Joanne saves her eyesight after losing 16st


A nanny from Norfolk has been named Slimming World’s Greatest Loser 2024 after losing an incredible 16st 2.5lbs

Joanne Kiddell was diagnosed with a serious weight-related neurological condition and was told by doctors her vision could be at risk

Losing more than half of her body weight has seen the condition go into remission and the 48-year-old is now living life to the fullest with her family

A social worker from Norfolk who once worried she wouldn’t live to see her grandchildren grow up has lost an incredible 16st 2.5lbs and been named Slimming World’s Greatest Loser 2024.

Joanne Kiddell, 48, struggled with her weight for most of her life, and says being diagnosed with a serious health condition that can cause sight loss was ‘a wake-up call’ that helped her to lose weight for good.

She says: “I was bigger than other people my age for as long as I can remember. I started comfort eating from a very early on because of my size. It only got worse as I got older. I had to tried to lose weight in the past, and even lost weight with Slimming World before – I wasn’t in the right mindset though and didn’t stick to the plan long enough to see any long-term results. My confidence was at an all-time low and I struggled to get involved in social activities with my family.”

In 2019 Joanne was diagnosed with a neurological condition called intracranial hypertension (IH), which she was told was linked to her weight. She says: “The diagnosis was the wake-up call I needed. I knew I had to make a change now if I wanted to live to see my grandkids grow up.”

Joanne joined her local Slimming World group in Norwich. She says: “In the beginning, I was anxious about staying for the group session. I was embarrassed about being the biggest person in the room, but I had no reason to be worried.

“Going to the group every week – and staying for the support from my Consultant, Rebecca Jones, and the other members – helped me to get a better understanding of the plan and how important it is to fuel my body with food that makes me feel good. The advice and tools I got each week enabled me to think more deeply about my relationship with food – which has completely changed now – and my group helped me incorporate healthy new habits and overcome any setbacks.

“I used to be an emotional eater and knew that would be my biggest hurdle to overcome. Now I don’t have to think twice about what I’m eating as it’s just a part of my lifestyle. There’s so much flexibility, so if I crave a sweet snack I know that I can enjoy something that’s not going to take off me track, rather than feeling deprived. I no longer rely on takeaways either and enjoy making my own healthier versions from scratch. I’m always trying new recipes from Slimming World Magazine and tend batch cook my favourite meals, like the diet cola chicken.”

The support of her local group and Consultant Rebecca kept Joanne focused on getting to the target weight she’d set. She says: “Knowing I had such a long way to go to reach my goal felt overwhelming at first, however Rebecca encouraged me to break it down into smaller, more achievable goals, which helped. And as I hit each milestone, the ultimate goal became more and more possible. And hearing about other members’ achievements in the group, who were all on a similar journey to me, made me feel like I could do it too.”

Joanne Kiddell, Slimming World's Greatest Loser 2024

Walking through those doors has by far been the best decision I made for myself. I finally feel like I’m really living life and couldn’t be happier.

Joanne Kiddell, Slimming World's Greatest Loser 2024

Before losing weight, Joanne’s mobility was very limited. She says: “My ability to move was holding me back from enjoying my life. I didn’t do any exercise at all and even walking was very difficult for me, so I loved that with Slimming World I could get started at my own pace and when I was ready.”

Slimming World’s physical activity support programme is completely tailorable to each member in a way that suits their lifestyle. Joanne says: “My mobility has improved tenfold, and as a result so has my mental and physical health. Activity has become a part of my life now. I walk a lot more now and use an exercise bike at home. I’ve also joined a gym near me and enjoy attending the fitness classes there – something I would never have the confidence to do before.”

Since losing weight, the mum of two has put her IH into remission and is now looking forward to making special memories with her family. Joanne says: “Losing was the best decision I have ever made. My life has changed beyond recognition. I no longer have to take medication for my IH, and it’s a huge relief not having to worry about losing my sight. I’m living a much a healthier and happier life, with my family now, rather than watching from the sidelines.

“I am now able to do all the things with my granddaughters Charlotte and Grace, that I missed out on with my own children – like swimming. For the first time ever, I had the confidence to play in the pool with them on holiday, which is such a lovely memory that I truly cherish.”

Joanne’s confidence has also soared. She says: “I love shopping for clothes now, and being more adventurous with fashion. Before losing weight, my choices were very limited and I could only shop in specialist stores, which were really expensive – now I love being able to walk into any shop without worrying about whether anything will fit me.

Since joining Slimming World in 2019, Joanne has lost a total of 16st 2.5lbs and is looking forward to hitting her target weight of 11st 4lbs. She says: “I could never have pictured myself 16st lighter five years ago, let alone being named Slimming World’s Greatest Loser! Walking through those doors has by far been the best decision I made for myself. I finally feel like I’m really living life and couldn’t be happier.”

You can view a video of Joanne’s story here.

Name: Joanne Kiddell
Age: 47
Height: 5ft 7ins/170cm
Starting weight: 27st 9lbs/387lbs/175kg   
Current weight: 11st 6.5lbs/160lbs/72kg
Weight loss: 16st 2.5lbs/226lbs/102kg   
Dress size before: 32
Dress size now: 10
Date joined Slimming World: July 2019

Group: Joanne attends the Norwich (Road House) Slimming World group in Norfolk which is held on Wednesdays

Before menu
Breakfast: Toast from a white loaf with butter or sugary cereal
Lunch: Sandwiches or shop-bought sandwiches, crisps, sugary snack bar
Dinner: Chinese or Indian takeaway, ready-made pizza or ready meals
Snacks: Chocolate, crisps, cakes

After menu
Breakfast: Fresh fruit, like pineapple, grapes, strawberries and banana, with fat- free natural yogurt or overnight oats with blueberries
Lunch: Homemade vegetable soup, packed with leek, onions and carrots, or a roast chicken or tuna salad with a baked potato
Dinner: Chicken stir-fry with rice noodles, Slimming World diet cola chicken or a beef chilli with rice, using a homemade sauce
Snacks: Slimming World Hi-fi bar, fruit, packet of cheese curls, fun-size chocolate bar


Notes to editors

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

Slimming World and Joanne Kiddell 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 physical 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 physical activity support programme, Body Magic helps members to overcome any barriers around exercise. 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, Diabetes UK 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