Lifestyle Shrewsbury Club

Thu 8 Dec, 2016

A Simply Transformation: Laura Birch

weight loss

I’ve been overweight my entire adult life and a complete exercise-avoider. I have PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) which does make losing weight harder, and I’ve been to every slimming club out there over the years. I would lose a bit of weight and then stop and inevitably put it back on. I had reached the point where I just accepted that I was big and I couldn’t imagine that things would ever be any different. I thought I was one of those people who just couldn’t lose weight. Same with any exercise routine, I’d throw myself into something and then quickly lose interest when I didn’t get instant results or found it too tough.

Laura Before After 1

My weight stayed pretty consistent, I was around a size 18/20 and I was lucky to have two healthy pregnancies in spite of that. After my son and daughter were born I had less time to think about myself and still somehow hoped that the weight would just drop off!

Then I heard about someone who had some success on a very low calorie diet and I was intrigued to find out more about it. It sounded pretty extreme, 600 calories a day with meal replacements, but it was something I hadn’t thought about before and so in May 2015 I decided to give it a go. At this point I was just under 15 stone which was enormous for my 5ft2” height. I didn’t think it was something I’d be able to stick with, but miraculously something clicked and I was able to stay on plan, the fast weight loss helped with my motivation and I stuck with it until the end of August that year. Although it was tough I suddenly had lots of extra energy and I realised how much damage I’d been doing with my poor eating habits and sedentary lifestyle.

I lost three stones very quickly but soon realised that it wasn’t going to be a sustainable way to carry on, I was getting smaller but I knew I wouldn’t get the body I wanted if I only focused on fast weight loss. I had seen that Simply Gym was opening near my home in Shrewsbury and I wanted to find out more about it and with my initial weight loss I felt confident enough to go along and join up. That was September 2015 and that was also the point where I switched to healthy-eating and started to really think about the best way I could fuel my body.


At the same time I started working with Barnaby Pratt for one-to-one training sessions. My first training session was so tough! But on reflection, I was actually just horribly unfit, I’m sure Barnaby wondered what he’d let himself in for! I had some vague goals about wanting to ‘tone’ and lose more weight.

“I turned 40 in May and I am the healthiest and fittest I’ve ever been in my life”

Now, 15 months later I have lost a further two stone but my goals now are much more about being strong, being fit and healthy and continuing to challenge myself. I turned 40 in May and I am the healthiest and fittest I’ve ever been in my life, I eat well, focusing on a good level of protein with each meal, and mostly avoiding processed food. I am growing muscle and my shape is really starting to change. It’s a huge thing for me to have a photo up here of me with my arms uncovered as I always kept them covered up before, sweltering in cardigans even in the summer, now I am proud of the definition I’m gaining.

Laura Before After 2

“I don’t feel as though I have to hide anymore. I try to accept challenges and to swallow the “I can’t” of the old me.”

I go to Simply about four times a week, training weekly with Barnaby, weight-training and doing the odd indoor cycling class too. I have two young children and a busy job so I need to get the most out of my workouts in the shortest time. I have learnt so much from my personal training sessions and found them invaluable for finding my focus and learning how to be consistent. I get lots of lovely compliments about the way I look now but the best thing to hear is how much I’ve changed, I feel more confident and care less what people think about me. I don’t feel as though I have to hide anymore. I try to accept challenges and to swallow the “I can’t” of the old me. Best of all, I’m a much healthier role model for my children.