By Liana Jacob
ONLINE TROLLS told this woman that she DESERVED TO DIE YOUNG because of her plus-sized figure but she isn’t letting it bother her and is flaunting her lingerie clad figure for all to see – which she admits makes her feel empowered.
Receptionist, Laura Walsh (31) from Brecon, Wales, UK, was a small size 10 to 12 when she was in her teens, however, she began putting on weight in her early twenties increasing her weight to 16st and UK size 22.
This prompted her to visit the doctor who kept telling her to just eat less and exercise more with no explanation as to her sudden weight gain. Her confidence was knocked down and she began to feel insecure about her appearance. Despite always feeling happy in her own skin, not knowing what was going on with her body made her feel frustrated.
It wasn’t until she was 25 years old that she was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a common condition that affects how a woman’s ovaries function. She experienced a rapid progression of symptoms including excess facial hair, constant low moods and irregular periods.
After a lot of research on PCOS, she also found many accounts on Instagram of women who share her condition embracing their bodies and it inspired her to share her own journey. While initially she faced a lot of negative criticism from online trolls who would call her ‘fat’, ‘unhealthy’ and even tell her that she deserves to ‘die young’, she has learned to grow a thick skin and refuses to let them control what she does.
She now boasts an impressive 50K followers on Instagram and continues to upload body positive posts of her dressed in bikinis and lingerie. She says that they make her feel powerful.
“I was never plus size growing up, I was a size ten to twelve throughout the whole of my high school years. I have always had chunky thighs and a curvy shape – but it never affected my teens,” Laura said.
“It was when I started putting weight on, I couldn’t understand why it was happening to me. The doctors were no help at all. just kept telling me up eat less and exercise more.
“It wasn’t until I was diagnosed with PCOS everything started to make sense; my confidence felt knocked as all my friends lead the same lifestyle, but I was the only one gaining weight.
“In my mid-twenties my PCOS was out of control; I gained loads of weight, I seemed to get a lot of facial hair, my mood was always low, I had lots of irregular, strange periods and I generally just felt really awful about myself.
“I did a lot of research myself about the condition and also found a lot of accounts on Instagram and forums that I could relate to – this helped me a lot.
“The confidence of the girls I follow on Instagram and with the help of my family and friends I just felt like this was a huge turning point for me; I decided I wanted to start a journey to better myself and I wanted to share it with the world.
“I remember going out with one of my friends to do some outfit shots in clothes that I wouldn’t usually wear – wondering why I had never done this before.
“Why had I allowed myself to tell me that I wasn’t good enough? We went for a walk around the local river and to one of the local castles.
“I also remember someone once said to me, ‘you can’t wear that, it won’t look right on you being plus size’, this hit a nerve and ever since I have made it my mission to wear what I want, where I want.
“What’s the point in hating your body for its imperfections; being a healthy woman is important to me, it isn’t about measuring your waistline or worrying about what the scale says.
“It’s about how we feel and see ourselves; that’s why embracing your body shape is important for your health. Wearing matching underwear, it makes me feel powerful.”
Laura admits that it’s not always been an easy journey for her as there have been strangers who would call her names on social media that she has had to learn to ignore.
“Online trolling can be pretty difficult to deal with; when I first started on Instagram, I found it really difficult to deal with comments like ‘you are fat and unhealthy’ or ‘you deserve to die young’. I receive hateful messages all the time,” she said.
“It used to really upset me. Although throughout my time on Instagram, I have grown thick skin, I now feel that these trolls cannot affect me in any shape or form.
“I know that I do the best that I can do for me and that is good enough. I know that I am enough. I use Instagram to spread body love; self-love is extremely important.
“I feel that fashion is only just starting to pay attention to the plus size industry, it’s only now that I can go shopping on the local high street and purchase an item of clothing that will actually fit me.
“I love me; I am at a point in my life where I am completely comfortable with myself. I love my wobbly bits, stretch marks, scars, dimples. I literally love me, I’m grateful and fully appreciate my body every day.”