Claire and her slimmers are having a Ball

BEFORE AND AFTER ... Claire Ball at her heaviest ' and now 6st lighter.
BEFORE AND AFTER ... Claire Ball at her heaviest ' and now 6st lighter.

A WEIGHT-loss leader is celebrating her first anniversary after members at her two South Tyneside slimming clubs collectively lost 450 stone in a year.

Claire Ball decided to become a consultant for Slimming World in August last year after shedding 4½st.

Now 12 months on, the 30-year-old, from Low Lane, South Shields, is delighted she’s lost another 1½st, ane she’s also helped the members of the two groups she runs become shadows of their former selves.

The mum-of-two said: “It’s been such an amazing year.

“I am so proud of my members and what they have all achieved.

“Everyone is so supportive of each other, it’s wonderful.

“I think we’ve achieved a fantastic amount of weight loss.”

Claire was first spurred on to lose weight by her mother Kathryn Smith, who passed away in May 2012, aged 63, after being diagnosed with cancer four months earlier.

She admits that before she started Slimming World, and at her heaviest, the only way she could lose weight was to starve herself.

She said: “I was so upset to see those figures on the scales that first night I joined.

“But the help and support I got from my group, and the fact that my weight was never disclosed, gave me the confidence to keep losing.

“I thought the only way to lose weight was to starve yourself, but I was proved wrong when, after three weeks of eating delicious meals, I got my half-stone award.”

Since then Claire’s gave up her part-time job in insurance sales and now runs classes at the New Crown Hotel in Mowbray Road, South Shields, on Thursday evenings, at 5pm or 7pm, and also at the Harton and Westoe Miners Welfare Club in Low Lane, South Shields, every Wednesday at 9.30am.

She said: “Slimming World has become a massive part of my life.

“Even the rest of my family gets involved with the classes – they come along and help me set up whenever they can.”

Claire – who has just over 2st left to lose before she reaches a target weight which she has been keeping to herself – believes her own experience helps her 130 members achieve their personal goals.

She added: “I know what they’re going through, since I have been there myself and I am still on a weight-loss journey.

“I think it wonderful how we’re all able to help each other, and it’s been incredible to see people shrink before my very eyes.”

Twitter: @shieldsgazvez