Woman who lost 10½ stone now helping others to fight the flab

Claire before she lost weight
Claire before she lost weight

Many of us will be making those firm resolutions for the new year.

They could be anything relating to health, family, work, travel, exams, a new job, retirement – the list is endless.

But principally, as another year beckons, many of us make resolutions to lose those extra pounds, take on a fitness regime, walk, cycle or swim more.

And one expert who can help in all these disciplines is Longridge WeightWatchers leader Claire Anderson, now a Diamond Leader Award winner for the fifth time and celebrating 10 years in what she feels is “one of the most rewarding jobs in the world.”

“I still have the same enthusiasm and commitment to helping people change their attitude to food as I’ve always had,” she says.

“I’m very excited about 2015 as WeightWatchers has launched a new approach to its successful ProPoints plan, a range of different ways to eat.”

It was her own individual weight of 21 stone 15 years ago, which realising it was affecting her health and lifestyle, convinced her to join a the WeightWatchers group in Yorkshire. The “last straw”, she recalled, was when she could barely fit in the airplane seat on the way home from holiday, and was humiliated by the thought of having to ask for a seat belt extension.

“I weighed 21 stone in January, 2000, when I first joined WeightWatchers and at that very first meeting I remember looking at the leader and thinking ‘one day I’ll be up there,” she dsaid.

She lost four and a half stone in her first year, then had a two year break after the birth of son Thomas, rejoined in August 2003 and lost a further six stone in exactly a year.

Claire has maintained her goal weight for 11 years now, and adds: “I can honestly say that losing the weight has been a life changing experience for me, and it’s made such a difference to our family life and health. I’ve been able to keep up with Thomas, who is now 12, and we enjoy a very active lifestyle.”

She qualified as a leader in 2005, then when husband David was offered the post of Vicar of Longridge, Claire was also offered the position of WeightWatchers leader there. She remembers: “When I first moved to Longridge, the members were worried that I would be quite serious and a stereotypical ‘vicar’s wife’.However, they were quite surprised when I arrived with my fun and quirky way of presenting my meetings.

“I truly love being a WeightWatchers leader. It’s one of the best jobs in the world. Longridge members are so supportive and friendly –we have a great laugh in meetings as well as being there for each other through the good times and the bad.

“They’re doing fantastic with their weight loss and it feels amazing to be part of their journey. Sometimes it’s difficult living in the place where I do my classes – people feel I am always watching what they might be eating! Often they hide in supermarkets or cafes in case I look what they are buying.

“But I always reassure them that I am not. With WeightWatchers you can eat whatever you want to anyway, as long as you count it within your daily ProPoints.”