A Lostock Hall slimmer is using the power of social media to inspire others after battling anxiety and depression and shedding the pounds.
Claire Sutton (33) shares her inspiring weight loss journey, along with healthy recipes and exercise tips, with her Instagram followers.
Having only joined Lostock Hall Slimming World in March, she has lost nearly four stone, and started the account to help others stay motivated while facing devastating or difficult circumstances.
Claire said: "I have battled with mental illness since the age of 17 when I walked into my dad’s bedroom one morning to find him dead. He and I lived together so it completely changed my life. I had to leave college so couldn’t complete my A-Levels and started working to keep the house going.
"I then fell pregnant soon after whilst still feeling fragile and spent four years on my own attempting to be the best mummy I can be!"
Claire then met her husband and had a baby, who has now just turned six. After extended maternity leave with her son, she began to rebuild her career and worked her way up to call centre manager.
"But the stress of the job, day to day life, and trying to manage anxiety and depression just took over and I couldn’t cope anymore," she said.
"I remember the exact moment when I ‘broke’ and from that point onward my life was just a daily battle of drinking, shaking, crying, being afraid to leave the house, being afraid to go shopping, not socialising etc. The only thing that made me put any bad thoughts about suicide out of my head was my children.
"But step by step, day by day I’d set myself little challenges (the first one being opening the curtains in a morning telling myself no one is going to see me and want to come in the house!) with the view of getting myself back to work."
Claire then returned to work around March and joined the Slimming World group run by Andrea Mills.
"It’s completely changed my life. I’ve not been this small in years and the energy and positivity I’ve found in myself is so nice," she said.
"I’ve now found confidence to move to another job within the same company and I’m loving it.
"I also set up my Instagram page at the request of other people ‘inspired’ by my journey, which is crazy to think of! The old me would have never dreamed of doing anything like that. I still feel anxious every single time I put a post on and I’m still working my way through managing it but if it helps just one person get out of that dark place then it’s worth it."
Claire added: "Andrea has been so understanding and supportive from the minute I walked through the door, shaking!"
"She is always there at the end of a text or when you need advice in the group and she’s encouraged me every step of the way; if anything she’s even helped me overcome the anxiety of being in a group setting by gradually introducing me into it.
"Andrea recently told me that she’d put the words ‘be gentle’ next to me because she could see how nervous I was and we’ve gone from that shaking, timid girl to one giving advice on Instagram because of her support."
To following Claire on Instagram search for ifthatgirlcan