Mark’s hitting the high notes after 9st weight loss


A dad from Sheffield says he now has the confidence to pursue his dream of becoming a singer after losing an incredible 9st 2lbs with Slimming World and being named Mr Sleek 2024. 

Mark Marsden, 31, felt his weight affected most aspects of his life and was the root cause of a back injury which left him unable to work for seven months.  

He says: “I’d been a big lad ever since I was about nine years old, so it was normal for me – although I was always aware that my weight held me back. As I got older, I was slow, sluggish and had pain in my feet, legs and back all the time. I struggled to get up on time in the morning because everything was so much effort, so I was always late and even that was down to my weight.  

“I’ve always loved singing, so alongside my day job as a car body repairer and painter, I sang at parties, weddings and other events. I had zero confidence though and would constantly be fidgeting and adjusting my clothes because I felt so uncomfortable on stage. I felt like people only saw my weight rather than hearing my voice.” 


Mark Marsden, Slimming World's Mr Sleek 2024

From that first day in group, everyone including my Consultant Caroline was so supportive.

Mark Marsden, Slimming World's Mr Sleek 2024

A day at the funfair with his children Riley, 11, and five-year-old Amelia in 2021 proved the turning point for Mark. He says: “I’d been off work for a while with a bad back injury – I was bed-ridden and relied on my family to look after me. I was just starting to get some mobility back when the kids asked me to take them on a ride at the fair. But the safety bar wouldn’t close, and three staff had to try to push the bar down with a crowd of people watching. In the end we all got off the ride – I felt as though the kids were embarrassed by me. I vowed to never feel like that again.” 

Just two days later, Mark walked through the doors of his local Slimming World group. He says: “I’d heard a bit about Slimming World and knew that it was about eating proper food, so it sounded like a good fit. I thought the group would be full of women and older people, so I was quite surprised to find that I wasn’t the only man there and at how welcome I was made to feel.”  

Mark, who lives with his partner Stacey Bradley, 35, enjoyed Slimming World’s healthy eating plan straightaway. He says: “From that first day in group, everyone including my Consultant Caroline was so supportive. She helped me to realise where my excess calories were coming from, and I noticed that I was making unhealthy decisions when I was hungry and in a rush. I started planning my meals and the other members in group gave me ideas for packed lunches for work, so I wasn’t grabbing something on the go. In my first week, I lost 16lbs. 

“Stacey was supportive too and she was happy for us to adapt our evening meals so that they fit within the plan – Slimming World burgers with sweet potato fries is one of our favourites. It’s real food so I never feel like I’m on a diet.” 

In time, Mark became more active with the help of Slimming World’s physical activity support programme, which helps members to increase their activity levels at their own pace and in a way that fits in with their life. He says: “As the weight started to come off, I found that I had loads more energy. Instead of sleeping through my alarm in the mornings, I was waking up feeling rested and ready for the day.  

“Weight training appealed to me because I knew it would help me to strengthen my back and avoid becoming injured again. I never would have set foot in a gym when I was heavier though so it’s completely different from before. The kids love it when we do active things as a family now too, like running around at soft play together and visiting theme parks, as it’s something we didn’t do when I was bigger.” 

Now that he’s 9st lighter, Mark also has a new career. Alongside singing and DJing, he runs a café with Stacey. He says: “We have a healthier menu at the café for anyone who wants to opt for a lighter option and it’s proving popular. There’s no way I would have thought to do that before losing weight myself. 

“I also have a lot more confidence for my singing gigs. I take opportunities I’d have turned down before and enjoy performing so much more because I know nobody it is talking about my weight – just how I sound. Music is something I’m passionate about so I now feel ready to chase my dreams and sing as much as I can. The only problem is it feels so good to walk into a shop and know something will fit me that I end up buying a new suit before every show!”  




Name: Mark Marsden  

Age: 31 

Height: 5ft 11ins/180cm 

Starting weight: 23st 9½lbs/331½lbs/150kg   

Current weight: 14st 7½lbs/203½lbs/92kg  

Weight loss: 9st 2lbs/128lbs/58kg  

Waist size before: 48ins/121cm 

Waist size now: 32ins/81cm  

Date joined Slimming World: November 2021 


Group: Mark attends Caroline Hawson’s Brinsworth Slimming World group in Rotherham, South Yorkshire 


Before menu 

Breakfast: Large bacon, egg, sausage, hash brown, mushroom, cheese and black pudding sandwich 

Lunch: Shop-bought sandwich with a bag of crisps, two chocolate bars and a flapjack 

Dinner: A 14” ham and pineapple takeaway pizza with curly fries and cheesecake 

Snacks: Two litres of full-sugar cola, a few beers 


After menu 

Breakfast: Two Weetabix with semi-skimmed milk, strawberries, banana, black coffee 

Snack: Box of grapes or melon 

Lunch: Homemade tuna or chicken pasta bake topped with cheese, followed by a Slimming World Hi-fi bar  

Dinner: A homemade beef burger (made with 5% fat mince) served in a wholemeal roll with Slimming World sweet potato fries and a large salad 

Snacks: Vodka and diet coke, rice cakes, low-fat cheese, sugar-free jelly 

ends – 

Notes to Editors

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

●         Slimming World and Mark Marsden 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 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 Instagram @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