Clare Carley shares the long-term weight loss secrets that helped her lose an impressive 60kg.
Clare Carley suffered with low self-esteem and felt miserable in her own body.
“I was so ashamed of my body and I was uncomfortable every day,” the 35-year-old told body+soul.“Daily tasks were difficult, choosing an outfit to wear often ended in tears as I found myself buying clothes based on what fit rather than what I liked, I was scared to sit on plastic chairs in case they broke, I was forever hiding behind people when photos were taken, travelling on a plane was extremely uncomfortable and the list goes on.”
Clare admits that she “never had a good relationship with food.”
She added: “I have always used food as a form of comfort and my emotional eating became a significant problem after suffering multiple miscarriages and the stillbirth of my first daughter Lily.”
These damaging diet patterns lead to her gradual weight gain, with her highest weight reaching 142.5kg.
Not only was she jeopardising her mental health, but her physical health was also at stake. “My health wasn’t good; my asthma was bad, my blood pressure was high, my cholesterol was raised, I was prediabetic, my PCOS symptoms were astronomical and I had already developed a fatty liver. I used to avoid exercise like the plague!” she exclaimed.
But Clare had enough of her unhealthy lifestyle and decided to kickstart her weight loss journey.
“I had two lightbulb moments, the first and most confronting was when a fertility specialist told me I needed to sort my weight out before even thinking about trying for another baby,” she explained. “The second was during a casual morning tea with my best friend from high school. She brought over a beautiful fruit platter and looked so happy as she told me about how much her lifestyle had changed since following the WW program.”
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Changing her previous dietary habits
Clare was no stranger to diets, having “done every diet under the sun, from shakes, to restrictive fads and everything in between” only to find out that “nothing worked in the long term”, but WW proved different.
“The first few weeks were an adjustment, I started using the WW app to track everything I ate so I could learn the value of different foods and I was surprised that so many foods that were marketed as ‘healthy’ are actually so high in fats or sugars.”
She learnt how to better balance and control her portions. To make sure she was still satisfied with her meals and not restricting herself, she “made lots of swaps”.
As for her exercise, she didn’t start “doing any drastic exercise like joining the gym” but “started making small changes throughout the day to be more physically active.”
Here’s what a day on a plate looks like for Clare
“I try to build my meals around ZeroPoint foods, which form the basis of a healthy eating pattern and don’t have to be measured or tracked on WW. On my customised plan, these include things like skinless chicken breast, seafood, eggs, 99 per cent fat free yoghurt and most fruits and vegetables. So, a typical day could look something like…
Breakfast: Whole Grain toast with poached eggs, spinach, tomato, mushrooms or mug muffin made with oats and fresh fruit.
Lunch: Hearty salad packed with seasonal vegetables and protein such as chickpeas, tuna in springwater, chicken breast or cottage cheese.
Dinner: Spaghetti bolognese served with half pasta and half zoodles or a WW Turkey Pad See Ew recipe is my favourite.
Snacks: Snack boxes prepared with fruits, vegetables, hommus, chicken breast meatballs or boiled eggs, light cheese triangle in fresh dates, bliss balls/protein bar.
Dessert: Flummery (diet jelly whisked with low fat/high protein yoghurt) or low sugar nutella muffin or ice cream (blended frozen bananas and berries).”
Her current exercise routine
Clare ditched her sedentary lifestyle and has even found a new hobby.
“I have discovered a love for running. I never in a million years thought that would happen but I love the challenge. I am not fast but I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment when I do run a little bit further or a little bit faster than my previous run.”
She started from the bottom and built up her fitness levels. “I started off just walking, which was wonderful for my mindset and slowly added in little jogs and then made them longer and longer. I completed my first full marathon last year”
Her advice to others
Now, Clare weighs 82.5kg and has lost an impressive 60kg. This incredible journey didn’t come without challenges, and the 35-year old definitely hit some road blocks along the way – mainly her mindset.
“To start with I was very overwhelmed at the thought of how much I had to lose and didn’t believe I really could get to a healthy weight. Getting rid of that inner critic and negative self talk was a challenge,” Clare explained. “I was so grateful for the support of my WW coach who helped me develop a more positive mindset which definitely helped me along my journey.”
Clare now has a few words of wisdom for others: “You are not alone! There is a whole community of people who are dedicated to becoming the best version of themselves and it makes such a difference to connect with others on a similar journey.”
She also wants everyone to remember that “you don’t have to change everything at once; all the little changes you make along the way add up to the big changes overall.”