A mum who was sick 40 times a day during a traumatic pregnancy bounced back just a year later to become a shredded bodybuilder.
Natasha Gilson, 35, suffered from hyperemesis during her pregnancy with daughter, Anaïs as the weight dropped off her.
Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), is excessive nausea and vomiting during pregnancy which often needs hospital treatment.
Crippled with constant sickness and nausea Natasha struggled with everyday life and the once super fit gym-goer couldn’t bring herself to do even a small exercise.
After an equally traumatic labour which was then followed up by a bout of sepsis Natasha thought she’d never get her fitness back.
But just a year later, Natasha poured her heart into training and went on to win a national fitness modelling contest.
Natasha explained: “I didn’t know how I was going to get any level of fitness back.
“Literally 72 hours after finding out I was pregnant the sickness started and it absolutely floored me.
“Every single day I was sick, multiple times. I was sick 40 times in one day.”
The mum-of-one went on: “When I fell pregnant I thought I could still go the gym a few times a week but I was just sick all the time.
“People kept saying when you get to three months it will be alright but it just wasn’t.
“I would be on the bus going to work and I’d have to get off because I feel sick and then wait for the next bus. At work I’d be on my hands and knees being sick in the toilets.
“I couldn’t believe how a baby could grow and survive in an environment where I could barely eat or drink without throwing up.
“I just kept thinking: ‘Please do not let anything happen to this child.'”
After seven months, the sickness finally subsided and Natasha finally went into labour in April 2013- but like her pregnancy, it was anything but simple.
Her daughter wasn’t crowning and Natasha was rushed into theatre.
And then, when her daughter was six or seven days old, Natasha developed sepsis and she was taken into the critical care unit in the delivery suit.
Natasha explained: “I felt so poorly, I felt like the life was draining out of my body and I deteriorated so quickly.
“I remember they said you will be home in 24 hours, then 48 hours, then two to three days. They said if you were really ill we would be doing x, y, z and then they did x, y, z.
“They said they needed to operate and that I should bring my partner and my baby back. I didn’t know what was going to happen.
“You’re so ill and you’re looking at your daughter thinking she would never remember me if anything happened.”
Natasha remained in hospital for two weeks and was advised not to do any exercise for 12 weeks.
She became inspired to get fit after seeing someone’s post on Facebook.
She said: “I messaged her and said she looked amazing and that I wanted to do something like that and said: ‘Why can’t you?'”
Natasha got a personal trainer and soon set her sights on the Fit Factor event at BodyPower Expo in Birmingham which was attended by over 60,000 people for audition in December.
When her daughter was eight-months-old she went down to the audition- where people were judged 50 per cent on body and 50 per cent on personality.
She was judged by a panel of four people and was asked why she would win the competition.
Natasha said: “I told them: ‘I’ve probably got the worst body there but six months ago I was fighting for my life and this is how far I have come. In another four months what could happen in that time?’
“I still had a dark line on my stomach and a stone of baby weight to lose.
“Walking in was so nerve wracking, all the girls had custom-made bikinis and I just had my Topshop bikini. I think if I lived round the corner I would have went home.”
To Natasha’s astonishment she made it through to the last 50 and she threw herself into training despite her relationship going downhill.
Then in May 2014, after beating the odds again to make it through to the next round, she beat the last four women to win the competition.
Natasha is now using her story to inspire others to never give up on their dreams.
She has since started her own company called Miss Motivator UK offering personal training sessions both in gyms and online.
Natasha said: “It’s about finding a balance. There are no good or bad foods there is food with more nutrients and food with less nutrients.
“You have to understand your cravings and get to the bottom of why you are reaching for that food.
“I don’t feel any guilt or shame when I eat certain foods. All foods can be enjoyed, it’s portion control that is key.
“As long as you have a calorie deficit- you’re burning more calories than you are taking in, then how you do it is up to you.
“Helping other people is what I love and seeing them progress is amazing.
“I want to inspire people to send a message that they can do anything if they want it enough and I want to be the best role model I can be for my daughter.”