Slimming World’s Woman of the Year says she was just ‘existing’ at 404 pounds

"Mom loses 243 pounds through healthy eating, exercise"A mom who was severely overweight for nearly four decades has lost more than half her body weight after being forced to miss her son’s awards ceremony for fear of breaking his school’s chairs.

After reaching 400 pounds, Kim Freshwater, 45, was used to avoiding social occasions like weddings and parties for fear of embarrassing her family. She watched from the sidelines as her husband Lee and their three children enjoyed the activities that she couldn’t, including playing in the park, going to the movies and riding roller coasters. But when she had to skip her son’s awards ceremony, Kim was devastated and knew she had to make a change. She joined Slimming World and less than three years later, she’s lost 243 pounds and has been named Slimming World’s Woman of the Year 2013.

Kim says since losing weight she’s making up for missing out on family life: “Before I lost weight I had to walk with a cane and I couldn’t fit in the seats at the movies or on rides like roller coasters. I once broke a chair at my friend’s house, which was mortifying, and I even slept on the floor when we went away because I was so scared the bed wouldn’t be able to take my weight. I’ve missed so many wonderful moments with my family and I can never get those back, but now I’m determined to make up for lost time and there’s so much I want to do.”

Kim’s problems began in elementary school. At just 11, she wore a size 14-16. When her father passed away in her teens, she turned to food for comfort and put on more weight: “My dad had always been my best friend and I suppose I used food to fill the hole he left. As I got older, people would always say how pretty I’d be if I lost weight — and I did try, but the diets I did were only ever quick fixes. I’d regain all the weight I lost as soon as I stopped.”

While she missed out on much of family life, Kim was proud that her weight had never prevented her from attending any of her children’s school plays, parents’ evenings or other special events. But when their school swapped its solid chairs for flimsy ones, for the first time ever Kim had to skip one of her son’s awards ceremonies. Soon after she was unable to attend a relative’s funeral because she couldn’t manage the long walk between the church and the graveside.

“I felt I’d let my family down because I wasn’t there to support them on either occasion,” she says. “I was so upset about it one night that I couldn’t sleep and there was a program on TV about funerals, showing how severely overweight people need special coffins and how difficult it is to cremate their bodies. It was as if someone was trying to tell me something – I didn’t ever want to put my family through that.”

Kim already had a list of health problems including high blood pressure, breathing problems, back and knee pain. So she asked for help from her doctor, who advised her to try Slimming World where she’d learn to cook and eat healthy low calorie meals and become more active.

“I was worried people would judge me,” says Kim. “I shouldn’t have been so nervous, though, because everyone made me feel so welcome. Now I recommend Slimming World to everyone. The group is such great support if the going ever gets a bit tough and they cheer you on with every pound you lose.”

Kim lost 44 pounds in her first 12 weeks. Now she’s lost a total of 243 pounds, dropping from 404 pounds to 161 pounds.

She has transformed her eating habits, swapping one big meal a day for three healthy homemade meals and snacks.

“When I first learned about Slimming World’s eating plan, I waited to find out what I couldn’t have, but there wasn’t anything,” she says. “I can have everything in moderation. I actually eat more now than I did before but I’ve learned to make good choices. The plan isn’t a diet; we all eat together as a family and we have lots of our old favorite meals, just adjusted so they’re cooked in a healthier way.”

As her health improved, the full-time mom has also become more active. She plays tennis, goes swimming, walks miles — without a cane —  indulging her hobby of photography and has started cycling again after hanging up her helmet 20 years ago.

“I can do so much more since losing weight, but for me the biggest achievements are the small things, probably things that most people take for granted,” she says. “I love that I don’t need seatbelt extensions on planes anymore. I can sit in chairs with arms. I can shop on streets with hills – the list is endless! My husband jokes that my weight loss has been hard on his bank balance because before I used to have four pairs of shoes, but now I’ve got about 40. Before I only wore black, but now my wardrobe’s full of every color of the rainbow.”

She’s determined she’ll never go back to the old Kim. The new slim Kim has plans to ride her first roller coaster and go on a zip line. She’s also planning to renew her wedding vows on her 25th wedding anniversary next year in a beautiful size 8 dress.

“Before Slimming World, I wasn’t living; I was existing,” she says. “I walked with my head down and tried to blend into the background. Now I’m living life to the fullest and have my head held high. I don’t think I realized how unhappy I was until I became as happy as I am now. My daughter recently told me that I used to be a chunky caterpillar and now I’m a beautiful butterfly, and that’s exactly how I feel!”


Name: Kim Freshwater

Age: 45

Height: 5’6½”

Weight loss: 243 pounds

Starting weight: 404 pounds

Current weight: 161 pounds

Starting dress size: 34

Current dress size: 8/10

Date joined Slimming World: 3/28/2011

Before menu:

Breakfast: nothing

Lunch: nothing

Dinner: lasagna with a cheesy sauce, fries and garlic bread.

Late night snacks: chips or chocolate

After menu:

Breakfast: Grilled lean bacon, mushrooms and tomatoes with eggs fried in low calorie cooking spray

Mid-morning: a piece of fresh fruit or a fat-free yogurt

Lunch: a chicken salad of cooked chicken pieces, new potatoes, lettuce, tomatoes and cucumber

Mid-afternoon: a high-fiber cereal bar

Dinner: homemade spaghetti bolognese made with extra-lean beef and lots of vegetables such as peppers, zucchini and carrots, cooked in low calorie cooking spray instead of oil. Followed by a fresh fruit salad.

Snacks: Fresh fruit, fat-free yogurts, low calorie hot chocolate and a chocolate bar. – Ends –

For more information and/or additional photos, please contact:

Darla Atlas


Slimming World, the UK’s leading weight loss organization,* launched in America in 2012. It was founded in 1969 and promises people looking to lose weight a healthy eating plan that offers satisfaction without hunger or deprivation based on the science of satiety and energy density; support that offers compassion, empathy and understanding, and an activity program to suit individual needs and preferences. Members following the program lose weight by eating foods like pasta, potatoes, lean meat, fish, eggs, fruits and vegetables without having to count, weight or measure. Some foods like candy or alcohol are enjoyed in measured amounts. Slimming World has a deep awareness of the emotional, physical and psychological challenges faced by overweight people, and this understanding underscores the company’s philosophy and methods. In more than four decades, Slimming World has helped millions of people to lose weight and live healthier, happier lives.


  • Slimming World helps more people to lose weight in its motivating support groups each week than any other internationally renowned weight loss organization.
  • Slimming World holds more weekly support groups and has more highly trained Consultants leading its groups than any other weight loss organization in the UK.
  • Slimming World magazine is the market leader by circulation in the UK.
  • This statement is not based on online membership in the UK, turnover, profit or revenues; it refers to the number of people who choose to lose weight at a Slimming World group each week compared to any other internationally renowned weight loss organization.