Clare Richards' weight loss has hit the headlines many times in recent years.
The Steps star has fluctuated between a dress size 10 and 20 in the past, but has lost an impressive six stone since her reported heaviest weight of 16 and a half stone, and now appears to have beaten her ‘daily struggle’ with food for good.
Appearing at an awards ceremony for Specsavers recently, Claire showed off her trim figure in a black top and ruffled grey skirt – a look which her followers were quick to praise her for.
‘Stunning. Think your better now than you were when STEPS 1st got together,’ one declared after the mum-of-two shared a snap from the event on her Instagram account.
‘You look fab! Gorgeous skirt!’ another exclaimed, followed by a third who wrote: ‘Looking gorgeous honey’.
This isn’t the first time fans have been wowed by Claire’s weight loss efforts. During an appearance on ITV’s This Morning in March 2017 many fans calling her transformation ‘incredible’ and ‘fantastic’.
A size-10 Claire smiles for a TV appearance in March 2017
Claire has managed to control her weight through exercising portion control and focusing on healthy, mindful eating habits, opting for nutritious foods like fruit and yoghurt, salads and homemade family meals such as pasta.
‘Before it was all about what food tasted like – I could never stop the volume of food that I ate and really piled my plate up, I would finish every single mouthful!’ she explained to Essentials magazine in 2015. ‘It was the volume of food that I would eat. If we had a takeaway, I just wouldn’t know when to stop.’
‘But I’ve stopped doing that, stopped eating until I feel sick. Now I take a smaller plate and put hopefully more healthy options on there.’
She also keeps a close eye on the scales – she once told Closer magazine that she’d regained 5lbs, but quickly recognised that it was a ‘slippery slope’.
However, Claire’s made no secret of the fact that her weight loss is the result of serious self control and genuine hard work, writing to readers of her book, All of Me: My Story: ‘I have an emotional connection to food. Food for me is almost like a drug – I get an instant gratification from it, but it doesn’t last very long.’
Claire Richards’ weight loss: Through the years
At the beginning of her celebrity career, Claire weighed nine and a half stone, and was frequently pictured flaunting her flat tum in revealing outfits whilst touring with her successful band.
The active dance routines she was required to perform kept her in shape – but she admits that as soon as Steps broke up in 2001, her battle with her weight began to show.
Claire pictured performing with her bandmates in 1999
‘I didn’t realise how much being active in the band had kept me slim,’ she said. ‘I comfort ate for the next four years and I went up to 15 stone – my thighs spread right out and my stomach was huge.’
Claire has said previously that her weight was also affected by the break up of her marriage to first husband Mark Webb, in 2003, the divorce of her parents, and later, the arrival of her first child Charlie with current partner Reece Hill in 2007.
She managed to slim down for her wedding to Reece in 2008, by hitting the gym and releasing a fitness DVD in December of the same year, but in 2009 she fell pregnant again with the couple’s second child, Daisy May, gaining four and a half stone whilst she was expecting.
By March 2011, Claire had shrunk back from a size 18 to a size 10, telling TV host Alan Titchmarsh: ‘This is the second time this [weight gain and loss] has happened to me and I don’t want it to happen again, but I can’t say that is won’t. But it’s always going to be there, the thought of food.’
In September 2012, she admitted that she was ‘sick of dieting’, and after being pictured looking curvier again, said to Closer magazine: ‘I felt happiest when I wasn’t starving myself and decided that actually, this is me. I’m not meant to be a size 10. It’s not going to rule my life any more’.
Claire during her time in the Celebrity Big Brother house in 2013
Claire retained her fuller figure during her stint on Celebrity Big Brother in 2013, but by 2014 had once again lost a substantial amount of weight – for a very personal reason.
‘I just really want to set the record straight because I’m not bringing out a fitness DVD, I’m not doing some miracle diet, I don’t have the secret to weight loss and staying slim,’ she revealed. ‘My husband Reece and I – we decided that we wanted to try for another baby and me being overweight was causing us a lot of problems, so I went to see the doctor and he advised that I lose weight.’
Claire revealed she was trying to conceive again in 2014
The mum-of-two has always been very honest about the impact her weight has had on her fertility. In an interview with The Mirror in 2015, she said: ‘I feel I only have myself to blame, so it would be unfair to go down that road when there are so many couples who have not been blessed with any kids and it is their only option – and when they haven’t done it to themselves like I have.’
‘I guess maybe I feel I don’t deserve to be third time lucky. IVF just doesn’t feel like the right thing to do to my body.’
However, despite her difficulty trying to conceive, Claire’s motivation to stay slimmer seems to have stuck, as she has remained a svelte size 10 ever since.
She now follows an eating plan of around 1500 calories a day, and said to Lorraine Kelly in 2016 that she feels that she may finally have broken the cycle of unhealthy habits.
‘I’m trying really hard. It’s not rocket science how you lose weight but keeping it off has always been my problem,’ she said at the time. ‘I feel good. This is the longest I’ve managed to maintain it.’