Claire: I feel like the old ‘me’ – not just a busy working mum who had lost sight of herself!
I'm now a size 10 rather than a size 18 and I no longer feel anxious!
Start weight: 16st 7lb | Weight loss: 4st 2lb
Current weight: 12st 5lb
Age: 32 | Height: 6' 1"
How long it took: 9 months
Friday night is pizza night in our house. I love topping mine with prawns, anchovies and tuna while my husband Simon is a ham and mushroom fan. Meanwhile, our six-year-old daughter Lola loves making faces on her pizza with cucumber sticks and tomatoes and even our 18-month-old Faith will tuck into the cheesy bits.
They’re all WeightWatchers recipes of course, but it’s fun and most importantly, the food tastes great. You can’t keep me out of the kitchen nowadays whether I’m making lemon and garlic chicken with pasta with asparagus – Lola’s favourite - or cheesy chicken with bacon medallions. You’d never believe that two years ago, Simon was always in charge in the kitchen and I’d earned the nickname: ‘Can’t cook, shouldn’t cook’!
My weight problem began just after I got married at the age of 25. I’d always been told I wouldn’t be able to have children but six months after the wedding, I discovered I was pregnant. It was two weeks after I’d just lost my lovely aunt to cancer so although I was overjoyed to be pregnant, I was also grieving. I turned to food for comfort, believing that this was the one and only time I could eat what I liked. I put on four stone.
After Lola was born, I wanted to try for another baby but we struggled to conceive and doctors advised me to lose some weight. That shocked me because although I knew I was getting bigger, I was in denial. Just as we were referred to specialists for help, I discovered I was pregnant again. Once again, I turned to food and put more weight on.
Bringing up two young children while being overweight was hard work. My joints ached, I couldn’t run around after them and would be out of breath going up the stairs. Because I’m so tall – at 6ft 1' – I’d always told myself I could ‘carry it off’ but as the size 16 clothes began to feel tight and I could only fit into size 18s, I knew I had to do something.
I’d suffered with anxiety and depression in the past and I could feel the anxiety creeping back on with the weight. I went to my GP and he referred me to the local Weight Watchers meeting. I was terrified. But I gave myself a virtual ‘slap’ and told myself that I could either sit here and cry over my weight or do something about it. Walking into that meeting was the scariest thing I’ve ever done in my life, but everyone was so welcoming. I’d joined on a day where they were having a tasting session and everyone had brought in foods. I remember trying a delicious chicken curry and a strawberry cheesecake and thinking: ‘If I can eat food like this and lose weight, this will be great’.
I took home the recipe cards and started making meals from scratch. I could tell Simon was nervous – he knows how useless I was in the kitchen, but I needed to take control. Every Sunday we make a meal plan and when I go shopping I scan everything. Lola also gets involved too – she’ll ask how many SmartPoints are in things!
I started swimming again, a sport I’d loved in my childhood. Every Saturday I get up at 6.30am and swim for a mile or two. It’s wonderful and so peaceful. I’ve also started running too and am doing the couch to 5k. But it’s little things that have helped too – like getting up and walking around at work more. It all adds up.
When I got to goal only 13 weeks after joining I actually jumped around the room with joy. Two friends – Zara and Jen - had joined with me and they were cheering.
I’ve actually lost another stone because I feel better at this weight. I am now a size 10 rather than a size 18. I no longer feel anxious because I feel like the old ‘me’ – not just a busy working mum who had lost sight of herself. Life could not be better.