28-year-old Romanian Ana Sirbu weighed 32st just a year ago, she was always terrified to go to sleep in case she stopped breathing during the night.
Working as a pizza chef in York, she would regularly fill up on pizza and chips at 5am, following long shifts in the kitchen.
But, after cutting out the carbs and adopting a healthy eating and fitness regime, Ana is literally half the woman she used to be.
She has lost 18st to get down to a healthy size 14.
Ana admits: ‘Before I lost the weight, I felt trapped in my own body.
‘I couldn’t be myself as I couldn’t move or do anything I wanted to do,’ she says.
She puts her steady weight gain during her early twenties down to irregular shifts and a fondness for pizza.
But, unable to perform simple everyday tasks due to her size and terrified she would stop breathing in her sleep, Ana decided to take control of her diet.
‘At 32st, I couldn’t sleep – so much so that my boyfriend would have to wake up in the middle of the night just to check that I was still alive. It was a really scary time for everyone,’ she says.
She joined a LighterLife slimming programme and attended weekly counseling sessions to help her change her eating habits.
Instead of plates of pizza and chips, she had four specially formulated diet food packs per day.
As the weight began to drop off, she started exercising. She now jogs every day and dances. And while she no longer receives the diet packs, she’s maintained her healthy diet.
One year on, she’s completely transformed her appearance and outlook. She tells how her mum and dad, who live back home in Romania, were always worried about her health.
However, the last time they paid her a visit, her dad’s reaction really brought her transformation home: ‘When I saw him last year after I had lost the weight – he just started crying. I was still his daughter, but a million times happier and healthier.’
Oh, and she’s quit her job as a pizza chef.
‘The world is my oyster; I can do absolutely anything that I want to do and will find the job of my dreams,’ she says.