Intensive care nurse loses seven stone after splitting PPE


Sarah Wynter, from Hereford, lost seven stone with Slimming World while working as an Intensive Therapy Unit nurse during the Covid-19 pandemic

The mother-of-two’s size made her job even more physically gruelling, and she says her weight was a constant worry

Since joining her local Slimming World group, Sarah has found a new lease of life and regularly hikes in the hills near her home in Hereford

A nurse from Hereford, who lost weight during the Covid-19 pandemic after splitting protective clothing provided to her by the NHS, has lost an incredible seven stone with Slimming World and won a national award.

Mum-of-two Sarah Wynter, 40, who has been named Slimming World’s Miss Slinky 2023, had been overweight for much of her life and says her size was taking its toll on her body. She says: “Working as an NHS nurse is intense both mentally and physically. I was wearing size 2XL scrubs and would leave each shift on my knees – totally and utterly exhausted. My body ached all over from being on my feet all day, I had severe joint pain and I’d be breathless from running around. The Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) I wore was so hot that I’d sweat profusely and would have to change my scrubs whenever I went for a break.

“Working in Intensive Therapy Unit (ITU) during the Covid-19 pandemic was a scary time and my thoughts often turned to how well I’d be able to fight off the virus if I did catch it. I knew that obesity was a contributing factor for many people who struggled with Covid, so it was a constant worry for me and having joined Slimming World just before the first lockdown this really drove my motivation to keep going.”

Weighing more than 17 stone, Sarah had tried to lose weight alone many times and could never seem to stick to her new habits. She says: “I tried every diet you could think of – soups, shakes, calorie counting… they’d all work for a while, but I’d soon lose motivation and end up regaining any weight I’d lost. The turning point for me came when we received some new hazmat suits for the Intensive Care Unit. The box was marked ‘one size’ which instantly worried me. I did manage to get the suit on, but the first time I bent over it ripped from my neck down to my bottom. I laughed it off with everyone else in the room but inside I was mortified.”

Sarah had seen signs for a local Slimming World group on her way to work and decided to give it a try in January 2020. She says: “I was very nervous at the thought of joining a group, but I had a feeling that attending each week would keep on track in a way I hadn’t been able to before. I sat in my car that first night feeling so worried but eventually plucked up the courage to go inside. The group and the Consultant were so welcoming, and I found hearing about how well other members had done really motivating. For the first time started to believe that I could lose weight if I wanted to.”

Sarah Wynter, Slimming World's Miss Slinky 2023

My NHS colleagues at Wye Valley Trust have all been so supportive of my journey – in fact, many of them have now joined Slimming World and been successful themselves. 

Sarah Wynter, Slimming World's Miss Slinky 2023

With Slimming World’s eating plan, members can enjoy more than 350 healthy everyday foods, including lean meat and poultry, eggs, fat-free dairy, pasta, rice and grains, and fruit and veg, without weighing, counting or measuring. By satisfying their appetite on these foods, called ‘Free Food’, slimmers can reduce their calorie intake without counting calories, lose weight without feeling hungry, and personalise the plan to their dietary requirements and the way they like eating.

Sarah continues: “After a lifetime of restrictive diets, I couldn’t believe that I’d be able to lose weight without going hungry. I always thought I needed to snack on sugary treats to keep my energy levels up on long shifts, I soon found that filling up on healthy meals kept me well fuelled throughout the day though and I started to feel in control of my eating habits even during stressful shifts.”

Sarah, who lives with her husband Jon, 48, and children Alfie, 19 and Maisey, 15, found the eating plan fit easily into family life, too. She says: “My husband is a farmer, so he needs to eat hearty meals to keep his energy levels up, and my two children are both really sporty and row for Great Britain, so everyone in the household needs to eat well. I loved that I didn’t have to prepare anything different for myself and we still enjoyed our family favourites like lasagne, noodles and even chips – I just prepared everything in a healthier way.”

Sarah adds: “The support of my Slimming World group was invaluable, too. Everyone truly cares about each other – and that’s the case at both ends of the scale, whether it means being genuinely delighted when you achieve something or really empathising when you struggle. It’s so lovely as it feels like you’re all in it together. I quickly knew that attending my Slimming World group would be a key part of my journey, so I’d arrange my shifts around group night and made attending a priority. Being part of the group helped me to understand my own relationship with food more deeply as well, which is what has enabled me to take control and change my mindset around food and drink – and even exercise.”

After a few months, Sarah found that losing weight steadily and eating healthily caused her energy levels to soar. She says that hearing about Slimming World’s physical activity support programme and how much other members enjoyed being active encouraged her to think about how she could build exercise into her life.

Sarah continues: “Before I lost weight I was pretty inactive. I’d be exhausted after a 12.5 hour shift, so walking the dog to the end of the road was about all I could manage. I live in the countryside, so walking in the hills soon became a bit of an escape for me. I built it up gradually at my own pace by walking just a little bit further every time I went out. Now I love nothing more than a hike in the Brecon Beacons. I’ve even completed a couple of charity challenges and would love to climb Kilimanjaro next year.

“My NHS colleagues at Wye Valley Trust have all been so supportive of my journey – in fact, many of them have now joined Slimming World and been successful themselves. I’ll admit that in the past, I’ve sometimes felt like a bit of a hypocrite when giving advice about healthy eating and exercise to my patients, these days I feel proud because I am living proof that it works.”

Now Sarah is excited to inspire even more people to make changes to their weight and health, like she has: “I’m the best version of myself for my patients – and I’m the best version of myself for me and my family too. I’m living my best life and that’s an incredible feeling.”


Name: Sarah Wynter

Age: 40

Height: 5ft 6in

Starting weight: 17st 4lbs

Current weight: 10st 6lbs

Weight loss: 6st 12lbs  

Dress before: 22

Dress size now: 10

Joined Slimming World: January 2020

Group: Sarah attends the Hereford Slimming World group run by Consultant Jo Diggle

Before menu

Breakfast: Pastries, toast with lots of butter or a bacon and sausage baguette

Mid-morning: Half a pack of biscuits

Lunch: Pre-made baguette and chips, pizza or quiche and chips

Dinner: A takeaway such as Chinese, fried chicken or burger

Snacks: Chocolate, cakes, biscuits

After menu

Breakfast: Big bowl of fresh fruit and yogurt or grilled bacon medallions with eggs  

Lunch: Soup and salad, pasta dishes or jacket potato and salad

Snack: Houmous with vegetable crudites  

Dinner: Homemade sweet and sour chicken with noodles, stir fried vegetables and chips made in an air fryer

Snacks: Fruit, Slimming World Hi-Fi bars, lean meat, hard boiled eggs, cheese


For further information please contact Lucy Fisher in the Slimming World press office on lucy.fisher@slimmingworld.co.uk  or 01773 304245

Notes to editors

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

●        Slimming World and Sarah Wynter 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 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

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