A MOTIVATIONAL student nurse burnt off four stone, became a marathon runner and turned her life around, and inspired thousands.
Louisa Elliot, 23, from Rowlands Castle was forced into getting fit when her aunt enrolled her for the 2013 London Marathon on behalf of charity, Dreams Come True.
At almost 15st, the then 20-year-old had no choice but to lose the weight she wanted to shift but lacked the motivation to do so.
Five marathons on, almost 20,000 Instagram followers have watched Louisa transform not just physically but in confidence too.
She said: ‘I was really self-conscious. I would never do sports day at school because I was too embarrassed.’
When Louisa first started running, she followed social media fitness profiles to help her stay motivated.
Since then the ex-Bishop Luffa student has created her own brand, @Louisaruns which has 19.5k Instagram followers. Louisa believes her popularity is because unlike most fitness Instagrammers people can relate to her.
She said: ‘There are so many unrealistic goals set by people online who have personal trainers which normal people can’t afford.
‘It doesn’t have to cost you anything to keep you fit. You just need to be motivated and you can’t buy that.’
Currently in her second year at Brighton University, studying mental health nursing, Louisa said she would have never followed her ambition to become a nurse without the confidence running gave her.
Support from her family and boyfriend who attend every race, has been fundamental to Louisa’s journey.
She said: ‘When there’s someone there it makes such a difference.
‘It’s so important to reach out to people close to you and let them know you need help.’