Ana Barboza had been steadily gaining weight since moving to a new state and dealing with a hormonal imbalance. Before she knew it, she was 262 lbs.
“I had a bad relationship with food,” the 5’3″ IP docketing systems coordinator, 30, tells PEOPLE. “I grew up in a Latin culture and my parents were always telling me, ‘You have to eat all your food!’ And they gave me massive amounts of food.”
She put on more weight when she relocated from New York to Washington, D.C.
“I used to live in New York, and I was more active and moving around. When I moved to D.C. for work, I gained 35 lbs. and I couldn’t drop it,” she says. “I also have PCOS [polycystic ovary syndrome, a hormonal disorder that can cause irregular periods, unexplained weight gain and difficulty getting pregnant], which makes you gain weight. I was pre-diabetic, my feet would swell and my cholesterol was through the roof. I was a heart attack waiting to happen.”