Wendy’s a wedding belle after losing 12st 4½lbs

· Wendy Deacon, 49, has been named Slimming World’s Woman of the Year 2019 after losing more than half her bodyweight

· She was inspired to change after her daughter worried that Wendy would ‘eat herself to death’

· She’s now looking forward to walking down the aisle in a size 10/12 dress when she marries fiancé Dave 

A woman from Dublin has lost more than half her bodyweight after her young daughter worried that she would ‘eat herself to death’.

Wendy Deacon, 49, started gaining weight in her twenties and despite her happy exterior, her smile only hid her sadness. Now more than 12st lighter, Wendy has been named Slimming World’s Woman of the Year 2019 and finally has the confidence to plan a wedding with her long-term fiancé, Dave.

The mother of one, who works for the Department of Social Protection in Dublin, is also looking forward to celebrating her 50th birthday. She says: “I always came across as jolly and smiley but inside I felt anything but. I was breathless, my joints were painful and at a doctor’s appointment where I said I was afraid of having a heart attack I was told I was pre-diabetic and at serious risk of having a stroke – and then I’d really be in trouble.

“It was getting to the point where I felt uneasy whenever I left the house. I remember once a small boy pointed at me in the street and said ‘look at that fat lady’ to his mother. She tried to hush him, but the damage was done. I’d never felt so embarrassed, I just wanted the ground to swallow me up.

“My turning point came when I found out that my daughter, Amy, had confided in my mum that she was worried I’d eat myself to death. Hearing that broke my heart and I knew I needed to change. The thought of my daughter being so worried about my health really spurred me into action.”

Wendy heard about Slimming World from a friend who had recently joined. She says: “I’d tried lots of fad diets in the past. Everything worked for a little while, but they were quick fixes and I could never stick to them for very long. This time around I had to tackle my weight for good. I knew that Slimming World was based on eating every day foods and never going hungry, so it seemed like the perfect fit. I also knew that, especially at the start of my weight loss, I needed motivation to help me stick with my commitment.

Wendy Deacon, Slimming World Woman of the Year 2019
This time around I had to tackle my weight for good. I knew that Slimming World was based on eating every day foods and never going hungry, so it seemed like the perfect fit.
Wendy Deacon, Slimming World Woman of the Year 2019

“Walking through the doors of my Slimming World group for the first time was really nerve-wracking and I felt nervous and embarrassed because I thought I’d be the biggest person there. None of that mattered though. I was welcomed with open arms and met a whole room of inspiring, friendly people. All of us were in the same boat and there to lose weight together.”

Wendy soon got to grips with Slimming World’s Food Optimising eating plan, which encourages slimmers to fill up on foods such as lean meat, vegetables, rice, potatoes, pasta and eggs without weighing, counting or measuring. She says: “Straight away I embraced the eating plan. I’ve never called it a ‘diet’ because the plan is so flexible and liberating that it fits easily into your routine so you can stay slim for life. I fell in love with proper food and discovered so many different new dishes. It’s a world away from the takeaways and fast food I used to eat.

“I think the biggest change was learning to cook from scratch. I plan my food and batch cook when I can for a few days in advance. Everyone in my group is unbelievably kind and genuinely cares about each other’s success. I feel so lucky to have found them.”

Now that she’s dropped from a size 32 to a size 10/12, there’s another activity which Wendy finds much more enjoyable. She says: “Dave and I have been engaged for a long time, but I never really felt confident enough to actually get married. Finally having the confidence to go wedding dress shopping was a huge moment for me. Before I would have just chosen whatever would fit me, but now I’m asking for size 10 and 12 outfits, it’s just an incredible feeling. I haven’t been able to do that for 25 years!

“I’ll be 50 in January and I can’t wait to dress up and celebrate with my loved ones. To be named Woman of the Year 2019 is just the icing on the cake – especially when Slimming World is celebrating its 50th birthday too!”

Losing more than half of her body weight has also inspired Wendy to become more active. She says: “I used to struggle to climb a flight of stairs, so nobody was more surprised than me when I started to enjoy exercise! I’m often out walking at 7am and I ran a 5k with my daughter recently, something I’d never have been able to do at my heaviest. I feel that Slimming World has given me so much – I’ve got my whole life back.

“By far the best thing about losing weight though is seeing the pride in my family’s faces – especially Amy’s. I’ve finally started to feel proud of myself too. The idea of my little girl worrying about my future was heart-breaking – but now I’m really excited about my future and can’t wait to live every moment.”


Name: Wendy Deacon

Age: 49

Height: 5’5”/1.65m

Starting weight: 22st 4½lbs/312½lbs/141kg

Current weight: 10st/140lbs/63kg

Weight loss: 12st 4½lbs/172½lbs/78kg

Starting dress size: 32

Current dress size: 10/12

Date joined Slimming World: 25th January 2017

Group: Wendy attends the Leixlip Slimming World group run by Consultant Pippa Leys. She also attended Barbara Byrne’s Leixlip group.

Before menu

Breakfast: Nothing

Lunch: Hot chicken roll with crisps

Mid-afternoon: A couple of chocolate bars

Dinner: A takeaway

Evening: More chocolate

After menu

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with grilled tomatoes, or yogurt and fruit

Mid-morning: Fruit

Lunch: A big home-made salad with turkey or ham

Dinner: Chicken stir-fry or spaghetti Bolognese

Evening: Fruit or a Slimming World hi-fibre bar

For further information please contact Lucy Fisher in the Slimming World press office on 01773 306852/07833 684131 or email lucy.fisher@slimmingworld.co.uk

Notes to editors

  • This story is NOT for syndication to any magazines without the consent of Wendy Deacon and the Slimming World press office (details above).
  • Slimming World and Wendy Deacon retain copyright of all images attached to this press release.

About Slimming World

Slimming World was founded by Margaret Miles-Bramwell (OBE, FRSA) in 1969 and is now celebrating its 50th anniversary. There are now more than 19,000 weekly groups supporting 900,000 members across the UK and Republic of Ireland. Groups are run by a network of 5,000 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 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, encouraging and empowering members to make changes in a supportive, 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 Care Excellence (NICE) and the NHS.

For more information about Slimming World’s approach visit www.slimmingworld.co.uk or call 0344 897 8000. Follow Slimming World on Twitter at www.twitter.com/slimmingworld or become a Slimming World fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/slimmingworld 

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