By Liana Jacob
MEET THE stunning British woman with a condition that affected her ability to conceive naturally until she lost over HALF her bodyweight and her Christmas wish came true when she became a mum.
In 2011, lettings negotiator, Anna Batista (31), from London, UK, was trying to conceive with her estranged husband, but they struggled.
They visited their family planning clinic who referred them for tests which confirmed that Anna had polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). This is a condition that affects how a woman’s ovaries work and contributed to Anna gaining weight to 16st 11Ibs and a UK size 20 to 22.
She was then put under strict orders by her doctor to lose at least seven pounds, but she found it a challenge. Her other health problems would flare up including her breathing and sciatica (leg pain), which would be so severe she would be left nearly paralysed and needed assistance turning around on her bed.
However, in 2013 she went on holiday to Brazil with a friend who recommended a diet plan and became her mentor, helping her shrink to a healthy 11st and UK size 12. In December of the same year, Anna fell pregnant with her son, Luca (now 5), and has since found love with another man, Felipe, after separating from her husband in 2016.
Anna now says she feels like she can actively keep up with Luca without enduring the health issues she had before her weight loss.
“I was diagnosed with PCOS when I was trying to conceive which was around 2011 to 2012, my estranged husband and I had a lot of trouble getting pregnant and sourced help from our family planning clinic,” Anna said.
“They referred us for tests and that’s when we found out that I was the problem. It was, in a strange way, a relief finding out that there was a reason as to why I was gaining a large amount of weight so quickly.
“There was a reason why I was experiencing excess body hair (especially on my face), why I was losing my hair and why I wasn’t getting pregnant.
“I was put under strict orders to lose weight, ‘at least three kilograms’, said the doctor but it was so difficult. I cut back on food, but exercising was painful, my sciatica kept flaring up and breathing was really hard for me.
“It was only when I went to Brazil in 2013 that I managed to lose enough weight in order to get pregnant.
“PCOS can be controlled by using a contraceptive pill, which of course, if you are trying to get pregnant you can’t take, so my only option was losing weight.
“My life was one big struggle; physically and mentally. I suffered due to the weight; I had sciatica which at times left me nearly paralysed to the point I had to be assisted in even turning around when in bed or lying on the sofa.
“My knees and ankles were always aching; I couldn’t breathe properly. To add to it, I felt unattractive and hid away a lot of the time.
“I hated being photographed, and it annoys me now because there were special moments in which I would like to look back at now like pregnancy or photos with my new born which I don’t really have.
“PCOS played a big role in the weight gain, also my bad eating habits, which wasn’t junk food but just eating large quantities of really good food.
“I had no idea how to portion then the icing on the cake at my worst point was unhappy with my marriage and ultimately life.”
Anna turned to a plan called the Cece project which assisted in eating plans and support; they provide you with healthy recipes and snack ideas.
She also started exercising more regularly, including dancing, working out in the gym three times a week and running.
She began dating her childhood friend in 2016, who has been a big supporter for her.
“I feel a lot more energised now, so I can run around and play with my very active five-year-old without feeling like I am about to die,” Anna said.
“Also, I am a lot more confident in my own skin, I work in an industry where confidence plays a big part. Before I was unable to even look people properly in the eye and would hold my head down.
“I met Felipe when I was fifteen; I was friends with his sister and some of his cousins but when I got together with my estranged husband at seventeen-years-old, I lost touch with Felipe.
“We then around early 2016 started following each other on Instagram and around the period of Summer/Autumn 2016 we started communicating via direct message.
“By this point I had already lost a big chunk of weight and started feeling the confidence creeping back so when he asked me out on a lunch date I didn’t hesitate and agreed.
“I didn’t mind him seeing me how I was looking then, but since then he has been an encouragement and supported the rest of my weight loss, although sometimes he comments on missing my ‘squishy belly’.
“Also, many women are now approaching me (via social media) asking me for help, something I never imagined happening, I would always be the one looking at other women wishing I could be like them.
“I didn’t know where to start either, and until this day I still thank that ex colleague of mine because she got me started and she pushed me in the right direction.”