New year, new me! Joan regains her mojo with Slimming World

Done with having her confidence at rock bottom, Joan Hanaway was on a mission. Now, after losing 7 stone in 22 months, she’s got the confidence and self-belief she’d always wanted.

Joan said: "I have struggled with my weight for many years and only when losing my weight did I realise the impact that being overweight had on me. My confidence was low, I would avoid being around people and socialising was a nightmare. I was emotionally drained and even walking was exhausting."

The Rochfortbridge woman said she knew she needed to do something for the sake of her health and herself.

During lockdown Joan had seen a social media post about a Slimming World group running virtually during the lockdown. She signed up, and was, she says, “filled with fear, dread and at the same time excited to get started".

Joan before

“My consultant, Cathriona Tobin, welcomed me on screen with a big smile and everybody was so friendly that I quickly felt at home," said Joan.

"Once Cathriona explained Food Optimising, I couldn’t believe how flexible it was. For the first time I thought maybe this was something I could do.

"I love my food and, as Food Optimising is tailored to you individually, I was able to make my favourite foods like my spicebag, chilli cheese chips and even pizza."

Joan said that allowed her to not feel deprived and helped her to create new habits.

Cathriona said that Food Optimising is the Slimming World healthy eating plan, based on the liberating concept of ‘Free Food’. Slimming World encourages 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. That allows people to lose weight without feeling hungry or deprived and without having to weigh, measure or count everything they eat.

Joan after!

Joan was amazed by all the free foods she could eat and still lose weight. "In my first week I lost 6lb and that’s when I knew I was hooked. The more weight I lost, and the more I heard, ‘you’ve got this’ from the other members and from my consultant, the more my belief in myself grew.

"As the weight was coming down, I could feel my confidence coming back and walking was not a chore – and even better I could fly up the stairs. I would work towards getting my Body Magic Awards."

Cathriona said the 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.

For more info and to find local Slimming World groups, see, or contact your local consultant and book a place.