Life has been a little busy over here on the ‘AMLS to a better me’ side of the internet. University means I haven’t posted in some time. A few updates on my health meant I had to take a hiatus from my journey but never fear I’ve always been here even if it has been in the background.

It’s finally summer and as all the thatters reading this know our Take That tour is over and time is now an extra commodity; particularly now that the captain and co have mainly departed for their own social media hiatus.

I am making a return for the next few months so watch this space….




Weigh in Week 9…… UNIVERSITY DEBUT

Well this is 5 days late … But I have a good excuse!

It’s Freshers Week for me… I’m less Fresher… More Refresher.  It has been a mania that I can’t actually recall from the first time around in the 90s. Probably because I’m more sober this time. I don’t really remember it that well previously mainly because I was in a haze of bars, snap fax, cheap drinks, The Egg, Disco Inferno, Subway cowgate, Century 2000, Braidwoods and foam parties. FOAM PARTIES?! IN Edinburgh! (shakes head in shame… I mean Ibiza I get it but it’s pretty cold up here you know).

We have significantly moved on, now this first week of nerves, uncertainty and debauchery is appropriately called “Welcome Week” with more subtle branding and marketing to make the parents worry a lot less about what exactly their darlings are getting up to, as of course for some it is the first time away from home.

The week now consists of free Domino’s and Pizza hut (disastrous news for my diet), societies that include an international Quiddich team who are reportedly amazing and actually compete at a serious international level (who knew?). I mean Harry Potter wasn’t even penned on paper back in my previous days at University and JK herself probably never knew back then where she would be now.

Furthermore, nowadays it is all about comedy nights, neon parties, silent discos, Radio 1 DJ roadshows and PR appearances from Z list Love Island contestants. Also I loved a poster sale in the 90s.. PS THEY STILL Exist so that was a blast from the past!  Although no take that, oasis, stone roses and Johnny Depp. In addition I’m banned from any more wall space after my recent AMLS GALLERY taking over our living room.

To say I’ve been busy is an understatement and I havnt even been to one of the fun things above. Although I have chuckled hard at some of the clearly hanging together freshers I’ve seen at 9am lecture introductions who look like they don’t know what hit them.

Scotland hit them. We can drink here.

Cheap booze hit them although I discovered now that the younger amongst us are taking after us oldies and choosing Gin and Craft Ale over lager, snakebite and aftershock.

I’ll ashamedly admit that I had the pizza and in my defence I felt that I had  earned it after climbing 100 flights of stairs this week. Its a dangerous slope.



So on Monday this week before pizzagate I was another 2 pounds down which I’m happy with.


Time can only tell what the next weigh in 4 days time will be but I’m pretty sure the free Pizza is over thank goodness.

I’m going to need to up my game to keep up!

Two months is a long time…. Part 1


I’m now on the 2 month blog anniversary and what an 8 weeks it has been.

In the 2 weeks prior, the main event which started off this journey for me obviously happened at Sherwood Pines and being on stage with Gary and from therein it has been a productive 8 weeks.

In total I’ve gone from 18 stone to 15.6 stone. A grand loss of 2 and a half stone.

I’ve lost 10 inches from all kinds of areas although ironically none from the boobage where I could do with a little less excess baggage…. Especially on those runs.

I started a brand new part time job which is challenging, rewarding but most importantly a service led client facing role where I feel I am at least helping others.

Dealing with the public when they need you most or who are at their most vulnerable, well, it is truly…

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Two months is a long time…. Part 1

I’m now on the 2 month blog anniversary and what an 8 weeks it has been.

In the 2 weeks prior, the main event which started off this journey for me obviously happened at Sherwood Pines and being on stage with Gary and from therein it has been a productive 8 weeks.

In total I’ve gone from 18 stone to 15.6 stone. A grand loss of 2 and a half stone.

I’ve lost 10 inches from all kinds of areas although ironically none from the boobage where I could do with a little less excess baggage…. Especially on those runs.

I started a brand new part time job which is challenging, rewarding but most importantly a service led client facing role where I feel I am at least helping others.

