By Liana Jacob
MEET the sexy British nurse who restricted her diet after she was teased about her eating habits but has now gained a stone-and-a-half after more than doubling her calorie intake.
Claire Mitchell (27), from Colchester, UK, was always sociable and outgoing as a child but cared about what people thought of her. It wasn’t until she was taking part in class activity in high school when Claire was assigned ‘the person who ate the most’, that caused her to become obsessive over her appearance and eating habits.
She would then stick to low-calorie food such as; lettuce, yoghurt, bran flakes, and to keep her energy levels up, she would eat high-sugar food like two squares of chocolate.
This led to her weight plunge to 8st and a UK size four to six, while only consuming as little as 500 to 1,000-calories a day.
She then discovered weight lifting, thinking it would burn the fat on her body, and fell in love with it, helping her bulk up to 9st 8Ibs and a UK size six to eight. She now consumes 2,000 calories a day.
“The label really hit me hard and looking back on it, I know that actually although I may have eaten more than some of the other children, the food I ate were not unhealthy and I led a very active lifestyle,” Claire said.
“Knowing someone thought this about me made me feel as though I was too big and that I had to lose weight.
“I was also surrounded by people in dance classes that had different physiques; many of those slimmer than me.
“Becoming obsessed with my appearance and my weight then turned into a safety blanket. My weight was something that I could control.
“Before my transformation I felt as though I did not have a desirable physique and that I would not be wanted by anyone or was not good enough – for myself and for others.
“I’m quite a competitive person (especially with myself) and there was a part of me telling myself that I couldn’t achieve better than how I was already.
“Feeling low about my appearance and my physique took away any confidence I had and at times I found it hard to speak to people; often finding myself distancing myself from those around me.
“When I first started weight training, I had heard that it was an excellent way to burn fat and this is what made me initially want to start.
“My diet wasn’t always restrictive, often I would have periods of binging in between and this meant that I was inclined to hold onto excess fat.
“I stored the majority of it around my middle, but my arms and legs did not have much to them. When I started getting more into weights I spent a lot of time using YouTube and Instagram to look at pictures of physiques and videos of exercises.
“Seeing the women with strong, shapely bodies made me realise that whilst before I was never happy with being ‘thin’ my new goal was to build feminine curves and be strong, both in my body and in my mind.
“I started going to the gym with friends that were male. I didn’t train with them but it did help with pushing me to go.
“This has absolutely changed my life. I used to have a very unhealthy relationship with food; I didn’t like to eat in front of people and I would lie about what I had eaten.
“As well as that my confidence in my body stopped me from wearing certain clothes and had a massive impact on how my mind functioned.
“My biggest change is to my mental health. There were times that I have been on medications, although I have managed to come off them and control my mood by incorporating resistance training and a healthy balanced diet.
“My body confidence has sky rocketed and as well as wearing clothes I never dreamed I would be able to wear, I can also walk with my head up looking at people rather than walk around looking at the ground trying to avoid any contact with people.”
While her confidence has peaked, Claire still struggles with overanalysing how people view her.
“I worry about what other people think of me and how they view me. This has been hard because I have got to know a lot of people in the gyms where I have trained,” she said.
“Not everyone understands my passion for fitness and some people still believe that I go to the gym and eat the way I do in order to lose weight.
“People now say that they would love to have my figure and be slim. Hearing these comments makes me feel good.
“Do research and set yourself some time oriented, realistic goals. These could be based around diet, around exercise, around mindset, anything.”
For more information visit: https://www.instagram.com/clairelou_fitness/