A mum has lost a staggering six stone in just 19 months, and says she owes her weight-loss win to her Instagram followers.
Slimming from 15 to nine stone, Kerry Swift, 27, began her mission when she saw unflattering photos of herself at her son Oliver’s christening.
‘I saw the photos of myself at Oliver’s christening and all I could see were my rolls of fat and unflattering outfit.
‘I was just really ashamed of how I looked, I hated them. It made me cringe. It was a special day for him and I feel like I ruined it.’
Kerry immediately switched up her diet, and decided to start documenting her own food diary on her Instagram account, which only 100 people followed at the time.
She and her husband, Andy, used to spend about £20 a day on takeaways, and the mum had a dangerously high BMI of 34,7, meaning she was morbidly obese.
After dedicating herself to her online food diary, Kerry switched the takeaways for home-cooked meals such as chicken curry with cauliflower rice.
She came up with the idea of broadcasting her weight loss journey by looking to other people who had done similar things.
‘I’d seen other people using Instagram as a food diary and thought it would make me more accountable for what I was eating as well as getting meal ideas.
‘It was brilliant to see people inspired by my meals, and putting it out into the public domain definitely helped keep me on track.
‘Every time I was tempted to have a cheat meal, I thought of my followers and would cook something green instead.’
Over the months, Kerry gained a massive following of 19k people who all paid attention to her Instagram food diary.
Where a typical day of meals for her would previously look like sugar-packed cereal, a meal deal with crisps, chocolate and cake, followed by a takeaway curry or kebab, her followers got to see her improved diet of fruit for breakfast, home-made leftovers for lunch, and bolognese with courgette noddles to end her day.
Kerry also joined Slimming World, where she learned to cook healthier versions of her favourite takeaway foods such as hamburgers with sweet potato chips.
‘I’ve always liked to cook and I love Instagram. I found my healthy meals looked great in photos, so I decided to share my results and use the feedback to stay on track.
‘It became a hobby – I would create fun meals and then post them to my Instagram account. I started gaining more followers and the positive comments from strangers inspired me to keep going.’
As more and more people tuned in to her weight-loss journey, the popularity of her account gave Kerry the motivation to keep going.
‘My food diary was public so I didn’t want to taint my profile with unhealthy takeaways. I knew my followers would notice if I skipped a meal so I was never tempted to cheat.’
In April, Kerry hit her goal weight of 9st 1lbs and is now a size 8. She still posts to her food diary, hoping she can encourage others to follow in her footsteps and achieve their weight-loss goal.
‘Putting my weight-loss journey out in the public domain kept me on track, so now I’m showing off the results online too.
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‘It feels brilliant to be able to be inspiring other people to achieve their goals too.
‘I have so much more confidence now, I’m not afraid to be silly with my son. Before I was to self conscious.
‘I can wear what I want and I’m proud of how I look. I have more pictures now for us to look back on when my son is older.’