A Cambridgeshire woman who starred in a nude calendar shoot after losing three-and-a-half-stone is launching her own Slimming World group.

Having lost weight previously in 2015, it had started to creep back on for Claire Lilley. And, like many others, lockdown made it worse.

"I felt unhappy, anxious and lacking in confidence," said the 52-year-old who lives in March and has worked in Chatteris. 

"I used to hide myself behind a bag or clothing for photographs."

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A chance meeting with a friend brought her back to Slimming World: "She’d lost weight and looked great so I asked her how she had done it as I knew she had struggled previously.

"That was on a Tuesday evening. I checked out groups near me and by 9am on Wednesday morning I walked into my group and I haven’t looked back.

"My consultant was wonderful, there was absolutely no judgement, just empathy, and she (and her successor) made me feel as though I could do this and encouraged me and supported me along the way."

Around 1.5 stone into her weight loss journey, she had the opportunity to appear in the musical 'Calendar Girls' locally and this included appearing in a charity calendar.

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Having lost almost 2.5 stone by the time the show rolled round, Claire and her other brave cast mates felt confident. 

"We embraced the moment and stood (and sang!) nude on stage every night for a week," she added. 

Claire said a benefit of Slimming World is that she hasn’t had to change her lifestyle to fit in with food optimising: "food optimising has fitted in with my lifestyle.

"I can still eat all the foods I love, have my favourite tipple and enjoy meals out with friends and family.

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"I’m never left hungry and my whole attitude towards food has shifted.

"It hasn’t been without it’s hitches but they have been temporary," she added.

Claire has now lost 3.5 stone and said that she feels "happy, healthy and energise, whereas before I felt older than my years, tired and uncomfortable with the way I looked".

Having become a Slimming World consultant, she is now launching her own group in Chatteris.

"I am excited to be given the opportunity to become a consultant and encourage others and share in their journeys to a happier, healthier lifestyle," she said. 

Claire's sessions launch at 7pm on Thursday November 2 at the Salvation Army Hall, East Park Street, Chatteris. Call or WhatsApp Claire on 07976 739975.