Dealing with the public when they need you most or who are at their most vulnerable, well, it is truly a privilege.

Don’t forget I’ve had years of sales, recruitment, HR, finance, acquisitions and operations and though I excelled at all of them, none of those roles ever really felt like I was making a difference.

The main event though, is about to kick off next week.

I made it.

Like Zoe in “The Band” musical I am now officially an old ageing “Thatter” heading back to Freshers Week at University next week. Also I should point out, I similarly have a history of dancing through fountains like the girls in the band. This is wasted on anyone who hasn’t yet seen Gary and Tim’s Take That triumphant musical.

The fountain : That was one of my favourite ever real dates that my fiance and I went on. It was my birthday, Keane were playing in Wembley. I’d run out after the end of the last encore and in the post gig rush of excitement and just decided that with Bedshaped still in my head, I was dancing in the water fountain. I also dragged in a few accomplices to keep me company. If ever there was a story that resonates with my life…. its the Band Musical.

From my headdress wearing outfits, chasing the band around Europe or here, entering competitions, watching ceefax and (playing bamboozle on the teletext), recording the charts off the radio, band break ups, friendship breakups, reunion tours and making all new Thatter friends again. This was written for all of us in the fandom but in my heart it feels like it was written just for me (that’s why it’s special) . Claires character story of her weight battle is like watching a sliding doors remake of me and its in some small way why I’m here writing my own journey today. Week by week. DAY BY DAY.

Also in the last 8 weeks I had the chance to see it not once but twice in Edinburgh and met most of the cast too. Although I’ll admit the Five to Five boys make me feel old now.

So back to the next big thing Uni….. Edinburgh University College of Medicine has let me in for their sins to study Medical Science.

Never mind 2 months ago….. This time 2 years ago I WAS Medical Science. Filled with an abdomen of infection and sepsis spread, operation number 7 in only a few years had just left me with a bloody great open hole in my abdomen about the size of 13cm wide but worse 8cm DEEP.

Just open: waiting to slowly close over. Every day it was packed with strips and strips of gauze and every evening the district nurse would start unravelling it like an Andre puppy with a toilet roll and it would exit not the pure white but a murky pink and yellow from the cavern that used to be where my belly button resided. Like a really gruesome magic trick.

My belly button was an inny and I loved it – mainly because outies give me the dry boak !!- in Scotland that means the vomit wretch just for translation.

I miss my belly button as it was taken in the bloody great crater that was left. So fascinating fact… I no longer have one. Its fine, you get used to it and to be honest belly buttons just generally much like feet gave me the shudders anyway. The fluff…… (eugh)

Apparantly if I’m really concerned I can get one put in with plastic surgery but considering the next op afterwards opened me up hip to hip and lower abdomen to chest like a bloody great cross ➕ a new belly button has been the least of my concerns. Mainly staying alive was priority number 1. Also I was never really built for being a swimsuit model. Thank god as I’m sure sales in the Bravissimo catalogue would plummet if they did.

All this health misfortune, nearly dying in childbirth, then again with sepsis and then finally when I didn’t recover from the last major op and abdominal reconstruction particularly well, it’s left me with a strong sense of responsibility. I don’t want to see other people suffer like I have and I’ve lived and do live with chronic pain and it is not an easy road to travel.

What path my degree will take me on is sure to be an adventure but I know the ultimate end goal is to one day be part of a bigger picture that maybe one day’s ends the unnecessary sepsis deaths and brings more awareness so people can spot it sooner.

So as a new student these days you get emailed the matriculation information and I’ve since then had the University app downloaded to my phone and thus far have been invited to numerous club nights, neon parties and comedy shows. When I went to Uni the first time round you just drunk snakebite as it was cheap in the student union. And if you made it to a lecture or not slept through a lecture, it was nothing short of miraculous.


This is why being a mature student is the best option.

I can tell you something, I’ll bet I can still drink most of these youngsters under the table….. But sadly, it’s not going to fit in with my new healthy lifestyle so I’ll need to make more sensible adjustments….. Like just the gin no mixer!!!

