Bullied and depressed as a teenager, Leanne is inspiring others to turn their lives around
A woman who suffered from bullying and eating disorders at school is now a locally-renowned personal trainer.
An inspiring ‘rags to riches’ story, Leanne Bierton, who grew up in Kingsbridge and now lives and works in Paignton, went from being overweight and depressed to healthy and happy, and now she helps other people do the same.
|Leanne on her 20th birthday and today|
In a true case of someone who knows what you’re going through, Leanne has tried the fad diets, has tried the exercise gimmicks and knows how demoralising it can be when those things fail, or you feel as if you have failed at them.
Leanne’s struggle with her weight started when she was attending Kingsbridge Community College. She says she had an “extremely bad relationship with food” and would use it as a comfort. “I would binge eat and secret eat” she explained. “I was severely bullied at school for my weight and eventually my issues with food spiralled out of control and I became bulimic.”
I was severely bullied at school for my weight and eventually my issues with food spiralled out of control and I became bulimic
For someone who is now the picture of confidence in the gym and with exercising, it is hard to believe that the thought of going to the sports centre would send Leanne into a panic attack.
Leanne continued: “I hit breaking point when I reached Sixth Form. At the age of 17 I weighed 15 stone and was manically depressed. I was carrying around the burden of an eating disorder with no way out and no one to help me learn how to improve my physical and mental health.”
|Leanne picking up her A-Level results and today|
This, sadly, is probably a familiar tale for too many teenagers and young people. Coupled with social media blasting you with images of perfection and general unrealistic beauty standards everywhere, it is very easy to get trapped in a toxic relationship with food and appearance.
Leanne decided to join a gym. “I HATED IT” she said. “I had no induction, no contact with a trainer,
no one showed me how to use the kit and I remember feeling like everyone was looking at me thinking I didn’t belong there” - another thought that is probably very familiar to people.
“In that moment I knew I wanted to help people NEVER feel the way I did.”
In that moment I knew I wanted to help people NEVER feel the way I did
Leanne decided to take an alternative route and started to join fitness classes alongside other people instead of being on her own in the gym. “I began going to Zumba and BodyPump classes and fell instantly in love with the community feel of group exercise.”
As her weight dropped, Leanne grew in confidence and became more and more sure that exercise was the key to what she wanted to do in life. She completed her Level 2 Exercise to Music qualification and began teaching.
She said: “The more I taught the more I fell in love with exercise and I then went on to complete my Level 3 Personal Trainer Qualification. I now work at Winners 2000 Paignton and I offer services to help people who are at the beginning of my journey.
“I have gone from an overweight depressed teenager to a strong woman who runs marathons, teaches 12 classes a week, lifts more than most men in the gym and now inspires others to learn how to make a change.”
I have gone from an overweight depressed teenager to a strong woman who runs marathons, teaches 12 classes a week, lifts more than most men in the gym and now inspires others
Alongside her personal training, Leanne has launched her Lean With Leanne 8 Week Challenge. This has been picked up by so many people that you may have seen it on your own social media news feed shared by friends or family.
The eight week challenge is designed to help change your outlook on exercise and being healthy. In the first and second week you learn how to track calories, week three and four is all about mindset, triggers for self sabotage and binge eating and ways of overcoming them. Weeks five and six are about staying motivated and keeping on track for your goals and weeks seven and eight see Leanne provide you with the education to continue to get results and maintain them after the eight weeks is over.
Leanne gives you a personalised workout plan designed for you, your body and your goals, extra workout videos, online workouts, Q and A sessions, online chat, access to the community of people all in the same place as you are and a copy of Leanne’s own virtual cookbook.
People are seeing results too, Charlotte Smith has been on the plan for seven weeks and said: “Leanne’s 8 Week Challenge is an absolute life changer. Not only do I feel incredible but I'm no longer wincing when I see myself in the mirror.
Not only do I feel incredible but I'm no longer wincing when I see myself in the mirror
“Leanne, with her realistic, sustainable program has made me realise my worth and given me the tools I need to continue to make healthier choices for me and my family. I couldn't be more thankful for all the time and effort she ploughs into this program. It's absolutely amazing.”
|Charlotte Smith - week one and week four|
|Charlotte Smith after seven weeks|
Kim Roberts is another for whom the programme has changed her life. She said: “At the beginning of the year I was stuck in a rut, unhappy with my weight and had lost myself in the midst of being a full time working mummy.
“Leanne persuaded me to join her 8 Week Challenge and since then I haven't looked back. My body has changed massively, not only with weight loss but I also feel stronger and fitter than I ever have. Leanne’s challenge isn't just about having results on the scales, she provides you with the knowledge and tools you need to make life-long changes that are not only good for the body but also the mind.
My body has changed massively, not only with weight loss but I also feel stronger and fitter than I ever have
“It isn't a quick fix where you starve yourself, lose the weight, then put it back on, it's a substantial plan which you can continue on your own. I love that I can still eat lots of food, especially food that I enjoy, and that the workouts are so easy to do at home and fit around my busy life.
“I also have so much more energy than before, I am stronger and enjoy the feeling I get after working out, it's really helped me mentally. Finally I feel like myself again and I'm enjoying wearing clothes I haven't been able to for years, I’m feeling confident in my own skin and proud.”
|Kim Roberts - before and after the LWL 8 Week Challenge|
Steph Perkins also shared her love of the 8 Week Challenge, she said: “I started this challenge because I had gained so much weight whilst pregnant and being a first time mum I had lost my identity and motivation to get back to 'me'.
I have now done Leanne’s 8 Week Challenge twice (winning one!) and I now do the Lean With Leanne 8 for continued support. She has completely changed my own relationship with how I feel about myself. She has re-educated me on my relationship with food and exercise.
I am two pounds away from hitting a three stone weight loss but, more importantly, I am so much fitter, stronger and back to feeling more confident to leave the house
“Seven months down the line I am two pounds away from hitting a three stone weight loss but, more importantly, I am so much fitter, stronger and back to feeling more confident to leave the house and so much more less dependent on what the scales say. She is just amazing and I'm so grateful for having found her.”
|Steph Perkins - before and after the LWL 8 Week Challenge|