Aaron’s back at Leeds Festival after losing 14st


- Aaron Walker decided to lose weight after an exhausting visit to Leeds Festival in 2021 when he weighed almost 27st

- Since joining Slimming World, Aaron has lost 14st and is now returning to the festival two years on – happier, healthier and more confident

- Aaron has been named Slimming World’s Man of the Year 2023

A Doncaster music lover is returning to Leeds Festival this weekend an incredible 14st lighter than when he last attended two years ago.

At the 2021 festival, held at Bramham Park, Aaron Walker knew he needed to do something about his weight.

The former University of Hull student was hoping to enjoy the festival with his friends and found that his size held him back. He says: “I was really looking forward to being with my mates, listening to some good music and making some memories. Turns out I did make a core memory that day – it just wasn’t the one I was expecting.”

Aaron, now 27, who is Slimming World’s new Man of the Year, continues: “Even before I arrived my weight was a problem. The button had popped off my shorts because they were so tight and I tried to find some more the day before, but clothes shopping isn’t exactly simple when you have a 48” waist. So, I sewed the button back on and hoped for the best.

“When I arrived, it soon dawned on me that being on my feet would be hard going for me at almost 27st. Just the walk from the entrance to the main stage had me gasping for breath – I was exhausted. I felt self-conscious all day and even missed one of my favourite bands, Two Door Cinema Club, because I was too tired to walk across the field to the stage they were playing on.”

At that moment Aaron decided he had to make some positive changes to his lifestyle and lose weight. He says: “I thought to myself – I’m 25 years old, I should be having the time of my life at a music festival with my mates and I’m not. That was my turning point. I joined a Slimming World group not long after. Now here I am – two years later, 14st lighter and loving Leeds Festival this time!”

Aaron was living in Hull at the time so joined a Slimming World group in the city. There he was introduced to Slimming World’s Food Optimising eating plan, and learned to build healthier habits around food and becoming more active.

Aaron, who works in finance now, says: “I’d always had a problem with my weight, even as a child. When I was younger my parents had to put a padlock on our treats cupboard because otherwise I would eat the lot. When I moved away to uni my weight problems became even worse. Being independent meant I could eat whatever I wanted – and a boozy night out often ended in a takeaway – with another one the next day to help clear my hangover.

Aaron Walker, Slimming World's Man of the Year 2023

I thought to myself – I’m 25 years old, I should be having the time of my life at a music festival with my mates and I’m not. That was my turning point. I joined a Slimming World group not long after. 

Aaron Walker, Slimming World's Man of the Year 2023

“I presented myself as the big, funny one even though inside I was really self-conscious. It took a lot of courage for me to join a Slimming World group, but my mum and sister were already members at a group back home in Doncaster, so I knew a little about what to expect and I knew it worked. I was met with a warm welcome and soon felt like part of a big family. I knew I needed to lose weight and my Slimming World group felt the best possible place to make that happen. When I moved back home for a new job, I transferred to the Doncaster group and was confident I’d get a big welcome and great support there too.”

Aaron soon got to grips with Slimming World’s eating plan, which helped him to swap his fast-food and takeaways for home-cooked meals packed full of filling foods like lean protein and veg. He says: “I’d always been a big eater, so I knew that an overly restrictive plan which left me feeling hungry wouldn’t work for me. I loved learning to cook – it almost became like therapy for me. I soon learned how to recreate my favourite takeaway dishes like Chinese chicken. The support I got at the group helped me to see that food isn’t the enemy.”

After a few months of healthy eating, Aaron felt ready to get active at his own pace with Slimming World’s physical activity support programme, which helps members to create a personal plan to increase their activity levels steadily. He says: “My family had always been into walking, and it was getting to the point where they wouldn’t invite me to go with them because I struggled with my fitness so much. I was totally inactive before, even walking to the top of the stairs would leave me out of breath. I started off taking small walks around the block – it was hard at first, but it gradually became easier and more of a hobby.

“In time my walking progressed to running and I’ve since completed the Leeds Half Marathon, which was an amazing achievement. I also started hiking and love getting out into the countryside – in the past year I’ve climbed Snowdon, completed the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge and climbed Ben Nevis. My big dream now is to complete the London Marathon one day.

“It feels like my life is just beginning – and I can’t wait to see what’s next for me. Heading back to Leeds Fest is a big tick off the list though!”



Name: Aaron Walker

Age: 27

Height: 5ft 10ins/178cm

Starting weight: 26st 12.5lbs/376.5lbs/170kg

Current weight: 12st 10.5lbs/178.5lbs/81kg

Weight loss: 14st 2lbs/198lbs/89kg

Waist size before: 48ins/121cm

Waist size now: 32ins/81cm

Date joined Slimming World: October 2021

Group: Aaron originally lost weight at Pauline Collins’ Hull Slimming World group, before moving to Dawn-Lisa Oxborough’s Doncaster group earlier this year.


Before menu

Breakfast: Nothing

Mid-morning: Chocolate, sweets, biscuits, crisps

Lunch: A supermarket meal deal such as a sandwich, crisps and a drink followed by chocolate or cake

Dinner: Takeaway pizza or chicken and chips

Snacks: Crisps, chocolate, biscuits, cake


After menu

Breakfast: Porridge with lots of fresh fruit and a black coffee

Lunch: Leftovers from a meal made the night before or homemade soup or salads

Dinner: A Chinese fakeaway such as homemade Chinese chicken with egg-fried rice

Evening: A Slimming World Hi-Fi bar (available in groups, online and in selected Iceland stores) or a flavoured fat-free yogurt


For further information please contact Lucy Fisher in the Slimming World press office on lucy.fisher@slimmingworld.co.uk or on 01773 306852.

Notes to editors

●        This story is NOT for syndication to any magazines without the consent of Aaron Walker and the Slimming World press office (details above).

●        Slimming World and Aaron Walker retain copyright of all images attached to this press release. After photos should be credited: Slimming World/Paul Buller

About Slimming World

Slimming World was founded by Margaret Miles-Bramwell OBE in Derbyshire in 1969 and is the UK and Ireland’s leading weight loss organisation with more people choosing to attend a Slimming World group each week than any other weight loss programme. We support hundreds of thousands of people, both in our groups and online, to lose weight and to adopt new habits to stay slim for life.

Over the years our founding principles haven’t changed:

·         Our unique programme is based on a powerfully motivating support system called IMAGE (Individual Motivation and Group Experience) Therapy. Underpinned by a deep understanding of the psychology of overweight people, and incorporating the most effective sustainable behaviour change techniques, IMAGE Therapy is designed to inspire and motivate slimmers to make positive changes and to develop new, healthier habits around food and activity.

·         Food Optimising is our healthy eating plan, based on the liberating concept of Free Food. We encourage our members to fill up on those foods that are naturally lower in energy density (calories per gram) and also highly satisfying while limiting foods that are highest in fat and sugar and are less satisfying, so they lose weight without ever feeling hungry or deprived and without having to weigh, measure or count everything they eat.

·         Our activity support programme, Body Magic, encourages members to become more active, more often in ways that they enjoy, until regular physical activity becomes an intrinsic part of daily routine.

·         Above all, at the heart of everything we do, lies our passion for treating every member with genuine care, empathy and respect.


We’re proud to work with the NHS, Public Health England, The Royal College of Midwives and others to help shape the future of weight management in the UK.

For further information please contact the Slimming World press office on email public.relations@slimmingworld.co.uk