“I was eating myself to death,” says woman who has lost more than 18st

  • Karina Dunford, 37, has been named Slimming World’s Greatest Loser after losing 18st 6lbs in two years
  • At her heaviest Karina says she was housebound, depressed and her husband had to wash and care for her
  • “I was eating myself to death and drinking lots of alcohol”
  • Now she’s got enough confidence to go out on her own, swims and walks and goes to the gym

At 29st 8½lbs Karina’s weight had an impact on her health and happiness. She was bullied, felt that no one cared about her and was afraid to leave the house because she thought she was an embarrassment to her husband and family.

Karina, 37, from Bridgend, had to be helped to wash and dress by her husband and, depressed, was in a spiral of comfort eating and drinking.

 “I was so unhappy and my health was getting worse by the day. I just wanted to stay in every day with my husband Ian and never wanted to leave the house,” says Karina.

“I’d tried many diets and could never get my head into it. I knew I needed help and heard about Slimming World. In January 2018 I told my family that I wanted to join.”

Karina looked online and found a nearby Slimming World group. At first she was too shy to say a word in group but learned from her fellow members how to make changes to her diet and started swapping takeaways, fatty meals and junk food for homecooked meals. Karina, who has learning disabilities used Slimming World’s Easy Read resources to make healthier choices and prepare tasty, satisfying meals.

“Before I joined Slimming World I was eating takeaways, especially Chinese, every night and comfort eating chocolate every day. Now my daily menu has completely changed,” says Karina. “I plan all my meals for the week and stick with it. My favourite meals are spaghetti Bolognese or chilli con carne with lots of vegetables. I also love the Slimming World Iceland meals and enjoy them with lots of extra veg too.”

Karina has also shared her new habits with her family. “I’ve been telling my family about healthy eating and sharing my food plans and photos with them. My mum and brother joined Slimming World too and they’re both doing well.”

As well as completely changing her eating habits Karina’s confidence has soared as she’s lost weight. “I never used to do any exercise,” she says. “I would just stay in the house.” She’s taken part in Slimming World’s Body Magic programme which encourages members to take small steps and gradually build up to being active at least 150 minutes a week as part of their daily routine.

 “Now I go to the gym, I do workouts, go swimming and take long walks,” says Karina.

Karen Dunford, Slimming World's Greatest Loser 2021
I changed my whole life by joining Slimming World.
Karen Dunford, Slimming World's Greatest Loser 2021

"I had a rough time when I was overweight. I felt that I embarrassed my whole family. I was bullied and felt that no one cared about me. Since losing weight my husband Ian and I have a much better life. Now I have the confidence to do things for myself and Ian doesn’t have to care for me. I’m so proud that I’ve reached my target weight and made so many friends at Slimming World.”

Slimming World Consultant Rhian who runs the Bridgend group that Karina attends says: “Karina is the most determined member. She’s set her mind to achieve her goals week after week and made changes that means she’ll be slim for life. She’s completely transformed her health and it’s truly wonderful to see how much happier and more confident she is in everything. Everyone in the group is proud of her and what she’s achieved.”


Name: Karina Dunford

Age: 37

Height: 5’8”/172cm

Starting weight: 29st 8½lbs/414½lbs/188kg

Current weight: 11st 2½lbs/156½/71kg

Weight loss: 18st 6lb/258lbs/117kg

Dress size before: 32

Dress size now: 10

Date joined Slimming World: January 2018

Time taken to reach target weight: 28 months

Group: Karina attends the Bridgend Slimming World group which is run by Consultant Rhian Sassoon-Hales.


Before menu

Breakfast: Full fried breakfast, followed by chocolate, biscuits and full sugar cola

Lunch: Pizza, chips, burgers or fried chicken

Dinner: Takeaways especially Chinese takeaway, burgers or fried chicken

Snacks and drinks: 15 cans a day of full sugar cola


After menu

Breakfast: Fruit and yogurt and overnight oats

Lunch: Tuna pasta salad or soup or ham salad 

Dinner: Spaghetti Bolognese or chilli con carne with lots of veg like carrots, spinach, peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms or Slimming World Iceland meal with piles of fresh veg

Snacks and drinks: Diet cola

Notes to editors
  • This story is NOT for syndication to any magazines without the consent of Karina Dunford and the Slimming World press office (details below).
  • Slimming World and Karina Dunford retain copyright of all images attached to this press release.
  • Slimming World’s Greatest Loser is awarded to the member who has lost the greatest amount of weight across all Slimming World groups in the UK and Ireland.
  • Slimming World’s Easy Read resources have been produced in collaboration with the University of Sheffield for people with learning disabilities and difficulties using recognised Easy Read guidelines. Materials include more pictures and visuals, a white background with large black font and shorter words and simpler sentences.

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, 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 more information about Slimming World’s approach visit slimmingworld.co.uk. Follow Slimming World on Twitter at www.twitter.com/slimmingworld or become a Slimming World fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/slimmingworld

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