A woman lost an incredible seven stone in just five months by ditching a sugar addiction which saw her consume up to two litres of Pepsi a day.
Bozena Lisowicz, 28, who was 14st 9lb and wore size 18 clothes at her heaviest, became hooked on sugary treats and fatty, stodgy food as a mechanism to cope with anxiety.
She said: “I thought food would kill me. I wasn’t hungry, but I couldn’t stop buying and eating treats. I didn’t spend a second of my time looking at the labels to see how much sugar and fat there was.”
Miss Lisowicz, a quality control technician of Leeds, saw a rapid increase in her weight as she tried to improve a failing long-term relationship.
She said: “My focus was entirely on my partner, I just wanted him to be happy. But by doing so, I was making myself more and more anxious, and comfort eating even more.
“I loved cola, particularly Pepsi, and had a large bottle each day.”
Miss Lisowicz began suffering excruciating pain in her knees. In March 2012, when she was at her heaviest, she had an operation on her knees to help her 5ft 4in frame carry her weight.
Shortly afterwards, her relationship came to an end. Devastated, she dramatically cut her calorie intake and began losing weight at an alarming rate.
She said: “I was extremely depressed. I starved myself because I had given up on life and didn’t care whether I’d waste away or not.
“My behaviour wasn’t healthy - starving yourself is no strategy for trying to lose weight.”
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After two weeks of starvation, Miss Lisowicz slowly increased her intake, bringing it up to healthier levels.
As she emerged from depression she also gave up smoking in a bid to transition to a sustainable, healthy lifestyle.
Before beginning her weight loss, she typically ate two ham or cheese sandwiches, with a muffin and a can of fizzy drink, followed by a large bowl of cereal with full fat milk for breakfast. For lunch she would eat a large bowl of pasta with cake or chocolate for dessert. For evening meals she typically ate meat feast pizza and she would snack on chocolate and cola during the day.
Having made the decision to live healthier, she began typically eating a small low-fat pot of cottage cheese with wholegrain crackerbreads and low-fat yoghurt for breakfast, with chicken salad for lunch. She occasionally goes out for treat meals with friends but tries not to eat after 5pm. She also avoids snacking.
Miss Lisowicz, of Leeds, has replaced her size 18 wardrobe with sylvete size eights after only five months and now weighs 8st 6lbs.
She said: “I didn’t have any of the problems with saggy skin which I was expecting, because I used coconut butter to firm my skin.”
This year she has started studying psychology and counselling and is starting training with The Samaritans in January so that she may be able to help others through their struggles.
She said: “Now my starvation is for knowledge - for finding new things, for looking at society. I really enjoy that.
“I would love to help people who are in the place I've been. I know how it feels for people with depression, who are suicidal or have eating disorders. The NHS will tell you you have an eating disorder but they won’t help with it, I can.”