Watch: "I was so ashamed of my size I hid behind my kids in photos until I lost 7st"
A mum has seen an incredible 7st (44kg) weight loss after feeling so ashamed of her size she hid behind her kids in photos.
Clare Skyvington, 39, from Brickfields, Worcester, says her weight creep up to 16.3st (104kg) after spending years on an unhealthy diet of chips, burgers and chocolate.
The office administrator says she ate up to six meals a day, and regularly sipped on fizzy drinks and sugary tea.
On a daily basis Skyvington would get through half a pack of biscuits and a family-size pizza to herself.
The mum-of-two describes having such low body confidence she was too embarrassed to have her picture taken on her own, only posing for photos if her kids were also in the snap so that she could crouch behind them.
Skyvington, who was warned she was pre-diabetic during both her pregnancies, was pushed to take drastic action after she struggled to walk to a shop.
But a desire to keep up with her children, Jake, seven, and four-year-old Scarlett, was also a driving factor for overhauling her lifestyle, inspiring her to join a gym and swap her takeaway diet for healthy cereals, pasta and salad.
After three years of exercising three times a week and eating sensibly, Skyvington has lost an incredible 7st to weigh 9st (57kg), and has dropped from a size 20 to a trim size 8.
“At my heaviest I weighed just over 16st," Skyvington says. "I'm only 4ft 11, so as you can imagine with my height, I was huge at my biggest."
Skyvington says she had limited movement when she was pregnant with her daughter as the baby was pressing on her sciatic nerve.
“I literally just filled up on junk food and ate my own body weight in rubbish," she explains.
"The pregnancy was very stressful and there were a lot of problems, so I just ate."
But with doctors concerned about potential diabetes, Skyvington says she knew something had to change, so one day in 2020 she plucked up the courage to join her local leisure centre.
“I started taking part in group exercises, like body combat," she explains.
“When I was big I struggled to walk to the shop and I couldn't do a burpee."
Also wanting to get her nutrition in check, Skyvington sought advice from experts at the gym.
“It’s taken three-and-a-half years to lose the weight but now I understand how to keep it off," she explains.
“I know how far I can go up and down and I still have treats and naughty meals.
“You have a naughty weekend and it goes up a bit then it goes down in the week," she continues. "It's basically about healthy living and living within moderation.
“And I still do all the exercise I did to lose the weight now."
The mum-of-two has seen her fitness levels improve so drastically she even now competes in distance runs and the gruelling Wolf Run with her new gym pals.
"I do a lot of group exercise programs," she says, explaining that the support from her fellow gym-goers has been a huge help.
"They always push me to do better," she adds.
Skyvington also says she now drinks a lot of water, which she believes has contributed to her weight loss.
“Before I probably wouldn’t drink half-a-pint of water a day," she says.
“It would be tea, coffee and fizzy pop. I tend to hydrate myself more now. Sometimes you can mistake hunger for needing a drink."
A few months ago Skyvington says she had a test for diabetes, which came back clear.
"I don't want to be poorly," she says. "And I'm a lot happier now.
“My natural weight is around what I am now which is ideal."
Skyvington'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
Skyvington's diet after:
Breakfast – Overnight oats with fruit
Mid-morning – Rice cakes with soft cheese
Lunch – Chicken salad or 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
Additional reporting SWNS.