A woman has credited Slimming World with saving her life after the group helped her lose four stone – uncovering a cancerous lump in her breast. Jo Atkins, 50, spotted the signs of the cancer after joining a local Slimming World group and ditching her fast food habit.
When she found the lump she saw a doctor, and it was discovered that she had stage two cancer, requiring chemotherapy. Four years later, Jo is now cancer free – and went on to lose six stone. She said: “Slimming World saved my life. I am convinced if I hadn’t lost the weight and that fat tissue hadn’t gone, there’s no way I would have felt that lump.”
Jo joined a local Slimming World class after hitting 14st 11lbs, reports the Mirror.
Her general diet wasn’t that good. And blowouts on “Fat Fridays” at work – when staff scoffed takeaways – did the real damage. Her favorites included a KFC’s Fillet Tower Meal – with 39 grams of fat and 870 calories.
Alternatively, she had a McDonald’s Big Mac, fries and soft drink…with an extra cheeseburger as a side. Jo said: “I’d tried all sorts of diets over the years and yo-yoed with my weight. I’d eat a lot of convenience food, takeaways, I’d skip meals then binge in the evenings.”
She decided a diet overhaul was needed after her husband Steve, 52, had a severe stroke in 2016 which left him paralysed on the right side. Jo added: “That really was a wake-up call, because I knew he now relied on me for everything.
“I knew I had to do something. I struggled to just bend over and do my laces up.”
At size 20, Jo joined Slimming World in January 2017 and found the lump in November the same year. She said: “I was laying in bed watching telly one evening and noticed it as I turned over.
“At first, I put it off as nothing and it took me a week or so to actually make that appointment.”
Thankfully, Jo had caught the small lump early and put her Slimming World membership on hold as she underwent surgery, six rounds of chemo followed by 20 sessions of radiotherapy.
She returned to her diet group in January 2019 andsmarted to a size 8, losing 6st 4Ibs in all. Jo now loves life with Steve and their kids Aaron, 33, and Leah, 31. And Jo also now runs her own Slimming World group. She added: “Because of what it’s done for me, I really want to help other people.”
Louisa Hetherington, who manages Jo’s team, said: “I couldn’t be more proud of Jo. She’s a fantastic ambassador for Slimming World and what she’s achieved is incredible.”