If someone had told Louise McLaughlin four years ago that she’d be on stage in public wearing a bikini, she would have laughed in their face!
Wearing size 22 clothes and with her confidence on the floor, Louise had no energy to play with her children.
Fours years later and Louise (42) has lost an astonishing nine and a half stone through diet and exercise, and on Saturday night picked up the title of “Miss Body Transformation at the Millennium Forum.”
“My BMI was 46,” said Louise. “My doctor told me I was at risk of Type 2 Diabetes and my knees had started to give way. I had tried everything before.
“I would join a slimming club, lose some weight and then put it all back on.”
More than four years ago Louise joined the Energy Gym on Strand Road where she met Ciaran Coyle who had just qualified as a personal trainer.
“Ciaran was starting a beach body programme so I started doing personal training with him,” she added.
“I had no confidence at all.
“I could never buy any clothes and anything I did buy had to be ordered online. I would eat everything, my big weakness was bread.”
When she began training with Ciaran, she opted for a combined programme looking after her eating and training.
“My fitness wasn’t good. I didn’t feel determined or anything because I had tried everything and nothing had worked.”
Ciaran, who is now based at Crawford Square Fitness Gym, explained that the programme started with Louise doing high cardio exercise and conditioning, with goal setting.
“Ninety per cent of it was diet. Louise did a lot of classes and when the weight started to come off, she took more classes.”
In just one year, Louise had lost the majority of her weight, just shy of 10 stone, and now she started to do more targeted training.
Inspired when Ciaran was competing, Louise decided that she wanted to compete as well.
She won her first ever competition and also went on to win “Miss Europe.“
On Saturday night she scooped the Miss Body Transformation” title.
“They put up a picture of me before and after and then the audience voted for who they felt should win. It was brilliant.
“But it’s funny, if someone had told me four years ago that I’d be wearing a bikini, never mind a bikini on stage in public, I’d have hung my head laughing.
“I have so much confidence now and I feel amazing.
“Instead of my 22 clothes I now wear a size four or six.
“I’d say to anyone who was feeling the way I was four years ago to just go for it, take the plunge, get good advice and see what happens.
“And do as you’re told.
“There are people I’ve known for years who don’t recognise me.”