A woman lost 165lbs (11.7 stone) naturally after obesity nearly broke her back.
Lisa Monachos, 31,weighed 340lbs (24.2 stone) and hit 59% body fat after years of battling an eating addiction.
After years of struggling with her back and having three surgical procedures, Monachos found herself losing feeling in her legs and in constant pain.
This is when her doctor warned her spine could no longer support her weight.
Over the last five years, Monachoslost 165lbs naturally, dropped to 24.3% body fat and became a personal trainer to help others.
Now she hopes to rid herself of the excess skin that is still causing her back issues.
Monachos, from Bolingbrook Illinois, said: “I don’t think people fully understand food addiction and that it is a real thing just like any other drug.
“The exact moment that forever changed my life was when my doctor told me that my spine was too weak to support my body weight anymore.
“That was my rock bottom; the embarrassment, the vulnerability, the pain and the fear of not having my legs or my life.
“I have not looked back since but the sad thing is that I still have so much back pain because of the excess skin I carry around now.
“I am hoping body lift surgery will allow me to enjoy my life.”
Monachos believes one reason for her weight gain stemmed from large, starchy meals as a child, which snowballed into binge eating.
She said: “I started gaining weight slowly at pre-school and over the years it got out of control. By school I was very ashamed of my body.
“I grew up in a Greek family and we would cook big family meals. Dinner portions were large and starchy.
“Looking back this is where I can see my binge eating behaviours developed.
“Food was like a drug. Once I started driving I was able to sneak food.
“I was overweight and unhappy and I just ate my feelings away. If someone mentioned a type of food I liked it was like heroin.
“My entire body needed it and I didn’t stop until I had it and a lot of it. I loved the way food made me feel.
“I would go to a fast food restaurant and eat quickly in the parking lot before heading home to eat dinner with my family because I knew I couldn’t eat the amount of food without someone saying something.”
Monachos developed depression and anxiety around her body image but her back troubles made her realise something needed to change.
“I thought I would be dead by the time I was 30,” she said.
By the time she was 25-years-old, she was seeing a doctor regularly for lower back pain. Her final wake-up call came following emergency back surgery.
She said: “At this point I wasn’t standing up straight, I could hardly sit, my leg was numb and I was constantly in pain and on pain kills.
“I had my first spinal surgery, a Microdiscetomy but my disk had completely come out.
“I could not feel or move my left leg, had little feeling in my right and was in severe pain.
“When I work up my doctor told me my spine was not able to support my weight and my life was in danger.”
Determined Monachos started by walking with the modest goal of completing a mile.
Then she took on bigger challenges and soon was swimming daily and working out twice a day.
However the dramatic weight loss left her with excess skin that stills weighs heavy on her back.
She said: “I was on this high for a long time after my weight loss but eventually the excess skin took toll.
“I spent a lot of money on creams, scrubs, treatments to stop the rubbing and pain.
“I am more comfortable hiding my body with layers and wearing my compression clothing. It physically hurts, its heavy and pulls at my joints.”
Monachos is now crowdfunding for surgery. To support her efforts to raise $30,000 donate at gofundme.com/2jj3jec.