A mum of two recalls how she lost an incredible nine stone after looking back at her old school pictures.
28-year-old Laura Eastel from Tavistock, Devon, was bullied at school for being ‘overweight’ and her classmates branded her with cruel nicknames like ‘fatty’ and ‘cream cake girl’.
The name calling only made things worse for Laura as she turned to junk and comfort food to ease the pain, by the time she turned 15 she weighed 19st and all she could fit into were baggy t-shirts and leggings.
However, she's explained that in 2014 looking at pictures from her school days inspired her to make a change there and then.
I was at my parents' house when they decided to get out our old family albums.
Flicking through the pages, we stopped on one of me bulging out of my school uniform, I was horrified.
Although I made some friends, wearing a uniform meant for a child six years older than me, I felt like such an outsider.
Laura felt she was unlovable until she met her soon-to-be husband Chris, in 2005 she became pregnant with their first child Ashley. However, she found that pregnancy was the ideal excuse for her to eat more chocolate biscuits, bacon rolls, sandwiches, crisps, pizza and fried chicken takeaways, with litres of fizzy drinks between.
By that time she weighed 20st 9lb, and Laura found it hard to walk up a flight of stairs without being breathless. She couldn't even bend down to play with her children at the local play centre, either. Additionally, the comments got crueller and so her insecurities grew.
It was in 2014 she decided to take action and lead a healthier lifestyle. She emptied all her cupboards of junk food and made porridge, salad, lean meat and fruit bars her new diet.
She explains that:
Whenever my willpower faltered, I only had to think back to my school days and remember the bullies' jibes to spur me on
Laura even joined her local Slimming World group, in Yelverton, eventually becoming a Slimming World consultant. Thanks to her proactive decision she is now a fraction of her former size having shrunk down to a 10.
Laura explains how:
Losing weight has changed my appearance completely and when I walked past a girl who used to bully me recently, the look of shock on her face made my day.
People often do a double take when they see me, they simply don't recognise me as the chubby girl they used to know.
While no one should be made to feel ridiculed or inadequate as to how they look, no matter size, race, gender, age etc... I can say well done to Laura on her remarkable transformation.