An Aussie mother and daughter duo have banded together to change their lifestyles and are almost unrecognisable after losing an incredible 90kg combined.
Clare Carley, from the Gold Coast, and her mum Linda, from Perth, were overweight and faced significant health problems weighing 142.5kg and 120kg respectively. Until they completely changed their lives.
“I have always been an emotional eater, using food as a coping mechanism for any emotions,” 36-year-old mum Clare tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “If I was sad, I would eat. If I was celebrating, it would involve food. If I was stressed, I would eat.”
And due to her weight, Clare struggled to fall pregnant, and when she finally did conceive, she tragically had a stillbirth at six months. That was her major turning point.
“I had a big wake up call when I realised my unhealthy relationship with food could jeopardise my potential to have children in the future,” she tells us. “I knew I needed to change but this was the push that I needed to turn ‘one day’ into ‘today’.
Clare was inspired by her mum Linda to join WW (formerly Weight Watchers), having seen her perviously lose 30kg on the program and keep it off for many years.
Clare started to learn that making small changes would turn into healthy habits if she repeated them over time.
“So, instead of having seconds, I would stick to one serve. Instead of driving around the carpark for five minutes to find a park close to the shops, I intentionally parked further away,” she explains.
“Rather than cutting out treats, I made lots of smart swaps such as replacing full fat yoghurt with 99% fat-free yoghurt.
“Tracking what I ate was also very important for keeping me accountable, especially at the beginning of my journey,” she says, adding she was shocked to see how many hidden sugars were in things like juice.
But as Clare began focusing on improving her health, Linda’s health was spiralling in the opposite direction.
After sustaining a hip injury, Linda became increasingly disabled until she wasn’t mobile anymore and by the time she had hip surgery, she was the heaviest she had ever been.
Now 60kg down, Clare has since given birth to two children, and the health benefits have gone further, with her recently completing her first marathon.
“My life is chalk and cheese to what it was before losing weight, as I am no longer prediabetic or on blood pressure medication,” she tells us.
“My asthma doesn’t cause me the troubles it used to and I am very happy to have two young girls now. I used to hate exercise but now I use it for my mental health as well as exercise and actually miss running when I can’t get out for a run.”
As Linda battled through a slow and painful surgery recovery, made even harder by her weight, her daughter's weight loss transformation provided hope that things could change again for the better.
Clare’s dramatic transformation inspired mum Linda to return to WW, ahead of a second hip replacement.
Within a year, and with the support of her daughter behind her, she shed 30kg, is no longer pre-diabetic, and no longer needs blood pressure medication.
“My mum's health has drastically improved,” Clare tells us. “She has heart problems and they have improved significantly since losing weight - she is no longer pre diabetic and is a lot more mobile.
“She had her second hip replacement and her recovery was so much smoother carrying less weight.
Supporting each other the whole way, Clare and Linda have a messenger group dedicated to cheering each other on, sharing recipes and tips.
“I am lucky to have a fantastic relationship with my mum,” Clare says. “We keep each other accountable by having weekly weigh-ins and also regularly chat about our struggles and successes throughout the week.”
And Clare’s advice for anyone else trying to kickstart a healthier lifestyle - don’t overthink it.
“You don’t have to change everything all at once because each small change over time becomes a habit change, which will lead to success,” she says.
“Break your goals down into small, achievable goals rather than just focusing on the big picture all the time and track your progress.
“Focusing on food, movement and mindset has changed my outlook on life and helped me develop lifelong healthy habits.”