Ken’s given another chance at life after losing 9st

  • Ken McLeod, Slimming World’s Man of the Year 2021, lost 9st
  • After a serious health condition threatened his life in 2018 he decided he needed to tackle his weight once and for all
  • Since losing weight Ken says he has a renewed zest for life and feels like the man he was 30 years ago

A retired police detective who was spurred on to lose weight after struggling to recover from life-threatening health issues, has turned his life around by losing 9st to be named Slimming World’s Man of the Year 2021.

Ken McLeod who lives in East Yorkshire started gaining weight when he became less active in his role with Bedfordshire Police. Reaching more than 23st, Ken admits that his weight crept up on him without him even realising.

He says: “I began to put on weight, but it appeared so gradual I failed to pay much attention to it, my job became more office based and semi-retired I found I had more time to eat out and socialise, I hadn’t realised just how unwell I was becoming.”

“I used to love gardening and tinkering in the garage on old cars but I would get so breathless and struggle to get up from the floor that I started to lose interest in doing the things I loved the most.”

A trip to Scotland with his wife, Jeanette, and a life-threatening illness highlighted just how much his weight was affecting him. He says: “When I look back on that trip to Scotland with Jeanette I felt like we missed out on so much because I was unable to walk far and enjoy the beautiful scenery.”

“Then, the morning of our 39th wedding anniversary, I woke with a terrible pain in my calf, I decided to go for a walk to try and ease the pain but became so unwell I collapsed in the street. I had developed thrombosis which led to a pulmonary embolism. During my journey to hospital, I suffered a cardiac arrest and my heart stopped for ten minutes. Miraculously I survived my ordeal, but it took me over twelve months to fully recover mainly due to me being so overweight and unfit.

“I knew something had to change and inspired by one of my friends who had been successful at a local Slimming World group and spurred on by Jeanette I decided to give it a go.”

Ken joined Slimming World in August, 2019, before the start of the Covid pandemic. Although Ken admits he joined the group with trepidation he felt welcomed and was delighted to discover he could enjoy all of his favourite foods by learning how to cook and prepare them in a slightly different way. He also credits the support he’s received from members of the Leven Slimming World group and his Consultant Angie Ashton for his success. “As nervous as I was the first time I walked into the group I was met with the warmest welcome and soon started to look forward to Monday morning, I’m a people person so engaging with like-minded people, sharing experiences, tips and recipes was brilliant and being able to enjoy all my favourite meals like a full English breakfast and chilli con carne I never felt hungry or restricted.”

When real-life groups were forced to close because of lockdown, Ken continued to attend Angie’s virtual Slimming World group. He believes that the support from the group has been key to his success. “I can honestly say I have never felt downhearted or discouraged at all and although a lot of my Slimming World journey has been during lockdown both myself and Jeanette had the support of other group members and Angie keeping us motivated via the virtual group and on social media. The work Slimming World did to keep everyone connected during this time was brilliant and kept us all motivated and committed.”

Losing weight also made Ken think about how active he was and sparked a new passion for walking and says: “My weight had really affected my mobility and even the shortest walks had become such a challenge. Since losing weight I walk as much as possible, living in the countryside and near the sea means I can enjoy exploring lots of new places. I’ve found it’s had such a positive impact on my physical and mental wellbeing. I’ve also started enjoying all my favourite past times again, gardening and working on my cars in the garage.

“My whole life has changed over the past 18 months. Losing 9st has given me a renewed sense of confidence, vigour and zest for life. Now I’m fully retired, fit and healthy and I can do things I only dreamed of a year ago. I’ve been given another chance at life and I feel like the man I was in my 30’s. My ambition now is to life my life to the fullest – there’s no turning back.”


Name: Ken McLeod

Age: 62

Height: 5’ 11”

Starting weight: 23st 5lb

Current weight: 14st 5lb

Weight loss: 9st

Starting clothes size: 5XL

Current clothes size: L – XL

Date joined Slimming World: 12 August 2019


Group: Ken attends the Leven in East Riding of Yorkshire group run by Consultant Angie Ashton.


Ken’s before menu:

Breakfast: Full English fried breakfast.

Lunch: McDonalds or Kentucky fried chicken with fries.

Snacks: Sausage rolls, pasty, beef slice, crisps, peanuts, full-fat cola

Dinner: Deep fried fish and chips with gravy or curry sauce.

Evening: Indian or Chinese takeaway or a kebab in pita bread. Several beers or bottle of wine.


Ken’s after menu:

Breakfast: 3 trimmed bacon medallions in a wholemeal roll and 2 boiled eggs.

Lunch: Lean ham or tuna speedy salad, pickled onions.

Snacks: Apple, banana or orange. Can of diet cola.

Dinner: Slimming World recipe chilli con carne, boiled brown rice and speedy salad . 

Evening: Slimming World HiFi Bar and a cup of tea.

About Slimming World

For further information please contact Hannah Bowmer in the Slimming World press office on 07907 028164 or email hannah.bowmer@slimmingworld.co.uk

In addition, you can view a video of Ken talking about his weight loss here

Notes to editors

  • This story is NOT for syndication to any magazines without the consent of Ken Mcleod and the Slimming World press office (details above).
  • Slimming World and Ken McLeod retain copyright of all images attached to this press release.
  • Slimming World’s Man of the Year was open to all men who attend Slimming World groups across the UK and Ireland. On average three men attend every Slimming World group.

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