Slimming World was founded in Alfreton, Derbyshire in 1969 by Margaret Miles-Bramwell, who remains the driving force behind the company today.
Margaret had struggled with her own weight since childhood and she understood that people who are overweight carry a double burden - the physical burden of excess weight and the sometimes far heavier burden of shame and self-criticism.
Over the years, so much has changed – and so much has stayed the same. Our founding principles haven’t changed. There’s Food Optimising – our uniquely satisfying way of eating, based on the liberating concept of Free Food. And more importantly, there’s our passion for treating every member with genuine care, empathy and respect – putting them and their success at the heart of everything we do.
Margaret Miles-Bramwell FRSA OBE
Margaret’s mission was to create a brand‐new approach to weight management. The programmes at the time relied on hunger, restriction and humiliation, and Margaret had a vision for a positive, practical system of support to help people learn new habits and achieve long-term success. It would be an approach based on freedom from hunger, and freedom from humiliation and guilt. From the first meeting, held in a church hall in Alfreton, to becoming the UK and Ireland’s favourite way to lose weight†, Slimming World has been on an incredible journey over the last 50 years.
Slimming World’s Food Optimising plan is a healthy, flexible approach, based on everyday foods, to help people lose weight without ever going hungry. It’s a practical, family-friendly plan that fits easily into everyday life and doesn’t require complex weighing and measuring or obsessive calorie counting. At the heart of Slimming World are our warm, friendly and motivating weekly groups, designed to empower slimmers to make changes for life. Our groups are where the magic happens - a place to share ideas, inspire and be inspired, make friends, and discover new, healthy lifestyle grooves. The Consultants who run our groups have all been successful members themselves, and they are trained in nutrition and behaviour-change techniques at the Slimming World Academy. Millions of people in the UK and Ireland have attended Slimming World’s community-based groups, and increasing numbers of people are logging on to Slimming World’s digital weight loss programme, Slimming World Online.
Based on the same principles and philosophy as our groups, we launched a fresh new digital service in 2018. Our website will guide you step-by-step through your Slimming World journey, with weekly weigh-ins, personalised support, recipes galore and the chance to be inspired and inspire others in the brand-new Slimming World Community. Perfect for anyone who can’t make it to one of our warm and friendly groups, Slimming World Online guides you towards a healthier, fitter you - transformation at your fingertips! Our app makes it easy for all of our members to track and plan meals, and access their favourite digital features from a smartphone. For our group members, LifelineOnline is a 24/7 digital resource to use between group sessions, offering recipes, advice, inspiration and more.
In 2000 Slimming World pioneered the first-ever NHS weight management referral scheme, enabling health professionals to refer overweight patients to Slimming World groups to manage their weight. Slimming World now works in partnership with a range of health providers and we currently have around 90 weight loss referral schemes in place. The cost of these is subsidised by Slimming World. Studies show that NHS patients who are referred lose an average of 4% of their body weight in 12 weeks; this increases to 5.5% for those who attend at least 10 out of the 12 sessions.
Packed full of inspiring success stories, delicious recipes and expert advice, Slimming World Magazine launched in 1998. Within a year the magazine became the UK’s number one slimming title. Slimming World Magazine is now the third most actively-purchased magazine in the UK, even outselling newsstand favourite, Radio Times! It’s available on newsstands around the UK, and is sold in our groups at a special reduced price for members.
Childhood obesity is increasing every year in the UK and around one-third of all children are above a healthy weight. At Slimming World we’re able to offer real help to overweight children. In 2006 we launched our Free2Go plan, especially designed for young people aged between 11 and 15. The focus is always on health, not weight loss, and achievable levels of activity. We encourage young members (along with their accompanying parent or guardian) to make healthy food swaps and positive lifestyle changes, through understanding and non-judgemental support. Today around 30,000 11-15 year olds attend Slimming World, free of charge.
Working with the Royal College of Midwives to develop its policy, Slimming World is the only national weight management organisation to support women through every stage of their pregnancy - from pre-conception to post-natal care. For pregnant women, the focus is not on weight loss, but on healthy lifestyle changes, with the support of their midwife. Our priority is a happy, healthy mum-to-be!Find out more
We launched a charitable foundation, SMILES (Slimmers Making it a Little Easier for Someone), in 1997. In the last five years we have raised more than £11 million for a range of charities. Slimming World currently supports Cancer Research UK, Great Ormond Street Hospital and the Irish Cancer Society. Flagship charity events include the Big Slimming World Clothes Throw, where Slimming World members donate clothes they’ve slimmed out of to local Cancer Research UK and Irish Cancer Society shops.