Stoke-on-Trent dad Colin battles through loss & cancer diagnosis to shed 2st


When he joined his local weight loss group eight months ago, Colin Fernando had no idea of the impact it would have on his life.

He also had no idea what a tough year he would go on to have.

After battling an eating disorder since childhood, Colin, from Bucknall, took the plunge and joined his local Slimming World group in February.

But in April, his father died, and with the country on lockdown, he didn’t have access to the normal support he would receive in a face-to-face slimming group environment.

Throughout lockdown Colin, 51, admits he didn’t join in with online meetings. He wiped the slate clean and started fresh in September, before being dealt another blow a few weeks ago when he was diagnosed with lymphoma.

Colin before he started Slimming World

Colin is now isolating at home for six months whilst he undergoes chemotherapy, but he says he is feeling more motivated than ever and is keen to show the world that not even cancer, or an eating disorder, can stop you from starting your weight loss journey.

He has lost 1st 7lbs already and dropped from a 5XL to 3XL – and he has no plan to stop anytime soon.

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“I have always had had problems with my eating and have had a binge eating disorder since I was a child,” said Colin. “It was starting to get really bad and I knew I needed to do something, but wasn’t sure where to go.

“I have struggled with getting help in the past, but I thought if I tried something like Slimming World, where I follow a diet that is nutritionally balanced and set out for me, then it might make a difference.

“I went to see Ange (Slimming World consultant) and sat down with her and told her my issues. I explained that I had the eating disorder, as well as mental health problems, and she just wanted to help.

Colin has lost one and a half stone so far

“I was doing it for ages and nothing was really happening. I was going off and not sticking to the plan, saying I’d restart the next day, but it didn’t happen.

“Ange said to me that if I didn’t stick to it and commit fully, then I wouldn’t see results. I decided to give it a fresh start and I lost 2lbs which was brilliant.

“I was doing really well but then we went into lockdown and I lost my father in April. I didn’t do the Zoom meetings, so it was difficult to stay on track and stay motivated.”

In September, Colin decided to start again with Slimming World, and went back to the face-to-face groups.

“Ange had been a massive support throughout lockdown. She was always checking in and asking if I was OK. She told me that come September, I had to come back to group and try again, so I made a commitment and purchased the 12-week countdown pack.

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“I went and did a big shop at Iceland and bought pretty much the entire Slimming World range. I put everything into it and lost 6lbs in my first week.

“So as I was doing really well and the pounds were coming off – I was even running up the stairs – it was really worrying when I was diagnosed with lymphoma a few weeks ago.

“I was worried, because I was learning to control my eating disorder, and I had this great support, but now I had to stay at home for six months.

“Ange again went above and beyond. I told her that if it was all too much, then just tell me. I had presented her with three difficult and unique circumstances, but she never batted an eyelid.

“She went to head office and arranged for me to be an online member. Now I weigh in each week at home and still have access to all of the Slimming World materials, such as the app.”

Now Colin is devoting his time to losing weight, and is determined to be in a better place by April. He hopes to have achieved his target weight by then, and his chemotherapy will be finished too.

“I experiment all the time with cooking now,” explained Colin. “I have even started looking into plant based food as something different. I have tried healthy kebab recipes, and I’ll put things like hi-fi bars and fat free yoghurt into the freezer to change it up a bit, and make it feel like I’m having a dessert.

“I wasn’t prepared for the hunger that would come with chemo, but thanks to Slimming World I am able to eat as much free food as I want, so I’m always full, and still lose weight.

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“I am already noticing changes, such as having more energy and all of my clothes becoming too big. My kids laugh at me when I put my jacket on because you could fit two of me in there now.

“It’s amazing the support you get in group. I opened up about my binge eating, expecting to be the only one, but about three other people were nodding and could relate to me.

“It really is a lifeline and I miss group, but Ange has been fantastic and I know she’s there for support if I need it. I keep in touch with everyone on Facebook and it’s like I have this connection to the outside world, when I have to stay at home – it’s great.”

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