“Will I ever meet my grandchildren?” That’s the question that sparked real-life slimmer Claire Alsop to lose an incredible 11 and a half stone to become Slimming World’ Woman of the Year 2012!
Joining Slimming World in January 2011 was a last-ditch attempt to lose weight for the married mum of two. “I was having severe health problems and I wasn’t even 30. I couldn’t stand up to make my cakes for more than 10 minutes,” says Claire. “I started thinking about my 40th birthday and wondering how big I’d be then. I thought ‘am I going to see my kids grow up? Will I ever meet my grandchildren?’ I knew I had to do something.”
After struggling with weight all her life, Claire ballooned in size after giving birth to her two children Noah and Ruby.
Claire admits to trying other diets and meal replacement plans but they left her obsessing over food. “My friend found a Slimming World group in our village and I’d never tried Slimming World before so I thought I’d give it a go,” adds Claire.
On 5th January, 2011 Claire went to her local Slimming World group for the first time and with the support of the group and her consultant, Joanne, she started following the club’s food optimising healthy eating plan. Wedding Ideas would always recommend losing weight with friends and family to help keep you motivated.
In her first week, Claire lost 8lb and since then she’s lost a total of 11st 7½lb, dropping from a size 26/28 to a 10/12. “I always tell people that I’ve literally eaten myself thin because I have,” says Claire. “I love hearty British food like steaks, stews and cottage pie. I’ve still been able to eat all of my favourite meals just by cooking them a bit differently. It fits in perfectly with my family life because we can all eat the same meals and I am never hungry.”
Claire has even been able to keep baking celebration cakes for friends and family – a favourite hobby of hers – without it affecting her weightloss. “Because I’m not hungry I don’t feel the need to pick at the sponge cut offs or finish off the buttercream,” says Claire. “I make lower-fat cakes and love swapping recipes with the other members at my Slimming World group.”
As well as losing weight herself, Claire’s husband Paul has even lost weight. “I didn’t want my kids to be embarrassed or bullied because of my size. Now they’ve got parents they can be proud off,” says Claire. “I used to let their lives pass me by but now I don’t miss a thing. We’re out and about all the time and I’ve got lots more energy. I’m participating in their lives rather than spectating and they’re healthier, too – they just love fruit.”
Claire’s now planning to take part in a 10km race for a local cancer charity: “I’ve realised that there’s nothing you can’t achieve if you put your mind to it!”