‘I have my life back’: Woman’s amazing 95kg weight loss
LOSING nearly 100 kilograms and more than half her body weight has literally saved Laura Durheim's life.
Two years ago the 27-year-old was tipping the scales at 160 something kilograms - her physical and mental health was suffering.
She was fraught with guilt and the weight of her own conscious.
But after struggling with her weight for most of her life, a pinnacle moment changed her and her inspiring weight loss journey began.
"It was in the back of my mind that I wasn't going to be around long and I'd kind of accepted that, which is messed up," the Lismore woman said.
"I'd just think 'oh well this is it now'.
"I was depressed, anxious, I drunk too much and the more unhappy I was the more I ate... I wasn't a nice person.
Laura's health issues began stacking up.
She had high blood pressure, early intervention for diabetes and severe PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome).
"I was told I had a small chance of ever having children, but I wouldn't live to see much of their life," she said.
"The final straw was attempting to ride the claw at Dreamworld and not fitting on the ride."
The following week Laura decided to save herself.
"I was weighing over 160 kgs as I poured out all the Coca Cola and tossed out all the junk food," she said.
From there, Laura admitted to basically winging it, eating foods she thought were healthy and teaching herself along the way.
"I changed my portion sizes, I didn't do any crazy diets or invasive surgeries," she said.
"With the encouragement from my brother James, I began walking."
But it was joining the all-female Summit Gym in Goonellebah a year into her journey that drastically kick-started her weight loss.
"Joining Summit was terrifying," she said.
"The first two weeks I stuck to the treadmill.
"I was paranoid people were judging me, watching me thinking I was a joke and shouldn't be there.
"My first pump class was a nightmare, limbs everywhere... I cried the whole way driving home and I told myself I was quitting and I wasn't going back to the gym, I could hardly move for three days but I turned up the next week and the week after that and so on.
Then Laura found her personal trainer Lisa Manson.
"She was incredible and took my abuse and swearing like a champ," Laura said.
"I was so scared she took equipment to a private room for sessions until I felt comfortable to be in front of other people.
"She gave me the confidence to use all the equipment in the gym and to not worry about other people, we are all here for a reason.
"Without her and the staff at summit, I probably wouldn't have stuck to the gym. I owe so much to summit but most importantly my life."
Just after Christmas Laura hit her goal weight of 65 kgs.
Now her depression is non-existent, her blood pressure perfect, she isn't at risk of diabetes and her PCOS has settled completely.
"My friends and family were stoked for me," she said.
"Old friends don't recognise me straight away, then shock would set in and then happiness.
"I'm more excited about my future now because I have one.
"I have my life back. It feels amazing"
In terms of weight loss, Laura believes eating healthily is the most important thing, then working out.
"The gym is so much more then losing weight it's my therapy," she said.
"I will struggle every day with having strong will power to eat healthy, to get up every day and push myself harder then I did yesterday at the gym.
"To tell myself I'm full when there is still half a plate of food left, to go out with friends and drink vodka and soda water instead of my beloved beer and to be content and ok when I treat myself to something I wouldn't normally, or when I have an off day."
Laura's journey continues to inspire many around her.
She had a message for anyone unhappy in themselves or wanted to improve their fitness.
"Don't wait any longer, don't put it off anymore," she said.
"If I can achieve this, if I can achieve losing 95 kgs then anybody can."