Woman’s 10 stone weight loss on a diet of choc brownie sundaes and fried chicken – The Sun

TIPPING the scales at 22 stone, Erica Leigh knew something in her life desperately needed to change.

She was treating food "like a drug" and overeating to such an extent it often made her physically sick.

And she could barely move – with her tired body riddled with aches and pains.

Erica's reality check came during an uncomfortable conversation with her doctor – where he told her she might be heading for an early grave.

The event planner decided to sign up to Weight Watchers in a desperate bid to lose weight and has since lost an impressive ten stone.

Erica had struggled with being overweight ever since she was a child.

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Last week, when I used this “before” photo for #transformationtuesday, someone suggested that I recreate the outfit. Since this has become my go-to before photo, I loved the idea and knew I had to do it! Same outfit – 146 lb. difference. It’s still shocking, sometimes, when I snap a photo and then look at the result. I’m not entirely used to what I see in pictures. It’s been almost 2 years of progress with @ww, and I’m still getting used to the physical changes. Some days, I still feel like the girl in the photo on the left. Maybe I always will? It’s complicated, this experience. It’s also really interesting and I’m learning things about myself I never could have anticipated at the start. There are so many twists and turns and a-ha moments and peaks and valleys along this journey. Some are good, some are bad, some are great, some are hard. But they’re all important if I chose to learn from them. —————— #ww #wwcommunity #wwfreestyle #wellnessthatworks #weightlosstransformation #weightlossjourney #weightloss #beforeandafter #beforeandafterweightloss #beforeandduring #beforeandduringweightloss #katcrew #katcrewslay #dpfitcrew

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Last week, when I used this “before” photo for #transformationtuesday, someone suggested that I recreate the outfit. Since this has become my go-to before photo, I loved the idea and knew I had to do it! Same outfit – 146 lb. difference.It’s still shocking, sometimes, when I snap a photo and then look at the result. I’m not entirely used to what I see in pictures. It’s been almost 2 years of progress with @ww, and I’m still getting used to the physical changes.Some days, I still feel like the girl in the photo on the left. Maybe I always will? It’s complicated, this experience. It’s also really interesting and I’m learning things about myself I never could have anticipated at the start.There are so many twists and turns and a-ha moments and peaks and valleys along this journey. Some are good, some are bad, some are great, some are hard. But they’re all important if I chose to learn from them. —————— #ww #wwcommunity #wwfreestyle #wellnessthatworks #weightlosstransformation #weightlossjourney #weightloss #beforeandafter #beforeandafterweightloss #beforeandduring #beforeandduringweightloss #katcrew #katcrewslay #dpfitcrew

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And she would attempt to lose the weight every few years and see some moderate success but then just gain the weight back again.

She said: "It was a frustrating cycle, and I got to the point where I was just plain tired of thinking about it. So, I embraced the weight.

"I accepted that I was a big girl, got comfortable with that, took pride in it, and loved myself where I was.

"While I'm glad I found that confidence, I also found myself reaching my heaviest ever weight and had some uncomfortable conversations with my doctor about my overall health."

And Erica admits she was terrified at the lack of control she had over her diet – as she was constantly overspending and overeating.

She added: "I was sedentary, tired most of the time, and experienced all kinds of miscellaneous aches and pains.

"I was finding any excuse to eat, until I was physically sick, and then lying about how much or how often I was eating.

"I was also overspending on food. This lack of control scared me.

Erica's tips for weight loss success

1. Be kind to yourself

Be kind to yourself, even the version of you in your "before" pics. I started at my heaviest weight but with the highest level of confidence I had ever had. I like my life now better, but I don't think I could have stayed consistent if I hadn't started in a place of confidence.

2. Know that it won't be easy

If you have a significant amount of weight to lose, know that it will not be easy and it won't be quick—but it will be worth it. Anything that promises you health or weight loss in a fast and easy way is lying to you. It takes work, and that’s a tough thing to accept.