You may additionally expect to see my step count soar as most people know, the beauty of Edinburgh is well established in its architecture and design and at the University as I mentioned in an earlier blog you can feel the history ooze out from every creaky floorboard, cornice and winding staircase.

If I don’t hit my 10k steps a day on my fitbit you can assume I’ve slept in as the new regime of stairs is going to get me fit one way or another.

Societies, phew, where do you even begin….

If I wanted to live vicariously, I secretly dream of finding my own Pitch Perfect 4 with a bunch of acca- bitches but I think this may be a movie fantasy because I relate to Rebel Wilson…

Maybe I could start my own Take That society… Thing is most of my fellow students probably weren’t even born in the golden days of Everything changes, Back for Good, Do What you like?






Weigh in Week 8….

3 pounds down…. Win.

For the first time this week I bumped into someone who hasn’t seen me in a while. We had a great old chat and then they casually dropped into the conversation “by the way, you really look like you have lost weight, you are looking great hon”.

Now the normal and polite etiquette in this instance is to graciously accept the complement and be chuffed to bits for the next 3 days.

I say normal reaction, because as a long term heavyweight, when I hear this: instead of the correct reaction above, I think people are just placating me or trying to be kind as they feel sorry for me. For some reason every bone in my body reacts awkwardly and defensive. Fatty complement repellant disease I shall call it.

What is wrong with me that I can’t be proud of what I’ve achieved thus far? What is defective in my psyche that won’t allow me to accept such a nice observation?

I think it may be a bit of self preservation perhaps. As you know this is not my first weight loss rodeo. I think maybe I don’t like to accept the complement as I’m afraid I am one day going to have to offer some sort of complement refund!

The fear of yo yo weight gaining drives me to literally dread my own faulty goods returns and exchange policy. I better not accept this because I’m going to look like a complete idiot when next year I still look the same or even worse I’ve put it all back on.



I am now a good few months down the line in this and my fear and hesitancy in my ability to continue is begining to slightly spike…. The 2 month itch! (not helped by recently having nearly 10 very long days of wheezy viral illness which has slowed me down considerably)

I know I mentioned this last month too but I still cannot see those expected changes in the mirror and although my clothes are begining to feel loose, I still can’t quite believe it is anything more than a lower number on an lcd display. A slightly decreasing graph on my fitbit report. A desperation to eat a Krispy Kreme donut but resisting the urge.

I need to work on much more than the numbers. I think I need to work on how to be kind to myself again. How to be proud of my achievements and celebrate them.

I am actually an incredibly positive person. A real glass is half full kind of girl. I cannot for the life of me apply this to me. If you read this and have a similar conversation with me down the line I apologise in advance for every negatively weighted response. I’ve spent a lifetime believing that I was ok being the size I am and that in fact it doesn’t matter. Actually what I was doing was covering this up externally with rhetoric, humour and self deprication whilst internally there was definately an element of pure self loathing.

I love a good bit of self deprication. Some nasty kid at my sons schools called me fat once and my son was really upset about it. I sat him down and made it vehemently clear that yes this is mean and this boy clearly has no manners BUT sadly this is a fact. I am fat. The statement is factually correct. Therefore, said nasty kid could be credited with being a highly observant little prick….or maybe I just knew better and made sure my son knew exactly why name calling whether it is factually true or not is unacceptable in any case.

I did that thing where if I had to describe myself I’m curvy, I’m vivacious, I’m cuddly, I’m…. BUBBLY (I HATE THAT ONE) …. I am all of these things and more.

Funny though on reflection, I haven’t in the last 8 weeks called myself any of the above words so perhaps sub-consciously I have had a minor breakthrough of sorts.

Point being next time I get a complement I am going to try really hard to just say “Thank you”.

Weigh in Week 7…

1 pound down this week .. As they say in these awful slimming clubs – a loss is a loss… (although my favourite slimming club cliche is always the Peter Kay one… “A plate of chips is a lifetime on them hips! ”

Serious note … I still feel a bit sad though about that result and although my common sense is screaming quietly “well done you!”, my other new bootcamp sense is telling me  “wow you should have done better Claire!”



