Harriet’s lost a life-changing 20st


· At more than 33st Harriet Peacock, 46, was the target of cruel jibes from strangers

· The 46-year-old admitted that she was ‘eating herself to death’ and needed an intervention from her sister to help her change

· Since joining Slimming World she has lost an incredible 20st and now has dreams to ride a rollercoaster

· Harriet is training to become a Slimming World Consultant herself and says she wants to be ‘the encouragement my friends at group gave to me.’

A slimmer from Bedfordshire who was once so overweight that she struggled to walk 20 yards and suffered abuse in the street – including once having a milkshake thrown at her – has lost an incredible 20st.

Harriet Peacock, 46, weighed 33st 3lbs at her heaviest and struggled to even put on her own socks. It wasn’t until her sister, Alison, 48, encouraged her to join Slimming World that Harriet found the courage to change her life forever. Now she has been named Slimming World’s Greatest Loser – a competition that celebrates the success of the member with the organisation’s biggest weight loss.

She says: “I had been overweight for my whole life, but things really ramped up when I made the switch from teaching in a school to becoming an online tutor. I became very withdrawn and only wanted to associate with people I knew and trusted. I poured my heart and soul into my students which often left me exhausted and reaching for the nearest takeaway when I finished work. I snored loudly and slept terribly which only added to my tiredness.

“Being very overweight had a huge impact on my mental health. The fat-shaming I would endure was soul destroying. One time a group of men pushed me over and to add to the humiliation, I couldn’t get back up. Another time a milkshake was thrown at me in the street. These incidents just pushed me further towards my comfort – food.”

Harriet admits that she couldn’t see a way out and it was thanks to an intervention from her sister that she took the first step to changing her life.

She says: “My sister rang my local Consultant to check she would be able to weigh me as that was something I was really worried about. In the past, my doctor had weighed me by putting out two sets of scales and asking me to put one foot on each. I knew I couldn’t face that again. The Consultant reassured her that I would be fine, the scales would weigh me, and that there would be nothing but a warm welcome when I joined. I was on the brink of a panic attack that first night, I did it though, and everyone was so lovely once I arrived. My mum would drive me to the venue because I couldn’t walk the short distance to group, and then she would wait in the car until I was finished. I’ve been so lucky to have so much support.

“The group and the Consultants I’ve had have been incredible. After experiencing such cruelty from strangers in the past I was worried about meeting new people – yet my faith was almost instantly restored. I no longer felt alone, I was part of a community of people who understood how it felt to be bigger. The group was the first place outside of close family and friends where I felt accepted and not judged or made to feel like a second-class citizen. The accountability of being surrounded by people who cared about my success really galvanised my resolve and helped me stick to the plan.”

Harriet soon got to grips with Slimming World’s Food Optimising eating plan, which enables members to enjoy a wide variety of healthy everyday foods – like fresh fruit and veg, lean meat and poultry, fat free dairy, eggs, pasta, rice and grains freely, so slimmers can lose weight without being hungry and adjust the plan to their tastes and lifestyle.

She says: “I’ve tried every diet imaginable. If you’ve heard of it, I’ve tried it. They never worked for me because I always felt restricted. I love food and have a big appetite, so one of the most appealing things about Slimming World is that I can eat to my own appetite rather than a set portion size. I always feel full! My Slimming World group taught me that losing weight doesn’t have to be bland either – I still enjoy curries, stews and pasta dishes.”

Harriet Peacock, Slimming World's Greatest Loser 2022

The group was the first place outside of close family and friends where I felt accepted and not judged or made to feel like a second-class citizen. The accountability of being surrounded by people who cared about my success really galvanised my resolve and helped me stick to the plan.

Harriet Peacock, Slimming World's Greatest Loser 2022

In fact, Harriet lost an amazing 17lbs in her first week and the difference since then, says Harriet, has been life changing: “I’m a carer for my mum and she’s lost weight just from eating the same meals as me, which is really helpful for her osteoporosis. The benefits of my weight loss are so far-reaching – I don’t think I’ll ever be able to count them all. I can have a bath, put on my own shoes and never have to worry about whether a chair will hold my weight – it’s removed a whole layer of worry from my life.

“Before Slimming World I was eating myself to death. I would often binge eat until I was sick, and I’d regularly pretend that I had friends over if I ordered a takeaway, so that the delivery driver didn’t think I was eating it all to myself. Of course, I was, and they probably knew that too. I dread to think where I would be had I never joined Slimming World.”

What’s more, Harriet has also discovered a love for activity thanks to Slimming World’s Body Magic programme, which helps members to increase their activity levels and build active habits alongside Food Optimising. She says: “I genuinely couldn’t walk more than a few yards before I lost weight. I started off steadily, just doing a few steps more than usual. Now a few years later I’m doing Couch to 5K and planning to take part in a Race for Life in July. I even go to a circuits class on a Saturday morning. It’s a world away from the life I used to have.

“I have lots of things on my bucket list now – I want to ride a rollercoaster, do a bungee jump, ride a horse, go to the opera… there’s one thing right at the top though, and that’s to become a Slimming World Consultant myself. This feeling that I have now is incredible and I want to share it with as many people as I can. I want to be the encouragement that my friends, group and Consultants were for me. My smile these days is real, and it’s not going anywhere.”


Name: Harriet Peacock

Age: 46

Height: 5ft 3in

Starting weight: 33st 3lbs

Current weight: 13st 3lbs

Weight loss: 20st

Dress size before: 32-34

Dress size now: 16-18

Date joined Slimming World: September 2019

Group: Harriet attends the Putnoe Slimming World group in Bedford, run by Consultant Rayner Lyons

Before menu

Breakfast: Nothing

Lunch: Shop-bought sandwich with crisps and sweets

Snack: Packet of crisps

Dinner: Chinese takeaway

After menu

Breakfast: Fruit and fat-free natural yogurt or a full English with grilled bacon, dry fried eggs, tomatoes, mushrooms and hash browns

Lunch:  Homemade soup or a jacket potato with beans, cheese and salad

Dinner: A homemade meal such as Moroccan lamb stuffed squash

Snacks: A Slimming World Hi-Fi bar, fruit and yogurt

About Slimming World

Notes to editors

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

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

For further information please contact Hannah Bowmer in the Slimming World press office on Hannah.Bowmer@slimmingworld.co.uk  or 01773 304245

About Slimming World

Slimming World was founded by Margaret Miles-Bramwell OBE in Derbyshire in 1969 and has become 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 programme, Body Magic helps members to overcome any barriers around activity. Members choose when to start and they set the pace, finding activities they genuinely enjoy, until regular physical activity becomes an intrinsic part of their daily routine.  

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, the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID), The Royal College of Midwives and others to help shape the future of weight management in the UK and Ireland.

For more information about Slimming World’s approach visit slimmingworld.co.uk or slimmingworld.ie

Follow Slimming World on Twitter at twitter.com/slimmingworld or become a Slimming World fan on Facebook at facebook.com/slimmingworld

For the Press Office visit our newsroom or email public.relations@slimmingworld.co.uk