Dr. Laura Coia

General Practitioner, MBChB, MRCP, nMRCGP

I did my medical training at Glasgow University, graduating in 2001 with an MBChB.

I gained some experience in  General Practice in my Junior year before spending quite a few years working in hospitals, initially rotating through various medical specialties before passing my membership exams for the Royal College of Physicians (MRCP) and embarking on training in the field of Gastroenterology.

As time went on, although I enjoyed my specialty, I missed being involved in the ongoing care of my patients and made a move to General Practice training in 2008

I passed my Royal College of General Practitioners exam 2 years later (nMRCGP).

In the interim, I spent a year working full time as medical officer in the local Addiction Service. Here I gained loads of experience in supporting people through difficult periods in their lives as became adept at helping people make changes in their lives to improve their wellbeing.

I also gained lots of experience in dealing with chronic pain and complex medical problems.

Dr. Laura Coia

Read more about Laura

I really enjoyed my work there and went back on a part time basis for several years after completing my GP training. 

I currently work in a busy GP practice with 4 other GP partners as well as a great nursing team and clinical pharmacist. Being involved in primary care I am well aware of the difficulties patients and doctors have in accessing advice and support for people looking to make lifestyle changes to improve their health.

I am also very aware of the growing number of people on multiple medications for conditions that can be improved or treated with lifestyle modification.

At home, I am a busy mum of 3. All my kids are at primary school and I am navigating my way through the weeks full of homework, birthday parties and clubs as well and fitting in work , housework and making time to keep fit.

Until my mid twenties I would have describe myself as a habitual exercise avoider. I played netball at school but outwith that pretty much avoided PE and from mid high school till my mid twenties did little in the way of exercise.

I come from a large Scots-Italian family and, although my diet was mostly based around the Mediterranean diet ie healthy ingredients, the portion control within the family house was non-existant and desserts/chocolate were a daily occurrence rather than a treat. I became used to eating large portions and snacking often.

I would says these habits have been the hardest to break and I am still working on both of these things. I am pretty determined that my kids won’t grow up with the same issues and that they will develop good eating habits and stay active from a young age.

This is definitely my main motivation to change these days!

Most of both my Dad and Mum’s family are significantly overweight. I have a strong family history of cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes and am aware that I can do lots to reduce my risks of these conditions by making good choices in how I live.

I have vivid memories of my mum and all of her sisters trying every fad diet over the years from the tuna fish to the cabbage soup diet. They often got short term results but put all the weight and more back on in the long run as they didn’t make long term changes and returned to irregular eating habits and large portions.

I followed suit for a number of years during my teens before realising I needed to adopt a more long term approach.

Over the last few years I have become more active than I have ever been previously. I have found things I enjoy doing (boxing, weight lifting and walking) and re affirmed the things that I know I hate doing (running, aerobics). I work with what I enjoy doing and have made small consistent changes to my diet and activity levels that I feel have made a big impact on both how well I feel and on my risks of future ill health.

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consultant clinical psychologist, ma (hons.), dclinpsy

Grant Yuill

level 3 personal trainer, level 4 strength & conditioning coach

Top tips for success, changing your environment

Want to get a head start now? Check out our guide to simple changes you can make to start creating new habits.