3. Celebrate your successes

Be open to the hard days and celebrate the successes, both big and small.

4. Be ready to fight

There is no quick fix. There is no secret. There is not trick I can share with you to make it happen. Make it easy. You have to be ready to fight for it. And you should, because you are worth it and I promise you won’t regret it.

5. Learn

There are so many twists and turns and a-ha moments and peaks and valleys along this journey. Some are good, some are bad, some are great, some are hard. But they’re all important if I chose to learn from them.

"I didn't just need to cut back a little on calories and exercise a little bit more; I needed to make serious changes that addressed the damaging, frightening habits that had become my norm."

After signing up to Weight Watchers, Erica slowly cut out fatty foods from her diet.

However the weight loss group's points structure means she can still have fried chicken tenders for lunch and a mini brownie sundae almost every night.

Talking about eating her favourite treats, she said: "It was important to me to find a sustainable program that was going to provide both structure and flexibility to enjoy lots of different types of food.

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2 years and 145 pounds difference! Had a great time at the @gafsociety yesterday – enjoyed lots of tasty foods and, of course, so much beer. I’m at a place where I can have these “splurge” days, enjoy them, track them, and move on. No guilt, but also recognition that these have to be “sometimes” experiences. Yesterday was fun and today I’m back to business as usual. I will say, though, with the 25k steps and 4 hours of “aerobic activity” my FitBit logged (so much dancing!) all that beer probably won’t end up impacting weigh in on Friday 😂 ———————- #ww #wwcommunity #wwfreestyle #wellnessthatworks #weightlosstransformation #weightlossjourney #weightloss #beforeandafter #beforeandafterweightloss #beforeandduring #beforeandduringweightloss #katcrew #katcrewslay

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2 years and 145 pounds difference! Had a great time at the @gafsociety yesterday – enjoyed lots of tasty foods and, of course, so much beer.I’m at a place where I can have these “splurge” days, enjoy them, track them, and move on. No guilt, but also recognition that these have to be “sometimes” experiences. Yesterday was fun and today I’m back to business as usual.I will say, though, with the 25k steps and 4 hours of “aerobic activity” my FitBit logged (so much dancing!) all that beer probably won’t end up impacting weigh in on Friday 😂 ———————- #ww #wwcommunity #wwfreestyle #wellnessthatworks #weightlosstransformation #weightlossjourney #weightloss #beforeandafter #beforeandafterweightloss #beforeandduring #beforeandduringweightloss #katcrew #katcrewslay

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"For me, tracking foods using their points system just made sense. It was easy to make the program part of my daily routine.

"It was also important to me to remain open to trying new foods and recipes.

"I knew I couldn't keep eating what I was before WW, so I had to be open-minded.

"I save room for a mini brownie sundae almost every night.

"I put a Fiber One 70-calorie brownie in the microwave to warm it, then top it with low-cal vanilla ice cream, sugar-free caramel, and strawberries."

Erica also signed up with a personal trainer who she saw once a week for 30 minutes at her local gym to maximise her weight loss.

And after getting more and more into her exercise she soon committed to doing 30 minutes of activity, three times a week at home.

She even started running and is now training to do a half marathon next February.

Erica said: "Whether it's tracking, choosing the more nutritious option over the bigger indulgence, skipping the donuts on the counter at work, or working out when you don't feel like it, these little moments make up the journey.

"These moments are opportunities for you to commit daily to the life you're building for yourself. You'll never regret making the better choice when it feels so hard to do so."

