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Kerry Swift had always been a bit heavier than her friends, until she lost weight for her wedding three years ago. That didn't last long — Swift, now 27, became pregnant on their honeymoon and used her pregnancy as an excuse to "eat anything," she said.
Her size didn't faze her until she saw the photos from her son's christening.
"I hated them all," the Manchester, United Kingdom, resident remembered. "There wasn't one good photo. That was a huge shock to me."
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She was surprised to realize she weighed 215 pounds and decided she had to make a change. Here are the steps she took to lose 75 pounds.
1. Get a plan.
Swift joined Slimming World, a UK-based weight-loss program comparable to Weight Watchers, in October 2014.
"I knew the plan pretty well because I had used it before my wedding, and my mom had lost a lot of weight on it," Swift explained. Slimming World taught her how to keep track of her meals, and helped her focus on eating more of the healthy stuff.
2. Say no to takeout.
"We used to have takeaways at least four times a week," Swift remembered. "We'd order Chinese, Indian — anything. It was easier to get takeaway than to cook."
Thanks to her new meal plan, Swift focused on cooking and trying new recipes, and it worked. She weighed herself every week and slowly but surely started to lose pounds.
3. Use Instagram to hold yourself accountable.
In October 2015, Swift noticed some of her friends had been using Instagram as a food diary, and decided to do the same.
"I thought that taking photos of what I ate would help me hold myself accountable. Taking a photo is much more visual than writing down everything you ate that day," Swift explained.
She posted (and still does!) every meal on Instagram, including snacks. People started asking her for her recipes, so she created a blog where they could have a home. Swift started with 100 followers, and today her account has over 19,000! If she misses a day or even a meal, her followers notice and ask her what is going on.
4. Don't let a bad day throw you off track.
"I had days where I'd have loads of bad food, and I always did the same thing to refocus: I would sit down and rewrite my goals and prepare a meal plan for the next week," Swift said.
5. Find a community that supports you.
For Swift, it was Instagram, but she recommends trying to find people who are on a similar journey as you.
"If you're feeling down, those people will motivate you and you'll get ideas from them, too," she recommended. "People in my real life don't want to hear about how I'm trying to lose weight all the time — it bores them! But the Instagram community is always there."
Today, Swift is down 75 pounds and her husband has lost 28 pounds. She's started exercising a few times a week and is still posting all of her meals on her Instagram account.
"The fact that I matter to other people and am inspiring them makes me feel proud! My mom inspired me when she went from a size 22 to a size eight," Swift said.
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