Michelle Bakal from New York, U.S, was bullied throughout her childhood for her weight.
When she was 16, the now 25-year-old started experimenting with alcohol and heroin.
During this difficult phase, Michelle also started binge eating, taking her weight to 27 stone.
When she was 21, Michelle went sober as she knew she wanted to turn her life around.
After shedding all the weight, she was left with ten pounds of excess skin, which she has now had surgery to remove.
Now Michelle works as a fitness coach and shares her lifestyle with others on Instagram.
‘It was about a year into my sobriety when I realised that I had been using food my entire life to fill an emotional void,’ said Michelle.
‘My first step was going to a clinic and realising that I have binge eating disorder. I realised that I could binge on food to the point of feeling physically ill.
‘I wanted to lose the weight for myself – it wasn’t for anyone else which I think was important.’
This month Michelle had a belt lipectomy, a reverse tummy tuck, breast lift and extended arm lift to remove excess skin from her stomach, breasts and arms.
Although she is still recovering from surgery, Michelle is looking forward to seeing the results.
After discovering a love for fitness since halving her body weight, Michelle enjoys motivating others to turn their lives around through posting about her transformation on Instagram, @michelle-bakal.
‘I have a greater understanding of what kind of proteins, fats and carbohydrates I need to put into my body based on my energy expenditure,’ said Michelle.
‘I became a lot more active and now go to the gym five times a week to do weight training and bodybuilding. I have hiked up high peak mountains with my husband and even gone camping.
‘These are things that I could never do when I weighed 27 stone because my mobility was next to nothing.’
Michelle was advised to hit her goal weight and maintain it for eight months before having surgery to remove the skin.
She said: ‘The only difficult decision about it was wanting to get it done before having any kids. I had to tell myself that carrying and delivering a child would not leave me with the same amount of excess skin I had from losing 14 stone.’
She now feels that she has a better emotional handle at life whereas before, she would bury her emotions with drugs and food.
‘Losing so much weight has enabled me to explore my love for fitness,’ she added.
‘It’s enabled me to want to motivate others because I get it when you’re in a position where you don’t know where to start. But there is always a way out from that turmoil.
‘If I can do it, anyone can. Five years ago, I was a 27-stone heroin user but then I got sober, lost weight and learned to love myself again.’
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