Don’t get me wrong, I’m not naive, the weeks of 4 and 5 pound losses always come frequently at the start but that is why the long term journey is more difficult than the short term fix.

I have, in a little bit of defence, been quite unwell this week with a nasty viral infection which affected my chest and breathing and a few days into a new shiny steroid Inhaler and I was ready to collapse after 2 mins jogging. Ridiculous as it seems in retrospect, in fact I did attempt a serious run and nearly ended up in a ditch collapsed… so word to the wise… Don’t push too hard. When your body needs a rest – you really need to learn to listen to it.

I’m not good at resting. I literally go at 100mph all the time, going every second of every precious moment with something rushing around my mind. There is no peace. I do think there is something vital in being able to just Stop.


And listen.

I sound like a new age hippy but I’m beginning to appreciate that we cannot sustain constant motion.

My steps are subsequently massively down this week, so I just tried super hard to be as tough on my food intake than anything else. I say tried but I’m omitting succeeded.

Interestingly I’ve found my levels of energy generally depleted with the less, exercise I’ve been able to do. Can’t believe I’m going to say it but I think I miss the adrenaline. I need to get back to work outs and do it quickly.

Now the honesty box is out this week, I ate a filthy Mars bar which I instantly regretted and 2 slices of domino’s pizza. I know there is no defence of this at all but if it makes you feel better my consience is punishing me enough for all of us. Also I used to be able to eat an entire domino’s pizza – 2 slices is downright miraculous!

When I’m unwell I need comfort.

When I need comfort I look for food

This is my cycle of fatty doom. I said it. I’m honest. It’s true.

No bloody avocado or quinoa is cheering me up when I feel sick, exhausted, exasperated and just generally sorry for myself.

I need to work on this. I think it needs to be about changing the mindset.

Also I forgot the gin… I may have had a few gins… Think it’s why it’s called mothers ruin.


EDINBURGH Gin in a can…. Just rebrand it Claires ruin!








Weigh in Week 6…

2 Pounds down this week.

Not the highest loss: but I’ll certainly take it. Runs have been less frequent with 3 days away this week. The turn in our beautiful weather has meant blissful long park runs have been shortened to soggy wet jogs in the puddles.

I also have been working on late back shifts at my job. This is my true fatty danger zone… I come in tired and a bit hangry late at night and decide that the fridge is my new best friend.

One of the biggest hurdles over the last 6 weeks has been my love of a late night snack. I’ve miraculously managed to  train myself that anything, literally anything else, is my best friend in order to avoid late night snacking.  This includes early nights to bed, immersing myself in social media, fooling myself with pints of water, binge watching more box sets of Netflix in bed than usual, late night dog walks around the block and indeed this blog of which there is no coincidence that most of my posts are written incredibly late at night.

This blog not only keeps me honest, it stops me reaching for the crisps and dip.

My other major hurdle this week was the travel eating. For some reason if there is a train station, airport or any form of transport hub, I gravitate to the Golden M that we shall not utter the name of other than old Ronald may have had a farm once.

My poor mum was clearly shocked with disbelief to the core at just how determined I have become and she almost inadvertently led me astray by accident, but I resisted.

As a sheer necessity, I had my first bite of chocolate in two months and turns out I didn’t miss it one bit. In fact my poor Lola had to eat the rest of the exact same bar after my guilt couldn’t be contained.  A necessity I hear you say… She’s kidding herself… Not quite.

Anyone who has ever had a tattoo will know a wee sugar high before you go keeps the old adrenaline pumping. The trusty Mars bar was the 80s trusted sugar hit of choice… A MARS A DAY… Helps you work, rest and not faint at a tattoo parlour….

This week I’m aiming for a 4 pound loss. I’ve got 6 weeks now until im lucky enough to go the Wirral to see the captain himself again at his Q&A book signing. My next big step to MY better me is getting to be at least another 1 stone down if not 2.

I know it will be difficult but I am gradually beginning to realise that  nothing is impossible. 2 stone down in 2 months I can do it again….. Can’t I?