 years old!” 

As Ken found, the personalised support in Slimming World groups will give you a powerful head start on your slimming journey:  

  • Our study of 1.1 million members shows that, on average, Slimming World members lose a clinically significant 5% of their body weight (9.9lbs) within three months – this means that they could already be noticing health benefits such as lower blood pressure, reduced breathlessness, improved joint pain and better sleep. 
  • Members who frequently attend their weekly Slimming World group (at least 75% of sessions) lose more weight, achieving on average a 7.7% weight loss (1st 1lb) in their first three months and a 14% weight loss (or 2st 3lbs) over the course of a year. 
  • The more group sessions members attend, the more successful they are. Based on their weight loss over a year, the top 10,000 slimmers who attend their weekly Slimming World group at least 45 times in a year lose 30% of their body weight – around 5st each.* 

Dr Jacquie Lavin, our Head of Research and Scientific Affairs, explains why attending group can make such a difference to weight loss success:  

“The power of the group and the peer support members give one another there is what sets Slimming World apart. Our members become part of a community, something special, which helps them to realise that they’re not alone in the challenges they face. That’s combined with our personalised approach – called IMAGE Therapy – which helps every member discover more about themselves as a slimmer, identify their own pitfalls and danger zones and create plans to overcome them. As well as following our healthy eating plan and becoming more active, members are encouraged to dig deep into what motivates them and what is going to help them personally, and to set realistic weekly goals to help them achieve their weight loss targets.” 

Join your nearest warm and friendly Slimming World group now and you can save money with our exclusive Better Health offers. Download your voucher here.  

*Data relates to 1.1 million Slimming World members who first joined a group between January and December 2016. The research followed their progress for 12 months through to December 2017. 

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