Savvy mum saves £100 a month on food and loses 11st since joining her local Slimming World group

Kerri Hayes’s story backs up new research which shows the importance of receiving support and advice to make healthy eating choices as half of UK adults (51%) say spiralling food costs are making it harder to make healthy food choices

Kerri H

The study of 2,000 adults[1], led by the UK’s largest weight-loss organisation Slimming World,  reveals half of UK adults report they’re finding it harder to make healthy food choices (51%) and one in three say they prioritise the cost of food over how healthy it is (31%).

The research found over a fifth of adults (23%) say they weigh more now compared to one year ago and, of these, 58% believe the financial crisis contributed to their weight gain. Of those who gained weight, 38% felt this was due to comfort eating or eating more convenience food, 36% felt they gained weight because they were buying cheaper, less nutritious food and 31% say they’re less motivated to eat healthily because of the cost-of-living crisis.

The survey also polled members of Slimming World’s 13,000 community weight loss group sessions and online programme[2].  The good news is that 83% of those who’d joined a Slimming World group agree it is possible to lose weight on a budget, 74% feel confident they can eat healthily on a budget and 90% now feel more in control when it comes to their food choices.

Primary school teacher Kerri Hayes, 42, from Walthamstow in East London, had been struggling for years to lose weight. When she became seriously ill with Covid-19 during the pandemic, and doctors said her weight was a contributing factor, Kerri knew she had to make a change.

She says: “In January 2021, weighing 22st, I was hospitalised for several days due to Covid-19. After extensive tests, I was told I had several blood clots in my brain, of which some had haemorrhaged.  I felt so confused and my speech was slurred.  The consultant advised that being morbidly obese was a major contributing factor in my illness. I was put on so much medication and throughout 2021 I gradually got better, but I wasn’t losing weight, quite the opposite in fact. In January 2022 I decided enough was enough. I was determined to make a change and I decided to go along and join my local Slimming World group.

“I lost 7lbs that first week. I was so happy to be losing weight by eating real food and not shakes or packet food, which I’d tried before to lose weight and they just weren’t sustainable. I was very nervous walking into the group as I was the heaviest I’d ever been. Everyone was so welcoming and supportive, though. They’re so proud of my weight loss and it’s incredible to think now I’m supporting others!

“Although I’m lucky to have a close-knit family, I genuinely see my group as my second family now.  We’re all ‘in it’ together, we understand the challenges of trying to lose weight and no-one judges each other.  We talk to each other openly and there’s such a warmth in the group – we see each other through the highs and the lows.

“Being a single mum and a teacher, I was worried it might cost more to eat healthily to lose weight, it really hasn’t though. In fact, I’ve saved around £100 a month on my food bills as I’m not buying ready meals and takeaways.  If I think back to how I ate before joining, I wasn’t cooking, I was just putting convenience food in the microwave.  My diet used to consist of ready meals, sugary drinks, lots of crisps and very little fruit or vegetables.

“Now I’m eating much more fresh food than I did before. I enjoy cooking and making healthy versions of all my favourite foods which are nutritious and filling so I’m never hungry. I’m using up all the vegetables in my fridge which would probably have gone to waste before, too. I make a lot of soup at the weekends and freeze it and Sunday is my day to cook meals in bulk to ensure I’m prepped for the week ahead. The recipes on the Slimming World App are amazing too – my favourite is chicken chow mein and I love adding loads more vegetables to it to bulk it out. I feel in control of what I’m eating for the first time in my life, and that feels really good.

“Before I lost weight, after standing up in the classroom all day my knees would hurt and my ankles were always aching and swollen. I was lethargic, lacked motivation and had very low self-esteem. I have so much more energy and confidence. My teenage son Nic and I live on the fourth floor in a block of flats and when I was at my heaviest, I’d dread it if the lift was out of order.  Now, it’s no bother! I don’t get out of breath at all when walking up stairs. I go to Zumba classes twice a week – I was inspired by hearing other Slimming World members talking about activity and actually one of the ladies from my group is the instructor. I love the Slimming World online activity videos too and I walk 10K steps a day."

Dr Jacquie Lavin, Special Advisor on the Science of Weight Management at Slimming World

Kerri’s story shows how getting practical advice and tangible tried-and-tested tips from fellow slimmers on the same journey can be especially valuable when you're finding it difficult to eat healthily and lose weight or stay on track. Like Kerri, more than half (56%) of members in this survey said they’ve found it easy to eat healthily on a budget since joining Slimming World and 83% say that sharing tips, support and advice at their weekly group helps with this.

Dr Jacquie Lavin, Special Advisor on the Science of Weight Management at Slimming World

Kerri says: “I share the tips I’ve learned with my friends at work and they tell me how inspiring they find me, which is lovely.  The parents of children I’ve previously taught even told me they thought I was a new teacher! I’m 11st lighter and I’ve dropped 5 dress sizes from a 22 to a size 12!  I feel like I’m reliving my youth and I’m so much more confident. I’m enjoying eating real food and feeling in control of my food choices.  And, not only is my plate a lot more colourful, my wardrobe is too as I no longer want to just blend into the background, I have a whole new confidence and mindset!”

Dr Jacquie Lavin, Special Advisor on the Science of Weight Management at Slimming World

We can see from the member survey that receiving support and advice to make healthy eating choices is more important than ever when helping people to lose weight on a budget. In fact, since joining Slimming World, 90% of members now feel more in control when it comes to their food choices and 83% agree it is possible to lose weight on a budget. Being part of a group where you're facing the same challenges together and helping each other to stay motivated makes a real difference. It’s even better when this support is in a warm, friendly community particularly during such difficult times.

Dr Jacquie Lavin, Special Advisor on the Science of Weight Management at Slimming World

Joanne Wason runs the Leyton Slimming World group and is Kerri’s Slimming World Consultant.  Joanne says: “It’s been such an honour for me to part of Kerri’s weight loss journey. It wasn’t long after Kerri joined my group, and as she began to swap takeaways and ready meals for her own home cooked food, that Kerri found she was losing weight and she was also saving money. She now shares her tips and experience with the group and she’s such a valued member – we can’t imagine our group without her! Awarding Kerri with her 11st award was a moment I will never forget – it was a magical moment and I’m so proud of Kerri’s success.”

The research conducted by OnePoll, shows the impact the rise in food prices is having with 80% of those polled saying this is causing them concern. The research shows over a third (37%) say their physical health has been impacted by the cost-of-living crisis and 46% say it has affected their mental health.


Group: Kerri attends the Leyton Slimming World group run by Consultant Joanne Wason. For more information or to find your nearest group, visit slimmingworld.co.uk.

Kerri Hayes

Starting weight: 22st

Weight lost: 11st

Current weight: 11st

Height: 5ft 5in


Breakfast: Nothing

Lunch: Sausage roll, crisps, chocolate, can of cola  

Dinner: Takeaway pizza or ready meal, for example lasagne and chips

Snacks: Crisps, bars of chocolate

Drinks: Fizzy, sugary drinks


Breakfast: Fresh fruit with low-fat yoghurt

Lunch: Ham, tomato and lettuce crustless bread sandwich

Dinner: Slimming World Spaghetti Bolognese with salad

Snacks: Fruit, grapes, apples, low calorie yoghurt, low fat crisps or low-calorie jelly

Drinks: Water

[1] Data relates to a nationally representative sample of 2,000 UK adults surveyed between 3rd and 6th March 2023

[2] A self-selecting sample of 2,000 Slimming World members were polled via Slimming World’s member website between 3rd and 6th March 2023

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 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 Twitter at twitter.com/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