Claire Hamilton admits she’d piled on the pounds after having her daughter, Isla, two years ago. Content with her changing shape, she was keen to concentrate on life with her new baby, but some of her colleagues weren’t so sure. It all started in the toilets at the department store where Claire worked as a window dresser, where, to her horror, she heard workmates jeer that she’d “let herself go”.
Overheard in the bathroom
“I knew I’d put on weight after I had Isla and I wanted to lose it, but it just never seemed to be a priority,” Claire says. “It was so easy for the pounds to creep on when I was a new mum. I was putting all my energy into looking after Isla and I just stopped caring. I wasn’t happy with how I looked, but it was only when I heard other people talking about me that I got the kick up the backside I needed to do something about it. I was in a toilet cubicle at work when I heard two women I work with talking about me. They were saying I’d really let myself go since I’d had my little girl, and I heard one of them say: ‘Maybe she just doesn’t realise how fat she is now’.”
The insensitive comments came as a shock. “I didn’t recognise the person they were talking about,” she says. “My partner had always told me I was beautiful, but I worried that one day he’d be thinking the same way as them.” Claire had tried diets before, but now
She was determined to get back into shape. “I was devastated,” she says. “I had always been very slim and really taken pride in my appearance. Their words were the motivation I needed to lose the baby weight. That night, I logged onto the parenting website Mumsnet.com and asked people how they’d shed theirs.
Claire, from Kent in the UK, decided to follow the Cambridge Diet, a rather drastic meal replacement plan. Former The Only Way is Essex star Lauren Goodger is among celebs who’ve used the programme, losing weight by eating its specially created low-calorie soups, shakes and snack bars.
“It’s a very strict diet, which is just what I needed,” says Claire. “I’m all or nothing, so as soon as I committed to only eating shakes and soups, I was really committed. I wanted the old me back, and as soon as the pounds started melting away it was easy to keep going.”
Claire, who is 5’4” tall, managed to shrink from a scale-tipping 11st 13lb to a tiny 8st 4lb in just over three months. She can now slip into a size eight. Already spurred on by the painful experience, Claire came up with another easy way to stay motivated. “Every time I wanted to cave in and have a bar of chocolate, I’d just picture myself in my bikini and I’d keep going,” she says. “I started swimming twice a week too, to tone my muscles, which was a huge help.”
Eating Their Words
Claire’s colleagues soon changed their tune, but she’s never let on just how much their words had hurt her. “Once a stone or so had come off, people at work started to notice and I got loads of compliments,” she says. “The same people I’d heard talking about me told me how good I looked. I’ve never told them that I overheard them, but it did make me feel good. Those girls really upset me on that day, but they really did me a favour too.