At Slimming World, we believe in celebrating every weight loss milestone. It’s because we know that every pound you lose can make a big difference to your life and the way you feel about yourself. That’s definitely been the case for our inspiring member Erika Spiller, who’s experienced many life-changing moments on and off the scales on the way to losing 5½st. Below, Erika takes us step-by-step through her weight loss journey and reveals how she’s transformed her health and confidence, a stone at a time.
March 2019: Starting my journey
Sitting by the sea in Lanzarote, I should be having the time of my life. Instead, I’m feeling uncomfortable and overheated in my too-tight, size-20 shorts. Plus, there’s something that’s really playing on my mind.
A few days ago, I was walking along the beach and asked my friend to take a photo of me in front of the ocean. As he snapped a few pics on my phone, I twisted and turned, trying to contort my body into a pose I thought would flatter my figure. When he handed the phone back, I scrolled through the photos and my heart sank. I looked so much bigger than I’d imagined.
I’ve struggled with my weight for as long as I can remember. As a teenager, I missed out on swapping clothes with my slimmer friends, and if someone took a photo of me on a night out, my eyes would be immediately drawn to my chin or tummy, wondering if they made me look big. When I started getting painful boils on my stomach, caused by a skin condition called hidradenitis suppurativa, I became even more self-conscious about my body and turned to food for comfort.
Every so often I’d try to lose weight by cutting out food groups, but I’d quickly get fed up with feeling hungry all the time. And as soon as I returned to my old eating habits, the weight would go back on again.
Seeing that photo on the beach has made me realise how unhappy I am about my size, though, and I know I want to give slimming another try. A friend recently told me how she lost weight with Slimming World, and she ate proper food, too. As soon as I get home, I’m going to find my local group and join.
May 2019: 1st lost
I got my 1st award in group tonight! I’ve been surprised by how much I’ve enjoyed receiving a certificate for every half stone I’ve lost. The other members are always delighted when I get a new award, telling me how well I’m doing, and it definitely spurs me on to achieve the next one.
It’s already a world away from the way I felt when I first walked into group a few weeks ago. Back then, I sat in the new-member area listening to my Consultant, Sharon Grove, explain how Food Optimising worked. Although there was a fair bit to get my head around, it was all straightforward – and when I got home, I read the Food Optimising book from cover to cover before I started to sort my meals for the week ahead. I loved all the filling recipes straight away: chilli con carne, cottage pie, even a lightened-up version of my takeaway favourite, crispy chilli beef. I was enjoying the food so much that I even stayed on plan on my birthday, saving my Syns for a celebratory drink in the evening. And when I went back to group a week later, I’d lost 6lbs!
Since then the scales have kept going down, this healthy way of eating is definitely working…
September 2019: 2st lost
This weekend I was maid of honour at my cousin Georgie’s wedding. When she first asked me, I’d said yes straight away, but my thoughts quickly turned to how I’d look in the photos. My nerves didn’t get any better when I tried on the size-20 dress Georgie had bought for me online and found it didn’t fit. I felt so happy for my cousin, but part of me was dreading the big day.
After four months of Food Optimising, though, I’m 2st lighter and I feel completely different. Not only did the strapless dress fit – I had to keep pulling it up because it was too big! It felt fantastic to be celebrating the occasion with my family and friends without worrying about how I looked. When I saw a few photos on Facebook the next day, I wasn’t thinking about how everyone else was slimmer than me – all I could see was how much happier and more confident I looked.
November 2019: 3st lost
The last few weeks have been tough. I’ve lost 3st, but recently my weight loss has stalled and I just can’t seem to get my head in the game again. Tonight I finally shared my struggles with Sharon and the other members in group. Chatting things through with them made me realise that one of the things I’ve been doing is forgetting to measure out my Healthy Extra portions of milk – and the amount I’ve been drinking might have affected my weight loss. I’ve come away from group feeling motivated, and with lots of new recipe ideas to try, too. It’s time to get back on track.
March 2020: 4st lost
Sharon’s advice really did the trick! Now I’ve got a new challenge to face: the country has gone into lockdown. Rather than worrying about the changes that are out of my control, though, I’ve decided that I’m going to focus on my weight loss journey. I’ve already started cooking extra portions of my meals so that I have some healthy, filling lunches while I’m working from home. And if I can’t find all the ingredients I want in the supermarket, I’m challenging myself to try a fruit or vegetable I’ve not had before.
Luckily, I still have the support of the other members now that Sharon has launched a temporary virtual group. Although it’s different to a real-life group, it’s great to see everyone’s faces again and hear how they’re getting on. Plus, Sharon is posting my 4st award out to me, so I can still stick it up on my fridge!
May 2020: 4½st lost
Today I got the call from my doctor that I’d been waiting for: I can reduce the medication for my skin condition. I haven’t found a boil in months and the doctor said my weight loss has definitely helped. If I keep going like this, pretty soon I’ll be off the tablets altogether.
June 2020: 5st lost
My body is changing dramatically now. I recently bought my first ever co-ord outfit online – in a size 12! When it arrived, I was nervous that it would be too small… but as I slipped on the matching shorts and crop top and stood in front of the mirror, I was amazed. It fitted! As I stood admiring my reflection from every angle, I couldn’t stop smiling. I even did a little dance in my bedroom.
Then I did something that really surprised me – I took a photo and posted it on Instagram. I’d started my profile a few months ago, but only felt brave enough to post pictures of my meals. With my growing confidence, I’ve started sharing my transformation with my followers. I love all the encouraging comments I get whenever I post a new photo.
I’ve had another small breakthrough this month – I’ve downloaded the Couch to 5K app and I’ve been for my first run around the estate where I live. My eyes were darting around the whole time in case I ran past someone I knew, and my lungs felt like they were going to explode by the time I’d finished, but it felt good to get moving. I’m enjoying the challenge and I’m going to see how far I can get with it.
August 2020: 5½st lost
I’m definitely a runner now! This morning I ran for a solid 28 minutes – in my fastest time yet! I’ve only got one more week to go before I complete the programme and I’m going to keep it up afterwards.
I’ve got another reason to be excited today. Sharon has told me that my real-life group is reopening! As much as I’ve enjoyed attending a virtual group, I can’t wait to get back to the real thing and see everyone’s faces again. I’m only a stone away from my target now, and I’m glad that I’ll be able to celebrate with everyone in person when I get there.
Life is so completely different now I’ve lost 5½st. I feel fitter and healthier than I have in a long time, and my confidence has never been higher. Once it’s safe to travel again, I’m going to book a girls’ holiday with some friends. I’m excited at the thought of striding across a beach in a bikini, feeling happy and confident about my body. And this time, I know I’m going to love seeing the photos afterwards!
What an amazing set of photos showing Erika’s progress! It’s great to hear how she’s transformed her confidence during her weight loss journey. You can find out more about joining Slimming World here.
We’d love to hear about your weight loss journey, whether you’re just starting out, have overcome a slimming setback or are nearing your target. Tell us your story!