Meet the incredible shrinking family who went from fat to fit and lost 18st dieting together – Mirror.co.uk
The buffet table was buckling under the weight of sausage rolls, stodgy sandwiches, crisps , chocolates and jelly as Claire Schofield sidled over and stole a slice of quiche, wolfing it down before anyone noticed.
The table at her home in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, was laid out ready for a family get-together.
The Schofields were known for their love of parties almost as much as they were known for their love of eating.
It was Claires fondness for all things both sweet and savoury which had seen her get bigger and bigger. She didnt dare weigh herself, but knew that at 5ft 5in, being a size 24 wasnt healthy.
But while she wasnt proud of her expanding waistline, she was proud of how close her family were. Her mum, Margaret, 66, and sister Sharon, 49, lived nearby and along with Sharons daughter Laura, 28, the Schofields were always getting together to eat.
Whatever the occasion, Claire, 43, would ensure there were always chocolates and pastries. Shopping trips inevitably involved coffee and cake stops.
We didnt need an excuse for a gathering and food was always involved, says Claire.
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The self-confessed chocoholic admits she could easily demolish a family-sized bar in one sitting.
Shed always been curvy but after the birth of each of her three daughters, her weight steadily rose.
Attempting fad diets over the years, shed announce to husband Neil, 48, and daughters Molly-Mae, 20, Georgia, 18, and Daisy, 13, that she was only eating apples for a week or that bananas were strictly off the menu. While she might lose a few pounds, the unsustainable diets only led to further weight gain in the long run.
There was rarely anyone bigger than me, she says. At work in a hairdressers training college, on holiday with the family wherever I went, I was the biggest.
I pretended I was happy but the truth was I felt insecure and miserable, as well as exhausted.
My family could talk about anything, but we never talked about weight. I knew I wasnt setting a good example for my daughters.
Thankfully, my girls didnt copy my extreme diets, but they did copy when I ate pudding or chocolate.
Claire admits the idea of eating in moderation was lost on her.
In late 2012, the Schofields threw a party and Claire noticed her mum Margaret wasnt piling her plate high with all the usual processed party foods.
Mum explained she was making an effort to watch what she ate and had lost a stone, says Claire. Her skin was glowing and she seemed happy. I was envious.
Then in January 2013, Margaret signed up to her local Slimming World class. Soon she started inviting her family over for a new kind of meal. Out went the stodge, in came colourful curries and healthy stir-fries.
Claire could suddenly see that losing weight didnt have to mean going hungry or missing out and she could still eat some chocolate.
Over that year, Margaret lost 3st.
Mum had set a great example and I wanted to do the same for my daughters, says Claire. I didnt want them to end up in the position I was in a lifetime of weight gain and several stone to lose.
After Christmas 2013, she join Slimming World too. She asked sister Sharon, a size 18, if she fancied joining her.
We booked a holiday in Spain for August 2014 as an incentive and signed up for our first weigh-in, says Claire. When I told my girls, Georgia said she wanted to come too.
At the class, Claire asked her consultant to write down her weight so she could look at it later in private. She says: Back home, I stared in horror. I was 20st 2lbs. My BMI was 47 morbidly obese. I was devastated, but determined. I threw out all the chocolate in the house and stocked up with fruit and veg.
Using Slimming World recipes, I made chilli from scratch and made salads to take to work.
In the first week, Claire lost 7lbs 7oz.
The wonderful thing about losing weight with the family was that we all changed our habits together, she says.
Instead of meeting at coffee shops for cake, we ate salad and shared delicious new recipes.
In January 2016, Sharons daughter Laura signed up too and the Schofields joked that they were fast becoming the incredible shrinking family.
Margaret lost 4st 4lbs, Sharon dropped 3st 2lbs, Georgia shed 1st 7.5lbs and Laura lost 1st 8.5lbs. With Claires astonishing 7st 7lb loss, the family have slimmed by 18st between them.
Were now all in a WhatsApp chat group so we can share weigh-in results we keep each other motivated, Claire says. Our health was the one thing we never talked about. Now its all we talk about.
Claire and her daughters now share trendy high street clothes in a size 12 and have taken part in a 5k race.
I used to think eating healthily would make me miserable, says Claire. But being healthy makes me happier than chocolate ever did. My family has been on such a great journey together.
Height: 5ft 5in
Weight before: 20st 2lbs
Now: 12st 9lb
Claires diet before:
Breakfast: Toast with butter and jam
Lunch: White bread sandwich, crisps, chocolate bar
Snack: Packet of biscuits, iced fingers
Dinner: Lasagne, garlic bread
Breakfast: Muesli, yoghurt and fruit
Lunch: Pasta salad
Dinner: Homemade chilli with kale and rice
Occasional snack: Low-cal trifle
Height: 5ft 4in
Weight before: 12st 12lb
Now: 11st 5lbs
Im so proud of Mum its great to see her so happy and confident. She always struggled with her weight and we grew up watching her try all sorts of silly diets.
Shes found something she can stick to and that clearly works. Im proud of myself too. I have made some big changes to the way I eat and its made such a difference.
I used to go out with my friends and wed always end up in a fast food restaurant where Id order a double cheeseburger and chips with a litre of cola. Now I have a home-cooked meal before I go out instead.
Height: 5ft 4in
Weight before: 17st 4lbs
I still cry when I recall finding out I was 17st 4lbs. Id always been slim and my weight had crept up in my fifties. I ran a light haulage company and drove long distances, eating sandwiches, chocolates, crisps and fizzy drinks nothing nutritious. Huge slabs of Galaxy chocolate bars were my downfall.
I couldnt stop getting older but I could stop getting fatter and never let myself go back there.
These days I snack on fruit and yoghurt instead of family-sized chocolate bars. Im so proud of the whole family weve done brilliantly together.
Height: 5ft 5in
Weight before: 14st 7lbs
Now: 11st 5lbs
I was so unhappy with my appearance I used to end up in tears getting ready for a night out. I never felt good in anything.
Claire suggested joining forces at just the right time. Ive never looked back losing weight as a family made it so much easier as we spurred each other on and its wonderful to see each other achieve so much.
I was so proud of Claire when she reached her target she is my inspiration.
My downfall was definitely cheese, but now I opt for fruit.
Height: 5ft 7in
Weight before: 12st 1.5lbs
Now: 10st 7lbs
Seeing the progress the others were making inspired me. I was so proud of everything theyd achieved and knew with their support I could stop yo-yo dieting for good.
I was the same as my mum Sharon cheese was my kryptonite. I have replaced it with crab sticks and pickles. We share our successes and reach out to each other when were struggling. I couldnt have done it without my family.Read More...