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Recovering from Anorexia and lifting weights

Beating Anorexia. Laura's Story

"The way Laura has turned her life around has been quite remarkable. After being her own worst enemy for so many years, she has a new found love of fitness that has helped her get back on track."

Paul Watson, General Manager, Xercise4Less Nottingham

Read how Laura beat anorexia

Recovering from Anorexia and lifting weights

When it seems like any rational thought relating to food is non-existent and belief systems for a healthier future are in conflict, sometimes a jolt from someone like Laura can offer the inspiration that others need to escape things that are spiralling out of control.

Recovered from anorexia

Went up 2 clothes sizes

Put on a healthy 23kg

Became aware about food preparation

Exercises regularly with friends

Meal preparation from Laura Bardsey
Photo of healthy food and a healthy Laura

Laura's Story

Laura weighed a mere 40kg and fit into size 4 clothes. Her troubles with food began in her early teens after a traumatic experience when a close family member died in a freak accident. Grief stricken, Laura felt guilty even contemplating eating food. When her stomach was full, she felt greedy, as if she was a bad person and would purge herself continuously to keep this fear and false self belief at bay.

Many weren't aware of her troubles, and those that were...well...no-one knew how to approach the situation.


“I would constantly think of ways I could avoid eating, coming up with excuses and lies to tell my friends and family.

“I would say I’d already eaten, hide food, throw it away. I would leave plates and crumbs of food out to make it look as though I had prepared and eaten food.


Laura was putting her health at serious risk and thought that what she was doing would lead her to happiness and a greater sense of confidence.

Reality hit.

The more she continued down this path, the more she became depressed. She was over exercising to extenuate her weight loss and because Laura didn't know enough about the nutritional aspect she ended up with bruising all over her spine. Her body simply couldn't keep up and was exhausting itself.

Weight loss dominated her thoughts. She was referred to The Priory and had consultations with doctors for mental health and weight issues twice a week.

Sometimes it takes that special someone to pull you out of the hole your in, and in 2013 Laura met a new boyfriend whose passion for fitness truly rubbed off on her. She began her membership at Xercise4Less Nottingham and was introduced to weight training. Her family helped with her recovery too and they went on walks together but it was the knowledge she learned from people at the gym that helped her to understand the way the body works.

She began to understand why our bodies need carbohydrates and fats and the concept of refuelling muscles. She began to realise that the devil wasn't in the food.

Her boyfriend Darren helped her figure out a diet plan and slowly pumped up Laura's calorie intake by increasing portion sizes, with supplementary healthy snacks and protein drinks in between.

A new person

Laura has a new found love with the gym and the purging stopped. She found she had more energy to be active, look good, feel healthier and the new mental focus to complete her studies at Nottingham University. Laura now weighs 63kg, and wears 8-10 size clothes. Instead of living off less than 500 calories a day she now eats 2,200 but combines her nutrition with a healthy amount of exercise.

Helping others

Laura has since begun a website (with her gym friend who also suffered from anorexia) in a bid to help others who are making the first big steps to recovery. Laura has now enrolled with us on a PTQualifications4Less course and is now successfully on the road to becoming a qualified personal trainer. She knows just how PT's can help people. Maybe she wants to change a few lives herself?

Laura's advice

To anyone going through the same ordeal, just think about this: “There’s so much rubbish out there on social media about diet and exercise and how you ‘should’ look which is sometimes hard to ignore. But just being you, educating yourself on proper health and finding what makes you happy will make life a hell of a lot better." Joining the gym gave Laura a new lease of life.

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