Jennifer Ellison confronts sugar addiction with cola stack
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Em J’s weight was making her miserable, but with just a few simple diet and exercise tweaks she completely transformed her life. How did she lose weight, whilst still enjoying treats?
At her heaviest, Em weighed 17 stone, and relied on unhealthy takeaways and sugary drinks to get her through her day.
It was only after a frank conversation with her mum that she decided to finally embark on a wellness journey.
“I was ordering takeaways at 3am or 4am and that’s when I really started to gain weight.
“I was only 21, but physically I felt like I was in my 70s,” she told the Liverpool Echo.
It got so bad that Em wasn’t even able to enjoy regular activities, like going to parties or spending time with friends.
“I was suffering severe dizzy spells, to the point in time where I didn’t leave my house for six months due to the repercussions of the dizziness, and I was having palpitations, shortness of breath and chronic fatigue.
“I also struggle with dyspraxia and agoraphobia on top of that, which made life feel unbearable at times.”
The NHS defines dyspraxia as “a disorder that affects movement and co-ordination”, while agoraphobia “is is a fear of being in situations where escape might be difficult or that help wouldn’t be available if things go wrong”.
She knew that losing the weight wouldn’t be easy, as her unhealthy habits had become entrenched in her lifestyle, but something had to be done.
“When I look at pictures of me at 17 stone it really is frightening.
“I was suffering severe depression, anxiety and I was so dependent on full-fat, sugary drinks.”
Facing her agoraphobia, Em even appeared on Channel 4’s Lose Weight Like Me.
The show, presented by Dr Sara Kayat and Diversity dancer Jordan Banjo, takes dieters through an eight-week weight loss process, following a plan approved by a leading dietician.
Jordan had lost an astonishing 10 stone himself, so knew what the contestants were going through.
Em learnt a lot of healthy lessons whilst taking part: “What saved my life was transitioning to a low-sugar lifestyle. With the help of The Skinny Food Co’s products, I discovered alternatives that were low in calories and sugar but still felt like a treat as they tasted just as good.
“I’m also so happy I’ve been able to find alternatives to the sugary drinks I used to be addicted to. I’m a big cocktail lover and working as a barmaid, I know how difficult it is to find low-sugar, low-calorie alcoholic drinks that are delicious too.”
Em also came up with a nifty trick to start enjoying her healthy meals as if they were takeaways.
“Simple tricks such as pretending The Skinny Food Co’s Skinny Malts were the real deal or putting a Skinny Food Fakeaway into the takeaway boxes I used to order still made the food feel like a treat.
“Once I started eating healthier, I realised that my addiction was mostly in my head.”
She also dropped the weight by vowing to walk outside at least two miles per day; according to Live Strong, someone weighing 225 pounds would burn 224 calories with this one simple exercise.
She concluded: “The combination of eating healthier and moving my body really helped regenerate my health.
“It was about changing habits slowly and in a way that wasn’t too overwhelming. The Skinny Food Co was a big motivation by allowing me to enjoy the pleasure of treats, but in a healthy way. It felt like a win, win!”
As for Em J’s advice to others: “Understand that you’re human. We all have setbacks and there is no quick fix to overcoming them.
“It’s about discovering what works for you and making small adaptations at first, then the progress will follow.”
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