Erica's new diet

  • Breakfast: One apple, one banana with a 1/2-tablespoon of peanut butter, one hard-boiled egg, one chicken sausage link, and a bagel with a few sprays of I Can't Believe It's Not Butter.
  • Lunch: Leftovers for lunch are the easiest way for me to stay on track. I usually make roasted vegetables, air fryer chicken tenders, and brown rice to enjoy all week.
  • Snacks: An apple and a mini Dive Bar (my favorite is the Trash Can Cookie flavour). I also love Snacklins (the Chesapeake Bay flavor is so, so good).
  • Dinner: Salmon with sweet potato fries, both made in the air fryer, with steamed veggies.
  • Dessert: I save room for a mini brownie sundae almost every night. I put a Fiber One 70-calorie brownie in the microwave to warm it, then top it with low-cal vanilla ice cream, sugar-free caramel, and strawberries.

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I remember taking the photo on the left. I was 2 months in to @ww and about 20 lbs down. I felt amazing. I felt like this thing that had seemed big and impossible for so long … might actually be possible. I’ve chased that feeling every week, every month. Using it to keep me motivated. I wish I could bottle up that feeling and give it to everyone who needs it. I had over 175 lbs to lose when I started out. I was facing a big, huge challenge. It felt impossible, I was too far gone, so I ignored it and made it worse. When I finally dove in and started seeing progress (little by little), my entire mindset changed. It wasn’t impossible. I had hope. Not because it was easy (because it really, really isn’t easy) but because I had faith in WW and in myself. The proof was in the progress. I tricked myself into thinking it was impossible for a long time…I found comfort in accepting myself just as I was. I’m glad I did – I jumped into this experience feeling confident and full of self love. BUT I wasn’t my best self. I wasn’t treating myself well. Now, I’m down 140 pounds. I’m 35 pounds away from my goal and I’m still chasing that feeling. That confidence that I am capable of doing this. That it’s not impossible. That it’s worth the hard work. It’s not easy, but it’s NOT impossible. ————- #ww #wwcommunity #wwfreestyle #wellnessthatworks #weightlosstransformation #weightlossjourney #weightloss #beforeandafter #beforeandafterweightloss #beforeandduring #beforeandduringweightloss #katcrew #katcrewslay #transformationtuesday

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I remember taking the photo on the left. I was 2 months in to @ww and about 20 lbs down. I felt amazing. I felt like this thing that had seemed big and impossible for so long … might actually be possible.I’ve chased that feeling every week, every month. Using it to keep me motivated. I wish I could bottle up that feeling and give it to everyone who needs it.I had over 175 lbs to lose when I started out. I was facing a big, huge challenge. It felt impossible, I was too far gone, so I ignored it and made it worse.When I finally dove in and started seeing progress (little by little), my entire mindset changed.It wasn’t impossible.I had hope.Not because it was easy (because it really, really isn’t easy) but because I had faith in WW and in myself. The proof was in the progress. I tricked myself into thinking it was impossible for a long time…I found comfort in accepting myself just as I was. I’m glad I did – I jumped into this experience feeling confident and full of self love. BUT I wasn’t my best self. I wasn’t treating myself well.Now, I’m down 140 pounds. I’m 35 pounds away from my goal and I’m still chasing that feeling. That confidence that I am capable of doing this. That it’s not impossible. That it’s worth the hard work.It’s not easy, but it’s NOT impossible. ————- #ww #wwcommunity #wwfreestyle #wellnessthatworks #weightlosstransformation #weightlossjourney #weightloss #beforeandafter #beforeandafterweightloss #beforeandduring #beforeandduringweightloss #katcrew #katcrewslay #transformationtuesday

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Erica says she now feels happier than ever in her slim 12 stone figure – and says she's learnt a lot about herself.

She added: "I don't wish that the process of losing weight had been faster or easier.

"I've learned so much about myself through this experience, and I continue to every day.

"This wouldn't have been possible if I woke up one day and I was magically at my goal.

"I've worked hard and believe the changes I've made will be long term and sustainable because of the time it's taken to get where I am.

£I also still have to remind myself that there's no finish line. There will not be a time when I'm 'done.'

"There won't be a time when I can go back to the habits I had before and maintain the progress I've made.

"This was a tough pill to swallow, but accepting this and embracing it has allowed me to see a level of sustainability and success I've never seen before."

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