"I was so ashamed of my size I hid behind my kids in photos until I lost 7st"

An obese mum lost seven stone after realising she was so ashamed she hid behind her kids in photos to disguise her bulky body. Clare Skyvington ballooned to 16.3st (104kg) after years of gorging on pizzas, chips, burgers and chocolate. The 39-year-old office administrator ate up to six meals a day, washed down with fizzy drinks and sugary tea. Every day she would munch through half a pack of biscuits and scoff a family-size pizza to herself. The single mum-of-two, from Brickfields, Worcester, was so low she was too embarrassed to have her picture taken on her own. She would only pose for photos if her kids were also in the snap so that she could crouch behind them to hide her roly-poly figure. Clare, who was warned she was prediabetic during both her pregnancies, was pushed to take drastic action after she struggled to walk to a shop. The pint-sized 4ft 11in mum also wanted to keep up with her two children, Jake, seven, and four-year-old Scarlett. Clare joined a gym and swapped her takeaway diet for healthy cereals, pasta and salad. After three years of exercising three times a week and eating sensibly, she has lost more than seven stone. She now weighs a trim nine stone and has gone from a lardy dress size 20 to a svelte eight. She has got so fit she even competes in distance runs and the gruelling Wolf Run with her new gym pals. Clare, said: “At my heaviest I weighed just over 16 stone. “I could’ve been a little bit bigger than that. I'm only 4’11. As you can imagine with my height and when I was at my biggest I was huge. “When I was pregnant with my daughter she sat on my sciatic a nerve so I was limited with movement. “I literally just filled out with junk food, I ate my own body weight in rubbish. "The pregnancy was very stressful and there were a lot of problems and I just ate and ate and ate. “My diabetes readings were high. I was registered as prediabetic. I knew at that point something had to change to basically. “At that point I went on a UK holiday and I found myself hiding behind my children. “I suddenly realised that I didn’t have any photos without my kids. “I never walked, I drove everywhere and my diet was appalling. "I lived on fast food and convenience meals. “I was miserable, unhappy before. I used to hide myself away, I wouldn’t allow myself to be photographed. I would avoid activity.” Finally, one day in 2020 Clare plucked up the courage to join her local leisure centre and she was instantly hooked. She said: “I started taking part in group exercises, like body combat. “I had to get my nutrition in check so I took advice from the experts at the gym. “When I was big I struggled to walk to the shop and I couldn't do a burpee. “It’s taking three-and-a-half years to lose my weight but that’s made me realise how to keep it off me. “I know how far I can go up and down, I know where my lines are. I still have treats and naughty meals. “I still do all the exercise I did to lose the weight now. “You have a naughty weekend and it goes up a bit then it goes down in the week. It's basically about healthy living and living within moderation. “I drink a lot of water now too. I probably wouldn’t drink half-a-pint of water a day. “It would be tea, coffee and fizzy pop. I tend to hydrate myself more. Sometimes you can mistake hunger for needing a drink. “Three or four months ago I had a diabetes test and it was clear, there was nothing. “I'm a lot happier now and I don’t want to be poorly. “On average, I tend to exercise five days a week and I do a mixture of cardio and weight training. “I do a lot of group exercise programs. That has been one driving force behind it, the support. “I did the Wolf Run with them, they always push me to do better. “My natural weight is around what I am now which is ideal. It's like my happy place. It's my sweet spot.” Clare’s diet BEFORE: Breakfast – Multiples rounds of buttery toast. Mid-morning snack – Half a pack of biscuits and sugary tea or coffee. Lunch – Cheese sandwich, crisps, chocolate bar, fizzy pop. Afternoon snack – Crisps. Dinner – Family-sized pizza or takeaway from McDonald’s, Domino’s or KFC. Supper – Chocolate pudding. Clare’s diet NOW: Breakfast – Overnight oats with fruit. Mid-morning – Rice cakes with soft cheese. Lunch – Chicken salad, pesto pasta salad. Afternoon snack – Fruit, apple and peanuts. Dinner – Homemade chilli, with salad, a sensible portion of rice with salad and a Greek yoghurt dessert.