Tube shame saw me lose 8½st

Student Fay Marshall lost 8½st after she was mistaken for being pregnant on the London underground – not once, but twice.

The 23-year-old was so embarrassed by the kind-hearted commuters’ innocent offers to give up their seats that she decided to embark on a weight-loss journey. Now, she’s far from embarrassed after dropping five dress sizes and being named Slimming World’s Woman of the Year 2017.

Fay, from Enfield in North London, had been overweight from the age of 10 or 11 and at her heaviest wore a size 22, but says she would use a hair tie to fasten up her trousers because she couldn’t face buying a bigger size.

She says: “It was a cycle, the bigger I got the less confident I was about going out with my friends so I’d stay in and secret eat instead. At school I’d sit on the field in protest in PE lessons and refuse to join in.

“What happened on the tube back in December 2015 – on two separate occasions – was humiliating. Having to explain that I wasn’t actually pregnant was bad enough, but I also knew I probably wouldn’t fit in the seat they’d offered me anyway. My confidence hit rock bottom at that point. I’d go to bed early, get up late and I didn’t really leave the house much at all. I hated looking at myself in photos and I was sick of never being able to get any nice clothes.”

Fay Marshall, Slimming World's Woman of the Year 2017
I always thought I was destined to be overweight forever, but I’ve changed my destiny and if I can do that I believe anyone can.
Fay Marshall, Slimming World's Woman of the Year 2017

Realising how low she was feeling, Fay’s grandmother Pam Marshall suggested they join Slimming World together and in January 2016 they walked through the doors of Charlene Griffith’s Enfield Vineyard group.

Fay, a criminology and psychology student at Middlesex University, says: “Even having Nan with me, I was nervous and scared – I thought I’d be the biggest there. Everyone was so kind and friendly though, and I can honestly say I’ve never met a negative person there – every week we have a laugh and I’ve made friends for life. I always say if I could bottle the feeling I get from my Slimming World group I would, because there’s nothing quite like it.”

Fay began following Slimming World’s Food Optimising eating plan and says initially her nan, who she lived with at the time, did the bulk of the cooking: “I didn’t know how to boil an egg when I started losing weight, so I’d been pretty dependent on takeaways – I usually had at least three a week and I was known to get through a 12-pack of jam tarts regularly too. Nan started to show me how to make different meals though and I learned how to adapt the dishes I liked to make Slimming World-friendly versions – now my favourite meal is a lean kebab with wholemeal pitta bread, Slimming World-friendly chips and salad. It’s so easy to prepare and tastes better than a takeaway.”

Fay’s also become more active and now enjoys swimming, pilates and going to the gym. She and her partner of seven years Mark, who she now lives with, also recently enjoyed hiking and cycling on holiday in Florida, where she wore shorts for the first time in her adult life.

Since January 2016 Fay’s lost 8st 8lbs, dropping from 21st 5lbs to 12st 11lbs and from a dress size 22/24 to a 12. And what she’s lost in weight she’s gained in confidence, which has seen her speaking up more at university, enjoying socialising again and even signing up for a sky dive to celebrate achieving her target weight. Fay’s nan Pam is also a Slimming World target member, having lost 2st 8lbs.

Fay, who works part-time as a receptionist alongside her studies, says: “Before, whenever I walked into a room I would feel as though everyone was looking at me and thinking ‘wow, she’s a big girl!’. Now I can walk into any room standing up straight and with my head held high.

“I always thought I was destined to be overweight forever, but I’ve changed my destiny and if I can do that I believe anyone can. And I definitely don’t have to worry about anyone offering me a seat on the tube because they think I’m pregnant anymore – while that usually means I have to stand, it’s a pretty good feeling!”


Name: Fay Marshall

Age: 23

Height: 6ft 0.5in/1.84m

Joining date: January 2016

Starting weight: 21st 5lbs/299lbs/136kg

Current weight: 12st 11lbs/179lbs/81kg

Weight lost: 8st 8lbs/120lbs/55kg

Group: Fay attends the Enfield Vineyard Slimming World group run by Charlene Griffith.

Before menu:

Breakfast: 4 slices of white toast spread with butter and peanut butter;

Lunch: Pre-packaged sandwich, crisps, chocolate bar and a sugary fizzy drink;

Dinner: Takeaway, such as pizza or chicken burger;

Snacks: Sweets, chocolates, crisps, jam tarts.

After menu:

Breakfast: Overnight oats – porridge oats layered with lots of frozen berries and quark;

Lunch: Couscous or pasta salad, or ‘pizza’ omelette with salad;

Dinner: BBQ pulled pork with cabbage and green beans, or homemade kebab with a wholemeal pitta bread, Slimming World-style chips (baked in the oven in low calorie cooking spray) and salad;

Snacks: fruit, high-fibre cereal bars, popcorn, small bar of chocolate or Twister ice lolly.


Please find attached photos of Fay before and after her weight loss. More photos are available from the Slimming World newsroom at www.slimmingworld.co.uk/press from 10am.

In addition, you can view a video of Fay talking about her weight loss here.

For further information please contact the Slimming World press office on 01773 306852 or 07770 807740 or email lucy.knighton@slimmingworld.co.uk or megan.featherstone@slimmingworld.co.uk

Notes to Editors

Slimming World was founded by Margaret Miles-Bramwell (OBE, FRSA) in 1969. There are now more than 18,000 groups held weekly across the UK and Republic of Ireland via a network of 4,000 community-based Slimming World Consultants, who receive specific training in the role of diet and physical activity in weight management, as well as sophisticated behaviour-change techniques.

Slimming World’s healthy eating plan, Food Optimising, is based on the science of satiety and energy density. Our phased activity programme, Body Magic, eases members into activity until it becomes an intrinsic part of their daily routine. The principles behind Slimming World’s philosophy are based on a deep understanding of the challenges faced by overweight people and a recognition that those who struggle with weight carry a double burden, the weight itself and a burden of guilt and shame about their weight. Slimming World’s programme integrates practical, up-to-date advice with a highly developed support system based on care and compassion, and Consultant training focuses on facilitating behaviour change in a warm and friendly group environment. Consultant training is delivered through the Slimming World Academy. Slimming World also invests in a comprehensive research programme to develop its support for long-term weight management. The group support provided by Slimming World is recognised as effective by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and the NHS.

For more information about Slimming World’s approach visit www.slimmingworld.co.uk or call 0344 897 8000.

For the Press Office please email public.relations@slimmingworld.co.uk